Tokyo Revengers
Episode 9

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Tokyo Revengers ?

Well, it's finally happened. The pivotal, monumental event that so much of this season hangs on has finally arrived. I know we're not all ready for it, but we'll just have to brace ourselves for the news that yes, the international release of Tokyo Revengers has finally figured out how to edit the Manji symbol out of shots. It's a little strange it took them 4 episodes to figure out something DiC and 4KIDS were doing 20 years ago, and it's far from the most elegant solution for that particular localization headache, but at the very least it means the back-half of this episode is coherent and easy to follow, so I'll take it.

Oh, and that climactic fight between Toman and Moebius finally happens and everything Takemichi's worked for these last several episodes goes right to hell in a handbasket. But I think the Manji thing is more important because otherwise we'd never have been able to see any of this go down. There are still a few suspect cuts, presumably for shots where the symbol's too prominent to be easily removed, or there's too much movement to make the change quickly, but for a good 98% of the ensuing brawl, we can see exactly what's going on, and that's a godsend because it takes up the majority of this episode. We get some further hints about the mysterious mastermind pulling the strings behind the conflict, and we meet the gloriously extra Hanma with his “Sin” and “Punishment” knuckle tattoos, but that's all buildup for later plotlines. The singular, all-consuming element of “Revolt” is finally seeing two fully-fledged gangs go to war, and it's a blast.

For a gang story, Revengers has been remarkably sparse with its on-screen violence. We've had some short skirmishes to show off certain characters' strengths, but they've been brief and restrained. All of the really brutal stuff has so far happened to characters away from Takemichi's perspective, but no longer. Now our boy is neck deep in the turmoil as Toman and Moebius members beat the ever-loving shit out of each other with big, elated smiles plastered on their faces. For a solid two minutes there's practically no dialogue, just various Toman members punching, kicking, and occasionally throwing their enemies into the ground. This anime has so far been a largely serviceable production; it gets the job done but never does much to impress visually, and while that doesn't totally change with this fight there's at least enough flourishes to make the blows feel impactful and energetic. Draken especially comes off as a beast here, taking on a whole squad on his own while bleeding from the head, then jumping right back into it after maybe 2 minutes of rest.

Mikey also gets plenty of hits in, but his central moment comes when he confronts Peh in the middle of the fray. Now considering Peh betrayed their gang to the very people who caused the problem in the first place, and was trying to kill Mikey's closest friend, it would have been quite understandable for the bossman to turn Peh's nose concave from the word go. But in that classic delinquent way, Mikey brings his distraught former subordinate in for...well not a hug, but like a forehead boop? Whatever it is, it forces Peh to confront him dead-on, and accept that this isn't the way to go about relieving his guilt and anger. “Family” is a recurring idea in this kind of fiction, and like any family there are times when things get dark and stressful, but for Toman's family that means they need to pull together before they're torn apart.

Speaking of, Takemichi doesn't seem to be succeeding in that regard, despite his best efforts. He stumbles and trips through the chaos of the fight, desperately trying to find Draken, only to miss the pivotal moment he'd been trying to prevent. Now, this is still a shonen series, so for as dead as Draken looks in this moment it's entirely possible he'll show up next week in a hospital bed sporting a random assortment of bandages, but at this moment it at least appears that Takemichi's time-traveling mission is well and truly screwed. That leaves me to wonder what he could possibly do to salvage this. If Draken is dead, or at least out of the picture as Toman's second-in-command, it may come down to Takemichi taking on the role of Mikey's “heart” to keep Toman from spiraling into destruction going forward. That's no simple task though, and with the danger of the our still unseen conspirator hanging in the shadows, it's anyone's guess how this season will wrap up.

Rating:

Tokyo Revengers is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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