Summer 2009 First Impressions – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Bones returns with one of its shorter series in recent memory (clocking in at just 11 episodes). The name of this game? Realism.

I’ve read the synopsis. The answer is no.

What I liked:

  • I’m certainly no expert when it comes to the science behind disasters, but it’s interesting that Bones went out of its way to let us know they did their research in shooting for realism in the disaster scenarios that’ll occur in this anime. In a completely unrelated turn of events, I just read an article about a week ago questioning Japan’s preparedness for such a disaster. I guess we’ll see what Bones is thinking.
  • Keeping up with the theme of realism, while the character designs don’t look "real," they’re not very stylized either. So they’re not moe moe, they’re not oozing with cool, nor is there any of the silly artwork that’s become commonplace in recent Bones shows like the new FMA and Soul Eater. But everyone looks average. Not really pretty, sometimes even ugly, but they look like how "normal" people might look if they were adapted for an anime.
  • Yuuki’s an awesome kid brother. I think I was like him when I was younger… or at least that’s my perception of myself, who knows how I was in reality. But I wouldn’t have minded having a kid brother like him.
  • I really liked the OP, both the song, as well as the scenes of desolation.
  • Last couple minutes, nice!

What I didn’t like:

  • I didn’t dislike Mirai. But then again I didn’t like her either. And I’d guess that’s what the shows creators wanted us to feel about her. Ghostlightning put together a very nice analysis of Mirai’s character, but basically, I could empathize with Mirai’s frustration and disillusionment. I thought the writers did a good job showing the banal and even disappointing qualities of the people around her. But at the same time, I couldn’t completely identify with the apathy and self-pity she wallows in. She talks about not wanting to be like the others around her, but like a cynic who criticizes everything without taking a position of his own, treats her brother the same way she hates being treated. With that said, I really liked that her first thought when the ground shook was about her brother. It was a nice way of showing she does care.

Random other thoughts:

Ghostlightning actually said it best:

I was so strung along by Mirai’s many complaints and listless passivity towards her first day of summer vacation that when the earthquake struck, I was actually surprised! I suddenly remembered that this was a disaster anime.

The first 20 minutes wasn’t an exciting episode by any means, but I give Bones a lot of credit. I thought they somehow took everyday boredom and weaved it into a compelling story that sucked me in. Next thing I know, there’s a freaking EARTHQUAKE happening! It really should’ve have taken me by surprise, but somehow it did.

If Bones is really shooting for realism, this show probably shouldn’t have a happy ending. But I’m looking forward to seeing where they take the show.

4 Replies to “Summer 2009 First Impressions – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0”

  1. Hehe Thanks!

    You make a good case for the text’s intention for the character, to be sympathetic but not approved of. I won’t go as far as divine the intentions of the writers, as I don’t see that as the primary role of reading and interpretation.

  2. “If Bones is really shooting for realism, this show probably shouldn’t have a happy ending.”

    I usually make a frowny face when people say things like this, because it’s not necessarily true. Granted, random Dues ex Machinas or fairytale Disney endings are unrealistic, and I think what you meant was that you expect tragic moments of human loss and suffering in a major disaster story, but it doesn’t mean it has to end on an overall tragic note to be appropriate or real. Luckily for me, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel here and can link others who have written lengthy discussion on this topic:

    It article was written with a different context in mind, but there are good things that apply. Anyway, Bones hit all the right notes in the first episode. I expect good things.

    1. Err, yes. I knew that sentence didn’t come out write when I wrote it the first time, but wasn’t sure how to word it. Basically, like you mentioned, I’m just hoping it doesn’t follow the typical disaster movie script. Dad and mom are desperately searching for the family, while the plucky little kids are wheeling and dealing in the post-apocalyptic world like they were born for it, until one unlikely event after another leads to a touching reunion where everyone realizes the value of family. I just hope it’s better thought out than that.

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