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Out of all the highest grossing and selling seinen gore manga of the century, Tokyo Ghoul is way above its competition and for a good reason: it’s a story that has earned the love and loyalty of its audience.
This work has been written and drawn by Sui Ishida, a young writer who emerged in 2010 with his first project and has gained worldwide recognition in the medium in just one decade, which goes to show how much he has evolved in such little time. He works with great publishers such as Sueisha and Norma, and has also managed to obtain the adaptation of his work with the Pierrot Co studio, responsible of the anime adaptation of world renowned properties such as Naruto, Bleach and Black Clover.
The team behind Tokyo Ghoul has done an excellent job in terms of storytelling. It’s a plot that is very unpredictable, with a perfect narrative and the circumstances in each story are developed in perfect synchrony with the plot.
What is Tokyo Ghoul?
Tokyo Ghoul is set in a world dominated by two races: the humans and the ghouls. Ghouls are creatures with human form, with bodies with high healing properties and supernatural powers that make them almost indestructible. Everything could go well, but ghouls are the natural predators of humans and these, being the predominant race, hunt down ghouls, while they eat them just like a delicious pizza.
The ghoul nature is quite simple. They are hungry. Human food makes them sick and their only source of nutrients is people.
The story begins with Kaneki Ken, a pretty nerdy college student who meets a cute girl in the cafeteria. He considers himself very lucky when she agrees to go out with him; but his luck ends when the girl takes him to a dark alley where she begins to eat him without mercy.
But an unexpected turn occurs. Huge beams fall from a nearby building and crush the girl. Kaneki, dying, is transferred to a hospital, where the girl’s organs are transplanted to him, turning him in the first hybrid human.
And although it could be a common story between humans and demons, the reality is that there are no good or bad on either side; only people eager to survive, protect their beloved, and avenge those who have lost.
How was it?
The universe created by Ishida in Tokyo Ghoul is completely unique, with a shade of brutality that even the best censors haven’t been able to block. It has 2 complete seasons of 14 and 16 volumes respectively, an anime adaptation with three seasons of 48 episodes in total and 2 OVAs that developed unforgettable secondary characters within the story.
What I like most about this work is that, from the beginning, nobody knows what will happen. It’s not the typical fantastic story in which the protagonist develops his skills and becomes a role model for society. On the contrary, Kaneki goes from being a tasteless boy to complete dementia. After being completely crazy, he becomes a fighter for justice and finally, a bloodthirsty man.
The protagonist’s path is completely unpredictable and cruel, like all the other characters that, although in the anime are not developed, the manga gives them an impressive personality, connecting the past of each one to the plot and avoiding that “hello, I’m here” that many authors do when inserting characters out of nowhere.
No matter what character is, if Ishida wants to place it in the foreground of importance for multiple volumes, he will do it. That makes this work so interesting and diverse.
What About The Animation?
This Tokyo Ghoul project being his creator’s first work, the inexperience in drawing in the first volumes of the manga is notable. But as he progresses, his style is refined and becomes much more appealing. There comes a point when the climax of the story loses its visual quality, but immediately recovers it to make greater impact. And it happens in the same way with the second season of the Tokyo Ghoul: re manga.
However, when it comes to the animation of the anime, you can do nothing but praise them. The drawings have been carefully made, choosing perfect colors for each painting and maintaining a 90s anime style that fits perfectly with the plot.
The battles are very well developed, both in the manga and in the anime. I have read battles lasting between 2 and 3 whole arcs, with enviable combat scenes that aren’t confusing to the reader and are specific. Being a gore work, there is blood, mutilations and nibbles everywhere; but none of this done without logic, but rather at the right moments.
The soundtrack stands out for being unique. The opening is one of the best compositions in the anime world and the sound setting is beautiful; making every character and situation beautify on an audible level in a totally unexpected way.
What Does It Represent?
I can do nothing but applaud this work. The unexpected is present at all times, with characters that vary in personality and circumstances that exploit their maximum potential. I consider Tokyo Ghoul a reflection of our lowest passions. The two races involved in the story show their light and dark in detail; making the most ruthless of ghouls compete with the most insane human.
Another of my favorite aspects is the protagonist. At first, I got a little fed up with his simplicity and looked forward to the moment when he became strong. And although this came, it was completely unexpected and painful. So much that I regretted and wished he was the same again, but I’m not the writer, so I could just keep reading.
Tokyo Ghoul is a production that I would certainly enjoy several times. There is nothing unnecessary in it, and although many fans disagree or have dismissed the anime or the second season because of its unexpected turns, what made this story interesting was precisely Ishida’s determination not to follow the rules and do what he wanted.
Do I recommend Tokyo Ghoul? Totally, yes! But I would not only recommend watching anime. The manga is exciting, thankfully long and impressive. I have no doubts that this work will be a great experience to you, as much as it was for me.