Thoughts On “Tokyo Ghoul”

Though I rarely think of it nowadays, in my high school years I was a manga binge-reader. I would lose myself in the corniest, high school girl fantasy fluff with ordinary girls (and most of the time, the most weak-minded girl in the school probably) ending up with handsome boys. It was a time of regrets, mostly, as only about 1 of the 10 manga I read would have a worthwhile plot.

Now, almost 5 years have passed and I’ve stumbled upon another manga by accident, “Tokyo Ghoul.” I simply saw the first volume in my school library’s new arrivals shelf and it was sort of bizarre seeing it there- I never knew we even had a manga section. Out of curiosity, I borrowed the book and finished it in one sitting (once a binge-reader, always a binge-reader).

Tokyo is filled with ghouls who eat humans. Our protagonist Kaneki is a quiet human boy who gets attacked by a ghoul, then is transformed into one by mistake. Now he must hide his transformation from the human world and also find his place among ghouls.

And I’m no manga blogger, (nor am I a professional book blogger, I’m just a person with opinions) but this manga appears to be an intriguing adventure manga at first – the characters get into some serious trouble, some lives are staked, some people are hurt but things turn out fine in the end. UNTIL THEY DON’T. This manga, at some point, (if you have read it, you definitely know the point I’m talking about) turns dark. Then you go online and look up what type of manga this is, and see “Horror” written among the genres. And you think – well, I thought- great. I spent all these volumes creating emotional bonds with these characters, and it’s a horror manga. It was a sad revelation for me. The manga got a lot more interesting but at what cost? The naive, pacifist, best-of-both-worlds protagonist I loved is gone now – and I’ve always preferred heroes to vigilantes.

I really did love this manga though, and even though bad things kept happening (and things kept not turning out fine in the end) and my heart really did ache for Kaneki. That guy didn’t deserve any of the stuff that happened. I should have seen it coming though. He does say, at the beginning:

“I’m not the protagonist of a novel or anything. I’m just a college student who likes to read, like you could find anywhere. But… If, for argument’s sake, you were to write a story with me in the lead role, it would certainly be a tragedy.”

I do have a few complaints. Reading this manga reminded me of why I shied away from this sort of action/adventure manga in high school – the action scenes are difficult to understand. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell who’s fighting who. But perhaps this is what anime is for. Then again, I could never watch Tokyo Ghoul’s anime – too freaky.

Oh and, I’ve never been a member of a manga forum, and I never had a manga blog either. I’ve always wanted to share the few gems I found among the numerous junk I read. I’ll end this post with my favorites.

  • Dengeki Daisy (and other works by the author of this manga, Motomi Kyousuke)
  • Fruits Basket – This one had a cool storyline with Chinese zodiac but a dumb protogonist. You can’t have everything.
  • Kare Kano – The protogonist was actually cool in this one, and all the characters had a lot of stuff going on which made it a pretty nice read.

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