Tokyo Ghoul season 3 has officially introduced the Tokyo Ghoul:re storyline from the manga, and after two episodes of the anime adaptation (at the time of writing this), we can now officially say that TG:re is far superior offering than the reviled season 2 of the anime series.
So what makes Tokyo Ghoul:re such an improvement? It's not just the return to a storyline that's more aligned with the original manga and anime storylines - though with the big character reunion that just took place, we're certainly happy to be getting back to matters left dangling since season 1. But on a deeper level, Tokyo Ghoul:re is making us and so many other fans happy because it finally bridges two halves of the franchise that have been in sharp conflict since the anime began.
Ghouls v. G-Men
There have always been two main halves to the Tokyo Ghoul franchise: on the one side, we get the story of Ken Kaneki becoming a half-Ghoul and having to get inculcated on what ghoul life and society are all about; and on the other side of the fence, there's the story of the ghoul hunters and investigators of the Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG), who track down and try to kill and/or curtail ghoul activity across Japan. Season 1 of the Tokyo Ghoul anime leaned overwhelmingly toward the former, following the manga's story of Kaneki's dark and violent introduction to the ghoul world; season 2 totally leaned the other way, delving much deeper (some would say too deep) into the CCG world. Now that season 3 is here, we finally have a storyline that takes these two disparate halves, and brings them together in the best way!
Ghouls as G-Men
The time jump between seasons 1 and 2 of Tokyo Ghoul give the anime a sort of reboot-style fresh start in season 3. We pick up with the mystery of Haise Sasaki, and his connection to Ken Kaneki - but the real game-changing twist is the Quinx Squad of CCG, a group of high-level investigators who have been fitted with ghoul kakuhous controlled by "frame" failsafes, which allow them to produce power kagunes, without having the dark burden of a ghoul's appetite for human flesh.
This concept is at once a simple tweaking of the original "half-ghoul" concept that started the series, but is also a much-needed game-changer in terms of story format.
The Perfect Hybrid
As episode 2 demonstrated, this new Tokyo Ghoul:re story concept allows for a lot more streamlined focus, as well as deeper complexity and depth, rather than serving as a simple gimmick.
From the battles between Quinx Squad and Ghouls like Torso and Orochi, to the workplace politics and prejudice that Quinx Squad faces in the CCG, there's already a lot of very promising breadcrumbs being laid out, which could potentially grow into truly epic developments as the season continues to progress. The balance of screen time is also much better, as the characters are now mostly gathered in one venue, instead of us having to jump around between them as much. The dual focuses of the CCG and Aogiri Tree ghouls is perfectly balanced to keep things fluid and moving, without bogging the show down, or spreading the focus too wide.
Best of all, while we get this new dimension of the story, there's still a bubbling subplot about the Kaneki/Saski connection that brings everything back to where we first began with the series. So far, the bits about Saski's internal struggles have arguably been even better than the weepy dramatic bits we got in season 1.
Admittedly it's early yet, and there's still plenty of time for Tokyo Ghoul:re to take a downwards spiral. However, fans of the manga will probably tell you that we're on pretty solid ground in terms of how the series and characters progress, as well as the level of action, powerful drama, and surprising twists coming our way.
Are you loving Tokyo Ghoul:re so far? How would you rank it against seasons 1 and 2? Let us know in the comments!0comments
Tokyo Ghoul:re simulcasts new Sub episodes on Tuesdays, via streaming services like Crunchyroll and Hulu.
Photo credit: Afternooontm @DeviantART