Tokyo Ghoul (season 1 & 2): 82%

Tokyo Ghoul explained | The harmony of Chaos

Season 1 and 2 analysis

Tokyo Ghoul explained

Tokyo Ghoul. A bloodthirsty world.

The Setting.

Tokyo Ghoul is set in an alternate reality where ghouls, creatures that look like normal people but can only survive by eating human flesh, live amongst the human population in secrecy, hiding their true nature in order to evade pursuit from the authorities. Ghouls have powers including enhanced strength and regenerative abilities. A ghoul’s skin is resistant to ordinary piercing weapons, and it has at least one special predatory organ called a kagune, which it can manifest and use as a weapon during combat. Another distinctive trait of ghouls is that when they are excited or hungry, the color of their sclera in both eyes turns black and their irises red. This mutation is known as kakugan (“red eye”).

The protagonist: Ken Kaneki.

The story follows Ken Kaneki, a college student who barely survives a deadly encounter with Rize Kamishiro, his date who reveals herself as a ghoul. He is taken to the hospital in critical condition. After recovering, Kaneki discovers that he underwent a surgery that transformed him into a half-ghoul. This was accomplished because some of Rize’s organs were transferred into his body, and now, like normal ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive. The ghouls who manage the coffee shop “Anteiku” take him in and teach him to deal with his new life as a half-ghoul. Some of his daily struggles include fitting into the ghoul society, as well as keeping his identity hidden from his human companions, especially from his best friend Hideyoshi Nagachika.

The hidden potential of Tokyo Ghoul.

In the storyplot of Tokyo Ghoul we find a number of ideas that are not new in the film-animation. Let’s think for example at the conditions of the Ghouls, men like creature which are physically superior to humans. You can think at them like “vampires” if we want to remind a classic of the cinema. In fact, the superiority of humanity on the food chain is jeopardized by those monsters. Here comes the first, not completely exploited topic of Tokyo Ghoul.

Tokyo Ghoul review

The place of redemption is destined to burn. The Anteiku family.

The 2nd season of Tokyo Ghoul. The lost message of Anteiku.

The second season of Tokyo Ghoul is quite problematic. No clear path is pursued by the plot, giving the impression that also the author hasn’t found the path for redeption. The brutality of life reported in Tokyo Ghoul could have had a strong positive message. The Anteiku. The family, Yoshimura (the Owl) builded with sacrifice is wiped away too easily. The coffee bar could have been the Leaf Village of Naruto, a safe harbour for the souls. However, the wild nature of the world represented in Tokyo Ghoul does not conceive cohabitation between competing “animals”.

Humans and Ghouls.

Humans and Ghouls have the same appearances. The underlaying idea is that they’re not different from each other. Humans behave like Ghouls and viceversa. They only respond to the primitive instinctive rule: survival. Both are responsible for the brutality of the world. Ken Kaneki, half human and half ghoul is the perfect representation of the incompatibility between men and ghouls. According to this view, the ending of season 2, gives no solution to the audience. The condition which is acceptable is the permanent conflicts. They share the same concerns and emotions but the battle for their own species takes the control of the scenes.

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The power of Ken Kaneki. The man with maturity on the hair.

Ken Kaneki is the classic otaku boy. The right guy to whom life have reserved a Frankenstein-like surgery. Theruthlessness of mankid (remind the Latin proverb “A man is a wolf to another man”, we talked about is in Attack on Titan review) has completely changed the morality of the protagonist. Ken Kaneki it’s a fallen Sasuke Uchiha. The only way Kaneki found to move on is that of strength. His static attitude towards the events has annihilated all the values. As a result his hair turned grey. The psycho-physical torture he is forced to face made him react according to Darwinian law of natural selection. The strongests impose the rules to society. The mutation of Ken Kaneki does not stop to the new colour of his hair. From the end of season 1, Ken has to wear a feral mask: when a human loses its ethical principles becomes completely wild. Even though the sentiment for his friends (Hideyoshi Nagachika and Touka Kirishima) is still present, the protagonist is unable to fix the situation. It’s the story of Ken Kaneki, the anti-hero.

Ken Kaneki tokyo ghoul

The psychological condition of Ken Kaneki traspires in his appearance.

Tokyo Ghoul. When the edgy overwhelms the storyplot.

Tokyo Ghoul is characterized by interesting concepts at the basis. The dark side has a great role in each episode. The stylistic choice is able to transfer the cruelty of the world. However, the sensation of untold remains inside the spectator. It’s a reversed Naruto world where Sasuke (Ken) has buried his best friend Naruto (Hide). The sequence of events seems not to have a clear weave. In particular, referring to season 2, lots of characters are presented to the audience but only a few are deeply analysed during the storyplot. For example, the sacrifice of the Owl appears meaningless at first sight. A lot of questions are left unsolved at the end of season 2. Or, maybe, the real sense of the anime is beyond the mere actions we have (not) seen.

The apparent chaos of Tokyo Ghoul can be located inside a more comprehensive concept of harmony. It’s the permanent contrast of the opposites. According to Heraclitus, the oppositional processes of generation and destruction constitutes a stable state or “justice” (Have you read our Psycho-pass article, the social justice of the Sibyl System?). In that sense:

Strife is Justice.

– Heraclitus

And you,want do you think of Tokyo Ghoul?

Tokyo ghoul explained

Where can I watch Tokyo Ghoul on streaming?

The streaming episodes of Tokyo Ghoul (and also of Tokyo Ghoul:Re) are available on the following platforms: Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Funanimation and Crunchyroll.

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The Rankings

Tokyo Ghoul (Season 1 and 2)