• Titles: Tokyo Kushu, Tokyo Ghoul
  • Genre: Drama, horror, action,
  • Episodes: 12 + 12
  • Studio: Studio Pierrot

Kaneki is bad with girls. He’s a shy book nerd who’s never been that great at making friends, to begin with. Not that he doesn’t have any friends. He has Hide and that’s the best friend anyone could wish for. But It would be nice if Kaneki could get a girlfriend as well. Someone sweet and supportive. Maybe a girl who enjoys books as much as he does, that way they would always have something to talk about. It wouldn’t hurt if she was really pretty as well. And Kaneki doesn’t mind if she’s more assertive. After all, it’s not like he’s all that comfortable taking the lead. But you know, you can’t really get a girlfriend unless you take a chance and go on a few dates. It’s intimidating to ask a girl out and it can be daunting trying to plan the perfect evening together but there’s no way around it. Kaneki is just going to have to try. After all, what’s the worse that could happen?

Imagine someone with absolutely no conception of Tokyo Ghoul – and that also doesn’t know what the word ghoul means and won’t look it up – picking up this show because my synopsis makes it sounds like a romantic slice of life about some kid learning to date. I think that would be great. In fact, I would watch that spinoff!

so young and innocent

Production

Tokyo Ghoul is one of those shows where I have nothing to say about the production. It’s not bad. Some of the CG can get annoying but otherwise, it’s fairly consistent, the art is good, great if that happens to be your cup of tea, and the animation doesn’t disappoint which is saying something. Tokyo Ghoul has a lot of movement and fighting scenes. most of them involving some crazy physics. The animation could have easily failed the narrative but it didn’t. Good Job!

I’m divided about the voice acting. I don’t personally enjoy it, I find it lacks dimension. It’s melodramatic and very one-note but it’s played straight. It’s not exaggerated to the point of parody. This said, I also think the voice actors are talented. My feeling is that this was a deliberate director choice for the performances and I see why this choice was made. It’s just not my thing.

actually, the style was perfect for him!

Story & Characters

I watched the first season of Tokyo Ghoul a long time ago. I sort of hadn’t watched anime for years and started up again a few years ago. Tokyo Ghoul was one of the first series I watched then, And I remember liking it. Not loving t or anything but enjoying it well enough. Then I forgot about it. A sort of run of the mill horror series and since I hadn’t seen any horror anime, it was novel in a way.

I have to admit that once I started talking to more anime fans, I was surprised to see this title come up fairly often. And not just because it was one of those rare horror anime, but people liked the show. Some of them loved it. I remember a fellow blogger calling it a masterpiece and his favourite series. Even sweet little bloggers that dislike gore and stuff were telling me that the show was really good.

Now it’s happened a few times that I watched a series and was fairly indifferent only to really enjoy it on reviewing. Part of it is my personal disposition at the time of viewing. Another part is that early on, I didn’t always have the context and background to enjoy every element in a show, then again, I also tended to enjoy anime just because it was anime. Mind you I still do that. Point is, I figured I should revisit Tokyo Ghoul at some point and see if I can pick up on what I missed.

It took me years to actually do so but now we’re finally here and…

Yeah, I don’t like Tokyo Ghoul. I’m not even sure what I enjoyed the first time around. This is not my type of show at all. I do know that I had never watched root A and seeing as the first season of Tokyo Ghoul pretty much ends on a cliffhanger, this time I decided to go for the second season right away. I figured maybe the story needed to be appreciated as a whole. It did not help. It made it worse.

I don’t actually dislike the characters. For the most part, they are archetypes that don’t get developed but the cast is varied and they play off one another decently well. I would watch a different show with all these same characters. And on paper, I don’t hate the plot either. Kind of cliché but not bad. I like that ghouls are just zombies with weird tentacle powers. I think it would have made for really fun hentai.

However, I find the delivery and execution unbearable and made worse by shoddy pacing. The lack of nuance in the characters and the invariable grim outcome of every single arc got so repetitive that I just stopped caring. Pretty quickly. By the end of it, the death of my second favourite character (spoilers but I won’t tell you who it is) left me completely indifferent. And I cry at insurance commercials folks. This shouldn’t happen.

I like this guy a lot as well

I will say that I think season 1 is better. I’m not sure how much of it was simply because I got more and more bored and annoyed as the episodes passed by but I do think the pacing is better. There’s also a bit more going on. Root A is more or less one big battle with a few flashbacks. But I wouldn’t say I enjoyed season 1.

Now I know that Tokyo Ghoul is really liked by a lot of people. And I do sort of understand why although I think you can find similar but better. One of the things I will say is that I believe that Tokyo Ghoul is aimed at a younger audience. It’s very bloody and violent so I don’t mean small children but I would say teens.

The philosophies and conflicts in Tokyo Ghoul are all very simple. Up to a certain point, this is true of all fiction but it’s particularly true here. Both the text and the cinematic language adapts fairly black and white stances without bothering too much about the variables. There are good guys and bad guys. On both sides mind you but still, you always know who you’re supposed to root for and the bad guys are so underdeveloped it’s difficult for anyone would root for them even to be a contrarian.

Rize might be the exception and in many ways, the most interesting character

The basic idea in the first season that Kaneki being part of both worlds would be the one to unite them is naive and cute. I wanted to see that story. However, it’s for the most part pushed aside in favour of admittedly impressive but ultimately hollow action.

I’m still sounding negative. Let me try to phrase it better. Tokyo Ghoul would be a great mindless action series in my opinion if it didn’t insist on being so depressing half the time. I don’t like this type of drama at all. However, there are people who enjoy insistent drama and the simple dilemmas make it an undemanding watch whit some really nice animation.

You might like this anime if:

You feel the need to feed your angst a bit

My favourite character:

Uta. We amost don’t see him at all but I liked the little we did see. He seems pretty important in the fandom so I’m guessing he gets a bigger role later on.

Suggested drink:

Ghoul’s Blood

  • Every time Hide is hitting on a girl – take a sip
  • Every time anyone is disgusted by food – get a snack
  • Every time Touka gets angry – shrug
  • Every time Rize comes up – yay
  • Every time Kaneki gets tricked by someone – take a sip
  • Every time anyone thinks Touka is pretty – take a sip
  • Every time anyone’s kagune is out – hide
  • Every time the little girl learns a new word – take a sip
  • Every time anyone cries – cry too
  • Every time Doves go to the diner – are the snacks good?
  • Every time someone learns how to make coffee – take a sip
  • Every time someone mentions their quinque – take a sip
  • Every time Kaneki wears his mask – take a sip
  • Every time Shuu talks in French – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentione kakuja  – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

10 thoughts

  1. Obviously given my distaste for gore and my personal preference away from these kind of shows, this sounds like something I wouldn’t have enjoyed or recommended either. Gigguk’s 8-minute recap of this series was more than enough for me, I wonder how the full experience would have been like.

    1. If you are curious then why not give it a try. There is some gore but it’s cartoonish. Then again if you dislike all blood then maybe this one is not for you.

  2. Tokyo Ghoul is one of those series that left little impression one way or another. I remember liking the first season better than the second and having had enough before finishing season two, but I don’t have separate memories for both seasons. I barely remember what happened, and the snippets I do remember I often can’t place. If people weren’t bringing up the show from time to time, I’d probably never think of it again.

  3. I’m a well documented fan of horror and zombies but even I didn’t really enjoy this series. The first season was good, the second worse, and the third was mostly unbearable. Things just kept happening for no reason and like you said, you start to not care about the characters. Touka was probably the only one I felt sorry for. Probably…

      1. I was amazed you went on to the second season. I’m almost inclined to say watch the first episode of season three. If you’re expecting some sort of resolution to season two cliffhanger you can forget about it.

        1. Oh no, I baly mde ittthrough the seasons I did watch. I was pretty releived to not have to watch anymore. I’m good for now. I might consider the manga if someone tells me it’s much better but as of now, I’m ok with putting htis franchise behind me.

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