Episode 11 – Tokyo 24th Ward

One thing I haven’t yet made room to mention much regarding Tokyo 24th Ward That’s how the whole story feels very much like a video game. Specifically, it has many of the characteristics of visual novels. Saw Shimokura have experience writing for Nitroplus. You could see expository conversations throughout the story’s long time frame punctuated with more immediate choice-based ‘gameplay’ in the Asumi-call/Trolley-problem segments, likely facilitated with some assignment-based gameplay mechanics of the stats of the specifically enhanced Skills of the RGB guys. And all this stupidity could have worked better in that format. Games, after all, have more action parameters to judge than simply digesting the narrative of a story that we receive from the teller. person 5 it ended up having some pretty misguided thoughts about the nature of social rebellion and the justice system, but it still worked like a video game because it was so much fun to play. But oh, Tokyo 24th Ward it’s not a game like person 5it’s an anime like PERSONA 5 the AnimationWhich means we’re stuck just having to watch it and judge its story without any interactive flourishes to distract us.

Still, I do have to mention a potentially mechanical consideration, as this penultimate episode (hopefully) sets up for the end of the story by handing Shu one last plot device and explicitly describing the parameters for whatever ending he’s trying to achieve. achieve in this race. . Speaking of Shin Megami Tensei spin-offs, I started reviewing this series by ironically referring to the ends of the political spectrum of Koki and Ran’s history as the ‘Law’ and ‘Chaos’ factions, but seeing this fork described specifically to Shu as if hovering over the final select button in a game’s narrative really drives it home. Except it feels like one of those ill-considered final decisions foisted on a player for the sake of feeling as a shocking culmination of everything that brought them here.

The personal component of Shu’s consideration feels like a six-of-one/half-dozen-of-another situation, with confirmation that Asumi is irrevocably brain-dead and he just has to make the call to put his consciousness into an eternal coma, or destroy their existence completely. But even that is seismic in the face of the social side effects Shu is supposedly counting on in what each election will mean for the KANAE system. I think this is mostly a matter of how ridiculously unbalanced Tokyo 24th WardAttempts at ‘both sides’-ing this narrative continue. Hazard Cast and the KANAE system have been repeatedly confirmed to be pretty useless at the job they’re supposed to do. But then the unsupervised citizen ‘anarchy’ that DoRed has caused comes across as an undesirable extreme opposite (which the show, in this episode alone, hilariously has a faction of ‘pro-security’ citizens rising up in counterprotest). Yet once again, the series asks us to ignore that the issues driving these poor conceited bastards’ issues were specifically started by a manipulative, agenda-driven government and the corporate elites who financed them, with them being the ones with the higher vested interest. in keeping the KANAE system running. The best the show can do is continue to make the case that Mayor Gori “believes” he’s doing the right thing, but that point in the narrative has been flawed pretty much from the start.

So it might actually be for the best that the ideological components of the plot seem to have mostly faded by the show reaching this point. That’s why the setup with Asumi’s consciousness is even present, actually, for Shu to have some sort of consideration other than having to decide how much police state surveillance is too much. This changes the plot in other unintentionally hilarious ways: Chikuwa dramatically reveals to Shu that the training school fire was not arson at all, but rather the result of an electrical short circuit. This triggers a several minute flashback of Shu where he remembers that he actually saw the wire-chewing rats that probably caused that, resulting in the traumatic realization that if he had… somehow stopped the rats,! none of this could have happened! And yes, it’s extremely amusing to imagine that Shu was one Tom & Jerry sketch away from putting this whole exercise on a completely different course, but his musing on the subject ends up missing the point that Mayor Gori, you know, fabricated a crime. to institute the oppressive system of public surveillance of him.

But as has been the case Tokyo 24th WardIn storytelling, this emphasis on singular, self-centered choices persists over any reflection on the social factors that drive them. Shu, Koki, and Ran meet up again at the end of it to finally work out their differences for one last RGB team, and it ends up being less of a debate about their particular political ideologies, and more violent. , circular argument where everyone professes to each other how sad and stressed they are with each other. The only part I can appreciate here is that both Ran and Koki directly call out Shu for his vapid and uninformed centrism, but even that gives way to the assumption that since they are all hesitating in the face of such an important decision, it must mean that they are actually ‘the same’.

Their resulting decision to work together feels shallow even by this show’s standards, specifically with some of the mechanics available. Koki’s access to the KANAE system and Ran’s possession of the Di-VA program that can allow them to have a conversation with Asumi in the Digiverse are not derived from the inherent abilities they had previously cultivated in their teamwork, they are just trace the devices that were given to them before history pushed them here (in Ran’s case, they only give her the Di-VA unit minutes before heading to the meeting, as if the plot itself suddenly realized that it had forgotten to set up such an important component). For an even funnier observation, there’s the point that those plot devices, plus the CMD given to Shu so he can activate the Endingtron 3000, were in the hands of the trio of adult characters who were central to this systemic setup. current. It means that the adults in this story, in fact, had the necessary components to solve this problem for themselves, and they didn’t, but simply passed things on to the younger generation to take care of. You can almost see the story’s thematic implication there, except in this case it doesn’t make sense for the actual plot at hand. It leaves the exercise with that totally mechanical feeling of picking up items and remembering player characters for the final stretch of a video game, except if I was actually playing the game, then I could at least choose some more fun dialogue options. to keep me entertained.


Tokyo 24th Ward It is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates anime, action figures, and additional ancillary art. He can be found up too late posting screenshots on his Twitter.