新洸 – Faith
In a word, messy.
After what was one of the best ending episodes (but objectively not the best ending) I have had the pleasure of watching, the much-anticipated series returns with Tokyo Ghoul √A. All I can say after watching this first episode is what a mess. As with fellow writer Komorebi (yes, we discussed this at great length prior to me writing this review), I stand conflicted, at some point between (･_･;? and (ノ*｀へ´*)ノ︵ ┻━┻
Continuing where we left off previously, the battle between the Aogiri, the doves and Anteiku is back in full swing. There was a lot of fighting, action and block-bustering (literally). Almost too much. It isn’t that I do not appreciate hard-core action, because I do. It’s just that it felt like there was too much going on and the writers were desperately trying to resolve the fighting all chop chop. And what resulted was 18 minutes of disjointed action scenes. The development was sorely lacking. Take Kaneki for example. I get the change in Kaneki’s appearance – all that torture and extraction-ing put way too much of a strain on his body. However, what I do not understand is how he powered up in the blink of an eye. I understand the (not so) sudden psychological drive to fight, as well as the desire to torture (hey, no need to go through any traumatising ordeal, that’s just inherent isn’t it?), but where did the physical prowess come from? Sure, he had undergone arduous training sessions with Touka and Yomo, but strength and fighting skills can’t just be magicked out of thin air.
With the rant out of the way, it’s time to take a more objective approach. Tokyo Ghoul is a manga adaptation, with season one following the manga somewhat closely (I use this extremely loosely). This second season, however, moves away from the manga. Fans of the manga might be disappointed that the anime story has taken a different turn, and while I indulged in my mini rant fest earlier, I didn’t dislike this first episode. It was just… different – which is not bad at all, just unexpected and a little discomfiting. That having been said, with Tokyo Ghoul mangaka Ishida Sui providing this original anime storyline, I am convinced that the anime is in safe hands. So set your minds at ease, oh fellow viewers. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride, shall we?
Now that all of that’s been dealt with, it’s seiyuu time~ kiseki had to wait a long 9 minutes and 45 seconds to hear Hanae Natsuki, and while the wait was (me thinks) worth it, he was overshadowed by the likes of Kaji Yuuki, Miyano Mamoru and Sakamoto Maaya. Having listened to Kaji-kyun as Meliodas all of Autumn 2014, it took a while for my brain to actually process that this vengeful sounding Ayato was actually the same seiyuu. While Kaji’s voice isn’t generally the type that sets my heart aflutter, he is definitely kyun worthy in this one. Along with Kaji-kyun, the other one who stole the episode was Mamo-chan. I had almost forgotten what a great Summer 2014 Mamo had, but it took all but two seconds of Tsukiyama’s counting (in French no less) to jog my memory. C’est magnifique, Mamo. And yet, in spite of two brilliant performances in this first episode alone, the one who left the deepest impression was undoubtedly Sakamoto, as the fleeting and very mysterious Eto. I loved the gentle bell-like ring she had to her voice, so much so that I simply had to mention it. Of course, this series really isn’t complete without the other seiyuus, and I am absolutely thrilled that the rest of the cast – Yusa Kouji, Kugimiya Rie, Nakamura Yuuichi, Asanuma Shintarou, Sakurai Takahiro, Konishi Katsuyuki, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, and Amamiya Sora have returned to voice the characters that we have come to love / hate.
Music wise, there really was a whole lot left to be desired. In comparison with the hauntingly beautiful and iconic (as fellow writer Akatsuki mentioned) OP of last season, this OP rather fell short for me (yes yes it’s not fair to compare and all that, but these are different seasons of the same series, so kiseki is comparing). It didn’t help that the ED was nothing much to write home about either. The songs are not bad; on the contrary, they are quite pleasant. But again, just different and not as impressive as the first season’s.
On the whole, while not a spectacular opening episode after the breathtaking finale that this season’s predecessor wow-ed us with, this episode was still fairly decent. I particularly loved the snow scene, it was prettiness~~ Anyway, with mystery having surfaced in the form of three un-introduced characters (Shiro, Kuro and some other dude), the Arata machinery, Ayato’s unspoken agenda with the Aogiri and the bombshell that Kaneki dropped on Touka, this looks to be a pretty warped (in a good way) season. All’s I can say is, bring on the different, and I look forward to watching and reviewing~
Tokyo Ghoul √A airs Thursdays, 2400hours (i.e. midnight on Fridays). This is with reference to Japan time, GMT + 9 hours.