JDorama review: Ikebukuro West Gate Park

Title: Ikebukuro West Gate Park
Also known as: IWGP
Broadcast date: 4/14/00 - 6/23/00
Number of episodes: 11
Genre: drama
Cast: Nagase Tomoya, Kato Ai, Kubozuka Yosuke, Sato Ryuta, Yamashita Tomohisa, Watanabe Ken
Plot: Majima Makoto (Nagase Tomoya) tries to live a quiet live in Ikebukuro West Gate Park, a place infamous for gangs. One of his best friends from high school, Takashi (Kubozuka Yosuke), is the leader of one gang - the G-Boys. When he tries to solve the murder of a friend, Makoto finds himself solving everyone else's problems. Gang tensions begin running high in IWGP putting Makoto, who refuses to join any gang, directly in the middle of it all.
What is good: Kubozuka Yosuke is very entertaining as the king of the G-Boys.
What is bad: The show loses direction almost immediately.
Letter rating: D+

Overall: I spent the entire first episode trying to figure out what was going on. There were these murders but no one seemed to really care about them. Sure, the cops said they were looking for the killer. It just didn't seem to go anywhere beyond talking about it. From the second episode on, the series goes in an entirely different direction. Makoto, who is supposed to be trying to find who murdered his friend, spends all his time helping just about everyone in Ikebukuro. The yakuza, the prostitute from the sex shop across the street, his own mother....the list goes on. About two-thirds of the way through the series, another gang is introduced - the Black Angels. The end of the series brings us back to solving the original murder and adds in the tension between the G-Boys and the Black Angels. I think that the final episode was the only thing, besides Kubozuka's antics, that saved the show from a lower rating. As a whole, the series is very violent. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who couldn't handle gang violence and the blood that goes along with it.