WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tokyo Revengers Episode 2, "Resist," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
In Tokyo Revengers Episode 1, protagonist Takemichi Hanagaki seemingly "died," only to jump back in time to save someone's life -- who inadvertently saves Takemichi's life in the present timeline. It's unclear how time-traveling works in the series, or what its consequences are, but Takemichi only needs to focus on one thing: finding a way to save Hinata.
What's holding Takemichi back is his lack of faith in himself. After more than 20 years of running from his problems, he doesn't think he has what it takes to save anyone. But he doesn't realize that if he can change what happened 12 years ago, he can most definitely change himself.
The Technicalities of Time Travel
Although Takemichi has only time leapt once so far, Naoto has gathered enough information to deduce how this form of time travel works by Episode 2. For some unfathomable reason, Takemichi's ability can only be activated when he shakes hands with Naoto -- regardless of whether or not Takemichi is in the past or the present. Naoto believes it may be because Takemichi saved his life thanks to the time travel.
Naoto also discovers that Takemichi can only go back to the same date 12 years ago -- which means if he messes something up when time traveling, there is no do-over. This greatly raises the stakes in their current situation. Unfortunately for Takemichi, when he time travels, he usually jumps back to a moment when he's right in the middle of something. When he travels back for the second time, he ends up in the middle of an underground fight, seconds away from getting knocked out.
Although Takemichi had warned Naoto about Hinata's impending death, she still ended up dying. This left Takemichi no choice but to stop the two leaders of the Tokyo Manji Gang, Manjiro Sano and Kisaki Tetta, from ever meeting in the past. If he manages that, it would save Hina. Naoto did his own investigation of the gang and after their predecessor's grisly demise, it's clear that the Tokyo Manji Gang is dangerous and ruthless.
Takemichi gets his first taste of the gang's violence when he's knocked unconscious by Kiyomasa's friends. Unwittingly, Takemichi asks if Kiyomasa can introduce him to either Manjiro or Kisaki, which proves to be the wrong question to ask -- Kiyomasa starts slamming a bat on Takemichi. He's so badly hurt that he can only limp home.
14-year-old Takemichi was a coward, allowing himself to get pummeled and becoming a slave to the likes of Kiyomasa and his group of thugs. Instead of doing anything about his situation, he chose to run away from it, abandoning his friends and Hina.
26-year-old Takemichi isn't much different. As soon as he faces some kind of adversity, he's more likely to try escaping. He spirals into a deep tunnel of self-loathing and self-pity, believing there's nothing he can do to change who he is fundamentally. Once a coward, always a coward. But right at the moment when Takemichi is ready to pack it in and return to the present, Hina inadvertently stops him from doing so.
After hearing Hina say she would protect Takemichi in spite of her lack of physical strength, he gains the courage and resolve he needs. He doesn't have to save Hina -- they broke up years ago and have no current ties to each other -- but after seeing her again, talking to her, and remembering why he fell in love with her in the first place, Takemichi knows he can't run away anymore.
Despite how terrified he is, Takemichi steps in place of his friend Takuya, who was the next to clash in the underground fights. But instead of fighting Takuya's intended opponent, Takemichi confronts his fears and challenges the king of the fight clubs: Kiyomasa himself. The pieces are in place for Episode 3 of Tokyo Revengers to be a real doozy.