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Hollowspine

I'm Reading Comeeks

I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc.  And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.

Guy Meets Ghoul & Takes Her Organs

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 - Sui Ishida

In the world of Tokyo Ghoul, ghoul attacks, while not common, are known to happen.  Ghouls are creatures that live among mankind, blending in, but preying upon humanity. 

 

When the extremely shy Ken Kaneki connects with Rize, a girl with whom he shares his rather disturbing taste in literature he thinks he's finally caught a lucky break (they are both reading a book called the "Egg of the Black Goat" which is about a woman serial killer and her son who realizes he too has the desire to kill).

 

However, Rize's tastes are even more eccentric than Kaneki's, she not only enjoys reading about murders, but committing them herself.  She has been hunting Kaneki and now plans to make him her prey.

 

Whether due to random happenstance or an actual effort to save Kaneki I don't know, steel beams rain down from above crushing the Ghoulish Rize and saving Kaneki's life.  But, not without a cost.  Hurt by Rize's enormous back talons (called Kagune - according to the Tokyo Ghoul Wiki Kagune is a liquid muscle that is a ghouls  "predatory organ.") Kaneki goes into the hospital where Rize's organs are transplanted into him to save his life.

 

Of course, having the organs of a ghoul tends to change one and Kaneki soon finds himself battling bizarre urges and getting hungrier and hungrier as his normal comfort foods now taste worse than trash!

 

Some of the lines here are hilarious, at one point Kaneki likens the taste of bread to "solid puke" and when he eats a hamburger steak thinks, "it's like licking a pigs guts!"

 

This is extremely similar to the set up of the series Kurozakuro which is about a boy who accidentally finds himself transformed into a ogre, a creature that of course, eats humans.  In that series Mikito tries to stay true to his humanity and joins with a group of Ogre hunters, but still has troubles in the beginning, looking at his classmates and seeing only, "meat."

 

Kaneki, too looks at people as he walks down the street and goes from thinking, "man, woman, child" to "meat meat meat."  

 

Both Kaneki and Mikito start out the series as geeks, mild-mannered kids who were bullied and didn't have many friends.

 

Even though I really enjoyed Kurozakuro (better than Toyko Ghoul so far in my opinion) I do hate to see the stereotype of the school loser/loner being someone who ends up giving in to violence or having to fight a violent aggressive nature to win out in the end.

 

Just seems weird that many series have such similar characters.  This also reminded me a bit of No Longer Human by Usamaru Furuya (original novel by Osamu Dazai) where the main character has no empathy and is a similar type of character to Mikito/Kaneki.

 

If blood and gore and people waving about arms (that aren't their own) is cool for you, check out Tokyo Ghoul or Kurozakuro (I'd rec. Kuro b/c it's a bit more fun - more of a battle manga style).  Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi doesn't have any supernatural elements to it, but it does feature another milquetoast main character who goes from shy nobody introvert to bizarre rebel with the help of one girl.  I had fun reading it anyway, though like No Longer Human and Tokyo Ghoul it does contain explicit content.  Kurozakuro though is pretty tame (cannibalism aside).