Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1 by Ishida Sui

You know, I knew that the anime series was really rushed, but I never really knew how rushed until I read this volume. This entire volume was squeezed into two episodes. The ghoul that looks like Jason isn't even mentioned in this volume at all. Neither is there any information about what Rize was up to before she set her eyes on the unfortunate Kaneki Ken. This manga volume alone seems sooo much better than the anime series and I'm really looking forward to this manga. 

But let's say none of that means jack to you. You've never seen the anime and you've never heard of this manga title. (I suppose that's my Jedi mind trick impression. Is it working?)

What is Tokyo Ghoul and why would it appeal to anyone outside of the normal otaku fandom? Well, for one, this is a fantastic piece of horror fiction and the artwork is really good. 

The volume really is all meat and no fat. The pacing is also on point. It's really tough to put down, but the story is able to breathe. It doesn't try to introduce us to a million things at once like the anime (specifically the second season, but the first season was guilty, too) tried to do.

Kaneki Ken is your average school kid with a crush on a cute girl, but his dream encounter with her goes horribly wrong when he discovers she is a ghoul. Ghouls are creatures that look human, but they have super powers and they eat people. Mr. Kaneki's luck in none too good... until a steel beam falls from the sky and crushes the ghoul. Kaneki is left injured and in need to an organ transplant.

The surgeon in charge decides to transplant the organ from the dead girl into Kaneki. Disregarding anything learned from the anime, it's tough to say whether or not the surgeon knew she was a ghoul or not at this point. Whether he knew or not, Kaneki now has a whole new problem. To make a paraphrase from Full Metal Jacket, he is in a world of shit.

He starts to get better, but his taste buds have changed. Human food tastes awful to him now. Not only that, but human food actually starts to make him sick...and one of Kaneki's eyes has a bad habit of turning red. 

Yup, the surgery seems to have turned him into a ghoul! Dun dun dunnnn!

Kaneki also learns that he's not the only ghoul going to school. His favorite coffee spot is also a den of ghouls. Ghouls here, ghouls there! Ghouls, ghouls everywhere! It's like something out of They Live. Now that he has his special powers a completely different world with its own politics and territories has been introduced to him.

But first he must learn how to control his hunger and his special powers in order to survive it. If he doesn't he might just end up eating his best friend or getting killed for trespassing on another ghoul's turf. Or both. 

Anyone that wants to know this story would be wise to start with the manga. The first season of the anime was adequate, but the second season things really went off the rails. The manga seems so much more promising. 

Also, does anyone else wonder why my favorite two mangas at this point, Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul, seem to involve people getting eaten by horrific creatures? Obviously, my inner zombie fan refuses to die. This manga clearly satisfies a bizarre craving of my own. 

One thing I also like about this manga is that it is, in a certain sense, a Jekyll and Hyde story. On one side you have the human Kaneki and on the other you have the ghoul Kaneki. If he doesn't eat humans neither Kaneki personality will survive, but is there a way the ghoul Kaneki can eat so that the human Kaneki may live?

It's just a really interesting story. It's also insanely bloody at times. The simulcast of the anime was quite edited so it's nice to see the story in its true form. Heads getting sliced, bodies getting diced, and people getting eaten. Wholesome family entertainment for all involved.

If you want some bloody horror manga then this will hit the spot.

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