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Newsweek: Tokyo Disaster Fantasies

Of the many images of disaster coming to us from Japan, one continues to haunt me: a dark, angry, roiling wave of water, thick with cars and homes and soil, sweeps across a flat landscape and swallows farms and fields into its churning blackness.

I can’t help but be reminded of the climax of the classic 1988 animated film Akira, when the title character, mutated by government experimentation and adolescent hormones, finds his body swelling out of control and consuming everything that gets in its way.

I was on a bus in central Tokyo with the Japanese American Leadership Delegation when the quake hit, but became aware of the extent of the destruction only hours later, as the horrifying images of the tsunami on the northeastern coast began to spread. In the days after the disaster, those scenes unfolding on television and the Internet have spontaneously called to mind countless images of devastation, all built up from a lifetime of Japanese monster movies, manga, anime, and video...

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