Tokyo Ghoul is a dark fantasy manga series about a world where humans co-exist with a non-human species in an alternative Tokyo. It is written by Sui Ishida and was serialized in Weekly Young Jump from September 2011 to September 2014. The sequel Tokyo Ghoul:re began in the same magazine in October 2014. Tokyo Ghoul was adapted into two anime TV series in 2014 and 2015. While the title gained even more fans with the anime adaptation, many people may be bothered with the differences between the anime and manga.
Here is an introduction to some of these differences and the reasons behind them!
Plot of Tokyo Ghoul
The ‘Ghoul’ in the title refers to a non-human species of beings who look and live just like real humans while secretly eating them. In Tokyo, where such ghouls live among normal people, protagonist Ken Kaneki is attacked by a ghoul named Rize. After getting fatally injured by Rize’s attack, she is hit by a falling steel beam and is seemingly killed. Ken then ends up receiving an organ transplant from Rize’s ghoul body and becomes a half-ghoul himself. Is he a normal human or a ghoul? He struggles with his own identity and takes part in the human versus ghoul battles…
This article from here on contains spoilers for both the manga and anime Tokyo Ghoul as well as Tokyo Ghoul √A
Differences between the manga series and its anime adaptations Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul √A
1. Tokyo Ghoul [12 Episodes]
The first season of the Tokyo Ghoul anime adaptation starts with Kaneki receiving an organ transplant from Rize to become a half-ghoul and ends with him fully developing his ghoul side after getting tortured by Yamori. The differences between the original manga and the anime adaptation do not influence much of the original story. Basically, many of the parts that got cut out of the anime are extremely violent and gory scenes, such as Kaneki investigating the ghouls’ restaurant on Itori’s order and the torturing scenes. Some events happen in a different order, such as Mado and Amon meeting Tsukiyama before stepping into the 20th district, but these happen to focus on the character development and not to change much of the story.
One notable difference, however, is the addition of the scenes with Hinami’s father, who had already passed away prior to the beginning of the manga. The reason behind his addition is likely for viewers to realize what ghouls mean to Kaneki and how he sees humans in comparison. The anime also shows Hinami’s mother and father getting killed. The manga has more sub-stories that describe how Kaneki starts relating to his ghoul side, while in the manga, due to the time limit of the anime episodes, the incident with Hinami’s parents shows how Kaneki noticed that ghouls were not always evil. Therefore, the anime used the position of small and weak Hinami, who Kaneki felt he needed to protect, and the sacrifice of her parents in order to make us and Kaneki think from the ghouls’ point of view.
2) Tokyo Ghoul √A [12 Episodes]
The second season, Tokyo Ghoul √A (pronounced ‘root A’), on the other hand, has a lot of differences. In the original manga, Kaneki joins the anti-Aogiri organization with Banjo, Hinami, and Tsukiyama after his transformation through Yamori’s torture, while in the anime he joins Aogiri Tree. Both organizations separate him from Anteiku in a way, but the story gets told from the Aogiri side. The original manga creator, Sui Ishida, was actually on the scenario team for the second season and it seems he is treating it as another route the story could have taken. Which may be the reason why the title of the second season is Tokyo Ghoul √A, implying ‘root (route) Aogiri.’
Although the second season is described from a different point of view, the purpose of Kaneki’s actions is still the same. He wants to find out the identity of the One-Eyed King in order to protect those he cares about: the members of Anteiku and his best friend, Hide. It is likely the manga wanted to uncover the One-Eyed King’s identity from the outside, while the anime tried it from the inside. I believe the anime did so for manga readers to enjoy the story from a new direction, rather than just seeing the story they already knew.
There is another big difference about Kaneki’s best friend, Hide. Hide looks cheerful and rough, but he is actually insightful and notices Kaneki’s true identity. No matter what Kaneki becomes, Hide would always treat him as his friend, but his last moments were hugely different. In the manga, he meets Kaneki in the underground during the Owl cleanup operation and disappears afterwards, which seems to be something preparing for the following sequel Tokyo Ghoul:re. However, in the anime, Hide saves Kaneki from Amon during their battle and receives a fatal wound. His body was returned to CCG by Kaneki himself to start a battle against Arima. His death was extremely shocking for many manga readers. However, I believe that the end of Anteiku and Hide’s death were essential changes to show clearly that what Kaneki had loved was now lost. That made the battle against Arima even more dramatic. Seeing Hide’s death with his own eyes at the destroyed Anteiku was necessary for the protagonist to prepare for the battle against CCG with all his might.
A sequel manga titled Tokyo Ghoul:re is focused on the CCG side. The protagonist this time is named Haise Sasaki, a third-class agent who suddenly appeared in front of Akira at the end of the previous story. Two years have passed since then. He is a ghoul agent who was the victim of a ghoul-transformation experiment, so he is a half-ghoul just like Kaneki. There are many similarities with Kaneki, but we do not know how they are related since he has lost his memories of the last 20 years. This sequel describes the battles between CCG and the ghouls they encounter.
Have you watched and read both the anime and manga versions of Tokyo Ghoul? What differences did you notice and do you think they were for the best? Let me know down in the comments below!