Japan Sinks: 2020

Japan Sinks: 2020

Japan Sinks: 2020 anime series logo
Japan Sinks: 2020

Series Overview

Japan Sinks: 2020 (Nihon Chinbotsu 2020 / 日本沈没2020) is a disaster series about Japan being struck by a devastating earthquake (and more) and eventually sinking into the Pacific Ocean as the title of the series implies. It’s animated by Science SARU, a studio that’s worked on other series such as Ping Pong the Animation, Devilman: Crybaby, and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

While Science SARU’s art and animation styles are unique, I’m not sure if they were the correct studio for this series. I really liked how their styles added emotion to certain scenes, but there were just as many scenes that I think could have benefited from a “cleaner” style than what Science SARU is known for.

However, the animation and art aren’t what makes Japan Sinks such a special series. I finished it only about two days ago, and I’ve been excited to write about it since then because this series falls into one of my favorite categories of anime: Absolute train wrecks.

I think the only realistic part of the entire series was the alarm that gets sent to everyone’s phone when there’s about to be an earthquake. Beyond that, there’s so little that actually makes sense in this series that you just can’t take it seriously in any capacity.

Aside from the fact that nothing in the series is realistic despite being portrayed as such, there are a few other problems as well. First, the series is all over the place. It goes from an earthquake disaster movie to an open ocean survival movie, and transitions between the two with an arc about a pot-farming cult lead by a former yakuza member who can speak to the dead.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Second, and what I’ll focus on in the next section, is that all of the characters are insufferable.

Main Characters

Since I’ve already included some spoilers in the first section, I’m not going to hold back throughout the rest of the review. And with that said, the only two main characters who survive throughout the series are Ayumu and Gou Mutou. Every other character with any dialogue dies, and this is actually something I really liked about the series.

I didn’t like that these characters died because they were insufferable — the first one to die, Ayumu’s and Gou’s father, wasn’t. But what I liked about their deaths was how they were portrayed. Either they happened extremely suddenly, as with Kouichirou and Nanami, or they completely redeemed their character, as with KITE and the old man.

Mari, Gou, Kouichirou, and Ayumu from the anime series Japan Sinks: 2020
Mari, Gou, Kouichirou, and Ayumu

Ayumu is the 14 or 15-year-old protagonist of the series. I can’t really describe what makes her so annoying, so I’ll just focus on one of her actions from the start of the series. From experience, I know I’m not someone who’s very helpful in emergency situations. But Ayumu literally ran away and abandoned her injured friends, leaving them to die, after the initial earthquake.

Gou is Ayumu’s younger brother. What makes him so annoying is a lot easier to pinpoint: He dreams of being an esports professional when he grows up and he also speaks in random English phrases probably about 60% of the time. His use of English, specifically, is so annoying that even other characters tell him to shut up.

The final main character I want to mention is KITE. KITE is a famous YouTuber (yes, one of the main characters is a YouTuber) who travels the world and does stunts, I guess. It was really odd to see that one of the most dependable people in the series was some YouTube bro. His inclusion felt like one of those “how do you do, fellow kids?” moments.

This Series is a Disaster

Not only is Japan Sinks about natural disasters, but it’s a disaster itself. Let’s take a look at just some of the issues with the very first episode. In this episode, the first earthquake strikes and is followed by a tsunami a short while later, which is completely realistic.

However, that’s where the realism ends, because there are a lot of suspicious developments that result from them. For example, the initial earthquake somehow knocks airplanes and helicopters out of the sky. I shouldn’t have to say this, but that’s not how that works. The force from an earthquake dissipates so much as it travels through the air that, especially on an airplane, it wouldn’t be noticed.

Think of it this way, if earthquakes could knock airplanes out of the sky, Tokyo and Los Angeles wouldn’t have some of the busiest airports in the world. It was also stated in the anime that the magnitude of the earthquake was 7.0 at its strongest point. In the past 20 years alone, Japan has experienced 17 earthquakes stronger than that — so, no, an earthquake isn’t going to knock planes out of the sky.

YouTube personality KITE from the anime series Japan Sinks: 2020
YouTube personality KITE

But what about the tsunami that came after the earthquake? Well, the plane that was taken down by the earthquake made an emergency landing in a river near the coast. Then, upon seeing that a tsunami was coming, Mari jumps out of the plane and into the water. At this point, she also rescues a boy who was drowning and swims them both to safety.

So what’s wrong with this scene? The fact that we’re supposed to believe Mari (and others who were on the plane that we meet later) were able to swim to shore and then get to high enough ground that they were safe before the tsunami got to them.

You cannot outrun a tsunami on foot and you definitely can’t outswim one — especially while wearing a full set of clothes and carrying another person.


Before I mention my rating of Japan Sinks: 2020, I do have one more complaint to make about the final episode (I can’t possibly go through all my complaints about the middle of the series). For some reason, about 65-75% of the last episode was either recap of the previous nine episodes or a literal slide show of scenic pictures of Japan. It was probably one of the worst final episodes I’ve ever seen.

With that said, this anime is a 3/10 from me. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but the story and characters are just so bad that they drag everything down with them. But, if there’s one redeeming quality of this anime, it’s the song “attack of legends theme” which plays at the end of the cultist arc. If only that song was in a better anime.

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