Tokyo Ghoul – 10

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This has turned into one crazy-ass show.

Author’s Note: I realize the temptation is overwhelming, but please avoid any manga spoilers in the comments.  Most of you have shown admirable restraint thus far – please continue to do so for the remainder of the series.

I’ve reached the conclusion that it may be best to stop worrying about what’s going to happen with Tokyo Ghoul, and just enjoy the ride.  This has become the Silver Streak of the anime season, a wildly out-of-control express train that’s throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the audience over its last couple of episodes.  There’s really no hope of making sense of all of it, much less seeing any meaningful percentage of it through to fruition.

I can say this much for sure – if there’s no second season (and right now I’d put the odds at about 50-50) I’m going to be seriously pissed off.  And that’s a compliment, because the reason I would is that I find Tokyo Ghoul to be a pretty compelling series.  We’re seeing what feel like the beginning of about six different arcs over the last two episodes, but each of them is an arc I really want to see (though preferably not all at once).  These new characters are intriguing, the developing scenarios are compelling, and the overlying story is one that I’ve come to genuinely care about.  It’s going to take some skill not to seriously undo much of the good the show has accomplished if the next two eps are as rushed as they seem destined to be, but there’s serious skill on display both in the source material and the adaptation.

To start with, we do at least get a bit of a clarification on some of the avalanche of plot and personnel introduced last week.  The nasty organization from the 11th Ward is called Aogiri Tree, and Touka’s otouto Ayato is clearly a fairly important member.  Banjou appears to be a flunky more than anything, a hothead who’s basically a decent guy, and also one who happens to in love with Rize.  He’s not exactly a formidable fighter despite his looks – even Ken has no problem stopping him dead with a well-placed head butt – but he’s at least enough of a banchou to have thee flunkies himself (all of whom wear gas masks and – conveniently – numbers on their hoodies for easy identification).  The organization is apparently headed by a ghoul called the “One-eyed King” – a significant title if I’ve ever heard one – and he has an underling named Tatara (Yusa Kouji) that we meet briefly.

Rize seems to be the cause of all the insanity that’s playing out as all these threads converge into what looks like a major cataclysm.  Banjou is after her to tell her to run, because he knows his bosses are after her.  And so is Jason, why gives the impression of being the nastiest piece of work we’ve met (and that’s saying something).  He shows up at Anteiku right after Banjou and Ayato with the wildly effeminate Nico (Tsuda Kenjirou) in tow, and immediately smells Rize on Ken.  What follows is a display of really shocking brutality, so much so that even the now-bloodthirsty Ayato is repulsed.  It’s a great scene in a terrible way, and really reinforces the impression that Yakumo is somebody everyone on both sides would rather avoid dealing with if they had a choice.

In the end Jason kidnaps Ken, and takes him back to the 11th Ward (whether the 13th Ward-based Yakumo is permanently allying himself with Aogiri Tree or merely did so for the purposes of finding Rize is unclear).  Just why is everyone so interested in Rize, and who was it that killed her?  It’s not as though the CCG is going to be finding out anytime soon, because they have their own problems – their entire 11th Ward detachment has been wiped out by Aogiri Tree.  They seem quite unprepared to deal with the notion of an organized and purposed enemy, and they’re clearly hamstrung by the fact that their hatred for ghouls prevents them from fully grasping that they’re dealing with an opponent that’s of human intelligence, not a bunch of mindless beasts drunk for blood.

There’s another X-factor for the Doves, and whether it’s a strength or a problem (most likely it’s both) isn’t 100% clear yet.  That’s Suzuya Juuzou (Kugemiya Rie), the “only 3rd-Class Investigator” and the strange boy (not girl) with the scars (or tattoos) that picked Ken’s wallet last week.  He introduces himself at the emergency CCG meeting as “Shinohara’s underling”, talks (coincidentally) to an absent “Rie-chan”, looks about 12 (but according to his file is 19) and is clearly much more than simply an underling.  Just what his role is going to be isn’t clear (we should have a stamp made up to that effect for the last two episodes) but the impression is certainly of someone very important – and of someone almost akin to a Dove Jason, someone the rest of the cops would rather not deal with.  And if all that weren’t enough, did we just get a hint that Amon’s father was a ghoul?

Given the sheer volume of plot and new characters that have been introduced in the last two episodes, the miraculous thing is that things are not only still pretty coherent, but genuinely engaging.  For now at least, it appears the focus is going to be on the manageable morsel of Anteiko gang trying to rescue Ken – a high-risk operation for which Yoshimura has brought in none other than Tsukiyama, the Gourmet.  I suppose the operating notion is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and anyone who plans to steal Ken off Tsukiyama’s plate is his enemy – that, and this is a measure of just how much Yoshimura considers the odds to be stacked against his side.  Apart from that it’s anybody’s guess what’s going to happen in the next two weeks…

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  1. R

    Okay, I caved in to temptation and I am really quite stoked at what will happen beyond this point in the manga.

    And I must say that, with the way they are handling the anime, I am going with a 60-70 percent chance of the anime landing a second season rather soon. In particular, they are obviously giving a new dimension on Rize's character with the appearance of Banjou and his three masked friends (which are either followers or associates of Rize's). They really can't wrap up all those (plus the plot with Juzou and Ayato in just two eps, so I am almost certain that there would be a continuation.

  2. R

    Also, I guess they pretty much spoiled a second season since they kept showing that white-haired Ken(?) in the opening.

  3. C

    This was mentioned in the episode 9 comments about Banjou Kazuichi being misheard as Banjo Kazooie. I'm pretty convinced now that it's no coindence. I'm guessing the mangaka either liked Banjo Kazooie and just wanted to reference or pay tribute to it when thinking of character names, or that he just happened to stumble across it. There's no way that can be a coincidence.

  4. m

    Haha yeah after reading that comment its hard to NOT hear it as Banjo Kazooie.

  5. s

    If Morita and his production team are going to end the arc where i think they are, then this guy, regardless of his hands being tied, is very meticulous and knows exactly where to place a reasonable cliffhanger that wont destroy the source material….but leave viewers hella pissed if a second season doesnt roll around. Ive been thinking about it for some time, but there's a perfect place (well as perfect as you're gonna get with 12 eps) to end this arc and its not by making an original ending or rushing the entire arc; it's by stopping it in the middle as that would serve as a legitimate finale due to its thematic strength and poignancy in the overall series. This ep was paced as if the production team wasnt aware that they had two eps left and it's starting to become more clear that they dont plan out blowing through this arc.

  6. s

    Oh and im not too sure if Amon's dad was a this is just pure conjecture as i have no knowledge of or read anything from the manga past this arc, but it could be that either Amon was adopted or in some sort of orphanage because i think during that scene (although im not too sure) we can hear church bells, which would imply that the man speaking to Amon is maybe some sort of priest; we have seen Amon wearing a cross in the series before i believe, which only adds more evidence to my suspicions.

    If that isnt Amon's blood father, then perhaps he was a priest who looked after Amon and maybe a couple others, while secretly being a ghoul. The way that man told Amon "Didnt i tell you not to come here" it almost sounds like he had a secret place for eating people and he did it not only as a way of consumption, but perhaps he got some sick feeling of enlightenment devouring other people and their "soul". If that man happens to be Amon's blood father, then i would say that maybe he is just a man who practices cannibalism rather than being a ghoul; perhaps he was fascinated by ghouls and felt like trying it out in the hopes of being enlightened or some other junk.

    There hasnt been any hints that Amon is part ghoul as he eats human food without any trouble. There's always the possibility that he hasnt "awakened' as a ghoul but the story has yet to introduce the concept that it could be possible for humans to have ghoul DNA in them and not have the same characteristics ghouls have.

  7. R

    Hmmm, I wonder why this wasn't a two cour show to begin with? Is it because there wasn't enough source material? They weren't sure it would reach the demographic because of its violence? Or is it just a split cour?

  8. m

    Probably the complete lack of desire to take anything akin to a risk that animation studios seem to have nowadays. Much better to make a 1 cour show with the possibility of second season than to have it guaranteed 2 cours. It not only saves them money if the show isn't popular, but also drives up sales amongst fans who really want that 2nd cour. Or at least that's likely the mindset.

  9. There's plenty of source material. It's the complete lack of willingness to take risks that dominates the industry now that's the problem (see the Reddit interview with the "Under the Dog" producer for an insider's take on this)/

  10. s

    Sigh…good anime need love; see, I dont think anybody (well at least i dont) have a problem with people who love and buy run-of-the-mill anime. The problem is when anime that has effort put into it gets neglected. It's like "let's neglect the good stuff that requires effort and continue buying into the material that these production companies can pump out in their sleep at the snap of a finger". The end result is that no one wants to take the risk of making effortful shows and not get anything in return. Viewers have to expand their horizons and accept all kinds of genre's and works I understand the fear of not taking risks because of what history has shown production companies.

    What needs to happen is a change in the business model of the industry and a change in the thinking of those who buy anime and those who dont know about Anime's potential as an artform. Anime hasnt had as long to accrue a resume as big as live action movies and tv so its harder to convince people of the fact, but when things change, maybe that wont be the case anymore. Just look at live-action American TV; it wasnt until the last couple of years that writers and directors have looked towards tv as a true form of artistic expression and one that viewers can truly appreciate. The mindset of the American viewership as well as those who create live action series' changed and if it happens to anime, we can stop getting shows in which its clear that there is more to the story that needs to be told but will possibly never get that chance.

  11. Z

    The problem is you need to convince the Japanese populace of this.

  12. G

    I'm wondering if this new white haired 3rd class investigator is a ghoul?

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