What a weird series Tokyo Ghoul √A is turning out to be.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have almost no idea what’s going on here. Tokyo Ghoul has to be approaching some kind of record for the most new characters introduced in the shortest time with the least exposition. And most of them are powered-up, too – badasses on either the Ghoul or CCG side with a history the anime is almost entirely unwilling to do more than hint at. As I said last week I’m still finding this show intriguing, but at some point I would sincerely like to start getting some explanations.
To address the elephant in the room, yes – the animation this week was pretty subpar. In point of fact the visuals generally were uninspired (and that’s being charitable) – background detail all but disappeared and the fight choreography was rather bland. And because this was one of the most action-driven episodes of the entire series, that’s a pretty big problem. Pierrot has generally done pretty well production-wise with Tokyo Ghoul, but this was one of those eps that cause people to grimace when they find out Pierrot is adapting a property they love.
The net result of all this is that this week’s offering played like a string of only semi-connected battle sequences, which existed for their own sake and for the purposes of character introduction. Yes we had a premise – an Aogiri attack on Cochlea, which happened (I’m assuming this is coincidental) to occur while Amon and Akira were there to interview Porpora Donato (the peerless Inoue Kazuhiko, a welcome addition to any cast). He, at least, is presented in some context – he was the Priest at the orphanage where Amon grew up, apparently unaware Porpora was a ghoul and apparently the only resident who didn’t get eaten. But once the attack started, the rest of the episode was pretty much an extended blur.
Who else did we meet? Yoshitoki (Sakuya Shunsuke), seemingly a very highly-placed CCG figure. Shachi – later referred to by Eto as “Kamashiro” (Yanada Kiyoyuki) – whose release might be the point of the Aogiri raid, and who ends up fighting with Kaneki despite the latter saying he was there to release him. There’s also Naki taking a bite out of Akira’s thigh, Juzo vamping for the camera as usual, and Ayato going at it with Shinohara. And lots and lots of both ghouls and humans being sliced and diced.
I think this is an episode that kind of ran up against the limits facing this series right now – how far it can go without starting to actually explain what’s happening and make us care, and its own budgetary constraints. If there’s a hopeful sign it’s that the aftermath of Kaneki’s bruising at the hands of Shachi seems to hint that we might at last be getting an explanation for what he’s done. The people he’s left behind at Anteiku are still clearly very much in his thoughts, which strongly suggests that rather than having had a change of heart, this defection to Aogiri is a result of Ken employing a new strategy to achieve the same end result. Even if that’s true Tokyo Ghoul is going to have to do some serious explaining in order for that to make sense, though.
ED3: 「季節は次々死んでいく」 (Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku) by (Amazarashi)