Tokyo Ghoul – 11

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Clearly, the gearshift lever broke some time ago.

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.

One thing’s for sure – either Tokyo Ghoul has a second season announcement in its back pocket or this is one of the greatest rush jobs in anime history.  It’s a fun ride but exhausting, and it would be a shame if the “Locomotive Breath” pacing of the last few episode is for no higher purpose than to cram as much action into this season as possible.  Still more new characters continue to join the fray, the angst gets more profound, and the violence more graphic and shocking.  It’s quite a trip.

Much of this episode is a straightforward depiction of what’s effectively an all-out war between the CCG – under the direction of Marude Itsuki (Ueda Yuuji) – and the assembled ghoul forces of the 11th Ward.  The TV news cameras are on-hand and the action is hot and heavy – there are over 1000 humans in the attack force, and Ayato notes that it’s arrived faster than the Ghouls expected.  Neither he or the other higher-ups seem especially worried, but it’s clear that they’re expecting a serious fight.

Not a part of that is Jason, though he is at the heart of the episode’s other main thread.  He’s got Ken tied up in his “room“, which is basically an ad hoc torture chamber set up under the dome of the shopping center Aogiri has commandeered.  This is tough stuff – torture porn, bordering on guro, and there are very few occasions where I see it used in anime and don’t consider it taking the cheap path to shock value and titillation.  It’s a tough call with Tokyo Ghoul, though, because even before the reveal at the end of the episode it’s clear that this torture is an important plot point – that it’s going to change Ken in a profound way.  And would we get a sense of that if we were spared the gruesomeness of what Jason is doing to him?

We are spared some of it, of course, courtesy of black bars, and I’d be very surprised if the torture sequence in the manga wasn’t much longer and more graphic (they usually are).  But the message is clear enough, starting with the hypodermic through the eyeball (a sure-fire wince moment from the audience) and continuing through every one of Ken’s increasingly agonized screams.  Jason may not be the strongest being yet introduced in this series (I suspect we met him late in this episode) but he’s certainly the most evil and sadistic we’ve seen.  Shinohara explains to Amon that it came as a result of a hideous torture session at the hands of a “problem officer”, but however he got there, Jason has arrived as a pretty disturbing place.  Banjou and his friends do what they can to ease Ken’s suffering but that’s not much – that’s clearly on the shoulders of Anteiku, who’ve launched a rescue mission using the CCG assault as cover.

There are opportunities for various characters old and new to show off their powers during the battle.  After a brief encounter with the Rabbit Amon takes on the S-Class “Bin Brothers” using Kura – the Quinque bequeathed to him by Mado.  The Gourmet (who apparently recovered by feasting on himself) and Yomo are fighting side by side, for the very practical reason that Yomo isn’t planning to let Tsukiyama out of his sight, and they end-up matched against Mr. High-C – a presumably superpowered ghoul who’s new on the scene.  And Juuzou steals Marude’s beloved motorcycle in order to make a stylish entrance into the ghoul stronghold, where he proceeds to wipe out everything in his path.

But the main event here appears to be the arrive of the “One-Eyed Owl“.  He (presumably) makes a creepy entrance past the window next to which Amon is standing, and turns up on the roof – which is where Shinohara and Amon have headed.  I don’t know if this is the same ghoul as Aogiri’s One-Eyed King, but it seems likely it’s not given that he was quite specifically referred to by a different name.  Whoever he is, it’s clear from everyone in the CCG’s reactions that he’s the baddest badass they could have feared facing here – Marude’s instructions to Shinohara are basically to send most of the men away, because there’s no point in everyone on the roof dying there and then.

I keep expecting the story to be dialed back at least a little, to narrow in focus as we near the end of the cour, but we’re still in the expansion phase.  Everything depends on what happens after the 12th episode, because there’s no way Morita-sensei or anyone else is enough of a miracle worker to tie all these loose ends together satisfactorily in two episodes.  He is enough of a miracle worker to keep things coherent and relatively orderly despite the breakneck pace, which is no small achievement and a big reason why Tokyo Ghoul continues to be such an entertaining series.

One final note: It was announced today that the Tokyo Ghoul manga will be ending this month, which seems to have taken most of the readership by surprise. No way to know what impact this might have on a possible second season for the anime – or indeed, whether there could have been an impact going in the other direction, though that seems unlikely.

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  1. K

    The whole series is ending, not the "Ghoul" part as I have heard? Kinda shocking though.

  2. A

    The end does come as a massive, incredible shock mostly because where it's ending is completely unconventional and there was no forewarning whatsoever. So I definitely expect a sequel manga, but who knows.

    In regards to the episode as far as rush jobs go I've seen worse but the emotional impact of several events is severely hurt by this. They jammed over 11 20-page manga chapters into this episode.

  3. R

    Wow! that was downright brutal. And I have mixed feelings about this one. Part of me find it okay since it is in the source material and par of me feels that it's too much (way too much if not for the censoring). The whole thing really gave me goosebumps.

    On the other hand, that quick touch of humor between Juuzou and Marude did felt a bit misplace, but at the same time was a bit of a welcome breather after all that torture scenes.

    I guess a second season is very much a shoe in at this what with them teasing the One Eyed Owl. And they added some new characters in the ending credits, particularly that white haired girl. And since the manga is ending, that would definitely help in fleshing out the next part of the story for the anime.

  4. Yes, that motorcycle bit did fall flat for me – wrong place, wrong time.

  5. C

    YIKES. Well since the focus isn't remotely narrowing I suppose we're building to a big cliffhanger ending featuring a tease of post-torture Ken.

    I also found the idea of Jason's alter ego highly interesting considering that Ken already kinda has one of those (Rize). I kept hoping she'd take over or talk to him to help out or something…

    I am a little sad this anime will no doubt spoil my future reading of this series but looking forward to watching the last 2 episodes anyways 🙂

  6. z

    I was under the impression that the One Eyed Owl was Yoshimura, since he ominously said he was going to buy time for Kaneki's rescue.

  7. G

    I was thinking the same thing.

  8. Hmm. I hope that's just a guess, but please, no one confirm or deny it.

  9. z

    Definitely just a guess, Enzo! I haven't read the manga, and I totally agree with your opinion on spoilers.

    I just thought it was a straight-forward development based on the episode's events, but I actually prefer to be surprised, so I hope I'm wrong. 🙂

  10. l

    Really dislike how Kaneki's white hair seems like some instantaneous transformation in the anime when in reality his hair naturally turned white over time from the shock and torture that spanned several days. Having Banjo and the other two wipe Kaneki and the blood around him was also a horrible choice that was not in the manga and severely waters down the events that are about to occur. He suffered in isolation for days and had no emotional support whatsoever. I just pray that the majority of the next episode is focused on Kaneki and filling in at least some of the development that occurs within him throughout the torture or else nothing is really going to connect emotionally despite how powerful of a character arc this was in the manga.

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