10 Ways Tokyo Ghoul Is Clichéd – CBR – Comic Book Resources

flixpeliculasmayo 15, 2022

Tokyo Ghoul is an outstanding seinen adventure, but it still feels clichéd on some levels, using various anime tropes and conventions to great effect.
Author Sui Ishida's hit seinen manga series Tokyo Ghoul is the story of the half-human, half-ghoul protagonist Ken Kaneki. He was once a book-loving college student, but now he's been thrust into the brutal and twisted world of flesh-eating ghouls who haunt Tokyo's streets, hence the series' title. It also has a sequel series, Tokyo Ghoul :re.
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Tokyo Ghoul has a well-earned reputation for being one of the better seinen series, what with its fascinating moral ambiguity, the clash between CCG investigators and ghouls, the cool combat system, and generally dark tone. That said, even a well-crafted series like Tokyo Ghoul can't help but make use of various anime clichés, tropes, and conventions, all in its own unique style.
Pop culture fans aren't necessarily being elitist snobs when they say things such as "the book was better" or "the movie ruined it." This may be subjective in most cases, but even so, it's tough to deny that some anime series simply cannot capture the greatness of the source manga or light novels, including Tokyo Ghoul.
It's a bit of an industry cliché for the original manga to be better than the anime adaptation, and the same is true for Tokyo Ghoul's own anime, which can't measure up to Mr. Ishida's original work. On the plus side, the anime has some popular opening and ending credit music to its name.
Many shonen and some seinen anime series feature a hero who begins the story without special powers or weapons, only to acquire them early in the story as an anime rite of passage of sorts. Ichigo Kurosaki suddenly gained the powers of a Soul Reaper in Bleach's first season, for example, and Yuji Itadori ate one of Ryomen Sukuna's fingers to become a sorcerer.
Tokyo Ghoul's Ken Kaneki was like that, too. He nearly died when the well-dressed ghoul Rize Kamishiro attacked him, only for Ken to have Rize's organs transplanted into him, granting him a kagune and ghoulish powers. Now he's one of them, like it or not, and this situation should feel very familiar to any seasoned anime viewer.
Rarely will powerful anime fighters use just one skill or one suit to fight. Often, heroes and villains will power up with a new weapon or a new form, with "this isn't even my final form!" Frieza being a notorious example. Tokyo Ghoul also does this with its kagune-based combat system.
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Ken soon started using Rize's kagune, shaped like four tentacles, but that's not all. Ken cannibalized the brutal Jason to obtain his kakuja, which morphed him into an even scarier and stronger ghoul with a centipede theme. He might as well have delivered that Frieza line while fighting Kotaro Amon.
It's an increasingly common theme, if not cliché, to feature shonen and seinen heroes who have a dark inner power that grants them strength at the price of losing control or even hurting their friends. Examples range from Ichigo's inner Hollow to Naofumi Iwatani's Rage Shield and Naruto's biju cloak mode, among others.
Ken Kaneki joined the club when he activated his kakuja, only to go wild as a berserk ghoul that hungrily tore apart everything around it. He even took a hearty bite out of his good friend Hideyoshi, whom Ken would normally never hurt. Ken is a little afraid of his own power, but he might have no choice but to use it again.
Most shonen anime and some seinen anime have a dedicated combat system that requires regular exposition so the viewer can follow what's happening and make fair assessments of each fighter's combat strength. For example, Jiraiya and Kakashi often explain how chakra and jutsu work, and Satoru Gojo explained the ins and outs of curses/sorcery.
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The same applies to Tokyo Ghoul, with a combat system based on the four main types of kagune that ghouls use, not to mention rare kakuja such as Ken's. Then there's the matter of quinques, or CCG weapons made from the kagune of slain ghouls. That took a bit of explaining, too.
Many anime series fit the "monster hunter" paradigm, with uniformed, well-armed professionals scouring the world for a certain type of monster and slaying them. Examples range from Soul Reapers in Bleach to the Akuma-hunting exorcists in D.Gray-Man and certainly, the demon slayer corps found in Demon Slayer.
Tokyo Ghoul's own monster hunters are CCG investigators, who usually wear suits and trench coats while patrolling the streets for ghouls to slay. These hunters always carry quinque with them and use advanced investigative skills to find ghouls who are trying to blend into human society. It's cliché, but it works.
Many anime series feature a wise old man who can teach the protagonist all about the combat system, hidden worlds, and far more, and these wise old men sometimes act as mentors or even grandfatherly figures to the hero. Tokyo Ghoul's wise old man is Mr. Yoshimura.
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Fortunately for Ken, Mr. Yoshimura is a gracious and generous ghoul who wants ghouls and humans to co-exist in his coffee shop, Anteiku. Mr. Yoshimura even welcomed Ken as a staff member to give him a roof over his head, despite Touka's initial objections.
A remarkable variety of anime series all feature an evil organization with members who might have a unique uniform or some other visual theme, and they are usually all-powerful fighters, too. Examples range from the Phantom Troupe to the Akatsuki terrorist organization to the ten Espadas and the Twelve Demon Moons/Kizuki.
The all-ghoul criminal gang called Aogiri Tree is Tokyo Ghoul's version of this familiar but exciting cliché. It's a well-worn idea by now, but anime fans can't help but love it anyway, and Aogiri Tree sure delivers. Its members can chill any anime fan to the bone.
Not only does Tokyo Ghoul feature an elite villain team, but it also has the "brutal but cold" villain archetype as well. Such villains are peculiar but scary, with their cold, emotionless personalities contrasting with their immense combat strength and bloodthirsty ways. Other examples include Bleach's Ulquiorra Schiffer, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood's Pride and Naruto's Itachi Uchiha.
Tokyo Ghoul, meanwhile, has the Chinese ghoul Tatara, a high-ranking member of Aogiri Tree. He is cold, aloof, and calmly confident at all times, and that personality is a total contrast to his vicious ways in battle. He even thrust his hand all the way through Ken's chest without provocation and acted like it was no big deal. Ulquiorra would do that, too.
Many shonen anime series feature a character who is simply obsessed with fighting and bloodshed, and some seinen series feature this exciting cliché, too. Captain Kenpachi Zaraki is like that in Bleach, while My Hero Academia's Muscular is singularly fixated on combat and homicide.
Tokyo Ghoul's own battle maniac is Juzo Suzuya, an eccentric and talented CCG investigator who is terrible at studying or sitting still. Instead, he loves to fight ghouls and is always eager to prove what he can do. He also makes frequent requests to be given newer, better quinques to play with.
Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he’s a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor’s in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He’s always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read.

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