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Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown
Episode 12

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 12 of
Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown ?
Community score: 3.9

© Ken Wakui, Kodansha/Animation 'Tokyo Revengers' Production Committee

I'm of two very polarized minds on this episode, and I'm not sure which to go with as we head into next week's finale. On the one hand, this standalone episode was good, ramping up the tension and drama with reveals just as big as season one's finale. On the other, if this season has taught me anything, I can't trust Tokyo Revengers to not make the same mistakes over and over. So I'm torn between enjoying these twists and bracing myself for disappointment at how they'll follow up.

Like I said, taking this episode in a vacuum, it's really good. While last week only showed Mitsuya's death, it soon reveals that nearly everyone is dead, and at the hands of Mikey himself. Hina, Chifuyu, Draken, and essentially every person Takemichi rescued have met a bloody, demoralizing end. That would be a strong enough twist to end the episode with. But it builds upon that until we finally meet Mikey in the future and see how much of a mess this friendly, violent little delinquent has grown up to be.

It's always been clear that Mikey is capable of immense harm. Long before Kisaki or any other villains got involved, he had a hair trigger and deadly physical prowess. The only reason he never actually killed an opponent is that they were all upstart teenagers who would scurry away when things got real. Yet there was always the implication that, if he felt inclined, Mikey wouldn't hesitate to end somebody for good. Somewhere in this new timeline, he finally did and discovered that murder was little more than an act of subtraction for him. If killing somebody got them out of his way, why not? Knowing that even the most loyal members of Toman aren't that bloodthirsty, it was probably inevitable that he would end up killing them once things became too dark to handle.

What's striking, though, is how he's still obviously the same person we saw before. He hasn't been manipulated or controlled but has simply allowed his darkest aspects to take the lead. It's left him alone, and clinging to the last friend he hasn't killed, begging Takemichi to put an end to his own worst nature. It's a powerful moment that hits hard and begs the question of what could have been done to stop this. Is Mikey just too dangerous, too volatile to be left without some benevolent guiding force like his brother or Takemichi? Is the solution for our hero to stay in the past, constantly turning the key to keep Mikey the ticking time bomb from exploding? Or is it necessary to end Mikey before he can become like this?

I cannot bring myself to buy into this. I was in the same position at the start of Christmas Showdown, riding high off the cliffhanger of Season one and hoping we could rise out of the doldrums of that second cour. Yet this season continues to make the same mistakes that made Bloody Halloween such a slog to get through. So why should I believe this twist won't end up the same? Nothing can convince me that Takemichi's next trip into the past won't just be the same thing again. Simply increasing the stakes to include more fatalities and tragedies doesn't offer much hope for improvement. That's the rub with serialized fiction, I guess. This is a good episode as a standalone viewing experience, probably the best of this entire arc. I very much enjoyed it on that metric. However, I just can't trust it.


Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown is currently streaming on Hulu.

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