Lurking within the shadows of Tokyo are frightening beings known as "ghouls," who satisfy their hunger by feeding on humans once night falls. An organization known as the Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG) has been established in response to the constant attacks on citizens and as a means of purging these creatures. However, the problem lies in identifying ghouls as they disguise themselves as humans, living amongst the masses so that hunting prey will be easier. Ken Kaneki, an unsuspecting university freshman, finds himself caught in a world between humans and ghouls when his date turns out to be a ghoul after his flesh.
Barely surviving this encounter after being taken to a hospital, he discovers that he has turned into a half-ghoul as a result of the surgery he received. Unable to satisfy his intense craving for human meat through conventional means, Kaneki is taken in by friendly ghouls who run a coffee shop in order to help him with his transition. As he begins what he thinks will be a peaceful new life, little does he know that he is about to find himself at the center of a war between his new comrades and the forces of the CCG, and that his new existence has caught the attention of ghouls all over Tokyo.
Tokyo Ghoul ranked 12th in the 2015 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! magazine in the male readers category. The manga was the 27th best-selling manga series in Japan in 2013 with 1,666,348 estimated sales; 4th in 2014 with 6,946,203 copies sold; and 13th in 2015 with an estimated sales of 3,576,177 copies sold. An artbook titled Tokyo Ghoul [zakki] was released on October 17, 2014.
The series was published in English by VIZ Media under the VIZ Signature imprint from June 16, 2015 to August 15, 2017, and in Spanish by Norma Editorial from March 20, 2015 to June 23, 2016. It has also been published in German by KAZÉ Manga since May 2, 2014; in Polish by Waneko since April 15, 2015; in Brazilian Portuguese by Panini Comics and Planet Manga since July 2015; in Czech by CREW since August 31, 2016; and in Spanish by Ivrea Argentina since December 12, 2016.
At first this manga might not have the most original concept or story. However, the way in which it is executed is excellent. There are no such things as 'black and white' in this manga.
Each important character has proper development and significance to the story, and none of them are there just for the sake of them being there, nor are they useless. The characters have realistic personalities, and none of them are just 'good' or 'bad'. Each character is well developed and continue to develop and none of them are completely innocent just like how it is in real life.
I appreciated the fact
that the characters are like this and this manga understands this perfectly. Characters that may seem shallow at first actually have depth to them.
Ken Kaneki is by far one of the best developed characters I have had the pleasure of seeing. He is not just the 'nerd' or the 'cool emo badass'. Just like any person in real life, he does have secrets he wants to keep buried and not willing to accept. He has various stages of development that actually makes sense in the situations he is in. His motives and thought process is excellently displayed.
Another good thing is how the manga does not just spoonfeed you the facts. They are foreshadowed with various references to numbers, tarot cards, symbolism and metaphors, but unless you pay attention to what you read you will not notice them and not be able to appreciate the manga in its full glory. I would recommend not just reading the manga just once but at least several times to get what you may have missed.
Overall an amazing manga, and the cliffhanger ending was actually the best way to end the first part.
Despite the manga's popularity, it wasn't until the anime aired this year that Tokyo Ghoul exploded in sales and became one of the top five best-selling manga in Japan (beating Kuroko's Basketball, Naruto and Magi).
So what is it about this series that attracted such popularity? It’s by no means a perfect series, that's for sure; but it gets a lot of things right.
The story begins by introducing readers to the timid protagonist; Kaneki Ken. Kaneki is an average college student that is forced to come to terms with living as a ghoul after a freak accident results in a ghoul's organs being transplanted into his
body. Whilst not exactly the most subtle premise, the manga wisely focuses on the duality of Kaneki's life, as he attempts to maintain his normal, human life whilst having to deal with the problems that his ghoul identity incorporates into his lifestyle. The author attempts to question the morality of the world he has created, and encourages the reader to do so as well. As ghouls are required to consume human meat to survive, Kaneki is forced to confront the prospect that he may have to kill humans if he wishes to live. Usually I prefer to avoid elaborating on the story so much, but the moral dilemmas that this manga presents are one of the most interesting aspects of the series, and are one of the driving forces that keep readers engaged in the events that unfold. Unfortunately they tend to lose their significance as the story progresses, and around halfway through the series is an event that drastically alters the story and feels far too ham-fisted compared to the rest of the series, but I'll elaborate on that in the character paragraph. Added to that, the story also ends on a highly unsatisfying note. Regardless of what information is revealed in the sequel manga, this is a review of the 144 chapters that the story spans across, so any information provided externally means naught. As I read the final few chapters, my faith in the series having a gratifying conclusion eroded further and further. As the manga ends, readers are left with the story tying itself together within the last few chapters. Having to process what had happened was jarring when the series had handled its pacing so well throughout the rest of the story, and the author definitely should have reconsidered how he chose to conclude it. With the amount of literary influence in the story, it felt as though the mangaka was trying to structure his story as a classic tale of tragedy, and if that were his intention then it was well-done indeed.
The art for the series is pretty decent overall, but there's not much to praise. His character designs are done well, and the inky panels help maintain the dark atmosphere of the series. The art is fairly standard but it definitely has its moments where it shines. That said, the fight scenes can be quite hit or miss; especially in the early parts of the story. The way the mangaka draws the fights occasionally lead me to be confused with what actions were performed in each panel. It’s a very minor issue as it only happened a few times, but it was something that was highly noticeable when the rest of the art flowed relatively smoothly.
The characters in the series are a strong point as well. Kaneki is a particularly strong protagonist in the sense that the ghoul’s violent lifestyle being inflicted on such a mild-mannered person is intriguing to watch. The supporting characters are also written well, and unlike a lot of other stories, they actually continue to serve a purpose after their initial introductions. With a story that raises a variety of moral dilemmas, readers can often question whether the antagonists are truly the 'evil' ones and vice versa for the protagonists. But the characters aren't always handled well. Kaneki in particular undergoes a period of rapid growth about halfway through the story, and it feels far too convenient. Almost as if the event was used as an excuse to fast-track Kaneki's development to allow him to play a more integral role in the story. Whilst this isn't a huge detraction, it’s something that irked me long after I'd finished reading the series.
Tokyo Ghoul has a lot to offer, and its popularity is well-deserved. Those that tend to avoid dark stories would be wise to avoid this too. It’s terrific, but it’s not the series that'll change your mind. Not once was I ever bored while reading, and I often looked forward to doing so to see how the story would develop.
This manga is great, and those interested in a dark, strong story would do well to give the series a try. If some of the characters were developed more subtly, and the ending hadn't raised more questions than it answered, then this manga would definitely be bordering masterpiece territory. As it stands, Tokyo Ghoul is an undoubtedly solid manga that deserves your time.
Tokyo Ghoul is a seinen manga series serialized in Young Jump, the most prestigious and well-known seinen magazine in Japan. Around 2014, when the anime had started, the fandom increased rapidly and endless screams of the internet community were heard about the "superb" quality and characters of the series. So, being a fan of seinen manga (Berserk, Kingdom, etc.) myself I decided to dig in.
There are MINOR SPOILERS in the following review
What I expected? Maturity, epicness and quality violent fight scenes
What I got? Well..., the above in pretty SMALL proportions, a feeling of pseudo-darkness and worst of all a taste of
Let's be more specific..
Plot: Tokyo Ghoul takes place in a world where ghouls and humans live together and explores the usually violent relations between the two sides. The setting of the series is very promising as there is always a hostile "war" atmosphere between the ghouls and the CCG (human organization that kills ghouls in the name of justice) even when there is no direct conflict. The series has two underlying themes: Firstly, is that justice is subjective and one-sided and true righteousness cannot be easily achieved as seen by the devastating losses of both sides. Secondly, if you have had psychological traumas or issues in general as a kid you ARE strong. Guess what... The first theme helps the series climb to the top while the second throws it to the pits of hell. Unfortunately many fights in T.G are resolved when one of the two sides remembers the sadness of the past, gains a power-up and demolishes the other side. This trait removes all the suspense from fights. Moreover, with regards to the "sadness of the past", almost all flashbacks are the same: Ghoul loses his family to humans and vice-versa. As far as the pacing is concerned, it is generally decent with the exception of a CCG-elaborated part where it is somewhat slow. The ending felt satisfying but rushed, however, it should not be criticized negatively as there is a sequel.
Artwork: This is by far the strongest point of this manga. At first it might seem simplistic but as the series continues you start to value the detailed and dark artwork. Despite being a few instances of "vague" panels, the fight scenes are really enjoyable to read, the choreography is well-made and the enjoyment is enforced with the detailed design of most kagune and ghoul masks.
Characters: Unfortunately, this is the weakest part of the series and mainly due to the main protagonist. Kaneki is a timid 14-year old orphan of medium built; a typical shonen protagonist you could say. Regrettably being "typical" is probably the smallest of the flaws. After his torture and power "awakening" is when what he had built as a character starts being demolished. After being tied to a chair, seeing scenes of sheer brutality and having his finger toes cut off ( FOR GOD'S SAKE they grew back and he still cried, think about poor Guts for an instant) Kaneki finally unlocks his ghoul potential and a sadistic darker part of his personality. Although the "dark counterpart" is a common and generally favorable trait of manga nowadays it is the bad execution that destroys it here. In Kaneki's case he jumps straight from being a shy kid with no backbone to a blood-thirsty, relentless badass (wannabe). Moreover, this doesn't just happen once, it repeatedly throughout the story making you wonder if there is any actual character development. The palindromic state between an irritating crybaby and a psychotic brutal ghoul is by no means considered character development; it is just putting two one-dimensional characters in the same body and changing between them whenever the plot commands. As for the secondary protagonist Touka, she is initially introduced as a cold-hearted and emotionless emo girl but she soon loses her "roughness" and lightens up to the rest of the cast as the series progresses, only to become a side character on the second half. In spite of being a typical tsundere she didn't deserve this lack of screentime. Most ghouls in the series give off a tone of depression, being prejudiced by humans and often having one of their loved ones killed by humans in the past, a trait that makes them quite repetitive. However, there are of course some very decent ones like Yamori, an old ghoul whose past is a mystery and Sachi a muscular man with a macho mustache (and my image of the average ghoul before starting the series).Finally, regarding the CCG investigators, they also come in all shapes and sizes from the stoic badass Arima to the extremely annoying anthropomorphic creature named Juuzo that wanted to know its gender.
Enjoyment: The series surely had a few memorable scenes(mostly from fights) but regrettably left a bad aftertaste as I said in the beginning of the review. It was really miserable seeing your main character going from a berserk mindless animal in one page to an immature wimp in the next. It is even more miserable when he starts having some weird guilts and monologues with himself just to put reason to his previous rage. In general, it was like the ghouls tried to have an edgy and dark attitude that foreshadowed their harsh past just to look cool, without really having any depth whatsoever; a characteristic that made me take the side of the CCG as the series progress
All in all, had it not been for the cast, especially the annoying main character and the edgy, disturbing vibe of ghouls, this series could have reached the top. It has decent story, very good art but it missed a very importatnt ingredient. It seems that the author tried to fit many shonen-ish traits to a seinen manga and still make it dark and mature through Kaneki's unnatural changes from a normal kid to monster. Unfortunately, it was a failed attempt.
This is my first review on MAL and I'm pretty excited that it's about my probably favorite finished manga of 2014!
Story - 10
Ken Kaneki, your average shy and bookloving collegestudent gets plunged into the world of the creatures called ghouls - who feed on humans. He learns of the life as a ghoul and being the kind and righteous guy he is, he cannot ignore nor accept the fact that they kill humans to devour them. But little does he know what it feels like to be driven to insanity by your own hunger, and little does he know of what it
really means to be a ghoul.
We get all the information needed to understand what kind of creatures the ghouls are at first, but only enough to still keep them as somewhat mysterious beings. As the story progresses we see our main protagonist's struggle to remain "human" and the psychological pressure he receives from that.
On the other side we have the humans who are the prey of ghouls but there's also investigators who hunt ghouls because of the danger they poses against the human population. Interesting is that we can see it from the viewpoints of both sides, their struggles and the reason behind their hate for each other.
All I can say is that this story was planned very much in details and a lot of time must have been spent of developing the story, which is always a big plus!
Art - 9
The first few chapters I found the art at some points somewhat messy. Especially the action scenes were very difficult to actually interpret, like is that an arm and did he just punch him or what etc.
It doesn't happen too often and you can actually skip those pages and won't miss anything important. It gradually gets better I promise, which is why it didn't bother me too much later.
But the art is perfect to actually display the setting which is horror and mystery.
Characters - 10
This is where TG really shines!
Kaneki is your shy-bookworm-too kind for his own good kind of guy who literally get's thrown into the world of ghouls. His extremely kind and righteous personality is not fit for the world of a ghoul and yet he can nothing but comply with it. We get to follow his life and what it means to be a ghoul and... are they really what everyone think they are?
You get introduced to a lot of characters and most of them remain relevant until the end which not many stories can do. What I hate is when you get introduced to a character and then suddenly after he/she has done her part of her role she suddenly just disappears!??
Thank god that doesn't happen in TG.
There's not many characters who play minor roles, a lot of them have significant roles and if I were you I would pay close attention to their actions and words because Ishida has really planned this story in details!!
We get a lot of background informations to many of them which gives the characters so much more depth.
But the best part of the cast in this story are their character developments!!
Especially Kaneki's one of the best character developments I've seen in a manga and I'm not even exaggerating. Truly impressive. That must have landed him a good spot on my fav list of manga characters.
Enjoyment - 10
It's been a long time since I last stumbled upon such a great manga (and I've read many), truly magnificent. This story has it all, action, horror, mystery, comedy, romance, drama and the psychological things brought up really makes you think. This was just really good, hands down.
Overall - 10
I don't have much to complain about in this story. All I can say is that you should read it yourself and then you'll understand what I've been talking about.
Funny is that, as you re-read it you will always find something new, maybe a clue that tells you a little bit about the future events, it is THAT amazing and well-planned.
Oh yeah, did I mention that the author is a master at drawing parallels? Because he is.
This is definitely a story that will keep you at the edge of your chair until the very end. :)
Tokyo Ghoul is a romantic tragedy that follows the young Ken Kaneki who is born human but is transformed into a man-eating ghoul. A twisted story of morality, humanity and friendship, its opening theme song beautifully captures this complex narrative.