An original anime from Clover Works coming out this season with a potential sci-fi tag? Okay, I’m at least giving Tokyo 24-ku a first look because that seems like a good mix of ingredients for something that will at least be intriguing even if it doesn’t end up quite sticking the landing. That said, I went in largely blind and hadn’t watched any promotional videos for this anime so I kind of spent most of this double episode wondering what the overall focus is going to end up being (if it has one).
Though, that said I did pause fairly early on to look up who was voicing some of the characters because there were some oddly familiar tones here and I kind of discovered all three of the main characters here have some impressive talent behind their voices.
Of course none of that tells you what Tokyo 24-ku is actually about and that’s probably because I’m still a little confused. I mean the actual events here all make sense but the eerie opening sequence as well as a range of standard dystopian themes pop up throughout making it difficult to know where the real focus is outside of the three characters who are all trying to deal with their grief from one of the opening incidents in their own way.
Is Tokyo 24-ku worth watching?
Between the idea of constant surveillance (almost Psycho Pass style) and the idea of predicting crime with one character lamenting that criminals can’t be arrested until they’ve committed crimes (reminding me strongly of Minority Report), there’s more than enough substance to sink your teeth into. However we also have a terrorist fire bombing a school (the opening tragedy) and a potential ghost in the machine moment where the voice of a dead friend/sister calls out to the central characters through their mobile phones and sends them to avert a future tragedy (seemingly giving them super-powers in the process).
If you think that’s a lot, I’m right with you and I’m very glad Tokyo 24-ku at least didn’t try and pack all of that into twenty minutes going instead for a longer run time. There’s also the whole part where the officials sped up the development of a train so much they couldn’t even deal with the emergency that occurred because basic safety features like the ability to stop it remotely weren’t working.
It’s a CloverWorks anime which means visually it has the potential to be great and already this first episode has declared the visual style of this anime with the three main characters each having a signature colour and seeing some very fluid movement sequences. However, I can’t say that CloverWorks has a great track record at this point as for every Bunny-Girl Senpai and Season 1 of The Promised Neverland we end up with a season 2 of the Promised Neverland or Dakaichi (which as much as I loved Dakaichi was not visually impressive or even consistent).
That said, this first episode of Tokyo 24-ku was pretty pleasing to the eye and I’m looking forward to exploring the settings and locations more.
Where the first episode of Tokyo 24-ku really shone though was in its three main characters. While the introduction to them, outside the burning building with tempers flaring, is a little on the blunt side, after we jump the year into the future after the tragedy and see each of the boys having gone their own way with their lives coming back together is actually pretty satisfying.
While our overly athletic type, Shuuta, clearly wants to be a hero his confidence is shattered after the fire and he’s finding himself a little adrift. It isn’t such an uncommon way to set up a character but he isn’t just wallowing in self-pity as he still maintains a cheerful air as he helps his community in his own way. I kind of felt his character was really well done particularly when his confidence breaks during the final dramatic rescue in the episode.
However, he’s outshone by the two other characters introduced in the first episode of Tokyo 24-ku (at least in terms of making me intrigued to know more about them). Ran is a graffiti artist who is clearly at odds with the system and willing to step outside the law to achieve his ends. In his own way he is also playing hero but he works through art and hacking.
Likewise, Kouki is the more straight laced on the trio wanting to enter politics and currently interning at the organisation that is seemingly behind all the surveillance. It isn’t hard to see how these three bonded as students because even though their approaches are miles apart they all have strong convictions and aren’t afraid to act on them.
I also really liked that Tokyo 24-ku didn’t just make them all super strong or fast. After the mysterious phone call they receive each finds their natural abilities heightened and in the dramatic rescue that makes up the final act of this episode all three employ their skills to support the others.
Naturally it isn’t all smooth sailing. Tokyo 24-ku clearly has divided this group after the tragedy that occurred a year ago and bringing them together won’t be as easy as a single phone call and rescue operation. Hopefully they can continue to make them interesting as they find a way to repair the relationship between them (or maybe they will all go their own ways in the end).
Tokyo 24-ku may not be the anime of the season and may fizzle quickly after this opening episode but I’m solidly in at this point. While the story itself is reminiscent of many others the characters here work well together and I’m looking forward to seeing more from the cast.
As always though I’d love to know what you think. If you watched Tokyo 24-ku be sure to leave a comment.
Images from: Tokyo 24-ku. Dir N Tsuda. Cloverworks. 2022
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