Even cannibals can get lucky sometimes
|Day turns to night, the seasons change, and Tsukiyama continues to have the worst wardrobe possible. His bad taste (in fashion) extends to just about everything else because this man is one giant creep and needs to get the hell out of this show.|
Clearly, I’m not too thrilled that Tsukiyama is getting so much attention in the story. They’re trying so darn hard to make him look insane that it ends up being comical. As a result, he’s not scary at all because his whole character seems like one big joke. That’s one thing Tokyo Ghoul really struggles at: going to extremes without it feeling so forced that it ends up achieving the opposite effect. Since Tsukiyama’s entire personality is “extreme” it makes his presence on screen a very unwelcome addition. I did not enjoy seeing him fight with Kaneki, Touka and Nishiki as much as I wish I could have.
Fortunately, if you ignore everything involving Tsukiyama (especially having to sit through yet another scene of him sniffing a handkerchief, as if we didn’t get it the first time), there are some glimmers of good characterization. For starters, Kaneki has become proactive and competent enough to push him into the “solidly NOT annoying” category. He’s decent at fighting now and he’s less prone to fits of running the hell away and screaming. He’s still the same goody-two shoes with a bit of a shy streak, but that’s just fine. All I wanted was for him to make smart choices and stop reacting to everything as if it were the end of the world. I know it sounds silly to want a teenager to accept that he’s destined for a life of man-eating torment so quickly, but I’m just thinking about entertainment value here. Normal human sanity and mental functioning comes second to that.
This character growth is mostly going on in the background, such as Kaneki’s offscreen training sessions with Yomo. I still find it more interesting than anything having to do with the psyche of Tsukiyama. So let’s just keep ignoring him and talk about all the little glimpses we get into the lives of the characters I actually like. Aside from Kaneki, there’s Touko. She’s very close to her one human friend, and she forces herself to eat her cooking. This is slowly ruining her body and dulling her fighting skills. She was once a vicious fighter, but keeping that up is not so easy when you’re essentially ingesting poison on a regular basis.
Touko could have secretly tossed her friend’s cooking into the garbage, but she doesn’t. It’s more about the symbolism of being able to eat something her friend has given her. She wants to show appreciation for her friend’s hard work, even though her friend would never know whether she threw up the cooking in the end or not. It’s adorably sentimental. I suppose this means that friend is going to die, find out Touko is a ghoul and freak out, or have something else horrid happen to her. See any hint of happiness? You can bet it’s going to be ruined in a show like this! It’s a miracle nothing has attacked Hide yet, come to think of it.
Finally, the biggest focus of “fit as much characterization as we can in between fight scenes” this episode was Nishiki. Like a roach, he doesn’t die! But I’m glad he didn’t. It turns out he’s got an interesting backstory and isn’t such a one-dimensional jerk after all. I hate it when they retroactively try and make a villainous character seem like he wasn’t such a bad guy. However, it feels more like they’re explaining why he’s become a dick instead of giving excuses for him for being a dick. In other words, we know why he’s so evil, but we are given very little reason to forgive him. Almost everyone in Tokyo Ghoul is a vicious, meat-devouring beast so there’s no point trying to make anyone seem innocent. Or maybe they tried to redeem Nishiki and it just failed so badly all I saw was an interesting backstory. Whatever the intention, I liked seeing Nishiki go from being a lost little shota into a hot guy (with real nipples! take that Free!) getting laid.
Girl meets ghoul
It’s a very melodramatic story complete with a dying sibling and falling in love with a human. Homelessness, orphans, murder, death, romance and sex all bundled into one little story. You can tell they wanted a really dark story to explain Nishiki’s inability to trust others. But despite being exaggerated, I enjoyed it. It gave us some much-needed insight into Nishiki’s life. Before this, he was just a bad guy given evil intentions for no reason aside from the story needing it. Now we can finally understand why he did it. He’s still a huge dick, but now we know why! I think the fact he ended up dating a human is the most interesting part of this, especially since we just learned about ghoul and human hybrids. If the two of them stay alive long enough, this relationship could be interesting.
Part of me wishes Tokyo Ghoul was more of a character study. It has such a good concept and I would love to just see how ghouls cope with everyday life without the whole battle thing. Living in fear of getting caught or eating your own lover is exciting enough. But on the other hand, the execution is clumsy and it would probably be way too dramatic if it narrowed everything down to daily life shenanigans. The battles aren’t really that great right now either, but it fits the exaggerated tone of the show so much more. I’m torn. Tokyo Ghoul is a shounen show that has the premise of a really, really good suspenseful drama about the daily lives of ghouls. But good ideas aren’t enough if they aren’t executed well. Tokyo Ghoul remains solidly “okay” for me each week, but that’s about it. Not good, not bad….but okay.
Snacking between meals is bad for you!