Revenger: A Promising Winter Anime Premiere
Revenger, in my humble opinion, has emerged as the standout premiere of the winter season thus far. This anime series has managed to captivate me with its impressive setting, high production values, intriguing characters, engaging premise, and a mesmerizing musical score. As I dived into this timeless anime story, I couldn’t help but appreciate its universality, which could have easily fit into any bygone decade. Notably, original anime productions have seen a decline in recent years, making it all the more crucial for a few exceptional series to uphold the creative reputation of the genre.
However, there is a catch. Revenger is the brainchild of Urobuchi Gen, and if we’re familiar with his previous works, we know that he excels at creating gripping openings. It’s the endings and the buildup to them where he tends to stumble. I can’t quite put my finger on whether he loses interest in his own material before completion or if it’s merely the impression he gives, but the result is the same. I’ve learned from past experiences not to get ahead of myself when it comes to Urobuchi shows.
Nonetheless, let us focus on what lies before us. The introduction of Revenger instilled a sense of hope in me, as it impressed with its stunning visuals and a compelling narrative flow. Furthermore, the series benefits from the expertise of director Fujimori Masaya, known for his outstanding work in other productions like Kemono Jihen and the underrated Tribe Cool Crew. If historical settings intrigue you, then you’re in for a treat as Revenger takes us to Nagasaki during the Edo Period. However, there are hints of a magical or fantasy element, something that Urobuchi tends to incorporate effectively into his works.
A Samurai’s Quest for Revenge
Revenger promptly plunges us into the story of Kurima Raizou, a loyal Satsuma retainer on the cusp of committing murder. His target? His soon-to-be father-in-law, an official of the domain who Kurima has been informed is involved in the clandestine opium trade with the Western world. During this period, Nagasaki served as the sole port open to Westerners, who conducted their business and resided in the Dejima Trading Post—an artificial island visually depicted in the cold open—established by the Tokugawa Shogunate to maintain the separation between Japan and the Western powers.
At this point, neither the viewers nor Kurima are aware of the truth. Unbeknownst to Kurima, he has been set up. The one with blood on his hands is Mitsumine, the finance minister, and the man Kurima killed was about to expose him. It is Usui Yuuen, a local artisan and merchant with a mysterious persona, who unravels this truth for both Kurima and the audience. Finding Kurima, filled with shame and believing he had done the right thing, sleeping under a bridge, Usui and his young associate Nio come to Kurima’s aid when Mitsumine’s henchmen arrive, intent on silencing him forever.
A Chance for Redemption
At this juncture, a samurai in Kurima’s predicament typically considers seppuku—the honorable act of ending one’s life. However, Usui offers him a reason to postpone such a drastic measure. In order to honorably bring down Mitsumine, who thrives as a result of his treacherous actions, Kurima must join forces with Usui and his group. While we are introduced to a few members of Usui’s group, it is primarily through him and Nio (whom I suspect is actually a boy despite the attire and demeanor) that the narrative thrives. Together, they intend to expose Mitsumine, relying on Kurima’s insider knowledge to achieve their goal. Although Kurima seeks the titular revenge he yearns for, the path ahead holds great challenges and a heartbreaking conclusion for him.
It remains unclear what direction Urobuchi intends to take us in, but he certainly incorporates Nagasaki’s unique elements into the storyline. Foreign trade is a significant aspect, as is the presence of Christianity. Although officially banned in Japan during this period, Christianity was secretly practiced by both foreigners (likely the Dutch at this stage) and even some Japanese individuals in Nagasaki. Usui, with a Virgin Mary tattoo adorning his back, invokes her during his acts of violence, and there are references to his group convening in a church. After his wife’s tragic suicide, one might expect Kurima to follow her into the afterlife. However, I suspect he will forge an alliance with Usui and, perhaps, even convert to Christianity after feeling abandoned by fate.
The blend of historical, magical, and philosophical themes in Revenger is both thought-provoking and uniquely executed. It’s important to approach this series with cautious optimism, keeping in mind the landing may prove challenging, as Baloo wisely said to Kit Cloudkicker. Nevertheless, the foundations of a compelling tale have been laid. The world-building and character dynamics resonated with me, leaving me eagerly anticipating the next chapters of this enthralling story.
Revenger’s premiere has left a lasting impact, showcasing the potential for a remarkable addition to the winter anime lineup. Although Urobuchi’s involvement warrants some reservations, the series has already proven its merits through stunning visuals, a gripping narrative, and a talented director at the helm. The themes of revenge, honor, and the clash between tradition and foreign influence in historical Nagasaki make for a captivating backdrop. As we eagerly follow the journey of Kurima and Usui, the suspense and intrigue grow, keeping us on the edge of our seats.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Revenger suitable for viewers with little knowledge of Japanese history?
Yes, Revenger can be enjoyed by anime enthusiasts regardless of their familiarity with Japanese history. While the series incorporates historical elements, it provides enough context for viewers to follow the story and appreciate the overall narrative.
2. How would you describe the animation quality in Revenger?
The animation quality in Revenger is exceptional. The series boasts stunning visuals, beautifully capturing the historical setting and the characters’ emotions. The attention to detail and fluidity of the animation enhance the overall viewing experience.
3. What makes Revenger stand out among other anime premieres?
Revenger stands out due to its compelling storyline, well-developed characters, and thematic depth. The integration of historical aspects, nuanced character motivations, and the exploration of morality provide a refreshing and engaging experience for anime enthusiasts.
4. Does Revenger have a mature or violent content warning?
Yes, Revenger contains mature themes and graphic violence. Viewers should be aware of these elements and exercise discretion, especially if they are sensitive to violence or prefer lighter content.
5. Will Revenger satisfy fans of Urobuchi Gen’s previous works?
While there is always a level of uncertainty when it comes to Urobuchi’s storytelling, Revenger shows great promise in its premiere. Fans of his previous works may find familiar elements and motifs within the series, making it worth exploring for those who appreciate his unique narrative style.
ED: “un_mute” by Maaya Sakamoto