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Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 04 »« Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 02

Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 03

「吊人」 (Tsuhito)
“Hanging Man”

There’s a certain disconnect happening with Tokyo Ghoul √A – 02, but that’s not entirely a bad thing.

There’s a lot that’s unusual with this series, starting with the unorthodox way it’s positioned itself in-between being an anime-original and a manga adaptation.  For me, the most important oddity is the fact that I’m hard-pressed to remember many series in which I have less idea what’s really happening – the array of new characters and plot twists every week is pretty overwhelming – yet somehow it manages to keep me pretty much hooked in.  With certain shows that sense of disorientation is obviously an intended part of the experience, but Tokyo Ghoul is a pretty plot-driven series – I’m not sure for how long it can keep up this high-wire act, but for the moment it’s mostly all-good.

Another strange thing about this season is the inescapable fact that the protagonist has been pretty much a non-entity in terms of screen time for the first three episodes.  Kaneki certainly casts a big shadow over everyone and everything else in the story, but he himself is thus far an occasionally-glimpsed figure on a rooftop, or a news report, or a missing-persons poster.  We continue to receive little to no insight into why he’s made the seemingly bizarre decision he did – to leave behind his friends and protectors and join up with an organization whose actions seem antithetical to everything the S1 Ken said he believed in.  Again, I think it’s fair to ask for how long the show can pull that off – but to ask the question is not to deny the possibility that it can for quite some time.  We’ll see.

We do get just a bit of Kaneki screen-time in an interaction he has with Naki (Shimono Hiro, laying it on a bit thick), yet another new character added to the mix.  He seems to have been Yamori’s adoring flunky, and Aogiri Tree frees him as he’s being transported in a CCG convoy.  Clearly he’s nutty as a loon, lashing out at friend and foe alike, but Ken offers him a bit of kindness – and received a compliment in return.  It’s not clear how Naki fits into the plot now that Yamori is gone, but to receive this much attention this early suggests his role might be an important one.

Meanwhile, those two stalkers continue to turn up whenever Kaneki is in the field, inexplicably involved in operations that are leaving both humans and ghouls dead.  Their continued presence teases that they, too, are certain to be significant figures but again, so far it’s only a tease.  Normally this sort of thing would piss me off pretty good, but that’s not happening here yet for whatever reason.  As for Kaneki, his act of minor compassion towards Naki is the only clue we get that there’s any trace of the old Ken still in there – though two Aogiri foot soldiers do speak of the rumor that he ate Jason.

Why do we know that?  Because the Gourmet is still pursuing his obsession with Ken, and has infiltrated Aogiri in the search for him.  Another slightly mysterious element is Hideyoshi, who’s infiltrated CCG presumably in his own desire to find his friend.  He’s also taking down the missing persons posted all over campus.  Hiromi (who for some reason appears to have aged-up about three years between seasons) is meanwhile starting to want to exert some independence from Touka – which she puts into play by borrowing one of her outfits and going to a book signing by her (and Ken’s) favorite author Takatsuki Sen (Sakamoto Maaya).  Takatsuki could hardly make it more obvious that she too is mysteriously connected to the rest of the story (though perhaps less so if one is attentive to seiyuu voices).

How the heck does all this teasing add up to anything watchable?  I guess the word I would use to sum it up is “intrigue” – somehow all of this is intriguing, in spite of how much the audience is being strung along.  And remarkably even a few of the manga readers seem to be buying in, too.  Is it just possible that this is the best of both worlds for adapting an unfinished manga – a storyline from the original author, one that’s free to go in its own directions without worrying about aligning with existing canon?  Well, I won’t go that far yet – but so far at least I’m liking where this is going.


ED2 Sequence

ED: 「季節は次々死んでいく」 (Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku/i>) by (Amazarashi)


January 23, 2015 at 11:15 am
  • January 23, 2015 at 11:47 amlingeron

    It’s the third ED sequence, actually. There was a new one for episode 2 as well.

  • January 23, 2015 at 11:52 amkonart

    >though perhaps less so if one is attentive to seiyuu voices

    Her smile, the way she talks and moves…

  • January 23, 2015 at 11:59 amPatty

    Her laugh, her smile. Talk about being obvious.

    • January 23, 2015 at 12:04 pmdeeb

      Too obvious. Even for an anime-only watcher like me.

      • January 23, 2015 at 12:16 pmdfp396

        It was more subtle in the manga.

      • January 25, 2015 at 9:06 amKirk Lazarus

        Even though I like Root A, this particular lack of subtlety is really disappointing, considering her role. Welp, we’ll see.

      • January 25, 2015 at 9:10 amoliver

        It just means they don’t have time to dick around. We only have 9 episodes left.

    • January 23, 2015 at 8:43 pmSpaceCowboy

      In the anime’s defense, it really does not have any time to mess around. Root A only has 12 episodes to work its magic, lest it end in a rushed cliffhanger like last season.

    • January 27, 2015 at 2:50 pmExukvera

      It would be curious if “Root A” ends the same way the original manga did, despite Kaneki’s alternate choice.

  • January 23, 2015 at 12:06 pmSilke

    We need more hints to her identity. No one has figured it out yet. ◔_◔

    Essential! Kaneki! Ah, what a spice you’ve added! Cannibalism! To a ghoul, that is the forbidden apple! You wanted even more power, didn’t you?! Ah, I want to eat him— Adam, butcher of the fruit of knowledge! The even more, more, spicy Kaneki!

    Tsukiyama just being his usual fabulous self.


    • January 23, 2015 at 12:29 pmKabble

      I figured the leg kicks and that odd half smile along with a certain someone saying ‘Kaneki ken’ at the end would be indicative of something by now..
      Unless we talmbout what the real real identity is >:D

    • January 24, 2015 at 9:12 amTresBien!

      That Tsukiyama monologue was definitely my favorite scene of the episode. XD

    • January 24, 2015 at 11:15 amkolpator

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 23, 2015 at 12:24 pmbOOtywarrior

    • January 23, 2015 at 12:28 pmKabble


      His voice makes me want to jump off a skyscraper

      • January 24, 2015 at 7:13 amPetro

        In his defense, his balls were ripped off when he was still a kid therefore he couldnt develop a masculine voice

      • January 24, 2015 at 8:24 pmKabble

        Oh, I know (manga reader). It’s just the voice actor is nailing it well enough to annoy me.

    • January 23, 2015 at 1:03 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

      That sucks, she was kinda crazy hot

    • January 23, 2015 at 5:16 pmRick Anime

      I could always tell this character was male personally

  • January 23, 2015 at 12:27 pmKabble

    Things are happening so far…and none of it makes me want to complain so far.
    It seems like we’re being set up for a much better second season.
    I will say that so far they’ve captured the depression and gloom of the series after the Aogiri arc pretty spot on. I feel a little less happy at the end of each episode and it bothers me…while at the same time leaving me pleased.

    Dunno what this ride has in store, but so far it all seem to feel….weirdly right.

  • January 23, 2015 at 12:49 pmApa

    I imagined Takatsuki having more of a natural, brownish hair, but since she’s obviously not important….


    Manga version: http://media.tumblr.com/4f4f8c56ef1e3230f5096e28c1198612/tumblr_inline_ngl9zrcZWe1qgsvgy.jpg

    • January 24, 2015 at 8:02 amKirk Lazarus

      She has same haircolor in manga tho. Show Spoiler ▼

      • January 24, 2015 at 8:09 amKirk Lazarus

      • January 24, 2015 at 7:23 pmApa

        Yeah, I know. Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 23, 2015 at 1:01 pmgrant

    I get the feeling that Hide knows about Kaneki… This kid seems to be intelligent. He must suspect something.

    • January 23, 2015 at 2:35 pmVoyager

      He should know, as in the first season, after he was rescued, he was faking to be asleep as Kaneki was talking about what happened. Not 100% sure though.

      • January 24, 2015 at 11:25 pmesdesu

        I suspect the same but I don’t recall if it ever was confirmed that he was awake during that scene.

  • January 23, 2015 at 1:27 pmigriega

    Kaneki has touched his chin twice in the anime, by the way:
    -Episode 1: he tries to hide the fact that he looked at Rize’s b00bies.
    -Episode 10(?): he lies to Banjou and says that Rize has already left the 20th Ward.

    Kaneki doesn’t do it every time he tries to hide something, though. When Hide mentions the play to Touka, he’s essentially saying that Kaneki is a good actor. In the first season we had Kaneki acting as the dutiful, kind human son, and in this second season he’s acting as the badass Aogiri executive.

    Funimation dropped the ball with titles this episode… “Hanging man”? “MacGuffin, the Hanging Man”? MacGuffin isn’t a person, it’s a literary device. The actual title of Takatsuki’s book should be “The Hanged Man’s MacGuffin” and the episode title “The Hanged Man”, which is pretty symbolic of a certain someone we all know and love. But that’s something for another day.

    Finally, does the mangaka ever sleep? The full ED picture is here and the translation of the text in the ED is here. I really like how Kaneki is framed as the villain to Yamori and Naki’s little story.

  • January 23, 2015 at 5:15 pmMgMaster

    Yup, intriguing it is indeed, adding more on it’s plate with each episode. It’s great & all as long as the show remember’s it end’s with this season and has to end on a conclusive note.

  • January 23, 2015 at 6:32 pmLightHawk

    So is every episode going to end with Ayato and Kaneki overlooking scenery of some sort? I just found it funny the near identical ending for this episode compared to the last.

  • January 23, 2015 at 8:44 pmAndré

    Now that Kaneki has become a emotionless god-like figure, this anime seems pointless. The plot was never not very good to begin with and all the other character are dull and generic as hell.

  • January 24, 2015 at 5:19 pmWoof

    The anime was never that good (in my opinion), anyways. Go read the manga.

    Although I like root A over the original season, I dislike how they made Kaneki so edgy… feels wrong.

    • January 24, 2015 at 8:24 pmKabble

      You dislike how edgy he is? Isn’t this the exact same way he became after the aogiri arc?

      • January 24, 2015 at 10:37 pmWoof

        The story progressed the same way but not his characterization.

        For example, consider Kaneki after he rescues Touka in the manga. He’s much more like his previous self (i.e. human/relatable) but as Banjou notes, ‘has a sense of strength but mixed with tragedy’ about him compared to his previous self.

        In the anime, not only does he offer no explanations regarding his actions to Touka & co., he says nothing, nada, zero before departing in an edgemaster fashion. Not to mention, he acts a lot more pretentious when preaching to Touka’s brother compared to the manga — mostly due to the way the scene was directed, I guess.

        Overall, I might be ranting about trivial things but as a big Kaneki fan, I was saddened by the edginess they thrust upon him — he has more of a ‘Sasuke’ vibes, so to speak, now than the manga version though they’ve been through the same things.

      • January 24, 2015 at 11:54 pmKabble

        Can’t really say they’ve forced this on him, I felt he had an edge to him throughout the entire series toward the end that was well mixed with his eternal tragedy. The difference being that Kaneki has literally had minimal screen time and he’s the main character. So far it’s just a hash of the results of his absence to those who love him. I have no reason to think they’ve abandoned portraying that part to him cause I think it’ll be addressed once he gets more lines within the season. That’s just my sense of things so far, I haven’t found anything particularly wrong with the direction they’ve gone as I think it’s equally as a important to show the results of his departure as well. Could they show both parts in equal and organic means? Yes, but if they don’t feel they can confidently and properly do it, then this is much better for them imo.

  • January 24, 2015 at 6:06 pmBhiscus

    Hmm quick question, though I might me strolling towards potential spoiler territory. Anyway, given what Tsukiyama said about Kaneki resulting to cannibalism towards the end of the episode struck me. Did Kaneki actually become more powerful by eating Jason? Do Ghouls get stronger by eating each other, sort of mirroring that of ‘Hollows’ in bleach. I just assumed Rize was quite a very strong ghoul, so naturally her being part of Kaneki would make him equally strong in comparison to other ghouls.

    • January 24, 2015 at 10:40 pmWoof

      That’s spoiler territory which should soon be covered in the anime.

      But to answer your question in a very simple manner, both Rize’s essence + cannibalism is the key to his strength. (He is also a very quick learner and learns how to fight through reading books in the manga.)

      • January 25, 2015 at 11:05 amBhiscus

        Interesting. Thanks for the answer.