Monday, April 18, 2016

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida

Ken Kaneki is a shy college freshman who loves reading horror novels. Kaneki often hangs out with his best friend, Hideyoshi "Hide" Nagachika, at a coffee shop called Anteiku. Kaneki and Hide often discuss ghouls, creatures who appear in human form but eat human flesh, and their increasing attacks in the area.

It is at Anteiku that Kaneki spotted the beautiful Rize. Hide thinks she is out of Kaneki’s league and teases him relentlessly about asking her out. One day, Rize accidentally drops her book next to their table where Kaneki notices they are reading the same book. The two makes plans to go out on a date at a bookstore. The night seems to be something out of Keneki’s dreams. On the walk home, things take a turn for the worse when Rize takes a bite out of Kaneki's shoulder and he discovers she is a ghoul. Kaneki fights for his life, but he is no match for the supernatural Rize. When it appears that all hope is lost, a beam from a nearby construction site falls and appears to kill Rize. With very little life left, Kaneki is found and taken to the hospital where his life is changed forever.

This first installment of Tokyo Ghoul is an introduction to the dark world Ken Kaneki inhabits. Much of this first volume centers around building up the character of Kaneki and explaining the existence and world of the ghouls. Kaneki is a rather naive and sheltered young man who is mostly ignorant of ghouls and doesn’t realize how close he has been to them all of this time. This costs him greatly and is easily targeted by the ghoul Rize. Throughout his transformation as a ghoul, he refuses to eat because he still sees himself as a human and not a monster. Eventually, he comes to the realization that he is different and must make sacrifices to protect those he cares about.

Tokyo Ghoul really drew me in from the start due mostly to the inclusion of ghouls in this narrative. The characters seemed to be standard at first but then were revealed to have secrets and alternate identities. It became interesting to try to figure out who may be a ghoul. During the world-building, there are bouts of intense action. It was at times difficult to keep up with what was going on due to the blurry artwork. This is a dark story with elements of gore, so if you have a weak stomach you may want to pass this one up. I am definitely intrigued by the characters and the ghouls and can’t wait to learn more in the next volumes. This title is better suited to older teen and adult audiences due to gore and situations. Tokyo Ghoul is a slow-paced horror that continues to draw you in for more.

You can find Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida on the VBPL Catalog. If you enjoyed Tokyo Ghoul, you may want to try Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara or Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign by Takaya Kagami.

Review by Michelle L. Chrzanowski, NASA's Scientific and Technical Information Program

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