Winter 2023 has been an absolutely stacked lineup for anime fans with so many popular series getting sequels like Danmachi and Attack on Titan, and some new anime like Tomo-chan is a Girl and The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten giving great adaptations to popular manga series.
A new anime that has slipped under the radar is Revenger, an anime original from studio Ajia-do which has created other popular series like Ascendance of a Bookworm and How Not to Summon a Demon Lord. Today, we are going to take a look at some of the reasons you should give Revenger a watch.
1. Murder Mystery With An Obvious Answer
When thinking about the best part of a murder mystery, it’s often not knowing who did it and trying to piece together the clues from the contextual storytelling that goes on after the incident or in the lead-up to the murder. However, Revenger takes that concept and immediately removes the lack of an answer by showing our main character, the samurai Raizou Kurima, murders his father-in-law. This does not remove the mystery, as Kurima determines to find out why he was given such an order by his liege lord and exact his revenge, an entire web of mystery and drama unfolds gripping the audience into his journey.
2. Secret Societies
Kurima’s journey for revenge leads him to the interesting merchant Yuuen Usui who is a Revenger, a group of assassins that exact bloody revenge for people on the basis of bitten gold coins. As Kurima joins the Revengers and begins down a violent path in order to regain his honour as a vigilante assassin, we get to learn more about the machinations at work behind the influx of opium into Japan with the political elite, Europeans, and even the Qing Dynasty all being involved. The role of the Revengers has not become fully clear yet but Yueen Usui’s method of killing with gold leaf sheets for suffocation and his immediate Christian prayer after taking a life has clear European influence meaning there is likely more going on behind the scenes than is shown to Kurima.
3. Action Packed
Other than the fascinating political goings-on in Revenger, the series has an interesting take on the action. Being a secretive group of assassins you would think the Revengers, as a group, favour the crafty stealth of sleuthing around and waiting for an opportune moment to strike their target. However, this is not always the case as Kurima and Teppa Murakami, the doctor of the group but also an insanely powerful archer, often employ the tactics of smash and grab as fast as possible. This can be seen when they pursue a lord that is attempting to flee the city on a small river boat and Murakami fires a long-range arrow from a rooftop to sink the small wooden frame as Kurima dashes across to slice off his head.
The animation is fantastic, and the action, although unrealistic, is a great compliment to the mysterious story. All of the characters exhibit excellent fighting skills and studio Ajia-do has done a great job of creating fluid choreography.
4. Edgy for Edgyness’s Sake
Not everyone will enjoy Revenger’s take on gore and action, but if you like that older feeling from samurai movies mixed with the early 2010’s revival of gore in anime like Tokyo Ghoul and Psycho-Pass, then this show will scratch that itch with no problem. As mentioned before Yuuen Usui’s unique method of assassination is that of a gold leaf sheet that suffocates his target but he is not the only Revenger to have a unique method of killing.
Take for example Kurima himself, after a few missions with the Revengers he is given a special set of boots with retractable spikes that allow him to charge faster with a different grip on the ground. Another example is that of Nio, the smallest member of the Revengers that utilises kite strings with glass shards to take out their targets.
5. Adult Themes Not Often Seen In Anime
Anime that centre around adult themes come few and far between as many look to encapsulate a wider audience which is completely understandable. With that being said, Revenger focuses on the very adult themes of political corruption, violent murder, and drug trafficking. Although the setting is several hundred years before our time, it is nice to see an anime that tackles more mature themes in an interesting and engaging manner.
The most interesting of which is the constant role that opium addiction has played in the narrative, seen in the setup of Kurima’s murder of his father-in-law on the rumour that he was introducing opium to the area.
Revenger is a fascinating historical anime that bends the rules of physics to demonstrate some brutal but interesting ways to carry out an assassination. As we have explored there are quite a few reasons to get invested in Kurima’s story of revenge and his journey to regain his honour as a samurai, even if it is through blood and violence. Being an anime original, Revenger has gone under the radar this Winter season and we think it deserves a chance. What have you thought of Revenger so far? Have you enjoyed the look into the violent life of revenge? Let us know in the comments!