WarningMight contain spoilers.

This is not a good show. I didn’t hate it, but there’s a lot to dislike. It starts out well with the core concept, then grows convoluted and unpleasant. My first impression was that it’s refreshingly real, bypassing manufactured melodrama in so many ways, but that doesn’t last. By the end, there’s one forced excuse to avoid resolution after another. I won’t be watching the next season.

I don’t much care for the Tokyo Manji Gang, its contemporaries, or the things the story takes for granted. I’m not thrilled by the constant treatment of delinquent as if it were a profession (indeed, an honourable, impressive, downright aspirational occupation) and I find it hilarious that all these people are supposed to be 15– or 16-year-old schoolchildren (including the leaders of the 150-member gang). The amount of blunt force trauma—not to mention knife wounds—everyone sustains and survives is absurd. Draken dies and comes back to life during the big fight.

There’s too much unmerited empathy, respect, and love on display, particularly from Takemichi towards everyone he meets from the gang and from everyone else towards Takemichi. Hardly anyone does anything but fight. They inhabit a tiny little world where, in short: they do bad things; other people do bad things; and they all butt heads over who gets to do which bad things where. Then Takemichi starts sobbing and becomes a hero. He really is an unbearably annoying protagonist. I quickly tired of watching him weep in every second scene.

While I like Mikey and Draken well enough—the latter more than the former since he’s more of a person—thanks to the way the series explores their characters and their lives, I struggle with the fact that their main preoccupation is leading a gang whose only apparent pastime is violent confrontations with other gangs. Their main claim to fame is how brutally they fight.

Hinata and Naota disappearing from the story hurts the last few episodes. My favourite episode by far is the one where Takemichi and company discover that Mikey is Emma’s half brother: there’s no fighting or genuine conflict to speak of, only friends spending time together and having amusing escapades. Hinata’s obsession with pretending to be a detective is very funny.

The finale is risible. Of course this future isn’t a good one—the show has to continue. Still, how stupid are Takemichi and Chifuyu, to believe Kisaki had suddenly become friendly? How many people will Takemichi work himself into a state of apoplexy over and declare he’ll go back to try to save?

The score is the best thing about Tokyo Revengers, especially the one stirring piece that’s used repeatedly to signify something momentous. On the other hand, the opening theme is weak. (I like the striking visuals of the closing credits in the second half.)

How does the coma business work? It’s important early on, but later we continually return to futures where Takemichi is in the middle of something, so… have the writers decided not to bother?

Now I keep wishing I could go back 10 years (or more). I’m certain I’d be able to use the time more effectively.