Shu’s dinner plans are pretty devilish. He intends to eat Ken as Ken is eating a human victim. Leave it to the dandy to make a show out of eating. If he had been a true mastermind, however, he would’ve spent more time observing Ken. Had he done so, he would’ve then realized that Kimi, the intended human victim, means nothing to our hero. You know who would’ve made a better choice? Hideyoshi totally would’ve made a better victim. I mean, just imagine being forced to eat your best friend just before someone eats you. Now that’s something Hannibal would’ve done. Needless to say, Shu still has a lot to learn. Despite this, however, Ken and Shu confront Shu by themselves. I never understand it when the good guys fail to call for backup. Yes, they want to rescue Kimi as soon as possible, but c’mon, Ken’s not a dummy. Surely, he doesn’t think an inexperienced ghoul like himself and a weakened ghoul in Nishiki can hope to challenge Shu all by themselves. Why not ask for help? How hard could it have been? How much time could this have taken? People have cell phones. Call them. Or text them. Do something smart, at least.
It’s interesting that Ken would call Shu perverted. Twisted? Yeah. Evil? Sure. Hentai? Hmm… I have it engrained in my mind that anything perverted necessarily has to do with sex. So let’s consider how one might find Shu perverted. I guess you could argue that there’s something carnal about the whole thing. Not only does Shu want to consume Ken’s flesh, he wants to corrupt our hero as well; he wants to besmirch the guy’s innocence. After all, Ken has yet to kill anyone. More importantly, he has yet to enjoy what most ghouls enjoy: “The ultimate meal requires… third-party intervention… in a maestoso location… with Kaneki reaching a crescendo.” Y’know, an orgasm is like a crescendo. But what sort of crescendo does Shu want Ken to reach? A crescendo of pleasure? Or perhaps a crescendo of pain? Maybe even both. Just the mere thought of what’s to come, however, makes Shu fall to his knees and roll his eyes backwards. Not only that, he screams out, “Fortissimo!” He then moans Ken’s name:
To continue with this line of thought, Shu claims he just can’t help himself: “Kaneki, you’re the one who’s making me do this, so you bear responsibility. You’d better realize how delicious you really are.” It’s akin to what a rapist or sex abuser might say to his or her victim. You asked for it, you tempted me, you could have prevented this, so and so forth. Shu isn’t just hungry for flesh. After all, someone that rich and powerful should hardly have any trouble feeding himself. Rather, our current villain is all about decadence. He doesn’t just want to eat. He wants the act of eating itself to be dirty. There has to be something morally corrupt about the meal. Even just merely eating Ken isn’t enough. He wants Ken to debase himself; it’s like an impromptu master-slave relationship, though slave isn’t going to stick around for very long. But most of all, Shu takes no responsibility. Instead, the onus is all on the hero. Maybe Ken should’ve covered himself from head to toe in pink butcher paper, that dirty succubus.
I just wish the show wasn’t so… shounen-y is the best way I can put it. I don’t mind Touka showing up out of nowhere to save Ken’s hide. I do mind it, however, that she felt the need to make a smart-ass remark. Basically, as Shu is punching and kicking our poor, inexperienced Ken, he also asks the our hero what sort of attack should come next. As a result, Touka shows up and goes, “How about this one?” It’s not even clever. It’s not even badass. It’s just groanworthy. I like it better when fights aren’t so goddamn wordy. I prefer it when the combatants allow their actions do the talking. I’m not just talking about the thrown punches. I’m talking about the characters’ facial expressions as well. You can read so much into a person’s face when they’re in fight-or-flight situation. Unfortunately, shounen battles distract from that because anime characters will feel compelled to constantly yap, yap, yap. No thanks, man. Whatever happened to just a heart-pumping soundtrack to accompany a fight scene? Could you imagine it if the bad guy had constantly taunted Bruce Lee as Bruce Lee was punching out all those mirrors?
Then in the middle of a tense battle, the anime decides to slam on the breaks and force us to watch Nishiki’s tragic backstory. I don’t even have a problem with Nishiki’s backstory. It’s pretty standard and unoriginal, but there’s nothing particularly offensive about it. I just don’t understand its placement within the narrative. Why am I watching it now? I was eager to see what would happen next with Ken, Touka, and Shu, but the anime proceeded to suck all the anticipation out of the room so I can watch Nishiki sob over his dead sister’s body. Not only that, there isn’t even any buildup to this extended flashback. A few episodes ago, Nishiki was a murderous asshole who almost killed Ken and his best friend. We don’t see him for a couple of weeks, then bam! Now I’m supposed to feel sympathy for him? Yes, his backstory explains why he no longer trusts anyone but his girlfriend (she offered up her flesh to him after Ken had dealt him a major injury), but I think Tokyo Ghoul would’ve been better served to show this flashback before or after the battle, not during it. Again, I don’t think Nishiki’s story is necessarily bad. I just don’t like its placement.
In the end, Ken gives up his body to Touka just like how Kimi had given up her body to Nishiki. When Kimi made her sacrifice, it allowed Nishiki to start trusting others again, i.e. regain a little a bit of his humanity. Touka hardly needs the same thing, but even so, Ken’s sacrifice is hardly a coincidence. If this isn’t a hint that their relationship will deepen, I don’t know what it is. I guess even ghouls need romance in their lives. Oh well. Shoehorned-in romances don’t typically bother me as much as it seems to bother others. And who knows? Maybe the relationship between Ken and Touka might even be interesting (I doubt it). Besides, unless Tokyo Ghoul gets a sequel, I doubt we’ll ever see them get all lovey-dovey with each other anyway. In any case, consuming Ken’s flesh allows our heroine to realize her true potential. Unfortunately, the episode ends here. Still, I think it’s a forgone conclusion that Shu will lose this battle. Hell, he’ll probably lose his life too. The big question, however, is whether or not Kimi’s life will be spared. After all, Touka wouldn’t hesitate to kill Hideyoshi. So why would she hesitate to kill Kimi?
We’ll certainly find out next week…
— Touka is determined to eat her best friend’s food, but uh… couldn’t she just donate it to the homeless or something? I know she doesn’t want to reject her friend’s feelings, but c’mon, this is silly. You’re not hurting anyone if you give the food away to the needy.
— Touka’s a high school student, but somehow, Ken still looks and sounds as though he’s younger than her.
— Oddly enough, Nishiki has a human girlfriend. Not only that, she knows that he’s a ghoul. She must really trust him. I don’t know if I could ever befriend someone who’s primary form of sustenance is, well, my species. What’s worse, however, is that she turns a blind eye to his murders. Sure, most of us are willing to turn a blind eye to our lovers’ flaws, but murder? We’re talking about murder, man. She says, “He needs the corpses, after all.” I have to wonder, then, if she knows that ghouls don’t actually have to kill people in order to survive. Nishiki could always reform and learn the ways of Anteiku. In fact, I find Ken’s placid reaction a bit weird. Maybe he doesn’t feel like butting into Nishiki’s affairs, but I would. If you could prevent further bloodshed, wouldn’t you at least try?
— According to Shu, Touka used to be stronger than she is now. I wonder what he’s referring to. Furthermore, what’s the full extent of their relationship anyway?
— Still not a fan of these moments:
What am I supposed to see here that normal animation would’ve failed to convey?