Animation Chronicle – Tokyo Revengers – Part 2, October 23, 2021

On September 19, the animated series ended Tokyo Revengers, even its first season. Because if the start of a sequel is not explicitly confirmed by the studio Liden Films, the conclusion of this part of the story coupled with the resounding success of the adaptation leaves no doubt as to a sequel in some time.

The first court of the series, made up of 12 episodes, adapted the beginning of the story until the conclusion of the Moebius arc, that is to say the end of volume 4 of the manga. A first part which constituted a good entertainment but could leave a strange gour in the mouth. Because if the scenario of Ken Wakui saw its intensity grow and enrich itself with pleasant elements such as its beautiful gallery of endearing characters, the proposed production was riddled with limits. Staging a boat, animation playing on fixed shots, attempts to save time with a few summaries of previous episodes extended, shots lacking in panache … In short, exciting as well as squeaky, and we could only ” hope that the second half of this “season one” does a little better.


The Valhalla arc, or Bloody Halloween arc

Despite the limits rehashed previously, the end of the previous arc had us well. Takemichi saved Draken’s life, and thus potentially avoided Mickey’s fall and Toman’s fall into total darkness. Yet his return to the present leaves no room for doubt: The situation has almost worsened. Before her eyes, Hinata is killed in a suicide operation led by a desperate Atsushi. No doubt, the Toman has still not developed for the better, and Takemichi must go back in time to take a new “revenge”.

Thus begins the arc opposing the Tokyo Manji to the Valhalla gang, a part of the story also called “Bloody Halloween arc” (a term that even appears in the end credits). And even though the viewer would have found the obvious limits of the first episodes, such a climax at the end of the first arc hardly leaves us unmoved. Those who balked at these shortcomings could be tempted to give the sequel a chance, while the spectators who did not shy away from their pleasure always have something to be conquered.

The Valhalla arc covers the manga of volume 5 until the beginning of volume 9, more precisely until its chapter 73. In this scenario part, the Toman is confronted with the strange clan without leader that is the Valhalla, this which will lead to a bloody and dramatic war from which Takemichi will have to avoid the most nefarious outcome. Simple on paper, of course, but Ken Wakui’s screenplay quickly knows how to enrich itself with subtleties so that the rest of its story is not just another brawl between gangs.

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He understood this by putting this arc at the service of his characters above all, and not necessarily that of the hero. If we are caught up in the series, it is also because there emerges a strong aura of Tokyo Manji, a nobility of strong camaraderie, the chefs not only being thick brutes but above all good friends with tight bonds. A fine team that has had a not always happy past that has led the clan to what it is today, and it is with this beginning that this story arc begins.

Then, the other founding members of the group appear to us in broad daylight while the stakes of this battle tinted with betrayals are fixed. The past of the clan is then shown to us, a real quasi Shakespearean drama which fractured this band of good friends until pushing two of them to the enemy. This is how Kazutora and Baji are presented to us, two founding members who are now enemies of our heroes. To this is added the real entry on the scene of the deceitful Tetta Kisaki, introduced as the flagship antagonist of the story, and whose perfidy is perfectly embodied by Shôtarô Morikubo in the Japanese version. The pawns are in place for a sequel to the promising plot!

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A formula reiterated, and amplified

On these good scriptwriting bases, the Bloody Halloween arc has plenty of time to evolve in the right way, because it combines the stakes. The obvious plot remains that of Takemichi who must bring Baji back to the “good side”, so as to avoid a drama that would allow Kisaki to take power. And clearly behind it, it is the past of Toman, precisely its bases, which are concerned by this second half of the season. Thus, the story acquires an almost melancholy aura, through the incessant reminders of the founding of the clan, a carefree time when no one thought of losing his family in serious circumstances. By these links to the past forged and consolidated permanently, the interest of the spectator is seen tenfold. We certainly want the protagonist to achieve his goal, but also that the Tokyo Manji has a positive outcome, a greeting that Mickey deserves. From these issues, fate is set in motion via events that will sometimes make us doubt some characters, Kazutora and Baji in mind, especially the latter. An individual who could play a double game, where his sidekick seems to have simply sunk into madness. The result is a casting that is a bit more complex than it appears and still developed from the angle of the friendship of the past, a theme that will mark this arc until its conclusion rich in emotion.

We will not reveal the finality of the war against Valhalla as the reversals are strong and deserve to be discovered with a new eye. But we can not evoke the dramatic nature of this end, proof that Ken Wakui does not systematically give in to the facility to develop his plot. A poignant ending but not necessarily negative, which constitutes the strength of this finality and the subtlety of Takemichi’s actions which will influence, or not, the fate of the gang.

This good Takemichi is also entitled to honors, too, since the war against Valhalla will also be his real entry point into Toman and the opportunity to prove himself as an official member. For some, the ascent will be a bit quick, since the conclusion of the arc leads the boy towards rather dazzling horizons. A desire that we understand via the last episode of the season, striking tension, in which the doubt as to the effect of the hero’s actions is permanent, and will be clarified by the last minutes leading to a fairly strong cliffhanger. From there, it’s hard to think that immediately there won’t be.

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A technical record still very poor

Despite these scriptwriting assets, it seems impossible not to mention the technical aspect of this second part of the season which unfortunately does not benefit from the qualitative leap that we were entitled to expect. Let’s not take a detour: The overall realization remains as wise as for the first twelve episodes. No real flashes or means given to the teams to let go during the final battle, which will even make a little laugh given that the very summary animation contrasts with the strong stakes of the war against Valhalla. The whole remains far too shy for a series that sounded like this. Difficult to define the reasons for this failure for the moment (disastrous planning? Teams too small? Lack of confirmed talents to the detriment of novices trained on the job?), But we hope that this success of notoriety will generate a production revised to the rise. Note, however, the decrease in the summaries of previous episodes extended, which is always taken.

Finally, it is in his music that Tokyo Revengers shines, concerning his technique. The compositions of Hiroaki Tsutsumi continue to carry the various atmospheres, whether heroic or tragic, and give the series a force that the realization does not exploit. We will also note a change of the end credits with the song Tokyo Wonder by the group, a catchy song on a clip particularly stylized in its artistic dimension and its plans expressing the charisma of the members of Tokyo Manji. The ending is carried out by Koichi Hatsumi, the director of the anime, and expresses the tone of the series more than does the anime itself.

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What to expect from the future?

For now, no second season to the Tokyo Revengers anime has yet been formalized. But the success of the adaptation does not seem to leave any doubt on this subject, as does the very open ending proposed by the last episode, which will have enough to push non-readers of the manga into hysteria.

So, if there is a follow-up, we can only hope for better overall management, a little more care given to adaptation, and conditions which will allow the teams to achieve a qualitative gain. The reasons for the technical blandness of the anime can be multiple, and one can only cross our fingers for future corrections. The more so as the arcs to come will push beyond the intensity of the narrative, via many developments, revelations and reversals of situation. The sequel to Ken Wakui’s manga is strong, and we would like its adaptation to do it more honor.

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