My last blog post was basically a mess of me trying to explain what Tokyo Ghoul is fundamentally whilst also trying to gush about the genius of part one. However, now that basically every piece of context has been laid out I can now gush about one of my favorite sections of Tokyo Ghoul, part 2. Originally, I had seen the anime before I had read the manga. In the anime, Kaneki joins Aogiri Tree, completely letting go of who he is as a person and becoming a cold-blooded killer so that he can become strong enough to protect the ones he loves. Although it does work into the story either way it is so far from what happens in the manga it’s comical.
What I forgot to explain in the first part is that the CCG rates ghouls based on their level of danger. If a ghoul is a rate A it means they’re generally pretty dangerous but not hardened killers. Some ghouls can go all the way up to SSS rating which means they have quite the body count when it comes to investigators.
Kaneki forms his own minor organization with the single goal of finding Dr. Kano, a ghoul researcher/doctor who planted Rize’s kahuo in Kaneki. Kaneki remains kind and fragile as he was in season one, but he now has the power necessary to get what he wants and he’s finally willing to use it. However, Kaneki still somewhat refuses to eat. Instead, he cannibalizes other ghouls, which greatly increases his already insane power. However, what Kaneki does not know is that if ghouls cannibalize, they become Kakuja which if translated means “awakened person”. Kakuja are immensely powerful ghouls who have multiple Kahuos, allowing them to control multiple Kagune at a time. However, should a ghoul awaken, they lose control, and only a very select few ghouls can maintain control when awakened.
About halfway through part one, the CCG ghoul prison known as cochlea is broken into and many high-ranking ghouls are released, putting the CCG in a very tough spot. Kaneki who was at Cochlea for reasons I can’t remember is confronted by an especially strong ghoul who was very close to Rize and is now set on killing him as he bears Rize’s scent. Being one of the strongest non-kakuja ghouls, this ghoul wipes the floor with Kaneki. Lying in the puddle of his own blood, Kaneki’s loss drives him to awaken. Unable to control his Kakuja powers, he mortally injures an investigator and barely escapes with his life. Kaneki, now being a Kakuja is a ticking time bomb. He still isn’t eating well and mostly eats ghouls as he knows it makes him stronger.
What makes the second part of Tokyo Ghoul so special to me is how much backstory and lore they give to characters that received very little attention in the anime. This happens all throughout the show as basically half the content that made the manga so special was surgically removed. Sui Ishida gives many side characters compelling and emotional backstories throughout part two which adds an immense amount of depth to the Tokyo Ghoul world, which I will definitely be getting into in another post.
Throughout the first half, one of the main roadblocks for the CCG is a ghoul known as the owl, who is responsible for the conception of Aogiri Tree. The owl is actually two ghouls, a father and his daughter who are both kakujas. Despite looking and fighting completely differently the owls are one of the biggest threats to the CCG. Mr. Yoshimura, the man who took in Kaneki is the owl, the founder of Aogiri tree, and one of the most feared ghouls in Tokyo.
The CCG launches an operation into the 20th ward which is the worst possible situation for Kaneki as every ghoul he was training to protect was in the 20th ward. In a hurry, Kaneki goes to the 20th ward where he faces Special Investigator Kisho Arima. An extraordinary investigator who has a flawless record in the CCG and is the only investigator to have mortally injured the owl which he did when he was sixteen.
In one of the coolest scenes ever, Kaneki confronts Arima underground in a bed of Red Spider Lilies. Kaneki loses epically. He doesn’t even land a single hit on Arima and gets a quinque through the eye. Although Kaneki has an absurd amount of power, not even he can stand up to Arima. At this point, everyone believes Arima is the main villain, and in typical Tokyo Ghoul fashion, the first part ends, and seemingly so does the story of Ken Kaneki