by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Tokyo Revengers ?
Last week, Takemichi finally did it. He saved Draken, kept Toman united and together, and at last changed the past to save Hina's life from the collateral terror of gang violence. His reward? An intensely, horrifically awkward reunion with the girl who dumped him in middle school!
Thinking on it, there's probably no other way this could have gone. Even without time travel gumming up the works, suddenly meeting up with somebody you dated in eighth grade is awkward enough to make my spine cringe right out of my body and blast off into space. Add on the fact that Takemichi and Hina have potentially lived drastically different histories thanks to these Back to the Future rules, and the fact they can even make (terrible) small talk is a minor miracle. It's also pretty much exactly what I wanted. Free from the uncomfortable mental age-gap that sullied their previous encounters, these two are finally free to blush and avoid eye contact until the cows come home without any caveats. I spent the entire middle of this episode with a shit-eating grin plastered on my face, just soaking it in.
And then Akkun drove an SUV straight through all that.
Yep, in case the fact that there's another arc after this didn't tip you off, Revengers is far from over, and this little pit stop in RomCom town exists largely to tear heartstrings and deepen the mystery behind what the hell is happening in the gang world. In an astonishingly brutal moment, every bit of contentment we might have had from last episode crumples like a broken accordion and then explodes. We knew previously that Takemichi's near-death was purposeful, but it's made clear through both Akkun and (now adult) Hanma that Hina's death was no accident. Whoever Kisaki is, and whatever he wants, he's paying special attention to our hero and his old flame, for whatever reason. Thing have changed in some small and large ways across the timeline, but the darkness that triggered this whole adventure has merely shifted, not disappeared.
The real kicker though is the final minutes, as Takemichi desperately tries to pry Hina from the wreckage, only to see her and everything he bled for go up in flames. A part of me is honestly miffed that we're re-killing the only prominent female character – I get we need a driving tragedy to push the story forward, but pulling the same trick twice is worthy of at least some mild eye-rolling. That being said, I can't deny things hit a lot harder now that we actually see the tragedy take place, and have context for who Hina is as a person. Previously her death was largely a plot point and an aspect of nostalgia for Takemichi, but now she's here, flesh and blood, and somebody hurt her for no discernible reason. It's still an irritating crutch for the narrative and emotional stakes, but Revengers handles it better than it could have at the very least.
So with that we have the new stakes and goals for the oncoming second cour. Takemichi is battered, bruised, and more confused than ever, but he's also done with taking a light touch to all this time travel nonsense. He's not just going back in time to nudge things into place or try to get others to handle his problems – he is going to take the reigns of Toman in his own hands and force both his nebulous enemy and the passage of time itself to stop destroying the people he loves. That path is sure to be bloody and terrifying, but we'll just have to see if he can manage.
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