“Tokyo Ghoul”, when it first started, wasn’t exactly my most favoured Anime series. Within one season all it seemed to accomplish was something I believe we, the greater pop culture audience, has seen countless times. It had a very well-rounded and structured foundation that was weakened by what I consider to be unnecessary plot points and developments.
The first season left me wanting so much more from the series that people ranted and raved about. “Tokyo Ghoul” was an instant hit, especially with the Tumblr crowd, but it never piqued my interest in the same way it did many others. That is…until season two came along; “Tokyo Ghoul √A”. The first episode blew me away. It hit me so much harder than the entire first season did and I was left in a state of pure awe. Read about it here.
What surprised me even more was that the rest of the season continued to get better and better. I can’t even think of an episode I was remotely upset with or bored by and, to me, that’s the sign of a good Anime. Why was that though? I chalk it up to the fact that the characters no longer had time to blur the lines between what is good and what is evil. In “√A” they were all too busy fighting a war that, honestly, no side can every truly “win”. This eliminated all the unnecessary elements of the series that I despised in the first season and replaced it with not only hard-hitting action but some hard-hitting decision making.
“√A” saw the introduction of a brand-new Kaneki Ken; one that, while still the same at heart, knew in his mind that a different course of action needed to be taken. There was growth, there was development, and not only for Kaneki but for almost all other members of the main cast. Now, don’t get me wrong, the season was not without fault. In fact, there was still just as much as the first season but it was almost seamlessly covered up by sharp plot turns and character deaths.
The main problem I had with “√A” was that the characters that had little to now development were because they were never really introduced to us in the first place. They just kind of appeared one episode and we, the audience, took it very much at face value that they were part of the main team.
It only really hit me that we know nothing about them when the final few episodes came along and they were sent out onto the battlefield to fight and die for their precious coffee shop. It was only then that I discovered I knew nothing about them. Thankfully it wasn’t even a handful of characters that got this treatment.
The action-lover in me really came to the surface while watching through “√A”. In comparison to the first series, “√A” was a Schwarzenegger flick that took no prisons because everyone on screen was simply seen as a future victim to one or both sides of this never ending war between humans and monsters.
The great thing is that the studio behind the series, Pierrot, actually had the funding to properly animate these high-octane action scenes. There’s no way so many fights and so many deaths would have been as impressive if they looked like an episode of “Naruto” or “Bleach”.
I just liked the idea that Kaneki Ken was no longer going to be the “nice guy” despite being part of a race of creatures known for their bloodlust and killer instinct. Yeah, his heart was still in the right place but, in “√A” he decided that now wasn’t the time to pull punches and even left Anteiku to head over to the dark side, if that’s what you want to call it.
Let’s now talk about the very final episode of the series which hit me just as hard as any of the hardcore battles that took place between the first episode of this new season and now. The series came full circle. What started off as a conversation between friends at a coffee shop ended as a conversation between friends at a coffee shop and while one of those scenarios was a great deal sadder than the other, they mirrored each other very well.
The war is over…for now, and Kaneki is finally going to “go home”. We’re never actually shown what “home” is but after Hideyoshi Nagachika’s death we’re almost certain it means taking a trip to the other side of existence: The afterlife.
Whether or not Kaneki joins his friend over in the promised land is up for debate but the assumption is that he’s no longer around and I personally think that’s a great way to end a series like “Tokyo Ghoul” which is supposed to be this harrowing and dark series.
Packed with heart-warming and tear-inducing dialogue alongside some wonderfully placed silent moments and a soft rendition of the series’ original theme song, the final episode of “Tokyo Ghoul √A” has everything you could possibly want from the finale of a series. There was no need for more combat so there wasn’t any, there was no need for certain conversations to take place so they didnt, there was no need for certain characters to appear so they weren’t shown.
The final episode of “√A” finally hit the nail on the head and, for me, cemented the entire series as one of my favorites. To think; it went from being one of my most hated to one of my most liked. That truly is the power of a good ending.
From what I’ve read around the net, the Anime barely scratches the surface of what the Manga has to offer and fills many of the story holes the Anime couldn’t. Now that I know this, maybe the Manga might be a good thing for me to pick up. If it has an ending anywhere near similar to this, I can’t help but think it’ll be a smash hit.