Tokyo Ghoul + Tokyo Ghoul √A Review

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Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Action, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Seinen, Supernatural

Like I’ve mentioned in my Seasonal Recommendations post, I’ll be changing the way I rate the series. With that, I’ll also change last 5 reviews (basically the ones that appear on the front page) to correspond with the changes. I’m changing it for few reasons.

  1. Some shows have high rating only because of how the system works (average score = final verdict), meaning that if the story was flawed, but the technical side was amazing, it’d get a higher rating. A rating it didn’t deserve.
  2. I felt binded by 1-10 scale, and had a lot of trouble rating some of the recent shows.
  3. Just because.

In all honesty, the system worked fine to a point. So, instead of being in “shackles” of the numerical scale, I’ll rate the shows differently.

  • Categories have no score, but I’ll try to explain maybe more in-depth what are the strong and weak points of each of them
  • The “Final Verdict” category will contain a rating system similar to what Glass Reflection uses (If you are not familiar, he goes from “Fuck it” ~> “Stream it” ~> “Buy it” ~> “Certified Frosty”, with the last one being his best of the best).

With that said, here’s how I will rate the series from now on, from worst to best :

  1. Skip it/Avoid at all cost
  2. Rather niche title/Appeals to minority
  3. Fairly decent/Average Joe
  4. Quite good/ Really cool/Amazing
  5. Masterpiece

And for some quick explanations.. The names of the categories will vary. Some won’t, on the first glance, have anything to do with those written above. They will differ from review to review, or they may be exactly the same. However, they’ll be kept intact with those “bases” above.  You will be probably seeing some mix of those categories as well. Best example would be Sword Art Online II. It definitely wasn’t an amazing series (Category 4), but it wasn’t the most decent-ish thing we’ve ever seen either (Category 3), as such I felt like giving it a mixture of both. It’s fairly simple if you think about it..
With that out of the way, I humbly present to you Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul √A joint 2-in-1 review!

STORY

In modern day Tokyo, society lives in fear of Ghouls: mysterious creatures who look exactly like humans—yet hunger insatiably for their flesh. None of this matters to Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turns him into the first ever Ghoul-human half breed. Trapped between two worlds, Ken must survive the violent conflicts of warring Ghoul factions, while attempting to learn more about Ghoul society, his newfound powers, and the fine line between man and monster.

The story of Tokyo Ghoul and it’s sequel takes place in Tokyo, mostly in 20th Ward. We follow the daily life of Ken Kaneki as he tries to cope with his new “self”. The ghoul self.
See, as much as you may hate the show, the premise and the idea was there. Hell, it was an amazing idea! If only it stuck with that. We have no idea how ghouls came to be. We only know that their organisms cannot stomach human food, besides coffee and human flesh. Considering that our main guy is the only known half breed, one would expect that he’d learn everything about ghouls.. Apparently not.

The story itself is rather well organized, though there are issues with pacing. It may not be as prominent in the first season of the show, but the second one is an absolute massacre. Not only is it all over the place, but it makes absolutely no sense event-wise. Why did ghouls attack that place? We don’t know. What led them to doing X or Y? Or, what did they gain from that for that matter? We have absolutely no idea. And the series makes no effort trying to explain that.

Now, those could be considered nitpicks. They shouldn’t be, as those are major issues, but they could. The first season, baring the censorship, is really cool. The events are tied together, they make a lot of sense, and the character progression is very believable. There are no major Deus Ex Machina used, aside from maybe one instance, but that is still easily forgiven.

ArtVa

Then comes the part when Ghouls fight Doves, the “antagonists” of the series (I’ve watched the whole thing, I have no idea who is the real villain here..probably studio!). As much as I like two vastly different points of view on the same matter, and I have to admit that the show did an amazing job showing them, I thought something major was lacking. How could I have forgotten, what exactly are Ghouls’ Kagune and Doves’ Quinque? Throughout the series we see a lot of different types of Kagune, and we know nothing of their types, baring one. Then there are Quinque, made from Kagune, but how they are made remains to your imagination.

Tokyo Ghoul handles drama really well, but then again, only in the first season. Second season is a total garbage when it comes to story telling. Slight hints of romance here are there are also done really well, and are never put in a position where they’d hinder the overall perception of the story.

The ending is..shit. That might have been harsh, let me rephrase that. The ending that concludes both seasons and the story is utter garbage. That didn’t come out good either huh? To anyone who somehow missed the Tokyo Ghoul anime, I suggest watching the first season, and episode 1 of Tokyo Ghoul √A, and be done with it. I think that conclusion is way better than what was presented to us at the end of √A.

CHARACTERS

Characters

The characters of Tokyo Ghoul are, for the most part, really well written and very relatable. The cast is likable, and favorites probably come from both sides of the barricade. The show does a decent job developing the important characters, while leaving in the mud those it deems less important, though arguably more interesting.

I really liked this set of characters. Their combination and interactions were really impressive, especially in the first half (first season) of the show. And I say that, because second half introduces characters left and right with a glimmer of hope that we’d care about them after few minutes of screen time. Not good, not good at all.
But if you forget about that part, they are great. I liked them, and to some I could relate, which made it even better.

ANIMATION AND ART

ArtTG2

This is a strange moment. For two reasons. One : The art of Tokyo Ghoul changes from TG to √A. Two : The animation style changes from TG to √A.
In all honesty, the first half of the show (Tokyo Ghoul) had an amazing art and animation. There were some derpy moments and times where it didn’t look all that great, yes. But when you looked at it overall, especially in the bluray which I will get to in a minute, it looked really damn good.

Tokyo Ghoul √A, or the second half, changed not only the art style, but the animation style. And both got worse. Granted, the “stills” sometimes looked better, but seeing as the second half was packed with mindless action, it was clearly visible that it wasn’t even close to what the franchise has shown before.

Overall, it was alright. When you look at it by parts, clearly the first half is superior, but when you look at the overall product, it’s only alright. Nothing too outstanding, but nothing that would scream “decent!” either.
Great thing that blurays came out, as they made sure the annoying censorship of the first half was completely gone, and helped make second half look somewhat decent. I am of a belief that Tokyo Ghoul SHOULD ONLY be watched in bluray.

ArtVa2

SOUNDTRACK

Tokyo Ghoul has some really great songs on its OST list. They vary in genres, but most of them are kept in this melancholic-like sound, which was a perfect fit for the series. Various sound effects were also really well done, and the music fit the scene at hand. With that said, only few songs really stood out from the crowd and are perfectly fine to listen on their own without the anime backing them up.

Both the openings are really good, but the first opening is absolutely beautiful. It also has more visuals, compared to a “still” Kaneki’s face of the second one. The endings are comparable both in visual fidelity as well as sound. I couldn’t really pick the better one, as they were both really good.

The show has been licensed for dubbing by Funimation, but I haven’t heard it yet. My bluray copy didn’t come with it unfortunately, but I’ve heard mixed opinions about it. People are complaining about the voices not fitting the characters etc, but nothing about the script which would indicate that the first-time watchers may like it more.
For anyone else, the Japanese Seiyuu are fantastic, especially Gourmet’s VA. He. Was. Absolutely. AMAZING. The rest of the cast also did an amazing job, like I’ve mentioned, and their voices fit the characters.

FINAL VERDICT – It was alright, but then the Aogiri nation attacked, and screwed up.

ArtTG

In all honesty, the first half of Tokyo Ghoul is at least good. The second half is a garbage and shouldn’t have seen the light of the day at all. But since it’s out, it’s only bringing the entire story down. Like I’ve said before, I suggest watching the first half, and one episode of √A. That’s all you need, and you won’t be pulling out your hair thinking “how” or “why”.

I’d recommend the show if you like some gore, some acts of “cannibalism” and relatively nicely choreographed action sequences. It hold little value when it comes to story telling after a certain point and makes no sense, but if you want to “turn off” this may be just the series you are looking for!

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3 thoughts on “Tokyo Ghoul + Tokyo Ghoul √A Review

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