By Dustin Cabeal
Well, well, well, this is a very interesting volume of Tokyo Ghoul. After the last volume, it seemed as if the manga and the anime had finally gone their separate ways, but here comes volume twelve smashing those expectations and continuing the comparison. What remains incredible about this brand is that even though the anime differs in a lot of ways from the manga, there has yet to be a point in which I firmly feel that one did something better than the other. The anime is good for its own reasons and so it the manga. The manga, whether you believe it or not, is really unlike any other mainstream manga on the market which explains at least some of its popularity.
This volume of Tokyo Ghoul is all about character development, backstory, and setup for the next big confrontation. Ken talks with Uta and gets some of Yomo’s backstory, which leads him to Yomo. Ken finds out that Rize is there, but she’s being kept on the verge of starvation which is making her fucking crazy. Ken still tries to talk to her, and it's strange. All the feelings you think he would be having aren’t there. Instead, he’s almost weirdly grateful to her, but none of it sinks into her crazy brain. From there he’s off to see Mr. Yoshimura who gives his backstory.
This is back in line with the anime, so if you’ve watched Root A, then you already know it, but if you don’t, it's very interesting and changes the landscape of the coffeehouse and sets the stage for what’s coming next. It doesn’t stop there as Sen Takatsuki visits the CDC and gives Amon a ton of information that also changes the entire landscape of the CDC. I’ll tell you this much, this is one of the layers that’s not in the anime, so if like myself you’re reading the series and paying close attention, you’ll enjoy this new aspect.
The writing is well paced in this volume. It seems like a lot to show Ken going from one character to the next getting different parts of the backstory, but it’s not. It’s actually quite effective and conveys the message that this story is bigger than one person and that they’re all connected. The ghouls are all affected by what they each do which is what makes the different ideologies of the different factions interesting to follow. That and the mystery behind Rize being alive and the mystery of what’s going on at the CDC add a huge layer to the series. Unlike a lot of other manga, the story is well-plotted it never seems as if Sui Ishida is having a light bulb moment and suddenly changing the direction of the story. Instead, it feels as if everything is working towards a goal that we’re not privy to just yet.
The artwork continues to be some of my favorite coming out of Japan. Ishida’s style is different and yet strangely comforting. The artwork and design are what gives Tokyo Ghoul so much of its personality and tone. Even though this book is a lot of conversations, there’s still plenty of action and when there’s not Ishida manages to make it visually interesting. If you can illustrate conversations in such a way that they’re not a chore or even better, make you forget it’s a conversation, to begin with, then you’re on the right track artistically.
This volume of Tokyo Ghoul is very calm compared to recent volumes, but this is the calm before the storm. What’s built here is important to the series and might just be one of the best volumes to date. If you’re a fan of the anime, waste no time in checking out the manga. Tokyo Ghoul is one of the few series I will every recommend that you check out both versions of and it’s because they’re both so damn good, but different, but the same, but different, but… just check it out.
Tokyo Ghoul vol. 12
Creator: Sui Ishida
Publisher: Viz/Viz Signature