Tokyo Ghoul continues its violent fight between humans and ghouls in its latest installment, another excellent addition to the series.
Following the death of Hinami’s mother at the hands of inspectors Amon and Kureo as well as Touka’s attack on the assistant inspectors, both humans and ghouls are hurting. However, there is little time for grieving as the inspectors are still out for blood and now know Hinami’s face. How will Touka and Kaneki handle the dire circumstances?
Fans of seinen action series erring towards the more gruesome will definitely find appeal in Tokyo Ghoul.
Following the events of the previous volume, Tokyo Ghoul’s cast on both sides of the coin find themselves facing the after effects. For Kaneki, it’s another in what is sure to be a series of rude awakenings: the death of a friendly ghoul is just as horrible for him as it would have been if it were a human companion. Since the story has primarily centered around Kaneki’s internal struggles so far, it was good to witness his handling of events now that he has exposure to both ghouls and humans. On the other side, Inspector Amon faces a similar trial in the loss of his friend and fellow inspector. However, being unaware of the actual nature of ghouls, he sees the misfortune as very one-sided and thus it actually furthers his hatred of ghouls.
That’s one of the many benefits Tokyo Ghoul has as a series: while the opposing sides have obvious misunderstandings, you actually get to witness how, logically, the misunderstandings can come about. When you don’t understand why one person behaves the way they do, it is harder to empathize or be understanding to negative consequences of their actions, as Amon’s actions make perfectly clear to us readers. In short, it makes for good writing when readers are able to actually see this come about instead of merely being informed that it is a reality. That being said, just because Kaneki is both human and ghoul doesn’t mean that he is able to fully understand different sects of humanity he was never personally part of, such as the inspectors. He realizes the disconnect, and when the conflict between the inspectors and ghouls of the 20th ward resumes midway through this volume he realizes he must serve as a sort of bridge if he wants to create understanding. He has quite a bit of work to do, however, as although Amon and Kaneki face each other it is still difficult to get the message across.
The primary motive force for the plot in this specific volume centers around the 20th ward inspectors’ continued investigation as they search for Hinami. Unfortunately, Amon and Kureo now know her face and are dead set on hunting the little girl down. While Amon’s more obvious development is a very excellent part of the book when he encounters Kaneki and his way of thinking, it was actually Kureo that I found more interesting of the duo. Despite us as readers knowing very little about the seemingly psychotic old man hellbent on hunting ghouls, there are hints as to more to him beneath the surface with details such as his obsession with quinque that make me hope we hear more about his past in the future. Although I do consider Kureo a benefit to the series, my biggest complaint with this volume is also made more apparent by him. It feels like there is an almost too rapid pace currently. Although some parts such as the grieving in the beginning are done well, the periods in-between the fallout from previous battles and the next fights seem too short and I felt like some characters, in particular Kureo, suffered slightly because of it since I wasn’t as attached to him as it seemed like the series expected me to be.
On the earlier subject of the quinque, the weapons inspectors use to fight ghouls, we learn a horrible truth- the weapons are actually made from the kagune of previously killed ghouls. As such, the battles in this volume really showcase the kagune vs the quinque in devastatingly excellent and fluid illustrations. Although I would say that the ‘horror’ elements of the story in terms of conventional scariness have been toned down now that we understand ghouls better, Tokyo Ghoul has its horror elements in the destructive forces employed in battle. Kureo’s enthusiastic expressions, the terrifying beauty of the weapons, and the visible agony of the characters are all examples of this horror element and are a highlight of the battles.
Tokyo Ghoul is most definitely one of the better series to be released stateside this year. The continued dynamic between the opposing sides and the characters within them is both fascinating and entertaining, and although the pacing can slightly hinder the storytelling, this was likely my favorite volume thus far. That’s a feat made more impressive considering the quality of the previous installations in the series.
Tokyo Ghoul began serializing in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump imprint in September of 2011 and concluded at the same time in 2014. A sequel manga named Tokyo Ghoul Re: is currently being serialized, and the original manga received an adaptation by Studio Pierrot in Summer 2014 and a second season in Winter 2015. VIZ Media publishes Tokyo Ghoul in North America, and released the third volume on October 20th 2015 with a planned release of the fourth volume in English for December 15th.
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