Episode 1 Impressions: Tokyo Ghoul


A dark setting with gory themes is always a tough concept to pull off these days. With slasher films and shows taking it to the point of useless shock value, one would wonder if we could get a show to change the genre.

Tokyo is facing a difficult crisis. People are showing up dead every day, flesh consumed and traces of saliva remaining from beasts known as ghouls. Ghouls are known for one thing, their desire to eat human flesh. This is because they are only able to derive their nutrition from people. What makes matters worst is that some ghouls, despite being satisfied for months after one meal, binge eat over and over.

Even though the gruesome murders seem to be hitting rather close to home, Kaneki Ken is excited about his date that he has planned. Discussing visiting a nearby library for their date, his friend Hide finds it quite comical. Though it doesn’t seem so far-fetched since his date Kamishiro Rize is quite fond of reading herself.

e1tokyoghoul6Following Kaneki’s date with Rize, he kindly walks her home due to her fear of the recent murders.  Though things turn grim when the two reach their destination. Suddenly Rize bites into Kaneki’s shoulder and begins protruding blood covered limbs as well as gaining red colored eyes. Even though Kaneki attempts to flee, it’s no use as Rize continues her assault on his body. Just when Kaneki begins to lose consciousness, by a strange change of fate some large metal beams fall on Rize.

At a local hospital, a doctor makes a difficult and questionable decision. Taking full responsibility, he gives Kaneki a transplant. Quite possibly an obvious one; giving Kaneki several parts from Rize’s corpse.

When Kaneki awakens, one of his eyes open filled black and red. Unable to eat and feeling quite disjointed, he distances himself from Hide’s and other visitors. Upon being discharged he realizes that he has a lack of taste for any food, while a man on TV speaks of Ghouls having no taste for food; only flesh.

Oe1tokyoghoul12ver time, Kaneki struggles with this thought; standing in the street and peering at people while biting his finger. At some point, he gets a smell of something really good. Something like mom’s home cooking from when he was a kid. Arriving at the source he finds a ghoul eating a corpse. It comes to mind at that point that the smell was in fact the corpse.

While the ghoul seems somewhat friendly to a fellow ghoul (Kaneki), another ghoul named Nishiki arrives and kicks him into the ground. Nishiki ponder’s Kaneki’s single ghoulish eye and feels he is invading his stomping grounds. Nearly killing Kaneki, a girl named Kirishima Toka (who Kaneki met at a restaurant several days before) arrives to take him down. After Nishiki flees, Toka also ponders Kaneki’s situation.

As she notes his desire for flesh, she offers Kaneki a severed hand. However Kaneki doesn’t want to shed his humanity in order to quench his thirst. Seemingly pitying Kaneki, Toka rushes Kaneki and forces the hand down his throat.

I was quite pleased by this first showing of Tokyo Ghoul. While I kept my hopes low, figuring it would be a shock-value driven show, what I got was quite entertaining. Sure it was gory, very gory; but what went with it very solid presentation.

Where the show seems to shine is in its scripting. Smooth animation, eery music, overly expressive moments, and dark setting all paints an unsettling and well-rounded show.  Certain parts like Kaneki fighting the truth by forcing himself to eat different types of food, or analyzing people while standing in the middle of the street; it was unsettling but true to the situation.

While I felt the showing of Rize’s identity early on created predictability, I soon realized that it was to show her dark nature. Mainly because Kaneki will now be living with her persona within his body. I’m just curious if she really had some interest in her, thus creating a possible inner yondere thing later with Toka. Though I guess that’s just my theorizing self going crazy.

All in all I’m pretty excited for this show. I really hope it keeps in pace with how this episode opened everything up. If you’re okay with some very graphical violence, give it a shot.

Watch On Funimation.

Episode 1: Tragedy!





  • Good writing
  • Very dark and gory
  • Not pure shock value
  • Unsettling but well scripted


  • None

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 1300 shows. Outside of Otaku Spirit, he has been a judge for the Anime Awards and aided in reviewing titles for some publishers. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Sharing this joy, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.