First Impression: Ikebukuro West Gate Park

Ikebukuro is a thriving commercial and entertainment district northwest of downtown Tokyo. But beneath the rich veneer lies a seedy underbelly of gangs and drugs. Makoto Majima, despite living a straight life, is involved with one of these gangs, consisting of formerly troubled youth led by Makoto’s friend, Takashi, also known as King. When a 12-year old girl attempts to burn down a tower in Ikebukuro owned by a drug dealer, Takashi asks his old friend to join with his gang, the G-Boys, and put a halt to the dealer’s ways.

Gangs in Ikebukuro…could this be a reincarnation of Durarara? No, no it isn’t, and you don’t have to go any further than the name of the central gang, “G-Boys,” to see just how tame this series appears to be. If the focus on the anime is yakuza and the like, the opening episode needs to have punch, and it does not. The opening sequence involving a car chase, for instance, is boring and animated with poor CGI, featuring cars that apparently can be going 60 mph but magically stop on a dime.

Still, there are redeeming qualities to IWGP, namely that the show appears to have a lot of heart. It infuses the characters and plot, creating a tone best described as “pleasant,” which isn’t entirely a bad thing. It might even be what I’m looking for. But all the other people tuning in for an anime about gang warfare might not be happy with a pleasant show such as this.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park is available to stream on Funimation. Read our thoughts on all the new fall anime series, in additional comments from our other writers, on our fall 2020 anime first impression master post.

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