It’s another episode of Tokyo Ghoul down, and another episode of dramatic fights and complex emotions. As always, spoilers after the break.
Really, I have to say it’s rare that an anime really feels like it handles the problem of warfare and circular violence as well as this show does. I have a friend who theorizes that it has been a long time since anyone in Japan has been really involved in warfare, and that’s led to some occasionally strange ideas about what war really is like. Episode 8 of Tokyo Ghoul though really seems to show the reality quite well, and in a mature fashion, although I can’t tell from here whether the metaphor is intentional or just a happy accident.
The episode starts off with Hinami escaping Anteiku and running to where the ghouls had meant to entrap the investigators after Mado lures her there with the smell of her mother’s remains. Kaneki and Touka, both concerned, go looking for Hinami. Touka manages to catch up to Hinami, and has a touching emotional moment with her where Hinami questions whether it’s right for ghouls to live. The sort of deep guilt that comes from being a ghoul comes across here. Mado takes advantage of the two’s breakdown to ambush them. Meanwhile, Kaneki manages to run into Amon, and proceeds to have the most one sided battle since Gendo made Shinji fight a new born kitten.
We also get to see Kaneki with his mask on for the first time. Yay!
As Amon beats the crap out of him, we are privy to Kaneki’s inner monologue as he struggles back and forth with the problem of violence. He can’t just kill Amon – for starters, he really doesn’t want to, and it would just bring more violence ultimately. He can’t just let Amon go, and potentially murder his friends. It’s a hard choice. This is paralleled with Touka fighting Mado, and trying to explain how ghouls simply want to exist without being hunted and watching their friends and family be killed. Of course, Mado is completely unmoved by any arguments she makes and remains convinced the emotions of ghouls are just an elaborate act designed to entrap the unwary.
Kaneki eventually makes the decision to let the violence inside of him, the spirit of Rize, come forth, and does everything in he can to try to maintain a modicum of control. He bites a chunk out of Amon, but only enough to gain back his strength, and then proceeds to break his quinque. Amon is ready to try to fight even after this setback, but Kaneki screams and pleads with him to just run away because he doesn’t want to kill him. He lashes out and knocks Amon away som he won’t give in to his hunger.
Meanwhile, Mado has Touka pinned down by using to quinques – both made from Hinami’s parents. He mentions this fact just to be cruel, and I believe it’s this moment where the slowest member of the audience at home throws up.
He is about to finish Touka off by slamming Hinami into her, when Hinami’s own kagune manifests and tears off his hand. Mado is only mildly preturbed by this. You gotta give the psycho asshole one thing; he’s tough. Hinami hits him again, disabling him, but refuses to kill him. She cries, saying she doesn’t want revenge; she is just sad that her mother and father are gone. Mado, ever the tenacious bastard, tries to crawl towards her to attack but Touka dispatches him. Mado gives a brief speech saying that he can’t die until he has taken his revenge on the one-eyed ghoul, which seems to be another reference to the other half-ghoul running around the series. Revenge can only carry you so long it seems though, because he dies shortly thereafter.
Kaneki continues to rage in blind hunger frenzy by himself, and lashes out at the first potential victim to present itself – which turns out to be his friend Yomo. Yomo doesn’t appear too fazed by the injury though. He gives Kaneki some meat to abate his hunger, and the two join up with Touka and Hinami.
Touka, pulls one of Mado’s gloves off in a fit of disgust, and discovers he had a wedding ring underneath. She is quite honestly shocked by this. The thought seems reasonable that she killed him to prevent the suffering of her friends, only now his loved ones will grieve for him instead. It could also be the ring holds a deeper meaning, or is the clue to Mado’s need for revenge. We will find out in the future, no doubt. Touka, Kaneiki, Hinami, and Yomo all head home. Amon is left to discover Mado’s body, and grieve for the loss of his friend.
This is a very heavy and intense episode. It’s rare to see a show do morally grey so well as this show has. It would be easy to dive into heavy-handed angst and yet I feel the show never really does. It’s emotions feel genuine, like they are emotions you could see yourself having, and the payoffs fee deserved. I could still deal with less censorship though.
What awaits us for episode 9? Wait, the show is only 12 episodes!? How can we be so close to the end already? I’m still hungry for more!