「夜明け Beautiful Dream」 (Yoake Beautiful Dream)
“Beautiful Dream: Daybreak”
Eto’s Sadist Philosophy
Love me some Eto. Such a statement might come across as hypocritical, given how I’ve criticised other characters whose evils did not compare with hers. So let me try to justify this double standard. There seems to be some kind of rationale behind her cruel behaviour, derived from difficult personal experiences, and that complexity is what makes her so intriguing to me. We know that she is Yoshimura’s daughter and the tragic circumstance in which she was raised, desperately fighting for survival in the 24th Ward. To me, she makes an excellent villain thanks to the nuance by which her character is portrayed, due in part to her alter egos. And if you were to describe Eto and Sen Takatsuki as being two separate personas in one body, that would be remarkably similar to Kaneki and Sasaki Haise. However, she seems far better at compartmentalizing these two identities into a human and ghoul component, whereas it’s a completely jumbled mess with Kaneki/Haise. In a sense, she’s there to provide counter-arguments to Kaneki’s idealism, and goes about it in such a wretched way I can’t help but feel awed at the productive dialogue it brings about.
Other than that, I thought her appearance as the One Eyed Owl started off exciting, before quickly falling off the wayside. Her combative prowess left much to be desired and I have a feeling she allowed Kaneki to win this one. That said, I think it would be a mistake to overly focus on the action segments when talking about Tokyo Ghoul, a series driven by the circumstances of its characters. Eto’s interactions with Kaneki were absolutely sublime, including that lick, which was topped off by that sordid love confession. And if you think about it, her plan was the only one that ultimately succeeded without a hitch, starting a while back when she delivered the parcel to Haise’s residence. We don’t know whether Haise is gone, or whether he’s still there, or if he’s been assimilated. But regardless of what’s occurred with Haise, Kaneki seems to be back.
So Kaneki awakens, and it’s pretty obvious that something is different about him. He is a darker person coloured by violence, and a newfound belief in survival of the fittest, sadistically putting Shuu and Kanae in a position where one had to die, and harshly rebuking Urie for lacking the strength to prevent Shirazu’s death. Will this be permanently embedded into his personality? We’ll find out in October, but I personally don’t think that it’s permanent. He indirectly caused Kanae’s death in what seemed like a calculated move, and her sacrifice hit the right notes, in spite of feeling rushed. I felt sorry for Kanae, specifically for the fact that her love would never be requited in a satisfactory way. But at least she died happily protecting Shuu. On the other hand, Shirazu died a dog’s death.
It was upsetting to see Shirazu slowly losing access to all the senses, believing himself to be alone in death, and that nobody would help his younger sister, despite the Quinx Squad members urging him to live on. The moment wrenched my guts, especially seeing the culmination of Urie’s development come to a head, where he goes from this stone cold asshole to a vulnerable person emotionally overwhelmed by the death of his friend. With death, I always find myself moved by the reaction of others, as opposed to the death of the person itself. The living carry burdens that the dead cannot. However, I couldn’t help but feel that the moment lost potential impact. As it is, we barely know the Quinx Squad and the anime dropped the ball in helping us to become more familiar with them, though it did try. We just didn’t get enough time to properly explore their characters. And hopefully, the Quinx Squad will help to cover the medical bill for Shirazu’s sister. It is the least they can do in honor of his memory.
For the majority of my musings, I merely wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings on the Tokyo Ghoul series as a whole, rather than focusing on the shortcomings of these adaptations. But in hindsight, when it comes to evaluating what the series managed to achieve, it’s only fair to put on my analytical goggles and go back to reviewing the imperfections that I had initially skimmed over.
I’ll be frank (even though I’m actually Zaiden) – this adaptation doesn’t live up to the source material by a long stretch. You would expect a series of Tokyo Ghoul’s popularity to receive a more comprehensive adaptation, yet it’s remained underwhelming throughout three iterations. Time and dedication cannot be substituted with meager shorcuts, in terms of exploring the complex setting that Ishida has created, affecting the intricate stories masterfully woven between the folds of Tokyo Ghoul’s reality. Adapting 58 chapters into 12 episodes is pacing akin to covering 4 chapters per episode, a ridiculous compression that would be bound to piss off manga fans to no end.
In Defense of Studio Pierrot
But before we all turn on Studio Pierrot like a pack of ravenous hyenas, and while criticism would certainly be warranted in regards to the inconsistent animation, I just want to point out that they have little input over pacing. They do other work pretty fantastically without an issue – Akatsuki no Yona, Osomatsu, Baby Steps. So what is the other common denominator behind these poorly paced adaptations? Shueisha is the answer. When Shueisha ask you to adapt 60 chapters in the space of 12 episodes, you do as you are told, because they own the intellectual property and have far more leverage in negotiations. And it’s pretty obvious when you look at it from their perspective as publishers. It’s exorbitantly expensive to fund anime production, so why produce 6 seasons and suffer a loss, when you can turn a profit by cramming everything into 3 seasons? Not to mention if the anime does too well, that could potentially eat away at manga sales, where people opt to purchase the anime over the manga, turning the anime into a competitive source of revenue. This business model of Shueisha’s becomes very apparent, when you look at how they go about Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc. However, Pierrot and Toei are always made into convenient scapegoats, where people fail to look beyond what lies on the surface.
Making Sense Out of Ishida’s Orchestrated Madness
In my opinion, the anime did a reasonable job of simplifying the manga for mass consumption. Unless you commit solid time reading between the lines, you’ll still lose track of what goes on in the manga, because Ishida is utterly inefficient with methodical detailing. He goes about explaining concepts in a roundabout manner, and the loops tie into each other like a jumbled knot, confusing many manga readers like myself. Of course, you could attribute this issue to my laziness/lower IQ, but I think it’s generally the author’s responsibility to convey their messages in a clearer way. Hunter x Hunter does fantastic and equally detailed world building, without suffering any of these pitfalls, and I felt the anime managed to avoid these same pitfalls, albeit by cutting out a lot of details. Not exactly ideal, but it got the job done by conveying the story at a fundamental level, which is something that deserves credit.
I greatly enjoyed covering Tokyo Ghoul:re, because the issues with its adaptation didn’t quite bother me like it did for other people, even if those weaknesses were too defined. Also, it gave me a chance to discuss about the series that I wouldn’t have had, given how manga is no longer covered on RandomC. Covering the split cour in October depends on whether I can find the time in my schedule, once autumn rolls around. With best girl Touka being back, which would suggest that the folks who were part of Anteiku are about to become relevant again, I’d say that’s pretty likely at the moment. After all, we ended at a place that dropped many questions, without answering them. What happens to Shirazu’s body? Who is Furuta actually and what is his agenda? What does this spoilerish fight mean? But the situation can always change, and I do not feel comfortable making a promise where I’m not too certain. Anyway, thanks for sticking it out and reading my posts till the end, and maybe see you in six months time!