Here’s the video:
The video features two reporters who happen upon a pair of dogs in the wreckage of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. I found the video through this article, which claims that the video might make you cry. Naturally, I was pretty curious, but the video itself turned out to be pretty flat. Why is that? The subject matter is certainly there: a bedraggled dog, sticking through the tough to stay by its injured friend. It’s the sort of sad scene you’d read about in a young adult book, or cry over in a movie. What went wrong?
Well, the short of it is that this video lacks any context outside of the prompt given to you by the article or the title. There’s no music, no backstory, no cues whatsoever to tell you why this film is sad, rather than just unfortunate.
Would it be possible to craft something that would provoke an emotional reaction just from this footage? I’m also doubtful of this, unless there was footage or an image of some resolution. Here we just have two dogs, both of them alive in the end despite their sorry state. A resolution might be pictures of them being rescued, pictures of them happy and healthy afterwards, or video of the same subject. On the reverse side, and it would probably be easier to generate tears this way, seeing images of one dog dead, or being buried, or simply a tombstone, and the other dog mourning.
In terms of backstory, you would probably want to keep the tsunami setting, but maybe add greater elements of tragedy; for instance, how far the dogs had to go to get there. Or, were there any humans involved? And if so, what happened to them? As for music, it would definitely help, as the content of the video is entirely silent and music would only enhance the video, rather than conflict with it. I can’t make too many recommendations of particular songs or genres right now, because I need greater experience in that area.
As for whether or not the lack of a translation of the Japanese video matters, I don’t think it does. A foreign language can blend into the background and just become background noise. Though it certainly does not help convey any emotion. If you’re curious as to what they were saying, this article from globalanimal.org included the following in its article on the dogs:
(TRANSLATION OF JAPANESE FILM CREW THAT FOUND THE DOGS) Many people questioned what the two men who found the dogs were discussing. The summary of the mens’ conversation in Japanese is: at first the two thought the injured dog was dead. They immediately called a vet for assistance for both dogs. The men say they wish they had brought food to give the dogs. You can hear their empathetic tone as they discuss the dogs and it seems their actions and follow-up got the dogs rescued.
The article also says that there is no follow-up confirmation on the dogs’ conditions.