Tokyo Ghoul is an unfortunate example of what happens when you let producers and editors have their hay day on a story, and run it as they believe it should run. What is, at its base, a phenomenal tale of survival and identity, becomes boiled down to nothing more than a cheap horror flick that falls extraordinarily short of it’s manga. Tokyo Ghoul has extremely blaring plot holes as well as horrific failures in terms of storytelling. It’s not as if the director intended this, the original creator actually wrote in everything that was removed, but the studio continued to remove it anyway for some boneheaded reason. This is a non spoiler review of the Tokyo Ghoul anime series.
Ken Kaneki is a naive student who is unaware of the world of ghouls that skitter around in the shadows at ever side. While visiting his favorite coffee shop with his friend, he encounters a beautiful and charming woman named Rize Kamishiro. The two hit it off, and on their first date, he finds out that she is a ghoul. A ghoul is essentially a human being who eats other human beings, and has otherworldly powers. They’re also bulletproof and stab proof. After killing him, she herself s killed, and Kaneki is resurrected using her body parts, leading to him becoming a ghoul himself.
Unfortunately, that’s about as faithful as the adaptation stays. What happens beyond this is just an absolute shame. As you progress through the story, gaping plot holes are introduced over and over again. They’re never addressed, and their never explained. Basically, in the original manga, all of these missing plot points are included or explained, yet for some reason, the absolutely boneheaded studio decided to go ahead and cut out these “not so important” bits. Yeah, not so important. Shall we list off what wasn’t so important? Character backstories, training scenes, plot explanations, explanations of the difference between humans and ghouls and why ghouls eat humans, CCG explanations, and so much more. Yeah, pretty unimportant, right? Wrong.
Much to the detriment of the series, many of these missing plot points continue to hamper the overall story, leading to huge questions like “How did Kaneki learn how to fight and take down trained investigators?” and such. As the series progresses, characters seem to blur together as plot points are drowned out by extraordinarily mundane tasks like following a young girl around while she goes dress shopping. The show loses poignancy almost instantly, and it’s a true shame.
What DOES work in the show’s favor is the brilliant art. Slick and derisive, fights and encounters all feel unique. Each ghoul’s abilities have a Deadman Wonderland sort of vibe to them, and I find that extremely satisfying as we watch them duke it out. The plot itself is interesting enough as well when it’s not being ruined by all of the gaping holes left within it like Swiss cheese. The characters are also endearing, and you can’t help but root for your friendly ghouls just trying to make their way in the world.
All in all, this is a must skip. Do yourself a favor, read the manga. This story is far too incomplete, and far too riddled with holes to be compared to the original work, which is a phenomenal piece of intrigue and storytelling. Tokyo Ghoul is filled with great ideas and a rich well of creativity to pull from, but it decides to stick with the bland and mundane, and cut out just about all of the interesting parts.