While we might not discuss our secret love for movies like the Day After Tomorrow or 2012, I believe many people have a secret passion for natural disaster media. While we probably don’t want it to happen anywhere or even to us, it is easy to love the heroism and sacrifice that can often present itself in such situations. As such, when done well, it can make for an inspiring watch.
While anime doesn’t have ten tons of natural disaster-themed anime series out there, there are a few. They primarily surround earthquakes because Japan has suffered some horrific ones in the past and it is still extremely likely that worse ones may come in the future. So if you are thirsting for the heroism rising amidst the panic of a natural disaster for your next anime recommendation, consider giving some of these a watch.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is easily the most popular natural disaster anime because it is one of the most realistic. It tells the tale of a teen girl and her younger brother that went to Tokyo to see a robot exhibit. Unhappy with her family life, she wishes for everything to be destroyed, and what do you know, a powerful earthquake strikes. Running into a motorcyclist and single mother, she vows to help the siblings get back home, and thus you follow a story of the chaos and horrors that often follow earthquakes.
Unlike almost every other natural disaster series, Rescue Wings doesn’t follow the victims, but instead follows the rescuers. While it doesn’t focus on many huge disasters and instead follows a previously ambitious pilot finding his place in the squad, you learn how the rescuers we perceive as somehow faceless and emotionless really feel about their important jobs.
The Day the Earth Moved
Crisis makes kids grow up. That is the lesson taught by this series. It features Tsuyoshi, a kid so focused on studying that he ignores people around him. However, when the Kobe / Hyogoken-Nanbu Earthquake strikes in 1995, killing 6,000 and leaving 300,000 homeless, he learns he has to change. While dealing with the death of one friend and helping another cope with their own personal loss, you gain a better grasp of the feelings that come with disaster.
A Spirit of the Sun
Many series focus on the actual disaster aspect, but there are a few that deal with the aftermath as well. In this series, Japan was ravaged by Mt. Fuji’s eruption, tsunamis, and then an earthquake that split the nation in two. Because they accepted aid from China and the US, China gained governance of the north and USA took control of the south. Yet, this story actually takes place in Taiwan where Japanese refuges and the Taiwanese government start clashing. In the midst of all this, a youth that was adopted by Taiwanese parents after losing his in Japan tries to foster peace between the two parties.
This series takes place long in the future where earthquakes are common and ravaging while global warming makes mother nature a real beast as well. While much of civilization has retreated to the safe haven of Atlas, many are still stuck outside. This is the story of one spirited young girl and her quest to lead others into Atlas. They not only have to deal with quakes and other natural disasters, but the fact that Atlas won’t just let them in even when they get there.
Like several of the other series out there, Coppelion seems to be inspired by the Fukushima incident in 2011. The series starts with a meltdown in a power plant in Tokyo then officially begins 20 years later. Due to high levels of radiation, most people have been pushed out, but still a distress signal is received from within the area. To search for it, a special unit of girls called Coppelion is dispatched to find survivors, but unlike most people, these girls seem somehow immune to radiation.
The Orphans of Simitra
This series follows a pair of siblings that live with their family in the fictional countryside. They are all happy and healthy until an earthquake comes and destroys their lives. Now with his parents dead, the older brother Porfy must find his little sister Mina that was separated from him during the panic. While this series is separated from reality by an air of fiction, it has many parallels to the devastating earthquakes of Japan’s past, and thus, despite the fiction, has an air of realism to the disaster.
The premise of Gyo seems ridiculous, but the original source material was created by a master of manga horror and this short little OVA does a great job animating it. The series revolves around dead fish walking out of the ocean on metal legs and attacking Japan. Not only that, but they carry a disease that can be transmitting to humans, making what should be a relatively simple enemy to beat very dangerous. It is not the most “natural” of natural disasters, but we’ll count it none-the-less!
Do you have any more hidden gems that are natural disaster anime series? Then share with the world in the comments section below.