Project #148: Tokyo Ghoul √A

(Seras): Hello, Seras here and welcome to Project Nitsuj. I’ve come once again to review Tokyo Ghoul where the second reason takes a huge detour from the original manga. The second season came out at the beginning of 2015 done again by Pierrot where instead of following the events of the manga the second season tells a whole new different story. (Nitsuj): Why the change and who wrote it? (Seras): Believe it or not the author himself wrote the story for Tokyo Ghoul season 2 also know as Tokyo Ghoul Root A saying he wanted to offer a fresh new take on the story. That and drive up sales for both the manga and anime. (Nitsuj): Is it good? (Seras): That’s what we’re here to find out so let’s dive right back into Tokyo Ghoul and take a look at Root A.


Opening and Ending Theme


(Nitsuj): The opening this time around is “Munou” by Ai Kamano. While the melody is beautiful and the piano and drums amazing in the background the song just doesn’t fit all that well with the series. (Seras): It’s also not a strong opening. The lyrics really don’t make sense and it’s so slow and quiet that it doesn’t get me pumped up for the anime at all. On top of that the animation doesn’t match the song at all. It’s just Ken standing there naked and crying blood tears as the background changes and some body reaches up to grab him. (Nitsuj): The ending is “Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shinde Iku” by amazarashi. It’s a good song that a lot of people believe should have been the opening to the anime but no I think it works better as an ending song. Just like the first ending it brings us back down to a calm state and let’s us take in what we just saw. Also, the artwork at the end of each episode is great. It’s well worth sitting through the ending of each episode just to see the different artwork done by the author of the series. (Seras): I didn’t really care for the ending all that much. Truth be told I like the first opening and ending more than this season’s opening and ending. I always found myself muting the volume and just admiring the artwork whenever the credits rolled.


Episodes 1-4


(Nitsuj): Episode 1 picks up where the last episode from the first season left off at. The fight is still continuing on as both sides (mainly the humans) are taking heavy losses. Touka gets her wings eaten by Ayako only to get saved by Ken (Seras: Boy this has got to be embarrassing for her) who has become a complete badass and pretty much holds his own against Ayako getting inside his mind and everything (wow, if this is what it took to make him badass we should have tortured him a long time ago). Nishio takes Touka to safety and we see Amon and his superiors take on The Owl who seems to be immortal as none of their attacks harm him. As the fighting continues Aogiri activates a bomb which destroys the battlefield killing half the human force, The Owl escapes not killing any of the humans fighting him, and Ayako escapes from Ken where Ken wonders off and sees a child ghoul. He reunites with Touka resting by a tree where he tells her he’s leaving to join Aogiri (uh question, why? (Seras): Because the plot demands it). Touka tries to stop him but she’s too weak and Ken walks off where he meets up with Aogiri (now this would have been a good ending for the first season).


Nothing much to say about episode 2. Ken has joined Aogiri which has taken over two other wards and nobody seems to care about it (I’m not kidding nobody cares. It’s as if the ending of last season was all for nothing). Touka takes entrance exams for college where her goal is to go to Ken’s college (will you just admit you like the traitorous scumbag already) and Amon has a new partner named Akira who is Mado’s daughter (Seras: Oh God he reproduced). She quickly shows us how intelligent she is by piecing together that the 20th ward (where everyone is that) is organized and has no ties with Aogiri but she also comes off as a prick (Seras: But you want that prick don’t you? (Nitsuj): No comment).


Another mostly uneventful episode for episode 3. We do see that Touka is in fact sad that Ken is gone and bottling up her emotions to appear strong and not look weak (Seras: What the hell does that girl see in that bookworm?). We also see Ken run across a few more half-breeds like him while rescuing a messed up ghoul who just happens to be an underling of Jason and has an unhealthy obsession with him (oh shit I got bad news for you buddy. Scenes here: // Speaking of unhealthy obsessions Shu makes his return as we see that he and a couple other ghouls have infiltrated Aogiri and are searching for Ken. The Doves are starting to piece together Ken’s past (oh thank God. This seriously needs to be explained) and the episode ends with Ken and Ayako standing on top of a roof (is this gonna be thing for each episode now? Because this is how the third episode ended) overlooking the ghoul prison.


In episode 4 we find out that Amon was raised in an orphanage by a priest who turned out to be a ghoul and ate all of Amon’s friends but kept Amon alive for some reason (he is the chosen one). Amon and Akira visit the guy in what I like to call Ghoulatraz (Seras: Or Ghoulham Asylum) in the hopes of finding out more about the Owl and Aogiri. Of course the guy doesn’t talk and the prison gets attacked by Aogiri who begin killing everyone and release the imprisoned who are all deadly killers ranked C-SS. So because of this attack we get a lot of fight scenes but sadly the fight scenes in this episode are terrible. They’re all slow and sluggish (it’s as if we went from playing a game that moved at 60 frames per second and all of a sudden started moving at 20 frames per second. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen). Everyone fights everyone, Amon and Akira take on some ghouls where Akira gets bitten on the leg (Seras: She’s lucky this isn’t a zombie apocalypse otherwise her blood would be splattered all over that room), that creepy inspector boy Juuzou takes on those two half ghoul sisters we saw last episode who he happens to know and are named Kurona and Shiro (get the joke?), and Ken gets the crap beat out of him by another ghoul named Kamishiro where he lands in a pile of dead corpses and begins devouring them to become stronger to end the episode.


Episodes 5-8


Episode 5 starts off with a flashback into Kurona and Shiro’s past. Originally these two were humans who along with Juuzou and a good friend of theirs were studying to be Doves (and yet you became the things you swore to kill. (Seras): Story of my life). Their friend dies and as the two are sad Juuzou doesn’t care one bit about it saying that death happens all the time so why feel sad about it (he got dark quickly). We cut back to the present where the sisters have knocked Juuzou’s scythe away but he has daggers and almost kills Shiro. Kurona escapes with Shiro in the nick of time and Juuzou lets them go (). Ayato takes on Yukinori and loses where he’s about to get killed (meh. (Seras): I don’t care either) but gets saved by Ken who after devouring that pile of ghoul corpses becomes a half kakuja with centipede like features (never thought a centipede could look so frightening). He begins to fight Yukinori overpowering him and beating him as the place feels up with smoke. Amon sees there fight in the fog and takes on Ken where he actually manages to beat Ken and get him to return to his senses (Seras: Welcome back wild child). Amon doesn’t kill Ken out of respect for letting him live in the first season and it begins to rain dead bodies (disgusting). The Owl comes in and instead of fighting just captures Ken and Ayato and escapes (so he’s on their side now right?).


Episode 6 turns out be good character development for the Doves. We do have two scenes of Ken where we see him struggling to control his powers (the answer to this is quite simple. Go vegan) but for the rest of the episode we focus on the Doves. Yukinori gets released from the hospital where he joins back up with Juuzou who is doing a terrible drawing of a giraffe. We also find out that Juuzou was actually raised and trained by ghouls and was placed in the arena to fight and kill them (kind of putting yourselves on the chopping block don’t you think). When the Doves found the operation they rescued him and while the heads of the Doves recognize Juuzou’s abilities they say he’s too dangerous and unstable to work with (hey you worked with Mado I’m sure you can work with this guy). Yukinori decides to be Juuzou’s partner saying that he considers him to be a victim more than a danger (Seras: I consider him to be a nut job). We get some character development between Amon and Akira where they go out to eat and get drunk (mostly Akira) and she finally says she hates Amon’s guts (okay you’ve had too much I’m cutting you off) and she blames him for Mado’s death (Seras: Tell us how you really feel). She passes out drunk and Amon being the gentleman that he is carries her back to her place where we see she has a cat (Seras: Who is ugly) and finds out that Akira is really just a frightened child who only wanted to be with her father and be of help to him (aww~. (Seras): No. You don’t do that. (Nitsuj): Sorry). In order to punish himself for not realizing this he decides to do push-ups until he can do no more (that’s actually a pretty good punishment). The next morning Akira wakes to see this and this somehow has bought the two closer together (and all it took was getting a little alcohol in her). The episode ends with the Doves concluding that the Owl is the leader of Aogiri and forming a special squad whose purpose to find the Owl and destroy him along with Aoigiri.


(Seras): Things get a little interesting in episode 7. It starts off with Hinami wanting to know what love is like (where did that come from?). She asks Nishio who isn’t sure himself and then she gets taken away by Shu (still wearing terrible clothes) where they have coffee and he gets all perverted on us in the bathroom (// Ken finally comes back to his normal senses and actually visit Starbucks to see everyone. When Hinami finds out about this she runs to the library to get Touka who was studying with her friend. She runs back to Starbucks, misses Ken, but meets up with him on an overpass where he says he’s unsure whether or not he should return (Nitsuj: The answer should obviously be yes) because he wants to protect everyone precious to him (Nitsuj: And joining a ghoul terrorist group was supposed to help you how is?). Touka begins pummeling him on the bridge (just another couple breaking up. Proceed, nothing to see here folks) saying that he’s just being selfish and doing everything for his own benefit (Nitsuj: She’s not wrong) and tells him to never come back. She walks away and Ken smiles feeling good about himself (scene here: //, so he’s into that. Good to know). She feels a little bad about what she did (Nitsuj: You should have kissed him when you had the chance) but continues on with her studies. The next day Yukinori and Juuzou visit Starbucks asking about Ken where Yoshimura tells them that Ken had a transplant operation and that he hasn’t heard from him after two months. Yukinori finds this information useful and leaves but he says they’ll be back.


In episode 8 we finally get backstory on just who The Owl is. The Owl was just like a regular ghoul (Nitsuj: Bloodthirsty, violent, hungry, strong, and blood shot eyes. Kind of sounds like Seras in the morning. (Seras): I’m going to rip them off and show them to you) who killed everyone whether they be human or ghoul (or even friends) it didn’t matter to him. Eventually he went to Starbucks where he met the love of his life (Nitsuj: You do know the shop is called Anti- (Seras): I will smash them if you contradict me one more time). Even when she found out The Owl was a ghoul she didn’t run away from him but instead embraced him and cried saying how sad and lonely he must have been (Nitsuj: I like her, she gets it). Eventually they had a half-breed baby and lived a happy life until vengeful ghouls came after him and his family. The ghouls killed his wife and he abandoned his child to go take revenge transforming himself into a vengeful ghoul who hated the world and just wanted to see it destroyed (I actually do feel a little sorry for him). After that backstory we see that the Doves have caught on to Starbucks being the hangout for ghouls and believes that the Owl is located there. They slowly begin following the workers and slowly but surely surrounding the place getting ready for the signal to storm it. Yoshimura feels this so he wisely gets Touka and Hinami out of there to safety and anyone else who might have loved ones and aren’t suspicious of being ghouls. We do get lovely music as all of this plays setting the mood and feeling us full of emotions for what’s to come as we see all of our characters going their own separate ways. Will they find happiness or despair I can’t say.


Episodes 9-12


In episode 9 it’s time for the Doves to raid the 20th ward and take out the Owl (Nitsuj: Who? (Seras): The Owl. (Nitsuj): Who? (Seras): The Owl. (Nitsuj): Who? (Seras): The- why am I humoring you?). As standard for all the Doves they’re required to write a will for their next of kin. Some write them, others write nothing, and some just put I don’t want to die (don’t say that that only raises the death flag more). The raid begins and as soon as they enter the ward they fight against the Mad Apes and the Black Dobers (Nitsuj: Let’s see which side can kill the most). The Owl finally appears and gets revealed that the Owl is Yoshimura (Nitsuj: Who? *Seras points her scythe at Nitsuj* I’ll be quiet). As all of this is going on Touka sees it on the news and decides to go there (yeah just throw away the life Yoshimura is trying to protect. That’s a good way to honor his death) and Ken is there as well where he plans to join the fight. Shu of course tries to stop him (Nitsuj: And he’s wearing normal clothes. It took him a while but he finally got it) in a rather insane and heartwarming way by trying to kill Ken because he doesn’t wanna see him die (Nitsuj: Yet you’re trying to kill him and eat him). Of course Ken is too strong for Shu so Shu loses and Ken gets ready to join the fight.


Lots of action in episode 10. Koma and Inari let their guards down and get seriously injured by members of the Doves (Kumo’s blunder came from underestimating the enemy and Inari’s blunder came from going soft and protecting an innocent bystander). Before they can get axed off Ken comes in and saves both of them (Nitsuj: Hero time) but he doesn’t have much luck saving the Owl. It takes them all episode but the Doves eventually wear down the Owl with their constant attacks, surround him, and deal the finishing blows where he finally dies (Nitsuj: He’s now free to be with his wife. (Seras): What makes you think he’s going up to Heaven given everything he’s done?). With the Owl defeated the Doves celebrate their victory while Touka cries in the corner out of sight. Their victory gets cut short with the arrival of the second Owl (who is somehow more evil looking than the first one and Ken runs into Amon and his division to end the episode (let’s settle this once and for all).


Episode 11 starts off with The Owl (Nitsuj: Version 2.0) killing Yukinori right in front of Juuzou who for the first time in this series is shocked and upset about something (Nitsuj: So he does have a heart). Aogiri comes in and begins killing off Doves one by one pushing them all into a corner. However, this all turns around with one Dove by the name of Arima who shows up to fight the Owl himself rousing the troops to fight back against the ghouls. Arima does a good job fighting the Owl and getting it to retreat with Yoshimura in its mouth. Ken and Amon fight each other in a rather intense fight where you do feel a little bad for both of them. Neither side is evil and both sides want to protect the people they care about (it’s a shame they had to meet under these circumstances). At the end Ken manages to beat Amon and walks away bleeding and falls unconscious. He wakes up in Starbucks where his best friend Hide is there to greet him (hey long time no see. Still a virgin?). After the credits we find out that The Owl is Eto that girl wrapped in bandage who seems to be the ring leader of Aogiri and only had like a few scenes of dialog. Not only that but she’s actually Yoshimura’s kid (Nitsuj: Well. . .like father like daughter).


In the final episode as the Doves are cleaning up all the corpses we see that Yukinori is still alive however he’s in a coma and chances are he won’t be coming out anytime soon. Back in Starbucks Ken and Hide have a little chat where Hide confesses that he knew all along that Ken was a ghoul but he still thinks of him as his best friend. Their reunion is cut short when we see that Hide is dying from blood lost, it turns out he got shot in the tussle outside and has been bleeding nonstop this whole time. He finally dies from the blood lost and Ken cries over the loss of his best friend. Ken soon sets the place on fire (Nitsuj: This isn’t helping your chances with Touka) and walks directly into the Doves (who don’t attack him for some reason) carrying the dead body of Hide and gives himself up to them. Rather than kill him he’s instead taken into custody and we fast forward sometime later where Touka is all grown up and now owns and runs her own coffee shop to end the season.


Final Thoughts


(Seras): And that was Tokyo Ghoul so where do we begin? (Nitsuj): Well let’s start by looking at the first season. The first season does a good job introducing the characters and the world we’re in. We see what a ghoul is, who their enemies are, how they act, and what they have to do to survive. (Seras): The best part about this anime is that it never picks a side. We see both the good and bad side of ghouls and humans. While there are ghouls out there who enjoy fighting and killing there are also ghouls out there like Ken, Touka, and the others who just want to live in peace with humans and live normal lives. On the human side we know why they are fighting the ghouls to preserve themselves and it’s justifiable but at same time we see some who are willing to sacrifice their humanities and sacrifice a number of lives just to kill the ghouls out of vengeance and use justice to condone their acts. Neither side is wrong but at the same time neither side is right either. They’re all somewhere down the middle just like real people. (Nitsuj): The second season serves as good build up for the fight to come. In this season we see how everyone has decided on their paths and gone their own separates way. Some of these decisions are good while others are bad and in the end whatever path they decide to go on there’s no going back they have to accept it. (Seras): While the season is very different from the manga I do like it. The season explores a new aspect of the series showing us how one man’s actions can effect himself and those around him to a degree and how we must all accept our decisions in life no matter how painful they may be. I still prefer the manga version over the anime version but the anime version is a nice alternative to the manga and offers a new take on the story like I said before so it’s a good idea to check out both versions of the story and compare them to see which one you like more.


(Nitsuj): The characters are pretty deep and thoughtful. Ken starts off as this timid and weak human who gets thrown into a world he never wanted to be a part of and has to adapt to it or risk dying. At the end of the first season he comes to see that his old ways of thinking aren’t going to save him in this world and he must change now or lose everything he cares about in the future. In the second season he makes that change becoming a complete badass but in the process losing his sanity all for the sake of protecting those he cares about and joining an organization that almost tried to kill him. Only to in the end return to normal and give himself up. (Seras): Touka is also an interesting character in that she knows she’s a ghoul but at the same time she tries to live a normal life with humans while her brother rejected that lifestyle seeing it as a weak and pointless style that is impossible because of what happened to their father in the past. In a way she’s kind of like Ken only more experienced in her knowledge of what she is and accepted it while Ken refuses to acknowledge what he is pissing her off. The downside to her character is that she becomes quite weak in the second season and takes a back seat as do a lot of other characters in the series during the second season. We explore a few of them like Yoshimura, Amon and Juuzou learning where they come from and why they’re the way they are but many of them get pushed to the side and don’t get explored as much as they should. (Nitsuj): Yeah, that’s one of the downfalls of the anime. We never learn that much about the members of Aogiri such as Ayato I would like to find out more about his past or many of the members of Aogiri. We never get a chance to explore them or their organization. The same can be said about the Doves. We see a lot of members but don’t get to know that much about them such as where they come from or what grudges they have with the ghouls. I’m sure they explain a lot of these characters in the manga but for a guy a like me who only knows the series through the anime and nothing else it kind of leaves me in the dark. Another major problem have with the anime is that they never explain the ghouls fully such as where they come from, are they the result of some science experiment gone wrong, a disease outbreak, are they only in Japan, and why is human flesh they can eat? Another problem I have is with Ken. Who turned him into a ghoul and why?


(Seras): One thing this anime excels at greatly is with the animation, fight scenes, and music. The animation looks amazing in this series from the character designs, to the backgrounds and to the ghoul powers. Aside from the fight scenes in episode 4 of season 2 the fight scenes are all great to watch with each character having their own fighting style. (Nitsuj): The level of gore is also good which is why it’s bad to see the ridiculous amount of censorship Japan put into the anime but luckily the DVDs have it all uncensored so it’s better to watch the DVDs. Just like Seras said the music for this anime is beautiful as each song matches the scene perfectly and feels us with so many emotions when listening to it.


Final Score


(Nitsuj): My final score for the anime is a 7.5/10. The first season was my favorite as it had a perfect blend of action and drama. It set the mood of the anime, established the characters and the world they’re in, had great music and fight scenes, and character development as the story progressed. You feel sad for these characters and want to see all of them come out on top and live happy lives. The second season was good but at times I felt bored by not a lot of happening and was disappointed to see a lot of characters get sidelined and not explored as much as they should of. The fights scenes did get better in the second season but a few things didn’t make sense such as Ken joining Aogiri and a few other things. (Seras): For me I give the series an 8.5/10. The first season did a good job establishing the characters and the world while giving us character development and the second season provided a fresh new take on the series with plenty of action and the struggles of our characters. While it’s true we could have explored more characters I really wasn’t worried about that since I read the manga so for some of you out there this might have bothered you. (Nitsuj): So combining our two scores Tokyo Ghoul earns a final score of an 8/10 with a must watch stamp of approval. It’s a very good series and if you liked the anime you should definitely pick up the manga. There’s talks of a 3rd season being made which will adapt the sequel to the original series and if so I look forward to checking it out. (Seras): And I’ll be there to weigh in my opinion as well. (Nitsuj): Until that day comes, thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.


(Nitsuj): Well how was that you otaku spirits ready to leave now?


*Nitsuj gets splattered with slime*




(Seras): I take it they didn’t like it?


(Aqua): I believe so.


(Nitsuj): How could they not like it? What more do they want from me?


(Isis): Master we- woah! New look going on there huh?


(Nitsuj): I don’t want to talk about it.


(Isis): Fair enough. After searching otaku events from the 90s and combining our information we have figured out the name of the spirits haunting the house but I hesitate to tell you out of fear of what you’ll do next.


(Nitsuj): Isis. I’m very peaceful and understandable I’m sure these spirits have a reason for what they’re doing. Please tell me who they are, I can take it.


(Isis):. . .They are 4Kids.


(Nitsuj): WHAT! 4Kids is haunting my house!?


(Seras): Well that explains why they didn’t like the anime. Too much gore and it wasn’t Americanized.


(Nitsuj): Goddamn it! Alright, no more mister nice reviewer. From now on we do things my way!


*Nitsuj leaves the room with Isis and Seras following him*


(Seras): Hey where you going?


(Nitsuj): If good anime won’t get them to leave then bad anime will.


(Isis): Wait. Don’t tell me you’re going to review that anime.


(Nitsuj): Oh yes. It’s come to this.


(Isis): Master I beg of you please don’t review that anime it hasn’t come to that yet.


*Nitsuj removes a painting from the wall to reveal a safe. After punching the code and getting his eye scan the safe opens up and Nitsuj takes out a black steel briefcase*


(Seras): Okay what’s going on?


(Isis): He’s going to review SD


(Seras): SD? What’s SD?


(Nitsuj): Oh you’ll find see.


*Nitsuj opens the briefcase and reveals to Seras what SD is*


(Seras): *Falls to her knees and throws up a little* Oh my God. You bastard! You sick bastard! What have you done?




*Nitsuj gets splattered with slime once again*


(Nitsuj): Till next time.


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