“turn: In the End”
Exactly who resides within me? I’m broken, so broken…
Inner Conflict of the Quinxes
Operation Nutcracker had some beautiful animation and choreography direction, with graceful motions and an emphatic closure. Shirazu figures out the mechanism behind Nutcracker’s kagune traps, and utilises his newfound knowledge to bring about her demise. That said, our young investigator seems to have gained a new chip on his shoulders. Shirazu echoed my sentiments, admitting these ghouls exhibit uncomfortably human behaviour, that really makes you think twice. Yes, a threat to human society has been vanquished. Yet she also led a tragic life, and given how Shirazu is heavily motivated by money, he completely understood the hopes, dreams and aspirations that she died with – ones quashed with his own two hands. Shirazu seems quite haunted by the idea that he too might die without ever achieving his goal. Considering how he realises that ghouls aren’t too different from humans, killing them is gonna be a lot harder, and each death will weigh heavily upon his conscience. I hope that the anime will explore this moral quandary that besets Shirazu, regarding how it affects him (specifically how it conflicts with motivation to earn money), as well as how he might come to eventually reconcile with such a notion.
Somewhere else, Urie is also having a hard time. Even though he conducts his business with such an obnoxious and pompous attitude, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. You have to remember that he sacrificed a lot and worked bloody hard to try and catch up with Sasaki. His forgoing of sanity for this increase in power should serve as testimony to the lengths he’d go. But even with the upgraded frame, and despite everything he put into gaining some recognition, Urie gets utterly curbstomped by Big Madam. Though he lashed out at Mutsuki, which I found inexcusable, I thought they shared a really touching moment. Despite having a fist punched through into their guts, Mutsuki chose to show their Kagune to Urie (something they’ve never done so far), before pulling him in for a warm and accepting embrace. I look forwards to seeing if this can mark a turning point in Urie’s attitude, because if it weren’t for such a misguided outlook, he’d easily have the makings of a solid character (owing to well-defined strengths and shortcomings).
All in all, this was the kind of development that the Quinx Squad needed, complete with fleshed out interactions between its members, and I’d like further character progression to continue on for the foreseeable future.
Attempting to Unravel Sasaki
Takizawa had a field day brutalising Sasaki, subjecting him to an utterly hellish beating. When Sasaki’s blood curdling screams of pain were broadcasted for all to hear, shivers ran down my spine. Akira was understandably disturbed, and Saiko bolted off to save her Maman. However, it was Hinami who immediately defied her responsibilities with Aogiri Tree, so that she could aid Sasaki. It truly tugged at my heart strings, seeing Hinami desperately trying to protect her onii-chan who could not even remember her. But then Sasaki stood up, in spite of the thrashing he took from Takizawa, and you know hell is about to break loose when ‘Unravel’ starts playing.
For me, there’s no denying that the lyrics of ‘Unravel‘ epitomise the struggles that Kaneki has faced since the start of Tokyo Ghoul. That said, Kaneki’s problems no longer pertain to rediscovering his identity as a one-eyed outlier. Despite his efforts, Kaneki failed to muster enough strength to overcome his tribulations. And consequently, he paid the ultimate price, losing his identity in the process. Now, he’s not even strong enough to take back his own body, facing possible eradication at the hands of Sasaki’s whims. It’s tragic, really.
If you consider how kid Kaneki pleaded ‘Please don’t erase me‘, it signifies his fear of erasure and reflects another line of lyrics from the song: ‘Please don’t forget me, don’t forget me, don’t forget me, don’t forget me!‘.
Then you have all the other parts of the lyrics, which describe being locked away in solitude from a place that cannot be broken out of. This perfectly encapsulates Kaneki’s situation, being imprisoned in Sasaki’s consciousness with no means of escape, while perpetually fearing erasure. Finding a place within society is an external element in and of itself, while a struggle for control between two consciousnesses in one body is entirely self-contained. So as I’ve said, this spawns a whole new struggle against the self, pivoting around a new kind of existential crisis greatly differing from what we’ve seen in the past two seasons. I’d say there’s a chance it’s finally come to a conclusion, with Sasaki choosing to accept and embrace the Kaneki aspect of himself. Rather than marking him out as this alien consciousness that needs to be removed, he acknowledges that Kaneki is also very afraid of loneliness and needs protecting. Personally, I want a future where these two personalities can peacefully co-exist, without the need for one to be destroyed, because they play off each other in a way that offers significant value to characterisation.
Anyway, I’ve managed to express most of my thoughts. As always, thanks for reading my post and hope to see you next week!