Explainers

Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 Ending, Explained

September 2, 2019
8 min read

Tokyo Ghoul‘ was drowned with a myriad of mixed reviews after it premiered in 2014. While the manga readers were clearly disappointed by how rushed all the events of the story felt, there were many non-manga viewers who had a great time watching it. The concept itself is enough to lure a great deal of action-horror fans but it’s the execution of its first season that led to its downfall. The brainchild of the entire series is Sui Ishida, who took the world of manga by storm with his first original work. Not at all being familiar with manga, I cannot really comment on how the anime is different from its source material. But based on my overall viewing experience, I certainly feel that the anime is a bit too overwhelming as it introduces way too many characters and plot points in just one season. But at the end of the day, it manages to captivate you as a viewer and you can’t help but keep your eyes glued to it.

Tokyo Ghoul‘ truly shines in terms of the execution of its horrifying action scenes. The artwork, done by Studio Pierrot (‘Naruto‘), is perfectly able to visualize the gruesome realities of the dark ghoulish world. The ghouls themselves have been designed perfectly with monstrous traits and muscly blood-like Kagune that spread out like tentacles. Even the backgrounds have this dark chilling vibe that perfectly display the bleakness of the world the characters live in. Action is just top-notch and the first season itself has some of the most memorable anime battles of all time. To get the full graphic experience of the fight scenes, make sure you watch the uncensored version of the anime.

Season 1 did, however, go wrong in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to its story. Nonetheless, the anime did gain immense popularity and successfully managed to capture the interest of viewers all the way till the end. Speaking of the end, I am sure that you’re left with a whole lot of unanswered questions about this season. So we’ll be addressing some of these potential major plot points for the seasons ahead and while we’re at it, we might even give out a few spoilers here and there; so read at your own risk.

Plot Summary

Tokyo Ghoul‘ is set in a world where humans and vicious creatures, known as ghouls, co-exist. Ken Kaneki, the main protagonist, is a regular high school teenager who decides to go on a date with a girl named Rize Kamishiro. Instantly drawn to her, Kaneki fails to notice that there is something unusual about her. The girl then shows her true form and transforms into a ghoul who is hungry for Kaneki’s flesh. She easily overpowers him and prepares herself to feast on him. But suddenly, steel beams fall on her from the ceiling and she is instantly killed. Left in a very critical state, Ken is rushed to a hospital nearby. When he regains his consciousness, the doctor informs him that his organs have been replaced with that of Rize.

With Rize’s organs inside him, Kanike becomes a half-ghoul himself and struggles to fit in with the ghoul society. He also develops an undying hunger for human flesh and completely loses the taste for normal human food. He is then taken in by the ghouls who manage the coffee shop “Anteiku” and they teach him how to control his abilities as a ghoul and also to live his life with this new identity. What follows is the story of his dark and secretive life where he must learn to adapt to everything that is thrown at him and at the same time, he must also understand the true potential of his supernatural powers.

Who Dropped the Beams on Rize?

WARNING POTENTIAL SPOILERS!

The incident where steel beams are suddenly dropped on Rize’s head is one of the first few mysteries of season 1. This incident ends up saving Kanike’s life and if it wasn’t for those beams, the story would have never proceeded any further. For obvious reasons, the incident drew the attention of nearby pedestrians who called an ambulance. Both of them are then rushed to the Kanou General Hospital. Dr. Akihiro Kanou then uses the organs of the deceased girl and transplants them into Kaneki. Kanou is also heavily criticized by the media later for performing an illegal transplant.

Later, Itori tells Kaneki that the incident was no coincidence and it was well-planned murder. Desperate for answers, Kineki tries to hunt down the Doctor for days. He later comes to know that Rize is still alive and is being used by the Doctor for performing his “ghoul experiments” on other patients like Kaneki.

Kaneki later recalls that he had spotted Clown Souta at the accident scene. And this confirms that Souta was responsible for the attack on Rize. When Kaneki asks him why he was targeted by him, Souta tells him that he just wanted to stop Rize from having children with another man and he was following the Doctor’s orders. Kaneki just happened to be there coincidentally and hence, he became the victim.

The Ending: How Did Kaneki Get a New Kakugan?

In the last few moments of the season, Kaneki is kidnapped by Jason. He then uses the most brutal ways to torture him by cutting off parts of him but gives him just enough time to regenerate again. While Kaneki seems to take the physical torture like a champ, he begins to struggle when he is reminded of the two other ghouls who gave him hopes of escaping. This is when the good old Rize enters again and though she was declared dead in the first episode, she still seems to live inside Kaneki’s head.

The reason why she shows up is that Kaneki is in a very weak mental state. Taking this for granted, Rize takes over his mind but he is unable to suppress her. Unlike the last time, when Rize had taken over his body to face Amon, this time she mentally confronts him. It all starts with Kaneki expressing how his mother’s death had left him feeling all alone. He then describes his motto in life that his mother had once taught him: “It’s better to be hurt than to hurt others.”

Rize then reminds him of the people who have died and will die in the future if he chooses to live by his mother’s words. The two ghouls died because he was not able to decide on which one to save and even his friends, Toka and Hiname, will end up dying if he chooses to sustain Jason’s torture instead of fighting back. This is when he slowly starts drifting towards a very different mindset as he realizes that in order to preserve one thing, he must destroy another. He realizes that in order to live a happy life, unlike the one that his mother lived, he must break through his shackles and fight. This is when we get to see a whole new reformed state of Kakugan and all of this actually is a consequence of him completely consuming Rize in his mental state. This allows him to gain all of her powers which in turn even changes his physical appearance. Ken Kaneki finally turns into “The One-Eyed Ghoul” and defeats Jason.

What is “One-Eyed Ghoul”?

A one-eyed ghoul is a half-human half-ghoul who possesses all the supernatural abilities of a pure ghoul. For most ghouls, the existence of such hybrids is mostly an urban legend because these have rarely been spotted by anyone. When ghouls enter their purest states, their pupils turn red and this red-colored ghoul eye is known as the kakugan. Unlike normal ghouls, who have two kakugans, one-eyed ghouls only possess one kakugan. But apart from that, all the other traits of the two are very similar. Also, the smell of one-eyed ghouls is often considered to be enticing to pure ghouls. This probably explains why Suzuya’s smell comes off as “delicious” to Kaneki.

Though the anime has not revealed that Suzuya is a one-eyed ghoul, in the future, it is a possibility that he might turn out to be a half breed just like Kaneki. He could either be a natural ghoul created by the union of a human and ghoul or he could be an artificial ghoul like Kaneki who has been created by transplanting another ghoul’s “kakuhou” in his body. Only time will tell what the future holds for these characters.

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