How accurately does Tokyo Revengers represent the Bōsōzoku culture? Explained
The hot-hit delinquent-themed Tokyo Revengers series ignited the revival of the diminishing popularity of the Bōsōzoku culture. The story revolves around Takemichi Hanagaki, a 26-year-old guy in his all-time low, sent 12 years back in time into his younger self. He decides to infiltrate and climb the ranks of the Tokyo Manji gang to change the fates of Mikey, the president of the Tokyo Manji gang, and Hinata Tachibana, his ex-girlfriend.
Written and illustrated by Ken Wakui, the Tokyo Revengers manga was serialized in March 2017 and published in the Weekly Shounen Magazine. The manga was later published digitally in English by Kodansha USA on October 16, 2018, after which the series was one of the 44th Kodansha Manga Awards. The anime produced by LIDENFILMS aired in April 2021. The manga and the anime received high praise for their enthralling storyline and characters.
Tokyo Revengers anime/manga uniforms take inspiration from the Bōsōzoku culture
The Bōsōzoku culture emerged in Japan during the 1950s following the return of World War 2 pilots. The veterans, unable to fit in with society, turned into delinquents for the rush of adrenaline and thrill. The Bōsōzoku culture peaked throughout the 70s and 80s with an estimated 42510 members by 1982.
The subculture primarily consisted of high school students and adolescent men whose lives revolved around speed, thrills, and modified motorcycles or cars. The delinquent groups in the Tokyo Revengers series follow a similar theme with their gang uniforms - the group name embroidered on the back, commonly known as the tokkō-fuku, fashioned after the Bōsōzoku subculture.
Bōsōzoku members rode customized Japanese road bikes with oversized fairings, large back seats, and modified mufflers. The founders of Toman (Tokyo Manji gang) from the Tokyo Revengers series have their own modified motorcycles, strikingly similar to the Bōsōzoku subculture. Furthermore, the groups in the series and the Bōsōzoku culture were both built on the fundamental base of friendship, loyalty, and freedom.
The Bosozoku subculture is modelled after ‘Bushido’, the Way of the Samurai, which is based on a set of virtues and values. Moreover, the members of Toman, including the protagonist Hanagaki Takemichi, have on several occasions throughout the series highlighted the importance of perseverance for the sake of protecting one’s values and morals.
In addition, the author, Ken Wakui, was a member of a prestigious gang of his time. It was that experience and his editor's desire to read a story about Yankii(delinquent) from which he gained inspiration to create Tokyo Revengers.
In conclusion, apart from the mention of ‘Bushido’ in the anime/manga, the series accurately presents the Bōsōzoku culture in the characters’ way of living, their clothes, and their love for speed and thrills.
Where to watch and read Tokyo Revengers anime and manga
Tokyo Revengers has been praised by fans and critics alike for its captivating storyline, exciting character arcs and its revival of the delinquent genre. For those yet to watch the anime can head on over to Crunchyroll and Netflix, where season 1 is available for streaming.
Disney+ acquired exclusive rights for adding season 2 of Tokyo Revengers anime to its vast catalog of TV shows and anime. Furthermore, season 2 is also available in the US on Hulu since Disney owns two-thirds of the platform and tends to include the shows and movies it acquires.
Manga lovers can find Ken Wakui’s magnum opus on Kodansha’s official website, where it is published and serialized. Moreover, Kodansha USA has digitally published the same in English format.