This week, we get the story of Yoshimura, better known as Kuzen, or one of the “Owls”. Be aware that there may be some slight manga spoilers at the end of this post!
After Kaneki’s interaction with the one-eyed owl after the Cochlea raid, he begins to have his own questions and wants to seek out the truth. This begins Yoshimura’s story about his own life. Like Kaneki, he was alone in the world, with no real family. He made a name for himself with his brutality. He did whatever it took to survive, feeding on humans, ghouls, and even joining a mysterious organization.
Eventually, he met a woman, Ukina who accepted him, despite being a ghoul. She was the first person to genuinely care about his existence, making conversation with him, even if he was only a customer. The two eventually developed strong feelings for each other and had a child. Since a ghoul cannot be nourished by normal food, Ukina devoured human flesh in order to ensure that the child would be born.
He had started a new life, had a happy family, but it didn’t last long. His past soon caught up with him, as the organization began targeting him and his family. In the end, he lost his wife, and abandoned his child. Its assumed that another ghoul found the one-eyed baby, since they were left in the underground tunnels used by ghouls. Yoshimura lives a life of regret, not being able to save his lover, or provide for his child. The child grew to hate the world and started causing chaos.
I guess Yoshimura did the least he could do, and acted as a double for his child that he’s never met, in order to protect them. Still, to this day, he keeps a special coffee cup, hoping to one day share a drink with his child. His story certainly is tragic. He had nothing, gained the world, and then lost it all once again.
This episode was the calm before the storm. We see everything is so peaceful and lively at Anteiku. Everyone is doing their best to serve the customers, and everyone is happy. Anteiku was a place where peaceful ghouls were able to belong. They were able to live a “normal” life, without having to worry whether they were a ghoul or human.
Unfortunately, the CCG had been keeping closer tabs on the shop after Shinohara’s visit. Knowing that they’re in danger, Yoshimura has Yomo take Touka and Hinami away. They’re both still too young, with bright futures ahead of them. He could easily escape as well, but it seems like he has to atone for something. Maybe it’s defending his shop so that he can one day meet his child, or maybe he’s stained his hands with so much blood, and doesn’t deserve to continue living a peaceful life. Both Koma and Irima have accepted their fate, and are willing to fight to the death alongside Yoshimura.
Shinohara pays Anteiku one final visit before the raid. He’s always viewed all ghouls in the same way. They’re all murderous creatures and deserve no sympathy. However, you can learn a lot about a person from sharing a coffee with them. As Yoshimura implies, not all ghouls (beans) are the same. Yoshimura isn’t trying to manipulate Shinohara, but maybe he’ll open his eyes in the future. This conflict between the ghouls and humans will never end if they’re being discriminated based on their kind. Instead, they need to look past it. There will always be bad ghouls and bad humans, but you can’t generalize based on their type.
Next week should begin the raid on Anteiku. We’ve had a couple of slower episodes since the Cochlea raid, but there’s been a lot of build up. We learned about Owl’s origins, and what has been fueling the conflict between them and the world.
Kaneki originally left in order to protect his family at Anteiku, but ultimately he might have done more harm than good. Causing a huge commotion, the CCG drew more attention to the disappearance of Kaneki Ken and the eye patch ghoul, which lead them towards Anteiku. With Takatsuki Sen hinting towards the coffee shop as well, it was all CCG needed to target the place.
Overall, I’m glad that they told Kuzen’s story since it was one of the most important parts of the series. They did skimp out or change quite a few details though. By not going in depth with the organization Kuzen worked for, it doesn’t seem like they’ll revisit it in the future. This organization was pretty important in the manga, who operated in the shadows in order to maintain balance. From the flashback, it seems like they were wiped out by him, which could lead to continuation problems.
I feel like Kuzen also felt a greater burden in the original story. Rather than failing to protect Ukina, he had to bear the burden of being the one to kill her. I think this change does have a slight effect on how I perceive his character since it makes it even more tragic.
There’s only 4 episodes remaining as we enter the final arc of the Tokyo Ghoul series. The manga ended as well after the Anteiku raid. I’m really curious whether the ending will follow the manga. With how the second season has played out, I don’t think it’d carry the same impact, but by not following the manga’s ending, a continuation of the series seems unlikely.
P.S. The song played at the end of the episode is Glassy Sky by Donna Burke
You can watch Tokyo Ghoul S2 Episode 8 on Funimation