The climax to the opening episode of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 took us to the brink of the massive earthquake that underpins this series, leaving this second instalment free to really let loose as the quake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale does its damage.
Now, I'll be the first to confess that I've never experienced an earthquake so I'm not exactly qualified to comment on such things, but the earthquake as portrayed here certainly had what was very much a believable element to it - From footage I've seen of real life earthquakes, the swaying motions and physics of buildings collapsing and the like felt more or less spot on, making for an almost unnerving viewing experience.
Where this episode really excelled however is in its depiction of the aftermath of that initial earthquake - Rather than taking the Hollywood movie stance of panic and people running everywhere, all we see here is an eerie silence as people slowly pick themselves up, look around and come to terms with what's happening. There's no all-out mayhem here, simply everyone quietly evacuating and looking for safety. Everyone, that is, except for Mirai, who goes on a panic-stricken search for her brother who is still missing, eventually finding herself helped out by Mari, the woman we met briefly in the last episode.
Beautiful is most certainly the wrong word to use in conjunction with this episode of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, but there is almost a certain horrific beauty to the way the structural results of the earthquake are depicted here, with floors running at bizarre angles, floods and fires abound and the ever-present danger of powerful aftershocks. This episode doesn't really shirk from showing the human tragedy of this powerful earthquake either - It may not go for a blood and guts approach, but the quiet horror of seeing evidence of dead bodies trapped beneath the rubble was no less powerful for that.
Overall then, this instalment served as a perfect follow-up to that excellent opener, and seems to suggest that Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is going to do everything that it needs to do, and everything that it promised to, in terms of both story-telling and realism - Even sat here in front of a PC, I found myself oddly immersed in the terrifying world that this episode managed to construct for itself. Perhaps the real challenge for this show is the one ahead though - With the main earthquake over and Mirai's brother safe, how interesting from both a factual and emotional stance can this series make the siblings journey home? I for one have absolute faith in them right now though, based upon what I've seen thus far.