The months of absolute silence between the first cour of Tokyo Ghoul and the second were agonizing. Was that the end? Sure, a tragic ending was self fulfilling prophecy at its finest, but –
-it seems there is always still hope.
The internal prophesies and unanswered questions of the first series return in full force in the ongoing sequel. The fierce checkerboard motif of a black and white world gives over to the pervasive gray area that the binary desperately tried to cover. And in the middle of this after-tragedy narrative is the protagonist, Sasaki Haise, single mother of four half ghouls.
Not really, but. The most liminal of mom friends is located squarely in the center of the messy, tragic, cannibalistic soap opera that is Tokyo Ghoul. The shift from solid tragedy to uncertain tragicomedy is marked by the tone change and the careful arrangement of character relationships in order to forcefully maintain a semblance of desperate normality. The beginning of :RE has such a heading-towards-failure feeling to it that, somehow, leaves more room for anxiety than the original did, with its straight forward battles and simple, if morally complex, character objectives. :RE sinks even deeper into the reader/author motifs in the original, heightening the scale and consequences along the way.
It also introduces many fun new characters, including a canonical transboy, a lesbian side character who isn’t shy about her Big Gay Crush, and a chubby female powerhouse, among others. I can’t say that the author is perfect in their handling of every aspect of these characters, but there is an honest and interesting attempt being made.
The amount of female gaze fanservice is turned up, as well. As are the giant kaiju we’ve all be waiting for. There’s quite a lot going on here, honestly.
Overall, the hype that the original series built up became a solid platform for the sequel to stand on, and it’s more than met my expectations so far. I’m a sucker for villains in all capacities, and Tokyo Ghoul has been my top tier choice for going on five years now, so.