The first season of Tokyo Ghoul, while certainly not reaching the heights as the manga, was an enjoyable exposition to the series that was able lead newcomers like me to binge read the entire 143 chapter manga in two days. As a stand alone show, ignoring the quality of the manga, it was pretty good.
Root A, however, is trash from an anime-viewer-only perspective and worse than trash if you've read the manga. It is a mess of unexplained plot points that insult the complexity of the source material it was adapted from. For all the hype generated by Sui Ishida creating an original plot line
for the anime to follow, Root A fell inconceivably short in almost all areas it could. Studio Pierrot proved itself completely inadequate to handling the franchise and we can only hope that the Tokyo Ghoul series gets the Brotherhood-esque 50-episode reboot with a much better studio.
Despite a promising opening episode that immediately introduced a difference in story to the manga, Root A never seemed to be interested in actually developing an original story. From one episode to the next, content was centered around adaptations of the sidestory in the manga. I never got the feeling that there even was an original element to the story. Kaneki, who should've been the focal point of the so-called "original plot", is left thoroughly underdeveloped and recieves approximately half a minute of air-time per episode. I was excited for the prospect of a different take on perhaps the manga's weakest arc, but found myself disappointed by the lack of attention to the main character. For all intents and purposes, there are zero differences in plot progression between the anime and manga, besides the fact that the anime development of the characters is far inferior. Simply nothing comes of this original direction despite the many glaringly obvious routes it could add to the series. Instead, Root A follows a rather slow-paced development of the supporting cast with intermittent unexplained violence. The story somewhat resembles season 1 Aldnoah Zero - intriguing major plot points outlined but no content to flesh out the story and add impact to the plot's important events.
A large part of the problem is no doubt due to the shortness of the adaptation. The first season, while not perfect, was able to a manage a somewhat coherent story condensing around 60 chapters of manga. Root A attempts to condense something closer to 75-80 chapters and royally screws it up. Major story arcs are melded together so that the overall picture is completely nonsensical. There is no coherent progression from one event to the next; the end result is that the series as a whole feels like a haphazard, condensed jumbling of the manga. With everything feeling rushed and coming from left field, it's nearly impossible to get invested or enjoy the story.
That said, there are some legitimately good scenes of character development of the side characters. Suzaya Juuzou's character and his relationship to Shinohara is actually better done in the anime than the manga. Unfortunately, the rest of these character development scenes are mostly direct adaptations from the manga. If you've read the manga, you will very soon forget that this is supposed to be an original story, as 90% of each episode is cut from the manga. You really begin to question Studio Pierrot's priorities, as the main story arc is so sidelined by side stories (how ironic) that when bouts of action occur, you simply have no idea what the conflict is about. Pacing was an issue in the first season; however, Root A takes poor pacing to a new level.
The major climax of the manga was impactful and well thought out but gets completely butchered in the anime thanks to a missing major fight as well as the larger issue of simply not adapting enough of the main story to really understand Kaneki's profound development as a character, which is what makes the final arc so epic. Once again, I really have to question the director's priorities - if you plan to adapt the epic, final showdown of the main story arc, why wouldn't you spend more time adapting the events of the main story?
Animation-wise, Root A is fairly underwhelming. The art is nothing spectacular (aside from one beautifully detailed keyboard) and the animation hits power-point level quality during some fight scenes. With this show, Studio Pierrot proudly declares to the world that fighting scenes are not their forté and fills most major fights with smoke so nearly all art is obscured.
Sound is a similar story. Pierrot should have kept the same opening song from the first season (Unravel by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure), which will undoubtedly be the most memorable piece of the Pierrot iteration of the franchise. This is pretty evident considering Pierrot even brought in an acoustic version was made specifically for the (rubbish) final episode of the show. The ED is a decent song but the series offers nothing spectacular when it comes to OST aside from the one standout song that came from the first season.
Overall, this was an extremely disappointing follow-up to a semi-decent first season. I'm still having trouble comprehending the stupidity that was the decision to cram the brilliance of the 143 chapters of Tokyo Ghoul into 24 episodes; furthermore, the hint of a :re follow up is nothing more an insult to manga readers. Root A has some good moments of character development, but that is due entirely to a direct adaptation from manga scenes and should not be any way credited to Studio Pierrot. In fact, Root A has only shown that Studio Pierrot should not adapt any more Tokyo Ghoul material - or any material really.
(This has been adapted from my reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
Something that is inherent in all people is the need to protect the things you love. Doing whatever it takes to keep the stuff around you safe. Either by fighting or sacrificing, as long as what truly matters to you is unharmed, the rest doesn't matter. It might be family, friends, or your dearest of objects; it's not so much what it is but the act of protecting it that matters. But there are those times when, despite how hard one tries, such protection just isn't possible. Such is the idea that Tokyo Ghoul Root A
works with. But without being kept safe itself, it merely implodes.
Root A (the name to be used from here on out) takes place immediately after the conclusion of the first season. Kaneki has become quite strong and through his own volition, has decided to join the "bad" ghoul group known as Aogiri.
...And that's as logical of a plot as Root A offers. From then on, the show adopts a completely nonsensical and disjointed front that, even upon closer inspection, follows no semblance of thought. Kaneki's underlying problems? Sorry, those aren't looked at in depth because it's much more important to have a terribly choreographed fight scene. What about that guy during said fight? Nope, ignored completely for some asinine reason. How about the encompassing battle that was occurring around them? Nuh-uh, nothing is revealed there either. Where were the girls who have only one ghoul eye like Kaneki? What became of Yoshimura, aka "Baby Owl"? What was Aogiri's true motive? Why did Touka literally do nothing for twelve straight episodes? There are no answers to these questions because the show doesn't bother to talk about any of them. And it's not as if they bring them up themselves to elaborate on; they sort of lazily occur, with the narrative progressing from one instance to the next without contributing even an ounce of credible evidence as to why anything that is happening is going down.
Since Root A cannot support itself on the events that really matter, then it falls onto the fights themselves to attempt to salvage anything that remains. But even those cannot escape the downward spiral that is happening. Not counting the lackluster animation, there is an inadequate look at both sides -- the humans and the ghouls -- which causes zero emotional resonance with any of the cast. Thus making the outcomes of the fights a moot point. Touka's "presence" has already been brought up, but the entirety of the cast falls into the same unimportant boat as she does. Yoshimura is given an inconsequential flashback with Koma ("Devil Ape") and Irimi ("Black Dog") receiving the absolute bare minimum of background to constitute some form of morality. Takizawa complains about being second-best, Amon can't understand Kaneki, and Shinohara is a super-nice guy to Juzo; all three men, more or less, die at some point in the anime, but their deaths hold no value because, like the plot, they are given no attention or purpose. The same goes for Hide -- his death is supposed to be somber, but it's awkwardly placed and means nothing to the audience who's only interaction with Hide was him stalking around the Dove headquarters. This all says nothing of the fights in which neither side seems to be able to kill off primary characters after receiving the wallop of a lifetime.
Hearkening back to the introduction and the established inability for the anime to craft relatable characters, one of Kaneki's supposed drives is to protect the people he loves dearly -- those at Anteiku. And to this end, he joins Aogiri, believing that by aiding them he can eradicate the people going after the only friends he has. Obviously, this notion sounds completely insane, but it at least makes sense for Root A. But (perhaps obviously again) it doesn't work: Anteiku burns and his friends are decimated. This is acceptable; as has already been discussed, sometimes protecting the things you love isn't possible. Yet Kaneki seems to just give up. So instead of continuing to try to protect his loved ones -- the whole reason the show began in the first place -- he stops, making his actions up to that moment mean as much as if he never parted ways in the first place.
The art style for Tokyo Ghoul isn't that engaging. Many dark grays, browns, and greens are used all over the place, making the anime feel more depressing than beautiful. Granted, this may be what the show was going for, but it only makes everything seem muddy. Even worse, the fight choreography and direction is lackluster, where the duels seem like an amalgamation of blobs maybe striking at one another here and there.
The character designs for Root A can be good at times, but are nothing too impressive. The Owl is quite intimidating, Kouma's ape mask, and many of the other ghouls are definitely unique and give the necessary feeling of being alien.
Yet, actual animation pulls it all back down, being below average in most cases. The earlier episodes are the most egregious, with a loss in flow in movements, static characters, and simple facial expressions. The later episodes at times can go against these notions, but having to fight through the censoring, the bad camera work, and obstructing debris makes it hard to see much movement even when it is supposedly going on.
The problems continue for Root A when it comes to its characters. Besides being completely distant to the audience, their independent development is severely lacking. It's also difficult to pick any character to initially focus on. Not just because they are all incredibly weak, but because none of them are given enough spotlight to constitute a "main" status.
Nevertheless, Kaneki is around once more this season. After his previous trauma at the hands of Jason, Kaneki is no longer the scared, helpless kid but instead a confident, strong ghoul. But following his beginning speeches and departure, his vocabulary is reduced to a lot of screaming and the occasional "Hide..." here and there. He has some kind of metamorphosis that essentially enwraps his mind but -- like most everything within Root A -- why this happens to him isn't clearly looked at. He manages to go around, attacking random human buildings and groups until "finally" realizing that he should have been there to protect Anteiku personally instead of indirectly. His character is supposedly killed (the ending is obscenely convoluted), and since his actions have been relatively unknown, his growth is nearly nonexistent.
Somehow worse than Kaneki is Touka, the semi-in-love-but-not-really girl who is doing what she can to be by Kaneki's side. After fighting to save him and him suddenly leaving her and the coffee shop, Touka is somewhat crestfallen. In order to take her mind off of the situation, she opts to go to a college while simultaneously getting nearer to Kaneki. Her inner turmoil about fitting in and the struggles she faced against her brother and society are replaced with quasi-romance feelings, effectively killing any development she may have had. Which would have been at least tolerable, had they done something with such a turn of events. Instead, after working rather hard to be with him, the two times she comes "face-to-face" with him, what occurs is: her attacking him and her letting him go. The former can make sense in context; she is simply letting out her frustration against the boy who won't look her way. The latter goes against what Root A had started in her. By the end, the only thing she gained was a few facts from a college textbook.
The rest of the cast, from both the human side and the ghoul side, are not even worth mentioning. Nearly all of the Doves are given one-note personalities, with their respective persons being more foreign than the ghouls that inhabit the show. Amon does nothing but fight and complain, Akira laments about her dead relatives, and Takizawa has some forced melodrama. Other members exist, but a passing show of their messed-up face or a single line from the enemy about their power doesn't tell the audience anything about their character, let alone what kind of experiences they might have had. And the same can be said for the ghouls. All of Aogiri is filled with characters that somehow seem to have pasts with their Dove counterparts, but such revelations are never given and subsequently their characters mean nothing. Names like Noro, Tatara, and Eto are just that; names without any fraction of message behind them besides that they are "really cool looking." The only character that maybe earns any sort of credibility is Juzo. He is a known psychopath working under Shinohara, with his background being explained in an exchange between the two. And after all of the time he spent with his pseudo-father, he shows some form of compassion and sadness for the only person who cared for him. Unfortunately, not even Juzo's markings are enough to keep the cast stitched together.
The OP is extremely grating on the ears. The instruments are a mishmash of sound that doesn't seem to follow any kind of order, the singing is all over the place, and it isn't catchy at all. It's as mangled as the rest of what Root A gives.
The only good thing about the anime is the ED. The drums and singing in the first half work nicely in tandem, rising and falling in power as it works its way to the halfway point. At that moment, the background singers kick in and the piano takes on a more prominent role, giving the whole a piece a presence that overtakes the whole anime. On top of all that, the various ending art for each of them is quite beautiful, too; more so than anything that the actual art for Root A used.
The rest of the soundtrack often uses rather loud sounds and more pounding instruments for a higher feeling of creepiness and awe. But it can also tone down that feeling, incorporating a soft piano for those more heartfelt moments. The tracks fit the mood of the anime but aren't worth listening to outside of the anime itself.
As for voice-acting, the cast performs generally around average. There are no special shout-outs to be had.
This show prioritized the fighting and the "drama" before anything else, and it was not something that I could effectively get behind. All of the fights were boring, predictable, or honestly dumb. Akira getting bit on the leg while Amon just stands around for no apparent reason makes no sense. Arima being able to take on the Giant Owl by himself wasn't fun to watch, it made me question why in the world he wasn't doing anything before. And the Kaneki versus Amon fight had so much smoke billowing through the area, I barely got to see any of it.
It has been mentioned briefly, and it has to be brought up at some point, but the ending to Root A is probably the worst ending to an anime that I've ever witnessed. At the minimum, it comes very close. Lots of hair, walking, and intentionally confusing camera work make the ending so painful to see that when it concluded I was happy that I wouldn't have to be watching this show any more.
Tokyo Ghoul Root A didn't just fail at being an anime. It failed at being anything even remotely worthwhile. The story is abysmal, the characters are atrocious, and the rest is forgetful. Honestly speaking, this is one of the worst shows I have ever seen.
Story: Terrible, nonsensical, pointless, and meaningless
Animation: Bad, boring art style, okay character designs, below-average actual animation
Characters: Terrible, Kaneki and Touka are awful while the rest of the cast means absolutely nothing
Sound: Bad, lame OP, good ED, okay soundtrack, average VA work
Enjoyment: Terrible, lame fights, unnecessarily confusing ending, and contains no value
I experienced something that changed my life...”
- LemonLyme about Tokyo Ghoul √A, 2015
Tokyo Ghoul √A is one of the most brilliant and intriguing anime I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. With a breathtaking plot, well-developed characters and wonderful animation that leaves me speechless beyond measure it is definitely one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, anime that has been, and will ever be, made.
The story centers around all of the many wonderful characters that appear in Tokyo Ghoul; Ken Kaneki (his hair is completely white now by the way. That’s badass!), the Anteiku ghouls and the not-so-evil police force that tries
to eliminate the poor ghouls from the surface of the Earth. But does having an unnecessary gigantic amount of characters make the anime, in any way, messy and more than often really hard to follow? No! Not at all! I actually think it would have been harder to follow the story if they hadn’t decided that switching between mindless action scenes, yummy slice of life sequences and awkward gay sexual innuendos all the time was the best way to tell the story of Tokyo Ghoul √A. I mean, who wants to watch an anime with a well-paced, comprehensible and, Io and behold, well-written story? Not me at least, and I don’t see why anybody would like to watch something like that.
Now, let’s move on to the best part of Tokyo Ghoul √A: the characters. Oh, how I love them! How I love all those unrealistic ghouls and police men who keep making moronic and unjustified decisions, those deep and multidimensional villains that pop up from nowhere and we don’t get to know anything about, those poor victims that also pop up from nowhere and die a tragic death ten seconds after their first appearance! I never knew such fantastic characters existed until I watched this anime. The best character is, without a doubt, our dear protagonist Ken Kaneki. He only gets around two minutes of screen time in the first nine-ten episodes or so, and yet he gets so much character development. When he rolls around on the floor while screaming we understand that he’s really sad. When he fights the good guys for the lulz we understand that he does that because he has to do it. When he joins the Aogiri organization we understand that he does that because he has to protect his friends (because the evil guys also want to protect his friends – that’s what enemies are for!). The other characters are also wonderfully fleshed out and get some brilliant development; some of them are so realistic that I even tried talking to them once and touched my computer screen to see if the characters weren’t real people after all.
The art and animation are, likewise, absolutely fantastic. Especially the clumsily animated action sequences, the dialogue scenes where nothing but the mouths are moving and the derpy faces that appear in each and every scene - I can really feel that the animators put a lot of love in their work while animating this and that they definitely didn’t do it just because they needed the money. I'd even go as far as say that Tokyo Ghoul √A has changed my view on what ''good animation quality'' is; this anime's animation makes stuff like Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) look like complete garbage.
Last but not least: the sound. The voice acting is absolutely superb; whenever Kaneki or any of the other characters open their mouth and talk/whine/scream overdramatically I could hear angels chant somewhere far away. I can’t praise the voice actors enough (especially Natsuki Hanae who voiced Kaneki and Yuki Kaji who voiced Ayato. Such dramatic! Such sensitivity! Much feels!) – Or well, almost all of them. I simply can’t understand why they hired that unprofessional bastard Mamro Moyano to voice Tsukiyama. Seriously, why didn’t they hire a bad voice actor instead, like the dude who voiced Kiri-gay-a in Sword Art Online?
The soundtrack is, of course, also great. Especially the opening theme; the lyrics are simply amazing. They are so deep that they are almost 2deep4me - “We gave our love to toys (…) The prostitute spat fire”. I believe that whoever wrote the song is the Japanese songwriter version of Shakespeare and that s/he will receive a Grammy for “Best Songwriter” in five-six years, and I will definitely try to support her/him and her/his songs about the terrible porn industry all the way.
Conclusion? Tokyo Ghoul √A is, without a doubt, one of the best anime ever created. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will scare the heck out of you, it will make you upset, it will change your life. Before I watched this anime I was nothing but an edgy emo teen that enjoyed watching mindless horror movies and being envious of the popular girls in my class. But Tokyo Ghoul √A made me see The Light. It made me understand that my current way of life was shameful and wrong, and that I should start living like a good person instead. This anime is the very reason why I am who I am today. God knows what would have happened to me if I hadn’t watched this show.
Once again: this show will change your way of thinking, your way of life. I simply can't recommend this anime enough. Go watch this masterpiece immediately!
This series is essentially what you would expect to be the end product of 12 directors and script writers playing telephone together with each episode, which would mean no overarching consistency, lack of cohesion and continuity between episodes, little to no character development, and a poor narrative. Alas, although it has turned out like a poorly written fanfiction, Tokyo Ghoul √A does not suffer from its staff playing games in its production. It's just a lackluster adaptation on all fronts, even without comparisons to its source material.
The plot is the biggest pitfall here, due to lack of clear direction and explanation. Even ignoring that
the adaptation left out pivotal details from the manga, looking at it as a standalone, it still falls flat on its face because it leaves the viewer in a constant state of confusion. Questions arise from the very first episode and we expect them to be answered, they never are. We are left like outsiders looking in through a pane of glass, excluded from a narrative that should be feeding us something but instead we are left to guess. Why are things happening? Why are characters doing what they are doing? What are their motivations? We are given such limited information because the pacing is so rushed and for lack of ability to expound on the plot, the writers simply gave us bland fighting scenes.
Although we grew to love and enjoy the characters in the first season where they were given some room for development, here we are suffocated by a narrative that refuses to allow us to reconnect with them. Kaneki receives no more development from the end of the first season than by the end of this season; we feel as disassociated from himself as he does – as he struggles with himself, we struggle to understand what is even going on with him because we have nothing to clue us in. It’s one great question mark. Touka is perhaps the only character whose actions, thoughts, and frustrations we can truly sympathize with because she receives enough lines and screen time to convey them. There were even several compelling scenes with Ayato, but ultimately these things amount to little when the plot can’t deliver.
Perhaps the strongest point of this season is the animation, although I would argue that it’s not particularly spectacular. The animation is essentially acceptable which means that it is neither strong nor weak, but because it is average, it’s probably the best part of the series. It seems the majority of the attention was paid to the fight scenes and everything else is rather bland—and that’s giving some leniency for the fighting scenes which themselves waver between interesting to drawn out and boring.
Even the sound is average at best. The tone of the opening scarcely matches the overarching themes of the season, which is a grand disappointment in light of how amazing the opening was for the first season. That comparison aside, the opening animation is just outright disappointing and elicits none of the excitement that we should be experiencing. It accompanies a song that doesn’t set the mood for the rest of the episode, by and large considering the majority of the series includes fighting, and the rest of the soundtrack occasionally sets the generally atmosphere but there is never anything particularly impressive or noticeable about any of it. Only the ending stands out as actually decent and fitting for the series.
For all the complaints above about the end product, I wouldn’t be giving this even a mediocre rating if it hadn’t had some redeeming qualities. One of them was a solid premise and good potential—it may have not fulfilled that, but it did a decent job setting up plot points it just lacked on fulfilling them. It also has a solid cast, though not fully utilized as they should have been and not developed as they should have been, it has a good range of characters. On top of this, it does have an exciting and suspenseful final arc, though not as compelling as it promised to be, still manages to captivate interest.
To summarize, this season was poorly executed on all fronts and a great disappointment. If you enjoyed it and have not read the manga, I highly recommend it as it further develops the empty husk that is the anime series. If you are wondering whether or not you should watch it, then I would say it’s a coin toss—you exchange your time for some minor moments of sincerity and animated battle scenes some of which are exciting others mediocre.
To save you the trouble, Short Review: Wasted potential
Now if you'll like to get more insight into where this show could of excelled and what it ultimately opt out for instead then continue on, as we place Tokyo Ghoul √A under a analytical microscope for closer inspection. A show that had the opportunity to be more but ultimately became yet another "schlock" level blood bath.
Social discrimination and persecution is an issue that has plagued mankind for as long as we know it, dating back to the oldest historical texts and manuscripts. Whenever a societal group feels threatened or simply don't comprehend another group's social
norms, hostility becomes ever present. And despite our advancements and technical prowess, this primitive reaction to the unknown is still an issue today. One just simply need to watch the news and current events to see that unfold on a daily basis. Because of this constant conflict there are many stories that try to shine light on the issue with social commentary in one form or another. May that come in the form of a song like what John Lennon, Bob Dylan and similar artists produce or familiar written works like 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Animal Farm' that many of us read at school. Every storytelling medium have tackled this issue in one way or another. Anime is no exception, with every year giving rise to at least one title that takes this route.
Tokyo Ghoul √A became that title for 2014/15, with the story of a sub-species known as Ghouls and the tug of war relationship they have with humans. A very similar setup to other anime titles like Shiki, Parasyte, Shinsekai Yori and others. TG had the option to further examine and explore themes such as existentialism, the human condition, Social Darwinism and human ethics. But the common problem that most shows like Ghoul face is not being able to properly convey them. Instead it was simply an idea that took a backseat so we can get yet another action/gore fest, no different from other shows such as Gantz, Deadman Wonderland, Terra Formars etc. None of the themes are explored pass the surface level and were simply there to try to add depth to a show that clearly lacked it.
You can tell that they were trying to portray an air of maturity but the way it was executed was just juvenile. While the 1st season suffered from rushed pacing this season suffered from the exact opposite. Everything came to abrupt stop when viewed side by side with the prequel and even as a stand alone work. Several episodes will go by with obvious stagnation due to unneeded padding and an unfocused narrative. Instead of following our protagonist Kaneki and using him as a proxy to explore all these multifaceted themes they hinted at, we are instead just teased every now and then as to his metamorphosis as a character. This is a cheap way to not properly go through the correct steps of providing layered characterization. So when he is present we get a personality switch instead of a character that gets any form of development. He's simply a 2 dimensional character that moves from one side of the gradient to another. Like how bad guys can become good at the drop of a hat, this change from 'Shinji Ikari' to 'Char Aznable' is no different.
All the other characters are handled superficially. Instead of focusing on molding the already sizable cast they introduce a plethora of new ones and less than a handful get fleshed out to basic standards. The rest feels like "read the manga" territory since they're suppose to play an important role to the plot but we never get any screentime with them to even care or remember their names. This heavy dependence on the source material just reflects on the subpar script and a lack of proper execution. Instead you remember them for their outlandish presence or caricature-like personality.
The story is standard fare but the way it goes about presenting it is deplorable. The world setting remains underdeveloped as we never see the large scale public concern that should come with such a big dilemma or even the themes common with such a setup, such as social discrimination. The closest we get to that comes in the form of the law enforcing authorities but they are made out to be a overblown sinister group, so you never feel the weigh behind their actions. They express no real empathy and only use 2 law enforcers to represent mutual camaraderie. This could of worked if those 2 characters were properly written but they never got the proper screentime due to the ever growing cast. The only time ever dedicated to world building came from the 1st handful of episodes of season 1 and even that wasn't given enough time to settle in due to the erratic pacing. Everything just felt like a giant stage play with surface deep grey morality and silly cock fights. They want you to question who's right and who's wrong but when it actually plays out it just seems laughable and childish.
If there was ever an area where TG deserved credit it will be in the sound department. With well timed music cues that delivers a certain 'punch' to every accompanying scene and well composed vocal tracks that brought emphasis to moments that would normally not carry any weigh on their own.
Also I may be in the minority here given the general consensus regarding the opening but I personally like it. The avant garde imagery accompanied by unique time signature instrumentals worked beautifully in unison. Add in the bittersweet vocals and it becomes even better. It's reminiscent to that of The Mars Volta and Portishead (if anyone's even familiar with those bands) . It maybe a little too deserving for the show its attached to but it's an opening I never skipped and one I often find myself coming back to.
The art and animation however leaves little to be desired. There are many instances where it becomes choppy and even had entire episodes where the quality dipped from beginning to end. Even for scenes where you think they would go all out like the Ghoul fights still contained noticeable hiccups, even to the untrained eye. This inconsistent fluidity greatly hindered one's immersion.
Final verdict: 4/10
If the show had maintained the same level of care and effort that was found in the 1st and last episode throughout its entire runtime, then maybe, just maybe it would of had a fighting chance to be called decent. But unfortunately it didn't and what we got was the same issues found in season 1. If you have nothing to watch then go for it but as it stands its nothing that should take high priority on your radar.
Tokyo Ghoul has an interesting concept, humans kills ghouls as they eat humans, ghouls kills humans to eat them as it i their primary food source. The question of who is right and wrong is not easy to answer as they have their reasons on what they do.
Interesting? For me, this was what pulled me into watching this series. So as I finished season 1, I started to read the manga and it was great.
I liked the manga (so I'm writing in the perspective of a manga reader), so when Studio Pierrot announced a season 2 (root A) I was kinda excited and looked
forward to it. Turns out that my hype was for naught.
Since you're here, you've probably watched season 1 and kind of have an interest in this series (right?). Tokyo Ghoul Root A continues from where it left off in season 1, but Ishida Sui decided to write an original story for the anime. This isn't rare and isn't bad if the story is nice. But here comes the problem, it's supposed to be an anime original story, yet majority of the scenes are just taken from the original manga. If you're thinking it's not too bad, try thinking how is the anime going to be good if you adapt almost a 100 chapters of manga into a 12 episode anime. Original scenes are present, but really, only a few minutes throughout the whole anime can be called "anime original".
The story is all over the place, you won't know what are the characters thinking at all, especially kaneki. Kaneki is the main character and yet the amount of words he speak are so few, you'd probably remember him only because of his white hair or his trademark finger cracking. His character development ended the moment root A started.
The only notable character development goes to Suzuya Juuzou. That's it.
Animation wise, mediocre? (or worse) The fight scenes are so good, people call them dancing. Sure there are some nice scenes, the close up look on kaneki, and...a really nice keyboard?
Sound wise on the other hand, are pretty well done, OST's are fitting the anime quite nicely. As for the OP, I wouldn't say it's bad, but the OP from season 1 just outclassed it. ED on the other hand, is really nice.
I wouldn't recommend to watch this. If you liked season 1, read the manga instead. Root A can be a real disappointment for you (as for me) if you're looking for the character developments and story continuation from season 1.
The first season of Tokyo Ghoul had three major problems: A plot that went absolutely nowhere, a lack of any real character development, and a plethora of impossible-to-take-seriously, one-dimmensional characters that completely ruined the tone and broke any immersion that might have been occurring. When it was announced that season two was going to break away from the inevitable dead-end that is the fate of an incomplete manga adaptation in favor of being based around an original story, there was widespread hope that the show would be able to correct these issues. Well, now season two is complete, and not only were the
preexisting problems from season 1 still omnipresent, they were ten times worse. They quite literally took the show in the worst possible direction. MORE focus on absurd characters that are comically flamboyant and impossible to take seriously, MORE edgy bullshit for young teenagers, LESS focus on fleshing out the character’s thoughts and motivations, and LESS time spent embellishing a barebones, uninteresting plot. Oh, and did I mention that the animation went WAY downhill as well? In almost every single way, Tokyo Ghoul √A is absolutely fucking terrible.
Synopsis: Directly continues right from where season 1 left off. Not much else to say.
The only thing worse than a horrible anime is a horrible anime that is comically oblivious to how horrible it truly is. I struggle to find the words to describe just how explicitly stupid, functionally retarded, and logistically nonsensical this anime’s plot really is, especially considering that it is so straightforward on paper; there are humans and there are ghouls. They don’t like each other. Fighting ensues. Now, the real strength of season 1 of the show was how it tried to focus on the idea that not all ghouls have lost their humanity and how there are significant similarities between the ghouls and those hunting the ghouls. This plot point dabbles in the concept of grey morality, which is always a major plus. However, season two does away with this entirely. As I mentioned already, the amount of screentime given to the ridiculous “I’M CRAAAAAZY!” type characters who are completely unrealistic and asinine has been upped, making the show downright hammy.
Even if you can get passed that, season two’s plot would still be ridiculous because NOTHING makes sense; nothing is justified or has any kind of logical consistency what so ever. Why did Kaneki suddenly turn into a super-badass with white hair after being tortured? I dunno. Why did he suddenly decide to join the bad guys if his only motivations are to protect his friends? I dunno. Why does he completely maintain his attachment to his friends if his morality has been altered to the point that he can now kill indiscriminately? I dunno. The anime has simply never takes the time to slow down and explain to us WHY all of these things are happening. That’s not to say that the show doesn't slow down though, because it certainly does. There is NO shortage of exposition, and when I say exposition, I mean the worst possible kind of exposition. There’s talking and talking and talking and yet it never feels like you are actually learning anything. It’s hard to follow what all the factions are, what they are doing, and why, partially because most of it is nonsensical and partially because there’s no reason to care. The storyline is an absolute trainwreck and a pain to sit through.
The characters are even MORE of a trainwreck. Kaneki was a mediocre at best character in season one, but now he’s just unbearably boring and inconsistent. His motivations make no sense what so ever and neither does the fact that he is suddenly a completely different person. Since the show refuses to explain what is going on with him, we have to decipher it for ourselves, but such a task is impossible because his behavior is so inconsistent. As previously mentioned, if his motivation for joining his new “evil” group of ghouls is to protect his friends (I don’t even understand how that would protect his friends…), why does he kill people with no remorse now? Did he lose his sense of humanity or not? We have no idea, and the show never tells us.
As for Touka, the detective, and all the other minor characters from season one, they are either mostly cut out of the main narrative and given a fraction of the screen time (Touka) or they simply make no progress from where they already were in the first season (detective). Tokyo Ghoul refuses to even attempt to build upon any of its characters, EXCEPT FOR THE WORST ONES! I know I’ve brought this up twice already, but I can’t get over that the characters they chose to focus on are the one-dimmensional looney toons who you couldn’t pay me to take seriously. The Gourmet, the scarred guy (I think he’s a guy…) working for the detectives, and the guy who’s insanely obsessed with his boss for god knows what reason? THOSE are the characters who you thought needed more screen time?! They are among the stupidest characters I’ve ever seen in anime! They are crazy just for the sake of being crazy! Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the absolutely deplorable attempts to make the audience be attached to new characters who have gotten virtually no screen time, that are completely unlikable, or both. It’s honestly stunning how laugh-out-loud hilariously idiotic the cast is. Tokyo Ghoul √A fails in a lot of ways, but none more so than in the character department.
There is one aspect in which Tokyo Ghoul’s second season does not fail and one aspect alone: The sound design. The use of sound is very effective, seamless, and well executed. It greatly enhances the piss poor action scenes and it provides some standout tracks that are worth listening to in your spare time (Glassy Sky, anyone?). The OP got a lot of flak for, well, not being the first season’s OP, but I think it’s quite good. Unfortunately, the sound design does not make up for the awful animation. At least season 1 had effort put into its cinematography and action scenes (albeit they were obnoxiously censored…), but this time, they look like complete garbage. The frame skips are extremely distracting, the choreography is uninspired, and the dialogue scenes have no attention to detail. It’s always an issue when the second season of a show has noticeably inferior effort put into it than its predecessor.
To sum it all up, this is the definition of an uninspired, rushed, low-quality product. Tokyo Ghoul √A takes everything that was wrong with the first season and amplifies it simply because that’s what’s easiest. This show feels like a cash grab to milk an overhyped series as it is quite evident that its production was virtually passionless. If you watched the first season of this show and aren’t sure whether it’s worth continuing, the answer is a definitive “No.”
Described by some as horror, some as a character story, and some as a hellish battle zone that erupted from the events of season 1, Tokyo Ghoul Root A is a series that got quite a lot of people talking. Written by Ishida Sui (the brainchild of the manga), this sequel isn’t just a continuation but serves as another work in the universe of TG. However, it does directly correlate with the first season so by all means, do yourself a favor and finish the first season or otherwise, this is going to be one hell of a confusing ride. Nonetheless, Tokyo Ghoul Root A
gets a fair amount of attention as a sinister story that involves humans, ghouls, and a whole load of emotions.
From the events of the first season, we see Kaneki’s change after being tortured and now he has white hair, advanced powers, and a whole badass attitude. His personality feels different from the way he was initially introduced thanks to the tragic events that has changed him. And by all means, his actions speaks louder than words in this season. For starters, he becomes involved with an organization that he despises because of his instinct. Now that he realizes the reality of himself (being a ghoul), he takes responsibility. It’s also important for viewers to realize that Kaneki doesn’t necessary become an antagonist but rather choosing his path to protect what he cares about. At the same time, we see how his actions affects others. Touka is a prominent example as we see her bitter emotions from the start of the season. Portrayed essentially as a stoic girl, she now shows a lot of emotions revolving around her friends but especially for what has happened to Kaneki. Despite their short time together, it’s shown that she is clearly affected by the thoughts of losing him. And really, that’s what a lot of the season is all about. We see how the story’s characters adapt with what has happened from the first season. Furthermore, Kaneki isn’t the only focus we get as Tokyo Ghoul Root A traces its roots with all of our noticeable characters.
On storytelling, the series focuses a lot on building up events. For the majority of the first half, we see insightful narratives from groups/organizations such as Aogiri, Anteiku, and CCG. It has both a heartwarming and pale way of presenting scenarios as we see a variety of moods throughout the season. The series demonstrates a moving tale when it lets the audience see their background stories. Characters such as Akira Mado, Toka, Yoshimura all shares a dark trend of tragedy in this series. And because of that, Tokyo Ghoul builds on their personal stories that transformed the character into who they are in the present. Among other things, the series explores a variety of themes such as revenge, humanity, morality, innocence, and guilt. Surprisingly enough, it works out quite well when it combines certain elements together to craft the overlay of its story. Because the series builds on many of its events, it employs these themes to bring the show into a grimmer horror. Sure, it still relies on violence, bloodshed, and body horror to make itself credible but at the same time knows its intentions. As the series progresses on, we see some startling plot twists, revelations, and an all-out battle for survival.
As Tokyo Ghoul Root A focuses on various characters, there’s insight on the chemistry between them. Because Kaneki is no longer with Anteiku, we now see a happier Touka; when she isn’t around him anyways. However, the series does show that she feels lonely without him and their reunion turns into an emotional outburst with fists, tears, and emotions thrown right into each other. Similarly, we also see how Akira and Amon bonding because of what they’ve both lost – someone they both cared for. Some characters such as Suzuya can be come as quite a bit of a strange twist. The generic crazy child character seems to fit for someone of his caliber while we also see other bizarre characters as Eto that is hard to get used to. Regardless though, the series gives them significant roles alongside many other supporting characters. Like I mentioned before, Kaneki isn’t just the superstar anymore. Described by Touka as a “tragic hero” or what he may think he is, the series makes it hard to read what he really wants. He’s still a main event player but other characters play their roles with a goal in mind. One particular antagonist also plays the role of the Big Bad to show the audience the true powers of a ghoul really is like. In the end, how does this all work out? It’s like a genre-hood of characters all pieced together in their world. Some will no doubt be memorable while I can say that others can be easily dismissed as comedic factors or otherwise, just meh.
Pierrot is the studio to adapt this series once again. In terms of animation quality values, it’s hard for me to say this but it doesn’t live up to the first season. One particular episode really downgraded on this with mediocre fight scenes by its budget. Luckily, the latter half makes it up with better coordination and animated scenes. And in the world of Tokyo Ghoul, there’s always that moodiness that seems to flow around. The sequel’s animation style portrays it quite well with the chilly nights, frosty snow, and the dark alleyways. Character designs also remain intact with the way our audience are familiar with them. Certain ghouls also gets a clear makeover to show their malevolence while CCG investigators has their technological aspects fleshed out on the surface. However, the OP song of the sequel dramatically changed. It’s lazy with still moving montage of white haired Kaneki and some pretty backgrounds. Although there’s some symbolism behind this, it’s just downright slothful. Luckily, the ED song makes it up with this with artistic visuals and high quality imagery.
In contrast with the artwork, soundtrack improved for this season. Both OP and ED song styles has that moody tone yet portrays its melancholy with elegance. Furthermore, many characters’ voice mannerisms shows how real they feel after the events of the first season. I also give high praise to Yutaka Yamada for crafting the music of the season. With prior no experience besides the first season, he enhances almost every scenario with the skills of his musical direction. It’s welcoming with a darkly yet cinematic style that I think people will find quite approachable.
After watching the sequel, I think this stands out above the original season. With tense buildups, characterization, and dark themes to go on, Tokyo Ghoul Root A is a landmark of irresistible ideas. The story is more than just about good vs evil but tells of how characters change and take action. On another note, the season also awards those who appreciates a bit of comedy. Because in most horror series, comedy is mostly absent but this sequel has a bit of that that can spawn some genuine laughter. Just be aware that on a technical scale, the series isn’t as impressive in the art department. Certain characters will also be easily forgettable, or perhaps you want to forget them yourself. It’s still a ride for the thrills though.
Recently watched the latest episode "5" Firstly: Censoring, it´s insulting to the ones that even remotley liked the show, GORE is that animes biggest forte and censoring it takes away from enjoyment, this isn´t watched by 10yearold to begin with. I can´t speak for what time of day TG airs in Japan though so that´s enough said about that.
Slow story, usually i don´t have a problem with that but already 5episodes in and i have no idéa what the hell is going on, the focus on the maincharacter is at a bare minium and that wouldn´t be a problem if the sidecharacters didn´t have cliffhanger
flashbacks giving in to even more confusion. This all will ofcourse make sense later storywise but as far as keeping me intrested, not so much.
(I also found the side-character very mainstream)
I would recommend this to someone who doesn´t have a standard and don´t have a problem with colourful pictures. Feels like making this "ROUTE" A a side story is only about milking money from whom ever get their paychecks filled.
I may get bashed for this but i stand for what i´ve said. Instant drop. Although from what i know the manga is 100% better so i suggest reading if you want to be stimulated and happy in your storytelling
A review of *Tokyo Ghoul √A*, a disappointing second season to an already disappointing anime.
From the beginning, Tokyo Ghoul √A was advertised as an anime original story by the of Tokyo Ghoul manga, Sui Ishida, and this idea is an exciting one to me as an anime-only-watcher. With so many fans complaining about how the anime butchered the manga, creating an alternate story by the mangaka himself should be an interesting way to appeal to both the manga and anime fans, right? Well, not if the story itself is more disjointed than Kaneki’s fingers at the end of the first season....
Just like the first
season, Tokyo Ghoul √A kicked off with three strong and interesting episodes that made me interested in Tokyo Ghoul for the first time since the beginning of the first season. Unfortunately, Tokyo Ghoul √A's plot turns into an absolute mess. Various events are taking place without any impact or explanation, thus leaving the viewer confused and aloof. Manga readers might know what is happening, but for everyone else, the plot is all over the place.
Ken Kaneki is effectively sidelined throughout the majority of the series with only the action sequences focusing on his character until the final episodes, thus wasting all of his character development from the first season. The majority of the screen-time goes to first season's antagonists, the CCG, specifically Investigators Kōtarō Amon and Akira Mado. Thankfully, Amon continues to be the only worthwhile character in the entire anime, and his relationship with Akira, as rushed as it may be, is the best aspect of the series.
Sloppily written and just plain dull, Tokyo Ghoul √A is an absolute narrative disaster that lacks any semblance of cohesion. With that said, it is not entirely irredeemable thanks to a few minor aspects being executed surprisingly well amidst the gory mess of a plot.
_Watch if you like:_ Tokyo Ghoul's first season,
While I really like Tokyo Ghoul as a manga, saying its anime counterpart is a letdown is a huge understatement. The ridiculous censoring for a series that has so much gore in it makes little sense. The first season sucked because they cut out a bunch of character development to squeeze around the first 60 chapters into 12 episodes. While I'm not gonna bitch about it being an alternate ending from the manga, it still sucks. If I hadn't read the manga before watching it, I would have no understanding of it whatsoever. There are random flashbacks all over the place, and there hasn't really
been any legitimate justification as to why Kaneki joined Aogiri. In fact, Kaneki really hasn't had that much time on screen at all. The pacing is just horrible.
This season was such a huge disappoint. I would not recommend this anime to anyone. I kept waiting for it to get good, but that just did not happen. This season was like a prime rib...without any of the seasoning: fell way below my expectations. I am throughly sad I wasted my time on this piece of trash.
Story: This plot was so flawed I'm not even sure where to start. I have not read the manga so this is me speaking from watching the series only perspective. After every episode I wanted an analysis for what happened. None of it made much sense. The
main plot was not even developed. It just kept skipping around to characters and as a whole was just not cohesive. I found myself constantly waiting for explanations or for it to all make sense, but the series severely failed at delivering. I realized halfway through that this plot was just full of holes and the anime tried way too hard on making emotional character connections.
Character: This brings me to my second point of flaw in season 2. None of the characters were well developed. At scenes where it is supposed to be emotional and gut wrenching for the viewers, I found myself feeling "meh". Part of this is because the series is so short...but part of is due to bad planning. I was unable to understand any of the characters, much less connect.
Sound/Art: Sound and Art stayed consistent with season 1, so nothing to complain there. Although the opening theme was no where as great as season 1s.
Enjoyment: BORING. There were spurs of exciting moments but a lot of the "gore" was cut out. However the spurs of exciting moments made no sense again. The way that events occurred made it seem like the anime just needed to throw in exciting moments so captivate the viewers. Yet, the exciting moments also fell short. Kaneki is supposed to be super awesome butt kicking machine but we probably got like 5 mins of action throughout the whole series. The season finale is supposed to be a good closer but 2 mins were wasted on a part that could have been shortened to 5 secs. I get the idea of building up drama, but it was so unnecessary consider 2mins/20 mins is 1/10 of the anime.
Overall: Poor planning is all I have to say. Events, characters.....everything was like a train wreck...as if 10 different writers came together and wrote a season and then it was collaged together. That is the best way to summarize season 2. An absolute mess. Please just stick to season 1 or read the anime. Season 2 will leave you craving for an anime that is incapable of delivering. Fingers crossed that in the future another director will take over and give the anime a needed reboot of way longer episodes.
Since this is my first time writing a review, i would keep this as simple as possible. Another reason i decided to write a review for this Tokyo Ghoul is because i felt the need to point out the problems in this season. Also, this whole review is written entirely in an anime viewers perspective only.
In the first season, the story pacing was quite well as we see new characters being introduced gradually and given enough screen time to actually give viewers the idea of their backstory. I was expecting somewhat the same thing for season 2 but i was wrong. More and more new
characters were being introduced in a ridiculously short 12 episodes, heck even in the last episode. These characters' backstory are unknown, because they never get enough screen time except to appear in meetings and in the last few episodes to make it look epic. The story pacing failed so much it's so obvious they rushed it and ruined it.
The art is good but i would say that the fighting scenes are actually a bit off and not as good as the first season. Other than that, nothing spectacular.
The OP suck so hard i actually gave it 2 because i believe no OP should have the MC to stand in the center for one and a half minutes while waiting for the song to finish. The song itself... is not good. So much disappointment compared to its prequel.
In this second season, there is barely character development. As mentioned earlier, too many new characters are being thrown into this season and its only 12 episodes long. What development can you expect when the whole story pacing is so fucked up? The part that confuses me is that 10 minutes long walk kaneki did in the last episode... 10 minutes long with minimal dialogue and nothing else.
If you watched the first season , you probably would finish the second. If you are planning to watch the second season, i wouldn't recommend it but if you like leaving a bad taste in your mouth, go ahead. Since so many said that tokyo ghoul was so popular, i was hyped for the second season but unfortunately it was better if this sequel was never created. Perhaps it might be Pierrot's bad adaptation. I would love to rate this higher but 3 is already too much.
I can feel the anime has good potential ever since i watched the first season although i never read the original manga. But Season 2 is just completely garbage. What a waste...
(THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW)
As a manga reader of Tokyo Ghoul, this was obviously a disappointment. I won't get into the thick of it but to summarize most people's complaints:
1. Stupid bad animation for a show with this much fighting.
2. Poor time management. There was a lot of just nothing happening on the screen with just walking or something. The problem with this is:
3. About 50% of what happened in the manga was skipped, whether it was personal internal monologues, or simply arcs. Its almost as if they simply ripped pages out of a book. My complaint is:
If you're running short on time, don't fill it with nothingness.
1. The ending song and most of the music was very good.
It'd be extremely long if I went any further so I'll leave you just one bit of advice: Read the manga. It is worlds better.
While the first season of Tokyo Ghoul wasn’t perfect, with underdeveloped villains, censoring, and leaving things about the setting unexplained, it still had entertaining elements and an ending that delivered some hard hitting truths. I had high hopes for what was to come, considering how much more interesting the main character and his conflict had become. You’ll find that the second season doesn’t deliver on the promises that were set up. Instead it leaves you disconnected from the main character, making him barely even appear on screen for most of the show. Instead we focus on the minor characters, something that I did appreciate, yet
I wished it would have been secondary to the actual main character’s story.
Some positives would include the great animation and the diligent use of atmosphere, the direction definitely improved in terms of giving the show more personality and flavor. However, saying it has a great style doesn’t equal having much substance. We are left with a finale that introduces completely new characters that we know nothing about, fighting each other with spectacle rather than with compelling motivations. This would have worked had this season been the build-up for a third season, but sadly it decided to blow its entire load in one go.
I have left the most important part for last, which is the context that I watched the series in. This has technically nothing to do with the actual show, but it definitely affected how I viewed the story. For one I could not escape hearing how this season was supposed to go its own path, away from the manga. From what I understand the story just ended up being a condensed version of the manga with a few tweaks here and there, which means it is still not different enough to warrant being called an alternative story-line. This means it still cannot escape being compared to the manga. It seems to me that only manga-readers could actually fully enjoy this season, since it would show them several of the best parts of the story animated. For the rest of us though, it is just a mess of a commercial telling us to buy the manga. Because of this I will call this season out for what it is, a cash-grab, designed to be confusing and just barely enjoyable so that the audience will feel compelled to read the manga instead. So as a cautionary tale, if you haven’t watched the series yet, skip it and read the source-material.
A continuation of the first season of Tokyo Ghoul.
The story continues where season 1 left off. Kaneki Ken became more badass when his hair turns white and he has his mask in place. And now he has to fight evil.
The story at least explored about how ghouls were originated and this season they made Kaneki become more badass. However, does that excuse the rest of this season with problems, of course not. The story was boring. Although there were few sad moments, there are more boring moments than sad moments.
The final fight scene where Ken Kaneki fights Amon was so intense, however, the
problem is they just cut to another scene and Kaneki defeats Amon. I was looking forward to the fight scene between Kaneki & Amon, C'mon. The fight scenes are boring and rushed.
The animation is good and the fight scenes are tense just like the first season.
The opening and ending are ok.
Unfortunately, Ken Kaneki is the only badass in the show. The rest of the cast are more boring cardboard cutouts than in the last season. Like for example Touka Kirishima, she was a badass in the first season, however in this season, she became more useless. She rarely participate in the fight.
I did like the way how this season handled Kaneki's character. As a ghoul, he also has to sacrifice what he has cherished and has to do what is right.
In the first season, there was an excellent build-up. However, in the second season, all that build-up was gone.
I was extremely disappointed with the second season of Tokyo Ghoul. Maybe because I expected too much.
The 2nd season at least rectified some problems that I had with the 1st season. However, the 2nd season has more problems than compared to the 1st season.
As a Tokyo Ghoul manga fan, is disappointment and desmotivating to see this.
Don´t get me wrong, i am not a hater but if you´re a manga reader you´ll be angry while you´re watching this. Tokyo Ghoul season 1 was already a poor adaptation and they removed IMPORTANT content that they didn´t realise in the moment that was important. lol. so, tokyo ghoul season 2, was IMPOSSIBLE to perform after that season 1 adaptation, but they forced it just beucase the SALES, and they decided to make a 80-70% anime original (with ishida´s help) with just 20-30% manga content and it made this Tokyo Ghoul √A.
A, is trash from an anime-viewer-only perspective and worse than trash if you've read the manga. It is a mess of unexplained plot points that insult the complexity of the source material it was adapted from.
It only proves that Studio Pierrot is UNABLE to adapat high level series and Tokyo Ghoul is a good example of it, so they should focus more on shonen and simple stories and giving up trying to addapt decent stuff.
I hope SOMEDAY, Tokyo Ghoul has an anime remake, because it´s an epic story and with an amazing tragic MC, that anime only watchers don´t even imagine about.
Everybody is probably used to the fantasy logic "humans treated as livestock or inferior beings by someone supposed superior", that's pretty much what half the theme in Tokyo Ghoul is about. Initially, it begins as something utterly empty, using a vague example of the nature "there are two sides in each coin". That there are both good and bad ghouls, both well-natured and evil humans, and slowly that meaning breaks the story from the boundaries of being just an anime. As a result, you end up wondering, why from the moment that there are so many sources to absorb intellectual information from, anime which are
supposed to be used for having fun with the concept of abnormal battles and ideal affection, make you understand certain philosophical meanings better...
In the first season, the protagonist, Kaneki Ken, went through the transition from human to ghoul, the anime presented the changes in his surroundings and lifestyle, his new urges and efforts to suppress them, as well as the unknown world to everyone aside his kind and CCG he had to adapt to. We come to know bit by bit the two opposing sides, CCG and ghouls, the means of fighting and process of thinking, through incidents containing adventure, action, violence and drama we do. And towards the season's conclusion, we get introduced to the core of strength of those two opposing sides, but not only, as complex characters with unclear motives and range of thinking surpassing the incumbent exist. Hence, in Root A, all hell's breaking loose. Using the already laid foundation of the prequel, the battle of everything first season prepared to be interesting and enthralling begins. Thus, in a sense, initially the show gets you excited by exhibiting limitless complexity and introduction of situations, characters and questions to look forward to, and thereafter, it utilizes them to start the game of revealment and war.
As expected, we get a better picture of everybody...CCG, Aogiri, Anteiku...and Tokyo Ghoul is an anime that makes you get excited when new characters arrive, friends or foes, and also inflict strong emotions at you. The weapons and methods of fighting that are expanding are unique at its genre, refreshing and finally prototypical. The outcome of the battles feels unpredictable, and while it deviates from cliche it can be considered somewhat cold since it's too objective and realistic. At shounen anime, that monopolize the credibility of a good battle, someone will be utterly evil and someone utterly righteous, however Tokyo Ghoul demonstrates fantasy mixed with reality. The unreal fighting skills but the realistic results a war can have, the undeniable noesis that in a conflict nobody is correct and everybody is, both sides have losers both sides have winners. Another concept mainly applied in shounen anime and absent from Tokyo Ghoul is that at decisive battles the hero will find it incredibly difficult to win but eventually will, Tokyo Ghoul fosters a differentiability and originality in fighting many might welcome. All of the battles feel like when you're fighting bosses at play station, fortunately and unfortunately you become part of them, sense the anxiety the adrenaline, the agony for the outcome and the pleasure of defeat. In general terms, the succession of the battles do not have a main goal like in Bleach where you're waiting for Ichigo to fight Aizen, it just plays around with the interesting characters it created.
As far as I am concerned the anime was realistic. Finding someone as kind and helping as Luffy and someone as badass as Zoro is unrealistic, yes, but taking the relationships and attitudes in Tokyo Ghoul rawly-leaving the supernatural aside-yes, it was realistic, these things exist in our every day lives. The unpredictability of the human mind, the way we surprise ourselves when acting unlike us during difficult situations in life or the cruelty we are able to show to one and the sweet affection to another.
The explanation may be lying within all those consumed theories many authorities recorded officially and ordinary people figured out for themselves, that we instinctively draw back from everything reminding us of ourselves and shut down all logical cerebration when confronting situations and behaviors that we ourselves create or use...how the greatest and most fearful reason for destruction is fear, when we kill the insect that scares us we could also feel scared by how much illogical, automatic and high our murderous instinct is at that moment.We, real life people exterminate and place distance between us and the 'different' without the slightest effort in understanding it, exercise racism with fear as a pretext without really knowing if the subject could bother or harm us. Colored people, non-aristocrats and not only have been discriminated for centuries. Same logic applies between humans and ghouls.
Moving further into the folds of the story, we have the issue of violence and people beating each other
up in general...For that, I am going to use an example and comparison...
Death Note is a hell of an interesting story, with cruel scenes that might cause a weak individual's mind to rot and foster false perceptions. However, through them it elaborates utile and pragmatic reminders, the existence of immorality and its breaking down, the sickness and distortion of the world and their annihilation by something diviner, the defiance of that divinity and its negation...Death Note generally presents all ugliness and false human judgement but only to break it down way too objectively into realism making use of the natural course of life.
On the other hand, Tokyo Ghoul is also a hell of an intriguing and magnetizing story, the cruel scenes it has might affect an individual's mind whose ideals, beliefs and principles are wavering in a negative manner, it points out the existence of immorality, sickness and distortion, only unfortunately, unlike Death Note and other than that it only has to offer some yes, intriguing, but utterly trite, dramatic, loving scenes, that everybody will like but to those with at least some discriminative power will leave a bitter aftertaste.
Another drawback, might be the fact that in Tokyo Ghoul you have to figure things out for yourself, people who do not like their food raw will most likely dislike that element. Because, even when you realize an answer behind a mystery, there will be no confirmation, the anime insinuates things and when you realize them you promptly take them for granted. I can feel for people who want confirmation and can not be satisfied or support their information on mere insinuations, those people will be left with a bitterness of some degree. (next sentence contains naruto spoiler). How awesome did you feel when your suspicions of Tobi being Obito got confirmed, that same way the answers in Tokyo Ghoul will be in front of your eyes only nobody will later admit it, and that is the drawback.
There have also been complaints about how Kaneki's screen time has been reduced. Well, you do remember where the prequel has been left off. Consequently, the continuation truly fills you up with emotions, the sudden changes in everything, the fact that it got you accustomed to a certain pace-black haired Kaneki, timid and kind, complex life but with an unbreakable order-and then it takes everything away, completely altering the pace. And for all that, it still keeps you at the edge of your seat...wondering whatever is going to happen now that everything got complexed'...agonizing about 'what Kaneki's status and personality is now. So all in all, nobody wrote a protocol or established an etiquette on how anime's range of characters should be, or what the appropriate amount of time for the lead character to be showing is. Each artist is different and writes the story based on what he has inside of him..
The supporting characters are quite a few, from the Anteiku and Aogiri members to especially the CCG staff. You will consume every bit of information it reveals about them, and for those it doesn't dedicate much time to, you will ask for more. That is the level of interesting the characters in Tokyo Ghoul are. More importantly, in their case, actions speak louder than words do. For the anime will not have them uttering lengthy monologues to themselves in order to develop, like most anime made you accustomed to derive information about their depth, but via scenes from their past or direct behavior and interaction with others, you will get to know them. As you watch them engage in battles the excitement makes you want to yell 'cool' or 'badass' or 'show me more about him', like some Aogiri ghouls who kick ass in battles but you barely know their names, of course you are in position to comprehend that it is not the time to develop those certain ones now. As previously mentioned, each character has his own tragic story, rendering you unable to blame anyone or choose sides, for the reason that everyone can be justified.
What is also realistic about Tokyo Ghoul, is that none of them can be called 'villain who's just there to piss me off, so that I can be extra glad when his time to die comes'. The author carefully explains and justifies everyone's position, rendering nobody as unnecessary. Lastly, it will be very pleasant to watch Touka as her feelings for Kaneki push harder towards the surface and as Yoshimura narrates his past, finally shattering that flawless aura surrounding him and making him look more human-or ghoul.
In terms of the artistic part, the background is absolutely brilliant, fluid and detailed, from a mere lamp post to a coffee cup. What makes a difference is a couple of sunset scenes that are being displayed from time to time, stony passages or parks with scattered leaves soaked in orange sun rays, all these are really pleasant to the eye. The character designs are slightly inferior, sometimes the lines get incohesive or their movement skewed, but in general terms they're distinguishably well elaborated. With quirky hair and beautiful eyes, or scars and specifics, unusual clothes floating and majestic badass weapons. The art is so good it makes you wonder, did I rate it that high because I liked the art or the anime, and if I was to watch it in five years that
the art would be outdated would I still like it that much..
The fact that it is intact however, applies. That it is distant, independent, self contained and accurate, you can not get close to it or relate with something in it as you do in almost all anime, it is a finished plate of food you have no choice but to eat, but it is up to you whether you will digest it or not. Furthermore, you feel like you can entrust yourself to the author because he is reliable, it doesn't feel like he's still working the story as it is unfolding but as if he cleared and mapped out everything and now he's simply presenting it.
In conclusion, Tokyo Ghoul is not like One Piece or Code Geass, that even if you don't like the genre you have to watch it. But if you don't mind giving a little strain to your brain cells in order to think while watching, if you can handle violence and realistic endings then do watch Tokyo Ghoul. For the reason that the last seven minutes that Kaneki walks towards uncertainty and death with a body in his arms and the dignity of an angel amidst disaster and snow, shouldering all the sins and sorrow of both humans and ghouls while the amazing first opening rhythmically echoes is a pretty impressive and worthwhile scene indeed.
No it doesn't get better. You might of thought that despite the first season being pretty medicore, there was some promising ideas and themes there to build on, and the character development was starting to show up. You might think that Root A has the opportunity to take the good ideas of the badly exectued season 1 and make a actually really good and interesting show. After all, the world and themes Season 1 promised under the hood seemed pretty decent, right?. You may have watched this because you saw re: coming out. You may have kept watching, thinking the garbled mess of the
first few episodes would improve. It does, certainly, but it just feels like the story was written by one talentless 16-year-old after episodes 6 or so, instead of a dozen 16-year-olds getting drunk whilst their parents aren't home as it does for the first half of the season.
You (or me, as you have realised), were duped. Root A didn't take the promising world and characters that Season1 failed to competently expouse upon and make a good anime, instead it delivered this.... whatever this is. I confess, I actually made it through this show pretty quickly, only a few sittings. Mainly because I really just had to watch the next episode to find out what the fuck was going on all the time. Oh, and because I was sure that the fever dream would end and everything would come together and we'd have the greatest anime of all time. It was just that confunding to watch that I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how this anime was actually secretly the best anime of all time; sometimes something is both so repugnant that it becomes morbidly facinating to watch, just to see what will happen. Its like watching someone getting murdered in front of your eyes and watching on it rapt horror, just to see what will happen. Thats how it feels to watch Tokyo Ghoul Root A.
After the end of season 1, many people were wondering about its sequel and how it would be executed especially because Ishida Sui, the mangaka, was involved on it since he decided to write the draft of the second season, and that looked like a sign of hope and possibly an improvement in the middle of a controversial first season with so many mixed opinions.
I must say, even when there were announcements of an "anime original route" for Tokyo Ghoul, I was looking forward to it and I wanted to see what Ishida would bring to us, especially when it was revealed the name
of it: Tokyo Ghoul √A, also known as Tokyo Ghoul Root A, or you could interpret it as Route Aogiri (don't confuse it as Route Alternate or something similar).
When it started and episode 1 showed Kaneki moving to Aogiri, I was actually fine with it and especially okay without the 103 bones/half-killing scenes that so many manga readers were disappointed.
The first episode looked nice even though it felt a bit anticlimatic in certain moments like the end of Aogiri's arc, it had a promising start again though. There were some interesting ideas and Root A had a slower pacing to actually explain the story and important elements as the Owl along with the introduction of new characters, and it was expected to be shown more about Aogiri Tree, their members, Kaneki interacting with them, maybe even the story and the origin of the organization along with that anime original route (I mean, who would not expect that after Kaneki joining the organization?), however...
Unfortunately, Tokyo Ghoul Root A does not deliver when it comes to the hype and potential, just like season 1 didn't do it too, but now it just got worse and sometimes even confusing, since there wasn't enough screen time to know what was going on through Kaneki's head, why he decided to move to Aogiri (it was eventually revealed later, but... moving to the bad side so Kaneki can "get stronger and protect the people that he loves", that's kinda understandable, although it does feel strange to see him deciding to go to Aogiri and then the story isn't even resolving around him, but the worst thing is that Kaneki moving to Aogiri DID NOT have any relevance neither impact in the end of the anime), and it reached to a point where it felt awkward or ridiculous to watch him almost not talking a single word or barely showing up on the anime's first half.
Not to mention that, despite the Root A title, we did not find out more information about Aogiri and their characters, which is a big letdown. Another problem regarding the show is the whole deal about that "anime original": Studio Pierrot did not learn from their mistakes and they basically rushed through the story AGAIN, but guess what else they did? They were still adapting important scenes/events of the manga, however there wasn't development neither a nice and detailed setup like Ishida does in the manga, except for probably the last arc, which is actually an upgrade over the first half but it wasn't enough to cover up their mistakes and flaws from the whole anime, some moments (for an example, Kaneki fighting Shachi on episode 4, especially when he SAVED this guy from CCG's prison and yet no proper explanation on why they were fighting) made the story go all over the place and it started to be so confusing with the unexplained events and many plot holes after the last episode.
Now that I mentioned the fights, I must also mention that the animation/art is so inconsistent, it can have some nice visually appealing scenery along with the important scenes too, but the characters were distorted during some moments, the movements were not really fluid and the animation had its sloppy moments too. Also, some fights were poorly animated and you could clearly notice which scenes had more investment and budget... well, if there was ever a lot of budget for Studio Pierrot though. And let's not forget Arima looking like a yaoi character along with his weird chin, it was impossible to take seriously every scene with him... once he showed up on episode 11.
I must mention another positive aspect when it came to the art: the ED sequences (each episode got a different one) with Ishida's drawings are amazing to look at.
The sound was one of the few positive points about the anime. The opening (Munou by österreich) isn't as bad like many people say, also it does fit well into the series and what's going on or what is going to happen, but it does not compare to Unravel at all when it comes to quality and meaning. The ending (Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku by Amazarashi) is pretty good though, and the ost got nice songs too (a great example is Glass Sky).
Probably the biggest disappoiment on season 2 were the characters and their development throughout the story mainly Kaneki, who got butchered again in his development and his characterization even more since he got less screen time than last season neither had monologues or an idea/insight of what he was thinking or what was going on inside his own mind. The same should be said for some supporting characters, and how they portrayed Tsukiyama only as a maniac/psycho who is obsessed to eat Kaneki. I must admit that he was still funny and enjoyable to watch on his moments, but he is still another character heavily butchered by Pierrot. I mean, how are we supposed to care or feel something for him like on episode 9 in the rooftop scene when he had a conversation with Kaneki while asking him to not go into a big fight happening during that moment? In the manga, it felt impactful and sad due to his development, but in the anime it felt awkward or even funny...
However, CCG and their members had some focus on the plot, and they did get a bit of development like Akira, Amon and Suzuya... actually, they were the characters who did receive more devopment on season 2, but thats not enough when the main character and the group that he joined don't even get enough time to be developed, and let's not forget that there were only 12 episodes, so even their development wasn't that great or amazing to watch. It's kind of ironic watching how CCG got some sweet screen time on Root A, it makes me wonder why the title is even this one.
Did it have differences? Well, it did have like obviously Kaneki going to Aogiri, but the whole original concept felt like a poor excuse to make season 2 and STILL adapting some manga scenes while cutting out development and rushing through the source. What a "brilliant" decision to take the story made on 143 chapters and do a half-assed version of that with a few differences into 24 episodes.
In the end, Tokyo Ghoul Root A was disappointing and it did not really fix the issues previously shown on the first season, and it makes many anime watchers who were reading the manga wonder why Pierrot decided to animate many manga scenes despite that promise of an anime original story. After all, read the manga and pray that there will be a remake someday.