Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Episode 1 review

In the latest episode of Tokyo Revengers, titled “It Is What It Is,” the highly anticipated second season of the anime series begins with a mixture of excitement and uncertainty. After over a year since the first season concluded, fans were eager to see if the new season could meet their high expectations.

However, the atmosphere surrounding Season 2 is different compared to before. Several changes have occurred during the interim period that have affected the perception and anticipation for the new episodes. One significant factor is the reception of the manga’s final arc, which garnered mixed reviews, and even disappointment from some fans who felt betrayed by the direction the story took. This sentiment of betrayal and dissatisfaction with the manga’s ending has somewhat diminished the overall buzz and enthusiasm surrounding Tokyo Revengers.

Adding to the shifting landscape, just as Season 2 was about to premiere, Disney made a surprising announcement of expanding their partnership with Kodansha, resulting in exclusive premieres of new anime content on Disney+. Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown became the first anime to have a worldwide simulcast on Disney+. Despite these changes, the new season promises to cover the captivating arc of the same name, spanning across 13 episodes, making a slightly delayed but impactful debut as part of the Winter 2023 Season.

The episode “It Is What It Is” delves into the aftermath of the Bloody Halloween arc. Takemichi, the protagonist, who failed to save Baji’s life, finds himself elevated to the role of Captain of the 1st Division within the massive organized crime group, the Tokio Manji gang. Eager to witness the consequences of his actions, he returns to the present, only to be faced with the challenge of reconnecting with Naoto, a key ally.

During a pivotal meeting between gang leaders, a sudden and unexpected turn of events occurs. Kisaki, a significant character, appears and coerces Takemichi and Chifuyu into a private conversation. However, their encounter takes a dark twist when they are drugged and bound to chairs. Kisaki desperately tries to extract information from them, ultimately resulting in the execution of Chifuyu. The episode concludes with a gripping cliffhanger, leaving Takemichi’s fate hanging in the balance.

In a surprising twist, a mysterious savior intervenes just as Kisaki prepares to take Takemichi’s life. Awakening from unconsciousness, Takemichi finds himself disoriented and unaware of how he managed to survive. Contrary to expectations, the rescuer is revealed to be Kazutora, a character with a troubled past. Kazutora discloses his plans to reform the Tokio Manji gang, working alongside Chifuyu and Naoto, a police detective, to reclaim the gang’s former glory and eradicate the corruption that has infiltrated their ranks.

As the episode progresses, Takemichi reflects on his twelve-year involvement with the gang, realizing that he had merely adapted to the circumstances rather than actively fighting against them. Overwhelmed by guilt and a sense of defeat, he finds himself at one of his lowest points. However, Kazutora becomes a source of inspiration, encouraging Takemichi to rediscover his purpose and join their cause, even if his contributions may be limited.

Amidst these tumultuous developments, Naoto plays a critical role in orchestrating their plan. Kazutora and Takemichi accompany Naoto in a car, and during the journey, Kazutora provides insight into the current state of the Tokio Manji gang. They discuss the tragic fate of Draken, who was executed in the previous timeline, as well as the deaths of Pachin and Peyan, which were orchestrated by Mikey, the gang’s enigmatic leader. The revelations highlight the urgency of their mission to overthrow Kisaki and his alliance with the Black Dragon gang, a group that has derailed Mikey from his original purpose.

Their destination leads them to an alley where Naoto awaits Takemichi. This encounter marks yet another shocking twist in the episode. Naoto unexpectedly arrests Takemichi for murder. The arrest, however, serves a different purpose: to afford Naoto a private opportunity to speak with Takemichi. Naoto reveals that he gained access to Chifuyu’s laptop, discovering recordings that implicate Takemichi in ordering the assassination of someone. Although the specific details of the victim remain unknown, Kisaki possesses the information Takemichi seeks. Heartbroken and overwhelmed, Takemichi discovers that he is directly responsible for the deaths of Hina and Akkun.

Despite the heavy emotional toll, Naoto attempts to console Takemichi by emphasizing the positive impact of his actions. Lives have been saved, including those of Kazutora and Draken. They also acknowledge Kisaki’s fixation on Takemichi, a pattern that consistently leads to the repeated deaths of Hina and Akkun. Their mission now centers on stopping the Black Dragon gang and further investigating Kisaki’s relationship with them to prevent Mikey from succumbing to the allure of wealth and becoming a murderous figure.

The episode takes an unexpected turn as Takemichi finds himself transported back in time during a handshake with Naoto. Suddenly, he finds himself on a date with Hina, his former girlfriend. The choice of the date activity, bowling, triggers memories of Takemichi’s passion for the sport during his teenage years. Contrary to the perception that he lacks practical skills, Takemichi demonstrates remarkable proficiency in bowling, achieving strikes effortlessly. However, the seemingly ordinary date holds a significant revelation when Takemichi discovers that Hakkai Siba, a leader of the Black Dragon gang in the future timeline, is also present at the bowling alley, further deepening the intrigue and setting the stage for future confrontations.

The episode effectively captures the viewers’ attention with its intense and emotionally charged moments. The pacing remains captivating, delivering memorable scenes that leave a lasting impact. Additionally, viewers are treated to the unveiling of the new opening and ending theme songs, “White Noise” by Official Hide Dandism and “Kizutsukedo, Aishiteru” by Tuyu, which further enhance the overall experience.

As Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown continues weekly for the next twelve episodes, fans eagerly anticipate what lies ahead in Takemichi’s desperate mission to reshape the future and the truth behind his breakup with Hina on Christmas Eve.

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