Tokyo Ghoul Episode 1 Notes

July 3rd, 2014.

A Modern Sexual Horror Story

Screenshot album, not always SFW.

Tokyo Ghoul anime episode 1 notes - Kamishiro Rize with the subtext

Tokyo Ghoul had two distinct halves, that had been quite different. But before we go there, I’ll say I don’t care that much for the art-style of the characters, and the fully CGI-cities were more than a tad jarring. I was also amused the “crazy, domineering-style girlfriend” was a Senjougahara look-alike. That first date would go down in the list of “Terrible first dates”, and makes me think somewhat of Highschool DxD, and for other reasons as well.

I want to mention Hanae Natsuki whose acting had been very solid, and who also acted very well in Sekai Seifuku as Asuta and Outbreak Company as Shinichi, whatever one thinks of the shows, or his characters, I can’t fault his acting.

The censoring is unfortunate. Reminds me of Highschool of the Dead. We’ve had some tits and ass, but it’s mostly gore. I came to this knowing it’d be shlocky horror, and shlocky horror seems to often connect sex and sensuality to blood, and this show not only isn’t an exception, but takes it much farther.

Werewolves, the big bad wolf, vampires. All are about sex, about people changing, about the allure of blood. The first half of the episode was very gorey, very GrimDark, with attempts at being so very “edgy” and “mature”. But it happens. We’re dealing with living zombie-vampires, right? But then it was all about sex. Meet a nice girl, who isn’t what she seems to be under the surface.

Tokyo Ghoul anime episode 1 notes - Kamishiro Rize - clingy girlfriend

Go with her to a dark road? Why, that’s the same as the allegory of going into the forest where the big bad wolf is, the forest of sexuality. Trying to run away from the girl? She runs after you! I also really liked this shot of fake coyness – you are too shy to be close to someone, so you bury your face in their chest, right.

So, his first sexual encounter, something terrifying, something that transforms him, and might kill his old self? And then they combine them? She becomes a part of him? Say it ain’t so! ;-)

At this point I was pretty wary. I came looking for “Horror”, and while these days pure “gore” is often grouped under the “horror” genre, it’s not about terror, but just about shock factor and splatterhouse. I wanted more.

Then the second part came. Horror is atmosphere. Horror is fearing to live in your own skin (which is why Aku no Hana is such a great horror show). And then the second part delivered!

“What is happening to me? What am I?!” and the onset of change one cannot welcome, but one cannot escape. An allegory to becoming an adult? To becoming sexual? Who cares, that’s horror! I do find it interesting ghouls are something people know of, and wonder how one becomes a ghoul. But hey, at least amidst all the gore and sexuality we might also get to peer into the psyche of one boy’s devolution or evolution, at his fights and triumphs with himself.

Tokyo Ghoul anime episode 1 notes - Kaneki Ken on being human

He cried out, “I am human!,” and the show told us everything we need to know about what that’s worth, with him groveling on the ground, and then being force-fed. To be human is to be weak and helpless. Welcome to the world of horror, where humanity is all you’ve got, and it’s worthless, except to you.

I also found this image hilarious, “A good hamburger will make you cry.”

I liked it, overall! Very shlocky, very grimdark edgy “”mature””, but also fun and somewhat promising.

Return to the Tokyo Ghoul Episodic Notes page.

2 comments on “Tokyo Ghoul Episode 1 Notes

  1. Temeraire says:

    Really that wass sooo amazing?? i dont remenber the first episode of tokyo Ghould like that…… it was so generic, and so obvious… really from the moment you see Rize in the beginning of the anime, you know how the show will end… the MC is like Shinji ikari o Banagher from gundam unicorn….i dont like …i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like .i dont like …

    The animation, music and accion is good, but the plot…. just so obviously, u know rize will be attaking the mc, u know he will become and ghoul. Really i dont see the suspense or the horror in this show only gore with censure….

    The best part of the show was when Kanahana moan… really that was soo exciting… i cant call for psicologic, cous they cut what MC think of the book he read….(manga side)

    Pd sorry for my bad english.

    • Guy says:
      1. Plot is rarely the most interesting part, especially once you watch enough stuff and read enough stuff. Yet we rewatch series, though we know how they’ll turn out, right?

      2. “I don’t like!” – There’s a reason many good characters use that, because it’s part of The Hero’s Journey, and because that’s how real people would react. This is also why it’s psychological – psychological isn’t about hearing what the character thinks, but being able to understand it, the descent into madness, being afraid of everything, etc.

      3. I didn’t say it was “soooo amazing”, I said it had promise. The promise to actually deliver an actual horror tale.

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