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Hokkaido 

As Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido's weather, wildlife and human history are all distinct from the rest of the country. Sika deer, cranes, sea eagles and even brown bears grind out a tough existence on this icy island.

Director:

Susie Painter

Writer:

Matthew Wright
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Michelle Dockery ... Narrator
Peter Drost Peter Drost ... Narrator: The Netherlands (voice)
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As Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido's weather, wildlife and human history are all distinct from the rest of the country. Sika deer, cranes, sea eagles and even brown bears grind out a tough existence on this icy island.

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Plot Keywords:

japan | nature | See All (2) »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan | USA | UK

Release Date:

22 June 2015 (UK) See more »

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Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
In northernmost Japan
11 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Am a big fan of nature documentaries, especially the work of David Attenborough. Having been recommended 'Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands' through Amazon, it was instantly put down on my list as a must see. Also heard nothing but praise for it, so that further sparked interest.

'Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands' is as good as others on Amazon have said and there is not much to add, actually feeling much more than just a documentary. Throughout it's an awe-inspiring, utterly transfixing experience where one forgets they're watching a documentary and instead feeling like they're watching art. This may sound like extreme hyperbole, but to me 'Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands' is completely deserving of its praise and even deserving of more.

The first episode "Honshu" is demonstrative of this and the exceptional quality carries over in "The Southwest Islands" and in the final episode "Hokkaido".

It is hard knowing when to start with the praise. "Hokkaido" for starters looks enchanting, reasons enough to make book a trip to see the more naturalistic parts of Japan. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the animals), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The scenery and habitats are some of the most breath-taking personally seen anywhere, whether in visual media and real life. The rich colours just leap out and the scenery from this part of the world has rarely looked more beautiful. The music here is a remarkably good fit, throughout it not only complements the visuals but enhances them and there is an authentic flavour to it.

What of the narrative and information aspects? Can't fault "Hokkaido" in this aspect either. The narration has a great well-balanced mix of facts that will be familiar to the viewer and others that will induce the right amount of surprise. In short, it's just fascinating, informative and thoughtful.

From start to finish, "Hokkaido" managed to intrigue and illuminate, and there is a freshness to the material, not feeling derivative of anything. The narration is delivered articulately by Michelle Dockery, there's an enthusiasm and precision about the delivery and it never feels preachy.

The wildlife themselves are a wonderful mix of the adorable and the dangerous, and one actually finds they're rooting for them in exactly the same way they would a human character. The habitats are visually striking and well researched. Not just that we also see how humans interact and adapt which was just as great and interesting to watch. There is a good deal of suspense and emotional impact. There are some scenes where one is amazed that they managed to be filmed in the first place.

"Hokkaido" feels much more than a series and it doesn't feel episodic or repetitive. The episodes instead feel like their own story, without being too reliant on that approach, with real, complex emotions and animal characters developed in a way a human character would in a film but does it better than several.

Overall, really enchanting once again yet makes one sad that this wonderful series didn't last longer. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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