The DIY plumbing Home Depot side story
|Ahh what a lovely way to start my Saturday morning: with heavily censored gore and cannibalism. Definitely the perfect show to watch while drinking tea and wrapping yourself up in a fuzzy blanket the second I wake up. But then again, it’s not that much of a mismatch in mood since most of the bloody is stuff is censored. I’m actually surprised how much we’re seeing the black blurs considering some of the stuff they do show us.|
Kaneki has been thrown from one bad situation to another non-stop. It’s about time to let him orient himself to his new surroundings so we can finally have him gain some confidence (or a general sense of what the hell is happening at the very least). It’s clear he’s sorely lacking in ghoul-related knowledge. This is, coincidentally, the kind of knowledge he needs to survive without getting killed. So this episode lays on that knowledge so Kaneki (and the viewers) have a stronger base of understanding. It’s a good sign that Tokyo Ghoul remains interesting even when it’s an action-light episode. That means it has a solid story holding everything together, and it can survive without spamming us with blood, guts and hyperviolence.
“No one likes you, son. Just try not to let it get to you.”
Action can be dumb and fun because you don’t have to think about it at all. A dude punches another dude. Alright, got it. Sometimes when you peel that away, a show has very little substance and you realize you were just in it for the adrenaline. But Tokyo Ghoul has a solid concept beyond just senseless violence to keep you excited. I actually really like the concept of ghouls trying to blend in with humans in various ways and how they really aren’t as bad as you’d think. You can either completely hide from humans and just jump out for meals every now and then or you can try and coexist with them. But the problem is that even if you try really hard to get to know humans, that puts you in greater danger of being caught. Things like going to school, working in a cafe and talking to people are enriching experiences, but they have huge consequences. Touka plays it cool as a cucumber, but the fact is that her life is in danger every single second she’s out in the open.
It’s a sad trade-off. Touka gets the benefit of going to school, but she has to work really hard at protecting herself. That’s probably part of why she’s so jaded and refuses to let Kaneki get close to her. Well, that and the fact Kaneki is kind of a wimp and a life of hunting down your own food probably makes you a bit tougher than the average kid. But I’m getting off track. Basically, Touka is willing to risk everything to learn because it’s such a valuable experience for her. Hinami, on the other hand, has never gone to school and likely never will because she might accidentally bite off Little Timmy’s arm during recess. It made me realize how much we don’t think about what a privilege it is to be able to go to school – or to at least have the choice. Ghouls are so starved for knowledge that they try and soak up every single fact they learn and some of them enjoy being around humans for this reason. They are willing to risk their existence just to be able to write algebra tests and serve coffee to people. It means that much to them.
Kaneki is making some…special…friends
As a result, the human-ghoul relationship becomes very complicated. It’s not just a simple rivalry between two sides that despise each other with every fiber of their being. Ghouls actually find humans interesting and exciting and just want to blend in, but at the same time they have no choice but to kill them. Humans probably wouldn’t like the idea of killing a species so similar to themselves, but how else will they protect themselves? That’s like letting all the serial killers roam free because “they have feelings too.” The fact that ghouls must eat humans – one way or another – makes it impossible for them to coexist without hurting each other. But who is right and who is wrong? Arguably, no one is. They’re both just doing what they have to in order to survive. It’s the same “grey area” debate you see in Shiki, and it works really well for getting you to sympathize with a group of flesh-eating beasts.
Truly, this episode was designed to get you to feel bad for the ghouls. The ghouls are depicted as misunderstood outcasts whereas the hunters are vicious murderers. When they bring out the cute loli to get you to care, you know they mean business. It helps that Kaneki is working with a ton of really nice ghouls who want to help him out, and they’re all really likeable characters. Touka is gruff, but clearly a good girl. The owner of the cafe is a gentleman who helps everyone out, no matter what species they are. Uta is adorably quirky without being too in your face like a Gatchaman Crowds character. I loved getting to know everyone and to see how they all rely on this tiny cafe. These are the goody-two-shoes ghouls who would rather suck on intestine-infused sugar cubes and eat suicide victims instead of committing murder. Unlike Nishiki, not everyone is a cold-blooded killer and the ghoul lifestyle can be lived in many different ways depending on your moral code.
Kaneki is still figuring out where he fits amongst all this. “A ghoul body with the mind of a human” is probably the most accurate. He’s essentially a ghoul, but his past memories are holding him back. He still probably remembers what real taiyaki and sandwiches are supposed to taste like. It’s a weird transition. But he’s making progress by eating the mystery meat “sugar” cubes, helping out at the cafe, and befriending a rather cute little ghoul. I’m thankful that he’s progressed into saying “yes, I am a ghoul” and affiliating with the cafe. Unfortunately, he’s still a boring character who reacts to everything with screaming.
It’s understandable that you would be freaked out by having to pack away a suicide victim in the middle of the night (without prior explanation) and witness a little girl chowing down on some vital organs. But it’s not fun to watch. It’s doesn’t make for a good story or good characterization to have him freak out at everything constantly and act little a pansy. Buck up, Kaneki. You’re the most boring part of the show and I wish we were exploring this amazing world through someone else other than you.
So my complaint of the week is that Kaneki is rather dull, which is a shame given how much I’m invested in learning about the ghoul underworld. Oh, if only someone else other than him was my guide to this wonderful world! Anyways, things are shaping up nicely with Kaneki commissioning his badass mask and the ghoul hunters coming out swinging. The ghouls look like sweet little lambs compared to these psycho killers. It’s like they’re not even trying to make the humans look sensible because it might make you question having a ghoul main character. Weird. I guess Hide will be the sympathetic human who tries to accept ghouls. We’ll see, because there are a lot of exciting flags that have been raised and I can’t wait to see what goes down next week.
Looks like Team Flare appears next week