Ah, yes, Tokyo Ghoul – the manga series about Kaneki Ken who had a date that went so wrong it turned him into a half-ghoul. I mean, talk about a bad date! Most people just end up with a lousy meal or an awkward goodbye kiss. But no, Kaneki gets to deal with a whole new set of problems, like constantly battling his inner beast while trying to maintain his humanity, it’s like trying to be a vegan at a barbecue.
The Seinen manga series Tokyo Ghoul shattered expectations and records alike as one of the best anime of 2014. Suddenly, everyone was dying their hair white, Kaneki masks were being sold everywhere, and let’s not forget the anime opening that had fans singing it out as if it were their very own national anthem.
While the manga soared to great heights, the anime… not so much. Many fans expressed disappointment, particularly with the seasons following the original Tokyo Ghoul: Tokyo Ghoul √A, Tokyo Ghoul: re (I), and Tokyo Ghoul: re (II). They frequently lamented that the manga was far superior to its animated counterpart.
Many fans of the Tokyo Ghoul series passionately argue that the manga is an absolute masterpiece. The intricately woven storyline, combined with the striking art style, creates an immersive experience that engages readers on multiple levels. As a result, the Tokyo Ghoul manga has become a celebrated work within the genre, with its unique blend of horror, action, and drama, leaving a lasting impact on both casual and devoted readers alike.
Initially, Sui Ishida’s artwork in Tokyo Ghoul may not have been as remarkable, but as the series progressed, it evolved into something truly stunning. The manga is replete with outstanding examples of using visuals to convey the story, encompassing backgrounds, environments, and character designs, allowing fans to become fully immersed in the world. It is worth noting that the manga was released on a weekly basis, as it was published in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine.
The artwork in the manga not only produced some iconic panels, but it also masterfully depicted a character’s mental state. The portrayal of Kaneki’s internal conflict was made more impactful by the manga’s adept representation of the complex emotions people can experience. Speech bubbles seamlessly transition, paneling loses rigidity, and pages reflect the characters’ emotional breakdowns. When Ishida aims to illustrate a character’s inner thoughts, readers don’t just see it, they feel the full range of emotions.
Furthermore, the plot utilizes the complexity of the world to highlight different factions, enabling readers to empathize with various characters at distinct moments. Both the Ghoul and Human perspectives are explored, each with its unique philosophies and courses of action. Tokyo Ghoul establishes a world where conflict feels natural, and every character has a valid reason for participating in the ongoing battle, regardless of their moral standing.
Neither ghouls nor humans can be blamed for their survival instincts. In their world, there are no heroes or villains, only individuals striving to survive and protect their way of life. Each character has their biases and prejudices, and as the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly difficult to fault them for their feelings. This intricate exploration of character motivations and perspectives is what makes the series truly stand out.
Despite its strengths, the manga does exhibit some noticeable shortcomings, including inconsistent pacing, a number of plot holes, and unresolved issues by the conclusion. Tokyo Ghoul’s narrative failed to meet certain expectations as the finale may give readers the impression of an afterthought, leaving them unsure whether it was satisfying or not. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the best recommended manga out there.
The Anime Adaptation
The Tokyo Ghoul anime spanned four complete seasons. The first season, an adaptation of Ishida’s manga, covered the initial 60 chapters and aired from July to September 2014. The subsequent season, Tokyo Ghoul √A, was broadcasted from January to March 2015. However, this adaptation of the latter part of Ishida’s manga was somewhat basic, containing a substantial amount of unique content, which led manga fans to recognize that it wasn’t an exact adaptation.
The storyline exhibited various inconsistencies, and both the design and animation quality was somewhat lacking, which is not uncommon for Studio Pierrot. Despite this, Studio Pierrot is a well-regarded studio known for its work on popular shounen stories like Naruto, Boruto, and Black Clover.
In 2018, the third and fourth seasons, adapted from Ishida’s manga, were made available for fans to enjoy. However, the hurried plot and animation caused some viewers to perceive the show as inferior, leading to a sense of disappointment. The production studio tried to compress 179 chapters into just 24 episodes, causing considerable changes to the story that left audiences having difficulty following the plot and encountering numerous narrative gaps.
The anime adaptation omitted many of the intricate details present in the manga, which led to the story falling short of the depth and impact conveyed in the original source material. This lack of fidelity to the manga left viewers feeling perplexed and unsatisfied, ultimately deterring potential fans from fully engaging with and appreciating the anime’s narrative.
Furthermore, the animation quality, marked by basic character designs and an absence of intricate detail, left some viewers feeling disillusioned, especially when compared to the stunning artwork presented in the manga. The adaptation’s flaws were further magnified by its direction, characterized by inadequately planned shot composition and awkward scene transitions, which ultimately led to the disappointment of manga fans who expected a more faithful and visually appealing representation of their beloved story.
Tokyo Ghoul Reboot
The Tokyo Ghoul anime fell considerably short of expectations, failing to evoke the comparable depth of passion and thrill as the manga. Fans have not given up hope and are petitioning for a remake to ensure that the top seinen manga of the 2010s will eventually be given its rightful place in history.
From The Anime Daily, petition drives have been initiated and launched in an attempt to have the anime revamped by the same studios that brought Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer, Mappa, and Ufotable. Unfortunately, at this time, the likelihood of the resurgence of the renowned dark fantasy is exceptionally modest. The series’ license is also held by Studio Pierrot. While things look grim for the Tokyo Ghoul Series, it does not hurt to keep holding out optimism!