Tokyo 24-ku Episode 2: Out With The Old / Never Let Go

Tokyo 24-ku Episode 2 Review

Rather than ploughing forward with a new mission or rescue, Tokyo 24-ku instead takes episode two to really deal with the fall out from the train track rescue as well as to give some more clarity around the events leading up to the tragic fire that took Asumi’s life. It is an interesting choice and it is one that shifts the focus from the action to the characters but even more toward the world building behind them.

Tokyo 24-ku Episode 1

I do find it interesting how many anime deal with the idea of a street mall or some other traditional venue being put at risk by new developments. It is one that comes up again and again and I guess in a country that is as populated as Japan and with limited land for development it is a conflict that would continue to come up. Do you leave the old street mall in place or is the shiny shopping complex now enough? Is the first primary school built on the island worth saving or should it be removed to make way for something new?

While the present day characters in Tokyo 24-ku are facing a real threat to their mall both in lack of customers as well as pressure to win an upcoming competition we learn that the kids were facing a conflict of their own prior to the fire that changed their lives. When they learned their primary school building was to be torn down they turned it into a community art project in a bid to save it and seemingly were getting quite a lot of public attention. And then someone burned it down causing the tragedy that split the central trio apart and still looms over all the characters in the present.

Tokyo 24-ku Episode 1

Tokyo 24-ku is slowing building up a picture of the world these characters are in and it is really helping to ground them.

All of these very real world conflicts might seem at odds with a story that opened in episode one with characters that gained seeming super-powers after receiving a mysterious phone call, but that first episode did establish enough of the world that this conflict feels like a natural progression. More than that, it makes it clear that the solution to the problems facing these characters isn’t going to be a simple one.

So when all is said and done, this was a strong follow up episode for Tokyo 24-ku and I think for me it did what I needed it to do and that was to make me believe in the world these characters lived in. With that relatively established now I’ll probably happily suspend disbelief unless the story goes right off the rails in the future.

However, this episode also showed one of the problems Tokyo 24-ku is probably going to carry with it all the way through. With three members of RBG to catch up with and learn about their past experiences and their current circumstances as well as Mari who acts as the go-between and holds most of this episode together and the story ends up being told in pieces as we cut from one to the other. Not helped by the inclusion of a scene that is clearly establishing a potential future antagonist as well as building up the conspiracy by having the teacher meet with a member of SARG.

Tokyo 24-ku Episode 1

It means no one character gets really enough time on screen in a twenty-four minute episode. Mari is about the only one who really gets sufficient screen time but for the majority of the episode she acts more as a catalyst rather than a character. Which made the scene where she did break down and cry after remembering the tragedy that took Asumi’s life fairly memorable because for so much of the episode Mari is just the happy girl who tries to pick everyone else’s spirits up.

Tokyo 24-ku Episode 1

All and all, there’s a lot to like here though that isn’t to say that Tokyo 24-ku isn’t biting off more than it can chew. This week didn’t touch at all on the idea of the surveillance people are under and it may find soon it has too many ideas running around. Then again, maybe it knows exactly what it is doing and will bring them all together. I’m keen to find ot.

Images from: Tokyo 24-ku. Dir N Tsuda. Cloverworks. 2022

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Karandi James

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