WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tokyo Revengers Episode 4, "Return," now streaming on Crunchyroll. It also contains discussion of suicide.
In Tokyo Revengers, Takemichi's ability to travel back in time began with a single handshake from Naoto. From then on, Takemichi's ultimate goal has been to find a way to save Hina's life. Since his first trip back in time, he's realized just how precious his friends, and new friends Mikey and Draken, are. But Takemichi's happiness is short-lived when he discovers Toman's corruption extends beyond Hina's death in Episode 4.
Takemichi's time with Hina is abruptly cut short when he accidentally holds Naoto's hand. Although he's disappointed, Takemichi tells Naoto that, despite his delinquency, Mikey isn't a bad guy. But this creates the opposite effect: Naoto is infuriated and asks Takemichi why he didn't kill Mikey when he had the chance. The Mikey from 12 years ago doesn't exist anymore.
Regardless, Takemichi knows Mikey and, if he wants to know what led to Toman's demise, Takemichi will need to speak to him. But with Mikey MIA, their next best option is to reach one of the Toman higher-ups. With a jolt, Takemichi recognizes one of the names: Sendo Atsushi -- his friend from back in middle school, Akkun.
In the first timeline, Akkun stabbed Kiyomasa and ended up in jail, but since Takemichi's time travel prevented the murder, he's now part of Toman. Despite the state of Toman and the fact that it has been 12 years since Takemichi last saw Akkun, he clings to the promise they made when they were still in middle school: they'll still be friends no matter what.
12 years later, Akkun now runs a hostess bar. Cheeks gaunt, iconic pompadour shaved, arms tatted up and eyes sunken, Akkun looks like a shadow of his former self -- but his smile is still the smile Takemichi remembers. The two friends head up to the roof to talk and for a split second, it's like they're back in middle school until Takemichi starts praising Akkun for how well-off he's now living. As he talks, Akkun's face darkens. The conversation takes a turn when Akkun reveals that he knows who Naoto is.
Back turned and facing the city lights, Akkun tells Takemichi that he was the one who pushed him onto the train tracks a few weeks ago. Naoto saved him as if he somehow, inexplicably knew that Takemichi would be in danger -- which means only one thing: time travel.
Eyes tight with pain, Akkun confesses that he actually hadn't seen Mikey in years. The one he reports to is Kisaki Tetta. When Draken died, Mikey changed for the worse. Takemichi is horrified.
With Kisaki's takeover, Toman spiraled into darkness, leaving Akkun terrified and unable to escape. His only options were to swallow his morals, keep his head down and obey Kisaki's orders. Takemichi has barely processed all of this when Akkun climbs up on the ledge, steps away from falling off the edge. Takemichi, voice shaking, asks Akkun to come back down but instead, Akkun looks back at him. Smiling through his tears, Akkun pleads for Takemichi, the crybaby hero, to save everyone. And jumps.
Takemichi's time traveling ability was originally activated by Naoto's strong desire to save his sister. But seeing Akkun so brought so low leaves an enormous impression on Takemichi. Akkun's death was gut-wrenching in how unexpected it was. Kisaki had warped Toman to the point where it not only killed Hina and Draken, but also broke Mikey and Akkun's souls. Kisaki is destroying Toman from the inside out. Just before Akkun dies, he asks if Takemichi is here to save "him." It's likely not Draken that Akkun is talking about -- it's Mikey.
Takemichi has proven time after time that crying doesn't make him weak. Strength doesn't come from how many opponents you can knock down with a single punch; it comes from having the courage to take the hit for someone else. Inner strength is having the resolve to stay in the fight even when you know you're going to lose. Takemichi will need to dig even deeper if he wants to save everyone.
For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines.