Resting in a stained world is a personal identity, submerged beneath a pool of liquid blood. In an attempt to block itself from the foul air outside, coagulation transforms the pool into a bloody gel, with identity paralyzed against the high viscosity. This standstill of human existence is the exploration accomplished by Tokyo Ghoul.
My introduction is an analogical take to the complex knot tied between the identity of those who are ghouls and those who are humans. In the dark side of Tokyo, a subworld of survival and predation swarms the city with horrific infestation. And then there are the humans at the federal agency named CCG who hunts down and investigates the ghouls. Now, the story has issues with the inexistent origination of some plot elements. Along with inconsistent pacing, these two fail to flesh out such a compelling world and leave questions behind. It focuses more on the fragile human qualities and I have to say, it delivers this aspect quite successfully. Suppose you, a rational person like Kaneki, is turned into a murderous monster who have to eat human fleshes for your own survival. This is not just some ordinary psychological acclimatization where everything will be normal quickly. It's a torturous endurance to keep your sanity intact. To keep your human identity alive. To not be viewed as a hellish organism. And the fact that you are thrown into numerous violent bloodsheds forced yourself to ask questions in the gray areas of morality, straining your mental self with excruciating anguish. While other characters may be undeveloped, they serve well to be the resemblances and contrasts to Kaneki. You have ghouls who retain their human values, underpinning a beautiful testament within these so-called demons, and others with unbelievable morbidity who steer away from humanity to become savages. With the CCG investigators who bring in a human perspective, all these sides sum up to an engaging exploration of an inner self who have his identity shattered, a crushed soul attempting to adapt in a divided world.
Fragmented emotions imbue a disarrayed sense of belonging in a world masked by darkness. With the art revitalizing on this purplish darkness along with red gores, the tone manages to grasp a thrilling suspense within the subworld of ghouls versus ghouls and ghouls versus humans. The only slight problem is that the animation looks wonky at times but compared to the ones given for the action scenes, that's minimal. It captures the chaotic but powerful fights with well-made choreography, having splendid movements to go along with them. The designs of the ghouls were monstrous, striking fear with their menacing demonism while also capturing their predatory sides. But a great factor that visually expresses the thematic crisis of identity is in the expressions that range from the more horrified to the distressed. Usually backed by the dramatic actions in the characters, it shows the sufferings and tortured emotions from the brutalities they experienced which affected their physical and mental state. Their voices come out disturbingly with intensified sounds and the background music help even further in turning the atmosphere into a troubled one. It is really effectual in raising up the stakes. Considerable impact is felt and the slight uncomfortableness with goosebumps fits the horror side. Lastly, the opening may be a simple one but the sequences are a symbolical reflection of ghouls and humans. Accompanied by a phantom-like yet catchy song, the lyrics unravel the broken human identity, representing the main personal conflicts explored throughout the show.
Tokyo Ghoul is a straightforward but intriguing dive into the mind of a boy with a rotting identity. While the lack of character development and some plot issues did lower the quality, overall, all the various perspectives stitch together into a solid psychological story full of thrills and gory visuals.