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Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 12 (END) »« Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 10

Tokyo Ghoul Root A – 11

「溢花」 (Mitsuru Hana)
“Deluge of Flowers”

Author’s Note: Thanks again to Passerby and Cherrie, who’ve been providing me invaluable capping assistance with Tokyo Ghoul this season.

For me, there’s no question Tokyo Ghoul is the most vexing show of the season.

What a strange series this is.  There’s definitely some Kiseijuu in its genes, but the spin it puts on its tragic storyline is novel and interesting.  But for every moment where it seems as if the series is going to fully exploit the inherent pathos in its premise, there’s one where it spins off on a tangent or loses itself in an extended, mind-numbing bloodbath.  For every time we get deeply into the head of a really interesting character, we’re bombarded with two new ones and given little reason to care about them.  And for every moment of abstract beauty or directorial flair, there’s a patch of jumpy animation, off-model characters or bad choreography.

I’ve said this before, but given a choice between shows that are really good some of the time and really subpar some of the time and shows that are just generally so-so, I’ll always take the former.  That’s in spite of the fact that those are the far more frustrating series to follow, because they’re always teasing you with how good they can be and then breaking your heart when they crash back to Earth.  I’ve seen far worse cases than Tokyo Ghoul, which in my view is never awful even when it’s off its game – but this is definitely a show that falls into this category.

I think we saw in this episode what the limitations to the approach taken by “Root A” are.  It’s a payoff episode, naturally enough as the season is ending – but the payoff really hasn’t been earned.  As with the big battle at the end of Season 1 (though not quite to the same extent) we see a long, drawn-out massacre that relies too heavily on characters we barely know (unless we’ve read the manga).  What’s the name of the guy with the moustache?  Why is this Arima guy such a badass?  Just why are these ghouls at the head of Aogiri as sadistic as they are?  We may have gotten hints at some of this during this season, but it’s hard to keep is all straight when it all flies by the camera in a blink, and ever harder to really care.

I think a big part of the schizophrenic nature of “Root A” stems from the fact that it never really seemed to decide if it was anime specifically for manga readers or for the general audience.  So it’s really no surprise that the best parts of this episode involved the characters we know well – Kaneki’s duel with Amon, Shinohara’s act of sacrifice and Juuzo’s subsequent pathetic “battle” with the One-eyed Owl (confirmed to be Eto, as I figured), Takizawa’s (not unexpected, as it’s been flagged pretty hard) meeting with destiny.

Sadly, it seems as if the characters on both sides who actually have a bit of perspective and decency are being killed off systematically – though as I speak of Shinohara and Yoshimura perhaps I should rethink that assessment based on the last scene of the episode. It seems as if Tokyo Ghoul may just be approaching Aldnoah.Zero levels of fake deaths – and here, you can’t be sure even if you have seen the body.  The really tragic thing here is this fight didn’t have to happen – Shinohara went after Anteiku based on old wounds, not fresh threats.  As for Ken’s duel with Amon, we get an actual acknowledgement from the latter that there ought to be something better than reflexively killing each other – though not any kind of follow-up action.  And Ken manages to suppress his kakuja, which I think we can safely assume is the only reason Amon is alive (and I think it’s pretty safe to assume he is).

The other big confrontation of the episode is between Eto and the mysterious Arima, who I guess we’re just supposed to accept is the most overpowered agent the CCG has.  And indeed, he certainly gets the better of her, though she’s already killed (unless he isn’t dead) Shinohara by this point – though strangely, she leaves Juuzou alive.  Beaten, the One-eyed Owl flies away - but not before swallowing Yoshimura’s body.  Later, she regurgitates it and and confirms what was already pretty obvious – he was (in fact, is) her father.

That ending…  The thing is, I really like Yoshimura – as I said last week I consider him the true hero of Tokyo Ghoul, even if Kaneki is the protagonist.  But his death was handled so well, and it seemed to make such poetic and prosaic sense at this point in the story, that I feel cheated that he didn’t die after all.  It makes last week’s emotional crescendo feel somehow hollow and false in hindsight.  We’ll see where that goes – and the other interesting thread to follow is that Hide has (after seeing Takizawa meet a grisly fate) finally outed himself to Ken, who’s taken refuge in the wreckage of Anteiku to sleep off the wounds Amon gave him because Ken was too merciful to kill him outright.  This friendship was one of the best things about the first half of the first season, but it’s been a complete non-factor since – I’ll be fascinated to see how the rest of that conversation goes.

March 21, 2015 at 4:19 am
32 comments »
  • March 21, 2015 at 4:28 amYogghii

    This episode was amazing! As a non-manga reader, some characters were indeed confusing, but I just replaced them with the “Boss of police” and “bad person” stubs in my mind. I think it’s a shame that this series doesn’t receive the attention from the creators it deserves. The last few episodes have been pretty consistent, but if I tell a friend to watch this show he’ll probably quit at episode 7 or 8.

    Eto seems like a really interesting character now since she carries so much ehh… plot.. with her. I hope we get to know a bit more about Hide now at least.

  • March 21, 2015 at 4:36 amdyeus

    I was surprised with Yoshimura being alive still, maybe he is just dying super slow.
    arimia made me face palm.. I just thought “who the fuck is this now” I really like the show (well what it can be) and I like the core cast, as in kanaki, touka, hide and anteaku like the rest of us, we care about those characters, but it’s been bloated with so many unnecessary characters, wat can the end game be to not leave so many loose ends

  • March 21, 2015 at 4:40 amReverseTales

    CCG faced off against the One-Eyed Owl before, right? They should have been able to tell the difference between the owls.

    Even if the one they fought was indeedYoshimura, the One-Eyed Owl just recently attacked a prison. They should have at least caught footage of it. Or eyewitness reports from the (very few) survivors.

    But we also never see CCG getting suspicious when they realised Anteiku wasn’t Aogiri. They never even came close to realising it was a trap, fully committing their forces and getting flanked. Should this be attributed to “CCG is blinded by descrimination (thinking of ghouls as mere beasts, not realising factions exist)”, or “Eto’s master plan worked”?

    I wonder how Hideo managed to survive the encounter with Noro.

    As an anime-only viewer, I really liked the Arima vs Eto fight. Partly because before the quinque’s true nature was revealed, I thought the Investigators used electricity-enhanced weapons to penetrate a ghoul’s defence. I thought the bottom of the suitcase was the “blade”. As for “why a suitcase?”: It contained the battery-pack…

    • March 21, 2015 at 5:08 amReis

      Indeed, in the manga, Yoshimura breif apperence to gain time during “save kaneki arc” gave suspicions of a second owl, that eventually lead to the recent anteiku raid for the purpose of eliminatong one of them.

  • March 21, 2015 at 5:13 amTheVoid

    I know that Hide can’t be an illusion, because Kaneki never saw Hide in a CCG uniform until he woke up.

  • March 21, 2015 at 6:47 amHunter-Wolf

    Sigh, vexing indeed, after a very good episode last week we are back to mediocrity again, new characters being thrown at us with no context or background info and we are supposed to care about them just because they are cool, characters making nonsensical choices or saying something and doing the opposite for no reason, etc etc.

    And by new characters here i mean Arima, we are never given any info about him nor what’s his role into this whole mess yet he is the most powerful CCG agent and even worse we don’t know anything about the one-eyed owl Ito or why she caused such a mess screwing everyone from both sides of both CCG and Anteiku, so when she was fighting Arima i didn’t know what to feel exactly .. i know nothing about those two, so why the hell should i care what happens to either of them more than the other characters i like and care about !!!?

    Then there is the ridiculous fight between Amon and Kaneki, come on .. really .. if Kaneki really didn’t want to fight with Amon he could have simply climbed any building with his tentacles/tails and flew off away from him and there is no way in hell Amon would have caught up with him, no matter how powerful CCG agents are they don’t have the mobility of the ghouls … which was demonstrated countless times .. so instead Kaneki just keeps wasting precious time saying he doesn’t want to fight him .. and still does that anyway .. that was just cringe worthy .. i just kept shouting at him “GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE IF YOU REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO FIGHT HIM YOU DUMP PIECE OF SHIT” .. ahm … yeah you get the idea.

    In fact the whole overly aggressive attitude of the CCG makes not only seem like the bad guys but also very stupid, throwing countless men as cannon-fodder (who actually don’t get to do anything at all) when they have extremely powerful agents who can single-handedly fight the over-powered one-eyed owl (looking at you Arima) .. really !!? even the whole attack on Anteiku screams stupid .. a powerful identifiable ghoul organization attacks you and instead of looking for their hideout or base to counter-attack you go target someone else who was keeping a low profile and shows signs of humility and willingness to talk and ignore that dangerous organization completely … so profoundly DUMB .. i was kinda happy to see the CCG getting their asses kicked (i mean as an organization, i pity the countless red-shirts who died for nothing in this dumb attack) because they are so fucking dumb.

    All that said the highlight for me was really Hide scenes this episodes, the scene with Noro was chilling .. god damn it, what’s up with that guy .. he is horror personified, he is so mysterious and powerful you don’t really even know why he bothers taking orders from anyone, if they unleashed him alone on CCG i’m sure he would have made them run away shitting their pants, so when they showed his head spinning exorcism style (damn creepy with that smiling mask) i was certain Hide is dead meat .. yet not only he survived (i guess he got lucky and Noro ignored him or Hide has a secret of his own), then Hide somehow manages to find Kaneki and drag him through this battlefield into Anteiku .. that’s pretty awesome .. but how!!? when did he become this awesome .. i think in many aspect his story is more interesting than that of the many characters who keep getting thrown at us with zero context or story … i can’t wait to find out what Hide has to say to Kaneki after all that time, just hope it isn’t another cringe worthy thing.

    Speaking of cringe worthy .. Aogiri ghouls running in fear when that CCG agent showed his mutilated face was really funny and stupid .. you guys are FUCKING GHOULS .. you eat humans for fuck’s sake .. why would a guy with a mutilated face make you run away like sissy girls !!!!?

    • March 21, 2015 at 9:57 amBad Apple

      Funny hearing you complain about stupid people when you defend the fact that people are also equally or more stupid in Parasyte.

      “Real life has a lot of stupid people who won’t even recognize a non-disguised parasyte even if they were playing poker with it, i’m fine with stupid characters in anime or any story as long as they aren’t the focus of the story and not among the main characters, thankfully this is the case here.” – One of your quotes.

      That’s not to say I think the people being stupid isn’t annoying. Hell yeah it is.

      • March 21, 2015 at 10:41 amJames

        um…you can’t really compare parasyte to this show. Yes people are stupid in real life, but only to a certain extent and in certain ways. Sometimes the stupidity in tokyo ghoul just defies logic and comes across as lazy writing rather than portraying real people making mistakes that can actually happen in real life.

      • March 21, 2015 at 11:04 amBad Apple

        And that’s exactly what happens in Parasyte too. Sometimes the stupidity in [Parasyte] just defies logic and comes across as lazy writing rather than portraying real people making mistakes that can actually happen in real life. Not that I approve of it here, It’s annoying.

      • March 21, 2015 at 11:40 amJames

        I can’t recall anything specific from parasyte, what do you mean? I personally think most of it is people being unable to deal with the unknown (how to react to a parasyte when you don’t know hwat they are) whereas with tokyo ghoul since everyone already knows ghouls exist the stupidity can’t be justified. W

      • March 21, 2015 at 12:36 pmBad Apple

        @James

        - That glasses girl person. Her actions are stupid. But they aren’t realistically stupid. Do you think a normal person would go to a potential serial killer just to confirm if he’s a serial killer? No. She is smart enough to figure certain things out, so when she does that, it’s frustratingly stupid.
        - The swat people. They’ve already killed many parasytes before, and then when they encounter Gotou, they follow his orders (w-w-w-why???), and then just stand there to get killed. It’s just as Hunter-Wolf said. They’re cannon fodder, but he defends Parasyte when it comes to this.
        - And it’s not that the people can’t “deal with the unknown”. When people see a parasyte’s legs is a fleshy mass of exposed muscle, they stand there, asking if he’s okay, then wait for him to kill them.
        And the worst thing is, the people are only stupid when the plot calls for it to be. That glasses girl (seriously can’t remember her name) acts as normal as can be, until it’s time for her to do the most stupid thing one can do in order for the plot to progress.

      • March 22, 2015 at 10:01 amHunter-Wolf

        lols, It flatters me that i have fans who read my comments with such attention and zeal XD

        Ahm, but apparently in your rush to quote me you forgot to read my quote quite well, i said “i’m fine with stupid characters in anime or any story as long as they aren’t the focus of the story and not among the main characters, thankfully this is the case here”, which basically means i’m fine with stupidity as long as it’s not one of the main characters acting stupid (which is exactly what Kaneki is doing here) or some major plot point hinges on pure stupidity (the entire attack on Anteiku).

        And there is no comparison between the S.W.A.T in parasyte and the CCG cannon fodder in Tokyo ghoul, the S.W.A.T are the only option the government has in Parasyte and they do fill their role and kill ALL the parasytes except Gotou and that’s actually fantastic considering they are dealing with a 100% alien threat they don’t even understand, the CCG soldiers in Tokyo Ghoul just appear on screen to die a second later in a the most pathetic and useless way possible (again not forgetting that the whole attack itself -a major plot point- is plain stupid) and the CCG are supposed to know the ghouls inside out -they even use dead ghouls as weapons- and even have super-powered soldiers who use those super weapons but they just send the soldiers to die for the heck of it .. utter stupidity, i think the difference is pretty obvious and clear.

  • March 21, 2015 at 6:59 amHunter-Wolf

    Oh, i forgot something .. many episodes ago Aogiri did free some powerful ghoul back in that attack on the CCG facility (the guy who gave Kaneki a tough beating), where the heck is that guy now !!?, what the fuck was that all about anyway !!!!?

    http://randomc.net/image/Tokyo%20Ghoul/Tokyo%20Ghoul%20Root%20A%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2024.jpg

    I mean this guy, another one in the endless string of characters who just appear out of nowhere and disappear without a warning and we know next to nothing about.

    • March 21, 2015 at 10:01 amApa

      Yeah….. in the manga it makes more sense. Actually, everything makes more sense in the manga. Read it if you want to understand the whole story.

      • March 21, 2015 at 4:42 pmsealouse

    • March 22, 2015 at 3:50 pmTez

      Kenki ate the whale-tail guy.

  • March 21, 2015 at 7:31 amAapjuh

    Even tho Juuzo is one crazy freak, i felt sad for him, in my opinion he was the highlight of the episode showing how family/bonds can change people.

  • March 21, 2015 at 7:54 amAshlay

    It’s tough. As with the first season, they’ve compressed a ton of stuff, and thus lost a lot of the buildup work the manga does to “earn” each of these beats. It makes the manga feel slow at points, but the payoffs definitely felt much greater. There’s also just random changes in pacing and so forth that seem… uneven. I really haven’t felt like almost any choice “Root A” has made differently from the original manga has paid off in a particularly interesting way. Even now, Root A is undercutting large swaths of the manga’s finale with changes in venues, changes in the order of events, holes in the plot that got filled in the manga, and so forth. In the last arc of the manga, I felt like Kaneki was the main character and everyone else was a foil to him. They spent 2-3 chapters showing why I should fear Arima. And so on. Here, I’m not so sure about any of that.

    In any case, this ride is almost over. There won’t be enough “:Re” to adapt for quite awhile.

  • March 21, 2015 at 9:30 amSnooSnoo (@ShinJiwon)

    I thought I was watching some magical RPG anime when Arima started shooting magic/lasers everywhere. Wat

    • March 21, 2015 at 5:14 pmMgMaster

      If I didn’t know Arima was with CCG, I could’ve mistaken him for a ghoul due to his abilities. And heck, it’s not just him, Juuzo & Amon’s movements aren’t exactly under human body limitations either. Although I got used to it by now.

  • March 21, 2015 at 10:17 amTori

    If it helps, the whole Yoshimura thing with Eto was handled exactly the way it happened in the manga.

    • March 21, 2015 at 12:50 pmApa

      Not really. They didn’t give a flashback montage in the manga. It only shows Yoshimura being stabbed and then people saying he’s been defeated. Everyone’s celebrating, and then the owl appears. There’s no actual confirmation or “poetic” leadup to make us believe he has or will die. Only in the anime do they focus a large amount of screentime on his defeat to make it seem like he has actually died.

      • March 21, 2015 at 1:00 pmApa

        So the fact that Yoshimura is alive is less of a surprise and Enzo probably wouldn’t have felt “cheated”…. and the Eto/Takatsuki as the Owl would have been much more unexpected if they were 100000x more subtle like the manga.

  • March 21, 2015 at 11:25 amOff-Tangent

    It’s incredibly funny, actually. There’s a great correlation between how good the Root A episodes have been and how closely they have followed the manga. The last three or four episodes (*the good ones*) have followed the manga almost to a tee whereas the ones previous to that, including this current episode, are in the off-tangent anime original zone.

    Just goes to show how strong the manga is (and how weak the anime-original bits are), to be honest.

    Aside from that though, I really like the anime’s soundtrack; truly a redeeming feature. If there ever is a remake, I’ll miss it.

  • March 21, 2015 at 4:17 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

    So how broken did they make this by not following the manga? XD

    • March 21, 2015 at 8:41 pmBob

      That depends on whether they are following this with another season. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers but be warned.

      In nut shell, things in this episode happened out of order compared to the manga. Some of the changes suggest that another season will either be really different or not happen at all. The next episode should fill in some blanks. Should

  • March 21, 2015 at 7:48 pmwwww

    Arima did appear in season 1 and in the first scene of episode 2, season 2. Unfortunately, they did not show how epic he was when he fought Owl (yoshimura). He is a super OP one man army, and i believe if CCG ever lose him, they will lose the war.

    This episode changed almost everything from the manga so even manga readers have no idea how the ending is going to be like. Even is sad, cos everyone was looking forward to someone’s scene with someone else.

  • March 21, 2015 at 11:19 pmdeVaras

    Besides Ken (who had no real screen time this season) I am not even sure who I am meant to be rooting for. The CGC are unlikable unfunny asshats who too much screen time was wasted on, Aoigiri are faceless monsters. Are we supposed to like any of these characters or care who wins?

    • March 22, 2015 at 9:46 amHunter-Wolf

      I suppose we are meant to root (pun intended) for the characters from Anteiku, but sadly in this episode most of them are either out of the picture or doing stupid stuff like Kaneki wasting time fighting Amon instead of trying to run or explain things to him.

  • March 22, 2015 at 3:32 pmlaaa

    Well that Arima guy was sucha wth moment…
    When I was sure comander gona fight but no random super op guy shows up

  • March 22, 2015 at 11:03 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    ……what? How did…? When did…? Why…? What about…? Who…? But then…? And then there’s…?

    ……ha ha, Juzo finally got his ass beat…?

  • March 24, 2015 at 3:54 pmKaya

    I agree with you Enzo. After reading this, I realize how torn I am by how profound the drama is, and yet the anime as well as the manga do not explore deeply into the drama and the root problem. There are so many deep questions/conflicts evoked from this series, but it has not done its job to explore how to solve the problem. Show Spoiler ▼

    Much less even explain why the answer that should come next episode has to be the answer, unless they plan to jam pack it all in. That is, if the writer decides to provide it in this cour of the manga to anime adaptation at all.

    I have mixed feelings if Re (manga) is adapted into anime. It’s a complete revamp/restart/reboot from a mess of the first cour manga. The setting is so different, and lots of explanations would be needed to carry on the first cour’s root problems. The writer will need to be very clever with how he’s going to connect the two cours, and he NEEDS to explain how to solve the problem. Though I admit, the setting is a clever setting for the writer to achieve his goals. It would be very interesting to see how this is done, though it’d be slow and arduous.