Tokyo Ghoul Review

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By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Society is a complex beast. With millions of people comes millions of personalities and views, and it is inevitable that not everyone will get along. Aside from varying opinions and views, society also has people who base their opinions and views on foundations of ignorance and ethnocentrism. Such things lead to feelings of hatred and anger towards others as well as fear of what we don’t necessarily know or take the time to discover for ourselves. And this is where one of the big problems lies with society and lays a foundation for the latest from Studio Pierrot, Tokyo Ghoul.

Ken Kaneki is your typical college student. He goes to school, has friends and is focused on being successful in his studies. He meets a woman named Rize Kamishiro at a local coffee shop, and the two plan a date. While on the date, while walking through an alley, Rize reveals she is a Ghoul, a human like figure who prolongs her life by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of humans. She leaves Kaneki in critical condition before being killed herself. At the hospital, the doctor decides to use some of Rize’s  organs to save Kaneki’s life. But by using Rize’s organs, Kaneki becomes a half ghoul now, needing human blood to survive. He meets other ghouls and learns what it means to live their life, the strengths the ghouls possess, the fear and hate they receive from the normal humans as well as the groups who hunt them down to destroy them.

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Tokyo Ghoul isn’t your typical anime, spending more time with character development and posing a reflection on society today to pound the messages home a little harder. People fear what they don’t know and opinions are often handed down through time and through biased views or media misrepresentation leading to prejudices and racism. So it is with Tokyo Ghoul. Ghouls are the minority by far, living hidden lives for fear of how they are perceived by the populace and what may happen to them should they make their true selves known. Because they look like a normal humans, they are able to co-exist, but keep their true identities concealed. Though they must survive on human blood, with some other options available, they are, more often than not, good people who intend no harm to humans. They just want to live their lives free of persecution. They have families, children, and work normal jobs alongside humans. Tokyo Ghoul bluntly brings discrimination to the forefront and makes people realize what is happening while reflecting on our own lives and worlds in an attempt to make our world a little bit of a better place to live.

A dark and dreary world is presented in Tokyo Ghoul, and rightfully so. The world they characters live in is not happy and it is expressed in the colors used by the animators. The lives of the individual characters reflect their world also, more so with the ghouls. Children who lose their parents by an organization who hunt ghouls, people who have their siblings killed in front of them, and those who have a difficult time functioning in a world where they are not understood, leaving them feeling like outcasts with no real way to express their feelings except through acts of violence. These scenarios are also common in many of the lower income societies around the world and further reinforces the fact that there is a global problem and the divide between groups is continuing to grow.

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Tokyo Ghoul is definitely not a light anime, but the deep view presented are intertwined, as the series goes on, with action sequences which slowly turn the series from a group who tries to live a quiet existence to one which must fight to save themselves and preserve their way of life. The series is a short 12 episodes in length, but this is easily a midway point, or less, as much more story lies ahead with a likely season two in the future. And with such a solid foundation, intricate story, fully fleshed out characters and an intriguing story, Tokyo Ghoul provides one of the more interesting anime from the summer of 2014.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 


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