The Days Season 1 Review – A “not great, not terrible” historical drama

Season 1

Episode Guide

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Is Submerged
No Need to Evacuate
Radioactive Emissions Will Be Minimal
It Would Mean Turning Our Backs on Fukushima
Our Company Has Lost Its Mind
I Can No Longer Leave Here Alive
Decide the Conditions for Evacuation
A Scenario for Japan’s Collapse


When Chernobyl dropped on HBO back in 2019, it delivered an absolute tour-de-force of suspenseful drama. Accurately depicting what happened during the infamous Chernobyl disaster, HBO knocked it out the park with another excellent mini-series. However, Chernobyl was not the only mass-nuclear disaster in our lifetime.

Fast forward to 2023 and Japan have unveiled The Days, an 8 part miniseries that depicts the trials and tribulations of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster. Based on true events, for those unaware the accident that engulfed the power station was triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan.

While less people were evacuated compared to Chernobyl (154,000 compared to 335,000) the same wave of panic, chaos and mania gripped the nation, which is what The Days aims to portray in this series. For the most part, it works rather well and when the show blends its archival TV reports and footage from the time in amongst its character and story ensemble, The Days excels.

After a pulsating opening episode, everything starts to slow down and it’s here where some of the issues with the show appear. There’s a constant repertoire of complicated terms, technical jargon and nuclear language that will likely fly over the heads of most casual watchers. I’m certainly not advocating for the cliched “explain that simply, doc!” trope but similarly, the show has such a desire to portray the cold hard facts and get all the details right, that it oftentimes overlooks giving its characters heart and a reason to get invested in their stories.

With the exception of Yoshida (whose testimony is actually used to tell this story), most of the other characters struggle to stand out. That’s not for the want of trying though, but The Days can’t quite get the magic ingredient right to make us truly invested in everyone’s arcs. Characters like baby-faced Koki do show up constantly, and there’s an attempt to flesh out his story, as the show jumps back and forth between his family and his own issues deep underneath the nuclear Unit with his comrades. But then you get players like Vice President Murikami, Kinoshita or even Akari, there’s just not enough here to sink your teeth into.

Aesthetically, The Days does have a few notable wobbles too. Some of the editing is a little jarring, and there’s a tendency to repeat frames a few times across different episodes. In episode 4 for example, we see the same newspaper clipping three times in the span of 10 minutes. Similarly, a shot of a dead cow in episode 1 is then rehashed again in episode 8. It’s something that ultimately harks back to the pacing of this show, which is slow. Perhaps too slow. This is definitely not a series meant to be binged, but similarly, there’s not quite enough material here to justify the 8 episode length.

The Days is a decent Japanese drama though, even with its flaws. It’s certainly no Chernobyl and perhaps its unfair to judge it against that behemoth. However, it’s hard not to draw parallels to that series. Unlike HBO’s series, which balanced character, story and cold, hard facts harmoniously, this one feels a little off-kilter. Despite getting the facts bang on, The Days never allows you to really warm to its numerous characters, making for a “not great but not terrible” historical drama.


Read More: The Days Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Feel Free To Check Out More Of Our TV Show Reviews Here!

  • Verdict - 7.5/10

Leave a comment