Tokyo Revengers, one of the anime of 2021 that caused me to experience burnout, alongside Shaman King 2021, but that's a story for another time. There were some positives to the anime, but there were negatives as well. I did force myself to finish it recently, partly cause I was almost done with it. And the other in hopes that my impression would change, but ultimately it didn't. SPOILER ALERT to those reading since this review will cover major story points.
Story- The story introduces Takemitchy as the protagonist, a deadbeat adult who doesn't have anything going on in his current life. Events happen, the former love interest of his dies in an accident, and suddenly he has the ability to time-travel to the past. You would think that now he has the ability to time-travel things would be easy right?
Well unfortunately every time he makes progress he takes two steps back, since he now has to save another person he's close to from being killed. Its like the author is deliberately keeping the story from being finished. Which if you think about it isn't surprising since a lot of shounen authors will keep their series going in order to keep making money. No matter where you look the manga/anime industry is ruled by money.
It doesn't help that the first season ends on a cliff-hanger, which makes sense since most stories don't wrap up with one season. And yet I can't help feeling like it could have been done better. Seriously, would you like it if a season ended with the antagonist pointing a gun at the protagonist at point blank? I certainly wouldn't, and you wouldn't either if that ended up being the result of binging the entire season in a few days.
Which I didn't do, but still, I can imagine all the frustration people felt when they hit the ending. Some people may be fine waiting for the second season, but I am not. And that has a lot to do with the protagonist, and partly the antagonist.
Animation- Pretty decent at parts actually, as you will see huge gangs attacking each other with ferocity. Which is part of the reason why I became interested in the series. Since anyone who personally knows me knows that I kind of have a thing for edge. The character designs also look pretty good too, since it almost feels like the author was inspired by Tite Kubo, the author of Bleach.
Sound- It feels like every Japanese-voice actor felt like they were putting their all into their characters. Even Takemitchy's voice actor did a good job playing his role, even if I'm not a fan of the character. I even thought Hina's voice-actress did amazing as well. But I can honestly say that the first ending song is a real banger, which makes sense since the song(s) are meant to create hype for the anime. Its a shame the anime didn't live up to that hype.
Characters- Interestingly enough, I liked a lot of the other characters that were in the story. Takemitchy's gang, Mikey, Draken, Hina, and especially Mitsuya.
Now Takemitchy, that is a completely different story when we talk about the protagonist. What can I say, everything I disliked about him has a lot to do with how the author wrote him. Its like he's a device, all of the character's choices are played out according to how the author writes him. It could be that it comes off like that due to the series being a part of the time-travel genre, but I have always believed in a character's free will.
Its the reason why I love Ageha Yoshina from the Psyren series, cause I truly believe his choices are his own.
Even if he acts like a bumbling fool, everything works out in the end for Takemitchy. Like when he's fumbling like a headless chicken throwing punches at gang members towards the end of the anime. And that's what is meant to be a morale booster for his gang. However, I don't find that endearing, I find that cringey, even as someone who has read/watched shounen for years.
Do you know what the real problem is though? The fact that Takemitchy accepted a drink from the antagonist Kisaki towards the end, even though he was repeatedly told that he's a major villain. Yes, the drink was drugged, and yes, he didn't check to see if Kisaki was drinking his drink. Chifuyu did it too unfortunately.
Kisaki is also a problem for the series. His motivation is never established during the first season, other than the fact that he at one point looked up to Takemitchy like a hero. And yes, I did get spoiled on his motivation online, but I won't reveal it here. All it does is make him look like a petty villain, and that always hurts a shounen series in general.
Overall- I think a lot of the problems has to do with the fact that Ken Wakui has almost no experience writing for the shounen genre. Other than a five volume series that obviously got axed, his genre has always been seinen. https://www.mangaupdates.com/authors.html?id=7456
And you're probably wondering why would he write shounen if he has almost no experience, and the answer is simple. He wants money, fame, and the chance to gain experience. Even if there's a chance he'll make mistakes, and that's always the case in the industry.
Anyway, I don't think Tokyo Revengers is the worst anime I've had to sit through, but it was still bad enough to give me burnout. Though that's on me, since I'm known to push through some anime when I have the feeling I don't like them. I have learned from that experience thankfully. So if you're new to shounen or you can tolerate Takemitchy, then give the series a go.