In an alternate present-day Japan, an artificially constructed island is on track to become Tokyo’s 24th ward. Three childhood friends (Shuta, Ran, and Koki) were unable to save their friend Asumi from dying in a building fire a year ago, and haven’t seen each other between then and the memorial service held on the anniversary. Shortly afterwards, they receive a call from Asumi, presenting them with a moral “trolley” dilemma, but also somehow enhancing their physical abilities. The three work together and are able to prevent both potential tragedies. Afterwards, however, the three argue fiercely over how to react to the phone call.
Tokyo 24-ku’s first episode (which is double-length) is a real roller coaster. The beginning, as we are introduced to characters, moves slowly but with purpose, setting up who the characters are, their relations with each other, and the setting. The show uses an interesting visual technique to highlight certain moments, having characters break out into almost manga-like relief.
It’s clear from the get-go that this is going to be a story about three very different but strong-willed people having to work together to overcome some very difficult problems. Shuta is physically strong, Ran is a skilled hacker and has the assistance of the members of his counter-cultural collective called “DoRed”, and Koki is smart, charismatic, and the son of the city’s mayor. Each has their own reaction to any situation, and their attitudes and personalities are well-defined.
The setting is also interesting – in a city ward that is trying to show it’s worthy of incorporation into Toyko proper, the mayor has turned to somewhat authoritarian means to keep the peace and suppress unwanted social activity. His brainchild is the Hazard Cast system, which predicts crime and other problems to more effectively direct the resources of SARG, which is basically a large police/civil services organization.
Everyone seems to accept Hazard Cast as part of everyday life, and Koki expects it to be used even more.
There’s a lot going on, but the second half of the episode turns into a heart-pounding action movie, as the three boys race to rescue Mari, and the passengers of a new high-speed train, from becoming either part of the trolley dilemma. The stakes are made unusually clear by the phone call from Asumi, which causes the boys to see the two possible futures.
I was on the edge of my seat all the way until the episode’s conclusion, so I’ve gotta say – I’m in for this show so far, so consider following it along with us!