Friday, July 18, 2014
Raw Human Meat is the Main Course in Tokyo Ghoul Anime Series
Unlike vampires, werewolves and mummies, ghouls don't get much attention in the horror genre. It's probably because of George Romero, who successfully took the ghouls' most distinguishing characteristic--the insatiable hunger for human meat--and attached it to zombies in the original Night of the Living Dead; hence, zombies have been hogging the ghouls’ spotlight ever since. One place where zombies won't be showing up is in Tokyo Ghoul, an anime series that is currently being distributed in the U.S. with subtitles by Funimation.
Tokyo Ghoul, which is based on a manga series of the same name by Sui Ishida, takes place in a fictitious version of Tokyo where ghoul attacks are common and law enforcement agencies are aware of the ghouls' existence. The ghouls appear human, but their appearance changes when they're about to attack; their eyes turn black and their pupils glow red, and they also sprout spectral tentacles from their torsos. (Think Doctor Octopus with glowing, translucent tentacles instead of metal, cybernetic ones.) These ghouls are also very strong, difficult to kill, and are ready and willing to attack people and other ghouls alike.
The series tells the story of Ken Kaneki, a freshman college student who becomes the target of a ghoul attack in the first episode. However, the attack goes sideways and in the one of the most egregious examples of medical malpractice in anime history, Kaneki winds up receiving the ghoul's organs after he's rushed to the hospital. While he recovers, he notices that foods he once enjoyed have since become unappetizing and completely inedible, while the people who surround him are appearing increasingly delectable ....
I've only seen the first three episodes so far, so I can't say how good the series is as a whole; nevertheless, Tokyo Ghoul has such an intriguing and morbid premise that I'm curious to see where it goes next. It seems to be shaping up to the kind of story where the main character has to cope with his new status as a monster and how he can go about maintaining his normal life while dealing with his unrelenting desire to devour the nearest person. It also doesn't help that Kaneki is taunted by visions of Rize, the ghoul who attacked him and unwittingly became his organ donor. The visions add a psychological dimension to Kaneki's horrific situation, calling into question his sanity as his body changes to accommodate a gruesome new dietary need.
You can watch episodes of Tokyo Ghoul either on YouTube or by subscribing to the Funimation channel. I watch them on YouTube and I've noticed that some of the gorier scenes are darkened out or discolored, but I don't know if subscribing to the Funimation channel will get you the unedited version of Tokyo Ghoul or not.