Netflix’s Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 Recap: Sci-Fi and Climate Change

Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 is a Japanese drama series set in the recent future. It schedules episode releases every week, on Sundays. It is based on a book of the same name, by Sakyo Komatsu. The show will premier new episodes internationally on Netflix. It deals with climate change, and the disasters to be caused by continual human interference.

The first episode was released on 10th October at 5:30 pm IST.

Trailer for Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1

Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 introduces us to Amami, who works for MOE, and advocates for the government over environmental issues. He played an instrumental role in developing COMS, which is a futuristic and environmentally friendly fuel that lowers carbon emissions. He is also deeply passionate about diving, seen by the way he interacts with the marine life when underwater.

COMS was introduced to the world as an alternative to fuels that give rise to carbon emissions. While Amami, who has a huge role in this project enjoys the added attention, he is also faced with protestors who believe that COMS would give rise to larger problems than global warming.

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While encountering one such group of protestors, he realizes they are led by a ‘conspiracy theory on the internet. A certain Professor Tadokoro claims that Kanto would eventually sink because of COMS. He decides to consult his mentor Professor Sera, a leading geologist at the University of Tokyo, and checks on Professor Tadokoro’s background. Sera reveals that they used to be colleagues and rivals, but Tadokoro was removed from the university due to mismanagement of research funds, and he then disappeared from the world of academia. He dismisses his theory as a way to get attention and declares Kanto safe.

A still from Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 trailer
A still from Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 trailer

Amami visits the professor in question himself, at his private research facility. Once there, he realizes that even though the professor was a genius, he is eccentric. Unsuccessful in convincing the professor of his theory’s fallibility, he leaves the facility and bumps into a magazine journalist, Shiina, instead. She is there to interview Professor Tadokoro about his theory and his connections to a real estate company, D Plans. She believes there may be a connection between the “Kanto Sinking” theory and the company’s plans to sell cheaper land in the highlands at inflated prices. The research facility Professor Todakoro works in is funded by the company and this may be evidence of academic fraud.

Amami, on learning this, invites the professor to the MOE meeting, on the pretext of explaining his theory to his colleagues. Once there, Professor Sera and Professor Todakoro come face to face and Todakoro realizes he has been tricked. Nevertheless, he presents his findings to the committee, but only faces dismissal. Amami exposes the seeming ‘intent’ behind the “Kanto Sinking” theory to discredit the professor’s work. Just as the committee turns on Todakoro for wasting their time, a huge earthquake hits just off the coast of Isa. This begins to make Amami question his own conviction about the COMS project.

Later that night, Amami thanks Shiina for her data. He also gets a phone call from Todakoro, who confronts him about his trickery and tries to convince him about his theory. Amami chooses to ignore the eccentric man’s pleas and moves on to talk to his daughter instead. The next morning at work, his boss congratulates him for his success and his selection to the Japan Future Council which enables him to present his proposal for clean energy sources in the Japanese ministry. However, the deputy Prime Minister refuses to budge and demerits the value of Amami’s proposal. He does not consider saving the environment to be a huge concern.

A still from Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 trailer
A still from Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 trailer

Tadokoro goes live from a TV Broadcast to convince people of his “Kanto Sinking” theory. This comes as an unexpected move and Amami, along with Sera, are left surprised. Later, when Amami goes diving, he encounters a huge fissure in the sea bed spewing hot water and creating an underwater whirlpool. He nearly escapes it and this experience forces him to reconsider his stance. He proposes on-ground research, along with both the professors just as a measure. If Tadokoro is proven wrong, he must denounce his theory publically.

Also Read: Netflix’s Convergence: Courage in a Crisis Review: Unrelenting Act of Selflessness

Shiina, with the help of Amami, publishes an article exposing D Plans and the involvement of Tadokoro. Instead of creating outrage, however, the theory becomes even more popular.

The research submarine carries Todakoro, Sera, Amami, and another beaurocrat from the MOE to survey the seabed 3000 meters deep. while things seem to be fine, 20 km further into the survey, they notice the hot water Amami had experiences, and Todakoro claims to have seen sure-shot evidence of the slow slip that indicates the possibility of Kanto sinking. Sera, however, claims the opposite. The 4th beaurocrat who accompanied them falls unconscious due to water pressure and the research party rises to the surface without completing the survey. Sera claims their data is enough. Amami is confused about who to believe, but he slowly begins to lose the certainty he first displayed.

A still from Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 trailer
A still from Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 trailer

In the meeting, Sera shows the committee manipulated data to prove Tadokoro wrong, but Amami, when faced with the facts proposes that they conduct another survey, and complete it this time. Just as the committee rises to chaos, a news report shows the sinking of an island off the coast of Iza, just as it was predicted by Todakoro.

Japan Sinks People of Hope episode 1 ends here.

Final Verdict: Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1

Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 uses a quick narrative to grip the audience and keep them engaged. However, the episode, with a run time of over an hour sure does feel a little drawn out. Other than that, the story is great and excites us to see what’s next while raising alarm over a highly relevant issue in current times.

Japan Sinks People of Hope Episode 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

Also Read: Netflix’s Bright Samurai Soul Review: Way Better Than The Original

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