Wednesday, 14 September 2016
ANIME REVIEW: TOKYO GHOUL SEASON 1
Tokyo Ghoul Season 1
Released By: Anime Limited
Running Time: 300 Mins
Audio: English DD 5.1 Japanese DD 2.0
Release Date: Out Now!
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes
The manga was worth the read and the time invested in it as is the anime. If you have seen horror anime style, you will know that it's different to the Western idea of what horror is to us, and as most anime horror series are made for a teen audience, Tokyo Ghoul revolves around high schooler, Kei Kaneki who is shy around others and has a friend who wants him to have more friends and most of all get a girl. He likes taking him out to diners and that is where he meets a girl who he delights in telling him is into the same book as he's currently reading: The Egg of the Black Goat. His friend is happy for him, but love for Kei is about to get complicated. When they go out on a date, she acts as normal as she can, but hides the secret she is actually a ghoul who intends to devour him alive!
There are many articles in the papers on ghouls, though the public don't believe they exist even when their friends and family are being killed and half-eaten on the streets and in alleyways. Here, the night isn't a good place to be if you're a human as the ghouls look just like humans - they have the ability to transform their faces and some use extra appendages to kill. Unlucky for Kei, the medics don't get to him in time and have to replace his internal organs with the ghoul girl, accidentally making Kei half-ghoul. Incidentally, though ghouls and humans think they are different, they do have the same emotions, thoughts and feelings with their fests that they will be caught and killed for trying to feed themselves and their families in order to live. The ghouls also have certain areas marked out for luring and capturing humans; any other ghouls who are foolish enough to enter are met with conflict. There are also ghoul gangs and lone wolves who protect their areas and human gangs who try to take down ghouls.
One thing to bear in mind is that, like larger animals, the ghouls are only feeding when they have to. They can't feed on human food, so they don't cook or bake, they eat raw meat like animals, and after a while of Kei being half-ghoul he starts to see the humans as meat too. As in similar anime, Parasyte: The Maxim, Kei like Shinichi has been invaded by a rogue entity and struggles with the other side of his personality. The plot doesn't settle on one character as you would expect but goes into those who want to help others evade or kill the ghouls. There are other characters of interest and we get to see what their lives are like now that ghouls have integrated into society. Them blending in with humans is what they are good at and it is one of the creepiest parts of the whole series. Earlier in the series, Kei toys with his ghoul side trying to eat human food, but all ghouls realise they can't exist on anything but raw human meat. There are several scenes where Kei cooks himself something he thinks he would have liked as a full human and all he can do is spit it out in disgust. As a half-ghoul it tastes awful, but he has a hard time adjusting to the thought he has to eat human flesh, eating raw coffee to fill his stomach doesn't satisfy or imitate the taste of meat - it just makes him more annoyed at being hungry.
Giving in to his desire for raw meat, he finds he is already losing the human side of him, which he has to cling onto desperately by going to school, seeing his friend and doing human things and despite his half ghoul side he copes well with his forced adjustment, while other ghouls are a mish-mash of different personalities, they fear, hide and love, just like humans, though it's the human-eating that is getting in the way of them co-existing.
As a series it is shorter than expected, yet is enjoyable to watch as it doesn't settle on the main character, but broadens into the thoughts and troubles of other ghouls and humans so viewers can see the story from both sides. One thing I will add is that this is not an anime to get unless you are a fan of the original manga - it's a great watch, but not one to just pick up if you know nothing about it.
Bonus Material: Episode 4 Commentary (English 2.0, Austin Tindle, Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum, Mike McFarland), Episode 12 Commentary (English 2.0, Austin Tindle, Monica Rial, Christopher R. Sabat, Mike McFarland), Kaneki in Black and White, Japanese Commercials, Promotional Videos, Preview Collection, Textless Opening & Closing Songs, U.S. Trailer.
Summary: It's dark, doomy and thought-provoking and will stick with you even after you have watched it - be warned!