On Mikey’s ‘Dark Impulses’, 241, and Shinichiro
I’m pretty sure Mikey isn’t a real person, or at least not the real Manjiro.
This analysis is all pure speculation after the events that happened in 241, but speculation based around manga canon. I’ve done my best to interpret things as objectively as I can, and acknowledge when something can have a more charitable interpretation.
I’m fairly positive that Mikey not being Manjiro is one missing puzzle piece that connects everything together so we can see the full picture. I think what isn’t said in Tokyo Revengers is so much more interesting than what has been said so far.
I think that the other puzzle piece is Shinichiro. And that Shinichiro was a bad guy.
I think he’s the bad guy and everything we’ve been told about him is a massive misdirect.
I think the story is telling us the truth, while the characters are lying to us or are unreliable narrators.
And I think I have a pretty compelling argument proving this.
*SPOILERS FOR TOKYO REVENGERS MANGA THROUGH CHAPTER 243*
*Trigger warnings for mentions of: child abuse, violence, and basically everything bad Tokyo Revengers has already covered in canon up until now. Anything worse than what we’ve already seen in TR will have a giant warning beforehand with more detailed TW’s so you can turn back*
*Also spoilers for the entirety of Mr. Robot (an American TV show). Yes, it is connected*
**For consistency, only official translations were used from digital volumes 1, 2, and 14-24; and for volumes 3-13, I’m like 99% sure readtokyorevengers dot net has just screen-shotted all of the official translations and re-uploaded the images for every official English release, lol. There are no official translations I can find for volumes 25 and 26 chapters since they don’t seem to get official English chapter releases outside of finished volumes, so my opinions could change once those are out, if the story isn’t finished before then. If I goofed on any details, please let me know**
On Chapter 241 and What it Means
Mikey badly hurts Haruchiyo in 241. I’m going to ask ‘why’, not to excuse his violent behaviour, but because people just don’t do shit like that, and the ‘why’ is important. Also, it’s fiction, so let’s try to analyse what’s going on in this ongoing (very much not finished) story with that in mind.
Mikey mutilating Haruchiyo over a model plane breaking makes no sense, if only for the fact that Shinichiro was still alive and kicking at the time. He’s literally in the scene, lurking around the background of the page, contributing nothing to the events going on. If Mikey was retaliating against Haruchiyo, it would be wrong regardless, but why like that? Most kids with anger issues would resort to punching, or kicking, or throwing.
I don’t think Haru was a very physically strong kid; in the present day he uses weapons and we’ve never seen him fight once (before the 3 Dieties, where he uses a weapon). We don’t actually see him at all until volume 14 or 15, and he’s never shown fighting a single time. Even when he’s in Tenjiku, he just stands there in the background (anime fights featuring him were added and not in the manga, trust me I kept trying to find him in the background). He also doesn’t seem to have attended the dojo with Mikey and Baji, or learned any martial arts. Mikey is a martial arts prodigy, he could have taken Haruchiyo down in an instant. He could have just kicked him a bunch of times if he wanted to hurt him, or bullied him some other way. Again, of course this is wrong, but little kids express themselves in wrong ways all the time when they don’t have anyone teaching them better. It doesn’t make him evil. He was like nine, he’s sick.
The kids were all nine or ten years old, maximum, and Mikey was already like that. They were so young. Without knowing the context, because we don’t, that’s some serious serial killer energy. Kids don’t lash out with that level of violence and literal bloodshed, just because they’re angry. That’s the kind of behaviour that comes from very bad trauma.
As Senju is telling her story, it’s pretty obvious that she’s confusing correlation and causation. She breaks the plane, lies about it to Mikey, and then sees Mikey standing over Haruchiyo’s bloody form with blood all over his hands. So she thinks cause and effect, but admittedly, she just kind of walked in on the scene and didn’t hear or see much of what happened. This would be a traumatizing thing for anyone to see, at any age, but especially when they’re all so young. In her mind she thinks she caused it, because she was maybe eight. We all know it had nothing to do with a broken plane. Maybe the plane led to a confrontation between Mikey and Haruchiyo, but based on everything we’ve seen up until this point in the story, it would be out of character for Mikey to hurt his friend because of a toy.
Mikey may be possessive, but he doesn’t seem to care about material objects all that much, at least not above his friends. And he’s never shown to be a bully. When Baji is getting beaten up protecting Mikey’s moped, Mikey trashes it himself, because it’s dumb that Baji got hurt over such a stupid thing like an object. Baji was precious to him, not the bike. When the plane breaks, Shinichiro was still alive to build him another plane. If he was mad about it (though we don’t see him actually express any anger), it wouldn’t be because of the object, but the sentimental value it held. Which is none as far as we know. Again, Shinichiro is still alive at this point and will be for years to come.
Mikey could have easily overpowered and beaten the shit out of Haruchiyo, these kids would probably be accustomed to physical altercations, and familiar with the casual violence of punching someone. Kids play rough. These kids have older brothers in a gang. But instead of roughhousing, Mikey permanently scars his face. And not his nose, or his eyes, or his ears. Mikey seems like he’d be that kid that bit people, he could have pulled a Mike Tyson even. But he rips open Haruchiyo’s mouth. Why his mouth?
I think something Haru said set Mikey off or …maybe Mikey was trying to help him in a messed up way? (I know, I know, just stick with me. I’m not absolving Mikey of being an absolute terror. I have a reason for thinking this, just keep reading, I’ll get there I promise.)
I have a very bad feeling and the more I go back and think about it, the worse that feeling gets. Re-reading the manga did not alleviate that feeling, it just reinforced it. I could be wrong, but. Well.
This is incredibly long but I promise there’s a point. This is mostly about Mikey as a character and what I think is going on with him (and therefore the entire story). But also Shinichiro and Izana, and what that all has to do with Sanzu.
I’ll get to Shinichiro and why he’s a bad person.
I’m prepared to be way off the mark here and reading way too far into things, but this has been bugging me since the leaks for chapter 240 came out.
Against my better judgement I re-read the entire manga (and the volumes I own several times) to make sure I’m not misremembering anything, but if I’m flat out factually incorrect about anything, please let me know (I wrote this twice (well, three times) and it’s long, so I may have missed an error I made in an earlier draft).
But I digress, if you’ve seen Mr. Robot through to the end, I imagine you know exactly where I’m going with this and that it’s in a very BAD direction.
Let’s start with why Mikey is NOT Manjiro.
“MIKEY” AND NAMES
I don’t think Mikey is a ‘real person’.
I don’t know enough about mental disorders that cause one to disassociate as hard as Mikey does to try and put a name to it, nor do I want to armchair diagnose someone (and the same disorder can vary wildly from person to person, so). But it really seems like Wakui has been laying the groundwork and leaving clues the entire manga so far, that the Mikey we’ve seen for the majority of the story is not the original Sano Manjiro.
And I don’t mean that Mikey is a second time traveler.
I strongly suspect that those 'dark impulses’ or 'other Mikey’ is an alter, or another personality (for lack of better terms) completely separate from 'our Mikey’. Maybe we’re almost always seeing Mikey and we’ve either never met Sano Manjiro, or we see him very briefly, when it’s just him and Takemitchy.
Tokyo Revengers is a story about becoming a whole person again when you’ve lost yourself. It’s Takemitchy’s entire journey. It’s also Mikey’s journey. They’re both just parts of the whole person they should make up and not ‘real people’ themselves. If they were both ‘real people’, they should have all their memories and neither of them do.
In fictional stories, names are very important. Not just the meaning of the name and how it relates to the character or overall story, but if a character has a name at all, or if they have multiple names.
Takemichi has two names. He’s given the nickname Takemitchy (by Mikey, isn’t that interesting), because he’s a different person. Mikey may not know that until the Tenjiku conflict, but we know it as the audience. He’s an alternate version of himself when he’s in the past, and annihilates his alternate self to take over that body when he goes back to the future. There’s a version of him, Takemichi, that we never get to see. We only follow Takemitchy’s story. We never really see what kind of person younger Takemichi is, because we’ve never met him. We aren’t afforded the opportunity to see what happens in the past when Takemitchy isn’t there and Takemichi gets his body back. We can only piece together what happens from information other characters give us. Takemitchy doesn’t get any of Takemichi’s memories in the future, because he’s not him.
Mikey has two names. Manjiro and Mikey, but he only goes by Mikey. A name he gives to himself to no longer be Manjiro. NOBODY calls him Manjiro aside from Shinichiro, Izana, and Takemitchy that one time (no, a character saying his full name does not count). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Takemitchy calling his real name is the thing that gets through to him at the last possible moment as he finally asks for help.
Mikey isn’t the original Manjiro, and Takemitchy isn’t the original Takemichi.
But then there’s also “Mikey”. In the Bonten timeline, Sanzu says “Mikey” is gonna speak, in quotation marks. It’s possible that this is just a strange stylistic choice made by Wakui or a rogue translator, but. He already called him Mikey when they were children, why the distinction in quotations here? Is there a difference? Can Sanzu tell the difference because they know each other so well and have for so long?
Mikey also goes between calling him Sanzu and Haruchiyo, which could be nothing, but IS interesting, since he calls everyone else by one chosen name and only that one name. He doesn’t go between ‘Kenchin’ and ‘Draken’, or ‘Mitsuya’ and ‘Takashi’, or ‘Takemichi’ and ‘Takemitchy’. Sanzu is the only person who’s different.