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Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 07 »« Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 05

Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 06

「千路」 (Chiji)
“Thousand Paths”

That was certainly a change-of-pace, in a good way.

This may not have been the perfect episode of Tokyo Ghoul, but I think it came at the perfect time. Frankly “Root A” has been all over the place – scattershot, utterly confusing, uneven and sloppy. Sometimes it’s been exhilarating and sometimes just exhausting, but to have an episode where I actually knew what was going on and who the characters were most of the time was a welcome break. And the fact that it was a good episode in itself was the icing on the cake.

It was also nice to have an episode where we had characters come off as relatively sympathetic for a change. There hasn’t been a whole lot of rooting interest on either side this season, and that’s a problem – what should be a tragic cycle of despair between humans and ghouls has felt more like “a pox on both their houses”. There’s still a fundamental problem when Kaneki has become a minor supporting character, and while there’s no sign of that changing we can at least see that he’s tormented by what’s happening to him. But some of the characters who should theoretically be filling the vacuum Ken’s absence leaves behind finally got some fleshing out, and it couldn’t have come a minute too soon.

We start with Juuzo and Shinohara. The latter is not in Ken’s stomach after all – it was his Quinque that he was eating last week – and it’s for the best, because Shinohara is probably the most genuinely likeable (and normal) character on the CCG side. And the history between he and Juuzo that was shown this week only adds to that. Juuzo is a twisted and depraved individual, no doubt, and his existence one of the mysteries of the series – he really seemed half-ghoul, half-human. Now we know the reason – he was a captive of “Big Madam“and that twisted circus we saw a bit of in the first season, forced to kill humans for his mistress’ sick gratification and tortured and maimed for his troubles. It explains a lot (theory: might Madam A actually be Okada Mari?).

Shinohara is right, of course – Juuzo is a victim here, but that doesn’t diminish just how sadistic and dangerous he is now (I was really worried for that cat). Shinohara’s continued compassion for Juuzo in spite of that is one of the more emotionally impactful things in this season, as is Juuzo’s recognizably human affection for Shinohara (indeed, the moment when Juuzo darted around Shinohara to walk on his right was quietly one of the best of the season). I know there was more gory detail to the manga version of Juuzo’s tragic history that we didn’t see, but I’m fan with that – this was plenty appalling enough, and it makes Juuzo considerably more sympathetic no matter how depraved he is (and I certainly didn’t need to actually see Big Madam literally do to Juuzo what anime has been symbolically doing to male characters for the past several years…).

Frankly, I would have liked much more time with Juuzo and Shinohara and less spent on Amon, Akira and Takizawa’s dinner date. But that part was fine, too (I’ll still take Mori Kaoru when it comes to drawing angry Persian cats, though), and these were characters who definitely needed a little humanizing. This was mostly played for comedy, though not ineffectively. You had to know things were going to get interesting when Akira accepted Amon’s invitation to the kushikatsu restaurant for dinner and did they ever – once the beer (and mojitos) started flowing, so did the honesty. Takizawa’s inebriation predictably stayed well-within his character’s butt-monkey comfort zone, but once he’d gone back to the office things got rather more interesting with Akira.

I still feel nothing for Amon, really – while I don’t think he’s evil or anything, I just find him to be kind of an idiot. Despite (or perhaps because of) that, I rather enjoyed watching him squirm as Akira vented her bile first figuratively and then almost literally. She was out of bounds blaming him for her father’s death of course (he blames himself plenty anyway) but it was nice to see some vulnerability from her. And Amon’s self-flagellation ritual of doing 7890 push-ups was predictably insipid. All in all it was a welcome change-of-pace, but it looks as if we’re headed right back into the insanity again, as CCG is planning another “final” assault against Aogiri Tree and the One-Eyed Owl. I don’t think Tokyo Ghoul is at its best as a flat-out war story – it’s better when it digs into the reasons behind the war, and what it does to the principals involved. Hopefully that won’t be forgotten as the action kicks in again.

February 12, 2015 at 10:36 pm
31 comments »
  • February 12, 2015 at 11:41 pmKabble

    Since the episode didn’t really explain this, I will for anyone partially confused.
    Homegirl Madame plucked Juuzo’s balls off.

    Honestly, this is a mess…
    Idk what I preferred more. Them steamrolling through content in the manga, or them half steamrolling through the content half making it up as it goes w/o really addressing any character development, side plots that are visibly there in the story, etc….

    And what the fuck is going on with Kaneki? His pertinence to the plot is practically nonexistent imo.
    I wished they’d just followed the manga and made him branch off into his own thing because by now he ought to be Show Spoiler ▼

    , but instead he’s just…idefk

    This is all so confusing. Hide is the only one doing anything remotely intriguing along with the one-eyed ghoul.

    Sigh….

    • February 12, 2015 at 11:46 pmGuardian Enzo

      Actually, rather than plucking it was more of a sledgehammer thing. Not really a spoiler (well, not at all a spoiler) as the events were just covered in the anime.

      • February 13, 2015 at 12:13 amKabble

        Whoops, you’re indeed correct.
        Pardon me, it’s been a while since I read that chapter and I’m not a fan of re-reading things fresh in my head ^_^

  • February 12, 2015 at 11:48 pmButterzBoy

    Guess the anime wants no fanservice. Manga readers will know what I mean ;)

  • February 13, 2015 at 12:06 amGinobi47

  • February 13, 2015 at 12:28 amHunter-Wolf

    Juuzo’s backstory is really what the series needed, in other words they need to start answering the tons of question piled up from the first season and the even more numerous ones by the 2nd season (more numerous due to the neck-breaking pace it has been going at), quite moments and revelations are important to balance out all the action and give it more depth and meaning, without them all the action is just pointless flashy puppet show .. Tokyo Ghoul could learn a thing or two from Parasyte on how to balance action and drama/quite moments, i just hope we spend more time dealing with character motivations, backstories and explaining what the heck is going on before we jump again into action.

    And i really don’t hate Juuzo, he might be unstable and weird but it seems to me that with the right guidance he can still act in a meaningful helpful way for those around him, Shinohara’s influence on him is definitely positive and progressive, Juuzo yearns for someone to care about him and to treat him like the normal kid he never got the chance to be (as evident from him trying to imitate the father and kid with the ballon), it seems to me he is venting all this sadism and bitterness on the ghouls he fights because outside combat he seems like he is trying his best to act kinda normal, he comes off as a weird kid with some self-mutilation fetish but nothing more than that .. he definitely isn’t normal and probably will never be but he also isn’t evil or plain out despicable.

    Akira’s and Amon’s interactions were both funny and gave us some insight about their motivations and relation with Mado (a central character in the lives of both), it seems to me both of them have that self-loathing aspect as both blame themselves for Mado’s demise (Akira blames herself for not growing up fast enough to help her father with his revenge and Amon blames himself for not being there for him when he fought and died), it might be that they are way more similar than they think they are, Amon might be dense and thick-headed and Akira might be a little too cold (or a tsun) but it’s interesting to see some character development for them and some explanation for their motivations (even if they are focused on self-loathing, at least Amon now is now focusing more on protecting Akira and less on blaming himself for her father’s death, that’s positive development), the funny moments between them are also fun to watch.

    Now i wish they do the same with Kaneki before the series ends .. we need to know why he made the choice to join Aogiri and if there is more to his motivation than “i want to protect everyone so i need to get stronger no matter what i do”, that and a dozen another questions needs answers before we can get back into action or create even more questions.

    • February 13, 2015 at 4:39 amsherrislok

      Juuzou is the most fucked up character in Tokyo Ghoul and if CCG had any sort of decency and responsibility to public safety they would lock him up in an institution. I’m not even kidding. Letting him run around freely poses danger to whomever he comes in contact with (if you are curious, read the manga). On another note, it also shows what kind of fuck ups govern CCG if they are willing to use a person with mental issues for their own ends.

      • February 13, 2015 at 7:31 amNayrael

        I really don’t remember Juuzo torturing anyone but the Ghouls, and CCG has shown to not care about the Ghouls in slightest.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        If he became an actual threat to civilians, he would probably be locked up. But as of yet, he generally keeps his crazy limited towards the ones CCG does not consider worthy of anything but ruthless extermination.

      • February 13, 2015 at 10:35 amHunter-Wolf

        Juuzou is far from being the most fucked up character in the show, there are plenty of other messed up characters but if you would put them in a list he would be at the bottom as the least fucked up one among the fucked up ones (Jason, Tsukiyama, Rize, The Madame, .. etc etc would be at the top of that list).

        We never hear or see Juuzou hurting or killing any innocents after her joined with the CCG, like i said he is far from normal but so far his absurdity and antics didn’t harm anyone at all (except maybe Marude’s motorbike in season 1 .. poor bike XD).

      • February 13, 2015 at 2:34 pmsherrislok

        @Nayrael

        Eat more fish.

        http://postimg.org/image/dew7pgvqh
        http://postimg.org/image/s9kt3n5bd

        @Hunter-Wolf

        Again, read the manga.

        hurting or killing any innocents

        This is exactly what he is doing killing ghouls who were not proven guilty of anything. See the previous episode.

      • February 14, 2015 at 2:20 amHunter-Wolf

        Innocent ghouls !!? i hope you don’t mean the ones from Aogiri who are mass murdering CCG agents and attacking their facilities, all the ghouls Juuzo killed in season 1 and 2 where from Aogiri who are obviously a very militant group unlike Antiku, and i’m talking about Juuzo from the show here not the manga (though i don’t think he is really that much different).

        Besides, how is what Juuzo doing is any different from what other CCG agents are doing !!?

      • February 14, 2015 at 3:41 pmsherrislok

        @Hunter-Wolf

        Innocent ghouls !!?

        Imagine a scenario in which 90% of a certain group, let’s say, group X, has been estimated to offend at least once during an average human lifespan. Now let’s arrest everyone from that group and put them in jail, just in case! That’s your train of thought. This makes you look rather bad. The whole point of S1 is washed down the drain.

        If it escaped your attention, the two girls Juuzo attacked were his former classmates, did not display violent behaviour and did not figure in the ghoul registry. So yes, he did attack innocents and people he knew in person. He lacks empathy and enjoys carnage more than anything. Yes, Juuzo is a psychopath.

        Besides, how is what Juuzo doing is any different from what other CCG agents are doing !!?

        You said it first.

  • February 13, 2015 at 12:42 amxxvanitasxx

    You know for an original story that was suppose to focus on Kaneki’s choice of joining Aogiri. It really has been focusing more on CCG side of things.

    • February 13, 2015 at 7:32 amNayrael

      It is not even a proper Anime Original Story: 90% of the plot is a trimmed version of the Manga storyline. They really wasted the opportunity…

    • February 15, 2015 at 9:03 pmReverseTales

      As an anime-only viewer, I’m not complaining (about the lack of Kaneki). I’m really more interested in the CCG side of things, specifically Akira, Amon and Hideo.

      In the last fight, Kaneki ate Shinohara’s clothes? That must have felt pretty freaky.

  • February 13, 2015 at 1:50 amKanade

    I was very disappointed at first when the second season didn’t follow the manga, but after having seen these few episode I’ve got to admit that the second season probably shows some things that we missed in manga before it jumped to Tokyo Ghoul Re, for example, Suzuya’s past, his relationship with Shinohara, but I loved it when they left theplotline of Amon and Akria, I thought it was pretty hilarious.

    • February 13, 2015 at 7:26 amChaos_Alfa

      Suzuya’s past and his relationship with Shinohara where shown exactly the same in the manga.

    • February 13, 2015 at 7:31 pmmooch

      lol go read again you fool

    • February 13, 2015 at 8:33 pmdeVaras

      Most of this totally happened in the manga and all of it was better in the manga.

  • February 13, 2015 at 3:35 amanothercat

    • February 13, 2015 at 9:22 amMgMaster

      7890 glorious scored points with Akira, that’s what. Well, assuming she’s into push-ups anyway.

  • February 13, 2015 at 4:33 amsherrislok

    I agree that Amon is an idiot. He doesn’t seem to be using his brain for critical thinking. He saw that some ghouls are not flesh-craving monsters in S1 and he still doesn’t revise his mindset. There may be solutions other than senseless killing, but it’s too much for Amon to bother considering them or even think about the whole issue. The happiest soldier is the one who doesn’t concern himself with the purpose of war or consequences of orders they are given.

  • February 13, 2015 at 5:33 amkaye

    Kaneki doesn’t seem to have a speaking role in Season 2. What’s up with that?
    http://randomc.net/image/Tokyo%20Ghoul/Tokyo%20Ghoul%20Root%20A%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2017.jpg

    • February 13, 2015 at 5:40 amoliver

      It’s to make him more ”emo”

    • February 13, 2015 at 9:14 amDwarg

      They spent most of their non-existent budget on animation that is basically adobe flash during fight scenes, and couldn’t afford Kaneki’s VA for all the episodes, so now he just moans.

  • February 13, 2015 at 6:57 amP Ko

  • February 13, 2015 at 9:12 amMgMaster

    Holy…Amon does 7890 push-ups and I’m supposed to be impressed by Kaneki’s kagune?

  • February 13, 2015 at 3:45 pmDafuq

    Why only 480p?

  • February 14, 2015 at 6:08 pmLightHawk

    I’m just not as captivated this season as I was in the first. As an anime only watcher I am confused at the pacing and direction this is going. Since the opening of the first episode the supposed main character has been sidelines only appearing to watch scenery from above, grunt, cry, & throw silent glances around. I’m invested until the end but it’s disheartening to feel like this could have been done better somehow.

    • February 15, 2015 at 10:02 pmMiyuki

      Same here even with the fact that I’ve read the manga.
      This season is poorly handled IMO. It could be a lot better than this.
      This is not what I expected when they announced anime original route.
      What a let down…. :/