Before Studio Pierrots’ adaptation of Sui Ishida’s sequel manga Tokyo Ghoul: re even began airing it was met with concern and scepticism. The franchise had made waves back in 2014 with the first manga Tokyo Ghoul being made into two 12-episode seasons. It became a series that broke through to more mainstream and casual anime fans and viewers, even if fans of the manga were left disappointed by the rushed and less detailed storytelling and more Shonen tone.
Cut to 2015 wherein Tokyo Ghoul √A was released to a less warm reception, due to its storyline being anime-original for the most part, which divided fans of both anime and manga. Because of the different route taken by this second season, it meant that adapting Tokyo Ghoul: re would come up to two choices: the first being to ignore the continuity of √A and adapt based on what was established in the manga, or the second to rewrite key details and plot points to have it make sense to anime-only viewers.
Fans were worried that the latter decision would be taken, and that they’d be left with another less than faithful anime, but instead the former happened and now we have a (fairly) faithful adaptation of the manga so far, but how good is it?
First and foremost, the presentation of Tokyo Ghoul: re is well…a bit plain. The animation isn’t terrible by any means but considering how amazing Sui Ishida’s artwork is they were never going to do it justice. However, it feels stilted at times, especially regarding the ghouls’ special abilities in Kagunes. The more recent episodes, especially 6, have showcased Studio Pierrots’ abilities, but reception overall has been mixed. In my eyes it looks alright, but in the hands of a better studio the animation could really shine.
The anime had the job of introducing a lot of new characters, and some that barely appeared in the first two seasons, it also only has 12 episodes to do so (unless the 2nd season announcement is confirmed to be true.) Because of this, a lot of characters come off as less than stellar, and there are key details that have been missed out, such as Torso’s real reason for being obsessed with Mutsuki, some of Haise’ characteristics and Akira’s more motherly side. I will say that some details have been nicely adapted, Uries’ obsessive nature with being promoted or Suzuya and Haise’ snack swapping for example. With six episodes to go, there’s room for the anime to develop, especially as Haise realises who he really is.
An element that has remained consistent in quality throughout the franchises’ history is its soundtrack. Composer Yutaka Yamada once again showcases a superb musical backdrop to the grisly and often visceral nature of the series. When it was announced that he would be returning, fans rejoiced, and so far, it’s been a highlight each week to listen to. When it comes to the OP and ED, Tokyo Ghoul: re has two very solid songs that have grown on me with each episode. The recent episode also made use of the now iconic OP from the first season Unravel, and it awesome.
When looking at how many chapters per episode the series has had so far, it’s fair to say that outside of the Serpent and Torso investigation arcs that the anime has managed to fairly adapt the manga storyline. However, some scenes have been removed, like Haise and Akira bonding over food or just skimmed over where the manga provided more detail. The current Auction arc has been a nice change of pace and has faithfully adapted and decently presented it, I can only hope that the upcoming Haise vs Takizawa fight and subsequent arcs are up to par.
In summary, so far this has been a decent adaptation, not as good as a massive fan of the manga would hope for, but at the very least it feels like an attempt is being made. Maybe someday we’ll get an FMA: Brotherhood style adaptation from a different studio, but for now this is where we stand.
The series is available for streaming on Tuesday’s on Crunchyroll, stay tuned for an overall season review later in the year!
By HW Reynolds
Images provided by Studio Pierrot/Crunchyroll