Haise Sasaki has been tasked with teaching Qs Squad how to be outstanding investigators, but his assignment is complicated by the troublesome personalities of his students and his own uncertain grasp of his Ghoul powers. Can he pull them together as a team, or will Qs Squad first assignment be their last?
The following review is for the manga version of Tokyo Ghoul Re and may contain spoilers up to the final chapter 179. Disappointment. That is what I feel towards Tokyo Ghoul as a whole but mostly towards Tokyo Ghoul Re. The story skips ahead 2 years in a very abrupt fashion, which is jostling despite efforts to make it clear as to why. Characters like Ayato who previously didn't give a shit about other characters suddenly are getting along with them and are on their side. There is no explanation or buildup and it just feels like relationships were forced for plot convenience. Tokyo Ghoul Re feels rushed. The author clearly wanted to be done with it, and it showed in their work. New characters would be constantly introduced only to die meaningless stupid deaths just as fast as they were put in. Paragraphs or more would be wasted on talking about these side characters lives and interactions when they had nothing to do with the main characters or story. The main characters we all know, care about and love were hardly expanded upon and given any time to really grow. Even Kaneki, our protagonist feels like he got less time in the panels than random CCG expendables that no one cared or gave two shits about. Kanekis relationship with Touka even, feels rushed and I get they were emotional and went through a lot of shit and deserved something good for once but they literally went from "havent seen ya in a while friend" to "HULK SMASH" with barely any time for their relationship to develop past friendship. Kanekis relationship and life at the CCG was fake but I want to believe that he would care on some level for the friends and connections he made despite it being built on lies. He goes from being a mentor/fatherly-like figure to his quinque squad to being a complete asshole who doesn't give two shits if they roll over and die. It feels so cold, and Kaneki should be after what he's been through, but he is always kind to his loved ones... So shouldn't these people count as that? The representation of LGBT characters in the story are extremely problematic. Mainly Tooru Mutsuki and Kanae von Rosewald who are blatantly trans characters whom both identify as male. The way Ishida handles their characterization for shock value and completely disrespects their identities ruined Tokyo Ghoul Re for me more than anything else did. Mutsuki's identity is treated as the outcome from his childhood abuse and insanity, as if saying he is trans because he was abused and is trans because he's insane. It treats being trans as some perverted deception as if the characters are trying to trick people. Then the icing on the cake is when they find a guy whom they like, and suddenly they want to be "womanly" again. When I found out they were trans I was so excited to finally see a story I love with them represented properly. Alas it was for naught. The vast difference between american and Japanese culture explains why anime and manga authors often portray LGBT characters incorrectly, but it is still not a justifyable excuse. We live in a time where if you do have minorities in your story you are expected to handle them with respect and care, knowing the lense you give them will influence on how people think of these minorities in the real world. Then there was the finale. It quickly goes from ghouls vs humans, to ghouls and humans vs clown ghouls, to ghouls and humans vs weird ass entities and shit. Then Kaneki is sort of dying but hey lets skip the whole fight scene and ending entirely to explain 95% of the lives of random useless CCG extras that no one gives a fuck about in the final chapter. Where is this hyped up finale? Yes Kaneki got his happy ending he deserved but my god I expected more out of this. This is Bleach all over again, and my heart breaks at that. I love Tokyo Ghoul but I'm going to choose to ignore Re simply because its a huge disappointment and problematic for so many reasons. I would not bother with reading or watching it.
Amending Review - Wrote this many chapters ago. Okay... anyone who comes into this manga with expectations from it's prequel. Throw them out now. You will most likely be disappointed unless drastic changes happen after the past 52 chapters I have read. If so I will update this but for now this is how it stands. Tokyo Ghoul:RE is for the younger crowd. I would liken it to how people who sold out sound different in the music business. Tokyo Ghoul:Re so far caters to a much younger imature crowd. That is not to say you cannot find something to like in it if you are a old fan or that fans from the original work could not enjoy this one even as a whole. However, to me... it has not come close to living up to it's true potential. The beginning makes sense. I liked it for the first little while but then it devolves further and further. Adding new characters so that they can kill them off without touching the main cast. That is one of the major issues I have with it. In Tokyo Ghoul it felt like anything could happen. In Tokyo Ghoul:RE it feels like if they are willing to sacrifice anything of worth it will not be until the very end. The other major gripe I have is in the deaths themselves. It is completely rediculous for a human to live through having a chainsaw imbedded in his head even for a short amount of time. Tokyo Ghoul never did anything so stupid. Proving this was not just a stupid fluke they have another investigator survive a see through hole in her gut long enough to speak with others and attack the enemy. In the original manga the investigators deaths were not like this. They actually felt real, not stupid. The smaller gripes I have are the characters. While there are a few decent new ones. There are many completely unrelateable dumb weird characters. Like the investigator who survives the Chainsaw in the head for a little bit. He reminds me of a character from Nightmare before Christmas. I mean his face is weird. It looks like the mangaka gave a 5 year old a chance to come up with a character. As far as pointless characters we have gained and lost a bunch as I said they were created in order to be destroyed so that they could leave the main characters intact. This manga has really gone downhill in the sequel. I mean... really badly. However, that is again my opinion based on how I liked the prequel. If you are someone who is into mainstream manga like Attack on Titan and Bleach I am sure you would still find this manga edgy and good. For me though... it has been one big disappointment so far.
*This is a re-edit, since my impression of Tokyo Ghoul has changed a lot. That's how it is sometimes, you get older and get a different perspective on a series. And by series, I mean all of Tokyo Ghoul, not just TG:re. So for better or for worse, here is my re-evaluation of Tokyo Ghoul and :Re. *Fully edited, as of February 2022. SPOILERS WARNING since this will be covering the manga and other series as well. Introduction: To understand an author's work, you need to know the author himself. Sui Ishida, the author of TG, was mentored by Yoshihiro Togashi, the author of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. Both are dark and brutal shounen series, and both have protagonists that have had hard childhoods. That being said, Yusuke and Killua are characters that have shown themselves to be fun and relatable when around other characters. Though I can't really say the same for Ken Kaneki, but that will be covered later on in the review. It could also be argued that the demon plane arc in YYH had an influence on TG. Since the demon groups were fighting over the morality of consuming human flesh, being for or against it. This was of course some of the world building that Togashi was experimenting with. And it should be no surprise that Ishida would attempt to use these similar elements for his own series, which I think is a good idea on paper. However, I think what it boils down to is execution and relatability. It always comes down to being able to like a character who is of a different race. Nevertheless, its incredibly hard to show sympathy to a group of monsters(ghouls) that willingly choose to eat humans in a merciless manner, even if all of them don't act the same way. Which I think was a similar problem for Shiki and The Promised Neverland. These are both series with monster races out to eat/destroy humans, and yet there are human characters in both series that will defend the very same monsters that are trying to eat the human race. That sort of writing would break your suspension of disbelief. I mean the characters in Deadman Wonderland have some edge to them, but at least they don't treat humans like an All-You-Can-Eat buffet. There are other reasons why I couldn't like Shiki. One of them being that the main protagonists of the story really had to have the same names as the ones from Future Diary. I know that Yuki and Yuno are common names but come on. The relationship Yuki had with his parents reminded me too much of my relationship with my parents, so that hit a bit too close to home. But probably the biggest reason why I didn't like Shiki is because I couldn't like the characters, since that's a big deal. Though I digress, Ishida never really wrote an origin story for the ghouls, and I don't know if Arabian mythology really counts towards that. What really matters is the story and characters, and I think that is something Ishida always struggled with. Story:Part one- The story begins with Hide and Kaneki talking about ghouls at Anteiku, and that's where Kaneki meets Rize. They hit it off and towards the end of the date she predictably reveals herself as a ghoul and attacks Kaneki. She gets injured by steel beams and Kaneki is rushed to the hospital. And yes, by the end he is a ghoul but only because someone made him into one, against his own will. Makes you wonder if he would be better off dead instead of that outcome. Kaneki eventually meets Nishi and Touka, though not under the best of circumstances. If anything, Touka came off as an edgier version of Rukia from Bleach, which actually doesn't sound appealing now that I've said it. After an event with Nishi, Kaneki almost eats Hide, before getting subdued by Touka. From there Kaneki becomes a part of Anteiku. The next bit focuses on Kaneki getting his ghoul mask. But if I'm being honest, the more I saw Kaneki's mask, the more I grew tired of it. The story part with Mado I feel is definitely the part I felt the series being particularly edgy. Mado just straight up murders Hinami's mother like its no big deal, the character herself couldn't even fight to defend herself properly. And to drop Mado's backstory with Amon after he is killed makes me feel like Ishida was struggling to write his character. Well, at least Kaneki found a goal to pursue at this point, even if it does make him very similar to Naruto. Though Kaneki becomes an angrier version of Sasuke later on, with less restraint. From there the part with Tsukiyama had its own share of problems. While it is true that Kaneki wanted to investigate Tsukiyama for Itori, he trusted Tsukiyama in a rather reckless way. I know that Ishida took inspiration from Hisoka from HxH when creating Tsukiyama. But if I'm being honest, Tsukiyama never felt as fun as Hisoka, probably because of his big-ass ego. After introducing Suzuya, the story picks up with Ayato abducting Kaneki for Aogiri. Plans are made to rescue him, but you already know things aren't going to end well for Kaneki. We all know that Kaneki lost his mom at a young age and had to deal with an abusive aunt. And Hide was one of the only good parts in his life. So its sort of seeing his life flash before his eyes while being tortured by Yamori, except it should have been brought up earlier in the story. To do it during the torture session makes me wonder if Sui Ishida was trying too hard to make me feel sorry for Kaneki. In fact, I think part of Kaneki's character was influenced by Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho, since he also had multiple personalities. People argue that the Tokyo Ghoul manga is better than the anime but honestly, considering why the studio made changes to the part with Yamori and Kaneki, its easy to see why that isn't the case. Imagine the antagonist threatening the protagonist that he has a choice between picking either Kei or Kouto, mother or son. Because only one can live and the other will die. Though they both end up dying cause Kaneki wouldn't make a choice. And while they did get a bit more screen time in the manga compared to the filler characters in the anime, its not really enough time to get attached to them. The scene only serves to make Yamori look as evil as possible, and to give more motivation for Kaneki to accept his ghoul side. I'm not against seeing the protagonist destroy an antagonist for wrongs done to him, considering he was tortured before the double murder scene. But you know, when you force the protagonist to make that type of character development in that type of life or death situation, its not going to feel natural. If anything you're going to find yourself caring less about Kaneki, because now he's the same kind of asshole Yamori was. And he's not the only one I plan on talking about. Let's not forget Ayato, since he was protected by Touka when they were younger, only for him to end up joining Aogiri. Present day, he's seen eating Touka's kagune, like its no big deal. Its like an uglier version of Sora unintentionally attacking Orihime in Bleach, except we understand why Sora did it. He was grieving over the fact that he was forgotten by Orihime, and had in fact became a hollow. Ayato on the other hand cannot be sympathized with, because he cut ties with those who cared about him, specifically his sister. He's like an even worse version of Sasuke, if I had to describe him. Well Kaneki does end up breaking half the bones in Ayato's body as punishment for what he did to Touka. Which would be something to be happy about, except it just shows how awful of a person Kaneki has become. Cause remember, after the attack on Aogiri, Kaneki refuses to go back to Anteiku, even though everyone risked their lives to save him. At this point Kaneki is just cannibalizing other ghouls who never picked a fight with him while looking for Kanou, the man who turned Kaneki into a ghoul. After finally confronting the man, its revealed that Kanou created Kaneki in an attempt to bridge both the humans and the ghouls, to create peace. Which is kind of ridiculous if you think about it, the races of Tokyo Ghoul are already tense around each other. If humans knew there was a man turning humans into ghouls, people would be even more worked up than ever before. Kaneki should have defeated Kanou there, cause at least he would have had achieved a goal, despite looking like a villain. But nope, we get that centipede tantrum transformation, showing how he has lost control fighting ghoul investigators. There's the build-up to the assault on Anteiku, and of course the bridge scene where Kaneki continues to shut out Touka and not open up to her. That's of course how he has been acting, ever since the attack on Aogiri. To be able to sympathize with a character like Kaneki, they have to be willing to open up to others/speak about their trauma. Which is something we don't see Kaneki do, at least not during the story anyway. Part one wraps up with Kaneki losing to Arima in a big fight and being taken to CCG, leaving the first part on a cliff-hanger. Story:Part Two- Its revealed that Kaneki has been converted to working for CCG as Sasaki. The story focuses on introducing the audience to the Qs Squad, as well as reintroducing characters from part one, such as Tsukiyama.The story doesn't really pick up till volume 7, where a lot is revealed about V, and Eto, as well as Furuta. A prison break on Cochlea is attempted to save Hinami, and obviously Kaneki choose to help Hinami and joins the ghouls. The reveal with Arima took too long to come out(The high ranking members of CCG are Ghouls, and he was serving them knowingly), and Furuta should have been established as a villain much earlier in the story. Not that it would help much since its story has always been rough around the edges. Amon was pretty much learning about ghouls from Kaneki's point of view since he became one himself. That being said, Kanou turning Amon into a ghoul was definitely not a smart choice on the author's part. But you know what else was forced in this part of Tokyo Ghoul? The sex scene between Kaneki and Touka during chapter 125. I can see why some fans may have loved this part, but this story bit was definitely forced. Cause think, Kaneki finds out Touka is pregnant, which puts him under a lot of pressure to stop the CCG assault on the underground ghouls. He goes into a violent transformation with the dragon kakuja form, which was forced. In order for the conflict between ghouls and investigators to be resolved, the protagonist was forced to become a monster to which would force both groups to work together. Its not smart writing, and the author only did it because he had no idea how he could end the fighting on a natural note. And besides that, I hate it when an author solely chooses to include a sex scene beween the main characters when its only fanservice for the fans. That was the same problem that Future Diary had with its main duo, the author did it to please his fanbase. And I don't know if its only because Ishida was influenced by Togashi's HxH and Yu Yu Hakusho, but despite the fact that Tokyo Ghoul is a modern manga, you hardly ever see the female characters getting the proper amount of spotlight. People can argue that Touka was going to college and also chose to take Yoshimura's place as the manager of Re:. But its still not enough if I'm being honest. You could even say the same thing with Hinami and Saiko, they are always getting sidelined in the story, even if they are given moments. That was also what happened with Rize. She was used as a way to introduce Kaneki to the world of Ghouls. And then she's pushed to the side, being used by antagonists as nothing more than an incubator machine to create more half ghouls. I know she had some history with V of CCG, and I also know that Yoshimura suffered the same fate she did. But you can also tell that Rize's popularity kept plummeting as the series went on, from 8th place to the 21st in the popularity polls. https://tokyoghoul.fandom.com/wiki/Rize_Kamishiro The audience's ability to sympathize with a character has a lot to do with the author's ability to write. And other than the 96 chapter series The Penisman, Sui Ishida didn't really have a lot of experience before working on Tokyo Ghoul. https://www.mangaupdates.com/authors.html?id=14621&orderby=year Which is also the reason why he failed to write Tooru Mutsuki as a transgender character. This was partly due to the fact that Togashi included two transgender characters in HxH, being Neferpitou and Kite. Ishida probably wanted to reach that same level of success Togashi had writing those characters. But even Togashi had a failed attempt at making a transgender character during the Yu Yu Hakusho series, as much as I hate to admit it. Though that still doesn't stop me from enjoying the series. The problem with Tooru Mutsuki has always been having a direction with the character, or even the story itself. At first you think the author is creating a parallel between Mutsuki and Kaneki, since they have similiar backgrounds, but there's also the fact that Mutsuki's was sexually explicit. Which I think was a bit much looking back, since there wasn't any build up, much like Kaneki. The problem is that Mutsuki became a yandere, especially after seeing Kaneki being with Touka. The reason being that Mutsuki openly realizes that he is a girl because of the flashback in chapter 155. Which as a whole defeats the original idea that Mutsuki was transgender to begin with. If you are going to do a transgender character, the author needs to be aware that they are doing it properly. Which is exactly what Kataoka Jinsei did when she created Chaplin Sukegawa during the Deadman Wonderland manga. After the conflict with Furuta and (Dragon)Rize is resolved, you can pretty much tell the series will be ending on a happy note when Ayato saves Kaneki from drowning in Dragon tissue mass. I could even compare the ending in some ways to Bleach's manga ending, Kaneki being married to Touka and having children, much like with Ichigo. Except if I'm being honest, my nostalgia for Bleach is way higher when next to Tokyo Ghoul. There is not even a comparison really. Art- The art for Tokyo Ghoul has always been one of the strong points for the series. The earlier parts of the series were rough, like an unpolished diamond. Isayama, the author of Attack on Titan and Tite Kubo's Bleach also had art-styles that evolved over their serializations. That being said, the art is not nearly enough to make up for the other categories that Tokyo Ghoul fails in. Characters- Don't think there isn't much I missed with the characters when I covered the story segment. I do think that Ishida dropping the fact that Kaneki was abused by his mom during part 2 was too late in the game. Why bother developing the character more when there was a struggle to like the character to begin with? Honestly, I think if we saw more of a relationship between Hide and Kaneki during the story it would have made Kaneki more likeable. Imagine their relationship being something similar to Gon and Killua's from HxH. Furuta was definitely something as a character. Because of his short lifespan he was pretty much going to go out with a bang, causing as much suffering as he could before going out. He was pretty much meant to be an evil counter-part to Kaneki. Kaneki was a rough character to begin with, and now the author created a character who is even more of a villain than Kaneki. That type of character would be impossible to like. Let's just say Furuta was a joke that overstayed his welcome and leave it at that. Overall- I honestly think that Ishida had a cool idea in mind with Tokyo Ghoul, seeing how he cited The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka as an influence for the series. Creating a character who has turned into a monster is simple enough. But creating a character who is a monster and is also likeable is another case entirely. So when Kaneki crossed that line with Yamori, it became incredibly hard to feel sympathetic for the character. There should always be a line that the protagonist shouldn't cross. Examples that come to mind would be Naofumi from Rising of the Shield Hero and Dante from the rebooted Devil May Cry game.(the one I did not finish playing thank God.) For some people Tokyo Ghoul was their first manga or anime, which I get. But I also felt it was nesessary to share all my current thoughts on the series, now that I'm older. Here's to Ishida, and hopefully his Choujin X will be a huge improvement over his previous series. Recommendations: Berserk, Shigurui, Psyren
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