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Toyko Revengers' Television Adaptation Has Most Fans Looking The Other Way

Created by manga artist Ken Wakui, "Tokyo Revengers" received a TV iteration in 2021 that adapted 73 chapters of the source material into 24 episodes. In June 2022, a "Tokyo Revengers" promotional video was released announcing that Season 2, which brings to life the manga's intense "Christmas Showdown Arc," would premiere just after Christmas, in January 2023.

Unlike other Shonen protagonists, the hero of "Tokyo Revengers" does not possess the most heroic of personalities. In fact, Takemichi "Takemitchy" Hanagaki (Yūki Shin) is a crybaby whose determination tends to waver and weaken when faced with certain adversities. Nevertheless, this protagonist -– a 26-year-old man who jumps back 12 years to the year 2005 -– is the driving force that takes the audience on an eventful journey into the past in order to save the future. Although this time-traveling aspect is not unique in anime -– "Steins Gate," "Erased," and "Re:Zero" are some examples -– "Tokyo Revengers" still feels fresh within the anime genre, with its colorful cast of characters to boot.

In anticipation of the second season, let's unpack how fans felt about the first.

Recurring criticism of Takemichi

One of the main issues fans have with "Tokyo Revengers" is its protagonist, specifically, his lack of likable protagonist-like qualities. Although he is 26 years old (even when in the body of a 14-year-old), Takemichi does not act like a full-fledged adult. On the contrary, he tends to be quite helpless in certain high-stakes situations, which can leave fans yelling at the screen in exasperation. This time-traveling main character contrasts with other characters like Draken (Tatsuhisa Suzuki in the first season) or Mikey (Yū Hayashi), who, despite being mentally younger, act more confident and mature.

In a thread posted in May, Redditors discussed how they felt about the series and Takemichi by extension. In the comments under the post, some fans refer to Takemichi as "insufferable" and "one of the worst MCs in a Shonen." This is because, as mentioned above, the main character is far from headstrong, and the way he fumbles instead of attempting to gain control of the situation tends to rub people the wrong way. In a different thread, a commenter said: "Takemitchy is slowly becoming my least favorite protagonist of any show I've seen." Another, u/Darkskinblackie, summed up his lack of proactive-ness as: "Takimichi is a side character in his own anime"

However, despite the main character's weaknesses, not every fan believes this should dissuade others from watching. As u/shiro_yasha373 commented, "Despite the MC being dumb at times and the occasional but not frequent plot holes, this anime does a good job in making you want to know what happens next. It keeps itself interesting enough to keep watching without feeling like a chore."

Is it ultimately worth watching?

If you are going around online asking whether this series is worth watching, you may have found yourself in the midst of a storm of contradictory opinions, especially because there are so many good shows out there. You actually won't find "Tokyo Rangers" on our list of the best anime shows of all time. In fact, there's one opinion that seems to be more or less common among the fan base: The manga is, overall, better than the anime.

On a not-so-negative side of the opinion spectrum, u/neoarmstrongcjac wrote, "I would honestly recommend the manga more than the anime. The anime isn't very well done in my opinion but I enjoyed watching it regardless because I really loved the manga and wanted to see it adapted. I would say if you like the manga then give the anime a shot."

However, other fans have criticism to throw at both the manga and the TV adaptation: "Tokyo Revengers has a great start, but it very quickly runs out of ideas so it turns into absolute nonsense like two or three arcs in. It's a problem in the manga too."

Ultimately, the right response to whether you should or should not watch the anime depends on which creative aspects you enjoy and which ones you have no tolerance for. If you're looking for a highly complex anime show with substantial writing, "Tokyo Revengers" may not be for you. However, there are plenty of people who've enjoyed the story even with all its flaws.

At the end of the day, as u/TacobellChickenWing wrote, it comes down to this: "If you're interested in it, just watch the first episode and see what you think. There are plenty of 'bad' anime that some people enjoy, and you'll never know until you try."