The boys grieve after the loss of Shirakaba and Shu is particular questions why RGB was chosen to take on these trolley problems. Later, he and Mari spot Kozue sneaking off to Shantytown, so he tails her to discover the reason. In parallel, Koki heads into Shantytown to investigate “Drug-D”, which seems to be all the rage with the youth. Tangentially we get more information on Koki and Ran’s feelings about the Hazard Cast system.
First things first, I have not seen Episode 5. I want to keep the Episode 5ness out of my Episode4 pudding. This episode is more of a setup and world building one and honestly, I’m thankful for that. Tokyo24-ku moves at a breakneck pace and I’ve already got gnawing doubts that it is going to make good on all the Minority Report-esque mysteries it is setting up.
To start off, this is concerning:
I would assume he thinks that by eliminating Shantytown altogether, he’ll turn the 24th Ward into a sparkly clean utopia. Come on friend…read a book some time. When has THAT ever worked out for anyone?
I think it was almost clever to have Shu run around Shantytown looking for Kozue act as a backdrop for the audience to get an aerial view of their philosophies and the reasoning behind them. I say “almost clever” because the way in which this piece is cushioned by bizarre contrivances is quite clunky. Like…why was that Drug-D plot even necessary? WTF is up with that scene where members of Ran’s squad beat the shit out of a Drug-D addict? Does Ran’s group normally moonlight (sunlight?! (It’s daytime when they kick this guy’s ass)) as a detective group? What am I even watching right now?!
It felt like all this was a poorly contrived way to get Shu and Koki in the same place so they can mull over the Hazard Cast system. Having part of this discussion come out randomly while searching for Kozue does have the bonus undercurrent of “Look! If we had surveillance here we’d have found her by now!”, but I think they needed to give that piece more time to breathe.
Strangely enough, Ran discussing his ideas about surveillance with Shu is handled much better. It’s done against the backdrop of Ran creating some gorgeous graffiti and reflecting on how great a man Shirakaba was. With this being a quiet, intimate moment of introspection, his statements about what truly drive crime really hit home.
What’s most important here is the takeaway. Koki lost a sister so he sides more with team “Surveillance”. Ran grew up in Shantytown and despite the poverty, he honed his natural inclination for art. The Arts by their very nature are a physical representation of freedom; the freedom to create. This puts himself and Koki on opposite magnetic poles. Shu is an everyman’s man and simply wants to take care of the people he values most. Taking all this in, you realize the boys are embodiments of the two extremes and the middle ground. It’ll be interesting to watch them all have to bend their ideals to deal with upcoming trolley dilemmas.
As a last note, Kozue gets dealt a weak hand here. Her shift from “I should have died in his place” to “Imma eat baked goods and be chill now” feels a bit unnatural. This poor girl already has PTSD/Survivor’s Guilt from being trapped in a burning building + Asumi dying. Add her father’s death in there and we’ve put double on black for that Survivor’s Guilt and our Wordle of the day is definitely CPTSD. It’s clear she’s not a main character, but it still would have been nice for her recovery to be stretched out a few more episodes.
Artistically, I liked the feel of Shantytown. In opposition to the 24th Ward’s clean streets and gleaming river, Shantytown feels like Cabrini-Green meets the slums of New York. The graffiti work for the “Super Kaba” art series that Ran does is also gorgeous. More of that, and less of Drug-D nonsense please!
The plot is still super clunky, but I’m glad to have a break from trolley dilemmas. We get a feel for the philosophies behind RGB and I’m curious to see how the show forces these gentleman to bend and break their personal rule sets. I’m also curious where the hell Ran swung into that building from when he smashed through the window and slammed into that drug addict’s face with a skateboard. That’s seriously a sentence I just typed.