Episode four of Tokyo Ghoul is, of course, completely and totally awesome. As always, spoilers under the break.
This episode introduces us to The Gourmet, one of the major pest ghouls running around the 20th Ward. He’s dapper. He’s evil. He is bishie as all fuck. The man is so much like an evil member of the Ouran Host Club you’d wonder if there is some sinister reason behind them all liking instant coffee.
His name is Shuu Tsukiyama. Tsukiyama descends intot he coffee shop and instantly falls in love with Kaneki. Well, a certain kind of infatuation. Okay, he wants to eat him. No, literally. I will say if I were a different sort of anime fan I’d be squealing to death over this; as it stands I am just morbidly amused. Tsukiyama does his level best to attempt to, well, seduce Kaneki and eventually convinces him that all he wants is someone to talk to. Aww. The whole scene leaves you subtly creeped out by Tsukiyama’s invading mannerisms. The show has a masterful way with the subtly creepy as well as the grossly horrifying.
After work one evening, Kaneki is dragged off by the silent and largely unintroduced Yomo; Yomo has been a part of the show since last episode, but was introduced with little fanfare. After a brief bout surprise martial arts training, Yomo takes Kaneki to see Itori, the owner of a bar called Helter Skelter. Helter Skelter is of course the title of the famous Beatles song said to inspired the Manson family murders. Notably, the song itself is just about a playground slide.
Itori is facinated by Kaneki, and they begin to chat about several topics – what Rize was like, whether there have been one-eyed ghouls before, and how wild the now quiet seeming Yomo was in his younger days. I have to say that even when the show lapses into exposition, if never feels heavy handed or if nothing is happening. The exposition in Tokyo Ghoul always seems like a character sitting down to tell a ghost story – sometimes a little odd or heavy-handed, but never mood breaking.
We also learn in the scene that Rize’s death may not have been an accident. DUN DUN DUN!
Not exactly a shocker, but we knew it had to be broached in character some how.
Kaneki wants to know more about Rize, the ghoul who gave him his new organs, and decides to visit Tsukiyama to find out more about her. The conversation gets a wee bit awkward. Tsukiyama invites Kaneki to his dinner club, and the poor fool accepts because he’s not privy to audience omniscience. The dinner club turns out to be a trap. Kaneki is drugged and then trapped in strange stage ringed with balconies where gourmet ghouls wait for him to be torn to pieces by the “scrapper”, a large mentally challenged man in a red hood. Kaneki nearly gets sawed to death, and it’s only when his inner ghoul finally manifests that he can fight back. He makes a valiant effort, but is too weakened and drugged to fight effectively. He’s just about to be killed when Tsukiyama jumps down and tears the hulking man beast in half in a gory display of color inversion censorship.
The episode ends with Tsokiyama apologizing, and we hear his thoughts about he wants to be the only one to eat Kaneki.
The episode also features a short bit that could be lifted from some cute slice-of-life high school anime (instead of the sliced living things anime Tokyo Ghoul normally is). Touka is “eating” lunch with her friend from school, when the friend immediately insists she eat apiece of fried chicken from her lunch. They go back and forth, with Touka finally eating it and then nonchalantly saying it’s good. It’s quite cute..until we get treated to the scene of Touka desperately trying to puke up the chicken before it makes her sick.
I really like this episode. It’s solidly written and gives a lot of great insight into the setting while maintaining a good action sequence. Now I need to hurry on to episode five before I get too far behind!