(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)
It shouldn’t come across as controversial to say that 2020 feels like living in a disaster film. Looking outside feels like catching a glimpse of a hellish apocalypse, with thousands of people dying while governments are too inept to do anything about it, misinformation making things worse, and any resemblance of “normal life” rapidly disappearing into memory. So it feels strange that the bleakest show of 2020 is perhaps one of its most hopeful.
The latest anime by Masaaki Yuasa is his third project this year, after the masterpiece that was Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! (a fantastic ode to creativity and those who dedicate themselves to work in animation), and the melancholic rom-com Ride Your Wave. By comparison, Japan Sinks: 2020 comes across as a bit of an outlier. A bleak, shocking reflection of the hellhole that is 2020 that is surprisingly hopeful.
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(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)
We’ve got an animation-heavy column for you in this week’s Pop Culture Imports, but if you’re looking for bright, family-friendly fare, they won’t be here. What is it with foreign filmmakers using animation as a medium through which to work through some of the most traumatic events (fictional or otherwise) in history? That’s a question for another day, but meanwhile let’s have a look at the best foreign movies and TV streaming now, which include war-torn refugee films Funan and Adú, a disaster anime series from Netflix, and a deadpan heist film from Romania.
Fire up those subtitles and let’s get streaming.
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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.
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