Anime! Who's watching what?

  • Watched the first episode of Japan Sinks. I'm gonna keep going for now, but I'm not really sure if it'll be worth it. It really lacks the charm and style present in all of Yuasa's other works. It just gets straight to the gruesome darkness that made parts of Devilman so unpleasant to watch, but without any of the character development or subversiveness that made that series feel worthwhile. Probably doesn't help that Kyuushuu is experiencing historic flooding right now, so some of the imagery is pretty raw. We'll see how things go from here, but I'm tempering my expectations.

  • Finally finished Japan Sinks: 2020. I don't think it's very good, which is disappointing given how much I've like all of Yuasa's other work. The show wallows in its own misery far too much and settles into an predictable cadence that is never particularly enjoyable. The way each "shocking" death is accompanied by an overly-humanizing voice-over only served to highlight the show's greatest shortcoming: the show never gives us enough time to actually care about any of these characters. That said, I did think the ending was solid, and served to highlight why they insisted on using the subtitle, "2020:" the release of this show was very clearly meant to align with the Tokyo Olympics. I think if you watch it with this perspective, you can appreciate some of the subtext that Yuasa weaved throughout the series, ultimately culminating in the final ten minutes. His commentary on Japanese culture and society has been present in some of his other works before, but in a way I think it shines through better in Japan Sinks: 2020 than anywhere else. Without spoiling anything, he does a great job at presenting what he believes to be the major shortcomings of Japanese culture while highlighting what makes the country so unique and resilient, ultimately hinting at a possible path forward. I think it's very intentional that he's centered mixed-race and multicultural characters in much of his recent work, which I appreciate for very personal (and perhaps obvious) reasons. Either that or I'm just reading way too far into things again. Not sure if this is actually worth a watch, but it's also pretty short so you can maybe just try out a couple episodes and see what sticks. C