Tokyo Revengers Manga: Japanese Street Law – Cartoons – Culture

Great Expectations for this manga series: 70,000 copies of the first volume of Tokyo Avenger (400 p., 8 €) It was printed by Carlsen Publishing on its own terms – a volume that only long-time bestsellers such as Germany’s long-running Dragon Ball could achieve with initial editions.

In light of the success of “Tokyo Revengers” in Japan, Hamburg publisher accounts could succeed in bringing bestsellers into the program. The series has already reached 26 volumes in its home country, and according to the author and publisher, it’s currently in its final arc.

While the prequel offers engaging action entertainment thanks to a time travel element tied to certain rules and layered characters, the story shares the fate of many long-running manga series from the market’s leading publishers in Japan: the huge success favors a continuation of the stories, sometimes beyond the original ending.

The plot becomes repetitive and more general with time. This is also slightly noticeable in “Tokyo Revengers”, but thanks to the interesting characters and cleverly chosen era, it does not matter much.

Looser Takemichi learned from the news that his ex-girlfriend Hinata and younger brother Naoto had been killed in an incident involving the infamous Tokyo Manji gang. Suddenly he realizes that he has wasted his life so far because after this relationship he never had a girlfriend again and since then nothing has been done.

Suddenly twelve years old again

A little later, a stranger pushed him onto the rails in front of the oncoming train. But instead of dying a cruel death, he suddenly woke up again and looked into the faces of his old friends. Mysteriously, he’s stuck in his 12-year-old self on his way to a fight.

Another scene from the movie Tokyo Revengers.Photo: © Ken Wakui Kodansha Inc.

After a few bruises, Takemichi, who was built near the water, decided to take his chance and see Hinata, thinking that this strange situation would have brought him back in time just for the sake of it. He also told Hinata’s little brother Naoto, who accidentally saved him from some rioters after visiting.

He also warns him of the future incident and shakes his hand – which brings him back to his original time, where the now-adult Naoto is waiting for him. Although he is now a policeman and was able to save Takemichi from dying on the tracks, Hinata’s fate remains unchanged and so a law enforcement officer orders a completely confused time traveler to turn back to change the future once more. Tell him all he has to do is shake his hand.

Aside from the topic of conditional time travel, which allows Takemichi to manipulate current events in the past to save those dear to him, Ken Wakui has succeeded in revitalizing the furyo genre, which has recently been dominated by publications such as the shonen fantasy comedy “Beelzebub” by Ryuhei Tamura and characters Like Metal Bat in “One Punch-Man” has only been touched by one web comic artist.

out of focus

The term “Furyo”, which means something like “delinquent”, focuses on socially inappropriate people who prefer to resolve conflicts with their fists, are loyal to their principles, but whose hearts are in the right place. Some of the most well-known actors of this genre, such as “GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka”, came from the 1980s and 1990s and drew their aesthetics from the corresponding Japanese subculture movements.

Another scene from the movie Tokyo RevengersPhoto: © Ken Wakui Kodansha Inc.

Gangsters and hooligans can often be found in the media of the time. Katsuhiro Otomo, for example, allowed cyclists to roam the streets of his future cities Drag “Akira”. In an interview with Kodansha USA and also in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde Tokyo Revengers writer Ken Waki ​​said he put the story back in time because that era was closer to himself and one of his editors since their youth and they weren’t aware of current developments in the scene.

And so there’s always some kind of nostalgia in this series. Anyone who takes a closer look at the action and real Bosozoku biker gangs will find similarities to the Black Emperor gang active in Japan in the 1970s, which also had the Manji symbol in its logo. It is often cited as the inspiration for Ken Wakui’s manga series. A 1976 documentary film produced by Mitsuo Yanagimachi explored the reality of life among the young members of the association.

The success of Tokyo Revengers, which was published by Kodansha in Japanese weekly Shonen, did not come overnight. Ken Waki ​​started his business in early 2017 and won the 2020 Kodansha Manga Award in the “Best Shonen Manga” category.

But “Tokyo Revengers” only took off with the debut of the 24-part animation by Studio Liden Films in 2021 and has since become one of the most successful titles in the genre. At times, the series left songs like “Attack on Titan” and “One Piece” behind and debuted at the end of April or beginning of May 2021. At the top of the Oricon charts Ahead of Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer.


In terms of content, the anime is based on the first nine volumes of the manga, but it expands the dramatic peaks and looks a lot more brutal. Takemichi’s heroic idea is also emphasized more vividly. In Germany, the series is available live on Crunchyroll with German subtitles. A second anime season is already in production in Japan.

Also successful as a game

But the live-action movie starring musician Takumi Kitamura was also one of the best-selling real-life manga in 2021. In Germany, the manga, which is in high demand, started with one of the highest-selling manga print editions of Carlsen Manga in 20 years.

The story was also brought to the theatrical stage in Japan and turned into one of the popular plays in 2021. This was followed by a sequel in March 2022 with “Tokyo Revengers: Bloody Halloween” and other show dates for Japan have already been announced.

The cover of the first double volume in the series.Photo: Carlsen © Ken Wakui Kodansha Inc.

With a Takemichi ragdoll hairstyle and plump costumes for perverts, Ken Wakui captures the aesthetics and style associated with Japanese gangsters of times past. But also in terms of content, it focuses on concrete solutions for charismatic troublemakers.

The exact translation of Martin Baschernig, which has already been clearly adapted to the vernacular, can still use more of a trick adapted to the topic. However, in the long run, almost a lot of space is taken up by narrative motifs such as friendship and willpower, which are indispensable in the furyo genre and are also familiar in classic shounen manga.

Filled with sensual and laid-back graphics, the mini-gang saga showcases the characters in the craziest hitting poses. Completely snotty and battered, the artist places the giant delinquent mafia troublemakers and the totally unimpressive Takemichi alongside the steadfast and charismatic Hinata, while the future Naoto appears as the epitome of the right official.

token hot

In his artwork, Ken Waki ​​brings to life the graphic expressions of manga greats such as Takehiko Inoue and Katsuhiro Otomo in a modern shounen look. He still works with traditional drawing materials and uses only digital means for color illustrations.

The Carlsen Manga publishing house, which has already published a gang-themed manga and a supernatural twist with the German series “Personal Paradise” by Melanie Schuber, decided to publish the work without any changes to the artwork inside. It’s worth noting that Ken Waki ​​uses the Tokyo Gang manji symbol, and this has been banned throughout the anime version for Western audiences.

The symbol is a left-handed swastika, which can be met by incomprehension and rejection by the uninitiated, since the connection with the swastika can be quickly associated. Therefore, the publisher accompanies the step with detailed text that precedes the manga and explains the lucky meaning of the Manji sign in Asia and warns against the careless use of the symbol, which can easily be confused with the swastika, for example in fashion.

However, it was removed from the logo as well as on the covers. Another statement about the use of the manji symbol can be found not only in “Tokyo Revengers” but also in other media from Asia Online.

“Tokyo Revengers” has been published by Carlsen Manga since March 2022 with two editions of the originals in double volume. The first volume will be available at a limited introductory price until October.

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