Tokyo 24th Ward: Shuta Faces His Dark Past to Save the Present

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tokyo 24th Ward Episode 1, "RGB," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

The Winter 2022 anime season has begun, and that includes the new sci-fi action anime Tokyo 24th Ward, set in a parallel timeline where Tokyo is about to incorporate its 24th ward into the city. That island ward is a troubled one, rife with controversy over state surveillance and SARG agents, and protagonist Aoi Shuta has even more problems beyond that.

As a kind and heroic boy, Shuta is troubled by the current state of affairs, and he'll never hesitate to help save a life. However, a past experience still haunts him to this day, and if he's not careful, his inner demons may tear him down just as his superhero career begins. His past burns way too hot for comfort.

asumi dying

Shuta is no ordinary blue-haired boy. He also aims to become a hero, and in the spring of 2020, he and his friends Akagi Ran and Suido Koki rush to the scene of a burning elementary school, where two teenage girls are trapped inside. Despite the danger, Shuta dons a helmet and rushes inside, where he finds the girls, Suido Asami and Shirakaba Kozue. He rescues Kozue safe and sound, but he cannot save Asami, who seemingly perishes in the blaze. This haunts Shuta, who blames himself for not rescuing his friend Koki's little sister. He abandons his fledgling heroic career and refuses to don his flame-charred helmet again.

One year later, in May 2021, Shuta joins his friends at a church to pay respects to those who died in the elementary school fire, and Kozue attends as well. Suido Koki, a smart and level-headed fellow, appears to be at peace with his sister's demise, but Shuta feels differently, while the hacker Akagi Ran has his mind on anti-authoritarian activism. Then, the three boys receive a phone call from a mysterious sender claiming to be the deceased Suido Asumi. The bizarre call has a physical effect on the boys, granting them the power to see the future with their high-tech eyes, just like Sir Nighteye in My Hero Academia. This should be impossible, yet it happens, and it's personal for Shuta and Koki.

shuta aoi glare

Shuta and his two friends make good use of their new "Quirks," but they also argue over who, or what, gave them these gifts. Koki has already found closure where his late sister is concerned, and unwilling to reopen old wounds, he refuses to entertain the idea that Asumi is still alive or can somehow speak to her brother from beyond the grave. Meanwhile, Shuta insists that Asumi must be alive, since he heard her voice over the phone, and this is definitely the sort of thing Asumi would have wanted. Something supernatural or ultra-high-tech must be going on, Shuta claims, but Koki dismisses the idea, and Ran advises Shuta to drop the topic. But Shuta cannot.

Shuta and his friends use their Quirks to see the near future, Minority Report-style, and save Sakuragi Mari's life when a runaway train nearly runs her over, but the debate over these Quirks' origins remain, and it may cause further tension among the three friends in the future. This is intensely personal for Shuta, since he can't get over how he failed to save Asumi from the inferno. During his heroic mission to rescue Mari, Shuta gets an intense flashback to the Asami death scene. It slows him down for a moment, and he barely recovers in time to rescue Mari.

Clearly, Shuta has even more issues to process than Asumi's own brother, and if these flashbacks continue, they may sabotage Shuta during his next rescue mission, which could cost someone their life. Mari survived this time, but until Shuta can get over the past and purge his inner demons, he will be a flawed and unpredictable hero, Quirk or not. He can't afford to keep fighting this battle in his own mind, especially as tensions reach the exploding point in the 24th ward. He must focus on the here and now, or pay the price.

Ash Ketchum from Pokémon.
About The Author