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Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 Manga Review


“Tokyo Ghoul” doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

In “Tokyo Ghoul,” readers are introduced to a world in which human eating Ghoul creatures roam around Tokyo. While the Ghouls have freakish physical forms, they can also take human form. The real story of this series, however, revolves around a college freshman/book nerd by the name of Ken Kaneki. At the start of this series, things seem to be going well for Ken as he has a best friend (Hide) and has recently scored a date with his dream girl (Rize). Unfortunately, the date turns out to be a living hell as Rize is actually a Ghoul. Amidst a confrontation between Rize and Ken, Rize winds up dying while Ken is severely injured. The two are rushed to the hospital and, in a screwed up turn of events, Ken gets an organ transplant from the dead body of Rize. After the surgery, Ken finds himself changing…but I’ve said too much. Note: The manga also contains a short 2 page bonus story called “Tokyo’s Ghouls.”

For awhile now, writer/artist Sui Ishida’s manga series “Tokyo Ghoul” is one that I have been constantly hearing about. Having finally checked out the debut volume, however, I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

If you’re a fan of horror fiction in any medium, the story of “Tokyo Ghoul” feels very familiar. It’s part body horror, part zombie story (even though the Ghouls aren’t zombies) and part traditional manga with a lead character becoming a unique part of another world. Furthermore, the story relies heavily on conveniences and feels decidedly overwritten due to Ken’s overdone transformation. Sure, there’s some interesting moments here and there involving Ken’s struggle, but the point is driven home pretty quickly.

The most interesting part of “Tokyo Ghoul” storywise is without a doubt the supporting characters. The mysterious waitress Touka and the jackass college student Nishiki Nishio in particular prove to steal the thunder from Ken. While I could go into more detail about them, it’s best that I not spoil their characters.

From an art perspective, Ishida’s work is adequate albeit lacking in certain departments. The human character models and backgrounds look solid enough, but it’s the Ghoul illustrations that are the real creative stand-outs here. The action, on the other hand, is very problematic as it contains a lot of stylized blurred motions that one can barely make out. It would have been nice to see action that was displayed better to make it more of an intense read.

Overall Thoughts: “Tokyo Ghoul” certainly has merit, but is it worth reading more of? That is debatable.


February 5, 2017 - Posted by | Book review | ,

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