Check-in Station: Tokyo Ghoul ep1 (more intimacy than any man could want)
I can’t easily remember the last time I watched something that was scary, gross enough to make me not want to eat while watching, and that I liked all in one sitting. I suppose Blood-C was the last thing I watched for a decent amount of time that was gross. Though it rarely tried to scare. This show’s first episode had some build up and play to it. Now whether or not it continues to do that, or it becomes some sort of supernatural battle show, I can’t guess. I’ll just say there was a decent chance for this show to satisfy.
I can’t stand the whiny, jittery stereotype that a lot of anime protagonists end up becoming. It often seems like the writers of shows and series use them to inject some easily likable humanity into their story. But more often than not, it’s just a crybaby stick figure for the story to revolve around. That case may not be any different for Ken Kaneki. But I will say that for now, he seems to at least be in a unique situation. Tokyo Ghoul doesn’t appear to be your run-of-the-mill series. I haven’t seen violence like this since Deadman Wonderland and Blood-C. Oh wait, neither of those series were very good, Blood-C was horrible. Let’s move on to stuff other than comparisons, else I’ll convince myself to drop the show.
Tokyo Ghoul is set in a world where instead of zombies overtaking the Earth, or vampires trying to live side-by-side with us, even with their own nations. We have some supernatural beings that try to blend in to society, while managing their need to stay alive, which consists solely of them eating our flesh. They’re called ghouls, and the name fits rather appropriately given how they seem to love to kill and devour their prey in ruthless fashion. Though aside from the black and red eyes and super strength, I can’t really divulge much in the way of distinguishing features. Having bloody tentacles may be a common trait, but can’t be for sure yet. The only sure thing is blood, a distaste for human food in any form and those eyes.
There’s also a fair bit of common knowledge out in the open about these supernatural beings, too. Humanity knows about their need to feed, and they know it so well that they know most of them only need to feed (kill a human) once a month to survive. The real problem seems to be when these so called “binge eaters” show up. And our main protagonist is the unlucky fool that runs into one of them, and has his life changed (most likely or the worst) forever.
See, this is what happens when you go for a 9 or 10, and you yourself are only about a 4 or 5. What I mean by that is Ken finds himself having a crush on a beautiful girl who happens by his favorite cafe, and even enjoys books by his favorite author. He finally gets the nerve to talk to her, eat out with her, and when she says she’s worried about all the murders that have been happening around her way, he even walks her home. Now I was already skeptical at this point because her voice was an exact match for another female voice that we heard at the beginning of the episode. That voice belonged to a ghoul that enjoyed the murder of a group of people at once. So when this girl points out that she has to walk through the blackest alley in town to get to her apartment, I knew she was full of sh*t. Too bad poor Ken was so enamoured with her beautiful face, and the thought of getting his penis wet (or at least getting a goodnight kiss), he never saw his murder coming.
Things didn’t quite turn out as expected though. As she was tearing through Ken’s innards, some beams at the construction site where they were located broke and crushed her.
Pardon me while I take a deep breath for this next part.
Somehow an ambulance was called to save Ken and the woman. Knowing that Ken was going to die, we hear through Ken, the doctor giving orders for an organ transplant. And since there’s the corpse of a dead woman nearby, and REASONS, the doctor authorizes a organ transplants to keep Ken alive.
You know where things go from here. Forget legal standards, the need for blood work, the possibility of conflicting blood types and just sense and courtesy, he basically turns Ken into a half-ghoul. There’s no way you can tell me the doctor wasn’t doing this on purpose, either that or he’s the WORST doctor. Nobody sends a patient home from the hospital and they can’t keep food down after a major surgery. That’s bullsh*t!
And now we get to follow Ken around, as he learns pretty clearly that he’s now a ghoul. Despite attempts to force human food down his throat, it all comes back up again. And by the end of the night, he’s walking the streets craving human meat. It gets so bad, that the stench of a human corpse is enough to bring him like a hungry child to supper. Once there, he ends up in the middle of a big turf was between Barnaby Jones from Tiger & Bunny, and Tomoko from Watamote – I kid! I kid! But basically, there’s a turf war over the dead ghoul’s terrain, and it’s the purple haired girl that takes a merciful stance with Ken and force feeds him his first piece of flesh.
I’d say this was a pretty successful first episode. It’s not groundbreaking, it won’t leave me thinking or contemplating the show’s potential and possibilities in this world. But it did succeed a few times and peaking my interest. It’s also nice to see a strong change of pace from the normally bright and colorful shows of this era. I think the best part for me wasn’t necessarily the violence, but the actual moments right before and during a ghoul attack. What happened to Ken was a well done moment, and the animation and pacing for it was quite pleasing. If I could see more people in this show die in such a well planned out way, then I’d watch every single episode happily.
Going forward, I do wonder just how important the ghoul that is now part of Ken really was. Will she become a larger part and influence on Ken and the story, or is her part done? And of course there’s the moral conundrum Ken has to face, wanting to maintain his humanity while wanting to stay alive. It doesn’t appear to be something he’s prepared to handle. How do you maintain your humanity when you have to murder and eat people on a regular basis?
- Nothing good, I assure you!