Tokyo has become a cruel and merciless city—a place where vicious creatures called “ghouls” exist alongside humans. The citizens of this once great metropolis live in constant fear of these bloodthirsty savages and their thirst for human flesh. However, the greatest threat these ghouls pose is their dangerous ability to masquerade as humans and blend in with society.
Based on the best-selling supernatural horror manga by Sui Ishida, Tokyo Ghoul follows Ken Kaneki, a shy, bookish college student, who is instantly drawn to Rize Kamishiro, an avid reader like himself. However, Rize is not exactly who she seems, and this unfortunate meeting pushes Kaneki into the dark depths of the ghouls' inhuman world. In a twist of fate, Kaneki is saved by the enigmatic waitress Touka Kirishima, and thus begins his new, secret life as a half-ghoul/half-human who must find a way to integrate into both societies.
Remember when you were little and you tried to bake that really awesome cake following the instructions on a cooking-book and ended up forgetting half the ingredients or using the wrong ones and the cake looked like complete shit and shit was all over the kitchen and then your mother walked in and slapped you across the face? Whether or not you remember, if you can picture that scenario then you can picture how Studio Pierrot's attempt at adapting Tokyo Ghoul into an anime unfolded.
Lets actually start off with the "good" in Tokyo Ghoul. Why? Because it's one sentence long so lets get it
out of the way shall we.
The soundtrack is decent. The opening theme is good, and the ending theme is pretty catchy. Ok so that was two sentences.
I'm going to fess up now and admit that I have not read the manga although I'm aware that it's a lot better and that they crammed 60 chapters into 12 episodes. This review will be based on the anime alone, which I believe is more correct then the people giving this adaption a break solely for their admiration of the manga.
The worst aspect of Tokyo Ghoul are the characters and their development. Frankly I'm not going to talk about any of the characters aside from Kaneki because there is nothing to say about them after 12 episodes.
Kaneki is worth talking about because he is a boy born with a vagina..oh and he is a also a half-ghoul, almost forgot about that. As the MC of Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki's main role is to disappoint us to death, cry a lot, and bitch a lot about how much he sucks.
With the characters being so dreadful, the anime relied heavily on the plot and the violence. The plot is very broad in the anime: Humans vs Ghouls and Ghouls vs Ghouls. At least that's what I got from 12 episodes adapted from 60 chapters. The violence is censored so that sucks, but apparently the DVD versions will be uncensored..cool, anyways moving on. The most pretentious thing about Tokyo Ghoul are the attempts at emotionally moving the audience by having some characters we know nothing about die and seeing other characters feel sad while the soundtrack playing assures us that this is indeed meant to be an emotional scene...awkward.
So about right now you're probably thinking to yourself that I don't have much to say about this anime. I just felt like reviewing this anime cause I wanted to write down that whole baking a cake comparison after which my passion ran out. This is much like the folks at Studio Pierrot. They had no passion whatsoever in the making of this anime, taking advantage of the fact that the manga is extremely popular and doing the most minimalist job possible.
With all this I thought I would take joy in witnessing how badly this train-wreck could end, and to my surprise they actually took that pleasure from me as well. The last 10 minutes of the last episode were legitimately entertaining. Right at the end, the show introduced moral ideas worthy of involving the audience and I found myself enjoying Tokyo Ghoul for the first time. What a bunch of trolls eh.
1) This is a rewriting of one of the first reviews I ever made, I deleted it because I did not know what the hell I was talking about.
2) There will be some minor spoilers, you've been warned ye little b-
You know those stories that have these special entities that live in a world and pretty much kind of like x-men? Well recently that idea has been done a lot, out of most of the things that have done this idea recently, Parasyte is the only one that succeeds in doing it well, Beside it is this mess. Tokyo Ghoul, when I saw this show
I thought it was gonna be some generic mystery show and when I started watching it......it was a generic x-men idea show, how wonderful? And guess what?It became popular and people praised it, now I'm currently taking my time reading the manga (which is better than this) so I won't be mentioning it.
So in this world there are entities known as 'Ghouls' who feed off human corpses and drink coffee. Yes, coffee. So one day a freshman college student goes out with some girl and it turns out, SHE'S A GHOUL! DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUN!!!! So after an accident before getting eaten, doctors thought it was such a smart idea (not) to take the ghoul's organs and stuff them into our MC. What happens? The MC is know a half ghoul, half human and struggles to maintain each side.
Cool idea right? Well you're wrong, the show fails to make the plot understandable, its such a mess, the reason why is that it never explains jackshit. For example, how do people turn into ghouls? What the hell is a ward? How do ghouls drink coffee but nothing else except water? What is this world? and so on. The show does the thing were it tries to solve everything in just 12 episodes, and this show fails it miserably, this show needs 24 episodes to space everything out, everything feels so rushed, cause of this it leads to the plotholes and cause of the plotholes its more confusing. I'll give it points for its idea but thats it.
Our MC is Kaneki, I talked about him in my story segment, here I'll say whats good about him and whats bad. Now the good is we find out his life is pretty tragic, his mom dies as a kid, he can't eat normal anymore, it really makes you feel for him. The way he tries to keep his humanity and ghoulness is so well done and I give prontos to that. The bad side, the show hardly focuses on him, it tries to focus more on the world around him, this is really the main sector of why everything is messy. Cause of this Kaneki feels more like a plot-device more than anything.
Now the other characters, there isn't really much to say about them, there's Touka, there is meant to be some development between her and Kaneki but there isn't, its like the show is saying, hey look developme- NOPE FUCK YOU! As soon as the development can happen its just vanishes. This leads to so much under-development.
The other characters, there isn't really much to them and usually don't matter to the plot at all, there's so many chances for some good development and the show fucks that up too.
Ok now the music, is just....epic. Its really well done and is so memroble. The OP, I don't know what to say. It is amazing and it looks at how ghouls and humans are equal and makes you question yourself and humanity? Are monsters really created by humans? The ED, is pretty meh. And thats really it for sound.
The art is pretty OK with some really well done backgrounds that shine, I'd give it a 7, but I won't cause of something in the animation which actually made me want to drop the show and its.....Censoring. There's a lot of blood in this show and it tries to censor it, but it does it so poorly, it uses black bars to censor things, it literally blackens nearly the whole screen and you wonder what the fuck is going on?
Welp really, the only reason I didn't drop this was cause of its action scenes and litlle cliffhangers at the end of each episode. The action scenes are really well done and put you on the edge of your seat. The cliffhangers, man these cliffhangers are a reason to continue the show, they usually leave big ones making you what to see what happens next.
This show is a mess, it has some well done music and thats the best thing it has to offer, the rest is just either poorly done or rushed. This show could have been something really good but it falls on its ass everytime it has a chance. The ending is a cliffhanger which is just a cheap move and a reason to watch Season 2. I don't really reccomend this, shows that have done a better job of this are Parasyte which is STILL ONGOING (by the time this review is posted) and Tokyo Esp which is an OK show, its more light-hearted but it does a much better job than this. Tokyo Ghoul is meh. I'm out.
Horror movies are amusing at times to watch. Sure, their intent is to strike fear into viewers but most times, they are so predictable and saturated with tropes that it almost seems like a cruel joke. Tokyo Ghoul doesn’t derive far from that. Despite being much longer than a typical horror movie, the series plays around with itself so much that it almost becomes a laughter stock. Don’t get me wrong though. The intriguing idea of supernatural creatures known as ‘ghouls’ living among human communities is quite well-built when it comes with premise. However, the show ultimately kills itself with its execution. Based off of
the manga of the same name, I can say that they are almost like two different worlds.
The brainchild of Tokyo Ghoul is Sui Ishida as his first original work. Like the title implies, the series follows the idea of ghouls living among human population in Tokyo. They are regarded as savages and killers of injustice. News reports often sends the message that all ghouls must be eradicated in order for the world to be at peace. It becomes a near totalitarian-like state as the ghouls finds themselves at constant struggle for survival. If you don’t believe me, just ask Ken Kaneki. The young boy has a dark secret after one day as he comes face to face with the horror of reality.
Ask yourself first though: is Tokyo Ghoul a good adaptation of a horror story? At first, it does seem so with the premise. The first episode crafts the image well with the innocent Kaneki and his puppy crush on another woman named Rize. What comes next is a big surprise for him as his life spins out of control. This might be a surprise for him but is far too predictable for the viewers’ eyes to see. The beautiful girl with the mysterious aura, dark alley, and morbid news near Kaneki’s community should have all been hints that something terrible would happen to the boy soon. And exactly like that, Kaneki’s life is no longer human as he becomes part ghoul in Tokyo.
Despite being part ghoul, the show sends the message that Kaneki wishes to live as a human instead. His love for literature and struggle to contain his appetite are proof of this. Emphasizing on his human traits, Kaneki fights against his gluttonous desire to consume human flesh. No matter how great the temptation is, we see how determined the kid to retain his humanity. This conventional idea isn’t uncommon at all though. Other series such as Claymore and Shiki also have similar ideas. Unfortunately, Tokyo Ghoul doesn’t develop this idea all too well. For instance, can we really sympathize with Kaneki? While he is a good role model for others, some of his roles in this adaptation are questionable. Furthermore, we don’t really know much about the young boy such as his backstory. Taking a closer glance at his character, Kaneki is more like a plot device himself to steer the engine of the premise. In retrospect, Kaneki is an underdeveloped character with minimal characterization and lack of focus. The mask he wear is a motif to his character but the anime adaptation neglects its value.
Some focus are put together with the other characters throughout the show such as Toka Kirishima, a young girl and also a ghoul dubbed as “The Rabbit”. Other ghouls entering the story includes Nishiki NIshio, Hinami Fuegushi, Yoshimura, Gourmet, and among others. The funny thing about them is that despite being the ghouls, most of them are presented as protagonists while fighting for survival. It’s clear that society misunderstands them because of their gluttonous appetite for meat. Then, there’s also the Aogiri Tree that fits the profile that society that describes them as – brutal, violent, and craving to satisfy themselves. On the other hand, there’s the CCG, a Ghoul Investigation agency dedicated to battle against ghouls. I wouldn’t necessarily call them antagonists since their purpose is to secure the safety of the public. However, they do come head and head against Kaneki and the others. The consequence includes grief on both sides as they lose important people. It pinpoints the fact that lives are very fragile that can be taken away so easily whether you are a human or a ghoul.
A prominent character in CCG is Amon. Despite not being the main focus of the show, we find out about him more than almost any other character. These include his partnership with professional ghoul hunter Mado, his past, and how he became who he is today. Serving as a determined man, he has some similarities and differences with Kaneki. They both fight for what they believe in but with very different motivations. But taking for granted, Amon can be considered a breakout character compared to others. The sad part is that he is perhaps one of the only character that some of us can relate to. Others such as Touka just lacks any distinctive traits or characterization for us to get to know well. Oh and don’t bother asking about Rize. Despite her being the main reason of Kaneki’s change, the show neglects to focus on her as a character at all and only shows her influence through the show in ridiculous diehard ways.
Several consideration should also be considered as the show explores prejudice, morality, and identity. Apparently, the public shows fear of the ghouls so the show wastes no time to label them as pure monsters. But ask yourself this: should all ghouls be considered as monsters? This can be controversial as some ghouls truly are unredeemable while others such as Kaneki and Nishiki have human values. Then, there’s the identity issue with various characters. Kaneki struggles to battle this the hardest out of any other character as he adapts to his new life. He must hide his ghoul tendencies from his neighbors, teachers, and even his best friend Hide. While all this seems to strike keen interest, it just feels repetitive and quickly grows old. The show just tries far too had when attempting to get viewers to realize what Kaneki strives to be.
Now comes perhaps the worst part of the show: the adaptation of the story. The craftsmanship had the right source material but it didn’t know what to do with it. Studio Pierrot failed to deliver a faithful adaptation with both the characters and the story. There’s little development with any of the characters and fails to achieve adequate accuracy with the main story. The main story cuts off important parts that were hugely influential to certain outcomes. It lacks credible built-up, has a poor execution, and is ultimately beyond salvage at a certain point. For the characters, most of them suffer from development and characterization. While we can feel sympathetic at times, it’s hard to relate to them at all. Most of them aren’t good role models besides Kaneki. Furthermore, the relationship he builds with others is vaguely expressed. Touka often gets into arguments with Kaneki while Nishiki picks on him as a weakling. Hinami’s relationship with Kaneki has some innocence to it but really lacks compatibility. There’s also a sense of hate between some ghouls but most of this is degenerated to weak expression because of its pacing. In retrospect, this adaptation lies in the ruins.
Despite all this, Tokyo Ghoul is a horror fest when it comes to action. The artwork of the series is done well visually to capture the gruesome moments in the ghoul world. Speaking of which, the ghouls themselves are designed with monstrous traits such as their razor sharp teeth, scarlet eyes, and body structure. The ghoul’s predatory organ known as the Kagune is designed to look artistically endearing with blood-like muscles. Although the show doesn’t focus too much on the mechanics, it’s easy to tell that they are a race to be feared. Likewise, most of the other character designs are designed with accuracy. I say this because of their ability to blend in with human society despite being ghouls. Just take a good look at Nishiki. The background and dark chilling atmosphere also has noir-like feeling to provoke power. Overall action coordination remains top notch with cinematic battles scenes from start to finish. I just hope the BDs will remove the horrid censorship from the TV series.
On the soundtrack front, the show’s delivery is effective. It shows enough ways to get most of the job done. In fact, the very first minutes of the series wastes little time with its high volume of violence. The haunting tones strikes fear with both wish-fulfillment brutality and chaos. Voice expressions too crafts the imagery of our characters’ struggles. I also give credit to Kana Hanazawa who is able to play the character Rize. She was able to convey the character as a graceful beauty until her true visage is revealed. Others such as Toka and Gourmet have distinctive ways of speaking similar to those of a tomboy and aristocrat respectfully. Finally, the OP and ED songs are beautiful and well decorated.
To say the least, Tokyo Ghoul is an adaptation gone wrong when it comes to story and characters. The way it is adapted is a degeneration of its original source. But if you’re coming in as an anime original viewer, then this show might be something to take a keen interest on especially when it comes to the cinematic battles. The first episode will hook you in but the rest of them lacks that sort of development. Although there are some occasional comedy, the majority of the show takes itself seriously, perhaps sometimes for its own good. I wouldn’t call Tokyo Ghoul a hollow shell of what it should be though. Rather, it’s more of an adaptation that should have been handled differently. VERY differently.
Tokyo Ghoul is one of the more hyped up anime this season for a number of reasons. Mainly because it was, as I have heard, a very popular manga. The premise itself is easy to follow. The world is inhabited by two types of people: regular people and ghouls who eat people as a source of food. The main character, Kaneki Ken, after almost being killed by a ghoul is turned into a half ghoul-half human hybrid. By this time, I, who has not read the manga, assumed the show would explore the morality of and question the prejudice between the two groups
using the MC as a focal perspective. While at the same time having some kickass fight sequences.
Boy was I wrong.
Story – 6/10
For the most part, Tokyo Ghoul’s storytelling was decent. It explored the different aspects of the ghoul community and made its point simple and concise. Although that’s about it. There isn’t anything too fancy or well done with its storytelling. Tokyo Ghoul is quick to establish the lore with the Wards (sectors), the Doves (anti ghoul police), and different types of ghouls. This last point emphasized by Anteiku and it’s here that Kaneki spends most of his time deliberating between his new and unique situation. The plot itself didn’t seem to be headed in any clear direction, but splits itself into different ‘mini-plots’ (similar to different story arcs in the manga) as Kaneki observes the different ghouls coming in and out of the cafe, and learns their own perspective of being a ghoul. While this in itself is fine, it creates other problems for character development and overall pacing. This is clear at the show’s 9th episode when there is a ghoul invasion in one of the other wards. It’s clear that this is the climax of the show, yet it feels blatantly out of place from the ‘mini-arc’ format the show was using so far. There was hardly any buildup leading up to the massive invasion and the last 4 episodes seemed to compress as much content as possible by amping up the pace, shown by the sudden high stakes and side characters being quickly introduced. It’s clear the ending was very rushed. Simply put, the show’s plot lacked focus. It did not take advantage of the interesting premise they had to work with.
Art – 8/10
I don’t have any complaints here. The animation is slick and smooth. The (very few) fights and battles are nice to watch. The weapons, qunique and kagune, were an interesting concept for the show and there were enough different types to show off. The show tended to lean toward more vivid colours in its art style and wasn’t afraid to use its full range of colours which I thought was a good decision for the show to make.
The characters themselves are distinct from one another in their art design and colour and I particularly liked how a character’s colour was associated with their personality. It’s a welcome change from other anime where characters look way too similar to one another. The OP and ED sequences were great to watch and is one of the few shows where I don’t skip its sequences. I especially like theme of contrast and reflection used in the OP.
Sound – 8/10
There wasn’t anything wrong with Tokyo Ghoul’s sound direction. Overall effects in fight scenes were synced well and so was background noise. Each character had their own defined voice and the voice acting complimented well with the art and colour style. That is to say, their voices were a little more on the melodramatic side. But it was used to good effect in presenting their own personalities and character. The OP and ED are both fantastic and fit well into the tone of the show, or rather the tone the show was trying to show.
Character – 5/10
Here is where Tokyo Ghoul suffers from the most and ultimately hinders enjoyment of the show. The show has a lot of side characters. A new character is introduced maybe every 1 to 2 episodes and none of these characters get enough screentime and character development. The fault of this is partly due to its 1-cour situation, but it’s also because of the mini-plot format of the show. A new character is introduced who interacts with Kaneki in some way before being pushed to the sidelines a couple of episodes later and a new character takes the stage. There is barely any exposition for the side characters and the way they were simply dumped to the side until the climax arc in the 9th episode was simply lazy.
The main characters themselves are regrettably 2-dimensional. Kaneki’s initial panic with his newfound situation was acceptable at first but he never grew out of his timidness despite the abundant characters and small setting he was confined to. Unfortunately, the lack of development for the side characters also meant Kaneki’s character development also suffered as a result. Kaneki himself always seems to be in helpless situations which he can’t get out of. The only ounce of character development is during Hinami’s arc in Episode 3 where he sees that there are ghouls who don’t wish to kill people. His entire character is just a tease to the final episode when he goes all badass. And even that in itself is a disappointment. That wasn’t what I wanted to see from the show at all.
Enjoyment – 6/10
I can tell you this. If you switch off your brain you’ll most likely enjoy this show. It doesn’t do anything new or unique within its own genre. Battles are cool. Characters are predictable and the setting is interesting enough. But if you’re looking for something of a higher quality caliber, then this show isn’t it. I was strung along the entire show thinking ‘this next episode is going to have more action’ or ‘this time Kaneki is going to do something’. The entire time the show left me with blue balls just waiting for the moment the show would present some sort of meaningful sequence or a badass fight scene. I was sorely disappointed. The final episode had some element of the exploration of morality and choice and it was at a level I was satisfied with, and something I expected to see from the first episode. Yet this wasn’t the case.
But hey, if anything else it was a decent Thursday night filler show. Better than Glasslip that’s for sure. The final episode did have me on edge, even if the characters are 2-dimensional, the execution and presentation of the final episode was able to convey a suspenseful tone which regrettably did not appear in any of the other episodes. I suppose its simply another typical shounen anime.
Overall – 6/10
I’ll admit to enjoying it enough. It wasn’t anything special in the end but it’s a decent show to watch if you’re looking for something to pass the time. If you were expecting any level of depth then you definitely won’t find it here. As explained before, the show had a lot of potential in presenting the different aspects and perspective between ghouls and humans and failed to capitalize. Unfortunately, in the end the show is average at best. It wasn’t the fault of the staff entirely as it could have benefited from more episodes, but the adaptation of the source material was mismanaged. For all its visual style it could not save the show from its muddled storytelling.
This is my first review. Feedback is welcome. A more detailed review can be viewed at my blog!
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