Country of origin Japan
Running time approx. 46:00
Final episode date 23 June 2000
No. of episodes 11
First episode date 14 April 2000
Number of episodes 11
|Starring Tomoya NagaseKen WatanabeAi KatoYosuke KubozukaTomohisa YamashitaKoyuki|
Original network Tokyo Broadcasting System
Original release April 14 – June 23, 2000
Networks TBS Television, Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings
Genres Drama, Japanese television drama
Cast Yōsuke Kubozuka, Tomoya Nagase, Tomohisa Yamashita, Ai Kato, Satoshi Tsumabuki
Similar Japanese television drama, Kisarazu Cat's Eye, Tiger & Dragon, Nobuta wo Produce, Keizoku
Ikebukuro West Gate Park (池袋ウエストゲートパーク, Ikebukuro Uesuto Gēto Pāku) was a popular Japanese television drama by screenwriter Kankuro Kudo. It was based on a novel by Ira Ishida, that initially aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System during the summer of 2000, and was directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi. The success of the television series would launch a manga adaptation the following year. In a break from traditional Japanese programming, the series used edgy graphics and scene breaks to highlight a story involving themes drawn from the underbelly of modern Japanese society: hip-hop youth gang warfare, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, drug abuse, the Yakuza, rape and murder.
Notable among the cast are Tokio lead singer Tomoya Nagase, film star Ken Watanabe, and future stars Koyuki, Satoshi Tsumabuki, and Tomohisa Yamashita of Johnny's Jimusho idol group NEWS. The series is also credited for bringing up the profile of actor Yosuke Kubozuka.
Twenty-one-year-old Makoto, the former #1 waru of Ikebukuro in his high school years, hangs out at the bowling alley and in the eponymous park (池袋西口公園 (Ikebukuro Nishiguchi-koen))of the series with best friend Masa on a repetitive nightly basis. Their world starts to change as Shun, Rika, and Hikaru enter their lives after chance meetings in the park. Soon after, Rika is found raped and murdered in a love hotel, bringing unwanted police attention and a new detective to Ikebukuro on the trail of a serial rapist. After being suspected, arrested, and detained by the police in classic Japanese style (beatings, coerced confessions), Makoto is released and vows to find justice for Rika. Enlisting the help of Takashi, an old school friend, and his gang, the G-Boys, Makoto starts his search and gains a reputation for getting problems solved in the underworld of Ikebukuro - much to the consternation of Yokoyama and the police. Things then begin to spiral out of control in Ikebukuro, as not everything is what it seems to be...
Main character and primary protagonist of I.W.G.P., Makoto is a 20-year-old former waru without an obvious direction in his life at the start of the series. He commonly complains that things are "mendokusai" (bothersome). He earns spending money through petty theft and by hustling people at the bowling alley where he, Masa, and later the G-Boys hang out; he wins a BMW from Yokoyama in this fashion. During the day, he helps out at his mother's fruit shop; at night, he hangs out on the streets of Ikebukuro. After Rika is found murdered, Makoto's actions earn him a reputation as the "mover and shaker of Ikebukuro" by both the police and the underworld. Running gags involving his character include: his love of yakisoba covered in mayonnaise, bowling, and his uncooperative erection during his interactions with the women of the series.
Makoto's best friend. Masa works at the bowling alley with Kaoru. Unlike Makoto, Masa eventually joins the G-Boys in order to retaliate against the Black Angels for their apparent murder of Shun.
EpisodesSee List of Ikebukuro West Gate Park episodes
Tomohisa Yamashita earned the "Best Supporting Actor" award in 2000 for his performance in IWGP.