Why is it that in these super-sophisticated futuristic computers somehow it always comes down to a girl floating in a tube? Okay, sometimes the glass liquid filled tube isn’t powering a computer but we’ve seen this enough to have known exactly what was coming in the slow reveal of the mystery behind the computer system in Tokyo 24-ku as it embraces the cliché.
I think the most startling thing about that reveal was that Koki took so long to figure it out. That, and wondering why the tube was initially covered by blue scales which kind of magically disappeared to reveal the girl. It all seemed like there were a lot of unnecessary moving parts in this sequence. And no one in the audience was surprised to find that the deceased Asumi is at the centre of given she’s been making phone calls to the boys all season.
Tokyo 24-ku stepped its story up this week.
While the previous episodes of Tokyo 24-ku seemed to be settling into a rhythm of give boys a problem, deal with problem, then spend time dealing with the fallout, all with the ongoing mystery of the various political and corporate shenanigans in the background, episode 6 deals with the fallout of last week’s terrorist attack but shift the attention firmly onto the governor of the ward and his personal mission.
Between the terrorist’s released video and the governor himself, this episode is full of lines examining safety, privacy and freedom as the people in the ward are faced with the decision of whether to install the latest version of hazard cast onto their already quite invasive phones. If it wasn’t quite so ham-fisted, it would be an excellent opportunity to talk about internet privacy and freedom of speech though to be honest Tokyo 24-ku is nowhere near sophisticated enough to really get into the nuance of the issue and is rather just hoping that by at least referencing a topical debate they can gain additional emotional buy-in from the audience.
And they are right in that it works. The story unfolding in Tokyo 24-ku definitely makes you think of all those news headlines and current debates in parliaments over social media and other online issues. Not to mention it goes even further and directly has the governor declare one of the terrorists claims to be ‘fake news’. If you hadn’t already connected with topical issues and concerns there’s no way that phrase didn’t.
But where things get a little more interesting in Tokyo 24-ku is in the way the three boys at the centre have definitely fallen out and gone their own ways. Even Shuta notes that while Koki is working for SARG and Ran is with DoRed (now targeted by SARG because of the terrorist incident), he really doesn’t have any standing in the game anymore as the son of a baker with no job or real connections to anything.
This was something that became fairly clear in episode 5 as the other two acted with purpose and Shuta kind of bounced around the cruise ship and ultimately accomplished nothing.
For the other two, you might hope that friendship would win out but through Ran we see flashbacks to their childhood and Ran also directly states that he knows Koki will not stand with him. It doesn’t appear like Ran is particularly surprised or upset by this, which makes you realise that Ran and Koki were connected to Shuta and the three were only really held together by Asumi and Mari. Such fragile bonds were bound to break.
There’s still a chance the two will find a common ground to come together again but at the end of episode 6 it seems they’ve both made their choices. And as the childhood connection between RGB breaks, so does the school building start getting demolished. Yeah, the symbolism isn’t subtle but again it works.
We’re at the half-way mark of Tokyo 24-ku and quite clearly this episode marked a turning point. That kind of leaves me a little unsure about how the story will proceed from here but I do know I want to know where it is going and whether they can bring all the parts together.
Images from: Tokyo 24-ku. Dir N Tsuda. Cloverworks. 2022
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