Welcome back to the increasingly tonally inconsistent adventures of Takemichi Hanagaki! When last we left our hero, he was trying to mediate the possibly life-ending conflict between two of Tokyo’s most volatile underage gang members. This week, he accomplishes that task by tripping ass over tea kettle into a pile of trash, crying, then making them both laugh when they find a dog turd stuck in his hair. Talk about conflict resolution skills.
Snark aside, while the tonal whiplash of this whole conflict is still a bit offputting, this particular way of mending the rift between Draken and Mikey does make a certain amount of sense. The former’s height and latter’s preternatural thrill for violence can make it easy to forget, but these are still 15-year-olds, and if there’s anything that can help teenage boys bond, it’s laughing at the misfortune of their own friends and poop humor. More importantly, that shared laugh clears the tension enough for both sides to hear eachother out, and recognize that while they might disagree on their methods, both were ultimately trying to help their friend in the way they thought best. It’s certainly an unconventional approach to wrapping this particular story beat up, but it ultimately works for me.
They’re not the only ones in the mood for making up, as it seems somewhere in all this Emma and Hina managed to clear up all those romcom misunderstandings they’ve been stuck in the last few episodes and came out of it as friends. Teenagers making mature, rational decisions instead of just getting mad at eachother? If I didn’t know better I’d think Hina’s time-leaping too because that’s not what I would ever expect from anyone under 23. Though maybe I’m just hanging onto that theory because otherwise it makes Takemichi’s festival date more than a little creepy. Like dude, I get that you’re happy to have potentially saved her in the future, and I imagine your teenage body is absolutely riddled with hormones, but you’re still an adult about to have a painfully treacly romantic moment with a middle schooler. Save it til you’re both the right ages, my man.
But of course that date has to get interrupted, and we return to Revengers‘ tried and true staple: Takemichi getting the stuffing kicked out of him by guys twice his size. Turns out even with Toman’s leadership crisis averted, there are still folks out for Draken’s head, including Kiyomasa. Takemichi’s former tyrant proceeds to gleefully drag him through the mud before going off to commit murder, and finding himself right back where he started damn near breaks our protagonist. For all that he’s struggled to fix things, to make some small difference that could actually change things, trauma and fear don’t disappear easily, if ever. All that combined leaves him a crying, duct-taped mess, and it’s here the heart of Revengers re-emerges.
Like I said, I have plenty of hangups about Takemichi pursuing a relationship with Hina in this whole timey-wimey switch-up, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be important to one another. Especially when she reminds him that for all his damage and fuck ups, he’s still able to cry and worry about others. It’s that same empathy, and Takemichi’s willingness to put himself on the line for it, that first brought Mikey and Draken into his life. It’s what has kept him with his friends rather than abandoning them like the first timeline. And it’s the only thing that can keep hope alive for anything resembling a better future for all of these kids. It’s a damn strong moment that reminded me what hooked me to this show to begin with, and I’m taking it as a sign that Revengers has made it past its own doldrums to get back on track.