Despite a strong start that has drawn many fans, the once brilliant Tokyo Revengers story is starting to lose ground.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Ken Wakui’s Tokyo Revengers manga, now available in English from Kodansha, as well as the anime to stream on Crunchyroll.
Tokyo Avengers took the anime world by storm in 2021. Similar to Steins; Gate and Erased, it tells the story of a young man who struggles to save those dear to him through his manipulation of the timeline of the world. Despite its similarities to other time travel anime, Tokyo Avengers Still manages to part ways with its predecessors and refresh the genre. The intrigue of time travel and the danger of the delinquent world combine to create a high-stakes story about loyalty and brotherhood.
Unfortunately, Tokyo AvengersThe more recent episodes aren’t as impressive as the first half of the series, especially when it comes to the pacing and reasoning skills of the characters. The pace of the Bloody Halloween arc was rather slow, and the three episodes leading up to Baji’s completely preventable death could easily have been shortened to two.
Takemichi’s only goal during Bloody Halloween was to keep Baji alive. Disconcertingly, he physically restrains Baji, making it impossible for the boy to defend himself when the gang fight inevitably escalates. Kazutora could only stab Baji because Takemichi was holding him. Additionally, Baji is dealt a fatal blow in a misguided attempt to absolve Kazutora of all guilt. Honestly, prompt medical attention could have solved the situation with a fraction of the drama. Instead, the characters, especially Takemichi, make decisions that directly lead to the future they want to avoid.
The Tokyo Avengers the protagonist is technically 26 years old, but his thought process is closer to that of a teenager. Although the body it occupies is young, it retains its knowledge of the future it came from, so it is safe to assume that it should be able to reason like an adult. Likewise, his ability to take a hit and keep moving forward was endearing at first, but Takemichi’s weaknesses start to become detrimental.
Not everyone is a skilled martial artist – and real fights don’t play out like the action sequences in Hollywood movies – but it would be nice if Takemichi were a little more helpful when it comes to brawling. Or, if physical prowess is completely out of the question, he might have better reasoning skills that will help him have a brighter future. For someone who wants to evolve in the world of gangs, Takemichi hasn’t really developed a good plan for doing so.
In an honestly disappointing twist that only manga readers would know at this point, the whole current story comes down to how Kisaki couldn’t stand being rejected by Takemichi’s ex-girlfriend. This reveal doesn’t do the story justice, as everything seemed to be built around a much more dramatic base. Kisaki’s motivations do not match the swirling energy that dominates the first part of Tokyo Avengers. In essence, every tragic death and bloody gang war has been caused by an unrequited crush.
The start of Tokyo Avengers held a lot of promises, but its prolonged pace, insane actions, and ridiculous decisions trump the stellar premise. The characters themselves are fun and charming, and their relationships add a dimension that makes it easier to invest in the story. Sadly, that’s not enough to carry an anime to the end. The series still has time to redeem itself, however, hopefully Tokyo Avengers will regain its original strength and give fans the anime it promised to be.
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