Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 – Anime Review
Synopsis: Tokyo lives in fear of creatures called Ghouls. When a young man becomes the first Ghoul-human hybrid, he must control his deadly hunger. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Tokyo Ghoul starts decently enough, setting its tone and the violent struggles Kaneki, it’s main character turned Ghoul-human hybrid, will face. We get a sense of the relationship Kaneki has with his best friend, Hide, and how that might change and be influenced as Kaneki struggles with his burgeoning Ghoul side. However, by the end of its twelve episode run the series fails to develop a vast majority of its plot lines, instead favoring to focus solely on Kaneki’s personal struggle to actively take part in his life as a ghoul or not, leaving so much under utilized potential on the table.
Linny: Based on its synopsis, one might go into this show expecting an ultra violent and kick ass series about a newly turned ghoul learning to master his new abilities while dealing with the moral implications of his lifestyle. In fact, the first episode does a pretty good job of delivering exactly such a vibe. Unfortunately, once we continue, the story seems to turn into a whine-fest mixed with senseless and incessant violence lacking any impact.
Tom: One thing viewers need be aware is that Tokyo Ghoul can be an excessively violent series, taking its thrill for the grotesque entirely too far at times. So much so it comes at the detriment of more character focus: Like Kaneki and Hide’s relationship that goes severely under explored. Despite introducing quite a few additional characters, many are left sidelined by the final episode, making one almost feel like they never really mattered in the first place. It doesn’t help that Kaneki is ultimately a weak protagonist. He’s a reactive character, rather than proactive, making his journey a frustrating watch as he whines his way through the series. It’s not until the show’s final moments that he suffers a significant change and by then it’s too little too late.
Linny: If characters and character development are what make or break a show for you, Tokyo Ghoul’s first season has only it’s main protagonist to win you over it as the show devotes all its attention to him. If Kaneki wins you over, great, you get a LOT of him. Unfortunately, if you develop an interest in anyone else, you’re doomed for disappointment. None of the other story lines or characters are presented properly, all of them denied development in favour of highlighting Kaneki’s tear filled journey. Tokyo Ghoul ends up feeling like nothing more than an over-dramatic journey of a crybaby with sadistic and exploitative violence thrown in for the sole sake of shallow shock value.
Tom: Tokyo Ghoul’s 1st Season doesn’t do much with the characters and plot lines it introduces, focused solely on Kaneki’s struggle against the Ghoulish nature inside of himself. With the final episode changing Kaneki’s persona tremendously, Tokyo Ghoul seems a series where perhaps Season 2 contains all the pay off and answers. But that’s asking any viewer frustrated with the first season, and it’s lack of development, to sit through a full twelve episodes. Conversely, perhaps those interested in the series’ premise should check out the manga instead, as Tokyo Ghoul’s flesh eating fandom asserts that the anime simple doesn’t do the masterful Manga’s narrative justice. I’ve never had the opportunity to check out the manga, but it’s a clear sign of the anime’s failings when even the manga’s most vocal fans can’t help but denounce its quality.
Linny: Tokyo Ghoul has proved to be a show aimed at angst loving viewers. Most likely teenagers or young adults who want to bond over the projected pain in the story or find the mix of emotional and physical sadism edgy and appealing. Pretty much anyone else is going to find the violence and sadism tacky and try hard. If you fail to connect or care for the protagonist, Kaneki, there’s not enough proper story or development for anyone else that might keep you invested instead.