I should really be talking about Attack On Titan or Deathnote when I mention an Anime that made an impact. But I know that Attack On Titan has already been mentioned by Zoe before and about the impact it made on her. The thing that makes animes more special, and more adult then regular cartoons is the message that stays throughout the whole series, and usually gets executed in the most brutal ways they can think of to really drive home the message. I mean, I’m no reviewer of movies/shows whatever, most of the time symbolism and statements just go straight over my head. Some movies eg The Babadook, did the symbolism so well that even I understood the main underlying point that the writer/director was trying to get across without it having to spell it out for me.
With the animes that I mentioned, the messages are very clear. Attack On Titan: even though all seems hopeless, even though life seems completely unbearable, even if you’re scared you have to fight to survive. Deathnote: you may think that the worst people deserve punishment, if you start dishing it out then you are no better then those people. I could probably talk about both of these in depth more in different posts, but I’ll save this one for Tokyo Ghoul, because well, honestly…
I’m not that keen on too many animes. Shock. Gasp. You think I would because it goes hand in hand with my geeky type personality, I like cartoons and video games, why not anime? Because most of the ones I’ve seen are fucking annoying that’s why! I hate the fact that they are meant to be serious, more well done cartoons but instead it just goes all over the top so obviously animated. I get that it’s meant to be done in a manga sense but when every 2 fucking frames is a stupid over the top exclamation point (Fairy Tale) the cuteness just over runs any seriousness I’m meant to take in the show. I’m not up dress up and go to cons sort of girl, I’m never gonna be caught dead throwing the piece sign with my two fingers into my photos so yeah. I’ll give you some examples.
I just don’t like cutesy I don’t like the laziness of cutting this into scenes, the more of this the lazier. It’s just boring to me, and shit. This is meant to be the top of the cartooning style, the most EPIC, this face and cut just shits all over that statement. This is just my opinion though. I like my animes gory, violent, creepy and serious. Most ones I’ve seen that I’ve bothered to watch fit that with an awesomely unique animating style to go with it. Attack On Titan, deathnote, claymore, and some degrees Bleach mostly fit that whole list. Tokyo Ghoul is definitely all of these things, and no stupid faces I’ve seen thus far!
I mean look at it, the animation is beautiful. Tokyo Ghoul is based in Tokyo, obviously, where humans and ghouls are both sharing the city, the rest of the world, not sure. Ghouls are human like creatures that need to eat flesh to survive, preferably human, they can eat other ghouls but apparently it doesn’t taste that great. They will get physically sick if they ingest to much human food, they can last a few days without eating humans but will get a bit out of control if they’ve not eaten for a while. Oh, the only human thing they can ingest which isn’t bad for them is coffee. Since they eat people and whatnot, they are seen as bad to humans, so there’s a huge police like organisation set up to hunt them called the Doves.
So you meet the main character Kaneki, who is sitting in the coffee shop with his best friend contemplating where he’s going to take this girl he’s just met on a date. Kaneki’s character is the ultimate nice guy. He has a fairly sad back story, his father died when he was a baby so he got brought up by his mother. His mother was an incredibly nice woman, worked a lot of jobs to make ends meet but also looked after her sister by giving her money (was obviously being used for it) but because that was her sister she still looked after her too. She ends up dying from working too hard leaving Kaneki to fend for himself being only a child. In most animes this sets up the character to be angry and traumatised, but not Kaneki. He meets his best friend which acts like his family, he reads lots of books and his mother taught him that it’s better to take the pain then inflict it on others. So yeah, he’s a really nice guy.
The girl he meets is a Ghoul, who lures him in because she wants to eat him. Kaneki basically gets beaten to an inch of his life, but fortunately for him some big metal poles fall off a building, crushing the girl. The doctor decides to use her as an organ donor for Kaneki thus turning him into a human-ghoul hybrid.
It’s hard for Kaneki at first because he doesn’t want to kill or eat anyone, his power was given to him without choice. He meets Touka properly, the girl that was working in the coffee shop, who is also a Ghoul but introduces him to the owner of the coffee shop. This old Ghoul looks after new ghouls by feeding them in humane ways without needing to hurt and humans essentially. They do this by scavenging bodies from suicides and things like that. He takes in and helps a lot of ghouls in the district this way in return for them working in the coffee shop.
They dive into Touka’s character more indepth too. She’s on the other end of the scale, a Ghoul who had a Ghoul family that weren’t hurting anyone but then her parents got killed by the Doves. It explains that ghouls don’t really get to decide whether they’re ghouls or not, they just try and survive the best they can. It really shows that not all humans are good or bad, it also shows not all ghouls are good or bad. You meet a child Ghoul whose mother gets killed in front of her by the Doves. It really shows both sides from very human angles.
Anyway, the main reason I’m writing this was for one scene right in the last episode of season one which showed what the true underlying message of this anime was. Skip into the season and there’s an extremist group of ghouls looking to take out the Doves, in the process they’re also taking out ghouls that stand in their way. Kaneki has already received a bit of attention as he’s a hybrid and all. He ends up being kidnapped by this extremist group, where he is tortured repeatedly by the extremist leader. He endures so much horrific things, like getting all his fingers and toes ripped off, as he can regenerate them he ends up getting them ripped off over and over. He starts to retreat inside his mind, where he talks to the spirit of the girl who’s organs are inside of him.
She comes out a lot throughout the series, a lot of the time to torture him a bit. She’ll encourage him to eat a human when he’s desperate and trying to fight the urges, you know, stuff like that. In these instances the advice she gives is actually incredibly necessary to his development. She takes him through his past, view his mother, let him talk to her about how amazing she was as a person. Cut back to his torture, and the leader has two people tied up in front of him, a couple that were working in the group to try and break Kaneki out of there. The leader forces Kaneki to choose which one of them should die, he wants to now torture Kaneki mentally. The man clearly wants to be killed over his partner but Kaneki refuses to choose whilst saying that’s as bad as if he were killing them himself. The leader proceeds to kill the girl instead, knowing this would have a double effect on them. He kills the man shortly after. Kaneki retreats back into his head again.
The Ghoul girl/subconscious now starts to taunt him, saying he was too weak to choose so they both died and it was his own fault. She taunts him about his mother saying she was too weak to say no to her leeching sister so instead Kaneki grew up without a mother. She asks the blatant question: where has being a nice guy got you so far? She then proceeds to show him a future where he doesn’t fight back, so everyone he holds dear in his life now dies, and leaves him alone again. This breaks him or changes him, whichever way you want to look at it. He changes from the passive nice guy into someone that’s prepared to make tough decisions for the greater good. You see this as his hair turns from black to white. When he returns to the room where he’s getting tortured in, you see him break free of the chains and kill his torturer.
This is an incredibly relevant message. It’s incredibly easy to continue to please everyone, you don’t have to face confrontation. You may think you’re being a good person, but the reality is people see you as weak, they see you as an easy target to they will go for you. The toughest thing is to say no to someone, even if you’re going to be faced with confrontation. If kaneki’s mother had’ve said no to her sister, she wouldn’t of had to work so hard and she could’ve been there to raise Kaneki.
The truth of the world is nice guys will always finish last, of your definition of nice guy is actually a matyr. If you truly want to help someone, giving them everything they want is not the answer. Always being the yes person is not going to get you anywhere in this life. If you choose to not speak up about things that are affecting you, then unfortunately you will always be the target of leaching people that are just there to use you.
Being a strong person does not mean taking all the pain and not doing anything, it means making tough decisions for the greater good. Being strong means you’re prepared to help others, but you’re strong enough in yourself to not let yourself be hurt in the process.