WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tokyo Revengers Episode 1, "Reborn," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Though we caught a glimpse of Tokyo Revengers' key players last week with the special premiere, the official first episode dives into Takemichi Hanagaki's past. Takemichi used to be a loser, although, other than sporting blond hair, this isn't much different from his present state. Ever since he graduated from middle school, he has been trying to run away from his past. But in the series premiere, Takemichi gets the chance of a lifetime to change that past when he... gets hit by a train.
As an adult, 26-year-old Takemichi lives in a small and dirty apartment, is a virgin, works at a video rental shop with a manager who's younger than him, and feels utterly pathetic about how his life is going. He only ever seems to be apologizing and is meandering through life without any sort of purpose.
While waiting for his train, someone behind Takemichi suddenly pushes him onto the tracks. In the split second between his shock and the realization that he's going to die, he isn't thinking about his friends or family. Instead it's Hinata Tachibana, the girl whose murder was just broadcasted on the news -- and Takemichi's first and only girlfriend, back in middle school.
For some inexplicable reason, instead of dying, Takemichi finds himself transported back 12 years to middle school. Hair bleached blond and gelled back, 14-year-old Takemichi has the looks of a gangster but none of the power. Back in junior high, Takemichi and his friends acted like they were real delinquents who couldn't be touched but in reality, they were the ones getting punched around.
Despite traveling back in time, Takemichi has the unique experience of knowing and fully remembering exactly what happens as it plays out. Even though he knew he and his friends got beat up by some third years at a school in Shibuya 12 years ago, he remains powerless to stop it this time as well. The transition from Takemichi's memories to him getting beaten up for the second time blends the present and past seamlessly.
Although Takemichi is reliving one of his worst memories, the time travel allows him to see his girlfriend Hinata again. At the sight of her, he starts crying out of sheer joy and relief. In these 12 years, Takemichi had somehow forgotten how much he loved Hinata and didn't realize how much she meant to him until he saw her again.
Knowing that she dies in his present timeline, Takemichi meets Hinata's brother Naoto and gives him a warning: On July 1, 2017, both he and his sister are going to die. It would be up to Naoto to protect Hinata. Although Takemichi initially laughs off his own warning because he thinks it's too farfetched for Naoto to believe, Naoto is serious and the two of them shake hands, sealing the deal.
Immediately after, a spark jolts Takemichi awake -- sans blond hair -- in an infirmary at the station where it's July 4, 2017, three days after the news of the Tachibana siblings' deaths. Takemichi miraculously survived the train crash thanks to someone saving him in the nick of time. That someone turns out to be Naoto, who is now alive and whole because of Takemichi's warning to him 12 years ago. Takemichi had successfully changed the past and saved Naoto.
Unfortunately, Hinata still dies despite Naoto's best efforts to save her. Naoto is convinced that Takemichi is the only one who can save his sister and to do that, he has to travel back in time and prevent the chain of events that lead to Hinata's death from ever happening. In order to do that, Takemichi needs to have confidence and resolve -- qualities he didn't have back in middle school.