WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tokyo 24th Ward Episode 1, "RGB," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
The 2022 anime season is well underway, and that includes a brand-new sci-fi action title, Tokyo 24th Ward. The series takes place in an alternate timeline Tokyo, where technology is more advanced than ever, but not always for the better. Hazard Cast is an ultra-tight security system all over the 24th ward, and that's a cause for serious tension.
This security system is controlled by SARG, or the Special Administrative Region Guard, and the people of the 24th ward feel oppressed in an Orwellian police state and are widely protesting. This includes the hacker graffiti artist Akagi Ran, a friend of the protagonist, Aoi Shuta. Oddly enough, Shuta's other friend is affiliated with SARG. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
The pilot episode of Tokyo 24th Ward introduces its three main characters, who go by the nickname RGB owing to their hair colors of red, blue and green. These three boys are introduced as childhood friends who get along well, but tension may lurk beneath the surface, and that tension could explode as Tokyo 24th Ward's plot takes off in future episodes. In this story, Tokyo is largely split between two sides, with SARG agents on one and protesters on the other, and they cannot agree on how much security surveillance is enough for the sake of the greater good. So far, the protests are largely peaceful, but that may change at any moment, and Shuta's RGB gang is a microcosm of that tense situation.
Shuta's punk hacker friend Akagi Ran combines hacking and graffiti to spread his anti-authoritarian message far and wide across Tokyo's 24th ward, and his actions may make him a SARG target. In the debut episode, Ran gets away with his less-than-legal use of graffiti and drones to help save a girl's life, but in the future, SARG may not be so lenient, and Ran seems unlikely to just give up his vigilante lifestyle, even when threatened with arrest. Shuta feels sympathetic to his friend, but he is also connected to SARG.
Meanwhile, Shuta's other friend, Suido Koki, is the son of Suido Gori, the mayor of Tokyo's 24th ward. Koki gets along well with his two friends, but he also has a by-the-book style and no sense of humor, and he may clash with Ran on more than one level if this keeps up. Koki favors law and order, and he wants to use his SARG affiliation as a stepping stone to becoming a politician someday. Similarly, Shuta has ties to SARG, mainly through an agent named Chikushi Wataru. This means Shuta may be torn if his friends ever become enemies with one another.
For now, the three friends get along, and they have only surface-level disagreements about the use of Hazard Cast, ever-present security cameras and SARG agents across Tokyo's 24th ward. The three boys have differing opinions on how much state security is enough, although they can set aside their differences to team up and save Sakuragi Mari's life when she gets stuck on some train tracks and the train cannot stop in time. For now, Shuta and his friends have a strong bond and a common cause, not to mention a common ability stemming from the deceased Suido Asumi, and this means that that the trio won't be broken up too easily. Still, no friendships are indestructible.
It's clear that the tense situation involving SARG, Hazard Cast and general Tokyo politics will only escalate from here, especially since SARG can predict crimes and quickly intervene as they happen, Minority Report-style. It may take just one terrorist attack, one oppressive government mandate or assassination to throw a lit match into this powder keg, and Koki and Ran will likely take opposing sides if the conflict escalates. If this happens, Shuta will find himself in the middle, and he may have to take a side and live with the consequences. Tokyo's newest ward is headed for civil war, and everyone will have to take a side sooner or later, even at the cost of childhood friendships.
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