With the start of the Summer 2014 anime season, I decided to do a quick first impressions post on Tokyo Ghoul episode 1. Since this is one of the series I’ve been anticipating the most, I’ll likely be doing weekly write ups for the show.
I was pretty impressed with the first episode. I thought that the mood was set well from the very beginning. We see that ghouls are a threat to humanity (and can be quite brutal). In addition, there are also other organizations or grouping within the ghoul population. While Rize was acting alone, the ghoul who tried to capture her was taking orders from a higher up.
There’s also some hierarchy mutually agreed upon within the ghoul society. We haven’t seen too much yet, but Touka is working “Anteiku” who appear to be helping the ghouls who have difficulty hunting on their own. Rize and Nishiki were looking out for their own interests, but not all ghouls are as selfish as they are. When Kaneki stumbled upon Kazuo, he was willing to share the corpse with him despite enduring the cravings for a while. This action leads me to believe that there are ghouls out there who still identify with being human, and unwillingly devour flesh for the sake of survival.
Tokyo Ghoul manages to capture and convey emotions brilliantly. Through animation, facial expressions, music and tone, Kaneki’s desperation to live, his fear and confusion made a lasting impression on me. When he returns home, he’s so desperate to prove that he’s normal. He begins forcing himself to ingest normal food so he can tell himself that nothing is wrong. While he was out in the crowds, you could feel how distorted everything felt for him. His urges were rising and he was losing his sanity. In the last scene, he’s trying his hardest to fight his hunger for flesh. He knows that if he crosses the line by eating flesh, he loses the “right” to identify being a human. He knows that something is wrong with him but he’s still in denial as everything has happened so quickly and it’s all a blur to him.
This episode definitely caught my attention and has me interested in learning more. Events progressed pretty quickly and opened up a ton of questions regarding the world. We don’t know the origin of these ghouls or how they’re supposed to be subdued since they seem to have super human capabilities. Kaneki was abruptly thrown into a completely different world and we have to follow his journey as he learns what the world is like for a ghoul.
My only complaints about this episode are that it seemed a bit rushed, condensing quite a few events into a single episode, the censorship and the lack of information regarding the characters. The episode jumped from Kaneki about to go on his first date, to him being nearly killed, given the organs of a ghoul, and then him joining up with other ghouls. I can see how the series of events happening so quickly is related to how Kaneki likely perceived everything. From a viewer perspective though, it was a bit hard to follow but I appreciated it a lot more after rewatching the episode.
My other issue was the lack of information on the characters. I don’t think they mentioned their ages, or much regarding Kaneki’s upbringing. It’s understandable since it’s only the first episode and they wanted to make sure they incorporated key events, but after glancing at the first few chapters, they did cut out on some scenes that showed Kaneki’s personality more. Overall though, a solid start to the series. I’m interested in hearing what other people thought of the first episode, so don’t be shy to share your thoughts!
Tokyo Ghoul episode 1 is available on Funimation (available to free users a week after airing)