Tokyo Ghoul – Episode 12 Review – “Ghoul”
Jason submitted Ken to grueling torture. Banjo secretly promised Ken they would save him as soon as possible. Aogiri and the CCG started an all out battle outside the Aogiri HQ, with Anteiku members secretly joining in on the festivities. As the episode closed, Kaneki’s hair had mysteriously turned completely white…
We revisit Jason’s torture of Kaneki in more detail, especially what’s going on in Ken’s mind while he endures the mental and physical pain. Rize reappears and leads him through the corners of his past, and the impact his mother had on his sensibilities. Especially the phrase “it’s better to be hurt than hurt others.” As Ken ventures deeper and Jason’s torture increases, it becomes clear that Kaneki is changing into something else…
I take back what I said about them not showing the torture in detail last episode. They really made up for it this week. It was incredibly discomforting and disturbing, but excellently done. It’s been a while since an episode of anime has given me that many shivers. It makes Ken’s character transformation completely believable as a result. The only difference I could find between this and the manga was that Jason’s victims were a child and mother rather than two lovers. It didn’t lessen the impact of that heartbreaking scene however. We could see the blame Ken felt in his eyes while Jason forced his hand.
The reappearance of Rize (or the vision created by Ken’s crazed mind) was not distracting as I feared it might be. Ken’s mental connection to her has been sparingly used during the course of the series, which was a wise choice. It has also been presented in a way that we could interpret it as a manifestation of his mind. She seemed to be an appropriate guide for Ken as he remembered his mother, who was the only thing keeping him from the deep end. The exploration of the concept “it’s better to be hurt than hurt others” was adequately covered across this whole 12 episode series, especially through Ken’s passivism. With this recent development it appears the character will never be the same…
As for this as a closer to the series – it falls spectacularly short. It’s just sequel baiting, as we don’t see even a second of the fights that involve the CCG, Anteiku or Aogiri. No new developments on who or what this “One-Eyed Owl” character is either. It’s a cop out “read the manga for more” ending. The final chapter of the manga (which just came out) did just about the same thing as the final episode – setting up more questions that answers. As such I’m not sure if I would be into any follow up to Tokyo Ghoul. For now, I will tentatively say yes.
Series Recommendation: Stream It.