It's fair to say that this second cour of Tokyo Revengers has been remarkably inconsistent. It's had some strong highs, but more than its fair share of meandering lows, coming together as a story arc that works well enough on paper but has a lot of issues in execution. So going into this season finale I was mostly resigned to ride this story out and hope for better things in the eventual season 2. (And I will eat my hat if there's not another season announced sometime soon. You don't septuple the manga's circulation numbers in half a year and NOT get a sequel these days.) But what I got instead was about as strong and intriguing a season finale as you could want from television.
Things start off predictable, with Kisaki enacting his backup plan and having Toman subsume Valhalla into their ranks, a contingency Takemichi seemingly forgot somewhere in the chaos. But of course, our boy's technically a war hero and is brought up by Chifuyu himself to become the new leader of Toman's 1st Division. Steeling his resolve, Takemichi vows to use this new opportunity to charge of the gang's destiny himself, just in time to travel back to the future and have the rug pulled out from under him.
See, the last time Takemichi drastically altered the future, it was just wading into the kiddie pool. Sure, things were different and there was a whole history with Hina he didn't remember, but the rest of his life was still recognizable to where he left it. Now though? He's got a totally different look, all of his friends look to have aged 30 years in the past 12, and he's somehow maintained his position in the gang as it transitioned from street punks to organized crime syndicate. Takemichi, as he is wont to do, just slack-jaws his way through all of these reveals, but this is a great turn to take because it raises so many questions on its own. How did Past Takemichi manage to navigate the world of gang wars in the ensuing decade? Just how much has changed with Toman now that it's somehow become a full-on, big-boy mob? And just what's happened to Hina and Naoto? These are exactly the kind of tantalizing questions you want in a show like Revengers, and it immediately pulled me into this new status quo.
Then, just as I was getting used to the new designs and trying desperately to remember the names of all the new higher-ups, Kisaki Tetta steps in with his smug grin and stupid glasses to burn the whole thing down. It's a great scene to really introduce us to this Machiavellian mastermind in earnest. We've known for ages he's the bad guy, seen him scheming, but now we witness true psychopathic brutality with the training wheels off. Kisaki's not some punk kid handing out switchblades in junkyards anymore; he's a fully anointed criminal exacting revenge on his closest enemies, for crimes against him we don't even know they committed. Takemichi has been in plenty of dangerous situations and had his life on the line before, but this is the first time he's looked truly, utterly helpless. There's no help coming, no miracle friends charging in to save the day, just coldblooded execution – business as usual in the criminal underworld.
Or is it? As soon as Chifuyu's brains are splattered across the carpet, Kisaki takes a moment to...well not even gloat, really. I'm not sure what you'd call his parting words to Takemichi, but they give us just enough to imply this execution is very, very personal. We knew from both of Akkun's previous assassination attempts that Kisaki wanted our hero dead, but with this last line we're left to stew over just what the hell he meant by calling Takemichi his hero. Is there some secret connection from the past that Takemichi has forgotten? Or was it something that developed between them during their decade leading Toman? That question hangs like the echoes of a gunshot over this finale, and it's the perfect cliffhanger for where this story is at right now.
So hey, why not speculate a bit ourselves? My first guess is that this death will act like Takemichi's first and send him back into the past. But now, since there's no way to conveniently get somebody to save his butt in the future, he won't have a lifeline to return to the future until he's nipped Kisaki in the evil, bespectacled bud. There won't be any more do-overs or peeks into the relative past to piece things together, and our protagonist will have to use his limited knowledge and limited-er wits to solve the mystery of who Kisaki is and what he wants. That seems like a great way to elevate the stakes of next story arc, finally giving us a totally uncertain future and an even greater risk to the possibility of Takemichi failing.
Of course that's just my guess, and while we wait for a sequel anime announcement I might actually try catching up to the manga. That's how strong this finale is. After weeks of waning interesting and failing enthusiasm, and right when I thought I was out, it pulled me back in.
Tokyo Revengers is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.