Tokyo Ghoul is the story of a boy who’s forced into a life between two worlds, having to exist on either side of two opposing forces each willing to kill the other for the sake of their kind’s survival. Kaneki Ken is no longer a human and yet, despite his organs being that of a Ghoul’s, he also has no place in the world of these monsters either.
In the first volume of this young Manga series created by the mysterious Sui Ishida, we were introduced to the young man mentioned above; a intelligent individual named Kaneki Ken. In volume two the introductions stop as room is made for tragedy to begin unfolding.
For the very first time as a member of the Ghouls, Kaneki Ken has seen the true discriminate brutality of the humans as he bares witness to a fellow pacifistic Ghoul being put down by the forces of the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), a sub-government organisation with a singular purpose; kill all Ghouls.
This is the genesis of Kaneki’s change of heart as he begins to come to terms with the fact that humans may be the true monsters in this war against the Ghouls.
Unable to discard his humanity but equally unable to suppress his Ghoul hunger, Ken finds salvation in the kindness of friendly Ghouls who teach him how to pass as human and eat flesh humanely. But recent upheavals in Ghoul society attract the police like wolves to prey, and they don’t discriminate between conscientious and ravenous Ghouls. – Madman Entertainment
Volume two sees the slight but pivotal evolution of Kaneki Ken’s mental status. While the volume begins with him in much the same place as when the first volume ended, you begin to witness this gradual shift from the side of humans to the side of the Ghouls, not just in regards to where he feels comfortable but wherein which his allegiances lie. Tokyo Ghoul is well-written, and the Manga seems to go into more background depth than the Anime series that really kicked off it’s popularity, this was shown more in volume two than in volume one which is adapted almost word-for-word. This second volume made mention of THE Tokyo Ghouls; a group of Ghouls never addressed in the Anime series, and also certain other story details that lean towards spoiler territory so I’ll refrain from going into specifics so as to not ruin ones experience.
The latest volume also introduced the Doves, who were mentioned above under their official name; the Commission of Counter Ghoul. Doves are the agents that work for the organisation, and this volume introduced us to the two who will be causing the most trouble for the Ghouls living in the 20th ward (wherein which Kaneki’s story takes place) despite the fact that most, if not all, living in the ward are making a conscientious attempt to assimilate with human society rather than run against it, killing for food, sport and fun, like others living in different wards. This is where that fantastically thin line between right and wrong is drawn, with Kaneki stuck in the middle of both sides trying his veery best to understand the good in either but only being made to realise the bad in both. Volume two gives readers the gift of being able to see Kaneki Ken’s physical and mental anguish as he tries to convince himself that what the Doves are doing is correct, and yet not all Ghouls are homicidal monsters. It’s an incredible struggle that comes across even clearer in the Manga than it does in the Anime series.
Sui Ishida has a wonderfully gritty art style that works well with a dark story like Tokyo Ghoul that often doesn’t show any real signs of happiness and, if that is the case, it is quickly followed up by a great sadness that comes about through a devastating tragedy. You can see that Ishida is making some clear leaps forward in terms of his artistic practice but, at times, the Manga’s visuals get far too confusing with some panels being mostly uninterpretable. This issue mostly arises during scenes of combat wherein which I believe Ishida tries to show too much with an art style that is scratchy and rough. This makes a lot of what is shown blend in together, making it hard on the readers’ eyes. Thankfully this didn’t come up too much throughout volume two but it happened enough times for me to be very much aware of the issue that it can pose. The only other complain I have in regards to visuals is that there is a certain character Sui Ishida simply cannot draw in proportion; the manager of Anteiku, Yoshimura. It seems as though every time he is shown, his head is much larger than it should be and even though this only exists for the one character, I simply cannot wrap my head around why. It is a small problem that I hope will be mended in upcoming issues.
Volume two has officially kicked off the true storyline of Tokyo Ghoul. While, in the first volume, it seemed as though the story was JUST going to be about this young boy living in a world full of monsters, it is now about the war between said monsters and the human race, to which Kaneki Ken once belonged. This series will indeed still revolve around the troubles of being in-between two worlds, something that I believe makes this Manga truly special, it is from now onwards that audiences will be seeing much more combat and a greater physical struggle as these two worlds collide in ways unlike we’ve seen before. Kaneki Ken and the rest of the 20th ward, thanks to the brash nature of fellow Ghoul Touka, are now under sever surveillance, with the guillotine on the verge of being dropped at any moment. Though there’s still much more of this Manga to come, this is where it truly kicks off and it has gotten me excited enough to be in great anticipation of the next volume to come. If only it’s release would be much sooner.
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