Tokyo Ghoul – 12 [END]

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“Haha, look at that nerd!” “Kaneki, that’s you…”

There’s probably at least one person out there who is excited that Tokyo Ghoul isn’t ending quite yet. A second season has already been confirmed, so there’s no need to rage at any cliffhangers. And boy oh boy does this episode do a good job of not resolving things from last week. I’m sure that second season will be a lifesaver for those of you who want to keep watching.

By now you should know that I’m less than enchanted by Tokyo Ghoul. I’ve lost all my optimism by now and can firmly say that I don’t think Tokyo Ghoul is a good show. Therefore, I went into the finale knowing that they wouldn’t magically fix everything. Even with such minimal expectations, I feel a bit cheated. I had lowered my expectations to “mindless violence without any regard for telling a coherent narrative.” After the battle royale last week, it was reasonable to expect all of the fights they had teased at would be concluded. Apparently, no, it was not a reasonable thing to expect. With my expectations lowered to a 1, Tokyo Ghoul gave me a 0.

The finale was Kaneki sitting in a chair and crying for 20 minutes.

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And you thought musical chairs was torture to go through

If I was at a point where I genuinely cared for Kaneki, this would have been an emotional rollercoaster. However, since the characterization  of the cast has been a grab-bag of tiny insights at best, I couldn’t find it in me to really care. It was also difficult to really feel bad for the guy since all of the “horrible” torture was censored so much that I didn’t know what Jason was doing I was explicitly told he was cutting off fingers and toes. Cutting to a bloody tool and then cutting back to Kaneki screaming is just confusing. It was so vague and poorly directed that I was smirking through most of the torture scene.

The point is that you’re supposed to show the torture to make the audience squeamish. It’s like when you see someone stub their toe or get a cut, you sometimes feel a small chill as if you were the one to get hurt. It’s through this gore-y shock factor that you end up feeling compassionate towards the torture victim because what they’re going through looks so absolutely wretched. For Kaneki? Jason might as well have been tickling him with a wrench covered in ketchup.

I have no idea if they’ll fix this for BD release, but it would certainly help to show at least one finger getting cut off. I will admit that the centipede thing was pretty darn creepy, mostly because I can’t stand common house spiders let alone things with 100s of legs. I wanted to google the Chinese red centipede to see what it does (I assume it’s poisonous or something) but I realized I’d see a picture of it and ahhhhhh noooooo not going through that. But even when they showed a bug – THE WORST THING EVER – I didn’t flinch much because they chickened out from showing it actually enter Kaneki’s ear. If Mushishi can accidentally scar me for life by accidentally showing snake mushi but Tokyo Ghoul fails to make me squirm at an actual bug being shoved into someone’s ear canal then something is wrong here.

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Jason was nice enough to paint Kaneki’s toenails and give him a (VERY STRONG) exfoliating pedicure

Failed torture porn for sadists aside, there was some nice stuff with Kaneki’s backstory. It’s just unfortunate that they decided that the final episode was the best time for a slow, methodical retelling of Kaneki’s childhood. It wasn’t such a bad story, after all. Having Rize chime in every now and then to slowly make Kaneki come to the realization that his world view was off was the most subtle thing this show has ever done. It was done naturally and slowly, building up why Kaneki thought that being overly courteous was the right thing to do and then showing us the dark side of a seemingly superior way of life. It may sound very heroic to never harm others, but such a thing isn’t always possible. On the flip side, constantly being injured by others – physically and mentally – is not brave at all. It’s like torture.

Kaneki slowly comes to the conclusion that he needs to change. At the very least, he needs to toss away his morals just until he escapes from Jason. But really, it’s unlikely he’d change so radically and then just flip back to his usual self at the flick of a switch. So it’s safe to say that Kaneki has finally reached the long-awaited BADASS MODE. However, this is the last episode. We see badass Kaneki for a handful of minutes at most. It’s glorious after seeing him get kicked around so much, but it’s still sad that they only gave us this at the very end of the season. Tokyo Ghoul moves at a breakneck pace for the most part, but then throws in these slow-burning plot points that develop nicely over time. It’s a shame these more nuanced developments such as Mado secretly being not-so-bad and Kaneki turning into a badass over time are so few and far between. It’s the majority of rushed ideas and character development that just ruins the show.

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Tokyo Ghoul had some good moments, but by no means is it a winner. For every good development, it does something to squander all the build-up away. I can’t believe how badly such an amazing concept was botched. While I never felt an urge to outright drop the show since it wasn’t offensively bad, I never felt much excitement from watching it. A bad adaptations? Bad source material? Both? Whatever the case, I’m glad the anime is over and I’m definitely leaving season 2 up for grabs for whoever the heck wants to blog it. If anyone even does.



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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9 Responses to “Tokyo Ghoul – 12 [END]”

  1. belatkuro says:

    Second season hasn’t been confirmed. That Chinese site is just a random streaming site that streams popular shows like Fairy Tail, Shingeki and Naruto if you took the time to check. The “announcement” was also removed after a day or so.
    In the first place, why would a sequel announcement for a Japanese anime get announced first on a Chinese website and not on its official Japanese website? It doesn’t make sense.

    There’s supposedly an announcement coming up on October 11 but fans are asking more for a sequel of the manga than the anime as the manga apparently ended abruptly.

    • BlackBriar says:

      In the first place, why would a sequel announcement for a Japanese anime get announced first on a Chinese website and not on its official Japanese website? It doesn’t make sense.

      Hmmm…. I heard about that some time ago. But considering how the final episode ended, I’m not yet quick to dismiss the possibility either. Especially with a huge fight about to take place on the outside. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    There’s probably at least one person out there who is excited that Tokyo Ghoul isn’t ending quite yet.

    Now who could that be?

    So my dark guilty pleasure will be on a break until Winter. As an anime-only viewer, I honestly enjoyed watching Tokyo Ghoul because of the world building and characters despite its apparent flaws. Knowing there’s a continuation excuses this cliffhanger finale. As a matter of fact, I understand a crucial point was being animated so it might have been a huge distraction to keep jumping to other characters. Some say the breakneck pacing was to cut out chapters believed to be not so important to the core story.

    To me, the entire 12 episodes was a steady prologue for Kaneki’s change. From reluctantly eating flesh in the first episode to eating flesh with no hesitation in the final for comparison. Like Yoshimura said though he definitely didn’t have torture in mind, Kaneki had to venture in the Ghoul society and make his personal judgments. The slow work-up passes in my book because it bugs me with the norm these days that a main character must suddenly and inexplicably become a badass which doesn’t feel genuine that way. It felt more real here. After what he went through with Rize and considering he had a somewhat easygoing life that allowed some denial, of course a personality shift would take some time. Now that it’s happened, the second half would most likely go in full swing.

    Though most of the torture was censored, hearing Kaneki’s pained screaming made up for some of it. To be more specific, I cringed a bit (Nice and believable. To think his seiyuu is Natsuki Hanae, the same who played the stoic Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero). He was squeezed from both sides between Jason physically picking him apart and Rize mentally breaking him with harsh words wrapped in a sweet sounding voice (Hanazawa needs to do more of these roles). Rize was like that little imp on his shoulder basically telling him denial is for fools, it’s acceptable to dirty one’s hands in order to protect what’s his, the world isn’t nice and his pacifism needed to be stamped out to survive. Therefore making his reconditioning have greater effect. It was glorious.

    Well, I’ve made my defense here and will say I’ll be eagerly awaiting the second half to close the story up because Tokyo Ghoul is one of my four favorites for the Summer season. We all know how I have a thing for vampires but after this, I dare say my heart has opened enough to accept Ghouls as well. 😉

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Hey, in the early episodes, we made observations on how heavily similar the Ghouls were to the Shiki when it came to what they needed to survive and their ability to casually hold down liquids. Here’s a scenario. Imagine if both species invaded Sotoba. Ghouls roaming during the day and Shiki at night. The village would surely be taken over in about a month’s time.

  4. zztop says:

    I think the censorship’s mostly to meet Japanese TV standards, but it also gives impetus for purchasing the BDs to see all the gore.

    BTW, does anyone know what further developments happen mangawise?

    • BlackBriar says:

      I don’t think it’s just Japanese TV standards. Funimation is the studio handling Tokyo Ghoul’s simulcasting and they’ve done some heavy censoring in the past that it’s become very irritating at a point. They did the same with Deadman Wonderland. Compared to that, when I saw an episode of it on Toonami, I saw everything that was kept hidden. Blood, dismembered bodies, everything.

  5. bobob101 says:

    You make a good point in that if you don’t like Kaneki, seeing him tortured won’t move you. I like Kaneki, and seeing our protagonist broken by the cycle of hatred he tried to fight was rather awesome in my book. Plus, having that opening play over the last few minutes was awesome.

    I am biased though, since I read the manga first and came in liking the show. You can make the argument that the show tries to be smarter than it really is. But there are times when the artistry and directing are at very high levels, and I don’t think that this is the type of show that can just be written off.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I like Kaneki, and seeing our protagonist broken by the cycle of hatred he tried to fight was rather awesome in my book.

      I like Kaneki, too, and think he is an acceptable lead. Someone who started out average and doesn’t pretend to be more than what he is, like putting up pointless fronts, playing it cool, making his transition into Ghoul society rather realistic and believable.

      It’s also why his whining never rubbed me the wrong way because if any of us were in his place, 98% chance we’d be singing a similar tune because we wouldn’t think it was cool and definitely wouldn’t want to come to terms with the fact we’re no longer human, something known to be for one’s entire life, losing everything, even the simple pleasures that came with the aspect and feel the change came too suddenly to accept.

      And yeah, the OP closing out the fight was awesome. If a second season does come through, I hope TK from Ling Tosite Sigure will do the honors for the OP again.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Whatever the case, I’m glad the anime is over and I’m definitely leaving season 2 up for grabs for whoever the heck wants to blog it. If anyone even does.

    A shame, though. Because through your earlier posts, I could tell you were really getting into this series.

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