喰種 – Ghoul
In a word, breathtaking.
This series was off to a beautiful start with the first episode, and it maintained its strong standing with the handful of episodes that followed. However, as the later episodes progressed, I felt that the series was slipping little by little. Then this episode comes along and mind trolls everyone, leaving such an impression that one can’t stop going ‘OMG‘. Yes, Tokyo Ghoul has had its ups and downs, but this final episode was by far the best episode of the season. And it just goes to show that with a strong start and stellar finish, a lot that goes on in between can be forgiven. Most of this episode focused on the behind the scenes of Kaneki’s transformation, exploring what went on in the deep depths of his mind while he suffered at the hands of Jason. Rarely are there episodes that centre around a conversation that would really grip and capture audiences, but this episode managed to do just that. Presenting us with the entire inner turmoil that Kaneki was going through was brilliant execution on the part of the production team. From the conversations between Rize and Kaneki, to how the scenes shifted from present time to flashbacks, to the use of the sound effects and music, the presentation was simply flawless. And although the conversations between Rize and Kaneki were seemingly calm, they exuded a chilling atmosphere and had me at the edge of my seat, mostly due to the eerie music that filtered in and out during the scenes. There was just something so extraordinarily and inexplicably powerful about all that quietness.
unravel. Instead of continuing from where the previous episode ended, this episode presented us with Kaneki’s transformation. We went deep into his psych and watched as the threads that held his state of mind together were slowly being picked apart. This episode, Jason pushed Kaneki, bit by bit, to the edge. And we saw just how much it took for Kaneki to finally go over that edge. It is better to be hurt than to hurt others (傷つける人より、傷つけられる人に – kizutsukeru hito yori, kizutsukerareru hito ni) – that is what Kaneki’s mother had taught him. But, how far can you go before you sustain so much hurt that you yourself break? We saw that with Kaneki’s mother; how she overworked herself till she died. She might have been the one taking in all the hurt while she was alive, but she did not realise that by doing so and finally dying and leaving Kaneki alone, she was hurting him the most. Kaneki might have accepted it initially, but having been pushed so far along the edge made him realise that by being hurt, he would only end up hurting others.
Ultimately though, Kaneki still held on to his mother’s belief – he refused to choose who to kill (or save, as Jason so cleverly twisted it around) and was pushed past his limit when Rize made him realise that those he holds dear would be in danger if he did not accept his ghoul self. Again, it is that kindness in Kaneki that brought out the ghoul in him, because he would rather get rid of the threat than have said threat hurt his friends. That said, now that Kaneki has undergone this massive personality metamorphosis, it remains to be told how he will end up. Will he be reduced to the uncouthness that was Jason? Or does he still retain some of his old self? Just how far lost is he? So many questions…
忘れないで – don’t forget. The series’ OP, unravel by TK from 凛として時雨, had a full feature in the final scenes of this last episode. And hearing the song being played, as well as those lyrics which just FIT the scene (Kaneki’s acceptance of his ghoul nature) to a tee, made watching the unfolding scenes all the more exhilarating. I was honestly awestruck by just how apt the lyrics were. There are quite a few tweets (from fans and cast members alike) that unravel was beautifully used in this episode, and I could not agree more. This episode really showcased just how exquisite the song really is. Using the OP in the ending scenes left viewers with a very impressionable impact of the song, as well as the series. I have had unravel playing over and over again in my head and every time it did, so did those final moments featuring the showdown between Kaneki and Jason. It was explosive and oh so stunning.
Flavour of the Summer 2014 season. Hanae Hanae Hanae (シ_ _)シ Hanae Natsuki was undeniably the star of this series, and with his performance as Kaneki Ken, the very rightfully crowned flavour of this season. He had done tremendously well during the previous episodes, but his performance in this final episode certainly takes the cake. From his screams of anguish, to his cries of desperation, to him finally letting out all that pent up frustration, followed by the numb and apathetic tone (yet with a tinge of cruelty) he delivered when his character finally unravelled, the emotions that he delivered were very raw and very real. His performance was so amazing, that he even garnered the praise of Tokyo Ghoul’s author, Ishida Sui.
Of course, Hanae was not the only seiyuu worth gushing over, because Tokyo Ghoul was made all the better by the stunning performances of all the other voice actors. Hanazawa Kana made her reappearance in this final episode, and her delivery of Rize was perfection. Also, Nishi Rintarou’s convincing performance as the very warped Jason definitely sent chills (of fear and loathing) down the spine.
The other characters that we have come to know and love might not have been featured in this episode, but notable mention goes to the many of their seiyuus who have made this series an all the more pleasurable watching experience – Amamiya Sora, Asanuma Shintarou, Kaji Yuuki, Konishi Katsuyuki, Kugimiya Rie, Miyano Mamoru, Nakamura Yuuichi, Ookawa Tooru and Toyonaga Toshiyuki. These seiyuus are all talented in their own right, but this was further amplified under the direction of acclaimed Morita Shuuhei. Tokyo Ghoul was voice acting at its very best, with each and every seiyuu giving flawless performances after the other.
Sequel? A few days earlier, the official Tokyo Ghoul anime Chinese website listed a second season (as afterwards reported by ANN), but there was then no word about a second season on the official Japanese website or the official anime twitter page. And just a couple of days ago, it was announced on crunchyroll that season two has been delisted. So whether we will be getting a second season or not, we shall just have to wait and see. But from the way things went this episode, there is most definitely room for a sequel. In fact, if there weren’t a season two, the team would have just been stabbing themselves in the gut for producing the conclusion that they did. So here’s hoping we do get a second season sometime in the near future.
Having been adapted from a very highly rated manga, this was one of the more anticipated series this season. Fans of the manga might have been disappointed with the anime missing out on quite a few details, or the over-excessive censorship. However, having not yet read the manga, I was therefore watching this from an anime only perspective. And I absolutely loved it. Tokyo Ghoul is a very beautiful, intense and impactful series, definitely one of Summer 2014’s highlights for me. Now, after all that has been watched and written about, there is only one thing left to do: read the manga. And so, in an effort to cope with the withdrawal symptoms, I shall now proceed to read the manga. But before that, here are more screencaps of the final episode (I must have screencapped practically the entire episode, goodness!!).
Let the countdown begin: 千ひく七は… Till the next season comes around~
Update 12 October 2015: It’s official, season 2 of Tokyo Ghoul is set to air in January 2015. Watch the teaser trailer here~