One of the things I liked most about volume 1 of this series was the idea of flesh eating monsters who walked, talked and acted like everybody else. A monster that could change physically only when it was eating gives the zombie idea a new spin on things. Mix in a nerdy, shy kid protagonist who’s become half ghoul and you have yourself an interesting premise, but does it hold up?
Tokyo Ghoul Vol 2 (Viz Media)
This volume further explores the ghoul world previously unknown to the protagonist known as Ken but now that he’s a ghoul he might as well learn. If he doesn’t he could hurt the ghouls’ daily lives in his section of the city since they live in hiding. They aren’t completely hidden though, as this volume explores the cafe Ken now works in as he learns the way of ghouls. The cafe is run by ghouls, but they let in humans and ghouls alike. It’s an odd sort of premise since they must eat people to survive, and when they do feed they turn monstrous and eat like savage beasts, but at the same time they contain these traits when they’re fed.
This volume runs a bit too slowly for my tastes, although it does get a few things very right. The first of which is the detective who’s on Ken’s trail. This guy is a monster in his own right and actually takes pleasure in killing ghouls. He looks like a monster too. He’s a great villain for the series and it’ll be fun to see him used more in the next volume. That said he only pops up a few times in this volume and he could have used a lot more development. There is a story arc within this volume that focuses on a mother and daughter ghoul this detective is after that works very well. Writer and artists Sui Ishida develops them just enough so that we care for them and worry about them. They seem innocent enough and when the detective finds them it’s a brutal and sad sequence to say the least.
Another element that’s introduced in this volume is the idea of ghouls wearing masks. Ken doesn’t get his till the very last page, but it’s a compelling element to their culture. It’s also a bit like S&M which is an odd element indeed. This isn’t explored much either, but it is something that’ll keep people coming back for to learn more about.
Ishida’s art continues to look fantastic; the action is filled with energy. Unfortunately there isn’t a ton of action in this volume, but when it does appear it’s violent and fast. Most of the art resorts to talking head moments which are slower in pace. These work well, but unfortunately the tension usually resorts to Ken’s awkwardness which gets a bit tiresome.
The detective is pretty weird looking.
There are interesting elements introduced in this volume that will make you come back for more, but overall it’s a slower read that doesn’t feel 100% necessary to read. Put this one down as an average read.