「晩餐」 (Bansan)

As anime episodes go, that one was quite the slap in the face.

It’s not like the first three episodes of Tokyo Ghoul were low-key and discreet, but the insanity was sure cranked up in a big way this week. It was brought off with a lot of style by director Morita-sensei and a seiyuu performance for the books by Miyano Mamoru, but I’m not quite sure I like this over-the-top freakshow version of Tokyo Ghoul as much as the more sinister and reflective one we saw precede it. Then again I’m not completely sure I don’t, either – we’ll see if it digests better than karaage in a ghoul’s stomach.

Without a doubt the driving force of events here is the Gourmet, Tsukiyama Shuu. It was pretty obvious from the moment he walked onto the scene last week (before, in fact) that this ghoul was big trouble, both for Kaneki Ken-kun and for the 20th Ward. It’s a bit irritating how easily Ken is seduced by Tsukiyama’s sweet talk about books and loneliness – especially given that he was snowed exactly the same way by Rize. One might also argue, however, that Yoshimura and Touka should have done a better job making sure he was fully aware of just how dangerous the Gourmet really is. Touka did say so, but she’s normally so hostile to begin with and the mention so brief that it’s not surprising Ken didn’t really register it.

In fact, it’s Yomo (Nakamura Yuuichi, with a lot of Grizzly-san in his performance) who takes the most hands-on approach in trying to continue Ken’s education, in his own tough-love sort of way. That means teaching him how to fight (he certainly knows how to dodge) and taking him to meet Itori (Takagaki Ayahi) who runs a Ghoul bar called Helter Skelter. This is a nicely atmospheric scene, but it most importantly seems a pretext to introduce the concept of human-ghoul hybrids into the story – a subject which Itori seems quite knowledgeable about even as she dismisses such one-eyed “super-ghouls” as urban myth. They’re not, of course – I don’t think we have a story otherwise, and it seems a safe bet now more than ever that all of the events on the night Ken’s life changed forever were planned.

For the most part this ep is a showcase for the Gourmet, and he’s Miyano-san at his most (v)amped. He really pulls out all the stops here – peppering his speech with French, English and German, orgiastically responding to the smell of Ken’s blood on a handkerchief (apparently shards of ceramic are able to cut his skin while a knife is not) and generally throwing everything he has at making Tsukiyama a ridiculous yet simultaneously menacing figure. I’m pretty sure no one else could have played the character the way Miyano does, and if it’s not subtle it certainly makes one hell of an impact.

Tsukiyama’s aim all along (though he denies it later) is to lure Ken to his gourmet club, where he and his Epicurean friends can enjoy the rare feast of a half-ghoul. And Ken is, as mentioned, an easy mark – soon enough he’s involved in a grandiose and perverted spectacle that frankly feels a bit out of place with what we’ve seen from Tokyo Ghoul before it. It’s sort of a cross between Fight Club, Anne Rice and a Venetian masquerade ball, complete with twisted ghoul guests like Madam A (Asano Mayumi) and her “scrapper” Taro-chan (Taketora). He may be the most grotesque thing in the episode, a barely literate mass of flesh in leather bondage gear whose job it is to slice up the main course for the ghoul feast. Ken has at this point been drugged (it was in the coffee) but his survival instinct does kick in when his life is on the line.

Was the Gourmet’s plan from the start to put Ken into this situation and force his Kagune to reveal itself, or did he genuinely intend to feast on this rare delicacy and impress his like-minded friends in the process? I’m not 100% convinced either way, but when Ken’s true one-eyed nature (that seems to be the key sign everyone is looking for, as referenced by Itori) reveals itself, it’s the Gourmet who steps into the pit and slices Taro-chan in half as the menu substitution. However this started in his mind it seems Tsukiyama’s mindset now is that he’ll feast on Ken alone, this meat being too precious to share with anyone else.

I think in lesser hands an episode like this one could certainly have come off as ridiculous and not much else, but because of the quality of the writing, direction and performance by Miyano this was stylish and grotesque in a good way. This side of the ghoul world is clearly an important part of Tokyo Ghoul’s mosaic, but I do hope this kind of ep is the exception rather than the rule because I think the burnout factor would kick in pretty quickly if it becomes the norm. As a change of pace is works a treat though, because the more I see of the strange and exhaustively detailed alternative world this series has created, the more I want to learn about it.



  1. seems like they’re leaving a lot out. to be perfectly safe (not outright spoilers)
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I do wonder what they’re planning with all these changes in the plot though as some of them can greatly diverge how the story progresses

  2. Actually Enzo its funny that you mention Touko, because in the original source, Show Spoiler ▼

    I partly enjoyed the episode for how it showed another scope of the kind of society that some of the ghouls group into, such as ones like the Gourmet who then delight themselves over their “meats”, or ones like Rize who then don’t glamorize their feeding habits but generally hunt humans to satisfy their appetite. Though I had hoped they didn’t rush over certain details that really sparked my interests towards these characters, the anime still captures that intriguing aspect of Tokyo Ghoul’s universe (which makes it enjoyable and exciting to witness; though I had to laugh when I watched the censored blood).

    Also minor thought Show Spoiler ▼

  3. another difference from the manga is that kaneki didn’t drink the coffee but was affected by the poison gas on the waiting room. and that there are also two normal humans on the menu. one food critic and a fat girl. there was a lot of cutting done on the food critic. and the fat girl was placed on a grill

    1. He’s been doing pretty well at these flamboyantly-insane characters recently. His Tsukiyama performance has yet to top his fantastic Berge-Katze one tho, hope he gives us the goods soon!

  4. Had a laugh at the huge amount of arguing this episode spawned concerning the pace and cuts made to the source material. For such a “terrible” adaptation (supposedly) things are still being kept consistent and interesting IMO, especially in terms of world building. Really liking the small tidbits of info dropped here and there concerning the ghouls and how they’re structured (i.e. the ghoul society).

    Interesting inconsistency in this episode too, ghouls are supposedly immune to minor physical attacks and yet the coffee cup cut Kaneki; such a thing shouldn’t be possible if he shrugs off knives no problem. IIRC though the manga covers this issue, however it’s still an annoyance that no explanation is given (reading spoilers gets boring after a while :P).

    1. some people probably dislike all these changes (since there’s quite a few) but it’s still consistent on the whole (for Enzo at least as far as I can tell. let’s ignore the scratch, which I addressed in my first post). I’m personally just wary how the overall/ending will turn out.

    2. I suppose it’s because some of the cuts could be very significant in the future (I recall seeing Hinami featured prominently in one of the later volume covers), though they might be trying to go the Sidonia route by rearranging the sequence of happenings rather than removing them entirely.

      1. Yep, a lot of relationship building happens in the arc that was skipped. Not only that but Kaneki’s motivation for doing various things in later arcs start in the skipped arc. Also what happens in the skipped arc is why the Gourmet shows up at the coffee shop.

        They really are taking a risk with how they are adapting the arcs. Hopefully it works out because while I’m enjoying the show the missing parts mean it isn’t full enjoyment.

  5. haha that guy has to learn everything the hard way doesnt he? I agree with enzo its so annoying that he just got honeyed…and was going to die so why would is he so trusting again??

    1. The way I see it, I think it all depends on the way they portray Kaneki that can explain him a little more. Kaneki actually had a reason to follow Gourmet but they skimmed the details concerning it; in the long run it doesn’t matter since they did a great job illustrating that intense situation, but it does show Kaneki isn’t so gullible, just a bit innocent.

  6. Idiot MC trusting guy who he is told to be wary of, guy betrays him, then when it fails he plays it off as a joke, and idiot MC trusts him again, oh mai gawd.
    I hope Kaneki won’t remain a dumb trusting child for much longer.

  7. I am a bit unhappy that the stuff that was cut and shortened did make things a bit inconsistent to previously established facts and left out some world building Show Spoiler ▼

    BUT adapting this arc early in this way does hurt the anime less as imho it’s not that important plotwise and was very mood whiplash-y in the manga after the much more serious Dove arc, and I suppose that without that arc preceding this one makes it more plausible for Kaneki to be more gullible. I’m still hoping this is the only arc they skim over as I don’t think it’d be wise to rush into the Aogiri arc with only 6 eps to spare at this point.

      1. Which raises the important question that nobody seemed to ask, what did the agents of the CCG (aka the Doves) use to hurt the ghouls they were hunting if ghouls are strong enough to resist a steel knife being plunged in their skin !!?

    1. Maybe, just maybe ghouls are weak to ceramic like vampires are weak to silver XD

      Ahm, in all seriousness .. i’m an anime-only fan so i don’t know if they will bring this issue up in the manga (or TV series) later but one would think ghouls could have several weaknesses similar in fashion to vampire weaknesses in vampire stories.

    2. One might also wonder about Taro-chan’s weapon of choice and whether it would’ve been good enough to actually cut Kaneki. Then again, it doesn’t really matter, as he went for the choke.

  8. >Tsukiyama’s aim all along (though he denies it later) is to lure Ken to his gourmet club, where he and his Epicurean friends can enjoy the rare feast of a half-ghoul.

    If I understood correctly, he was interested in him due to Rize’s smell. He didn’t know beforehand that Ken is a half-ghoul.

    btw. to the manga readers: Is Taro-chan supposed to be a human or a ghoul? I guess the former, since he didn’t show any special skills apart from being strong.

  9. “A ghoul !?, but i’m not quite into cannibalism !!!”

    Oh my god, that line delivered so naturally by one of the high-class ghoul women was pure gold it really made me crack, i’m not sure whether it was intentionally meant to be sarcastic or it was unintentional but it was hilarious either way, i know ghouls are technically a different “race” and that ghouls meat tastes bad to other ghouls, but IMO to see a ghoul dissing cannibalism is nothing short of pure comedy gold XD


    Now to the episode, the highlight for me -will be quite a surprise- isn’t any of the stuff that happened to Kaneki or the flamboyant gourmand Shuu, what truly resonated with me was Touka forcing herself so hard to digest the food made by her friend despite how harmful that is to her .. not only does it show how much she wants to mesh with the human world but also shows she really cares about her “human” friend and is such a strong willed person .. which in turn makes us understand why she was soooooooo pissed off at Kaneki’s whining in the first episode .. that’s why i think that scene at the start of the episode is really the highlight here despite all the dramatic stuff that happened.

    Now to Shuu, i was frankly a little pissed off that Kaneki fell for Shuus schemes but you have to remember that Kaneki is still somewhat naive and Shuu is super manipulative, that and the fact that the ghouls at the cafe (Touka and the old man) were friendly with Shuu (they did label him “trouble” but they didn’t attack him or consider him a clear life-threat), that’s why Kaneki considered “trouble” to be a warning that this guy is just a little unhinged .. i’m sure it didn’t mean to him that this guy could actually crave you and try to eat you (a fellow ghoul), i’m sure even the people at the cafe didn’t think Shuu would go this far.

    And it’s surprising that Kaneki’s special power didn’t activate this time .. i suppose that was the effect of the drug maybe, another thing .. it seems there are a lot of ghouls in the high-class society, that would explain why they persisted, personally i think the ghoul-hunting agents are really under-equipped and can’t really make any real difference against a powerful ghoul (let alone a large number of them like all those who where in that underground theater/coliseum .. which by the way gave me a strong “Eyes wide shut” feeling, i wonder if high-class ghouls are manipulating things from behind the scenes (and maybe there are some ghouls in the government itself .. i haven’t seen any clear way for humans to recognize ghouls except catching them off-guard while eating in back alleys .. while ghouls have a sharp sense of smell).

    Overall enjoyable episode with minor hiccups, and it’s interesting seeing all the complaints about the adaption doing cuts and rearranging things, i guess anime-only fans are spared the frustrations XD

  10. I was watching this episode while laughing hysterically and half hiding behind my hands. I’ve decided that I simply DGAF anymore. Perhaps this is the best way approach all manga-to-anime adaptations; it certainly makes for a less stressful viewing. Between this episode and Barakamon, I was about to pop an artery.

    Anyway, I do find the hints of different hierarchies and organizations in the ghoul world incredibly fascinating. It’s parsing through all of the social strata, privileges, generational differences, and furtive confrontations and alliances that really makes a fictional world fun. Initially, it may seem as if it’s simply ghouls and Anteiku vs. humans and the CCG, but matters aren’t nearly so simple, and the respective loyalties aren’t nearly so steadfast…

    Thanks again for reviewing and for not stomping on this fragile viewer’s heart, Guardian Enzo. Truly appreciate it.

  11. I REALLY like this show,since well…..episode one.We def need some more Uta though. Although Shuu is very interesting as well. Embarrassing enough I find myself yelling at the screen whenever Ken doesn’t defend himself quickly and instead gets smacked about a bit until he decides to finally fight back.

      1. I think that’s a problem for the show. The proper answer to that question is that he gets eaten. For what it’s worth, it’s not his meekness or his kindness that diminishes my enjoyment of this series, it’s his utter haplessness.

        He is a damsel in distress who apparently can’t not do stupid things. To be honest, I can’t actually believe that he’s been able to survive as long as he has. Falling off the cliff last episode, his willingness to do anything a stranger asks of him, even go on a date with someone he was warned about, then go back to the guy’s place. He can’t even play hard to get. The way he was introduced to Uta… the list is nearly endless. Ultimately, it’s why he got into this in the first place with Rize (and I guess, why there’s a show). I hope he never does anything that gets him put in prison. (If he does, I won’t watch that show.)

        I really enjoyed the first episode but the next two dropped down a level, and this one again. It is starting to seem like a vampire show but with ghouls. The whole gourmet thing, in addition to being degenerate, is too inconsistent. If Tsukiyama is just moving into the 20th ward, why is there such a huge gallery of degenerates already there? Be definition, elitists are few in number. This scene was too developed, unless he’s somewhere else, in a more established environment. And why would these gourmands be willing to eat a ‘scrapper’ as a substitute for Kaneki? Taro-chan is the antithesis of the reason they get together in the first place. Would these aesthetes even be able to digest him? It was a cheap ploy to get out of the scene.

        Anyway, I’m hoping that the continued investigations of the doves will bring some good tension back to the show.

  12. Touka: “Stay away from that guy. He’s trouble.”

    Kaneki, 5 seconds later, “You have candy AND A PLUSH TOY in your unmarked white panel van? WAIIIIT FOOOOR MEEEEEE!!!!”

    The first 3 eps were great, but that was some really bad storytelling in the 4th episode. Should have stuck with the manga’s plotline, anime writers. -_-

    Unbelievably gullible person is unbelievable.

  13. Can I just say this episode was a bit of a disaster especially with the entire arc jump they took to get here. It also gives a lot of misconceptions about Kaneki’s character and has a lot of inconsistencies with not only previously established rules of the show but also with the manga as a whole. Show Spoiler ▼


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