Published on October 5th, 2015 | by Sara Sellers
Manga Review of Tokyo Ghoul
Author: Sui Ishida
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
In the spirit of trying to keep up with the ever increasing amount of manga being translated and brought to the United States I decided to review one of the newest horror mangas Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida.
Ishida’s story revolves around Ken Kaneki a shy, book loving college student who plucks up the courage to ask out a beautiful stranger named Rize whom he had seen several times at his favorite coffee shop. Rize agrees and while their date starts out normal enough it ends with Rize trying to eat him during a mad dash through a secluded construction site. Turns out Rize is what is known as a ghoul, a human doppelganger that feeds on human flesh, who had targeted Kaneki for her next feeding. He avoids becoming a complete ghoul meal when Rize is suddenly incapacitated by a serendipitous drop of heavy iron bars. Kaneki is rushed to the hospital where the doctor uses organs from Rize for a lifesaving transplant operation which changes him into a half-ghoul who needs to consume human flesh to survive. Scared and confused Kaneki finds the ghouls of the coffee shop “Anteiku” and begins to learn what it means to be a part of two very different worlds.
There are only two volumes out in the US right now and this manga is not for those who dislike violence, blood, or psychological trauma as it has all three in abundance but I have read the entire series through online translations and find it interesting. I love the characters and their designs as well as the overall thought put into the world and how it works. It is virtually impossible to tell a ghoul apart from a normal human unless they are eating, at which point their eyes change color, or fighting, where they grow an extra appendage known as a Kagune. The artistic effort when the ghouls are in full fight mode is fantastic and the plot moves smoothly enough to keep you entertained. My one complaint about the series would have to be the fact that while the author touches on the question “What does it mean to be human?” he never takes it fully out of the box. Kaneki goes through some truly horrific experiences but never completely reaches the full potential his duel existence represents. There was so much potential to really explore the question but it just doesn’t go far enough to satisfy me as a reader.
This series would be for older teens and adults due to the varying depictions of violence and psychological trauma but as a horror manga it is a solid addition to any collection. An added bonus would be that there is already an anime adaptation that you could pair with the manga once it’s released in the US. Happy reading!