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One: There is an estimated 70% chance that an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 or higher will hit Tokyo within the next three decades.
Two: Mirai Onozawa is your typical rebellious thirteen-year-old — bored with school, frustrated with her distant-seeming parents, and annoyed by her cheerful younger brother Yuuki. Her single point of solace at home is her cell phone, with which she texts her friends and organizes her thoughts.
On the first day of summer break in 2012, Mirai takes Yuuki to a robotics exhibition on the artificial island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, upon the insistence of her mother. Feeling humiliated and alienated by this and a couple of encounters during the trip, she quietly wishes to herself that the world would break.
The next moment, the world does. An earthquake of the title-giving magnitude 8.0 erupts from northern Tokyo Bay, causing buildings to come crashing down, iconic landmarks to crumble, and fires to erupt in the city center. In the chaos surrounding the initial tremor, Mirai and Yuuki meet Mari, a motorcycle delivery woman and single mother. Together, the three of them set out on the long journey to the Onozawa home in western Tokyo.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 started running in July 2009, with direction by Masaki Tachibana (Seirei no Moribito) and music from Kou Ootani (Shadow of the Colossus and Haibane Renmei). It succeeded Eden of the East in Fuji Television's NoitaminA late-night timeslot.
Beware: most spoilers present in this page will ruin your experience of the series if you haven't seen it yet.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 contains examples of:
- All Just a Dream:
- Mari has a vivid nightmare of her family trapped in a fire in episode 6.
- In episode 8, Mirai has visions of Yuuki dying after his hospitalization. Brutally subverted a couple of episodes later when in fact this was not just Mirai's imagination.
- Particularly subverted in that of all the visions, the most dreamlike one turned out to be the real thing
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Yuuki's persistent optimism frustrates his sister, who takes a much more cynical view of their situation.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Mirai's wish for the world's destruction.
- Bittersweet Ending: Mari's family is alright, and so are Mirai's parents, and life is going slowly back to normal. On the other hand, Yuuki is dead.
- Chekhov's Gun: The rescue-bots from episode 1, predictably.
- Coming of Age Story: For Mirai.
- Conspicuous CG: The rescue-bots. Also some of the people walking by in the backgrounds, if you look carefully.
- Dead All Along: Yuuki dies halfway through episode 8; Mirai hallucinates his continued existence throughout the next couple of episodes. The other shoe finally drops when his apparition says "I'm dead" at the end of episode 10.
- Disaster Series
- Emo Teen: Mirai has this in spades.
- Empathic Environment: Sunny day before the quake, rainstorms and gray clouds after.
- Fan Nickname: St. Yuuki.
- Growling Gut: Mirai's stomach gurgles in episode 4 due to having to use the bathroom (special thanks to the cake she had eaten before).
- Guardian Entity: Yuuki. Although given the show's otherwise realistic tone one can assume Mirai's subconscious is doing all the work, her hallucination of her brother is really helpful and drives all the positive developments in the rest of the series
- Kikuko Inoue: As Mirai and Yuuki's mother, in one of her Playing Against Type roles.
- Limited Wardrobe: Mari's daughter Hina is always shown in photos wearing pink hair ties. This causes Mari to believe that Hina is dead when she discovers the corpses of an older woman and a young girl wearing pink hair ties were found together. However, Yuuki and Mirai find Hina alive and well nearby and she's wearing yellow hair ties.
- Meaningful Name: "Mirai" means "future;" "Yuuki" means "courage."
- Mood Whiplash: The latter half of the series.
- Next Sunday AD: Takes place in 2012. The calendar shown in Mirai's house is first displayed with a month that matches July 2012, and matching August 2012 in the final episode, which takes place a month later. Mirai received text messages dated 7/21 and 7/22, the day of and day after the earthquake. The calendar plus text message timestamps, combined with the time given in a news report, pinpoint the earthquake as occurring at 3:46 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, 2012.
- One-Dimensional Thinking: When the Tokyo Tower falls, the characters run parallel to the direction of the falling tower rather than running off to the side.
- "On the Next...": The brief newscaster blurbs after the credits hint at upcoming events.
- Otaku: Mirai calls Kento a "robotaku."
- Potty Emergency: Mirai suffers one at the start of episode 4 as a result of eating too much cake. She gets in line for a porta-potty, but a man cuts in front of the line and a fight breaks out between him and another man. Mirai ultimately settles for using the paper toilet that Mari offered before.
- Product Placement: Sort of — Fuji Television seem to enjoy dropping references to themselves during the series. Among them:
- Mirai and company, as well as a couple of hundred other survivors, take shelter from the post-quake storms on the steps of Fuji Television's Odaiba headquarters. In fairness, it's a newer building and presumably more strongly retrofitted than the ones that we do see collapsing.
- The news broadcasts seen on various cell phones in episode two are labeled "8ch", channel 8 being Fuji TV in and around Tokyo (on analog dials, at least).
- Yuuki's backpack has a "Fuji Staff" sticker on it.
- Really Dead Montage: Yuuki, in the closing minutes of the final episode.
- Scenery Gorn: Sequences of the earthquake's effects on the city, done in high detail.
- Scenery Porn: Establishing shots in the first episode. Even normally-aloof Mirai is awestruck by the sight of the Rainbow Bridge overhead.
- Shown Their Work: Possibly the entire point of the series, as indicated by the opening disclaimer of each episode.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The series falls mostly on the idealistic side, with a couple of exceptions — Mirai constantly runs into criminally-insensitive strangers in early episodes, for instance.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Several cliffhangers segue directly into the upbeat ED "M/elody", accompanied by pictures of the main cast happily walking through an intact city.
- Special Edition Title: The final episode has different pictures in the ending credits of everyone moving on after the quake, mixed with a presumably older one of Yuuki running and beckoning ahead at the camera.
- Spoiler Ending: Subverted. The opening and ending show all of the main characters alive, which looks like a case of this for the first few episodes. They then proceed to become progressively less and less appropriate as the series enters its latter half.
- Survivor Guilt: Mirai is wracked with this, between seeing a classmate mourn her mother, listening to kindly old man Furuichi talk about his dead grandchildren, and Yuuki's death (for which she blames herself, and her mother blames herself). At the end of episode 11, she reaches the fifth stage.
- Take My Hand: In episode 7.
- The Tokyo Fireball: Much of the city is on fire after the quake; episode two has a distant shot of the downtown skyline in flames.
- Time Skip: One month in the second half of episode 11.
- Tokyo Tower: Actually stays up during the earthquake, though askew. It falls during an aftershock in episode 4.
- Unreliable Narrator: From episode 8 on.
- Wham! Episode: In episode 8, following an episode of lighter robot-oriented fare, Yuuki suddenly collapses, he dies at a nearby hospital, and Mirai goes into intense denial, making herself believe that he's survived and is still with them. This is followed up in episode 10 when Mirai (and likely also the viewer) finally realizes what happened in episode 8.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: The credits for episode 11, showing life going on for all the minor characters seen in the series.