Home > Episode by Episode > Tokyo Ghoul ep3: a fraternity of flesh

Tokyo Ghoul ep3: a fraternity of flesh

This very well could be my favorite show of the season. And not for any spectacular reasons either. It’s as though I come into this show with questions, but instead of giving them to me, it decides to entertain me with them instead. In a way, it’s very much like an entertaining school teacher. It makes even the most mundane of tasks and concerns interesting to see.

While the world is being built up around Ken, it’s also changing dramatically. Whatever is going on, it precedes his “birth” and threatens to wash right over this relatively peaceful world he’s dipping his toes into. The area he stays in, the 20th Ward had a reputation for a quiet and peaceful place, but we now have (or had) three major factors changing that fact. The binge eater – the now dead or transformed Rize, was going about eating people at a rate that could not be ignored, and the other two mentioned are the Jason (I’m guessing a ghoul that just kills for the fun of it), and the Gourmet (my guess, a snooty ghoul that enjoys human flesh and all the things he can do with it a little too much) ; they’ve been snatching up lives and making waves in a way that could not be ignored by the government force tasked with purging them from Tokyo, the CCG. I don’t know what it stands for yet, and I’m not looking it up, just bear with me.

So while Rize is more or less gone, her apparent status as the alpha hunter in the area did keep other lesser ghouls out of the area or in check.  It looks like a little power struggle is brewing in the ward thanks to her absence now.  It doesn’t seem to matter that there aren’t deaths coming from her anymore, a turf war will bring just as many dead if not more.

I’m liking how we see clearly the repercussions and reverberations of actions even before the story started in this narrative.  I don’t quite understand how well the public knows about or understands ghouls, but to a good enough number of them they are real and to be feared or hunted.  Things appear to be naturally branching out and connecting as well.  While I was very interested in the budding factions of ghouls throughout this massive city, this episode seems to have more of a “food chain” sort of vibe to it.  While humans are clearly hunted by ghouls, there is a tier of human well above the ghouls, or at least the low tier ghouls we’ve found so far.  The CCG agents are stunningly prepared to deal with the threat of a ghoul.  Known to ghouls as the “box carriers” or “ghoul inspectors”, they seem to swing around those briefcases like sealed purification devices.  Merely waving them at a ghoul can kill them, or at least do terrible damage to them.  And right now, aside from the origins of ghouls, what’s in those briefcases is the biggest mystery of the series.

We see several responses to this ever increasingly dangerous world.  For one, we seem to see a possible mother and daughter pair of ghouls in hiding for somewhat vague reasons.  And given the few clues we have, the person they fear finding them is the supposed “Jason” that so many fear.  I’m curious to see how this Jason operates in future episodes, because it seems that he may take joy in hunting other ghouls, and maybe also humans.  Though I can’t tell yet if he’s a cannibal or not.  They flee to the coffee shop for help, and we get to see Ken deal with a few other somewhat tame ghouls.  He even ends up hitting it off pretty well with the “daughter” ghoul, finding they have a mutual love of learning and that he can be of some use in teaching her since he is a college student with a decent education.  Up to that point, he was just newly receiving training on his duties in the coffee shop.

In a way, Ken is trying to be part of a different chain from the food chain spoken of.  He still has a very human, and sensitive streak to him.  He’s half ghoul, and that part is so strong, different and demanding of him that he may as well be full ghoul.  And he has to learn to live his life again as a human, but really as a ghoul.  It’s complicated.  And the tightrope being walked is illustrated well here.  Early in the episode, we see how he has to relearn things as a ghoul, as he tries to pretend to eat and digest human food, while having the patience to vomit it back up later.  It’s apparently quite the skill.  But as we learn from the old man ghoul who runs the shop, and the young girl ghoul he’s now teaching, he has knowledge that they don’t automatically have.  They must watch and observe, while he has lived and knows the human world.

One of my favorite scenes, was when Touka had to take Ken to get a mask made.  A simple tool, used to hide a ghoul’s face should they ever run across the ghoul inspectors and live to escape.  Seeing as how ghouls have to survive in the human world, they’re trackable.  And when you play in the system of the government, you’re at its mercy and rules.  The guy who worked that place was creepy, but not because he was a ghoul.  He was just some kinda creepy artsy dude who made masks and was a ghoul.  Sure most of the masks looked macabre or (pardon the pun) ghoulish, but I loved the art of it.  I had no problem seeing a person walk into this shop, for Halloween or not, and being completely taken in by the craftsman ship and beauty of the work.  I’m sure for ghouls, it’s like necessary piece of equipment for survival.  But I could see these masks being a treasured art piece for humans.  And that was my favorite part of my favorite part of the episode.  Seeing the artisan of the masks talk about how he got a little excited whenever a human came to buy one of his masks.  Despite being a ghoul, there’s humanity there in his craftsmanship and love of art.  I can respect that.

On the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to learning about the world.  We see Ken get assigned the task of picking up suicide victims with one of the other ghouls in the ward.  It’s the source of fresh human flesh for ghouls that… cannot hunt humans.  And again, you see a surprising humanity to it.  There’s respect and spirituality in the task.  Spirituality and respect that may or may not be of use when the ghoul inspectors come sneaking around into his area.

I really, really liked this episode!  So far, especially because of said episode, this is my favorite series of the season.  The world is so interesting to me.  It completely negates the shitty censorship, or the lack of much of the hyper-violence seen in the previous two episodes.  There could have been no bloodshed and I would have been completely fine.  It’s the combination of world-building and story telling that makes me actually give a damn about these characters that at their core should be nothing but ravenous human-eating monsters.  I’m lead to believe that for some of them, they really do want to lead somewhat normal lives in the sunlight, in the open, in the world.  Learning things like Touka’s desire and dedication to helping at the coffee shop and attending school, really helps drive that home.  It gives the feeling that this isn’t just some loose collection of murderers trying to avoid getting caught, but a fraternity.  It’s pretty insane, no?

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