I’ve always been one of those people that refuse to pick up a show until the season has been finished, or the story has reached full completion. I just do not have the patience for picking up a story that is still ongoing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most hyped anime out there or a fanfiction that received the highest Kudos on AO3, if it’s incomplete? Chances are, I’m not touching it. This is why it feels so odd thinking that something like Tokyo Ghoul might be over, for good.
And it definitely is. The franchise, which includes a mainline manga, a light novel series, plenty of spinoffs, and an anime, have all been finished by 2018. The mangaka, Sui Ishida, gave it an epilogue that brought closure to the entire narrative, leaving no room for a possible sequel. And personally, I get that. He had gone on record and said the story was done, that he was tired of both drawing and writing it when there was no longer need to add to the world he had created.
Which makes sense. Nobody really likes talking about this but making a manga from scratch is a very labor-intensive process with very little reward. Some people can go at creating a story for decades, and for others, they barely make it for one. And both are valid. Both are stories worth investing your time and effort in, but you should also know when to wind things down and just take an ending for what it is. Dragging a story is terrible in the long run.
As prolific as Tokyo Ghoul was, I’m glad it’s over. It was clear that the creator was starting to lose the drive to create more of it, and I rather have a proper, albeit rushed, conclusion VS an incomplete story. Again, artist burnout is absolutely a thing in the manga industry, and it can affect some of the biggest franchises out there. But let us discuss the journey of Tokyo Ghoul: The Good, the Bad, and the Inevitable.
Tokyo Ghoul: One Of The Most Promising Anime Of The Mid 2010’s
I know we’ve had, like, many amazing openings in anime since 2014 but can I just say how Unravel absolutely dominated the scene for the longest time? Like, kudos to whoever chose that as the very first opening for Tokyo Ghoul, because it was iconic as hell.
And that was the thing because of the first season of the Tokyo Ghoul anime? It was brilliantly done. The narrative of humans targeting Ghouls, cannibalistic creatures that were driven into hiding, and how a friendship became the catalyst for it all coming down – it was such an intriguing premise and really brought subliminal horror onto the mainstream anime map. It had really good pacing, and the slight gothic aesthetic of the entire series was different from anything else on the market at the time.
The characters were all likable, with a protagonist that wasn’t immediately all knowledgeable as soon as he got his powers. There was a learning curve that you took alongside Ken Kaneki, where you were as horrified as he was with himself and curious at the same time.
All in all, it was a solid franchise, with the manga steadily rising in popularity simultaneously.
What Happened To Tokyo Ghoul?
So, where did it all start to go wrong? I think the biggest fault in Tokyo Ghoul’s star was, ironically, the very thing that skyrocketed it into popularity – the anime.
The anime had two great seasons and then it started to divulge and leave the manga behind. A lot of anime series do this thing where, if they are caught up with the manga and it isn’t updating as steadily, they make up their own plotlines going forward. But that is never good because it’s both veering away from what the mangaka envisioned for their story and becoming less sincere on the whole.
With Tokyo Ghoul, that was the beginning of the end. Fans were left confused and jaded, so the hype started dying down. Couple that with the mangaka feeling unmotivated for the story in general and that was the final nail in the coffin. We got a rushed epilogue in 2018, and that was it.
Tokyo Ghoul is really, truly over. And perhaps that is for the best.