The three members of RGB ponder whether Asumi was the real source of the call they received, and what that implies for the powers they received. Meanwhile, as Mari prepares for the ward’s upcoming food festival, she’s distracted by a potential conspiracy and her own complicated feelings about Asumi.
After the action-packed first episode, Tokyo 24-ku takes its time to slow down for an episode and examine how our protagonists are feeling about their newfound superpowers and the revelation that their old friend may be the one sending them the mysterious messages. They each take a different perspective, whether its Shu’s uncertain hope that Asumi is alive, or Koki’s belief that the entire thing is some kind of sick ruse.
We also get to see moments from everyone’s collective childhood, and how Asumi’s outgoing and commanding presence brought out the best in all of them. While her characterization is a little shallow for now, I appreciate the show taking some time to examine why this girl was so important to everyone beyond the tragic circumstances of her apparent death.
Beyond our core protagonists, much of the episode seems dedicated to Mari as she bounces between RGB and her own memories of Asumi. It’s implied that despite their friendship, Mari felt deeply jealous of Asumi’s popularity and sway with the group, while she faded into the background. It’s cool to see that everyone has such different and complex feelings about someone so recently passed, and it sets the stage for some very interesting dynamics should Asumi actually reappear.
While I enjoy the character-focused parts of this episode, I’m less sure how I feel about the framing of the episode. A huge chunk of time is spent setting up an upcoming food vendor festival, and it’s a much larger point of discussion than the sudden appearance of superpowers or the near-disaster with the train. Layered on top of that is a conspiracy by a rival mob-run shopping center’s attempts to muscle in on the ward’s commercial district and cheat at the festival, which just seems like small potatoes under the circumstances.
Despite some uncertainty, I’m still enjoying the show so far. The characters have strong personalities and their own clear motivations, which makes them fun to watch. I also like that the Hazard Cast system is still in its infancy. Right now it’s mainly used for rapid incident response and preventing minor crime; things I can easily see the public supporting. Its more sinister potential hasn’t been recognized yet, so the show has plenty of room to demonstrate both the good and harm such a system could cause.
All-in-all, episode 2 is a slower, more thoughtful exploration than episode 1, and does a good job of further establishing the complex relationships at the heart of the show. However, I’m uncertain if the focus on more slice-of-life elements is going to end up enhancing or harming the show. Still, with an engaging setup and solid potential, I look forward to seeing where we go.