Tokyo Ghoul √A Review
Tokyo Ghoul √A is the second season of Tokyo Ghoul and it picks up right where season 1 left off. For those not familiar with the Tokyo Ghoul series, I will give you a brief rundown of the show and as spoiler free a synopsis of the first season as possible, if for nothing other than to set the stage for the events that take place in √A.
Tokyo Ghoul follows the life of Ken Kaneki. Ken is a college student. He has few friends, the most notable being his best friend, Hide. Ken is more than a little bit of a bookworm. He meets a girl named Rize that he is interested in. During his first date with her, it is revealed, when she attacks him, that she is a ghoul. Ghouls are a species of human-looking creatures with special abilities that survive on human flesh. There is an accident that results in the death of Rize and serious injuries to Ken. An emergency transplant is performed and some of Rize’s organs are given to Ken to preserve his life. The result of the surgery is that Ken becomes a ghoul himself. Ken spends the remainder of the season finding like-minded ghouls, i.e. those who do not wish to survive by taking the lives of humans, and coming to an understanding of what his life has become.
With that as a base, let’s take a look at Tokyo Ghoul √A.
We are still dealing with the same cast of characters from season 1: Ken Kaneki, his best friend Hide, the crew of Anteiku, namely Touka, Hinami, Nishio, Yomo, and Yoshimura, and the Aoigiri Tree group consisting of Ayato, Eto, Tatara and a couple of others. We get to witness the development of the most important characters as the season progresses. We gain an understanding of why Ken subjected himself to a life with the group of ghouls responsible for kidnapping and torturing him, Aogiri Tree. We see the lengths to which Hide will go to get his best friend back and to attempt to understand what he might be going through. Touka is exposed to be more than the soldier she often presents herself as and it becomes apparent that she craves as normal a life as possible. Hinami grows and develops into a young adolescent during the season. We learn that the ghouls that are members of Aogiri Tree are more than just mindless monsters. Each of them joined for their own reasons, but, ultimately, they all believe in the mission of their leader, the One-Eyed Owl, to carve out a place for ghouls to call their own. Not a one of the recurring, vital to the story characters was flat or without personality. They were each interesting in their own ways and caused you to become invested and care what trials and travails they had to endure.
I’ll attempt to cover this without going full on spoiler. But this is your spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched this anime yet and want to keep all the details a surprise for when you do, skip over this section. Okay. Spoiler alert out of the way.
The arc that the story follows is somewhat familiar, but no less entertaining for all of that. Ken chooses to side with the those who put him through days of torment in order to develop the strength necessary to protect himself and those he cares about. Ken takes part in furthering the mission of Aogiri Tree while developing his own strength and distancing himself from those that care for him. Meanwhile, his friends at Anteiku and Hide are all doing everything that they can to find Ken and bring him home. As with all stories, it wouldn’t be anything without some manner of real and true conflict. This is provided in the form of the agents of CCG attacking ghouls in wards all over Tokyo in the hopes of stopping the expansion of the territory under the control of Aogiri Tree. This is the impetus for the penultimate confrontation of the season and the fallout that ensues.
Tokyo Ghoul √A was one heck of a fun ride. It most certainly isn’t for anyone squeamish and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under about 16 or 17 due to the regular violence and the devouring of human flesh. Anyone that gets a kick out of a good bit of action with the drama of a self-discovery story and a cast of characters that is large enough to keep you engrossed, but small enough to actually still care about each of them as individuals should thoroughly enjoy this one. In that case, I would say that you should give this 12 episode season a bit of your time.
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