Another victory for the manga: ‘Tokyo revengers’ sweeps sales in Spain

Two weeks ago, the manga ‘Tokyo revengers’ (Norma Editorial) reached number one on the list of best-selling books in Spain, according to the Spanish Confederation of Booksellers Guilds and Associations. Although it did not last long, it came to be above the new novels of Carmen Mola, Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Ken Follet, there is nothing. The first and second volumes of ‘Tokyo revengers’ were published on November 12 and they stayed in second position during the past week. Now they are down to fifth place.

To put it in context, Takemichi Hanagaki, the protagonist, is a young man very dissatisfied with his life. He works in a video store and nothing interesting ever happens to him. until realizes that he can travel in time (only 12 years ago and back to the present). So he decides to go back in time to save his ex-girlfriend, Hinata (Hina) Tachibana, who has recently been killed by a criminal gang.

It is the Tokyo Manji (Toman), which was born at the hands of innocuous teenagers and to which Takemichi belonged, but which over the years went astray. So with each time trip, Takemichi directly influences the events and the people around him to prevent Toman from being corrupted and Hina from dying.

What is the success of?

This comic by Ken Wakui was adapted to anime last April and was the most watched and talked about Japanese animated series of the season., maybe even above ‘Boku no Hero Academia’, one of the ‘shonen’ of reference. And as the director of Norma Editorial, Óscar Valiente, explains, anime, and to a lesser extent video games, are a great gateway to generate new readers. “’Tokyo revengers’ is an extraordinary story. But without a doubt, without the popularity of anime, it would not have achieved such a massive success as & rdquor;declares Valiente.

The editor points out two other factors that have been key to the success of the series. The magnetism of the characters and the intrigue so well planned. Takemichi is surrounded by a great cast of other characters with a lot of charisma and with very different personalities and styles& rdquor ;, reasons the publisher’s director.

That is why readers are drawn to them. Also because the main characters have “a mission, convictions and very clear values ​​that push them to the limit & rdquor ;, which adds to the scenes very emotionally charged, according to Valiente.

As for the meticulousness of Wakui’s script, Valiente comments that readers “get caught wanting to read each new chapter & rdquor ;. Besides that is “a twist on time travel stories & rdquor ;, where normally the protagonists” can freely travel to the time they want & rdquor;.

Likewise, Takemichi does not always achieve the desired effect when he returns to the present. “The reader is in constant tension, wanting to know how Takemichi will manage to achieve success and solve the accumulation of problems that will be added to his main mission & rdquor;, says the director of Norma Editorial.

Brave also adds the good balance of the series between action, drama and humor So what both female and male audiences have turned to the work in equal measure.

The ‘Tokyo revengers’ anime aired after the last great ‘boom’ in Japanese animation and comics. During the pandemic, anime became more popular among the younger population, who are increasingly introduced to the ‘otaku’ world from a young age. Social networks and streaming platforms, such as Netflix, which is betting on the genre, are the great allies of the industry.

In social networks ‘Tokyo revengers’ spread like wildfire and became a phenomenon. On TikTok, the ‘hashtag’ ‘Tokyo Revengers’ already has 26 billion views and the official Twitter account has 832 thousand followers. With this great popularity, it was only a matter of time before it was published in Spain and that it succeeded as its television adaptation.

Censorship and controversy

The emblem of the Toman is a ‘manji’, a Buddhist symbol that Hitler appropriated to create the swastika. In the East, the use of this symbol is very normalized – in the manga ‘Tokyo revengers’ it is everywhere – and it is not given the meaning it has in the West. Therefore, when the anime was released, the production company Liden Films censored the episodes that were to be broadcast by Crunchyroll, the platform with the broadcast license, in order not to show the ‘manji’ and prevent the country and the anime from being identified with Nazism.

The problem is that the symbol was covered with badly cut planes, badly made ‘zooms’, strange light beams and freezing of landscapes when they do not paint anything. I mean, what the censorship has been carried out in a very shabby way. Which, obviously, has been counterproductive. The production company has managed to generate the opposite of its intentions. Censorship has drawn a lot of attention and the subject has been given a lot of hype. It would not have happened if it had been censored more discreetly or if the work had been left as is.

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It is precisely what has been done with the manga. In the West, only the French edition has the ‘manji’ covered. In Norma Editorial they did not receive any directive from the Japanese publisher, so it was never an option they contemplated.

Although it is a sensitive subject, the censorship fiasco in the animated series has served to generate debate and discussion and for people to learn and educate themselves about cultures other than their own. Valiente agrees: “It is a good opportunity to do a bit of didactics on this ancient symbol & rdquor;.