Weekend Anime Recommendation: Tokyo Revengers
A time traveling delinquent tries to change the future
Spoilers for Tokyo Revengers episodes 1 – 3
Hello there, fellow anime enthusiasts, and welcome back to my Weekday/Weekend Anime segments! After checking out a grand total of 22 springtime anime premieres I realized that, wow, there’s a LOT of anime worth watching this season. To save me the daunting task of recapping so many series on a weekly basis, I am, instead, gonna make in-depth recommendations based on the series I’m currently watching.
Weekday Anime Recommendation will be about a series that airs during the week and will be posted at the beginning of the week.
Weekend Anime Recommendation will be about a series that airs during the weekend and will be posted on Fridays to kickstart the weekend.
These recommendations will be based on what’s currently airing, so at the moment, it’ll be one of the MANY series that started this spring. If for some reason I don’t have any from the current season, I’ll recommend a series to check out just cuz it’s great.
All that being said, let’s check out today’s recommendation: Tokyo Revengers, which airs over on Crunchyroll every Saturday.
Takemichi Hanagaki is a freelancer that’s reached the absolute pits of despair in his life. He finds out that the only girlfriend he ever had in his life that he dated in middle school, Hinata Tachibana, had been killed by the ruthless Tokyo Manji Gang.
The day after hearing about her death, he’s standing on the station platform and ends up being pushed over onto the tracks by a herd of people. He closes his eyes thinking he’s about to die, but when he opens his eyes back up, he somehow had gone back in time 12 years.
Now that he’s back living the best days of his life, Takemichi decides to get revenge on his life by saving his girlfriend and changing himself that he’d been running away from.
Why you should watch
I had no idea what to expect with this series beyond the general excitement I saw on Twitter about it getting an anime adaptation. Admittedly, I was interested because I have a soft spot for anime delinquents and this series is FULL of them, but after three episodes I can safely say that this is about to be one of my favorites of 2021.
Takemichi travels back to 2005 after someone pushes him in front of a train. We aren’t sure who pushed him, we just know that he’s now in middle school again. He’s got all of his memories of his adult self, meaning that he has moments where he knows what’s about to happen to him and his friends – like the ass-kicking they receive from the third years at Shibuya Third Middle School. This moment is the catalyst to the events leading to Hinata’s death, so I thought Takemichi would be stuck in the past, working to put the pieces together to prevent her death.
That’s kinda what happens, but with a major twist: Takemichi goes back to the present day.
When he wakes up, having survived being pushed in front of a train, he meets up with Hinata’s little brother, Naoto. It turns out Naoto saved him from being killed, but it also turns out that Naoto knows about Takemichi’s time-traveling. See, back then, Takemichi told Naoto everything and it ended up saving Naoto, however, Hinata still ends up dead. Naoto believes that Takemichi is capable of going back to the past to save Hinata, and Takemichi agrees to take on the task.
What’s interesting is that Takemichi doesn’t get unlimited chances. He can’t PICK what day in the past he goes back to, instead, he always ends up going back 12 years from the day it is in the present. This means he doesn’t have much time to waste in the present because he’s losing days in the past. This is illustrated in the second episode when he goes back in time again, stuck in the middle of a fight club ring courtesy of the third years who beat him and his friends up.
I like that it’s not as simple as learning information in the future and going back to a specific date in the past. If that were the case, Takemichi could, arguably, go back to the exact day when Hinata dies. Having to go back 12 years means he has to hope that whatever he does in the past has a strong enough ripple effect to save Hinata in the present, and, well, 12 years is a LONG time. It’s also an interesting dilemma because Takemichi has limited resources, not just with technology (since it’s over a decade ago) but in how to go back and forth in time. It’s not like he’s stepping into a machine that he has access to whenever he wants, it’s triggered by shaking hands with Naoto – which, I’m not 100% sure that’s what’s doing it? I feel like there’s more to it than that.
The only information Naoto has on what caused Hinata’s murder is a fight with the Tokyo Manji Gang, so he tells Takemichi to prevent its two top members from meeting: Manjiro “Mikey” Sano and Tetta Kisaki. The question becomes, after meeting Mikey in episode three, what the hell happened to cause such bloodshed because Mikey seems like he’s got reasonable ideals for his gang.
Also, is Mikey’s behavior different because Takemichi’s messing with the timeline?
Oh! Also! Since this is time travel, is this really gonna save Hinata?
How long would Takemichi have to stay in the past to make sure Mikey and Tetta don’t ever meet?
If Takemichi prevents them from meeting each other, how is that gonna affect everything else that’s happened in the present day?
WHERE are all of these characters NOW?!
Now take all of those interesting plot points and hand them over to some extremely likable characters.
Takemichi has no business being as likable as he is. As the poster child of “where did my life go wrong” he gets sent back to the time where he feels he peaked. Initially, he’s completely embarrassed by his middle school appearance and what he thought was the best days of his life, but as the episodes progress you get to see that, yeah, he had some touching relationships with his friends and his girlfriend, Hinata. You also get to see him stand up for himself, no longer hanging his head low and needlessly apologizing, and instead, as the synopsis says, taking revenge on his life.
I think the reason I was so charmed by this is that we’re condition to look back at our adolescent years and bemoan the awkwardness, so it’s nice to see a story that shows an adult who gets to see that his school days were actually pretty nice. It’s also nice to see an adult not blame his middle school attitude, and instead, calls his adult self out for floundering about for so long.
I was worried that Hinata would be relegated as a damsel in distress of sorts since Takemichi’s trying to save her, but the series is taking the time to let us get to know her, too. She and Takemichi care about each other, and a lot of times, he’s inspired by her to stand up for himself. While hearing about your one and only girlfriend being killed is traumatizing, I did wonder how she impacted his life so much that he’d go back and forth through time to try and save her, so it’s nice to see their relationship and understand WHY she’s so important to him.
But best of all, it’s not JUST about her. Takemichi’s interacting with his friends and even forming bonds with new people like Mikey. This is obviously brand new since, in the first episode, we learn that Takemichi left as soon as he could when he and his friends were demoralized by those third years. Now Takemichi’s forming a friendship with the leader of the gang those third years are a part of. That’s why I’m worried (not in a bad way) about what’s gonna happen to everyone else. Like. What if Takemichi does stop Mikey and Tetta from meeting, but when he goes to the future someone else is dead? And with time travel in this universe having a set rule where Takemichi can’t pick the day he goes back to, that means he’d have to try and figure out what to change, and how to change it, pretty quickly.
He’d have to lay out what he did in the past, figure out what to adjust, adjust it after it’s already happened, and HOPE that was the trigger.
Time travel is never a generous thing, and I already love these characters, so this series is not gonna be an easy watch for my heart.
Sounds great! Can’t wait for the next episode!
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