Meeting Date:  11/14/2020

Disclaimer:  The Herald Anime Club discusses shows in a generally unmoderated format. Naturally, there will be spoilers for a given episode. You have been warned!

Samantha Ferreira:  Hi everyone, and welcome to the Herald Anime Club. I’m Samantha, and I’m here with Anthony this week.

Anthony Simpson: Evening

Samantha Ferreira:  Tonight, we’re heading back to the not-so-mean streets of Tokyo for Ikebukuro West Gate Park Episode 5: “OK, you’re shitting me. This is just a Yakuza plotline.”

Anthony Simpson: So, who knew we were getting two episodes about workers? This time about immigrant workers.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park Episode 5 that depicts a factory assembly line, as numerous women sit at sewing machines.

Samantha Ferreira:  Right? And they did surprisingly well with this one, really diving into weeds on heady topics like inequality.

Anthony Simpson: I was glad that was brought up.

Samantha Ferreira:  Same. I’m really liking how the series has been tackling social issues that aren’t related to drugs. They seem to “get” it a lot more

Anthony Simpson: As long as they stay away from the drugs things have good with the issues they go over.

Samantha Ferreira:  Right? It’s kind of impressive.

Anthony Simpson: I do have one gripe with the episode, but I will get to that later.

Samantha Ferreira:  Nah, feel free to raise it – I probably have the same gripe.

Anthony Simpson: Who would have guessed that a show about a guy helping gangs was really also a social commentary show? My gripe was with the ending. It felt a little too…convenient.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park Episode 5 that depicts a woman comforting a younger woman, as two men look on. All four are seated at a table at dinnertime.

Samantha Ferreira:  Yeah. It would’ve been a bit more impactful if they foreshadowed it a bit more It had a solid main beat, but it needed something a bit more to plant the seed than “This dude mentioned being adopted at the midway point”

Anthony Simpson: Yea I think if these episodes were longer like say, an hour or so, I think they could have done that.

Samantha Ferreira:  Or two-parters

Anthony Simpson: that would have worked as well.

Samantha Ferreira:  It feels like the inverse of Id:Invaded, in that light, which showed how letting a show breathe could make for a stronger experience. I can’t complain too much, as I appreciate the overall substance, but this one and the jazz taxi episode both felt like they wanted to be bigger than they were.

Anthony Simpson: What helped Id:Invaded was that it had one writer doing the scripts and it wasn’t based on any source material. IWGP has three different writers and what looks almost anthology series.

Samantha Ferreira:  Definitely. IWGP feels like it would’ve benefitted from a solitary vision Even as an adaptation,

Anthony Simpson: True. I have nothing against what I am guessing will be an anthology. But, yeah, a solitary vision would have helped things.

Samantha Ferreira:  Yeah

Anthony Simpson: Of course how much of this is based on the novels and how much is anime original.

Samantha Ferreira:  Truth. I’m still liking what I see so far, as clumsy as it is at points, the show’s heart is in the right place.

Anthony Simpson: It’s a tad uneven but it’s trying I will say that much.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park Episode 5 that depicts Makoto's mother talking with a dark-haired man in a suit. Makoto looks on, curious.

Samantha Ferreira:  Likewise. When it’s on, it’s very good. When it’s not, it’s still OK.

When it talks about drugs, we just facepalm and laugh.

Anthony Simpson: Episode 1 notwithstanding, it is serviceable.

Samantha Ferreira:  Yeah. That said, I do hope that the new development means that Guo becomes a more prominent character. Since she’s kind of, well, there now, there’s no reason to see her disappear

Anthony Simpson: Well I mean since Guo is the MC adopted sister now not having her there would be a bad thing.

Samantha Ferreira:  I’d immediately cry “fridge.”

Anthony Simpson: Well since she mentioned her family back in China I want to see if she is able to get them the money so her dad can get his surgery.

Samantha Ferreira:  Likewise. That’s just a new plot development I want to keep following

Anthony Simpson: Please show don’t make it a red herring.

Samantha Ferreira:  I’d be so pissed at that. So, so pissed

Anthony Simpson: I will be as well. Per ANN episode 6’s writer is the same as this episode, so maybe we will see something about it potentially.

Samantha Ferreira:  I sincerely hope so

Anthony Simpson: Given that the episodes time-wise seem to spread out there is hope

Samantha Ferreira:  Definitely. I really am curious to see how this goes, and I’m kind of glad we didn’t vote-abandon after the reefer madness.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park Episode 5 that depicts a brown-haired girl in a red dress with white opera gloves. She smiles sadly as she holds a dried-out pen.

Anthony Simpson: Same.

Samantha Ferreira:  Any final thoughts this week?

Anthony Simpson: Just looking forward to the next episode

Samantha Ferreira:  Likewise! And that’s all the time we have this week. ’til next time, remember: If you’re talking like a Yakuza substory villain, you’re probably the bad guy.

Have a great night!

Anthony Simpson: Good night