In a less twisted than expected first episode, we meet Kaneki and learn about the ghoul epidemic.
Trigger Warning(s): Body Mutilation
Review (with Spoilers)
Every season there is at least one twisted looking anime which comes out. But unlike horror movies from America, twisted animes usually have a good plot and have something to offer beyond grotesque imagery which may make your stomach churn. Tokyo Ghoul is no different, and while it isn’t as eye opening as I expected, the first episode was good.
Topic 1: I’m Just a Simple Man – Kaneki and Hide
Young Kaneki and Hide have been friends since they were kids, and like many animes their friendship has a clear extrovert and introvert balance. Hide is the extrovert, willing to embarrass himself and Kaneki as he flirts with the waitress, Toka, and Kaneki is the poor introvert you know terrible things are bound to happen to. Though, if for a moment, as he talks about this girl he likes, you think maybe something bad won’t happen to him. Maybe he may see some messed up things, but will become stronger in the long run.
Well, while we may not get any clear sign that he may get stronger, he does show he is capable of at least talking to a girl properly, unlike Hide. Thus leading to him getting a date!
Topic 2: Ghoulish Figures
In the 20th ward of Tokyo there seems to be a major ghoul problem. One ghoul, a dangerous binge eater named Rize, has caused quite a bit of havoc and seems to have upset the balance of the area, seemingly controlled by an organization named Anteiku. In fact, her actions are so disruptive that not only do the humans want to find her, but other ghouls as well. For, you see, while ghouls are cannibals, they are fully capable of masquerading as humans. Though, at first, you are lead to believe the sole thing separating ghouls and humans are their diet, though with time we learn this is far from true.
Topic 3: A Date To Remember – Kaneki
Kaneki’s aforementioned date goes quite well. They talk about this author they mutually love, Takatsuki Sen, and Kaneki feels comfortable enough with her to open up about his deceased parents. Then the night ends with Kaneki walking the young lady home, or so it seems. For while they walk down a dark alley, we learn this young lady is Rize! And while she may have been interested in Kaneki, it was only to consume him. So, with this reveal, he naturally tries to run away as Rize uses her tentacle like arms to fling him into the heart of a construction site, and preps to eat and dismember him.
Luckily for him though, at least to a point, steel pillars crush Rize and Kaneki gets survive. Well, after a few organ transplants anyway, of which his eye is the only obvious one. And while he does ultimately recover, something is different. All the food he tastes just doesn’t do it for him, even his favorite hamburger. Then, upon hearing this Albert Einstein look alike talk about ghoul biology, he realizes that when he received Rize’s organs, he himself became a ghoul.
With this knowledge he seems to alienate himself for a bit, though eventually he comes outside when Tatastuki is supposed to be in town for a book signing. Which perhaps was a bad idea. You see, with him seeing and smelling flesh, he damn near loses his mind. Then, to make matters worse, he ends up in an alley where a fellow ghoul, Kazuo, is feeding. And while you would expect Kazuo to scare Kaneki off, instead he offers to share his food. Well, that is until Nishiki shows up and kills Kazuo, and then goes to kill Kaneki for being on his newly claimed turf.
But, thankfully for Kaneki, Toka shows up and announces herself as some sort of authority figure within Anteiku. And being that Toka is younger than Nishiki, he doesn’t take her seriously at all at first. But with them having a quick fight, Toka shows why she is an authority figure. This leads to Nishiki retreating and Toka and Kaneki communicating. He speaks on his desire to stay human and Toka seems to pity him at first, but as he becomes annoying, especially with his refusal to accept how things now are, she forces him to accept his new life. How you may ask? Well she jams the remains of the person Kazuo was eating in Kaneki’s mouth.
The beginning of the episode makes you think this is going to be really twisted as they block out Rize eating multiple humans and this ghoul in a hockey mask coming for her. But as the episode goes on it really does seem like with Rize being gone there maybe some sense of normalcy returning. For while bodies are still likely to pop up, since a ghoul got to eat, the power balance may return since, looking into Rize’s profile on Wikipedia, it seems she was one tough son of a gun who loved taking over other’s turf. Making me wonder what future episodes may have? Especially considering how creepy a lot of the ads for this are.