「 孵化」 (Fuka)

Yeah, coffee is pretty darn hard to hate all right.

In any conversation about the best series of Summer 2014, Tokyo Ghoul has to be right there – so far, at least. Two episodes in and this is very strong stuff – a first-rate thriller that’s got me genuinely bought into both the scenario and the characters. It’s also the best-looking series Pierrot has produced in quite a while (not that the competition is especially fierce). Indeed, about the only thing I’m less than thrilled with is the censorship, but that seems to be the toll that must be paid with violent anime these days.

When you’re dealing with what’s basically a stock horror premise like we are here, the success of a series really boils down to execution and the amount of imagination and detail that’s gone into the world-building side of the ledger. So far Tokyo Ghoul scores high marks on both fronts, and this episode really did a lot to fill in the background details. There’s an art to teasing out those details while still maintaining a sense of mystery, and we see a good balance being kept so far. The world of ghouls has clearly existed for a long time, and seems to be no more homogeneous than the human world which seems oddly comfortable with its disturbing presence.

Essentially, as with so many horror scenarios, Tokyo Ghoul is a story about the struggle of the main character to maintain his humanity rather than give in to the monster inside him. And in any such story there are going to be allies, those who’ve walked the path he’s walking – though in Ken’s case there really isn’t anyone who’s walked the precise path he finds himself on. Touka is hardly sympathetic – about the kindest thing that could be said is that there’s a sliver of pity mixed in with her disgust – but her employer Yoshimura (Sugou Takayuki) is seemingly more kindly inclined. Indeed his cafe is also called Anteiku, and acts as the gathering place for the “good” ghouls – and he seems to see it as his role to guide them towards a path of co-existence with humans.

In Ken’s case he’s got a substantially bigger challenge, because Yoshimura has to get Ken to co-exist with himself. He’s aware of what’s happened to Ken (it was on the news) if not exactly what that means. Touka’s scornful response to Ken’s self-pity suggests that she was a born a ghoul – which of course suggests, in turn, that at least some ghouls are born rather than made. Adding to Ken’s problems is the not-unexpected fact that Rize seems to be an uninvited presence in his mind – how real she is it’s hard to say, but Ken is certainly seeing her and is certainly aware of her urging him onwards towards satisfying his hunger, starting with Hide (whether he’s also aware of her sizing up his junk I’m not sure). And as the kindly Yoshimura reminds Ken, there’s only one way a ghoul can satisfy his hunger. It’s nice that they can also enjoy coffee – being forced to consume human flesh is tough, but not being able to drink coffee would truly be hell – but coffee can only be savored for its taste, not for its sustenance.

Another very strong element of the series so far is the relationship between Ken and Hide. Hide is definitely a bro – one of those anime best friends you wish you’d had in real life. He simply refuses to let Ken wallow in his misery peacefully – despite being roundly ignored (let me state that I totally get where Ken is coming from here) Hide continues to badger Ken with emails trying to shame him into coming back into the world. That’s why it hits pretty hard when Hide is put into danger by the return of Nishio Nishiki (Asanuma Shintaro), the ghoul who was in the process of brutalizing in the premiere before Touka interfered. He’s a sempai at the college Hide and Ken attend, interestingly enough – and he’s just as surprised when Hide introduces Ken to him as Ken is.

The scene that follows is a great one – tense, savage, scary. Nishio invites Hide back to his house to pick up some papers (I note that he’s a pharmacology student – possible foreshadowing?) , the implied threat being rather obvious. Ken invites himself along ostensibly to protect his friend, but he’s not much help when Nishio makes his move. The first striking moment is when Nishio wolfs down a taiyaki seemingly with no ill effects, much to Ken’s shock. That’s just the appetizer, though – once Nishio knocks Hide unconscious beneath an overpass he turns his fury on Ken, who he derides as smelling “like a female ghoul”. Ken does his best and try to defend Hide but frankly it’s a rather pathetic sight, and it’s clear the psychotic Nishio is toying with him. He talks of unleashing his Kagune, which appears to be a physical manifestation of a ghoul’s powers, and when he does so with the intention of finishing off Hide – on whom he vomits up the taikyaki (he can pretend not to loathe human food but not keep it down, it seems) – Ken finally unleashes his own as a reflex. Nishio is rather stunned to see that it’s Rize’s Kagune that emerges from Ken’s body, and Ken appears to kill him – though until I know what it really takes to kill a ghoul, I’m certainly not assuming that.

That Tokyo Ghoul can so seamlessly flow from that scene to what follows is evidence of how well-written and directed it is. We’ve just witnessed pure adrenaline-inducing horror, and then we get a much quieter epilogue which cuts to the heart of what the series is. Ken gives in to Rize and is about to consume Hide when Touka again shows up in the nick of time and stops him, knocking him unconscious and returning him to Yoshimura’s care at Anteiku. This is of course the lowest ebb for Ken – he remembers every detail of the moment when he wanted to devour Hide, and it’s only by feeding him human flesh as he slept that Yoshimura has allowed Ken to suppress his hunger.

There’s not much reason for Ken to want to live at this point – he can’t trust himself to be near the friend he’s cherished since their childhood, and he’s an outcast from both the human and ghoul worlds. But Yoshimura frames it in a different way – Ken is actually the only one who’s a part of both worlds, and that makes him lucky. You can see Ken wrestling with himself here – he wants to give in to his despair and he distrusts the old man’s words, but he’s also desperate to latch on to any kindness the suddenly cruel world shows him. Yoshimura promises to show Ken how to make a delicious cup of coffee, and to show him that there’s more to the world of ghouls than the mindless savages Ken envisions. Ken acquiesces, for the moment – and was Hide awake, and listening in on that conversation?

I’m not sure I trust Yoshimura – he could certainly have selfish ulterior motives here – but Ken is in a beggars can’t be choosers kind of situation, and there’s no denying his situation would be a whole lot worse if it weren’t for the old man and Touka. There are hints of even deeper levels of the ghoul world here – talk of a “CCG”, which seems to be some sort of anti-ghoul vigilante group. We see what appear to be two members of this group, an old man named Mado Kureo (the great Ookawa Tohru) and a younger partner named Amon Koutarou (Konishi Katsuyuki), and they speak of a “Jason” – I’m going to guess that’s the guy we saw fighting with Rize in the pre-open of the premiere. There’s a lot of fascinating potential in this mythology, but what sets Tokyo Ghoul apart from most others of its genre is that this is clearly a character-driven story – a good thriller with horror elements, but the foundation of its success is the way it draws its characters and the way they interact. It reminds me of Shiki in that way, and if this series turns out to be as excellent as that one, it will be a very fine series indeed.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Seijatach」 (Saints) by (People in the Box)



    1. If you want the censorship off, you can use vlc to invert the colours. It works.

      On a side note, I can’t wait to see that white haired guy we see in the OP. Damn, he is badass.

  1. Judging from the OP, it looks like the Ken’s hair will turn white from all the shit that’s about to come crashing his way. And wow, about 90% of the screen was censored in the beginning. Were Ken’s intestines flowing out or something?

    The whole human flesh craving thing reminds me of Saya no Uta more than works centered on the vampire genre for some reason. Probably because I haven’t seen much of the latter.

    I Like My Hat
  2. Is that all there is about the coffee? I kinda require more details as to why it’s the only thing ghouls could taste normally like humans. Or maybe it just doesn’t matter in the long run. Coffee is coffee after all. I can’t perform well at work without it.

    I have the strangest feeling that Hide lost his left arm and it’s what was fed to Kaneki to suppress his hunger. All the times he was shown there his arm was always offscreen. I could be wrong though.

    And if Kaneki is still fine after being gutted by Nishiki at this part and he’s just a half, then Nishiki should still be alive after that beating(which was so satisfying). Then again, Rize died last episode through getting buried in construction materials.
    Which brings more questions about the ghoul’s constitution and what could possibly kill them. Maybe only a ghoul can kill another ghoul through those powers of theirs. Hope we’ll get some answers to these questions as it goes.

    1. I thought the coffee bit was a little short of an explanation as well… I mean, I know that everyone loves their coffee but it doesn’t mean anything to me =S other than… there are ways for ghouls and humans to enjoy the same pleasures of life. Not sure if that’ll mean anything later on but heh… funny that they chose coffee and not alcohol or like… water >_>

      1. I don’t think we’re supposed to focus on the coffee; I think it was only to pose as something that ghouls and humans can both enjoy. Plus I think Kaneki is still underage (from what I read) so alcohol wouldn’t deliver the same effect as with him drinking coffee, same with water. (And the manager runs a café so he would most likely have coffee so…)

    2. The coffee bit seems to be a hint towards exactly how the ghouls operate, especially when you combine it with Nishio’s occupation as a pharmacy student. After all, coffee is not flesh so it adds further support to the idea that ghouls aren’t limited to strictly consuming raw human flesh and likely aren’t attracted to the flesh itself, but rather something else in it. Pretty good bit of world building, there’s an actual (pseudo)scientific reason for what makes ghouls tick than the ever ubiquitous “magic” excuse.


      Ghouls should be able to drink water without a problem, plain water has no taste (generally) and will be a metabolic requirement even for them. It’s just not as interesting to mention as coffee for the sake of storytelling I’m guessing 😛

  3. In any conversation about the best series of Summer 2014, Tokyo Ghoul has to be right there – so far, at least.

    Except that awesome censoring.
    This series gets killed if this keeps on.
    IN the first minute (or so?) he sits there and screams, the censoring is so strong that you cannot even see what made him scream…

    Why broadcasting this show if half of it is censored?
    At least there is a version which is a litte bit less censored…
    (Chyuu used that; dont know that stations name)

      1. Censorship itself is not a bad thing for TV, many shows over the years have been censored with little lost. The issue is the lazy way they censored it, with jarring migraine inducing color filters that are so bad it takes you out of the show.

    1. Nothing that can be done about the black censorship, but for the inverse colors, it’s possible to revert it back. That’s what a certain release group did for this episode.

    2. half? You got it wrong here. It’s 80% censored, only 20% from that scene is aired. I don’t even understand what happened here except some forehead and jaw among black smokes. They should just cut it and replace it with narration on black screen.

  4. Great episode. The process of Kaneki being forced into the world of ghoul’s is very well done. I love seeing him struggle to hold onto his humanity. In the end he’s fighting a hopeless battle since he most likely inherited Rize’s binge eating habits as well. But seeing him struggling to come to terms with how much his life will change makes him one of the most genuinely human characters I’ve seen in a long time in anime. He’s understandably indecisive about giving in and that’s what i like about him. If he gives in he runs the risk of Rize’s appetite taking over which would make him lose his humanity. I can’t blame him at all for struggling against it.
    But most of all I love the insight of how Ghouls are forced to live. If someone is broke and not able to pay for their food they still have options such as establishments that offer food for free as well as being able to go to generous people who will give it to them free of charge. But do Ghouls do when they are hungry? You can’t ask someone to just give them a person to eat right? Heck even eating the bodies of the dead would upset people who want a proper funeral for the fallen. It’s a vicious and cruel cycle for them to get food. Which is why it actually makes sense to me that most of them are insane/lacking in morals. They try to blend into a society that is their means of sustenance. Making friends, being nice ends up just being a means for you to get your food easier. That being said i wonder if ghouls can eat other ghouls? Don’t know if that has been explained yet but it’s a possible direction for the show to take (which i wouldn’t mind at all).

    I really dig stories like this where no one can be given the right answer on how to solve the problems at hand. It makes the process of seeing the characters fight against their fates that much more enjoyable =)

  5. This reminded me a lot of Shiki as well. I just finished Shiki yesterday, so it’s pretty fresh in my mind. Although a character-driven horror/thriller is interesting in and of itself, the thing I look forward to the most is the possibility of exploring the philosophical aspect of Ken’s situation. What is good and evil? Do these things even exist objectively?

    I always hope characters who are thrust into situations like this cast off the shackles of moral absolutism, and become stronger because of it. I often have a hard time understanding the psychological struggles of characters like Ken but, in the end, I understand it’s simply a byproduct of the indoctrination we all go through. The question is, can Ken break free of it, or will he perish, clinging on to his old worldview?

    Overall, I think this series looks very promising. So far, I think Zankyou no Terror and Tokyo Ghoul are the best bets for best anime of the season. Then again, things could always go south ‘real fast.

  6. That is a bit MUCH censoring to be honest. Considering all the borderline pedophilia that’s NOT censored, you’d think TV stations would allow for some blood.

    I’m loving the world building, and I think CCG is a government unit? Not that they look the part though, but I guess hunting down superpowered cannibals means a little bit of disfunctionality.

  7. I’d love to see them delve more into why coffee is the only thing ghouls can taste normally. Does it apply to the drink itself or are coffee flavored(that’s a thing right?) foods also an option? I feel as though it’s a silly inquiry but seeing as how I was pretty tired when watching this, maybe I just overlooked the detail to the matter or it’s actually something to ponder on.

  8. It’s censored for a reason people. Are you familiar with Japanese television practices? There are some things that cannot be aired on television. That is why BD exists for the uncensored parts. Just enjoy the story, characters, etc. and wait until the BD is released as with most anime do nowadays. Censorship whiners.

      1. The early 2000s was when they allowed uncensored anime on Japanese television. In fact, the creator or director of Gundam Seed recently spoke about how he disliked Japanese television censorship and how he was glad Gundam Seed was able to be aired before censorship had gotten any worse. Just because a few anime got away from being censored does not mean every anime will be able to do so. Research Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan. It has been around for a while but in recent years, they have started re-enforcing it.

      2. Yeah, it’s most likely the reason why there have been things like, for example, A LOT more magical beams of light/shadows in ecchi anime over the past few years that cover even things as tame as up-skirt shots, even though it used to be left alone. Even To-Love-Ru (at least with Motto and Darkness) ended up falling prey to it even though the first season went by without such things.

        I guess it can also depend on the station that’s airing the anime in question. After all, both seasons of High School DxD still showed everything without any problems, as well as something as overly-ecchi (given the story and all) as the anime version of High School of the Dead.

  9. There are over 130 chapters in Japan. Only about half are translated to English so far. I think this will be two cour with 13 episodes bringing us to where English translation is at. Then the rest on the other half that many English speaking fans haven’t read about. I can’t wait to get to that part so ppl can stop complaining about differences and just enjoy…

  10. The show is interesting, but I’m not putting it on my AOTS list just yet.
    The premise looks good, it really has potential. But at the same time, it also has the potential to become repetitive quite fast. We’ll see.

  11. ehhh this series still hasnt made me a believer yet… psychopass reeled me in this one maybe because of the censor just doesnt offer enough just for the story alone i want moooar than just the story maybe itll get better? right now its just guilty crown for me… not quite a winner…

    1. LOL no one thinks both mains of guilty crown and tokyo ghoul are being mopy bitches? I still stuck it out for guilty crown but it wasnt that amazing still alright but it wasnt no mirai niki ahhaah

    1. You forgot a few more details about CCG:

      BIG, BIG, BIG spoilers ahead.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      The CCG will make you question who is truly the bad guys in the series.

      1. Even BIGGER spoilers. Like, holy hell massive.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Laughing because damn, Ishida Sui.

  12. It would be nice if Yoshimura was just nice with no motive, and Hide did overhear the conversation. The only thing better than being shown kindness from one “half” of yourself is to be shown kindness from the other “half” as well, so having both a Ghoul and a Human supporting him despite what he is would greatly help Kaneki in the long run and not make him feel isolated. After all, having only one side accept him would still leave him worrying about being rejected due to the other half; Ghouls hating him because of his human side and humans more than likely ending up hating him for the Ghoul side.

  13. Yess OP <3
    And awwww Hide ur so adorable….such a great bestfriend.

    Love the Tokyo Ghoul action in this anime and the gap of Nishio in the omake (Poo!)
    Hanae Natsuki~love ur voice <3 Though, I miss you as Hikari from Nagi no Asukara!!!

  14. I personally dropped this manga after a couple of chapters. I quite like gore, and because of that, I hate it when it’s used unnecessarily, for cheap violence and trying too hard to be edgy.

    The main problem for me was the main character though. From the start, he seemed a bland Shinji-type that never chooses to do anythingthing but has to be forced into action by external events instead. Feel free to spoil me; does he ever become a bit more proactive?

    1. He will. Bear with the first 20 chapters of the manga. He’ll get over it pretty quickly. By chapter 19-20 he stops moping about being half human and half ghoul and starts learning to adapt.

  15. Damned censorship. I can do with less censorship. Totally kills the show.

    And more Rize is welcomed. She’s seductively sexy and the way she embraces Kaneki and her poisonous temptations….. Even I would succumb to Rize

  16. Well, about the first censored scene… it’s not hard to see/imagine that Toka threw the head of one of the killed guys directly in the face of Kaneki. And other than the bloody fight with Nishiki, everything else is almost untouched.

  17. Not a bad second episode, but not even close to the first one. The first felt like something new, innovative, original… This second episode felt just like your average anime episode, with mediocre animation, a shounen fight scene and some stupid teenage drama.

  18. Wow this anime looks like it be really good. It totally blew away ArgeVollen (the other anime from this season which also has 2 episodes out). Hype meter is up. This one is a keeper!

    Rick Anime
  19. welp the first half of ep 1 started off strong enough, but then descended into mediocrity quickly imho. it has a been there seen that done better vibe. only great recent shows i’ve seen so far are space dandy, ping pong, mushishi and now terror in resonance. pretty disappointed with this based on all the friggin hype 🙁

  20. At least Tokyo Ghoul isn’t disappointing so far.

    I quite like it. It has gore – although horrible censored with the exception of that color-censoring we got in episode 2-, psychological/thriller moments and some really bright ones. It can definitely get to everyone.

    Even though the theme of “one losing his/her humanity” is a pretty used/cliche, Tokyo Ghoul is the best horror show of the season so far(and heck, I get to hear Kana Hanazawa voicing a psychotic b*tch).

    Hope it ends up being a 2-cour long series and not rushed, because as far as I know, the manga is 100+ chapter long, and in no way can a 12-13 episodes anime make a decent adaption of any manga.

  21. Censorship (seriously wtf happened, it wasn’t this bad in the first episode), the OP is just a big spoiler, showing stuff too early. To a manga reader like myself, well hell to everyone, it just goes to show how rushed and shitty the pacing will be just to fit stuff into episodes -_-.

    The only redeeming feature I see is that it’s nice to look at if I can get past the bullshit censorship.

    This was supposed to be on SNK’s level of adaptation, but nope! We can’t get that nowadays. That was like a god damn miracle that SNK’s adaptation was that good.

    Congrats Tokyo Ghoul, you are now at Akame ga Kill’s level, shitty adaptation that is good to look at. Just like the anime with black haired rapunzel and jack the ripper using scissors >.>

  22. Kaneki being a half reminds me of Rin Okumura from Ao no Exorcist.

    Ghouls reminds me of the Titans in Attack of the Titans, I want to know why there are ghouls.
    Kind of weak to me if its just some natural occurance.

    Since the manga is already 13 volumes in, theres tons of spoilers to devour and I hunger for them 😛

    The Kaneki with white hair and bored eyes reminds me of Hei from Darker than Black.
    So I expect Kaneki to be some kick-ass agent later on.

    Got to read the wikia to sate this hunger to know more..


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