'Japan Sinks: 2020' Trailer: A New Sci-Fi Disaster Anime From The Creator Of 'Devilman Crybaby'

Masaaki Yuasa is one of the hardest working filmmakers in the anime industry right now. On top of directing hit anime series like Devilman Crybaby and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, he's also made time to helm artful, critically acclaimed films like The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, and Ride Your Wave. And the amazing thing about a Yuasa project is that you're not sure what to expect every time. Will you get a hardcore violent sci-fi series? Or a sweet, whimsical comedy? With his newest series Japan Sinks: 2020, we may get a little bit of both.

Based on the bestselling 1973 disaster novel of the same name, Japan Sinks: 2020 is an sci-fi anime series that follows a family trying to reunite in the middle of devastating earthquakes hitting contemporary Japan. Watch the Japan Sinks: 2020 trailer below.

Japan Sinks 2020 Trailer

I'll confess being a little late to the Masaaki Yuasa train, but I've come around to the consensus that he is one of the most exciting and inventive filmmakers working in the anime industry today. Breaking out with the experimental (and difficult to watch) 2004 film Mind Game, Yuasa has honed his skills to become one of today's best anime storytellers. And his direction in Japan Sinks: 2020 seems to be top notch — Yuasa's warm, 2D animation style pops amid Netflix's oversaturation of 3D-animated animes, and his focus on an ordinary Japanese family dealing with disaster makes this series stand above the rest of the loud, cluttered sci-fi rabble. Though it's billed as a sci-fi apocalyptic anime, I like how grounded it seems to be in the emotions and relationships between the core characters.

This is the first time that Sakyo Komatsu's 1973 disaster novel has been adapted into an anime, though it has been adapted into live-action feature films for both film and TV in Japan. In 1973, a movie version called Tidal Wave was released in Japan, for which Roger Corman bought the film rights and edited it heavily with new scenes with American actors. A Japanese TV series also aired in 1975. Shinji Higuchi of Shin Godzilla fame also helmed a tokusatsu version called Sinking of Japan in 2006, starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Kou Shibasaki. It's clearly a story that is intensely important to Japanese audiences, as the country is regularly wracked by earthquakes and natural disasters, and feels all too real in the wake of current-day disasters.

Here is the synopsis to Japan Sinks: 2020:

An ordinary family is put to the test as a series of massive earthquakes throw Japan into total mayhem. From director Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby), the first anime adaptation of the bestselling science fiction novel by Sakyo Komatsu.

Japan Sinks: 2020 premieres only on Netflix on July 9, 2020.