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Published on Aug 3, 2011
From the violent seas featured in Japan's most famous woodblock print, Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," to the massive tsunami in Hayao Miyazaki's last anime feature, "Ponyo," Japanese artists have rendered end-of-the-world scenarios for centuries. Anime classic "Akira" begins with the total destruction of Tokyo; "Grave of the Fireflies" shows Kobe being incinerated by fire bombs; "Godzilla" irradiates and destroys everything. We will explore how and why Japan's art and popular culture are obsessed with apocalypse--and look at how some anime and manga artists are responding to the nation's latest disaster.