「研」 (Ken)

I don’t know what stunned me more – that final episode, or the reaction to it.

Author’s Note: Given the obvious gap between anime and manga events, please refrain from posting manga spoilers in the comments even if the anime has concluded. Many of us plan to read it in full later.

This feels like a fitting moment to me in so many ways. Fitting, because it seems rarer and rarer that I agree with the mainstream on anything anime-related.  Fitting, because Tokyo Ghoul (all the more so “Root A”) has been all over the map.  It’s a vexing, confusing, irritating, enigma of a show and it seems only right that it should end with such a spectacular disconnect – between the audience and the series, and between myself and most of the audience.

I hadn’t read a word of reaction to the finale when I watched it – watched it half a day later than normal due to RL commitments, as it happens.  And my first comment (on Twitter) after it was over was “Whatever you may think of the story choices, that was one of the most artistically beautiful anime episodes ever.”  Now it so happens that I liked the story choices, but I’ll get to that shortly.  After I tweeted that I started reading some of the reaction in the usual places, and lo and behold – almost universal derision and snark.  And initially, that shocked me.

Here’s what I don’t know: what the relationship of this ending to the manga is.  I haven’t read it (not this far into it at least), and I know this season has been a strange dance with manga canon – lots of spins and dips, sometimes cheek-to-cheek and sometimes in a different room.  This has clearly been a major source of trouble, a cause of much of the inconsistency that’s been the only consistent thing in “Root A”.  I get the sense that there’s been an uneasy relationship between Ishida Sui and this adaptation – and maybe between he and director Morita Shuhei too, for all I know.  One where Ishida was never quite sure how close to the printed word he wanted to steer, and his halting approach impacted Morita’s.

So, then, without knowing how close these events were to the source material, my sense in watching the finale was glorious liberation.  For me as a viewer, and for Morita as a director.  In watching it felt like Morita-sensei just said “fuck it” and rather than a conventional narrative, delivered an impressionist painting – the inherent tragedy that was always the strongest part of Tokyo Ghoul told mostly in silence and beautiful but terrible imagery.  It may not have been what most fans of the manga wanted, but I thought it was inspired and powerful.

Morita’s artistic sense seemed liberated in every way, too. He’s clearly a massively talented director, and there have been moments of brilliance throughout the series despite the limited budget.  But this final episode was practically one long master class on cinematography, lighting and scene blocking – panning shots, stunning use of light, incredible dissolves, and subtle misdirection.  The drips of blood, presumed to be Kaneki’s, turning out to be Hide’s.  Kaneki crying his eye clear with red tears.  The glint of a broken shard of china in the snowy night.  In terms of pure directorial flair – sound and vision as a tool to create art – it was as fine an anime episode as I’ve seen in a very long time.

And yet, the reaction.  This dangerous territory for me to even venture into, sorely testing Mom’s advice about “If you can’t say…”.  And yet I feel I have to at least comment on it, because it’s the elephant in the room.  Why do most Tokyo Ghoul fans seem to hate this episode that I loved unreservedly?  Is it because they’ve read the manga and I haven’t (nope, too simple)?  Is it because Morita broke pretty much every rule in the book in making it?  Is it because it delivers very little in the way of cookies to the viewer – not much resolution, not much explanation?  Or is it just a matter of Morita making the right episode for the wrong audience?

I don’t know, of course – and if I dig any deeper, I’m only going to get myself into more trouble.  But I will say this: I sure as hell hope Morita Shuei continues to work in TV anime, because he’s a huge talent.  I’ll go back to that first comment, “Whatever you think of the story choices…” because I think if you get past that, it’s hard to deny that the episode itself was gorgeous.  It had style overflowing from every frame, and grace too – it was quiet and melancholy, which is exactly what it should have been, considering the material.

Here’s the hard truth – the Tokyo Ghoul manga is still ongoing.  Even if “Root A” had followed it literally we wouldn’t have gotten a real ending.  And the mistakes of the first 11 episodes (mostly the first six) weren’t going to be rectified in one finale.  So Morita stripped the story of Tokyo Ghoul down to its essence – he captured perfectly what makes this a powerful premise, and quietly mused on it for 22 minutes.  This is a stupid, senseless cycle of death and revenge, and this latest chapter “Raid at Anteiku” is the most pointless waste of all.  No one wins here – good people die, bad people die, but the killing goes on and on and there seems no way to stop it.  And Ken is caught exquisitely, perfectly in the middle – as Morita literally showed us with some incredible imagery based on his appearance.  It was a far, far better way to end this series than I ever thought was possible.

So then, we don’t know whether Yoshimura is alive or dead, or Shinohara for that matter.  We don’t know what happened when Ken silently delivered Hide’s body to the CCG, and Arima confronted him (and for that matter, we know next to nothing about Arima at all).  I get why folks are disappointed by that, and by the general sense that so much of “Root A” was B-side material and wasted time.  What did we really learn from Ken’s time with Aogiri – which took him off-screen for most of the season?  Why were so many characters introduced with no context whatsoever?

Why, indeed – there’s no denying “Root A” was a mess.  Whose fault was it?  I don’t know, because I don’t know how much control Ishida asserted over the direction of the season.  But I do know that at the very end the series redeemed itself, because Morita understands it at the molecular level.  He gave us the truth of Tokyo Ghoul in this final episode unfettered by needless dialogue or by sound and fury.  Finally.  I’m sorry the anime wasn’t able to do justice to the story in the traditional narrative sense (though that battle, as I said, was lost before this episode ever started).  But I’m also sorry so few viewers share my view that this episode, in the context of how the series built up to it, concluded the series in the best way it could possibly be concluded.  It was a work of art by a director of vision, insight, and spectacular talent, and that this will be the lasting memory of the Tokyo Ghoul anime is the best outcome I could ever have hoped for.



ED Sequence


    1. I can understand the frustration others have with this sequel. The common complaints I’ve seen:

      1. Those who watched Tokyo Ghoul for the action didn’t get their big Arima vs Kaneki showdown.
      2. Lots of unanswered questions especially for the anime-only watchers.
      3. Calling this an ”anime-original” sequel when majority of the events are condensed version of about 70+ chapters of the manga. This also means all the complexity, character development and symbolism created by Sui Ishida were lost.

      That said, I’ve read the manga so I have no problems with all these 3. I thought the ending was absolutely beautiful, a lot better than I expected it to be.

      My poor Hide, I was in tears. I never expected him to be the body carried by Kaneki in the poster. He’s been supporting Kaneki in secret all this time and for him to be gone just like that. What an amazing friend. ( ó﹏ò。)


      1. The Arima vs Kaneki fight wasn’t for action people only. It was a part of Kaneki’s development and heartbreaking to read because of what had happened in the fight. In Root A the audience barely connects with Kaneki trying to help anteiku. In the manga we are with him all the way and watching him fail the way he did was just heartbreaking because nothing went well.

        I too liked the ending as an episode but at the same time disappointed that they couldn’t take a few minutes away from kaneki walking to show certain plot points.

      2. The issue here is that the anime fails to truly convey the general feeling of the story. First of all, from the very beginnning Tokyo Ghoul didn’t present itself as a “show of the the absurd”, so to speak, meaning that Season 1 (as well as the manga) both imply a story that relies primarily in character development and plot. The anime had very good artsitic and music performance no question about it (I myself loved Unravel OP) but the story simply leads nowhere. Moreover, lots of important scenes from the manga were cut out for no reason (dont’ know why). For example, Season 1 (as well as the manga) makes us question about the world ghouls and humans live in, and how Kaneki can deal with it. Kanou and Arima are essential in the plot because they show how truly monstrous humans can be (a psycho doctor and a “death god”), and maybe how they can be as terrible as some ghouls. But in the anime, they are both left away for no reason. Kaneki’s tragedy in the manga was by far more appealing than the one here, even without the terrific song and background atmosphere. In the end, Root A seems too hollow to be given any more credit. Direction may have been good in some parts, but if you fail to organize a coherent story, it is still a failure. May I point out that organizing a coherent story doesn’t mean having a super complex plot, it simply is presenting your initial statement and developing it so that vieweres (or readers) can understand the story as if they were submerged in the world presented. I started reading the manga at the end of season 1, as I was captivated by the story, however, season 2 failed in my book.

  1. What the hell did I just watch? I actually started reading the manga last night after watching this episode to understand what the hell just happened.

    I am not sure how do you not recognize what a blunder this is. After all the time keneki was off screen, I had extreme high hopes that ‘something’ would happen to explain some of it at least. Nothing. Nada. zip…. He just walks and walks and walks.

  2. I too was let bemused by the ending.

    The whole show down with the CCG and Ghouls left me wondering Why?

    The point of it all was not achieved and now they find there is a second and we are led to believe that is that. Hide for me has be the least unknown character. I felt as if he was forced into the situation ie no real connection. Now I may be wrong and I would like to say this my opinion dismiss it if you will.

    I must admit the soundtrack and the long walking sequence could have gone for ever I loved it.

    Overall, Thank you for covering it and I read all your post on this.

  3. Don’t worry Enzo, I loved it too. Manga readers(including me) knew going in to this season it wasn’t going to be like the manga. In the end it followed the larger beats of the second half but ultimately it was a different story, like they said it would be.

    In the end, some parts of this season – this episode in particular – were beautiful, entertaining works of art, and that’s more than I can hope for for most anime, honestly.

    1. I also read the manga and I have to agree with this. I’ve had no expectations that this adaptation would follow the manga nor would I want it to with only 12 episodes to work with. This “Root A” certainly had its problems but this last episode was not one of them.

      Random Lurker
  4. I really….. am disappointed. I’m sure the camerawork and shots were beautiful, but nothing much of significance happened. Everything is vague and up to interpretation, and for those who find it beautiful, good for them. But not everyone is going to interpret things the same, and most did not interpret things the same way you did. I don’t know….. why Pierrot why.

    They just couldn’t adapt the 4th best-selling manga of 2014 even half-decently?
    It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a highly regarded manga butchered so badly. I mean, if you look it up on MAL, it’s ranked 26th on Top Manga! And while MAL isn’t that much of a reliable site when it comes to ratings, when it’s fueled by hype and fanboys (as is usually such when something becomes popular), that’s still saying something…. right?

    Also, I hope one of you guys cover the manga. It would be pretty interesting the see your thoughts on it.

  5. “Show don’t tell.”

    Film, television, and of course anime as mediums rely on imagery to tell a story. I’m not a critic, I don’t tend to analyze the narrative of a series and try to decipher the meaning behind it. I do however pay attention to the themes of stories that play out on the screen before me.

    That being said since the first episode of the first season, humanity has been appeared to have a been a theme throughout this story. With this episode I feel it comes full circle.

    Coming back to the “show don’t tell,” as Enzo pointed out, this episode is largely silent, letting the imagery tell the story. This finale let me watch the story unfold, not hear it. It allowed me to put my own meaning to this story. For that reason, this is one of my favorite finales of all time.

  6. great show, better ending, forced to read the manga now(which is probably what they were trying get you to do in the first place)

    Thank you Enzo i’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts on this series

  7. It was a good episode and it was definitely really beautiful, but I can’t seem disagree with what others are saying (that it sucks). I wasn’t particularly satisfied with how it ended. Like it just needed a bit more, but I’m not sure what they could have added in to make it better. So overall I have mix opinions on this.

    And yeah Tokyo Ghoul overall (this is going to be just “my” opinion) was about average at best. Like, I wanted more from this series but it didn’t deliver. For example Kaneki joining Aogiri. Definitely wanted to see more of what he did with them.

  8. Maybe if they’d cut back just a tiny bit on the FOUR MOTHER *#&$ING MINUTES of Kaneki slowly walking through the snow they could have fit in something as trivial and unimportant as the showdown battle between Kaneki and Arima.

    But hell, people don’t watch a show like this for the action packed fight scenes now do they? Something like that can just be taken care of off screen and then alluded to for a few seconds later on.

  9. Enzo, why do you even try to polish a turd?

    The entire episode was complete waste of time and a failure in narrative, animation, and direction.

    If you thought all that buildup and fighting was going to make for an epic ending to Tokyo Ghoul,

    then you got fooled.

    1. The anime did a terrible job developing a lot of the CCG characters including Arima. This coming from an anime only viewer, why would I want them to waste time in the final episode on a character I couldn’t care less about? I understand it may have been amazing in the manga, but it wouldn’t have in this anime. I care about Kaneki and the others at Anteiku. Hide as well. The fact that this episode was completely revolved around Kaneki and Hide with a little Touka thrown in was just as good as anything I could have asked for. I understand its a disappointment to the manga readers, but for anime only viewers, there are plenty of problems in this second season and this finale is NOT one of them.

  10. Maybe I’m not an art guy but I can’t get into 4 mins of Kaneki walking through the snow carrying a dude to the song of the first season opening. This isn’t Kanon.

    SnooSnoo (@ShinJiwon)
  11. I love this anime original ending much more than the manga’s ‘ending’. For me, the anime’s ending represented the main idea of the story much better than the manga’s ending (not saying that one ending is necessarily superior). The manga’s ending focused on Kaneki and his personal problems which was excellently done and fine and all but it felt, well, out of topic. This is a story contrasting the nature of Man and “Ghoul” (or anything really perceived outside of societies norm), but not simply just Kaneki Ken.

    Kaneki Ken was supposed to represent the elephant in the room in the big picture of “Man” and “Ghoul”, but he certainly wasn’t the only outstanding factor. The story constantly reminded us of people like Shinohara, Amon, and Hide; ghouls like Yoshimura, Mr.Devil Ape, black corgi, Touka, Minami, her mother and etc. The story did this to remind us that at the end of the day, EVERY character in both man’s and ghoul’s side have a story to tell and the hope of life. The story was meant to focus on each respective faction’s similarities rather than differences which really pisses me off when people starts saying stuff in the comments like how the CGG should just go kick the bucket and shit I mean seriously, did they all forget that the humans that the oh so kind kind ghouls like Hinami’s mother ate weren’t always suicidal victims? Especially before she joined Anteiku? Indeed it sucks to see her die the way she did and all, but let’s not forget the fact that innocent civilians Ryouko killed to FEED ON(insert graphic image of kind moe ghoul mother tearing human’s apart) had their own family and hopes and dreams before they got ripped to pieces.

    But I digress. Basically what I’m trying to say is that the Anime original ending portrayed the similarity or harmony between man and ghoul much more artistically and beautifully than how the manga did (which was to focus on Kaneki’s human problems and how it affected him as a ghoul). Kaneki’s slow walk, transitioning between man and ghoul, holding a (seemingly) CGG officer was godly done and must’ve looked even more fantastical to the remaining CGG officers at the scene, possibly sprouting the first image of harmony between man and ghoul inside their battle-worn minds. The effect of the one eyed ghoul status was used to the maximum in the anime original ending and honestly, at least from a story telling perspective, much better done than the action packed ending of the manga which still btw doesn’t make a damn sense.

    Typed all this in a daze with my bodily function ceasing due to a lack of energy. Please advice ur own opinions and sorry if I somehow spoiled anything…

    1. Although I agree with you that the last episode of Root A depicted the theme of HUMAN and GHOUL quite well, the manga still did it much MUCH better. Yes, Kaneki played a huge role in the ending of the manga but it was for good reason. As a manga-reader, you should know that post Jason-Torture arc, Kaneki is obsessed with ‘eating’, more so than any other ghoul.

      “To live is to eat.”

      Without spoiling it for others, the ending of the manga uses this theme of EATING and Kaneki’s inner conflicts due to being both a human and a ghoul to a grand effect. Kaneki’s conversation with himself in the manga near the end was bordering poetry.

      Kaneki is the token boy of Tokyo Ghoul. Kaneki is the GHOUL and Kaneki is the HUMAN. HE is the main focus of the story and he is the one who single-handedly carries the THEME of Tokyo Ghoul. Although one can argue the importance of other characters like Amon, Juuzou, etc, NOONE can deny that Tokyo Ghoul is KANEKI’s story. That was Pierrot’s biggest flaw, in my opinion– stripping Tokyo Ghoul Root A of Kaneki.

      Poor animation, skipping scenes, none of that would have mattered if Kaneki was simply adapted right.

    2. I strongly disagree with you because the story is about Kaneki Ken, the boy who was turned into a ghoul. The anime definitely wasn’t though. While I can see what you liked about the ending and it was more suited for an ending for the anime since the anime isn’t about Kaneki. However the manga’s ending was much, much better. Chapter 140, Kaneki’s huge development was definitely one of the best parts of the manga. If they don’t plan on continuing the story and ending the series here then the ending was fine.

  12. On one hand, I kind of want to say that as much as I like the “show don’t tell” approach, this was a bit much.

    But on the other, this approach was probably for the best considering the rest of this season. Info dumps right at the end would’ve been a bad idea, because there’s just too much explain. This final episode itself might’ve been the best thing that could’ve happened to this 2nd season of Tokyo Ghoul but at the same time, it’s also a reminder of what the 1st half of the season did or more like, what it didn’t do. I really didn’t care much about not witnessing a fight between Kaneki & Arima, we’ve had plenty of fighting this season already which in fact, is part of the problem. If they shortened all the fighting we witnessed and offered some explanations as to what the hell is going on at times, especially through Kaneki’s head(and I mean from HIS perspective), this highly atmospheric “show don’t tell” episode could’ve been left unchanged and have and have a better impact on the us viewers.

    That being said, I really don’t consider this the horrible series many people claim it to be. Maybe after reading the manga I’ll consider it a horrible adaptation but still not a horrible anime.

  13. As a manga reader my blood demands I hate it in full.
    Though, if I objectively look at it and look past my discontent with the lack of truth to the story-content…it was truly a great ending.
    It held true to the all encompassing element of the entire series so well:

    This conflict with humans and ghouls is an eternal farce that only ends in everyone being unjustly hurt simply because they cannot help who they are.

    Still…elements to it felt as though it was starting to follow the story-content more with the way the previous episode went. I guess I was basing how ‘to-the-story’ the final arc of last season was and was really looking forward to them beautifully articulating Kaneki’s internal struggle into 22 minutes.

    Still, a good ending. I wonder if the anime answered out thoughts on whether or not Hide is alive considering he’s technically ‘missing’ in the manga. Though, many argue he was Show Spoiler ▼

  14. Let me post my opinion on the matter.

    I am definitely one of the vocal haters of this show. The first one had potential, but did not live up to it. Here is brand new “original” (i use the quotes deliberatey) show written by this renowned mangaka. To be honest I was relatively excited, but this show is just a mess. A huge mess that the more I think about it, the more I begin to question how this show can even be interpreted as anything other than a mess. It’s not even me looking at it and trying to be analytical. It is truely a mess of a show, both for anime and manga viewers.

    Now I am even questioning the idea that this was an original story. As far as I know, and I’m an anime only person, this wasn’t even all that different from the manga! No, manga readers were not expecting this. They were expecting an original story, not a botched, rushed, and boring summary of the manga which is universally deemed superior in every way. This was NOT an original story. Look up different plot points and you will see that besides Kaneki joining Anteiku (which ended up being absolutely random and pointless), this was just a rushed, botched, disappointing ending that took glory moments from the manga and absolutely wrecked it.

    Now that covers a majority of the manga viewers, but for a random passerby like me, why did I dislike it? This finale has absolutely no closure. It is hardly artistic. It’s a garbled mess that completely destroys the purpose of the narrative, and forgets about the ideals of what the show was trying to establish in the first place. Hide and Kaneki were admittedly nice, but in the end he just dies and the whole thing becomes absolutely pointless. First off, several plot points were completely skimmed over. The twins? The point of the raid? Kaneki and Anteiku (oh wait, this was random. Or was it “art?”) Touka running was artistic? Kaneki crying tears was artistic? To me this was the writers throwing in as much sad tragedy in order to cause an impulse of sadness withon viewers. Clearly that worked, but I thought it was cheesy, and most importantly, an absolute wreck.

    There is nothing redeeming about this show as a whole. The first half is boring, confusing, and absolutely terrible. The second half rides on the very minimal character development in the first season and a couple sweet cliche moments in attempts to instill feelings within us. Nothing in this finale redeemed anything in my opinion. To me, this wasn’t art.

    I mean, what really did come full circle in the end? You can’t tell me this is a case of things being left unexplained? Kaneki’s inner thoughts? Other plot points that weren’t even wrapped up? This ghoul x human philosophy? Nothing in this show wraps up at a psychological level. Things are left to be dusted away in the future. This is not an artistic vision — if this is the true ideology of Tokyo Ghoul, and this is truly the nuance it should have been going for, then the reception wouldn’t be this negative.

    Of course, I would not like to say I’m disregarding your opinion, hell even downright saying you’re wrong would be far from my intention. I just powerfully disagree with your opinion on this episode, and this is one of the most disappointing things I’ve ever experienced in a long time.

    1. One example they use in sales, I remember they quoted someone just don’t remember his name, anyway the saying goes like this: “Sorry for the long message, I lacked time to make it shorter”.

      If it has no function, remove it from the script. Probably the most basic and fundamental practice in writing, but it requires some effort. Seems no one on the board bothered to spend some time on this. If they hadn’t, why they bothered to make a second season is beyond me.

      Twins, discussion between Kaneki and Nayuta first episode, jail break and the mysterious prisoner, Amon and the priest, twins vs Juzo, and tens of others sub-plots, sub-discussions, and sub-features should have been omitted.

      If the budget is not enough to make quality fights animation all over the season, like the case in jail break, ask the author to limit fight seasons to X amounts as that’s what the budge allows (after all it was an original, so they could afford to optimize the script for the budget).

      Simplest things, no one bothered to think about them, like no one cared. Whoever was on board should be embarrassed with them selves.

      Unlike you, I totally loved season 1 and it totally blows me to see what they have done with the show. Now, I rather they left season 1 as it is without this garbage.

      1. Well I did enjoy Season 1. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have picked this up.

        Don’t think I’ll watch Season 3 if it comes out. Would rather read the manga (I mean hell the story didnt change at all from the manga)

  15. I’m completely with you 100% Enzo. When I finished the episode I was very surprised at the backlash over “lack of content”, and the many complains of the long walk. Personally I was tearing up quite heavily during that walk. Given the current state of the anime and the Manga, I felt this ending did it justice, and I much prefer it over a half-ass battle that we would never see the end to.

      1. i agree with “lack of content” tho, if u stop to think about how you would summarize season2 to a friend what would you say?

        **well kaneki joins aogiri.. and then…uhh…theres these twins…erm…some guy obsessed with jason….and well some battle in a prison for no reason whatsoever…and then a big battle at the end…anteiku coffee shop gets destroyed…some people die…or wait they may not have…oh but 1 thing we know for sure is that hide dies…and touka opens a new coffee shop**

  16. I agree that this ending was beautiful, artistic and better than every other episode of this annoying second season of nothingness. I personally thought it was more understandable ending than the manga one, and I didn’t like Arima’s use/characterization in the manga anymore than here.

    As a manga reader, I hated the ending there as it wrapped up about as much as nothing. So, any outrage about the anime ending may just stem from the manga source material already lacking conclusiveness in the first place. This entire story has a life goes on and tragedy will continue without resolution theme to it. When I discovered the manga sequel “Re:”, I facepalmed and just lamented how such a promising story turned so uninteresting for me.

  17. i believe this is one of those case where the creator and director butt heads. it’s probably why root A always feel all over the place. shirobako taught me it could happen.

  18. I can definitely agree with you on this one episode. A great way to send things off after the zig-zagging, criss-crossing, and so on that we’ve had for most of the season otherwise. This one episode alone doesn’t make up for all of that, of course, but it alone is something that will be hard to forget.

  19. hmm i liked the ending but as a finale for anime only viewers it answers nothing about half the stuff introduced in previous episodes. I read the manga so I know what happen before and after that and who those characters are but still.

    Altho, this episode gave a very important hint on the status of a certain character. Now off to reread RE: and admire my fave main character of RE: again!

  20. I agree with you Enzo. I’ve read the reactions of people on other forums and was shocked too. I think it’s all about in which perspective you see this episode/anime. For me, the things that it did show: The uselessness of the fight, the pain on both the sides, Kenbeing inthe middle of it and most likely not survive thanks to his compassion. These things were the stars of the anime.
    This anime wasn’t about Aogiri, about the essence of ghouls, about what Ken did with Aogiri, about the old man and his one eyed daughter. It wasn’t about all these. It was about a war being fought between a good and a bad side, and a neutral side being sucked up in it and being punished for their deeds in the past. It was about the pain of being unable to save what you want most.

    For me, this ending episode and the brilliant performance of the acoustic OP, was one of the best stuff in anime I’ve seen till now.

  21. @Enzo : I will agree with you with the fact that the director definitely has artistic flair and has talent. I personally don’t question that.

    Now as regards the reactions of people to the episode and the series as a whole, here is 1 view point of someone what has read the COMPLETED Tokyo Ghoul and is currently reading Re:.

    First of all Tokyo Ghoul, for better or worse is actually a completed work. It leaves a lot of narratives hanging and as you pointed out there are somethings that we do and do not know based on the series and the currently released chapters. That said, Tokyo Ghoul is actually complete in a certain sense as Re: actually takes part as an actual sequel to TG.

    I think the first concern of people who have completed TG is that it’s confusing for them. The Anime was suppose to be an Anime Original, or at least that’s what many thought coming in and this was reaffirmed by the first episode where Ken decides on a different path as that of the Manga. The problem though is where the story takes it from there. Even with the massive omissions from the story line which actually helps you make sense of the “match ups” at the end and even towards the end, the 2nd half of Root A pretty much followed the Cannon. So it leaves the “informed audience” expecting certain things to happen.

    One of these is “the fight” between Arima and Ken, which is actually lays the basis for Re:. I was actually waiting for it to happen but they faded to black right at the end and basically skipped it entirely, showing only a few frames that hints at the outcome. This annoys me as a reader as this fight is both the climax and resolution of TG as well as the one with Amon.

    The list of this goes on and on. Basically there is an identity crisis in Root A. Is it an adaptation or an original. They seemed to gloss over important details left and right which left the story disjointed an incomplete. The same feeling many got especially with this last episode.

    One thing I will give this episode credit for is the refocusing of the theme of TG. TG as Yomo pointed out, is a story about Struggling though life. Getting kicked, standing up, succeeding, crashing and burning but all the time struggling and moving forward. I think that scene alone partnered with Ken’s walk forward while the S1 OST was simply inspired. Sadly what came next eclipsed this all together for most viewers

  22. As a huge fan of first season of Tokyo Ghoul, the second season was garbage. I wouldn’t even call it anime. I never degrade people’s efforts, but when producers have a half-assed attitude toward their work, and they ruin things that shouldn’t have been hard to do right, I can’t find other words.

    I haven’t watched many anime but neither few, 2-5 a season for 12+ years. And it’s the first time I see a sequel of adaption being so bad (probably I haven’t seen enough).

    The focus of the discussion about expectations of manga readers and deviation of plot is totally invalid.

    You can deviate as much as you want, but if you do, be consistent, make sense. Simplest rule in writing, if it has no function, leave it out (they didn’t even bother to apply that). For instance, you have Kaneki move to Aogiri tree, for reasons he seemed to imply are same that Nayuta went for them. 12 episodes gone, and that hasn’t been addressed. The talk with Nayuta regarding his reasons, if you are not going to cover it later, don’t include it in the script, that simple. Basically, they lacked elementary writing practices and put no effort into. It’s same as you watch a building that doesn’t apply basic architectural practices, it’s garbage, regardless what components you fit into it.

    Never said this about a show, if I hate a show I don’t watch it. But this work, the second season (first was great), is an embarrassment, and it should be called as it is. Excuses about manga story deviation, budget, etc. are irrelevant as the flaws are fundamental.

  23. Finally someone else who shares my thoughts. I thought this episode was powerful as well. Sure the series wasn’t the greatest, and sure almost everyone raged (lol) but alone, the episode was powerful looking past all the shit that was left hanging.

  24. Right episode for the wrong audience. No need to make it more than that. 😉

    I agree, that it was one of the most artistic episodes I’ve seen in anime (and, as much as I enjoy anime, it’s generally overwhelmingly from a pulp fiction side than from an arthouse side), made more impactful by just how rare it is to see it in the genre, ESPECIALLY this genre, which is itself an interesting discussion to have, as it is technically seinen, but probably far and away draws a shounen crowd.

    As for the neverending general discussion on whether an anime should be faithful to source material or not, I’ve always held the opinion that I couldn’t care less how faithful or not anything is to its source material. Things either stand or fall on their own merit, in my eyes. Sometimes a director (or writer) will end up creating something I enjoy far more than the source material, sometimes they won’t, and it generally has nothing to do with whether they followed the source material or not.

  25. I should point out however, that the “general” crazy otaku opinion is usually of rabid hate for anything that doesn’t stick to the source material, something you, Enzo, must know as simply as breathing, lol.

    1. The whole point of art is that people will have different reactions.

      The thing is, this isn’t the right episode for the wrong episode. I don’t deny the artistic direction and believe the director can do better things. This was simply the wrong episode for the wrong show. Season 1, the manga, and the earlier episodes all were pointing towards a narrative direction, not one so artistic as this. Now was not the time for an artful episode.

      You can’t blame the audience. You have to blame how the show structured everything.

      I also question you. You seem to be questioning the intelligence of others for their lack of interpretation, when you couldn’t even keep up with why people disliked it. Looking at it at face value — “oh these damn otaku,” and then calling them crazy and challenging their mentality is not how you go across to prove a point (as hypocritical I may be :3)

    1. Answering that would take longer than my post on the Death Parade finale. Apples and oranges doesn’t cover it. I admire Nagahama, and he’s a great director at times. I respect that he tried to do something different with Aku no Hana. My problem is that for me, he failed spectacularly while Morita succeeded spectacularly. it’s not just about having pretensions to do something – it’s about actually pulling it off.

  26. I think most of us agree that this season of Tokyo Ghoul was a mess. But, indeed, this episode at least chose to focus on some consistent core themes of the show (e.g. Kaneki’s thoughts on the fighting; dealing with loss), and did it with much thought on visual and auditory delivery (though I do have some beef with the cloth covering Hide popping in and out during “The Walk”).
    If, in this episode, they attempted to tie the many strands left hanging, it would have been a total wreck.

  27. As a mangareader and someone who did not watch either the anime version or TG ROOT A I decided to watch this last ep since so many ppl were talking about, and I have to say I would’ve preferred this ending over the manga one. Both were tragic, but this one at least has a poignancy to it since it provides a sliver of hope of a better future with less senseless destruction…it felt like Kaneki’s message and story was getting across at least a little bit. The manga was just downright brutal and nihilistic…I’ve never seen a mangaka go to such extents of tragedy and savagery towards his characters.

    1. The manga’s ending would be pointless if it ended like that but because of the sequel Re it was the perfect ending. Kaneki’s fight with Arima was more than just brutality. It was big for Kaneki’s character development. Probably if not the best moment in the entire TG franchise. Root A completely shit’s on his character though.

      1. I’m not saying the manga ending was bad and pointless, in fact I find it quite innovative and like you said, an important scene for Kaneki’s character. It is just incredibly painful to read. That is why I said I’d prefer this kind of end. And it’s not just the ending, t/o the entire manga I catch myself asking sometimes why does the mangaka need to push things so far and even questioning whether all the cruelty is just for mere shock value. He manages to tie everything up neatly w/ a theme or purpose though (good world-building skills I suppose), so my suspense of disbelief hasn’t been tested.

  28. I follow Tokyo Ghoul manga myself but I also enjoyed the ending of the season. Yes, it really lacked the action that was present in manga, but I thought that manga itself lacked the silent deep tragedy feeling that the anime managed to depict.
    The silence of the episode compirses all the sad feelings that Tokyo Ghoul series carries, in my opinion.

  29. I think I was just ‘rick-rolled’ by this anime. I summerize my Tokyo Ghoul experience as follows:

    oh sh!t oh sh1t oh em gee noooo Kaneki don’t eat people noo Hide don’t die noo this Anteki business oh this Aogiri business and ccg. Yes, Kaneki convincing Amon, there is hope. Amon was convinced. Him and Amon can change the world they live in. Together. Hide what are you doing? I want to know how far he would go. What about aogiri what about…..

    Ok wth is this a joke? I went and read the manga and back here and my god it makes no sense. Is the author’s message of just ‘things can never be fixed’ or ‘if people never understand each other they will never understand?’

    This is so lame that I don’t know where to start. I can’t understand the debate of manga vs/ anime. This was one story that had ALOT of potential. ALOT of gaps and ALOT of no sense shitness.

    I would accept a tragedy without an effort. In stories where the people die, they at least fight for a cause. Here we have a blind police seeking blind ghouls who NONE even try to get across. NOT EVEN. C’mon, none of the charecters tried. They all wanted to like.. die or something.

    I think the writer was just like ‘hey, i will build up a story’ and then I will make all the charecters avoid talking to one another until it bombs and they all die.

    Stupid. Sorry, I am angry I even bothered with Tokyo Ghoul. Gj breaking my heart that’s for sure. I was sad for all the charecters. But I was even sadder at this stupid story.

    Sorry. I might anger a lot of people, not my intention. I just feel really betrayed by this half’a££ ending.


  30. Ok, let me make it as simple as possible, as a standalone episode it’s beautiful to watch all the neat touches of lighting and animation and the use of a good song that fits with that “walking” scene, it surely shows the skill of the director … but as the final ep of a 12 episode show and from a story standpoint .. it’s simply crap, yeah .. there is simply no denying that .. it seems that they tried to patch up the broken series in its final moments with some fancy art and direction but that does nothing to fix the crappy non-nonsensical narrative that kept throwing new characters at as and delivering questions without any answers and simply just ended like it’s nothing .. like there aren’t a dozen of plot threads hanging in the air .. however wrote this adaption should really think about changing careers (i can hardly believe the manga creator was involved here, i think there was too much meddling from higher ups here) .. the only saving graces of this show was the direction and music.

    Although judging by the ending scene with Touka all grown up and Anteiku repaired signals a new season in the works (or an OVA), the letters “Re” which were written on the green board made me thing it’s title will be Tokyo Ghoul:Reloaded, but after reading some comments here it seems there is actually a sequel to the manga called Re: …. well i don’t know what it means to show that in the anime other than a sequel being made based on that manga.

  31. The first episode of the second season, he joins the antagonist organization. At this point I became a lurker. I stopped watching but began reading occasional comments but not reading too much or watching. I hoped that it would turn around and make me want to watch it, at least by the finale. I just felt too much of a Shakugan no Shana vibe. I hate it when the protagonist becomes an antogonist. It smacks too much of betrayal. But now I see it’s over and I’m getting the impression that manga-readers don’t like it (nothing new- compressing books to film get the same reaction). But with the comments stating that things were still left in the air, unfinished… I enjoy a good artistic ending like the next guy but that doesn’t mean you have to leave things vague or not have a happy ending. In the end though, I haven’t committed myself to the show as you all have. Didn’t wait week after week hoping that the next episode would make the show better and be happy/sad when I either liked the next episode or hated it. Evil lurker. But is it worth watching? That’s the question in my head.

  32. I am looking forward to Tokyo Ghoul: RE Cmon they did the first part, then Root , now its left with RE. Now i read past this anime area, due to my couriousness, Im sure Tokyo Ghoul:Re will be released, since they hinted at Re with the Cafe’s Sign.. I wasnt disapointed with the Episode, it just left me wanting to see what occurs next deeply..

    1. glad I’m not the only one who noticed the cafe sign.

      Actually after this disappointing ending I went and checked the Manga finale as well as the Manga sequel named Re: and it’s quite interesting (I’m starting to think they made bad final episode on purpose to make people go check the Manga XD), the events in the Manga -No spoilers- are entertaining specially with where the latest chapters are headed, hope they do animate that chapter properly and recap any events they cut out in Root A with an OVA or something.

  33. After the episode stops, I just kinda sat and stared at the screen while thinking WTF?

    I haven’t read any parts of the manga, but will probably start reading it now. Found out they have a RE and JACK, so hopefully we’ll get to see those eventually.

    Artistically I loved this episode, just like I loved last season’s finale, but yes tons of plot threads just cast into the wind. The framing, shots, music, and silence were all done fantastically. I love that scene where Kaneki is walking through the CCG with Hide, although I feel like it goes on a biiiiiit too long. Also, I appreciate the symbolism of Anteiku burning down, but HOW did it catch on fire? For it to become that huge blaze means Kaneki must’ve been sitting there for a while too..

    Anyways, does anyone know which chapters the anime starts to deviate from the manga?

    1. The anime starts skipping scenes/details from Chapter 1 and one thing I’ve learned from reading Tokyo Ghoul is that small details are important. Sui Ishida uses a lot of symbolism and puns that are important hints to the story. So as much as possible, I suggest reading from Chapter 1.

      1. Awesome, thanks!

        After reading some of the comments above, it seems like a lot of plot threads are still left hanging in the manga too. I guess they’re addressed in RE, hopefully.

  34. I am still saying — WTF. Like many others, when I check the comments. Yes, very talented people who did the animation (loved the endings). The last episode can be considered art. But on the other hand, it was often like “lost in translation”. If ever 24 episodes per season were needed, then here. Therefore for me. The project feels very uncompleted storywise.

    I think it was better in the first season, when we saw the whole intro, the struggle of Kaneki — and then it was hurried.

    Moreover “Tokyo Ghoul: Re” is not nearly in the realm of the first series (so far). I think, alot more was possible.

  35. Well its a tough call, kinda.

    I havent read the manga, so there were no expectations story wise. Also i guess after having seen the first 12 eps, and the first few of the second half it already became rather obvious that there ll be no room for really fleshing out all those characters that popped in, leaving open answers, and likely a very sudden end or no end at all.

    So yes, i guess i ll have to agree, the last ep as an ep in itself really didnt do bad actually. Ofc it didnt really end the story, nor did it gave much in way of answers (to my many questions …), but yes, it did make a point, and that artistically.

    As a whole though, its clearly one of these 12ep seasons were i have to wonder how much more it would have been with 24 eps. It feels like there is, or rather should be enough background and story to make more than one season even, and thats true for both halves.
    And exactly that, that expectation that there could/should have been so much more of it, is what gives it a bad aftertaste, at least for me.
    That said, i m sure the last ep could have even been a lot worse in that regard. Imo a last ditch effort to somehow magically tie all up and trully ‘end’ it, would in all likelihood have been even more dissatisfying.

  36. I’ve read the manga myself and also watched both seasons of the anime. I must say that I’m pretty much ok with the anime. Of course it could have been better but I don’t see myself getting angry over it especially this finale. Like I said in Crunchyroll even if this final episode stayed true to the original people would have still bitched about it. I’m pretty sure anyone who has read the manga should know why. I mean let’s face it even the manga ending incited rage.

  37. For everyone who disliked this episode… I couldn’t possibly see why. Like many have stated the anime kept to the themes of ghoul or humans. Whose the bigger monsters? And then it come to a huge battle where it turns out a lot of them from both sides had honorable stakes. Meanwhile keneki is on the middle being destroyed by wanting power to protect while not wanting to hurt. The thing is both sides can be good and bad. It shows there’s a bigger connection than ghouls and humans are able to realize. We see hunans throughout the two seasons ask do ghouls have feeling while realizing in small moments they can be nice or did that ghoul save those humans from crashing debris. the battle between ken and Amon was perfect to sum up the fact that they do it because the world they currently live in. Then the finale ends with the start of that movement of humans understanding ghouls. With a ghoul being destroyed by the (apparent) death of his friend and giving himself up to cgg. Now for this who wish the fight was there it’s very obvious arima had his quinche and when it goes black you hear the sound of a brief case opening. Couldn’t they use this in next season maybe as a twist for when a amnesiac ken gets memory back and he gets to remember a brutal fight between his “dad”? Same with some missing agori moments; they could be used for flashbacks as well. So don’t be so glum and see that it’s probably setting up a sweet an still anime original season 3.

  38. Well, for me I really think it is that simple. I’ve read the manga, and you haven’t.
    I’ll admit to bias and not watching the entire anime, but what I’m arguing for is that while both the manga and anime roughly have the same themes, the way the manga goes about it is much better.
    I do sorely feel that there is a criminally small amount of people that realise Tokyo Ghoul is a tragedy, but really, I wouldn’t wax deep stuff over it. Kaneki is basically doing a peace-march. Using Hide’s dead body in the place of a banner or sign, he’s protesting to the CCG and asking to give peace a chance. The series doesn’t end off on the Kaneki Ken’s tragic flaw, but Kaneki Ken and the bad things that happened to him.
    Tokyo Ghoul is a “Clasical Tradgedy” where the protagonist’s downfall is due to his Tragic Flaw, in this case it’s Kaneki Ken desire to protect his loved ones and ensure that’s not left alone. Kaneki forms his own gang in the manga to ensure all threat to those around him are “plucked out”.
    SO in the final scene, Kaneki rushes to save Yoshimura and Anteiku despite being a shambling wreck, his goes way in over his head, and was killed by Arima. It’s not “development.”, it’s “downfall”
    Show Spoiler ▼

    So we don’t see Kaneki meeting his inevitable downfall caused by a generally good caused turned wrong. Oh sure, there’s still the conflict between Humans and Ghouls (Really just a flavouring when you think about it. A delicious flavouring.)
    Instead we get a long march where we just weep and sob as Kaneki protests to the CCG. “Why, cruel world, why? Why did you take my beloved from me? Look at what you’ve all done!”
    The anime in this case actually loses some of the symbolism and themes that make Tokyo Ghoul so fun to speculate about, and I’m sure you would no doubt enjoy all of these if Tokyo Ghoul was covered 100% accurately, like HxH’s Chimera Ant arc. Tokyo Ghoul is a very text-heavy and plot-heavy, remove a piece, and the story starts wobbling. It’s an absolute no-brainer to try and cover it in 24 episodes.
    If you can adapt anything decently, don’t adapt it at all.

  39. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry for saying this.
    But i only felt more let down by something that’s getting/has got so much hype since SAO came out.
    I’m not discussing your artistic views, or the manga (that i didn’t read), and i can’t care less about any difference between the anime and the manga itself.
    I’m discussing the show. As a whole. It revolves around an idea i loved (basically, “who’s good and who’s evil?”, but with monsters that can’t help with being “evil”), but then? Then what?
    It was so dishorganized it hurt. Everything is thrown in, shown for a few minutes, then POFF!, it’s gone.
    E.G., what was the point with the prison episode? What was the point with Touka running for an episode and a half? And that guy with white hair in the last episode… WHO is he? He appears for about 2 minutes, then in the last seconds, and that’s it.
    What’s the point with Kaneki cannibalizig ghouls to get a new power he only uses once?

    What was the point with my being able to identify, since their first appearance, who would have died, and how?
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Most of the named characters’deaths are of those you don’t have time to get attached to, or are directed disappointingly. I’m fast at crying; i even shed a tear whenever, in LoL, i find a team that understands a laggy teammate; that moves me, i just can’t help it. But no, not this time, not here. Both the seasons, whenever someone dies you know he’s about to. And hours with the characters crying over and over it doesn’t help with the feeling i didn’t get. Everything is hurried, everything is cramped, they just had to put it in, they didn’t know how to but they just had to.

    The fights are lacking, in terms of direction, animation and fun, and most of the times reason to happen.
    The animation itself is pretty bad, it all felt sloppy, and a couple of times the background didn’t move together with the characters; sometimes, characters turned 2D while moving aroung the scene, and the perspective got fkd up more than a few times.
    A ton of characters appear more than once and don’t do anything (not anything relevant, nor anything at all). E.G. what’s the point with Eto (the bandage girl) taking a whole minute to take off her bandages? What happened? Why was that scene there?
    Even the fake sadness thrown in to make you sympathetic towards the characters is so blatantly exhagerated it fails her purpose. Show Spoiler ▼

    And then it comes. Endless minutes of him walking with a corpse in his hands, sad music in background. A few seconds of uselessness. The white haired guy with his sword impaled in the ground. It’s over.

    For so long i’ve heard this word.
    In any moment i didn’t like something, this word came out. Here too.
    “It’s art”.
    He walked for a quarter of an episode (the last episode) with a corpse, for artistic reasons.
    They didn’t show a decent fight, for artistic reasons.
    They got me seriously confused about the main character’s mental state (as simple as it could be, but it kept changing his ideas for no apparent reason), for artistic reasons.
    They created something with maybe the worst animation i’ve ever seen. Is this for artistic reasons too?

    No, it isn’t.
    It’s not art.
    It’s not the wrong audience (who was it targeted to, anyway? The gore pretty much let me down, the fights were lacking, the animation was meh, and it didn’t even have fanservice. The philosofy/psychology… oooooooh yes, 8y/o me couldn’t have done better), it’s not the wrong episode to have the main character walking in the snow.
    It’s the wrong everything. They tried (and failed) to take everything that looked like a somehow important moment from the manga, mixed it with a leaking blender, poured it on a tv screen, and smacked it in the whole world.

    I’m happy i had the patience to look trough both the series.
    I got my chance to be let down so hard by 2 season finales in 2 consecutive days (yes, i was so eager to see something decent happening i watched the 2nd season without a break).
    I’m happy i had the patience to give the show another chance, searching online for an explaination to everything.
    I’m so unsatisfied with the answer i found. The only answer i found; “art”.
    A painting is art. A sculpture, is art. Music, theatre, cinema, food, a game, anything can be art. But, only if someone put his heart and soul into it.
    And i’m not willing to believe they actually tried to make this a good show.
    I’m not willing to believe someone actually wanted to make this artistic.
    I’m not willing to believe someone appeared and said “hey, he has not been doing anything but walking with a sad music in the background for the last 5 minutes, this must be filled with Art”.
    I’m not willing to believe someone fell for it.

    There’s a thin line between art and garbage. It’s called common sense.
    A white painting isn’t a way to express the inner torment of an author; it’s an exploit of people’s stupidity.
    What made the white painting artistic?
    The same thing that made Thokyo Ghoul (anime) and his last episode artistic.
    Not the author. Not the useless deaths. Not the final shot of the white haired guy with the sword impaled in the pure snow. Not the cheap philosophy brought to us during both the series (seriously, i was 8 (eight) when i reached the highest level of philosophy these 24 episodes showed us). Not the last walk, or the bgm.
    It was that first guy who said “it’s good” for his own reasons. And then his friend, who said “yeah, it is”, for his own reasons. And then whoever followed the hype train, until everyone who watched it after reading just this much about how good it is, couldn’t help but think “i’m missing something; what is subjective and easy to miss?”
    Here it is, a load of mashed seemingly meaningful scenes (do we want to talk about the meaning? Do we really want to?), suddendly becoming artistic.

    I feel emptyness in my soul, but that’s not the one the author wanted to show us, nor the one you feel when a show ends.
    Mine’s apathy, being so fed up of asking myself how long it would have been before anything satisfying happening, that i wanted to write something like this even before the last episodes.
    I knew the “art” was coming, and it did.
    I’m not writing this as an immediate post-ending rage, and this hasn’t been influences by anything i read online (but it looks like a poll about the ending (long walk only) counting 2000 votes had a satisfaction rating of 23%, with the “garbage” option quoted 52%. I’ll take that as a reliable source that, either, half the viewers are nothing but ignorant paesants or that there’s something wrong to begin with; i’ll go with the second option). I’m writing this because i’m sick tired of the fake art.
    Now, i want answers. What do you think “art” means? Where did you see that? How was the episode “gorgeous”? I can’t tell for the musics, but damnit, both the drawing and the animation had really awful moments… the only graphically appealing part was the long walk, just saying…

    That’s it; kill me, eat me, ignore me, tell me i’m a faggot that can’t understand shit about art because how could i be so blind not to see etc.
    But, if anyone could be so kind to leave a reply to those little questions up there, well, thanks

  40. This episode I feel had a very similar tone to eva. Both series ended giving me a feeling of emtiness and pointlessness that was tough to shake. I find it kind of funny how both series were met with very similar reactions.

    robert hopkins

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