There’s a lot to dislike about this week’s episode. A lot. So the all-out war between CCG and Aogiri Tree is a joke. To set the stage, CCG can’t seem to break through Aogiri Tree’s first line of defense, because a pesky sniper’s nest is holding them back. So what happens? Marude grabs a gun, stands completely upright and in the open, and manages to take out two of the snipers all by himself. Uh, is there a reason why a sniper’s nest couldn’t headshot a guy who didn’t even try to hide behind cover? But if you think that’s dumb, Juuzou commandeers Marude’s motorcycle much to the latter’s chagrin. First off, what is the dude’s bike even doing there? Do you mean to tell me he rode his bike into a fucking warzone? Second, I had to sit there and watch Marude contort his face as if I’m watching some sort of stupid comedy. Finally, while Juuzou was flying through the air on said bike, no one took a shot at him. Not a single person decided, “Gee, this looks like trouble! Let’s shoot the lil’ fucker out of the air!” Nope, the entire sniper’s nest sat there and gawked until the oh-so-wacky Juuzou careened his way through a window. He then proceeded to murder them all down without taking any damage in return. What. The. Fuck?
What happened to the show and its heavy emphasis on character development? Why has it devolved into this action movie wannabe schlockfest? Even when the episode tried to delve into Yamori’s backstory, it’s a sorry, pathetic attempt that doesn’t live up to Tokyo Ghoul‘s own standards. And that’s what I find so maddening about this. For the first eight episodes, the anime had set the bar at a relatively high level. I wasn’t about to call Tokyo Ghoul the best anime of the year or anything like that. I’m not saying it was that good. Still, I enjoyed the show, and it gave me plenty food for thought. All of a sudden, the final arc rolls around, it’s like, “Welp, time to cram in as much shit as we can before the season’s over!” As a result, Yamori’s story became an afterthought. Yo, guys, he was totally tortured. And like, he was tortured so bad, he invented a different personality to protect himself. One day, he broke free and that’s that. Did you enjoy that dry and boring exposition on Yamori’s character? No? Well, too bad, ’cause that’s exactly what I got in this week’s episode. Some guy sat on a bus and pretty much read the Cliff’s Notes to Yamori’s character out loud to Amon. You may as well wipe my ass while you’re at it. It’s so incredibly disappointing what the story has become.
The rest of the episode isn’t any better. Just look at how Ayato dispatches his enemies. What the fuck is this? His kagune has become a protective “tornado” around him? Yeah, obviously, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit when watching anime, but this isn’t even cool looking. This is literally a guy with “tornadoes” around him. If you’re going to give me shounen action, give me slick, well-choreographed shounen action. Not Ayato standing there, letting the CCG soldiers shoot at him for some arbitrary amount of time, then finally pressing the “I win” button and murdering them all. That’s just boring. If you want wacky shounen action, fine, whatever. But for the love of God, at least do it right. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want the show to become a shitty shounen, but since it looks as though we’re headed down that path anyway, at least get the job done correctly. Then there’s more of that negative image shit because we wouldn’t want children to pretend they were ghouls. They might grow kagunes and start murdering their classmates! But what really gets me is that we still get these stupid color filters even though there isn’t any gore on screen. Here, we have Touka deep in introspection, as she wonders if, by killing Mado, she’s responsible for Amon’s anger. Why has the image gone negative for this? Why?
But what do I find most damning about this week’s episode? Right before the ending credits roll, we see locks of flowing white hair. Now, it’s probably a safe bet that we’re staring at Ken’s hair. Yamori’s brutal torture has been so profound that Ken has finally embraced his ghoul’s side… well, that’s the idea, anyway. Unfortunately, the execution has been absolutely terrible. So terrible that Ken’s ultimate transformation — the watershed moment in his character development — has gone to complete and utter waste. Why? Because I hardly feel his torture, man. I hardly feel it at all. It sounds physically painful, but that’s about it. And not only that, the torture amounts to… what? Maybe ten percent of the episode’s runtime at most? No, I’m not asking for an explicit, gratuitous look at Yamori’s torture techniques. I don’t need to see the hyperdermic needle puncture and slide its way into Ken’s eyeball. What I do want, however, is for the anime to convince me that there’s no turning back. I want the anime to convince me that Ken had to turn. He had to embrace his ghoul side, and abandon everything he had been fighting to hold onto all series long. This torture should be so profound because it literally shakes the very core of Ken’s foundation. But I don’t fucking see anything. Some blood has been spilled, and our hero has moaned and groaned a whole lot…. BAM, white hair.
C’mon, Tokyo Ghoul, what is that? The show doesn’t have to be the anime equivalent to Martyrs, but you gotta admit this shit is weak. I expected both physical and mental anguish, but moreso the latter than the former. Unfortunately, I got hardly any physical anguish, and you can just forget about the mental part. Here, have Juuzou do an air jump with Marude’s bike instead.