I stumbled across Tokyo Revengers from an anime group I was following after I learned that it was gaining popularity because of its great looking characters. While this intrigued me, I was quickly hooked by the premise of the first episode.
Synopsis: Hanagaki Takemichi is a 26 year old loser who learns that his ex-girlfriend Hinata Tachibana from middle school and her brother Naoto are killed in an incident involving the notorious Tokyo Manji Gang. Miraculously, a near death experience gives him the chance to travel back in time to change the events that could save the woman he loves from dying.
Technically, I should say that for 12 episodes, Tokyo Revenger was a slow starter. Our hero Takemichi had very slow reflexes, reacted sluggishly and spent a good portion of the series crying, doubting himself, and getting beat up. Of course, it did not help that he found himself in various compromising situations after his time leaps so everything really came as quite a shock.
Suffice to say, he had his heart in the right place from the beginning. He used his knowledge of the future to reshape the past. For the most part, it worked because Takemichi had a very infectious spirit, but there were also times that he was just winging it because the theories that he formed were Hinata’s brother Naoto were just that — theories.
I liked the fact that he overcame his traumas gradually. In real life, 12 years of abuse is definitely hard to undo. I loved that the story was not just about a journey about discovering Takemichi’s inner strength, it was also about the evolution of the others characters like Mikey and Draken — even Takemichi’s original gang.
Of course, at the heart of the story is the Tokyo Manji Gang and the complicated series of events that made it evil despite Mikey’s grandiose ideals. I should say that the first season was only touching the surface of the whole story because it hardly showed the big bad of the series, Tetta Kisaki. The Toman captains were also only briefly introduced.
*Spoilers* As with some time leap series, there were some questions that were raised. What happened to Tokyo Manji after the August 3 encounter? Naoto never discussed it when Takemichi returned. It also made me wonder if Pah-chin took the fate of Akkun who was supposed to stab Kiyomasa and go to jail. Was it related to why Akkun was always used to do the hit on his buddy? Did Hanma and Kisuke know about Takemichi’s abilities and why did it take 12 years for them to attack?
By its end, Takemichi was basically back to where the series started, and yet because of everything he discovered about Toman, it would be interesting how he could influence the future with a lengthened stay in the past. Will he be able to save everyone? Should I already get started on the manga or should I suffer in excitement until the second season is confirmed?
All in all, Tokyo Revenger a highly recommended series. I binged it in a day. It’s that good.
Incidentally, a live action adaptation is also scheduled to release in Japan this July.