Now that we are a week past Thanksgiving and all of the leftovers have been eaten, it’s time to sink our teeth into something really tasty. Tokyo Ghoul has been around for a few years, but with the second season wrapped up and the announcement that a third season is in the works, it’s time to dive back in to this dark anime which explores what it means to be human and what a person will do to survive.
Ken Kaneki has probably one of the worst first dates ever. After having a wonderful evening with the girl of his dreams, Ken discovers that all she wants from him is his body. To eat his body to be precise. He survives the attack, but has to have a operation where her organs are put into his own. This makes him half ghoul and he struggles to find out what place his has in the world. Throw in some ghouls who want him dead and a human task force trying to protect the humans, and you can see that Ken better learn quickly.
The ghoul is one of the lest used monsters in storytelling. Traditional, they are a creature who feasts on humans, dead or alive. The ghouls in Tokyo live among the humans and try to avoid detection. They are super strong and possess an organ that can be used as a weapon. They can pass for human, but take on a monstrous appearance when attacking. One of the things that I like is that ghouls are portrayed as being good or evil. Too often, monsters are said to be only one thing. The ghouls in this show can be good, like Yoshimurawho runs a cafe and teaches Ken about his new life, or evil like Rize whose attack on Ken started the series. By doing so, the creators make the viewer guess if this ghoul is good or bad when they seem him or her for the first time.
Ghouls are not the only problem Ken has. The Commission of Counter Ghoul is a human agency that hunts down ghouls. There are some of the most interesting characters in the series. They have a policy of destroying any ghouls they come across. They are merciless, killing any ghoul they come across. Which would be fine if they were all evil, but some of just trying to live their life. Family members of ghouls are killed by this organization and we can’t blame them when they start attacking the CCG and ripping them apart. This dynamic makes us side with the ghouls and asks who the real monsters are.
The artwork on the series is gorgeous. Tokyo seems vibrant and alive in tho we are in some very dark parts of the city. The violence, it should go without saying, is very graphic and over the top. There is something beautiful about it. The blood sprays across the screen like paint. The ghouls themselves look very interesting, producing some of the most frightening monsters in any media. One of the most recognizable things from the series is a black half-mask with a skull grin. Before I even saw Tokyo, I saw that mask being sold at Hot Topic.
One can hope that it does not take a few years to finally see the new series, as the first two seasons came to North America two years after being shown in Japan. The third season will be called Tokyo Ghoul:re and will probably follow the manga arc of the same name. This might show us some new characters and Ken working with a group of people we might never of thought of him working with.
If the dark side of anime appeals to you, give Tokyo Ghoul a look as you prepare for the third season. A dark and twisted journey, it might surprise you with it’s deep story line and interesting characters. Just make sure that you have a strong stomach.