Gabbing Geek Manga Review: Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1

I had tried, and not liked very much, the sequel series to Tokyo Ghoul, namely Tokyo Ghoul:re, a while back.  My review said, among other things, that the series seemed to work off the idea that the reader was already somewhat familiar with the ghoul world, so many concepts were not explained as well as I needed it to since I didn’t know it was a sequel when I picked up that first volume.

Well, now I’ve read the first volume of the original series.

Ken Kaneki is a shy bookworm.  A normal college student, he manages to get a date with the girl of dreams, Rize.  Sure, there’s talk of ghouls, human-eating monsters, out there, and there seems to be one particularly murderous one in the neighborhood, but Rize is everything Ken could have hoped for in a first date.  They even have the same blood type, which is an odd thing to share on a first date, but maybe that’s how things roll in Japan.

Bad news, though:  Rize is that ghoul from the news, and she wasn’t looking for a date.  She was looking for a meal.

Ken manages to barely escape when a stack of steel beams falls onto Rize, killing her, but he was already badly injured, so the folks at the hospital give him some of her organs (they are the same blood type after all) to save his life.  Now Ken is a ghoul himself, or at least a partial one.  He has the ghoul drawbacks:  normal human food tastes awful to him now (except for coffee), and he heals too fast to kill himself or remove Rize’s kidney.  Oh, and he really wants to eat human flesh.  Ghouls don’t need to eat as often as humans, and if they try to ignore their hunger bad things can happen, but Ken refuses to be a monster even as other ghouls, those born that way, try to help him transition to a world he never asked to join.  Is Ken an outcast or a connection?

This one was much better.  It’s a dark horror story, and creator Sui Ishida set up a good introduction, showing Ken’s stress and despair as he resists for as long as he can eating a human being, particularly his only friend Hide, and trying to learn his way around his new hunger and abilities.  He didn’t ask for this, but neither did the other ghouls, and he would still be hunted down just as surely by the ghoul investigators.  I think I want to read more of this one.  Nine out of ten decapitation punts.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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