“Fukkatsu No Hi/Virus” – The Dangers of Messing Around With Things

In the next of my posts about movies which I studied for my article “Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?“, I am writing about Fukkatsu no Hi (復活の日) (Kinji Fukasaku, 1980). I first watched this film many years ago, having got the DVD in a collection of DVDs which were on offer for a low price. The version that I got had the name Virus. It wasn’t clear, without looking at the credits, that this was a Japanese movie as most of the dialogue is in English and most of the actors are not Japanese. It wasn’t very good and I would say that the IMDb average (at the time of writing) of 6.2 is generous. However, I managed to find another version when conducting my research and discovered that the DVD version had been significantly edited down. The original version flows much better (although is probably longer than it needs to be) and some scenes which made no sense before, worked much better. Considering the movie during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can see how it had some clever ideas – many of which were also adopted in the TV series The Last Ship, which I enjoyed watching.

A summary about the movie on IMDb is as follows.

A US military-engineered virus, released during a plane crash, kills almost the entire human population. The only survivors are scientists and military personnel in Antarctica, who desperately try to find a cure and save what is left of the human population from further destruction.


The summary from IMDb can equally apply to both versions, but really, they should be seen as two completely differently movies and have their own entries on IMDb. I believe that similar comments could be made about the original Japanese Godzilla movie and the version that was released in the USA and elsewhere. Godzilla will be the topic of discussion in another post as well as featuring in the article itself.

Looking at the revised list of conventions that I developed as part of my article “Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?“, Fukkatsu no Hi has 15 out of 17. One convention it didn’t have, as I studied the full Japanese version, is that the movie didn’t primarily impact Japan/Japanese with a lot of the focus being on the USA.

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