Art by: Twitter: @tarokunnnn and @_tamomoko
The first time we see Chifuyu and Baji meet, they both sport very different looks and attitudes from what we’ve seen before.
We know Chifuyu to be an honest and mellow guy who is the vice commander of the 1st division of the Tokyo Manji gang. His hair is dyed blonde yet worn down, and he knows how to strike when time calls for it, with unwavering loyalty for his friends. He isn’t one of the founding members like Baji, Mikey, Draken, Mitsuya, Kazutora or Pah, but he has a set role in Toman and is respected as the vice commander of the 1st division.
In the backstory of his and Baji, we suddenly see a very different Chifuyu from before.
He constantly searches for opportunities to show his strength and beats up whoever he needs to to represent himself as the strongest. He has a foul mouth and seemingly no respect for anyone as he states himself. He has a group of underlings always praising and walking around him mouthing off to others as well, which is a stark contrast to the Chifuyu from the present.
Baji Keisuke has a similar differing attitude suddenly as Chifuyu notices a seemingly very nerdy and preppy young man sitting at school in an orderly way while trying to learn to write more Kanji. He stumbles over the spelling of ‘tiger’ before Chifuyu gets curious and corrects him.
This is their first proper conversation, the start of a rather peculiar friendship.
Baji calls Chifuyu “a good guy” for helping him and Chifuyu still considers him with a confused yet intrigued attitude as he continues to help him.
On that same day, Chifuyu runs into some older guys who have been brought by a student he had beat up, and as they corner him to knock his lights out he realises that he is in trouble. As much as Chifuyu can fight, one man against a whole older group are simply impossible odds to win right?
Well, not for the Baji who comes barging in.
To Chifuyu’s surprise, he beats multiple guys at the same time and reveals underneath that preppy nerd facade a strong and intimidating young man who saves his comrade from a possible bloody ending.
At that moment, Chifuyu for the very first time actually respected a person and swiftly his attitude evolves into something closer to what we’ve known from him in the beginning and middle of the anime.
The interesting thing about this relationship is that it was built on a very natural principle, especially Baji who has shown with his honest heart that even the rather aggressive Chifuyu has discovered how quickly friendships can be built and nurtured.
It continues with Baji inviting Chifuyu into his home as they realised they even lived in the same building. Baji’s hospitable attitude towards his new friend shows here as he wants to share the last box of ‘Peyoung Yakisoba’ with him so he doesn’t have to go without.
The self-sacrificing and honest Baji is the one that Chifuyu has in mind when the commander of the first division suddenly runs over to Valhalla.
Instead of mistrusting him and quickly jumping to conclusions, Chifuyu’s loyalty comes to play here as he thinks about his friend and the pure heart he has. In this case he is very similar to Mikey who also orders Takemichi to bring him back as he is his treasured friend.
The story turns darker with Kazutora and Baji stealing Shinichiro’s bike and Baji feeling immense guilt towards Mikey. We can see that under the tough shell his kind heart has persevered all that time and continues to beat in his chest. Even in the heat of the bloody halloween’s fight, Chifuyu cannot imagine Baji doing something bad for Toman, even after having beaten him up in front of the eternity of Valhalla and after brushing Chifuyu off as “just someone I chose because he can fight”.
In the end, after the bloody halloween is over and Baji has tragically lost his life, Chifuyu was right all along.
Every fight and misunderstanding lifts but only with the ultimate price:
Baji, smiling in Chifuyu’s arms as he slowly fades away.
Chifuyu’s loyalty to his friend is so strong because he has found a person worth respecting, a purpose that he likes and wishes to pursue, which is the reason why he asks in tears at Baji’s grave what he’s supposed to do next.
What makes their friendship not only cut at an abrupt end but also leave a bittersweet feeling behind in the viewer is that even when no one believed in Baji doing the right thing, Chifuyu always did.
A friendship that blossomed from the truth of one’s heart and was severed sadly by a sacrifice that shook Toman to its core.