「白鳩」 (Shirohato)

Tokyo Ghoul just keeps delivering the goods.

I know it’s a frustratingly vague thing to say, but Tokyo Ghoul just has “it”.  Some series have it, others don’t – that little extra spark that makes them special.  Ishida Sui’s source material and Morita Shuhei’s direction clearly both have that spark, and that makes Tokyo Ghoul a very exciting series to watch.  It’s small things like adding details that probably don’t impact the larger premise but add color to the tapestry (like making in-story novelist Takatsuki Sen so clearly a female homage to Murakami Haruki), and big things like making the underworld of Anteiku and the ghouls feel so real.  And it’s understanding that what separates good thrillers from great ones is putting character first.

This episode didn’t feature the headline-grabbing action of the second episode, but it was packed with content just the same.  This was exposition done right, in the hands of a strong writer and director, not relying on manufactured classroom scenes or extraneous lectures but filling in the blanks the way it happens in real life – asking logical questions at the right time, and seeing events as they happen.  What’s emerging is a picture of the dynamic that exists both at Anteiku and in Tokyo as a whole, and that picture reveals the “peace” of the 20th Ward to be hanging by the thinnest of threads.

The first event we see is a disturbance at a doctor’s office, where a smiling man (Rintarou Nishi) who takes knuckle-cracking to ridiculous heights asks the doctor (Toriumi Kousuke) for a “whatsit” to replace the one he’s lost.  This is presumably a doctor who specializes in treating ghouls (probably the “Fueguchi-sensei” referenced later in the episode), and the visitor probably the same man who interrupted Rize’s feasting in the first moments of the series – who I assume to be the “Jason” everyone is talking about.  The doctor is further presumably the father of Hinami (15 year-old Morohoshi Sumire) the little ghoul-girl who ends up with her mother at Anteiku, and “now has to live separately from her father”.

Pieces are being fitted into the puzzle here – the other face of ghouls that Yoshimura spoke to Ken of in the last episode.  I love the way the story brings us into both the big and small picture in such a natural, flowing way – we get a sense of the struggle between ghouls and the “box carriers” – also called “Doves” – and how the 20th Ward has been largely exempt thanks to the efforts of those like Yoshimura, a peace now threatened by the likes of Jason and “The Gourmet” (more later).  Yoshimura shows Ken how to help his ability to “pass” by pretending to eat (don’t chew, just swallow – and regurgitate, because apparently normal food is bad for ghoul health).  And the sugar cubes which help quell the hunger pangs (I’m guessing those aren’t on the condiment bar at Starbucks), whose contents Ken is definitely better off not knowing too much about.

Perhaps most poignantly, we see a “food run” – for the first time, a window into the way “good” ghouls manage to source food without hurting humans.  That they rely on suicide victims and even pay respects to them is quite a powerful imagery, especially in a country beset with one of the highest suicide rates in the world.  All of this, starting with Yoshimura, is a fascinating glimpse at the way the ghoul and human worlds interact – Yoshimura tells Ken that he “likes humans”, and Ken can’t help but wonder what that means.  We have Touka working harder than anyone to fit in, and an older barista kindly tells Ken that girls, especially, don’t like to be witnessed while eating.  Ken has just stumbled in on Himura in the act, and when he brings her coffee by way of apology they have a very warm conversation about Takatsuki’s books, which Hinami is struggling through despite their difficulty.

Also shedding light on various corners of this world is a visit to Uta-san (Sakurai Takahiro), the Kabuki-cho artist who makes masks for ghouls to hide their identity in the event they have a run-in with the CCG and “occasionally” has a human customer.  We also get a look at a CCG meeting in their opulent skyscraper headquarters, and at the quasi-religious approach they take to their crusade against ghoulism.  And finally there’s a visitor to Anteiku – a sartorially-extravagant man (Miyano Mamoru) who I can only assume is the Gourmet everyone is on about.  If he’s the sort of gourmet he appears to be, this fellow is likely the single-biggest reason why the 20th Ward is no longer a de facto demilitarized zone.

As to two questions that carried over from last week, Nishio is still alive and in the hospital (a ghoul hospital, presumably) but we can’t say for sure whether Hide now knows Ken’s secret (we do know that Touka has pledged to kill him if he ever finds out).  It’s rare to see a series with so much going on – so many characters and so much plot – be this coherent.  But again, that speaks to the quality of the writing and the direction.  That all this is presented in a manageable fashion and that we’re so bought in to the lives of the characters is what sets Tokyo Ghoul apart as one of the best series of 2014 so far, and its potential seems limited only by the possibility that it might not have a long-enough run.  Early returns indicate it may do quite well commercially – I can only hope that Morita-sensei leaves the door open for the series to continue, if indeed a second split cour hasn’t already been green-lit.



  1. With this and Zankyou no Terror giving me life I’m half tempted to drop all the other series…but summer anime this year has really been fun so far and I’m happy.
    The way this episode was handled was just all sorts of excellent. The episode was calmer than the first two, but I can’t help but be so concerned with the safety of Hide and Ken. I’m worried what’ll be Hide’s fate when he finds out, what horrible crap Ken is going to have to deal with since it seems like there’s really no character that’s indifferent about the ghoul situation so far; either they’re a friend/ally of Ken’s…or they’re actively working to harm/destroy other ghouls and whatnot. I honestly can’t imagine this show executing a plot twist that allows ghouls and humans to live together in peace…I wouldn’t be satisfied with such a possibility either.
    I’m excited for what’s to come, it’s officially in running for AOTY as far as I’m concerned.

  2. I can’t help myself but want the HidexKen ship to sail :/ Shame on me.
    Nonetheless, this episode was great, this anime is great, I’m probably going to read the manga now.

    1. How would you hunt down something that can completely blend into normal human society?

      Unlike in Shiki, ghouls can go a month on one corpse and sunlight/stakes/holy items do nothing. Also it was shown that normal weapons can’t hurt ghouls. Ghouls are stronger, faster, and naturally armed so normal humans fighting them equal food plus ghouls are just as smart.

      So the weaker, normal members of society have to let CCG handle the ghouls and hope they can handle it.

      1. Considering the power of modern medicine technology, nothing simpler than brain scan while eating…
        And regarding weapons, it’s only a question of proper use of explosives… not even a ghoul should survie a hit from, say, xm-25 20mm grenade. OR being burned with flamethrowers to cinders.
        Unless we’re talking Alucard like levels of reheneration, you can’t regenerate pink mist.
        Such level of threat would easily lesd to extreme steps taken, BY WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY.
        Look how far we are going to kill real life terrorists. Do you think a ghoul would survive a Hellfire hit?

      2. @ewok40k

        Here’s the problem, people grow complacent. The first episode shows how people in Tokyo react to a ghoul attack. Plus it has been going on for so long, they have so-called experts on ghouls. Again episode one tells a lot about the response of everyday people. Which is a shrug of the shoulders and a hope they don’t get attacked.

        Forcing everyone single human in the world through a scanner, not happening. Also you would have to hope that no ghoul is working in the industry and makes alteration to equipment/software. Or in government to change records.

        Also the manga addresses how to detect a ghoul and its shortcomings. They also address the regeneration abilities of ghouls. Explosives and fire sound nice, but are you willing to turn your city into a war zone where there is no safety.

        Again, episode one shows that people have grown used to ghoul attacks in Tokyo Ghoul.

  3. Heh this episode was much like Zankyou no Terror’s latest, a good improvement on the previous that helps to solidify some of the hype (probably from the lack of censoring :P). Best part had to be the food run, especially the respect paid to the dead before packing up the body; that is powerful imagery not easily pulled off, yet Ghoul handled it amazingly well. Really loving how simple, yet immersive the world building is for this series.

    As an aside this episode also highlights the growing separation between Ghoul and the other hyped grimdark show this season in Akame ga Kill. Ghoul does not insert unneeded comedy into its story nor does it place any focus upon said comedy. Unlike Akame there is no sense of jarring and feeling that the show doesn’t know what it wants to be. Ghoul is the psychological thriller that actually plays out as one, Akame so far is the tragicomedy that wants to be seen as a psychological thriller.

    Cannot say if Ghoul is AOTY material yet (need to see the entire season before making that call), but it is one of the top shows this season without a doubt.

    1. I very much agree with your comparison to Akame no Kill. The show tries WAY to hard to humorous when it really shouldn’t be. It tries to be edgy with the gore but never takes itself that seriously. The comedy really cheapens any lasting effects the tragedy should have on the characters. Honestly i think it just caters to people who want to see people getting cut up in a “cool” fashion.

    2. I love Tokyo Ghoul, but the omakes at the end of each episode are so tone deaf they make my ears bleed. I really wish they’d stick to the usual black humor. The show’s strong enough as it is.

    3. I honestly wouldn’t categorize Tokyo Ghoul as a “psychological thriller” because I’m frankly not that thrilled by the show yet. It’s kind of playing out like a darker “super powers” type show, only the super powers have crappier downsides than being an orphan (spiderman, superman, and batman may not have had parents, but at least they didn’t have the urge to eat them all the time lol).

    4. Now really, comparing series, no matter if they’re of the same genre, is not such a wise thing to do. One may be action-packed, while the other lacks than and focuses more on the psychological aspect.

      Regarding Akame ga Kill *although this is not the suitable thread to be talking about it*, one should really know what the series if about before watching it. Akame ga Kill never, ever tries to be psychological, although it gives somewhat of a faint psychological sense (and might have one while we’re at it, at a very low-level). It is simply a shounen-like version of Berserk, with a toned down level of disturbing themes and with plot twists.

    5. @James

      Psychological thriller is probably the best general way to describe Ghoul at the moment IMO as it relies upon many of the standard mechanics of the (admittedly) diffuse genre. We have the horror elements, shock value (once the uncensored BDs come out), gradually building suspense, and investigative properties related to crime/mystery works, all wrapped up in a semblance of gritty (pseudo)realism. The important thing is the maintenance of a serious, foreboding atmosphere which is common to pulpy, thriller-esque series in general.


      I know Akame is not psychological (or thriller for that matter), however it’s hard to avoid discussing the label when many from the fan base firmly believe the show to be one of the greatest examples of thought provoking grimdark to come out in a while. The reason is the large amount of sadism, torture, vanity, and violence supposed to feature prevalently in the show centered around an absolutist view of justice.

      Not to further distract from the topic at hand, I brought Akame up because from an anime-only perspective it seems to be trying to produce a similar atmosphere to Ghoul, but falling short of the mark; the past three episodes of Ghoul IMO are a good illustration of where Akame has failed to meet expectations by providing an excellent example of how to properly maintain a serious atmosphere.

    6. *Speaking of Akame ga Kill as anime-only*
      The comedy delivery is very poor and so is the scene transition. I am quite disappointed from WhiteFox during these past 2 episodes that have been animated, as it pales a lot in comparison to the source material.

    7. From a manga reader’s perspective, while I believe White Fox did a good job with the first episode of Akame Ga Kill, the second episode’s pacing was a bit off. The transition between each scene were a bit awkward and they cut out some material, the manga did a more thorough job in exploring the darkness and cruelty. I feel like some of the lighthearted humor will become necessary as the series progresses, because it will be a dark, sometimes scary trip for all of main character. Sometimes it may feel like the humor is a bit out of place, but I can safely assure you that the tragedies that befall the cast won’t be things that are easily shoved aside or downplayed.

      As for Tokyo Ghoul, It’s doing a great job in showcasing the MC slowly, but surely getting a better understanding of Ghouls in general and learning that they’re just like anybody else. I like that they took the time to do that while still advancing the plot as ward 20 suddenly becomes more dangerous.

  4. I kind of more or less agree with you Enzo since Tokyo Ghoul just has that special pizazz that makes it unique and I partly enjoyed it. However, I kind of had the same problem with this show as with Barakamon based on the organization of the sequence of events. I’m not going to spoil any content since Tokyo Ghoul has already things have already moved ahead for the show, but as a manga reader they’ve skipped certain events that I actually was excited to see(though its too soon to say if they’ll add it later of forget it); generally, the content they’ve skipped doesn’t greatly affect the story, but it does affect Hinami’s and Kaneki’s character development(and it also gave a glimpse into the CCG’s mentality). In overall, each scene kept the momentum going, from the encounter with Yomi to the trip to prepare Kaneki’s mask, but seeing how far ahead they’ve gotten to prior to the timeline, I’m nervous how they’ll rush the story that it loses the effect as reading the manga (which I would recommend people reading).

    Seeing the last scene, it looks like they’ll get into the gourmet arc (hinted by the investigators snooping around the alley), which was the reason why I was worried at the pacing, but if all goes well, they could still retain the level of transformation that Kaneki goes into at the expense of certain parts of the story cut out.

  5. Oh wow, they really are moving some of the items around. My hope is that they are doing it mostly for story telling purposes, like the way they introduced Jason. I had some issue with the original on how certain characters just suddenly became important especially in the first 40 chapters, so to speak, so it would be great if the anime fixes that.

    I am still hoping for a 2 cour series. There’s definitely enough material for 24 episodes or more even at the pace they are going at (130+ chapters). But since the series hasn’t ended yet, it may be better for it to be a split cour so that manga can potentially finish (it feels like we may be reaching the end there, but who knows, maybe it will continue after this arc).

  6. God i love this show. The character interactions are held with a great amount detail and I love the world building going on here. I figured that the cafe had the most moral way of getting people to eat. Since the people have committed suicide there is far less grievance to be had than taking a live human. But i think it’s great how the guy in charge of getting bodies still respected the corpses death and didn’t just treat him like he was a midnight snack. Even as ghouls some people still manage to hold onto their morality. This anime really gives you a lot to sink your teeth into =)

  7. Did anyone else find the pacing in this episode specifically fast (faster than the previous 2eps) and really disorienting? I feel like they are trying to cram a lot of the materials from the managa in this one episode, and even though I have read the manga, it still bothered me as I watched this ep.

  8. Spoiler tags added ~ GE

    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Seriously, it seemed to you that comment was a good idea – and without spoiler tags? Seriously? An actual list of manga spoilers doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you shouldn’t be posting – out in the open yet – in a place like this?

    2. If what you said is true, then I so hope it doesn’t end as Gokukoku no Brynhildr, which was a horrendous adaption. Since so far it hasn’t been confirmed if it’s gonna be 1-cour or 2-cour long, I still have my hopes high.

  9. Excellent episode, Tokyo Ghoul definitely “has it”, it passed the three-episodes rule with an (A), will surely stick around and keep watching, i just like the atmosphere, the characters the pacing (i was amazed the managed to include so much events in a single episode without making it feel awkward or disjointed, that’s a sing of excellent directing and screen-writing).

    Also we learn a lot of new things without any info-dumps or unnecessarily long explanations, we also had new characters introduced that fit seamlessly with the current ones and move the story forward smoothly.

    As for my fav parts, first i kinda find Mado more creepy than some of the ghouls, seriously .. what’s wrong with this dude (and it’s funny that he is teamed up with a stern guy like Amon who also seems to respect him, they make for an interesting duo), then we have Uta-san the mask maker scene which was both amusing and informative (lovely mask designs too XD), then we had a brief introduction to Yomo whom Ken went out with for food “shopping”, he doesn’t talk much but when he did it was a natural comedic moment (telling Ken to not lean on the fence a few seconds late XD), i also think that using suicide spots for collecting human bodies is a neat idea (a lot easier than getting some ghoul to work in a morgue to provide them with any unknown victims/John Does).

    Then we come to the scene with Hinami, oh my .. that scene was excellent on so many levels, from the start when Ken walks in on her while she is eating “her meal”, all the talking about novelist Takatsuki Sen and Hinami’s learning new words from Ken, until the ending with Touka standing in the shadows smiling gently … that scene was brilliant.

    Then we have the flamboyant ghoul in the red-tuxedo, he surely made quite the entrance here (and as many guessed, he must be the Gourmand), my guess is that it was either him or Jason that killed Riza in ep1 kinda to get her out of they way but unintentionally hurting (and saving) Ken, which eventually got him into the mess he is in, either way i can’t wait to learn more about this mysterious flamboyant ghoul.

  10. I loved this episode. It was immersive and informative without being heavy-handed, and the pacing felt smooth. My favorite episode thus far!

    I’ve read the manga ever since the first English chapter was released, and I’m current with Chapter 135 now. I’ve read the manga more than once. And honestly, I think that Morita’s and Studio Pierrot’s adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul is fine. Many, many, many (dear God, so many) manga readers have complained that the anime hasn’t been following the manga to a T and that it has been mixing arcs. But I think that’s fine too.

    Manga and anime are two different mediums, and what works on paper doesn’t translate nearly so well on screen. The manga itself has very clear, delineated arcs; it was obvious when one ended and the other began. Sometimes it was rather jarring. Arranging the story like how Morita/Studio Pierrot has been doing allows for a more holistic, natural progression of events. And yes, it’s also economical, considering we only have 12 episodes (this season) to work with.

    Furthermore, I think the anime original bits do add to the story and hint at answers to pressing questions. Limited run time is the bane of all anime series. Manga has the freedom to stretch on indefinitely and address plot points at its leisure; in the case of Tokyo Ghoul, some plot points aren’t even addressed until well into the raws (80s ~ 100s!!). In anime, it’s important to demonstrate that the story is both well-planned and well-executed, two aspects which I think that Morita has been implementing ably. Sure, some nuance/detail of the manga is lost, but that’s to be expected. Who knows? Maybe it’ll just show up in the next episode.

    tl;dr It’s exhausting when people conflate manga and anime as the same medium. It’s unfair to dismiss the anime as rubbish purely because it doesn’t progress identically to the manga. The anime is good.

    I’ve read the episode summaries up until episode 6, and Show Spoiler ▼

    If I’m totally wrong and Tokyo Ghoul goes to hell in the next few episodes, feel free to knock me all you want. I’m also invested in this series, and by God do I want it to do well.

    1. I agree i like the way this adaptation is going about its pacing. It fits the anime medium and creates a more riveting experience while keeping all the emotional touches in tact. THis adaptation is in good hands i believe. If this happens to go south for some odd, unexplainable reason, Im willing to admit i had no idea what i was talking about and that i should never try to evaluate anything as far as adaptations go

    2. That’s the thing, I read the manga too and the anime is still entertaining. Of course there will be times when the story has to put more effort towards reworking a new plot for the anime, but Tokyo Ghoul is doing a adequate job of focusing on the ghouls while entertaining the audience (Kind of like how Arpeggio maintained the his position, illustrating the ships’ interactions with the human mind while having exhilarating action when they clashed). Basically, anime have freedom to be adapted in any way shape or form, so now we’ll have to see if it goes well or not.

  11. Now, Tokyo Censor *cough* Ghoul is one of the good stuff of this season. Personally, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it’s proved to be, as I thought this was gonna be yet another boring one where the main character struggles as he/she got unwanted supernatural powers.

    In this episode we got to learn quite a few things – ghouls’ method of eating fresh-meat of suicidal victims; the way the “eat” normal food without actually chewing it and then throwing it up; a covert organization or something of the sort with the intention of disposing ghouls from Tokyo and the way the “ghoul society”(I’m calling it that) is divided into (20?)Wards.

    In addition, the censoring found its way again to this episode, but it didn’t feel out of place like that pitch-black intro scene in the second episode. Also, I like the whole nicknaming of the ghouls (Binge Eater, Glutton/Gourmand, Jason) thing.

    I’m looking really forward to much more psychological, thrilling and disturbing (I’ve seen a panel of the manga in which there were a wholesome amount of sfx which sent chills down my spine) moments in this anime.

  12. I’m getting the biggest death flag from Hinami right now. She’s been presented as a bright child, dealing with harsh circumstances, yet with so much potential and similar interests to Ken. The next ‘logical’ action would be to have her and her mother slaughtered right before Ken’s eyes.

    It would be a truly horrifying event that would firmly illustrate to Ken that in his new world, the difference between the brightest light and the darkest shadow could be mere moments.

  13. It was a good episode, but the animation quality paled in comparison to the first episode. The scene when Rize tries to east Kaneki is still the best scene yet.

    You know, for kids!
  14. I’d hesitate to call this one of the best shows of 2014 yet before it’s over, because I’ve seen enough promising shows fall apart later. It’s almost a jinx, like saying ‘I hope this gets a second season!’ or something. Regardless, so far so good. It’s living up to expectations and has certainly solidified itself as one of my favourite shows so far this season. It’s been good since day one as well, and has only been getting better.

    After all, what’s not to love? An intriguing story, well paced and well told exposition, good execution and interesting characters. I’m genuinely invested in every moment of every episode so far, so this show definitely has ‘it’. It makes the most of its premise so far and I’m very much interested to see how this plot will play out.

    Though the censoring is still getting on my nerves. Gah.

  15. This show seems too good with that pacing. I’m a little scared. Especially with no confirmed ep count, the way they are burning through material seems to suggest a 1 cour show. It could pull a Arpeggio of Blue Steel, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii and Noragami with it’s good enough end despite mad pacing or it can totally flounder like Gokukoku no Brynhildr and Black Bullet.

    It’s funny how now a days lots of shows get soo much hype but the show only gets a 1 cour rush job. It’s the most frustrating thing being anime fan.

  16. I don’t watch horror.

    Yet the moment I decided to take a leap of faith and dive into this much-vaunted series, I actually want more of it to the point of picking up the manga and reading through the material. The depth of character development is delightful, as is the pacing. Picking up from where it left off, Kaneki is still trying to adapt and make himself useful, and we get another look into the lives of these ghouls who are apparently not the monsters most think they are.

    I can’t really explain it much, but the show is exceeding my expectations. Might even make me more receptive to horror if they do the story right.


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