I haven’t reviewed this series since volume 6, but dammit it’s worth your time. Or is it? Given how much has changed since volume 6 one might argue this isn’t even the same manga. We review…
Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 11 (Viz Media)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
Ghouls live among us, the same as normal people in every way—except for their craving for human flesh.
Ken Kaneki is an ordinary college student until a violent encounter turns him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid. Trapped between two worlds, he must survive Ghoul turf wars, learn more about Ghoul society and master his new powers.
Amid clashes between Ghouls and the Commission of Counter Ghoul investigators at Doctor Kano’s underground facility, Kaneki finds himself locked in battle with Special Class Ghoul investigator Yukinori Shinohara. When the battle subsides, the CCG discovers shocking evidence that leads them closer to discovering the truth behind Kano’s sinister plans.
Why does this book matter?
Aside from it having an anime to go along with it, it’s also got a horror tone that should satisfy those who have a predilection for a darker tone. It’s also all about the gore, action, and development of a robust world where ghouls live among us.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Sweet mask bro.
If you grew up watching The Guyver movie or enjoying Tim Burton’s films like Beetlejuice you’ll probably love this series and this volume. That’s because the characters are a bit off–they’ll say they’re making a joke without a single smile (and nobody is laughing either) as if to remind them what emotion to elicit. It’s like all of the characters are disconnected from their emotions. It’s revealed one of the investigators tortured animals, yet he’s a good guy! The tone is set in such a way to make everyone seem peculiar and just a tad bit off.
The events in this manga reveal some needed backstory (see above for one example) which helps flesh out the characters a bit. There’s not a lot, but it’s something.
There’s some inspired use of lettering in this issue that blew me away. As a character is racked with pain the lettering actually bends. They’re losing it, and you can feel it in how the words look on the page.
The art is pretty darn good too. Sui Ishida keeps the action fast, with a lot of blur and intense strikes. The blades are sharp and cut deep and you can feel it. The creepiness level is high due to the art too. Characters have very good facial expressions to help convey no emotion at all, or perturbed subtle emotion.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a complicated sort of book that shouldn’t be read out of order. Do not start with volume 11. Given, that’s on you, but it’s a warning nonetheless. Even though I have read previous installments, I was a bit lost as far as the underlying relationships between characters, which made it hard to care at times.
Sweet armor bro.
While Ishida draws some epic panels, there are some that look rushed and unfinished. It takes you out of the book and it’s somewhat unfortunate given some of the quality panels in this manga.
Another issue, a big one, is how characters refer to their weapons and seem to take forever to start fighting which makes a majority of this book feel like filler. We’re waiting for something to happen and much of this book is only a handful of fights. The setting never changes, which doesn’t help, and by the end you’re wondering why it took so long to read such a short story.
Tokyo Ghoul certainly has a compelling world on its hands with a neat fighting system and weapons. I can’t help but think the decompression is killing it though. It has its moments, it’s wonderfully weird, and worth a read if you’ve ever considered yourself a goth. That said, it’s a slow burn story that requires a lot of patience.