Every year there is that one incredibly popular anime that comes out. Last year it was One Punch Man, in 2012 it was Sword Art Online and in 2013 it was Attack on Titans. In July 2014 (I could’ve sworn it was May 2014 but oh well) an anime you’ve all most likely heard of, Tokyo Ghoul came out and since then has been made into memes, been heavily praised and also heavily criticized much like any other mainstream anime. If you didn’t know I struggle to enjoy an anime that gets hyped up, it is the reason why I struggle to enjoy Attack on Titans or Cowboy Bebop as much as other people have. However Tokyo Ghoul is an anime that received lots of praise but also a surprising amount of criticism that made many people say it’s an average anime.
Tokyo Ghoul follows a college student named Ken Kaneki (it’s so weird saying it like that) who asks out a girl name Rize on a date. The date is all great but then Kaneki discovers his date is a ghoul and she attacks him but fortunately Kaneki survived this but Rize didn’t. Rize’s organs were transplanted into Kaneki’s body and in result Kaneki becomes half-ghoul.
Tokyo Ghoul has the best first episode in anime I have ever seen. It introduces the anime perfectly and you already understand Kaneki’s problem with being half-ghoul. The anime addresses the themes of ghouls feeling alienation and wanting to fit in with humankind and that ghouls don’t want to kill humans but they don’t have any other way to survive and then we see the humans perspective on how ghouls are horrible for killing so many humans and you just understand both sides. The pacing is just right and the plot of the anime fits so well. Not to mention Tokyo Ghoul despite ending on a cliffhanger, the first season’s ending is fantastic, it made you want more but you felt satisfied with what you just witnessed because it blows your mind. However if it weren’t for the second season, Tokyo Ghoul would be disappointing because regardless of how great that ending is, it isn’t a proper ending, it doesn’t make you feel like the anime is complete.
Kaneki is a very well fleshed out character. You can connect with him and yes he may come off as weak but I can’t blame this character for being the way he is and I actually really like Kaneki. Kaneki’s character development in the last episode though it’s late it is still great development. The characterization of the other main cast is fascinating. I adore the character of Touka, she is a badass who comes off as harsh but you can just understand her dilemma as a character. I like the human character, Amon, who is a Ghoul Investigator, he is a good person and you understand his perspective of the ghouls which is much like other humans. Though I wish I could hate this character, I love the character of Shuu Tsukiyama, he is a dick and is just a psycho but his character is so funny and entertaining it was hard for me to hate him not to mention I kind of want a yaoi relationship between him and Kaneki even though there are so many reasons why they shouldn’t end up together.
Tokyo Ghoul’s problem is the lack of development for supporting characters. I actually wish I knew more about Rize, she is very important to the anime yet we don’t really know much about her. As much as I disliked him, I wanted to know more about Mado but we don’t learn much about him. The anime needs more Hide, he is happy side of the anime being Kaneki’s best friend and Hide is just a good friend but he is so under-developed. Lastly the bonds between the characters are quite under-developed, for example the relationship between Touka and Kaneki is so unclear I mean is it suppose to be romantic or friendship, either way it’s not a good representation of the bond between them and their are more character relationships that are like this.
The animation is done by Pierott who have also done animes such as Midori Days an anime I watched last year. Tokyo Ghoul’s animation is fantastic with it’s dark colors and tones. The character designs are all beautiful and well done, my personal favourite design is Kaneki’s though it appears plain it is just how he looks with his mask. The biggest flaw that people experienced with the animation is censorship, I watched this anime uncensored but when I looked at censored scenes in the anime, the censorship is just horrible. It’s fine when they change the color of the anime when there is blood everywhere but when they censor half the scene where you can almost see nothing going on then that is just shitty censorship, so my advice is just watch this anime uncensored if you can.
The anime opening is AMAZING! This opening is just great to listen to giving off this dark feeling of alienation and judgement. Watching the animation that accompanied this opening is great too my God. However I never cared much for anything else involved with the music honestly, except for the OST that plays when Shuu is… well being Shuu… I recommend you watch the scene for yourself it is creepy yet somewhat hilarious.
Despite knowing the anime has an English dub, I chose to watch this anime in Japanese but the dub isn’t actually bad. Most of the characters were well done, Brina Palencia did a pretty good job as Touka. But one of my favorite performances were done by Monica Rial as Rize and at first I had doubts for this performance, I knew she’d nail the cuter side of Rize but not the batshit crazy side but Monica Rial surprised me because wow that is great voice acting. Also J. Michael Tatum did a great performance as Shuu, at first I thought this won’t be good but it turned out a lot better than I expected but he didn’t nail it as well as the Japanese and I’ll get to that. Finally Austin Tindle as Kaneki is actually quite a disappointing performance, he didn’t flesh out Kaneki as well as I wish he did making it not much of an appealing performance.
Now the Japanese, I liked all of the performance but my favorite was Mamoru Miyano as Shuu. As you all know I love Mamoru Miyano and why I love this performance so much is because he put so much passion in it. I love watching an anime and knowing that the voice actors put so much passion into a character it just makes both the anime and the character more appealing and Mamoru Miyano was having too much fun as Shuu and I loved it. Though I love J. Michael Tatum he is nothing compared to Miyano because he lacked the same passion Miyano had in potraying Shuu Tsukiyama. So overall I do mostly recommend the Japanese over the English however the English dub is good if you’re a dub watcher.
Grade (Music): B
Grade (Voice Acting): B
Overall season one of Tokyo Ghoul was so much to watch. This is a mainstream anime I can actually enjoy without feeling like the hype ruins it. The story is interesting with fascinating characters and it’s appealing to both the eyes and ears. I did have a few problems but it’s a really enjoyable anime, I grade Tokyo Ghoul with a B.
That’s all, till next time 🙂