Tokyo Ghoul – 08

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My, what big teeth you have~

I’ve had a fair number of complaints about Tokyo Ghoul thus far. It’s full of one-note villains who all have the same “evil as fuck” personality. It lays on the drama so thick you could choke on it (from laughing so much). It also has the nerve to throw away any interesting notion of the ghoul vs human morality spectrum to focus on the poorly choreographed fights with weird ass-tentacles. After all this complaining and waiting, finally, I think Tokyo Ghoul got things right.

Eight episodes in, Tokyo Ghoul has become the show I want it to be. I don’t have to jump through hoops of suspended belief or forcing a “not thinking too hard” mindset just to enjoy it. Finally, it became more than a dumb shounen show! What’s changed so drastically in one episode? Not much. Tokyo Ghoul always had an inherently fascinating setting and concept, it just misused it terribly. I’ve always been interested in the underlying clash between the lives of ghouls and humans and the varying ways they intersect. Can ghouls and humans ever live together harmoniosly? Who is the bad guy here? These hard-hitting questions are only now being asked with enough weight behind them to have a lasting impact.

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In this corner we have the sketchy humans in trenchcoats…

The ghouls have been given preferential treatment up until now. As mysterious creatures who murder humans, it makes sense that you’d have to do quite a bit of explaining to get the audience on their side. So I see why they’d try harder to sell us on the whole “but ghouls are good too!” bit. But even after we understood that not all ghouls were bad, the same point was repeated over and over. In fact, it was oversold. There became no reason to side with the humans because they didn’t possess one shred of good will. The only human we ever saw acting decently to ghouls was Nishiki’s girlfriend, and her appearance was very brief. Other than that, the so-called “heroic” Doves were even worse than the ghouls. While ghouls kill out of necessity – and sometimes they avoid killing altogether – the humans are mostly lashing out without provocation.

Of course, it’s not so simple an issue as to say the ghouls are the ones in the right just like that. It’s a deeper issue than that. But they certainly were cast in a very positive light so that they became the good guys. Killing the humans (their enemy) seemed like a reasonable goal because the humans deserved it. I couldn’t even feel bad for the humans even though I’m (obviously) a human myself. That’s how much they made me empathize with ghouls! I was defending a species that can only survive by eating us simply because they seemed that much more honest. It didn’t help that Mado was so whacked out that he fit the role of a villain perfectly.

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…and this corner we have ghouls with vicious tempers!

Well, the joke’s on me because it turns out Mado wasn’t such a bad person. He was still crazy as hell, but he at least had another side to him. A side that had a wife – maybe kids. He had a side that wanted to protect Amon and work diligently alongside him. It seems that a lot of terrible things happened to make him act this way, as suggested by how determined he was to kill a certain one-eyed ghoul. I’m excited that we get more foreshadowing of this elusive half-breed like Kaneki, because it’s going to make his appearance even more exciting. But I digress…I don’t know what that ghoul did to him, just that it must have been pretty bad to make him want to kill ghouls so desperately. It doesn’t excuse any of his actions, but it makes you stop and realize that even the most heinous people can have surprising lives outside of the ill deeds they perform. Much like Touka, perhaps I was too quick to judge him as being pure evil.

But then again, he did torture two girls in an abandoned tunnel so yeah, he’s pretty evil. However, seeing his ring was a powerful moment because it represents the unseen sides of those we call “the enemy.” Both ghouls and humans immediately label each and every person of the opposite species as their enemy. Simply by being born that way, they are persecuted. They refuse to try and see any redeeming qualities that would prove otherwise. That’s why Touka doesn’t even stop to think about Mado having a life beyond being a Dove. It’s also why Amon is extremely confused by Kaneki – his mortal enemy – letting him live. It’s very easy to kill another person when you see them as “just another ghoul/human” and generalize them all to be bad. Once you get to know them and their more “human” traits, it becomes much more difficult. So, to become an efficient killing machine, you must stop yourself from getting too close to the enemy. It’s easier to kill a monster than a friend.

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Kaneki’s declaration ties all of this together really nicely as well. The parallels between his encounter with Amon and Touka’s encounter with Mado were really well-planned. Then Kaneki announces that he’s going to try and fix the problem by uniting both sides. It’s a herculean task, but he really is the only one who could do it since he’s from both sides. It’s a great direction to take the story in as well because I really love seeing the moral debates between ghouls and humans. It’s so much more fun than just watching them slash at each other blindly. Now some doubts have been planted as some characters realize not everyone from the other side is necessarily evil. It’s an interesting dilemma and clearly everyone is going to struggle between wanting revenge and just wanting to live peacefully and harmoniously.

Not only is there a delicious moral dilemma, the fight scenes are actually impressive too! The action is mostly from Touka’s side, but I was still quite pleased to see Kaneki not only wear his mask but go into berserk mode and use his kagune again. But really, the show stealer for me was watching Touka use her speedy skills and then have Hinami finish the fight with her combined mama-papa kagune. I thought Kaneki would rush in to save them but nope! The little girl was able to hold her own. I think Hinami will continue to be one to watch because she has the ability to kill, but she isn’t corrupted enough to want revenge as badly as Touka. She just wants to live a normal life. Thank goodness they didn’t kill her off! Tokyo Ghoul is really headed down an interesting road and I think the time for redemption is upon us! It might be too little too late, but I can’t complain in the face of such lovely gifts.

…I did burst out laughing when Amon screamed like a banshee over his friend’s death though.

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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20 Responses to “Tokyo Ghoul – 08”

  1. Foshizzel says:

    Oh ma god Kaneki pisses me off so damn much! I don’t like him as the main character…I wish it was Touka instead, but whatever I know he has to be the emotional dude who lives in the world of the humans and Ghouls even though at times he seriously comes off as super-Shinji-like and nobody wants any part of that!

    As a non manga fan I guess ill have to read the manga cause I don’t think we will see white haired Kaneki kicking ass and accepting his fate as a Ghoul or does he still act like a emo character in manga form? If so then maybe I won’t read it…

    Hinami though was BADASS! I was like YESSSSSS KILL TEH CREEPY ASS SCIENTIST! I mean sure she wasn’t really wanting kill anyone, but at least we won’t have to see him anymore even though he was easily the most interesting character on the human side.

    It is hard to believe that Hinami’s actress Sumire Morohoshi voices some of the cutest characters like Ichigo Hoshimiya, Arisa Takanomiya and of course to my surprise Nina Tucker which made me think that she was probably going to die after her mom got owned.

    I did burst out laughing when Amon screamed like a banshee over his friend’s death though.

    Same haha

    • Cybersteel says:

      Manga Kaneki is better.

    • Overcooled says:

      I dunno, he’s pretty much exactly what I want now. He’s not whiny anymore now that he knows how to fight (sort of). I might pick up the manga when the anime is done to see how things continue though…

      I’m glad they let Hinami do something! She was just kind of standing there the whole time, I was hoping she’d be more than a damsel in distress and…she certainly was. Definitely cool to see her have a strong side.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Killing the humans (their enemy) seemed like a reasonable goal because the humans deserved it. I couldn’t even feel bad for the humans even though I’m (obviously) a human myself. That’s how much they made me empathize with ghouls! I was defending a species that can only survive by eating us simply because they seemed that much more honest.

    A paradox, isn’t it? I feel the same way. If not a bit stronger. I’m human but if I had to see things the way they’ve been portrayed in Tokyo Ghoul, I’d be easily swayed in wanting to side with the very species that’s considered my natural predator. At the same time, I suppose acknowledging the ugliness in humanity is what helps push that sentiment. Remember a few years back when these things weren’t even up for debate? Lines were drawn, cut and dry, black and white. Humans are the good guys and anything apart from them is evil. Now everything is so gray, you’re left without a clear answer but you’re easily pissed at your own species when they overdo stuff.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s weird that they did such a good job defending the ghouls that it makes you want to side with them. In real life I don’t know if I’d feel the same but damn does this show make the ghouls look like innocent kittens!

      I like having the gray areas. It makes things more interesting!

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Finally Mado has breathed his last breath. A lot of relief was felt knowing he won’t be around anymore. I never liked from the start and it made me grit my teeth every time he showed up with that infuriating smirk on his face. And fitting that Hinami was the one who delivered most of the damage as she was one of his targets. Karma at work, baby.

    He had a side that wanted to protect Amon and work diligently alongside him.

    That wasn’t the impression I got watching their interaction. More like he had a score to settle and didn’t want to be interrupted. I’ll be honest. That ring reveal had no impact whatsoever on me. Even if he had a wife and loved her very much, it doesn’t absolve all the cruelty depicted every time he’s seen. Information that crucial would’ve been better used a while after his introduction, adding a genuine sense of tragedy and therefore, people being lenient. However, there was no hint of the sort and bringing it in this late felt nothing more than a cheap last minute attempt to give sympathy to a ruthless and heartless wretch who got a well-deserved death. A little girl is now an orphan because of him. Hinami is the one who’ll be scarred for life, and from a young age.

    A lot of credit to Kaneki trying to be the voice of reason but sooner or later he’ll realize his ideals just won’t work anyone who’s made up their mind. And he’s right about if Ghouls are screwing up the world, humans are no better. It’s all about action and reaction and both parties are responsible. Uniting both sides is another idealistic dream. Those like Touka and Nishiki could definitely benefit from that since they have human relations. But the problem yet again lies with the humans. They won’t want to co-exist with beings they believe see them as nothing more than pieces of meat (Ghouls like Rize would prove that point) and will kill them out of fear and distrust. If such a union could be established, it would’ve happened a long time ago.

    • Overcooled says:

      Good riddance. =w= And we know he’s gone for good too.

      I feel like he worked pretty well with Amon. They weren’t buddy-buddy, but he made sure not to put his partner is needless danger. But despite any goodness, I’m not very convinced about him being good either. Seeing his ring was more of a reminder that “not everyone is as evil as they appear to be.” Maybe if they made Mado less crazy his death would have garnered some sympathy?

      It’s not impossible, but his dream will take a lot of time and the effort of more than just one person in the end. I doubt he’ll completely eliminate the stigma, but he can at least make things less tense between the ghouls and humans. He’s the first one to really want to unite both sides (from what we’ve seen so far) so that’s why we haven’t seen any progress yet.

      …Realistically it wouldn’t happen. But this is anime!!!

  4. JPNIgor says:

    Is just Mado’s quinque that was able to use any kagune from any ghoul he kills or it’s an ability given to all quinques? That’s so cruel.

    Mado is evil and crazy, but he was probably broken when a ghoul ate his wife and/or children. But even so, I don’t know how can someone think that ghouls can’t have feelings when they can express their feelings with words, when they clearly are intelligent beings. People even think that animals have feelings. It’s like Mado was completely blind for his revenge or whatever.

    Seeing the speech from both sides, human and ghoul, there’s a dubious moral there, but in this situation, the ghouls clearly has the upper hand. The doves were just attacking blindly in search for information, while those ghouls (even if the humans didn’t know) were just eating flesh from deceased people. The doves’ moral were clearly on the wrong, specially when you stop to watch for Mado’s actions.

    • Cybersteel says:

      It’s like monster hunting. Gather resources from ghouls and send it to development to have it be used as a weapon.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Is just Mado’s quinque that was able to use any kagune from any ghoul he kills or it’s an ability given to all quinques? That’s so cruel.

      That’s part of why I’m glad he’s snuffed out now. And he did all those atrocious acts with a smile on his face. Killing without the consideration of being killed yourself… He got what was coming to him.

    • Overcooled says:

      The Doves really aren’t going about this in an ethical manner. You’d think they’d at least capture some ghouls and try to talk to them or study them instead of blindly killing them. Even that would be better! It’s funny how most of the ghouls we see try to avoid killing humans by eating suicide victims whereas the Doves are so eager to go around exterminating ghouls.

  5. sonicsenryaku says:

    I think this ep pretty much converted a good amount of viewers who were a bit skeptical of Tokyo Ghoul (not everyone though). Shuhei Morita is a good director so i could always see the effort he put into the series considering that he is under a tight time constraint and his directing chops really shine in this ep. From the whole lead up of Kaneki intercepting Amon (good use of tension) to Kaneki forgoing restraint (something quite a few characters we have met in the series so far dont seem to consider like Rize, Mado, or Jason) so that he could get the upper hand on Amon, to Touka realizing to some degree that vengeance is not the end-all-be-all, this was Ghoul’s best ep in my opinion. It’s like i said to manga readers, it was a good idea to switch the order of the arcs like they did. Imagine if the tsukiyama arc followed this one…wouldnt have made for good build up, right?

    • Overcooled says:

      It converted me! I was beginning to lose interest a bit. In retrospect, the order of the arcs makes sense and it seems like everything was set up this way to lead up to this episode. It’s a very nice turn-around, although a terrible business model to keep the attention of anime fans who faithfully abide by the “3 episode test” rule and can barely last any longer.

  6. anaaga says:

    Finally more things about the Doves, starting from Madao. More and more Doves will show up (even the ones related to Madao), and more of their back stories will be explored. Even Madao’s, and yes, he did have a reason for obsessing over One-Eyed ghouls.That is, if the studio decided to animate it, considering how they skipped so many damn things because Studio Pierrot. I was so pissed when they skipped the conversation about Hideyoshi because it played a pivotal role in describing Hideyoshi’s true character.

    The Doves looked cruel, but I wonder whether the audience thought about the reason for them being cruel. And surely, there are other ghouls out there that are as cruel as or even worse than the Doves, such as Show ▼

    . Even Rize’s action is considered cruel; she ate people beyond her diet limit, and she kinda has the habit of hurting the people before eating them. Has anybody ever considered her actions to be cruel at all? What about the Gourmet Club where the members love to see the humans being ripped apart alive? I am not a fan of the Doves and for what they did, but I definitely understand why the Doves are, uh, extremely cruel to the ghouls.

    • SherrisLok says:

      I don’t consider the actions of the doves justifiable by any means.
      Consider the policemen, even though they may have to deal with extremely cruel criminals and organised crime, never are they allowed to exterminate said individuals if it is possible to capture them. The police also cannot do anything more than bring ‘the bad guys’ to court, if they torture or treat suspects inhumanely they are sure to be arrested and tried themselves.
      In Tokyo Ghoul the roles of the police and the judicial system are merged, which is a suicidal move on the part of the authorities. It’s similar to what was the scenario in Psycho Pass. It’s really dangerous.

      • Sumairii says:

        My friend, corruption in the police force is a thing that actually exists.

        • SherrisLok says:

          I never said it doesn’t. What I mean is that in most countries there are mechanisms in place to prevent a situation when the police would go unpunished for doing things out of their jurisdiction. As for the enforcers in Tokyo Ghoul, they are basically masters of life and death with no sort of audit on the part of the government. So yes, they basically cover for themselves because of how the system was designed.

          • Sumairii says:

            The point is when corruption occurs, those who break regulations go unpunished. The situation is much the same as in Tokyo Ghoul. Written laws do not make a difference if they are not enforced.

      • anaaga says:

        This might work with our world, but I don’t think it applies in Tokyo Ghoul’s world. I’m not sure if this was mentioned in the anime or not (I bet it wasn’t), but Tokyo Ghoul’s world is divided into wards, starting from 1-24. I forgot the specifics, but I know that Ward 1-4 is inhabitable by humans because of the rampaging ghouls there. The same goes with the future-arc Ward 11. The ghouls literally fight each other, and we all know how ghouls fight. That’s why many peaceful ghouls are in Ward 20 now, because that’s the safest ward where the ghouls can “co-exist” with humans. And it’s no longer safe too because of the now-dead Binge Eater and Gourmet Ghoul, making the Doves slowly filling up Ward 20

        Basically, the humans in Tokyo Ghoul are actually being massacred by the ghouls, just not in Kaneki’s ward (yet). This is why the Doves don’t like ghouls, and this is probably the reason why the system sets up a division that’s specifically for the ghouls.

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