This is my first TV/anime review. Most of you have probably at least heard of Tokyo Ghoul; it’s currently one of the most popular anime series.
I will be ranking my animated TV reviews on five things, similar to my book reviews: story, characters, animation, soundtrack, and world building. I will also include some pros and cons. I will try my best to be spoiler free.
Summary: Tokyo has become a cruel and merciless city—a place where vicious creatures called “ghouls” exist alongside humans. The citizens of this once great metropolis live in constant fear of these bloodthirsty savages and their thirst for human flesh. However, the greatest threat these ghouls pose is their dangerous ability to masquerade as humans and blend in with society. Based on the best-selling supernatural horror manga by Sui Ishida, Tokyo Ghoul follows Ken Kaneki, a shy, bookish college student, who is instantly drawn to Rize Kamishiro, an avid reader like himself. However, Rize is not exactly who she seems, and this unfortunate meeting pushes Kaneki into the dark depths of the ghouls’ inhuman world. In a twist of fate, Kaneki is saved by the enigmatic waitress Touka Kirishima, and thus begins his new, secret life as a half-ghoul/half-human who must find a way to integrate into both societies. (Credit, Tokyo Ghoul MAL).
Story: 3/5: I would’ve ranked this higher, as I feel like the story of a normal person thrown into a new world by accident may be clichéd by this point, yet this would have a dark twist to it. But sadly, I feel as though there are some logic problems; I think they should’ve explored the way Kaneki became a half-ghoul, as in, mentioned the surgeon who accidentally made him this way. It felt too strange to be truly accidental. However, this may be cleared up in the manga or Root A. Otherwise, I think this was a twisty, creative story.
Characters: 3.5/5: We didn’t see a ton of growth character wise in this series, except with a select few, mainly with Kaneki and Touka. They were amazing characters who developed naturally and whom I both cared for by the end of the season. But that doesn’t mean others were less interesting. I just wish we could’ve learned more about them. But this series does score points with me, as the characters are unique, and those with…let’s just say, some mental problems, weren’t the same type of crazy. And they were able to make me worry about characters I didn’t even have a strong emotional attachment to, and were able to take downright hateable characters and make them likeable (I’m looking at you, Nishiki…). But I wish we could’ve learned more about the owner of Antekiu (can’t spell…), and his reasons for helping any ghoul, and I also wish we could’ve seen more of Hide, Kaneki’s best friend. I think he could be a great character; he has fantastic observation skills (could be as good as Sherlock’s), yet with a more outgoing and friendly personality.
Animation: 5/5: This was one of the best parts of the series. Beautifully animated, with details and just…oh my gosh. I can’t even explain how gorgeous it looked. I’m not good at gushing about that. The coloring and movement and shading were all on par. This has some of the best animation I’ve seen for a while.
Soundtrack: 5/5: This also helped make the series so good. Unravel is probably my current favorite anime opening, with a beautiful song (although TK’s voice is a little off in the quieter moments, but it’s not as bad as some) with lyrics that communicate Tokyo Ghouls’ message even better than the show. And the soundtrack in general is amazing, especially the Tokyo Ghoul Symphonie.
World building: 4/5: I feel as though the way a world living in fear of Ghouls, whom people see as monsters they can’t see, was portrayed well. It was eerily similar to our world, and if Ghouls actually existed, I can see the CCG happening. So I think their world was like ours, but with some differences that made sense.
- Animation and design- This was some of the best animation I’ve seen for a while. It may not be “unique”, per se, but if we’re talking about normal anime, this stands out so much more with backgrounds, character design, and subtle detail.
- Some characters had fantastic development: Kaneki’s transformation from human to awakening the Ghoul inside him was amazingly written and shown. His pain and emotions shine and feel incredibly realistic. He’s a realistic main character. Touka seems like a cold hearted tsundere at first, but she starts to show cracks in the ice of her demeanor as the show goes on, and it’s shown just how deeply she cares for others.
- The last seven or so minutes of episode twelve: in some ways, this show is worth watching for the sake of those minutes. The animation is at its best there, in my opinion, an extended version of Unravel plays in the background, and it’s one of the best fight scenes I’ve ever watched. While episode 12 was near torture for me to watch ( that was an awful joke. I apologize. But you know a torture scene is brutal when you have to watch the dub so you can switch tabs…) But seriously, those last few minutes, from animation, soundtrack, and dialogue, are top notch.
- The CCG’s portrayal: I feel like this anime has the same problem that the Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke had; obvious bias to one side. In this case, the writer clearly liked the Ghouls more, and portrayed them in a better light,even though organizations like Aogiri Tree were just as bad as the CCG, if not worse. And it didn’t help that Mado was the lead character with the CCG.
- Yamori’s torture: Don’t get me wrong, the torture scenes were portrayed well. I just don’t like Yamori’s reason for doing all those things to Kaneki. In the manga, it literally said that the torture’s purpose was torture. And that ticks me off. I feel like everyone has a motive for doing things. And when they say something like that, it just sounds meaningless. And it may just be my personal problems with that, but that ticked me off more than even Mado’s character.
- Underdeveloped side characters: I touched on this earlier, but some characters just felt underdeveloped or flat. Almost everyone at Anteiku seemed interesting in their motivation and reasoning, but they just weren’t shown enough screen time. Same with humans like Hide and Touka’s friend. They just seemed flat in comparison to the moe developed characters. And I understand that they couldn’t develop every character properly, but I wish they could’ve worked with some characters with more screen time.
Overall Grade: 3.5/5. Despite my problems with underdeveloped characters and plot holes, I hope I can find answers in the manga or season two. The saving grace is the animation, soundtrack, and development of the leading characters.