「残」 (Zan)

It’s funny the things that are able to touch us emotionally.

It may sound odd to say it, but this series (mostly) about non-humans is really the most compelling human story of the season. That’s not unheard of by any means (Uchouten Kazoku certainly leaps to mind) – shedding light on the human condition through fantasy is a frequently successful narrative device. But Tokyo Ghoul seems like such an odd fit for the designation in a season with the likes of a Watanabe Shinichirou original drama and Barakamon (which probably should have been the head that wore the crown, in an ideal world where manga like that get the adaptations they deserve).

Nevertheless, for me that’s how things have worked out in this season’s first month. Tokyo Ghoul isn’t just a horror story about ghouls – it’s also brash, often absurd, and frequently irreverent. Yet it soars because it builds the story around the characters, and not the other way around. And it peoples that story with characters who have some real depth and subtlety to them – we certainly have some who are mostly stock villains so far, but apart from them it’s notable how many seemingly minor characters get treated as if they really matter. And when bad things happen to them, that makes an enormous difference in the emotional impact.

Last week’s episode seemed a bit of a misstep. Miyano Mamoru’s performance was certainly memorable, but the tone of the episode was off – if was too absurd and too much of what happened wasn’t sufficiently set up for it to have much impact beyond shock value and humor. This ep was right back on-form though, maybe the best episode of the series so far. There was a lot happening but things never felt rushed, and the narrative didn’t put the cart before the horse – we were given good reason to care about what was going on before the shit hit the fan (last week was pretty much all post-fecal impact) and it doesn’t hurt that Ken started to show some formidability to go along with his innate decency.

For me pretty much everything worked this time, starting with the calm before the storm scenes at (and above) Anteiku. Touka remains a bit of a mystery (not least the fact that she has a remarkable habit of showing up just when Ken is about to get jacked) but I like the scenes that “humanize” her. Seeing her eat a piece of karaage in front her friend from school Yoriko is one thing – there are obvious practical reasons for that – but this was quite different. She is in fact still ill from having ingested that toriniku, but when Yoriko drops off a pot of stew as a get-well gift (misinterpreting Ken’s presence in Touka’s room in the process) Touka insists on eating some of it even after Yoriko has left just on the principle that it was a heartfelt gesture. Touka is obviously an idealistic person, and she’s doing perhaps more than anyone to fit in with human society – anything that sheds more light on that process and focuses less on her stock tsundere and badass personas is a positive in my book.

Among the most critical elements of this episode is that it sheds by far the most light on the growth and development of young ghouls and does so in a rather heartbreaking way – and through Nishio, of all characters. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he’s been cast in an extremely negative light so far, but we certainly see another side of him here. Ken stumbles upon him being “cannibalized” by three ghoul thugs, and intervenes – showing that his training with Yomo is paying dividends. He carries the weak and injured Nishio back to his apartment, where the human girl Kimi (Kobori Yurie) awaits him. She’s human and knows what Nishio is but stands by him anyway, which is a bit of a revelation for Ken (and foreshadowing that Hide indeed knows the truth) though for the moment, we aren’t told just why she feels that way.

Here’s where Tsukiyama re-enters the narrative, and he’s far, far more effective this week – a real menacing presence and not a cartoon. And Miyano’s performance is somehow that much better – just as manic, but more directed and far more sinister (and he adds Italian to his list of languages). Miyano is really, really good, a powerful actor – but it takes the right material to show that off, and these last two episodes are the proof of how much it matters. He’s still determined to dine on Ken, and his warped mind has decided that what he really needs to take him over the top is to do it while Ken is feasting on a human at the same time – and having seen Ken and Kimi talking in the park after leaving Nishio’s apartment, decided kidnapping her as the bait and the supplementary meal is the perfect course of action.

The scene at the church (just because) where the Gourmet plans to stage his bacchanal is a real work of art – bloody and scary and intense, and bisected by a superb flashback of Nishio’s childhood as a young ghoul. Ken isn’t playing along voluntarily, of course, and Nishio has dragged himself along despite his weakened condition – and Touka shows up just in the nick of time, as it her fashion. But Tsukiyama is more than a match even for her – he reflects on how “long ago” she was a rival for him, when she was fourteen and he eighteen, but how a ghoul is only as formidable as the “fuel” they consume (and Touka confirms this). It’s really Nishio who steals this scene, though, both for his valiant but futile attempts to defend Kimi and for the aforementioned flashback to the time where he was a kind-hearted child who hated the idea of killing and eating humans and depended on his big sister for everything. But someone turned her in to the Doves, and her death was clearly the event that sent him on the dark path leading to the present moment.

This is what Tokyo Ghoul is all about, really – big and brash set pieces full of blood, and setting up a mythology where the world of ghouls is every bit as layered and complex as our own. I loved the tension built in this scene as the Gourmet systematically brutalizes the trio fighting him, and the fact that it’s Ken who comes up with the plan that can stop him – offering himself as the fuel Touka needs to match Tsukiyama’s strength (just as Kimi offered herself to Nishio after discovering the truth and finding him near death from weakness, a nice reminder of how similar humans and ghouls can be in terms of motivation and self-sacrifice). It’s a terrific capper to a terrific episode, and admirably does the job of raising anticipation for the next.


    1. No they didnt; they are not skipping anything, it’s just that events are being rearranged. If you watch the PV, you’ll see that we will be getting “that” arc in anime form.

      1. Even though they’re just placing the arcs in a different order (for some reason), they’re still skipping a lot of relevant material or changing scenes for no reason. The manga makes it clearer why Ken was so willing to go along with Tsukiyama in the fourth episode, the anime version makes it seem inexplicable that he would be so naïve, they shortened the scenes of him at the restaurant, if you want to call it that, and for some reason, instead of Tsukiyama himself doing it, they had him get cut by a ceramic tea glass, when it’s been established that a steel knife can’t even cut him. They’ve also changed or omitted scenes with Tōka and Hinami that I feel were important. Some of the changes are clearly to save time, but some are strange and there’s no logical reason for doing them.

      2. @Ryuko2046
        the manga had just as inexplicable a method of cutting Kaneki as the anime did; to be frank, the anime’s version actually made more sense regardless of the fact that it had been established in both versions that a steel knife couldnt cut him (I think it has to do with adrenaline and a ghoul’s sense of self-preservation). Regardless of the little changes, the essence of the manga has been kept.

  1. There’s something tragic about the ghouls who’re trying to fit into human society. They have this one human they’re desperate to be accepted by, as if that person embodies humans as a whole. Some are unlucky like Nishio’s sister, while others like Nishio really struck gold.

    Excellent adaptation of one of my favorite scenes, though it would’ve been nice if they’d kept Kimi’s line when she justifies turning a blind eye to Nishio’s diet: “If I were a ghoul, I’d do the same.”

    1. Actually I’ve seen overwhelmingly positive reviews from the anime-only audience. Honestly I feel like reading the source material has just poisoned a lot of the manga fan base’s opinion of the show. Given, it could still go downhill very fast but so far it’s been fine on it’s own.

      1. @danes256
        Don’t bother with trolls, they can’t tell the difference between “I didn’t liked show X” and “show X is just utter garbage” .. the first is a 100% personal opinion .. if someone doesn’t like something it’s totally valid and ok .. but when someone claims something is utter garbage in a public discussion and without giving any explanation or analysis (specially with fans of said show around) that’s being a TROLL, and it’s a waste of time to try reasoning with such people.

  2. I was really pleased with this episode. Nishiki’s backstory was well done. The evolution of Nishiki’s hairstyle was an amusing touch, and I appreciated how casually they depicted the sexual aspect of Nishiki and Kimi’s relationship. It adds to the realism of the college setting.

    Nishi-nishi couple banzai!

    1. I like to believe that Nishiki cut off those sideburn things in memory of his sister and that somewhere in ghoul-afterlife she’s very relieved because she didn’t have the heart to tell them they were godawful.

  3. Really nice episode. The scene when Nishiki’s sister died was really sad 🙁 It just makes ghouls have a more human aspect to them as well, caring for their family and loved ones just as humans do.

  4. That was truly a fantastic episode, i never thought Nishio will come back again .. let alone be turned into a sympathetic character, wow .. just wow .. they really did a fantastic job handling Nishio’s backstory and what happened to his sister from her human lover, and also showing us why he would go to such extreme extents to defend Kimi, the one who truly loves and cares about him to the point of offering her flesh to him, i really hated Nishio so much before this episode .. but i couldn’t help but feel surprised at myself for cheering him as he ceaselessly and frantically charged at Tsukiyama and gets mauled and almost killed to save Kimi’s life.

    Also Ken does show some progress .. he gained a boost of self-confidence and fighting prowess due to Yomo’s rigorous training, not to mention his relation with Touka is slowly but steadily progressing .. they are getting closer to each other with every passing episode and it’s really interesting to watch.

    That and Touka activating her Kagune looked super badass.


    Tsukiyama is surely in for some serious challenge.

    1. It’s not only Touka that’s badass. Kaneki having the balls to offer Touka some of his flesh without any hesitation whatsoever was just plain awesome. Can’t wait to see more of his character being fleshed out.


      I am very disappointed to find out that this adaption is only 1-cour this season…

  5. Nishio’s back story was nicely done, but felt a bit out of place. I thought Nishio was a minor character and presumed him already dead.

    Another thing, how come no one mentions the animation quality? I usually don’t pay attention to it, unless it’s extremely good, or in this case extremely bad. First episode was really good, this however is a setback to the early nineties. The blu-ray version might be uncut, but who wants to see this in blu-ray?


    Sorry for my negative attitude, but this is what this episode left me with.

    The shizard
    1. Time & Budgets are not unlimited. If they can present us cool and great stuff, at the sacrifice of less important scenes, I am totally ok with that. This show isn’t a slice of life where animating eating food for humans is important. Drama around eating human food is 🙂

      1. Well, there are studios that can consistently produce good to top-notch animation. I feel like because Pierrot tends to do subpar animation overall, that creates a feedback loop resulting in them receiving smaller budgets.

  6. Once again the strength of Ghoul lies in its ability to make the most out of its world building. The small inclusion of Ken noting his training has paid off during that initial fight helped to flesh out part of the story which is missing from the adaptation; this is something many other “rushed” series fail to do, simply cutting these parts deemed superfluous.

    Furthermore is the development given to both Touka and Nishio. While Nishio’s reappearance can be considered out of place, the back story along with the info regarding Touka’s daily life helps to show the ghouls to be more human than they think. It’s minor development, but significant as Ghoul (likely) lacks the time for the sort of slow personalization we expect for MCs. Whether you think Ghoul is rushed or not, you cannot fault the world building, this is how you handle it given a limited amount of time.

  7. Am I the only one who thinks this arc is just bad?

    I dislike the pacing so much and Nishio’s backstory felt really forced. Yeah, a first sadistic violent asshole suddenly gets a human side and it’s supposed to be believable. He needed more exposition before any sympathy could’ve been tacked on.

    I really just dislike this arc. A lot.

    1. There were scenes that worked in this episode and I do like Nishio but I wish this human side didn’t seem as farced as it did to me.

      Now I’m going to brace for downvotes because of my differing opinion ^^

  8. toriniku
    Was that really necessary?

    Gotta agree with those who feel that this episode was a bit cheaper and faster than I’d like it to be. The action, though well-animated, was way too one-sided to be entertaining. Nishio’s backstory would’ve been touching in a vacuum, but I don’t feel like it’s enough for me to feel sorry for him, not after what he did to characters I care about more. The only thing left is Touka’s struggle to keep a human facade, and that’s something I’d like to see more of.

  9. This series is really failing to impress me. Everything feels so overdramatic (although I admit the villain is not helping), rushed and cheap. Is it rushing to get to the good parts? Because right now I may drop it and go to the manga.

    1. You do that if you actually can’t enjoy the anime rendition. I have both read and watched, and in my opinion everything is done better in the manga. More datails, more fleshing out the characters, more explanations, more coherence, and even the brutal atmosphere in battles are depicted better in the manga. At first I thought animation and sound would convey such things better, but I guess the anime staffs just can’t cut it. And you don’t only get to symphatize with the supposedly villain (in this case nishio), you might even end up wanting to root for the doves. You’d think “Tokyo Ghoul” means the story will only revolve around the ghouls, well now read the manga. I say this is one of manga with better story tellings out there.

  10. I tried to avoid it, but this episode pushed me past my limits. I’m now reading the manga (No regrets at all!). IMO, the first half felt a bit rushed for me, but the second half more than made up for it. Nishio’s character development was superb, and it was such a nice surprise to see how big a part he plays in this arc. Can’t freaking wait for the next episode.

  11. I would hate to say this, but the thing about Kaneki’s flesh and all reminded me of Twilight…=.= Err…

    Anyway, I feel like Tsukiyama is just like other villains I’d seen before. Manic, obsessive, possessive. It’s of course the point to not care about him, but villains like him just gets old for me.

    Though I would still watch the next few eps of this (I didn’t read everything there is of the manga, so I’m still curious where they take this), my eagerness to watch it every week is not the same as after 1st or 2nd ep.

    I did like that Nishio was shown in a different light for us, but it’s still quite stale…It could just be me, but yeah…

  12. Maybe I’m having a bad day but I’ve decided to drop Tokyo Ghoul or wait until it’s over so I can marathon it. Again, maybe I’m having a bad day but I am getting tired of the main character whimpering, not wanting to eat humans, crying, etc., and the that girl who works at the cafe threatening him. Sure he doesn’t want to eat humans, but I am certain that he would have gotten over it or is getting over it by now. Sure he recently became a ghoul and is getting used to it and is currently a liability, but there is no need to continue threatening him and acting all tsundere saving him and such, a played out trope. And then cue the detectives who keep saying they are close to solving the mystery but barely proceeds the process. And what is the main goal of the main character? Is he trying to be normal again? Is he trying to overcome the ghoul lady who tried to eat him in the first episode? Is he simply trying to fit in the ghoul society? I do not see his goal at all. Again, maybe I’m just having a very bad day but this is one of the things that is annoying me right now.

    1. I think for the many examples you stated, it is the result of the issue of adaptation vs. original source, which has been a long debate where both sides have their pros and cons. When I read the manga, I got the sense that Kaneki had evolved and grew to accept the ghoul side of his life now, but in the anime-which I think is doing an adequate job- has the problem of skipping certain content that kind of tells the story in a different tone and at times, feels like different scenario is being played. Of course, certain adaptations have their moments and may improve or set up an interesting story like the original, but one of the problems that sometimes I see is that certain developments are being left out and asking questions like as you said what is his goal for purpose? (In a way its like having multiple witnesses see something occurring and they retell it in their own view, which as result you can get the main idea out there but usually some details are mixed around and certain people are seen in a different light).

      1. Honestly, I’m more of an anime viewer than a manga reader, mostly due to the fact that I prefer to see things moving in action than still motion, and that I no longer have time to read manga as I used to besides three manga chapters a week. I tend to ignore such debates as manga is better than anime as I usually see that anime is taking the manga and adding extra things that couldn’t be included in the manga (excluding filler episodes of course), but if Tokyo Ghoul turns out to be the opposite, then I have to say I’m quite disappointed.

  13. Well I think they are supposed to follow the manga properly, which mean Hinami arc first, then Nishio. I dunno, placing this arc first before Hinami arc felt really off for me.

  14. God seriously what’s wrong people…

    The current debate of anime v. manga is basically a repeat of what happened to Arpeggio Blue Steel when it was blogged. Regardless of what was hotly debated, Blue Steel ended up on par or some say even better than the manga since it showed more of the MM’s perspective.

    Back to Tokyo Ghoul, I don’t have problems with it. This is speaking from the anime-perspective-viewer.

    P.S. FYI, I did read Blue Steel manga and there were times in it that felt draggy as opposed to the anime itself.

    1. Personally I’m anime-only and I find issues like pacing and development to be off-putting in this arc.

      No need to be say something condenscending because of differing opinions. I’m sure you’ve had some manga adaptions that have been a bit of a let down in terms of content, regardless of the situation it was in. Just accept that some people are going to be disappointed if the quality is lower than what they expected. Disappointment is a natural feeling, boo. :c

      1. wow, so much anime vs manga debates here.

        Honestly this arc was already somewhat off-putting in the manga itself even though it was enjoyable, so rearranging the sequence of things and compressing things definitely would’ve not helped in regards to this. I however do think that even though it hasn’t been very faithful and has made some missteps (especially last ep cause wow) the anime is doing an admirable job so far. I feel that we should wait until the arc after this to see if they can tie things together properly to judge it, especially to see how they’ll handle Kaneki growth.

        also gawsh dang who’s ready for Tsukiyama smackdown feat. Touko next week

      2. ^The fight’s gonna be over in like what, 5 mins? I can’t say it’s good/interesting to have the boss of the arc get taken out within the first 5 mins of the episode.

      3. @tokus
        Im right with you there, although i do understand why they rearranged the events and its not a time constraint thing. Once you give some deeper thought about why the decision to switch the events has made, you’ll start to see that it actually makes sense given the arc coming next and it actually enhances the dramatic tension.

  15. Well I started with the manga, thought it was crap and dropped it pretty fast (I was disappointed because I was expecting horror, and thats not really what it is). Some time later I watched the anime and thought I judged the story too fast and gave the manga a second chance.

    …And now the anime suddenly got a whole lot worse XD I also know why – in the manga, what I liked at the end, where all the different hints here and there for storylines, that would be picked up even muuuuch later. Suddenly things mentioned only once are becoming important, objects from earlier are being used again, and a whole lot of thought went into details. Even though Id describe TG more as action, I still liked this aspect, cause it felt like the story is going somewhere, like the author had a plan, and the world was consistent.

    Well, the adaptation isnt bad – I still remember Zetman – THAT was bad for example, even though the story is pretty damn good. But they are destroying exactly THIS aspect of the manga. And in the end, if its only 12 episodes, it IS because of time constraints. Like I said, its not bad AT ALL, I quite like it, but its a petty that it certainly doesnt ameliorate the source material, rather its a little downstep.

  16. Nothing much to say here, this show is plain amazing. Episode was slightly annoying how the main character seem so naive that he’d fall right into that trap. But alas, he did the samething in episode 1 (Almost got himself eaten). Brilliant show tho

    Rick Anime

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