by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Tokyo Revengers ?
This episode, and the history of shonen manga in general, would have you believe that the most important and critical thing anyone can have is determination. They're wrong. The most powerful tool in this episode is actually something far simpler yet infinitely more complex: a cell phone. In that Hina saves the day like three times this episode (and last episode too) by just taking out her Nokia brick and making a phone call instead of stumbling blindly through the woods or trying to haul somebody twice her size down an alleyway. Like I get it. Takemichi carrying Draken's weight both literally and metaphorically is a neat scene, but the entire time I was just wondering why nobody had called a damn ambulance despite this being 2005. Thankfully Hina's brain isn't hopped up on Shonen Protagonist Juice and did the actual sensible thing, even if circumstances keep the EMTs out of the picture for most of “Rerise.”
That particular niggle aside, the rest of this episode is a pure, uncut, shonen endorphin rush being pumped directly into the inside of my eyelids. From Takemichi's desperate, cathartic last stand, to Draken's unbelievably durable torso, to the timely arrival of an unexpected rescue party, this episode has basically everything I could want from the climax of a delinquent anime, and it's only slightly hampered by – again – some very questionable editing around the Manji symbol. I'd love to stop harping on that particular note, but it once again rears its head in one of the most pivotal scenes of the episode, and that's hard to ignore. I'm at least thankful that Mikey is not in his Toman uniform, since it means his opening fight with Hanmi is able to show off easily the slickest, weightiest fight animation Revengers has offered all season. It's not exactly a jaw-dropping sequence, but it's well-choreographed with every blow, throw, or dodge feeling powerful in exactly the way you want a martial arts standoff to feel.
But this episode isn't about Mikey. It's about Takemichi, cornered once again, at last finding some mixture of courage and desperation to face down the guy who's ruined his life twice-over. In a lot of ways this is what this whole arc has been building towards, and I really appreciate the execution. It would have been easy to give Takemichi a cool moment where he confidently stands up to Kiyomasa, gets his big hero speech, and wins the day. But that's not the story Revengers has been telling. No, this is the story of a scared, timid man in far over his head and clawing towards even the slightest glimmer of hope. His showdown with Kiyomasa isn't a proud or glorious hero moment because pride and glory are luxuries for people who aren't fighting for their lives. His fight is desperate, undignified, objectively embarrassing even, but in the end it's that desperation that wins out. Takemichi may have scrawny shoulders, but they bear a weight none of his more physically powerful opponents would even consider, and that's what just barely pulls him an exhausted, bloody W in the end.
Of course delinquents tend to rove in packs, so even when our hero manages to choke Kiyomasa into unconsciousness, there are still a half-dozen more guys ready to just stab him and Draken. Shonen Anime logic dictates that somebody would come to save them, but that doesn't mean their weary final standoff doesn't work. Draken may not have time-travel shenanigans pushing him to keep going, but he's no less ready to go down swinging with his new friend if he has too. Of course that's exactly when Akkun and the rest of Takemichi's scrublord friends arrive. They get a couple of decent blows in, but like our hero before them, they also quickly get the stuffing beat out of them. But that honestly makes this moment all the more sentimental – it's one thing for a friend to fight for you, it's another entirely for them to knowingly get their ass kicked for you.
We don't reach a definitive conclusion before credits roll, but that's a small issue compared to how good the rest of this episode is. It's tense, cathartic, maybe even a little inspiring, and all wrapped up in the kind of heartfelt violence that only a good delinquent anime can deliver.
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