I managed to finally finish watching the first season of Tokyo Ghoul after hearing so much about it. A lot of people told me to watch it because “it was amazing” and as a result, was considered a hit anime. After a month or two- when the first season’s fervor died down, I decided to sit down and make my own opinion of the show.
Like the main character of most anime, Kaneki Ken is a loner who conveniently has deceased family and only one friend. Oh- and a whole lot of bad luck. He enters the world of ghouls when he walks into a ghoul-run cafe but he has no idea- yet. Things get worse when he is befriended by the “binge eater” ghoul named Rize who (obviously) decides to eat him.
Back up. What are ghouls?
Ghouls are basically a bit cooler than vampires. They can only consume human flesh and coffee, when their ghoul sticks out, their sclera turns black and irises become red. They also have these powers called kagunes (which I haven’t figured out yet) and best part- they don’t burn in sunlight or sparkle.
So Kaneki is about to get eaten by Rize when a mysterious accident happens, resulting in Kaneki and Rize being rushed to the hospital and a doctor transplanting Rize into Kaneki. Weird? Wait until Kaneki starts showing his ghoul too.
The city of Tokyo is divided into sections and each section is generally run by a gang of sorts who claim the “territory” in which they can feed. Kaneki doesn’t know about these ghoul politics and but manages to catch the attention of a more peaceful ghoul organization that runs a coffee shop called “Anteiku”. Here, Kaneki is slowly brought into the world of ghouls and the meaning of the new life he has been given.
So the story is pretty well developed and Kaneki is really relatable. He’s a normal “nice” kid and loves reading, gets along with kids and really wants to keep his human friend. He’s also a sort of pacifist- always apologizing and trying not to hurt other people. When he’s hungry, he tries lots of different ways to stop himself from turning into a blood thirsty monster- including telling the guy who want’s to kill him to run before he’s eaten.
One thing I didn’t like was the censorship. The censors were terrible. Why would you black out half a screen in this weird, cheap sort of way. I mean, if you wanted to censor an entire season, you should have had a budget for it. And most of the censors didn’t make sense. So you have to invert a scene where it’s literally raining blood but you can show the guy with the white suit turn all red when it’s over and the blood drops on his face and his freaky expression? And what’s with choking being censored? That was ridiculous, especially when you could see the edge of the hand around the person’s neck but the censor is this weird slanted curtain hiding the neck.
There are uncensored version available but there is no way I’m going to waste my time to rewatch episodes just to see some extra blood scenes.
To sum up, Tokyo Ghoul was an interesting anime and it’s certainly understandable to see how it has become popular. I would suggest this to you if you are interested in the supernatural, can stomach blood and excessive violence, like being presented with gray areas/moral dilemmas where you can debate about who’s right and who’s wrong, then Tokyo Ghoul is probably worth it.
I’d give it a 4/5.
I would also give it a classification of PG16+ due to excessive violence, torture and psychopathic characters.