Jul 11, 2018
PhoenixKola (All reviews)
I am going to be reviewing Tokyo Ghoul:Re as purely an anime and judge it based on its merits as simply that. Not some appendage meant to supplement its source material. This has been my approach when viewing seasons 1 and 2, which is why I enjoyed them for the most part (to the dismay of manga readers). Who knows? Coming in as a blank slate probably made it slightly easier for me to enjoy them. The world we were introduced to was lucid and well-established right from the first episode of season 1. The story was elaborate and well-paced, the character dynamics and relationships were complex. The voice acting was emotionally laden and three dimensional. The music was superb and probably the best part of both seasons. While the animation, though tolerable, was possibly the weakest aspect. All in all, season 1 was a great watch and season 2 was not far behind.

You would think I would’ve been overjoyed by TG:Re based on how I felt about its predecessors. And I was when it was announced. I stayed away from the manga for good measure here as well, so as to stay open minded just in case they opted for some creative liberties. Pointless. Tokyo Ghoul:Re was just difficult for me to watch... Part of why this was the case for me is that I kept convincing myself that it would get better. That somewhere in the episodes to come the writers would get on their feet and find their stride, that the studio was still setting us up for one huge payoff mid series. Just something. I kept making excuses to keep from losing interest and filling my head with as many excuses as I could conjure up until all that hope dissipated and I was left to confront my denial and convince myself that season 3 was a betrayal that should never have even happened. Everything that I loved about the first two was gone. They stripped it, left it unrecognizable and with nothing for it to stand on.

Never mind that I didn’t know where Kaneki had gone much less that he was still the lead of this series lodged in there somewhere, or what happened to all the other members of Anteiku and why Hinami wasn’t a part of it anymore. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the narrative had shifted and that the story would continue to unfold from the perspective of the CCG and its mish mash of new albeit incompetent faces. The story ran amok with no discernible direction.

With so much ground work laid from previously, it looked like none of that mattered here. It felt like a reboot more than anything else, but what really infuriated me was how it acted like we would somehow carry all that emotional package that season 1 and √A worked hard to build in its audience and adapt it to an unfamiliar setting with a landscape of characters we don’t even know let alone care about. It doesn’t take the time to establish any of its characters or why they mean what they do to one another and by extension, the viewer. When you have a death take place and you want it to elicit an emotional response from me but instead you get a “what on God’s beautiful earth is going on here?” then you ought to know that you lost a good moment to score points with me. Little two-minute flashbacks before killing someone off with the background characters watching in horror and disbelief doesn’t mean I’m going to follow suit. You legitimatelyscrewed up. If you’re going to start from scratch with a whole new palette of characters to kill off no matter how much I want you to win, emotional reactions are earned.

The dialogue was another culprit that emptied this show of any evidence that I am on this show's side. It was so bad it made the voice acting seem awful. I know for a fact that the fault was in the writing because I looked up the cast and all of them are very capable voice actors with extensive work much of it laudable. These are all talented people who know what their doing if given decent material to work with. And no amount of talent could save it, unfortunately.

But the music, of everything else that was done horribly wrong was the one biggest assault against the body of work that got me interested in the anime. I was shocked to learn that Yutaka Yamada composed the score here. He scored the previous seasons and did an amazing job of elevating even the most mediocre scenes and turning them into something to reflect on while holding back tears. Nothing akin to that here. This was the laziest score I’ve ever heard since the decline of Hans Zimmer in Hollywood. Even Yamada was utterly uninspired by the events of TG:Re. He has unapologetically done away with the sophisticated symphonies that accentuated the mood of first two seasons. His “compositions” here are, as if in protest, simple synth beats just as hollow as everything else about this show.

The animation was never Tokyo Ghoul’s strongest factor, but with nothing else going for it, it seems to me to be unwise to lower your standards at that as well. The character designs were pretty basic with faces constructed from rudimentary shapes meant for colour in books. The action sequences are the notorious one frame movements that don’t spark any tension. They don’t feel even mildly exciting or rewarding in the few places they have been sprinkled in. They look like an afterthought of some sort much like the music.

I really wanted this show to be good. I believed what was done before it was a work of art that though wasn’t flawless, was honest in its intentions to take us on an adventure. I have vehemently defended the anime against its own manga fans for years but I can’t stand behind this and still claim to be an anime fan. I stand on the side of art that showcases passion. Whether it stays true to the source or not is immaterial to me personally. The effort just has to be there. I don’t know what this was, sadly. I just couldn’t recognize any of this. But what I could spot could be summed up in one word: Lazy.