Before watching Tokyo Ghoul, many people suggested I should read the manga first because the anime was a bad adaptation.
In reading Sui ishida’s manga, I found a fantastic story and a solid yet flawed experience in its sequel Re.
Well, after watching the first season of the anime adaptation, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Shuhei Morita, I can see what people were talking about.
This is not to say that season one is a bad adaptation but it falls quite far from the successes of the manga.
The reason for this mostly comes down to how rushed the story is and the switching around of arcs.
Take the first episode, for example.
I was pretty surprised by how much was adapted in so little time.
Honestly, I expected the first episode to encompass the first chapter, with it ending when Kaneki wakes up, revealing his ghoul eye and noting that his life is a tragedy.
But the episode went ahead of this moment and adapted much more for the first episode, resulting in scenes going by much too fast to be as impactful as they were in the manga.
This rushed quality persisted right up until the end, and was not helped by the removal of entire scenes.
Season one should have been around twenty episodes instead of twelve.
The second big issue is the switching around of arcs with the Gourmet Arc happening before the Doves Arc, which came first in the manga.
The Doves Arc being moved behind the Gourmet Arc made certain things not make a lot of sense in the anime.
However, despite these problems, I still found the first season of Tokyo Ghoul to be a good adaptation.
Even though much of the story is rushed and some story arcs happen sooner than they are supposed to, certain scenes are adapted fairly well and the characters are all wonderfully brought to screen.
Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae), Touka (Sora Amamiya), Rize (Kana Hanazawa), Amon (Katsuyuki Konishi), Tsukiyama (Mamoru Miyano) Jason (Rintaro Nishi), and many characters are all done justice with their portrayals and voice acting.
The best example of this is Juuzou because both his Japanese voice actor Rie Kugimiya and his English voice actor Maxey Whitehead all do an incredible job as the character.
I remember hearing Juuzou speak for the first time in both sub and dub and thinking both were perfect.
Along with the great voice work, another quality of the anime that I enjoyed were some of its original scenes.
The anime hyped up Jason a lot sooner and that made the build up to his torture of Kaneki in the finale a lot better.
Speaking of that finale, I was considering this season an overall average adaptation, what with the rushed nature and switched around arcs of the anime but then, “Ghoul” happened.
“Ghoul” is a good season finale that perfectly adapted Jason and Kaneki’s epic fight.
The only problem I had with the episode was its censoring of numerous violent scenes and a couple of changes in Kaneki being immediate, rather than gradual.
Watching Kaneki take on Jason to the spectacular theme of Unravel made the entire season feel worth it and was the best way to end it.
As for Unravel, it is already one of my favourite anime openings of all time.
Everything from the music, visuals and symbolism is just incredible.
Unfortunately, the few incredible aspects of this anime, like Unravel and the final episode, would not be continued in the follow up season of √A, which has a lot more problems, but we’ll get to that later.
All in all, the first season of Tokyo Ghoul is a solid adaptation.
Sure, it has its problems, like the rushed story, switched arcs, and missing scenes, but the adaptation of certain scenes, voice acting, final episode, and Unravel make up for it.