Tokyo Ghoul – 09

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For a breather episode, there sure was a hell of a lot going on there.

Author’s Note: Please avoid any and all manga spoilers in the comments, which I know is going to especially tempting given how much unexplained material the anime offered this week.

I haven’t read much of the Tokyo Ghoul manga, and I’m not looking for answers (or clever hints) from those who have – I’m merely an anime-only viewer speculating on the meaning of everything that was thrown at us in this episode.  An optimist might look at the flood of new characters and potential threads that were introduced here as evidence that the production committee saw the decent Stalker numbers and huge bump in manga sales and gave encouraging signs about a second season, but the realist in me knows the anime production cycle doesn’t move that quickly.  And the pessimist wants to theorize that what’s happening is that all of the future arcs are being combined into one clusterfuck of an anime-original ending, but I’ll choose to ignore him…

As it stands it’s hard to know just what to make of this episode, coming only three weeks from the series finale.  There’s no possible way even half of what this ep hinted was important could be fleshed out in three episodes, so if there’s no second season on the books it’s interesting to ponder why it was there at all.  I was expecting a segue into the arc that would likely close the season and maybe the series, not the seeds of what seem like about five or six different arcs, bit maybe the intent was to get across that there’s a lot going on in the manga that the anime hasn’t covered.  If so, it did a pretty good job of it.

Rather than try and weave them into a narrative, there are so many new faces (and big name seiyuu) it’s easier to just list them out…

  • Arima Kishou (Namikawa Daisuke) – an obviously important higher-up at the CCG
  • Shinhara Yukinori (Nakano Yutaka) – a colleague of Mado and friend of Amon who seems to be in-charge of the contention 11th Ward
  • Takizawa Seidou (Tachibana Shinnosuke) – one of the two Doves assigned to keep an eye on the 20th Ward and an admirer of Amon-kun
  • Houji Kousuke (Hayami Sho) – the other, and the more senior of the two
  • Muramatsu Kie (Doi Mika – the narrator on Mushishi) – the 68 year-old ghoul Mado uses as an object lesson to his new partner Amon in flashback
  • Kirishima Ayato (Kaji Yuuki) – the younger brother of Touka, who we meet as a young boy
  • Kirishima Arata (Uchida Yuuya) – their father
  • Banjou Kazuichi (Kentarou Itou) – an 11th-Ward ghoul of some standing, and apparently big trouble
  • Koma Enji (Katsu Anri) – the barista at Anteiko who we’ve met before, but who finally got some meaningful screen time here, mostly referring to himself as “Devil Ape” and being ignored
  • Hetare  -“Loser” (Amamiya Sora) – the foul-mouthed cockatiel that’s adopted by Touka and Hinami

It’s not as if any of these characters come off as extras, either – there’s a hell of a lot going on here.  Ken is trying to research Rize, to see if he can understand the beast inside him.  Hide is dropping more and more hints that he knows what Ken is, but at the very least he’s a ghoul otaku who knows more than most humans do about them (my bet is he became interested after finding out that Ken was now a Ghuman).  Hide has also coincidentally overheard Jason bragging about how he’s going to get Rize once and for all – and his reaction could be further betrayal of the fact that he knows the connection between Rize and his best friend.

Rize is a theme running through a lot of what happens in this episode.  Both Banjou’s group and Ayato’s group seem very interested in taking her out, which means invading the 20th Ward and causing trouble.  Speaking of Ayato, he seemed like a kind and timid little ghoul boy in the flashback we see – he’s even squeamish of the worms tomboy Touka is gathering to feed the wounded sparrow they’ve found (clearly, this incident will end up being responsible for Touka’s professed dislike of birds in the present).  But now he seems like a nasty piece of work, with no discernible regard for his sister.  How that came to be is one of many potential arcs teased in this episode.

That’s not all that’s going on, either – Hinami is living with Touka now, and Ken is pickpocketed by a strange young delicious-smelling girl with tattooed (or scarred hands), which feels like a pretty important incident, especially given the possibility that she could be the same girl we sae visiting Mado’s grave earlier.  Mostly there’s a sense that all hell is about to break loose in the 20th Ward and that Rize is the primary cause of it.  It almost plays like throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall and seeing what will stick, but of course Morita-sensei knows exactly what the next three episodes will cover and what they won’t – which makes this episode an unusual albeit quite entertaining narrative choice.  In the end I suppose it’s an either an attempt to introduce as much of the mythology as possible to keep options open or one last burst of sweep and breadth, but one way or the either the focus of Tokyo Ghoul is surely going to narrow considerably starting with next week’s episode.

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  1. s

    Does anyone find it a strange coincidence that Rize has an affect on the plot similar to the way that Aika did from Zetsuen no Tempest…..who are both voiced by HanaKana?

  2. Well, statistics show that 42% of all female anime characters are played by KanaHana, so it's not that unlikely…

    I actually hadn't thought much about Rize having a similar impact to Aika – I'll have to mull that over before I decide if I agree.

  3. m

    Is that 42% an arbitrary number used to make a joke, or is that legit? I feel like that could be an actual statistic for recent years.

  4. R

    Okay, so I am guessing that the white haired girl that both Amon and Ken bumped into in this ep is Mado's daughter. I still don't like how the guy was presented as a villain in the series, and that attempt to make him more sympathetic ("Mado was proud of you" "He had a family") is a bit on the annoying for me.

    Still, I am getting more interested in the new plot threads they are laying though that potential anime original ending *cough* Noragami *cough*) is something to worry about.

  5. It's funny that people have started using Noragami as the archetypal bad anime ending. In the first place I don't think it was all that bad – though that's strictly opinion – and in the second, it was an ending that managed to avoid irredeemably screwing anything up with the series canon and I think that was quite intentional. I think a big goal was to avoid rushing through a manga arc there wasn't time to do justice to, and to leave open the possibility of a second season. All in all it could have been a whole lot worse.

  6. R

    To be fair, I actually liked Noragami as a whole. It's just the ending that really annoyed me. The final arc really didn't go anywhere. I prefer to think that the anime version ended with the Yukine arc.

  7. b

    They had 3 episodes left after they ended Yukine arc, that time had to be filled or would you rather they extended Yukine arc to 12 episodes instead of 9 with filler of Yukine being a brat? Bishamon arc needs an entire cour to be decently adapted and the original ending was supervised by the mangaka, Adachitoka also drew a 2-chapter manga about Rabou and Yato.

    I'm sticking to Tokyo Ghoul because there's only a couple of episodes left, probably the manga is better but I find this anime a painful mess. I agree with Roger regarding Mado, I think they should've done this when he was alive instead being portrayed as a silly villain before. I'm not sure about the direction's finale with all these newly introduced characters, it feels like Touka's brother is the type of Kaji character you don't like lol

    By the way, did you ever try watching Nobunaga Concerto? I gave it a shot because I heard a lot of praise from the manga and was not disappointed. It's surprisingly accurate when portraying the historical events and the main character voiced by Miyano is very charismatic and likable (unlike the previous Nobunaga he voiced). There's also interesting twists which keep the story engaging and big names voicing the characters. The animation is done by rotoscoping but you get used to it quickly:

  8. D

    ^This about Nobunaga Concerto. Enzo, I don't know if you tried the first episode or not, but I strongly recommend at least giving it the three-episode rule. It's been creeping up my watchlist all season and is currently in my top three shows of the season. The animation is rough and the pacing a little breakneck in the first couple eps, but Miyano gives an absolutely top-tier performance, the characters develop naturally, the story is confident and increasingly intricate, and the direction is actually quite good in spite of the clunky CG. Definitely the happiest surprise of the season.

  9. Honestly, it didn't spark much interest in me going in and the reaction to the first couple of episodes didn't do anything to change my mind. I'm not exactly swimming in time, but I'll see if I can find a way to watch the first couple of episodes.

  10. G

    The anime original ending of Claymore comes to mind. They ruined the ending of the anime by having Raki come back with Priscilla and Isley way before it was supposed to happen. Claymore the manga is still ongoing and there is plenty of material for 2-3 more seasons but that would be tough to do with the way they ended the anime.

  11. M

    To this day I still do not understand what the Claymore anime ending was supposed to do. It was not a conclusive ending, indeed it left more loose ends then just stopping at the 7 year jump. The only thing it did was mess up any chance of more seasons without a complete reboot.

  12. m


    Yeah making Mado "sympathetic" at this point is absurd. The fact that his partner even respected him is absurd. Yeah he was talented and protected his partner, but he was an absolute maniac. That attitude and his expressions were just over the top and annoying. I don't know if he was like that in the manga, but you can't portray a guy as a psychopath and then all of a sudden act like he was a good guy, Or worse have everyone around him act like he isn't crazy. He was one of those character that makes you think "when does he die?" within the first few minutes of their introduction.

  13. m

    As far as Noragami's ending goes it was a whole lot better than trying to force the next arc into a few eps. They probably should've extended the other arcs seeing as the anime original one wasn't particularly interesting, but at least it fit in with the themes and tone of the rest of the show. It could have been much worse, and was necessary considering just how long the next arc is.

  14. s

    I wont eliminate the idea that an anime original ending might happen, but for what it seems, the anime looks like it's going to do it best to tackle the critical points of this arc as to make a coherent finale. To be honest, not every manga panel of this arc needs to be animated (the mado arc didnt adapt all the panels and it still ended up being good in my opinion because there were just some pages the story could do without) so morita can still pull off this final arc without too much damage.

    Trust me when i say that this entire cour is all prologue and that the true meat of the story begins when this arc ends which is why I am really hoping that the anime leaves the story open for another adaptation; the way i see it, if this single cour of tokyo ghoul has the possibility of generating a considerable amount of interest in viewers, maybe the studio would more than likely give the production staff two-cours this time around to adapt the remaining arcs. It's clear that morita had his hands tied when only given a 12-ep limit and brought the best out of this series with what he had. If this cour was to test the waters and it succeeds, then maybe we can get a two-cour continuation…although that's just the optimist in me talking and boy does he like to talk a lot.

  15. D

    I saw "Banjou Kazuichi" and read "Banjo Kazooie." So that's what I'll be calling him from now on.

    Sort of hoping TG gets a second season now. I was on the verge of dropping the series during that insane Gourmet Arc (not even Miyano could save it for me), but the last trio of episodes have been pretty darn good, and we got all kinds of intriguing plot points introduced this week. Hopefully Pierrot suspected they'd have a hit on their hands and will announce a "surprise" second season soon.

  16. s

    hahahaha wooooowww…ill never look at that character the same way again…if he ever ends up wearing a backpack ill lose it

  17. R

    Am guessing that Pierrot already has the second season planned out even before this turned into a success, considering that they actually laid some ground here for an arc that can't be handled in just two eps. Think of it as something similar to how Bones did Hitsugi no Chaika. If I am wrong, then It would be a shame with all the potential here.

  18. v

    I hope they give this show the Sidonia treatment – end it with a bang followed by an after credits Season 2 announcement / teaser.

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