Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is about a sister and brother trying to return home with the help of a woman they meet after Tokyo is half-destroyed by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. Many of the things they have taken for granted in their normal life are no longer available, and their journey is made even harder by the aftershocks that continue to plague the city.
Some stories that deal with the aftermath of a huge natural disaster throw one life-threatening situation after another against a protagonist who has to figure out how to survive, and after a while it gets really boring. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is not one of those stories: while bad things happen, it is not like the universe is out to get them.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a story about people. It is about how people face fear, deal with loss, and manage to move on despite what happens. It shows how the absence of things we take for granted, especially reliable communications, could shake one’s emotional well-being. It’s also nice that it shows how little things that are typically never mentioned in fiction might feel much more important in a real disaster. Most importantly, what the characters go through feels like it could actually happen to us, which makes the emotional impact that much stronger.
I would most highly recommend Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 to anyone, at least to anyone who has the least bit of feeling. I’m rather pitiful in the emotions department, but the show even managed to squeeze a couple of tears out of me. It was also beautiful how the show ended the same way it started, with a text message.