Tsuyoshi Takahashi, a 6th grader, lived in eastern Kobe with his parents and younger brother. Tsuyoshi was very ambitious and hoped to enter a prestigious private school, so his days were filled with study. Whenever asked by anyone for a favor, Tsuyoshi resented having to give up his free time.
In the early morning hours of January 17, 1995, a massive earthquake rocked Kobe City. Tsuyoshi and his family managed to escape from their shattered home and evacuated to his school. The problems of communal living and rationing, as well as the selfless example of the many volunteers, are lessons the children are soon to learn.
Chikyuu ga Ugoita Hi is based on Etsuko Kishikawa's 1996 children's novel of the same name, which is set during the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe. It was Japan's worst earthquake in the 20th century after the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake.
Chikyuu Ga Ugoita Hi centers around the 1995 Kobe earthquake and its aftermath and is a great look at the positive aspect of the collective conscious that holds the Japanese people together in times of crisis. While not on the same level as Grave of the Fireflies, or Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, it is well worth watching, especially in relation to the recent earthquakes and tsunami in northern Japan as it
Background art is pretty good but the character designs and animation are nothing special. Sound must have been average because I didn't notice it either way. Just set some of the technical
esthetics aside and focus on what is important about the story.
The action and drama revolves around a 6th grade boy, his family, classmates, and teacher. We get a look at their reactions to the trauma of loss, how it changes their take on the important things in life, and how they continue to live and grow even under the weight of unimaginable devastation.
Some of the supporting characters are quite memorable, particularly one venerable old woman in the group shelter who taught the kids the true meaning of survival. A few of the volunteer workers were quite endearing as well.
Even though it isn't perfect and a bit dated, don't hesitate to give this movie an hour+, but be advised, if you are a bit of a softy, you will shed a tear or two.