I have almost finished watching Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, a 11 episode anime series released in 2009. It is a fiction series based in what could happen in Tokyo if there was a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Tokyo bay.
The main characters of the series are two siblings that are enjoying a free day in Odaiba visiting a robots exhibition in Miraikan museum. When they go out of the museum the little brother goes to the bathroom, and his sister waits outside. That moment is when the magnitude 8.0 earthquake hits Tokyo bay. From that moment, a long way to walk back home awaits them to re-encounter with their parents (if they are alive).
The plot of the series is quite repetitive, sometimes even boring, but it is quite interesting to notice the similarities in a fiction series compared to what happened last month in Tokyo under a magnitude 9.0 earthquake (but with the epicenter very far away).
Some things that happen in the anime that also happened in Tokyo on the 11th of March:
- People go back home walking after the earthquake (a third of the people in Tokyo came back home walking on the 11th of March)
- Many people can’t get home before the night falls (a fifth of the people in Tokyo couldn’t get back home on the 11th of March)
- Mobile phone networks stop working (in the series, the networks in Tokyo don’t work for several days because the magnitude of the earthquake is much greater. On the 11th of March we were around 10-15 hours without cell phone coverage)
- Those affected use 1seg television on their cell phones to get information. Digital television for Japanese cell phones works even though there is no cell phone coverage. (On the 11th of March my colleagues and I got the news that there was a tsunami alert thanks to 1seg television on a cell phone)
- People get together in assigned areas for shelter. (On the 11th of March, in Tokyo some of us were waiting for hours in “secure” areas to avoid the strongest aftershocks, others spent the night in shelters, schools and stadiums. In Tohoku area, a month and a half after the earthquake and tsunami there are still 100,000 people living in areas prepared by the government)
- Neverending aftershocks (after a month and a half we are still experiencing many aftershocks)
Some things that were different in the anime Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 from the “real earthquake”
- There was no tsunami in the anime!
- In the anime you can see many robots working in rescue tasks and they are very useful in general. In Tohoku area some robots have been used, but not to the extent as it was hoped or desired. They are also being used in Fukushima nuclear power plant.