The Timeless Anime


Samara Lasker, Staff Writer

Anyone who knows me knows that time travel is one of my favorite sci-fi genres, so it’s only logical that when a show’s premise revolves around time travel, I’m interested in seeing what it’s about. When it came to Tokyo Revengers, the time travel concept was combined with a little amount of urban gang violence, but it wasn’t quite as grim and dirty as one might think. When I say that, I’m referring to the visual aesthetic.

The Narrative of Takemichi is a loser… that is all there is to it. On top of that, he gets shouted at by his landlord for having his television turned up too loud, he gets shoved around by children on the street, and he appears to be unqualified for his position. Then there was the news broadcast about his former middle school lover being killed by a gang, which he had to listen to as well. The fact that he has to endure all of this is normal for him, and after having endured it all, he is waiting for the train when someone comes up behind him and shoves him into the tracks. His life is in danger as the train grows closer, and just as he is going to be struck by it, he is sent back 12 years in time, where he finds himself in middle school, with a gang of want to be delinquents. They travel to another school with the intent of beating up some second years; unfortunately, a group of third years shows up instead, and… well… the outcome wasn’t nice. Takemichi discovers that his sweetheart, Hinata, is still alive after being beaten up by the other characters. He pays her a visit and gets a profound realization that he has the ability to alter the course of history. While heading back to his house, he passes by a park where a child is being bullied. With the best of intentions, Takemichi lashes out at them and ends up saving the kid as a result. It turns out that the kid’s name is Naoto, and he is the brother of his lover Hinata. Takemichi is overcome by something, and he informs him that he has been across time. Moreover, he informs him of the exact date on which he and his sister would perish, and that he should take every precaution to keep her safe. All of a sudden, Takemichi is thrust back into the present. When he comes to, he is surprised to discover that he has not been injured by the train. According to reports, he was apprehended in time and saved from certain death. Naoto was the individual in question. Naoto was spared as a result of Takemichi’s warning, and he went on to become a police officer. He learns that Hinata has perished, and he appeals to Takemichi for assistance in saving his sister!

From here, the program goes through a number of story arcs that can best be described as a process of trial and error. That is, when Takemichi believes he has made a positive adjustment, he seeks out Naoto and shakes his hand with him. When Takemichi receives this handshake, his ability to leap backward and ahead in time is activated. The rules of this universe are a little out of the ordinary. Takemichi can travel a distance of ten years in any direction; however, he can only travel back and forth on the same exact date in either direction at one time. He would then travel back in time to August 10, 2000, if he shook Naoto’s hand in the present and the date was August 10, 2010 at the time of the shaking. If he spent a week there and made it to August 17, 2000, then shook young Naoto’s hand, he would be able to go to August 17, 2010. He did this once before in 2000. Takemichi does this in order to check in with Naoto in the current day and see if there have been any new developments in their effort to save Hinata. When this occurs, Takemichi detects more and more changes with each passing period; yet, as these changes become more visible, new issues arise. Specifically, with the Tokyo Manji Gang and their commanders, Mikey and Drakken, and their associates. As a result, the conflict spreads to their rival gang, Valhalla, and to the show’s major antagonist, Kisaki Tetta. The most distressing aspect of the story… It all comes to a cliffhanger!

I think the opening song, “Cry Baby,” is extremely catchy, but I think it’s only good in the TV Size version of the film. After a while, the entire version appears to drag on and on and on until you just become numb to the verses that are far longer than typical.

The plot is really compelling, and the characters, as well as their individual stories, contribute to the creation of an intense atmosphere that makes 20 minutes seem like only a matter of seconds. The fact that I was so engaged in an episode that I had no idea it was coming to an end much too often left me in disbelief when the credits rolled was a source of much frustration. That is the mark of a great show, yet I am unable to award this a perfect five-star rating because it lacks something. Takemichi did, however, receive one moment of redemption. Yes, it includes time travel, which is one of my favorite sci-fi genres. Yes, the time travel is handled in a realistic manner through the use of a unique ruleset and the idea of world borders, but that alone is not enough to earn this a perfect grade. Takemichi is the one thing holding this film back, no matter how excellent the story is or how good the majority of the characters are. I despise spineless characters for no reason at all, yet the fact of the matter is…    Takemichi isn’t wholly devoid of morals. He is unable to fight… he will be destroyed regardless of what he does… However, he does have a lot of heart, and while that helps him get through the story, it’s really difficult to trust in a character and their own ideas when they are unable to act on those beliefs themselves. 

Takemichi would be dead in a gutter by the conclusion of the first episode if it weren’t for the efforts of the rest of the cast to keep him alive and move the tale ahead in the meantime. To be honest, this series had no choice but to assemble an incredible cast of characters and tell them similarly incredible stories in order to conceal and overwhelm the main character’s own flaws. The fact of the matter is that Tokyo Revengers pulled it off, and they did so in such a way that the main character’s flaws were rendered insignificant. That’s a difficult job to do, but this show managed to pull it off, which is why it shines and receives a 4.5 out of 5 stars. If Takemichi had developed into a character that was capable of dealing with situations on his own, this would have received a perfect score from me in a heartbeat