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Why is Tokyo Revengers the Rising Anime of 2021?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If you had the chance to go back in time to change anything, would you? Think about this: would you be able to face your present-day consequences if you change your past? How far are you willing to go for the people you love? These are the questions that will pop into your mind while watching Tokyo Revengers before you get completely hooked. Time traveling, mafia, romance, comedy…you name it, this anime has it all!

The anime adaptation of Tokyo Revengers was released in April 2021, but the manga series has been on-going since March 2017. To give you a quick summary, Takemichi—a 26-year-old guy—finds out that his first and only girlfriend, Hina, is dead. He starts to research and learns that she was killed by a gang called Tokyo Manji. In his state of shock, he was at a subway waiting for the train and; just as it was approaching, someone pushed him to the railway. Although he should’ve died after the incident, he woke up 12 years into the past, when he was in middle school. Forced to relive his life as a middle schooler, he meets Hina’s brother, Naoto, who tells him what is going to happen 12 years into the future and advises him to become a police officer. When they shake hands, Takemichi returns to the present and from there, the anime starts to develop into a rollercoaster of emotions. The protagonist will keep time traveling in an attempt to save his loved ones. The question is: will he achieve it?

One would imagine that the anime is becoming so popular because it’s new, but this doesn’t happen often. So what does this anime and manga have that’s got many so hooked? The first thing to consider is the topics. Time traveling is something uncommon in the anime world as well as the mafia, and Tokyo Revengers has them both. You’ll get a peek on how life as a member of a gang is, especially when Ken Wakui—it’s writer—was once a member of a Japanese gang himself. This fact alone piqued the interest of so many, bringing new readers and watchers, as they speculate that Tokyo Revengers might contain some truth about the mafia life within the anime’s fantastical atmosphere.

Anyone that says that they didn’t start the anime because of the characters’ design is lying! Even I started watching it because one of the characters is gorgeous! The majority of the characters are well designed and very attractive; the most popular being Draken, Baji, Hanma, Kazutora, Mikey, and Mitsuya. Talking about gangs, of course they  have the “bad boy” looks with long hair, half-shaved heads, serious expressions, piercings, and tattoos. Also, let’s not forget they drive motorcycles! For some reason, this is appealing for many! The girls are cuties too; Hina and Emma are the female characters we get to see the most—at least in the anime—and, apart from being adorable, they’re both strong women who stand up for themselves.

The character development in this anime is amazing; mostly, because you get to experience the story of each one of them firsthand. Both the anime and the manga make you understand why they are present and what exactly makes them unique. The struggles the characters live in are relatable to real life, which is why many appreciate it  so much. Each character represents something, and I think that’s amazing. 

Present Takemichi constantly asks himself what he’s doing with his life at 26 years old, working at a supermarket with a salary that is barely enough to pay for a small apartment; not to mention, living surrounded by garbage and having no energy to clean. He is the representation of youth in their 20s, trying to survive and repeatedly asking themselves if they are good enough. He also depicts the virtue of determination, as his actions are an encouragement to never give up, even if he fails a hundred times. Draken and Mikey are the representation of friendship. Together, they are powerful and invincible, but if one is without the other, all hell breaks loose. You get to see how Mikey cares so much for Draken, and the same goes the other way around. Generally speaking, without spoiling the anime, their friendship is beautiful.

 The storyline has everyone holding on to their seats, as it contains a lot of plot twists. The anime is also very complex—since we keep going back and forth—without any clue as to what will happen next. You’ll keep watching and reading the manga because the cliffhangers will make you want to know more. If the purpose of the writer was to maintain us in tension, then he’s delivering! Everyone keeps trying to connect the dots, to find out what happened, and try to decipher what will come next. You will not be bored at all while watching or reading it, believe me! I even have friends who finished watching the anime and started reading the manga because the feeling of wanting more lingered for them. Sunrise will catch you off-guard while reading because it is that good.

One of the things that makes this anime so addictive in the first place is its ability to make  us reflect about so many different aspects of our life. Imagine you get the chance to go to your past and fix anything. I’m sure there will be at least one thing you would like to change. You travel back in time, change it, and return to the present only to notice that you now have an entirely different problem to solve. Tokyo Revengers teaches us that life is not perfect, no matter how many times we try to change it. Many think that changing the past would fix the present, but the truth is there’s always going to be something to solve; or else, life would be boring. This anime also shows that every act has a consequence, be it in the short term or in the long run. The characters join the gang at a young age, they fight, they kill people. In the present-time, most of them are either dead, in jail, or running away trying to survive because the past came back to haunt them. It also demonstrates that if something is bound to occur, it will, even if you try to avoid it. Takemichi keeps trying to save his loved ones, but he keeps failing and destiny keeps repeating itself. The protagonist shows us that being vulnerable is okay, and that showing our weakness once in a while is just another part of being human. Thinking about this makes you realize that maybe you are weak in one aspect, but you have strengths in others. However, you can always count on your real friends to supplement what you lack. Takemichi is the living epitome of kindness, since he always puts others’ happiness before his. This makes him wholesome, but it also shows how dangerous it can be to give oneself entirely in order to make someone else happy. Helping others is good until it becomes a responsibility, and it starts to affect you. Taking care of yourself is also a good deed.

I could continue writing about why Tokyo Revengers is a good anime, but the article would become endless, so I will just recommend you watch it or read the manga. But beware, you might end up binge-watching it and falling in love with many characters. Quick piece of advice: tissues will be your best company; you’re going to need several. Enjoy! 

Astrid Carolina is a grad school student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. She has a Bachelors Degree in Modern Languages and is currently doing her Masters in Translation. When she's not stressing out over doing her thesis, you can probably find her playing videogames or being crafty. Astrid is out there encouraging people to be themselves without fear!
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