[Flashback] Tokyo Ghoul / Tokyo Ghoul √A

tokyo ghoul.jpg

Name: Tokyo Ghoul (season 1) and Tokyo Ghoul √A (season 2)

Mangaka: Sui Ishida  

Production: Studio Pierrot

Number of episodes: 12 episodes each

Human-like creatures call ghouls have been mingling with humans. However, they are being regarded as an abomination, since their prey are humans themselves. The CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul) is tasked to hunt and kill every ghoul they encounter. They make use of quinque, a weapon created from kagune, a ghoul’s special power/weapon. 

Ken Kaneki is an orphan, supporting himself and studying in college. One day, a fateful encounter with Rize Kamishiro, beautiful woman, but actually a ghoul in disguise, changed the course of his life entirely.

This is an entirely new category I decided to include in this blog out of the blue, where I will try to give a short summary (if I’m in the mood lol) and comment on anime/movies/whatever I watched. Let’s see if my ramblings will make sense.

Spoiler alert: this was written a month ago. :p

Since I’m on leave for almost 10 days, I decided to make good use of it by binge-watching any anime series that catches my fancy. Good thing I have a copy of Tokyo Ghoul, which I brought after my visit to the dentist last month. At last, I was able to summon the courage, err, interest to watch it.

One of my reasons I chose to watch Tokyo Ghoul is the hype surrounding it last year (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not good with dates). They say it’s gritty, gory, bloody, complex and such. Well, it is dark and gritty indeed. But not as bloody and gory and gritty as Berserk, Gantz, or even Shigurui (the last one is the worst of the lot, but I love it. The art is simply divine. Hopefully I can do a summary/review of it in the near future). Not as complex as Steins;Gate either. Nor it has a cleverly designed storytelling scheme like Durarara!!! or Baccano. But I guess it’s a disservice to the Tokyo Ghoul series to be actually compared to those other anime I mentioned. It’s a league of its own.

But let me talk about the opening and ending songs first *excited*

The opening is awesome in the first season. First they did it with Psycho Pass’ abnormalize (the first season), then Enigmatic Feeling (the second season). Ling Tosite Sigure aced it once again in Tokyo Ghoul with unravel. Not convinced? Listen to this.

This band totally won me over, hands down.

The ending theme Seijatachi by People in the Box is also good. The translation of the lyrics, though it seemed so weird to me (I don’t know if that’s the official translation, but when translated to English it’s kinda awkward), it sounded sooooo good. It seemed to fit the vibe of the show, contrasting the fast-paced Unravel with its calm, nighttime-in-the-city vibe. It’s like you’re traveling in an open-hooded car, running at 60mph during the middle of the night, with only the streetlights guiding your path. Then you stop the car on the side of the road and admire the city lights from far away. That’s exactly what I felt while listening to it. I can’t get this song out of my head. I even downloaded it.

On the other hand, the opening and ending theme in Tokyo Ghoul √A is just meh. Sad.

When I watch an anime, I normally get hooked after a couple of episodes (but also depending on the excitement level). Maybe it’s because of the opening song, the plot, or the awesome character/s. But after years of watching anime, I can confidently say that my watching behavior and reactions are pretty much consistent, no matter what genre I’m watching.

I can’t help but giggle on Ore Monogatari, despite the exaggerated differences of height and build of the two main characters and the uber-cheesy (and not to mention very wholesome) scenes. This is coming from someone who very rarely watches shoujo. I laughed non-stop with Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. I fell in love with Lantis in Magic Knight Rayearth. I find Onion Alien from Gantz too cute. I got angry when Griffith, er, Femto raped Casca in front of Guts in Berserk.

Unfortunately, there are exceptions. And Tokyo Ghoul is one of those. For some reason I cannot really explain, I felt bored.

Even after watching both seasons in one day in one sitting (which is an indicator of interest in itself–or maybe a futile attempt of showing interest, just to give justice to the show and to the money I spent in buying this), for me, in my opinion, it didn’t live up to the hype. I just kept watching it, while being on the lookout for the opening and ending songs (you just can’t skip it). I noticed I’ve been watching it for hours already, so I counted how many episodes I’ve finished, and realized I’m already at the 8th. But still no excitement. The season 1 ended up with a whimper, not a bang.  I tried very hard not to fall asleep on the second season.

To be honest, I like the idea, albeit it’s a little cliche: an innocent, pure boy with a sad past was a victim of an unfortunate incident involving a supernatural being that changed his life forever. A timid, quiet boy turned into a lot more quiter, gloomy, tortured, and sinister boy (when he’s killing someone).


Kaneki Ken, before and after the transformation. What’s 1,000 minus 7?? just kidding.

I also liked that the only human food that ghouls can tolerate is coffee. I liked the idea of a coffee shop as a refuge for ghouls who only wanted to live peacefully. A  nice old man as a manager, a feisty waitress, a man and a woman who are both leaders of two opposing groups working harmoniously to help other ghouls in need.


The Cafe Anteiku staff and their friends. Oh happy times.

But something does not add up. Is it because of how the story unfolded? Is it how the story was told? Did they omit some things in the manga? Not too sure, I still haven’t read the manga.

From what I believe, a good anime adaptation must be able to get you hooked even if you haven’t read the manga yet (or not even planning to read it in the first place). I didn’t say the adaptation sucked, it just bored me. They tried to cram everything in just 2 seasons, just to be on the safe side of marketing. Maybe they’re too afraid that they won’t be able to break even in the anime sales so they limited it to 12 episodes? Or perhaps the animators and writers were overworked (well, that happens basically to every anime ever). Or maybe it’s just me. Sorry TG fans.


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