Manga Review: Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 by Sui Ishida

Tokyo GhoulTitle:  Tokyo Ghoul
Author: Sui Ishida
Publisher: Viz Media
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Page count: 224
Genre: Seinen
Publication Date: June 16, 2015

 Tokyo Ghoul is a manga series by Sui Ishida. It was serialized between September 2011 and September 2014 in the seinen manga magazine, Weekly Young Jump. There was also a short anime series adaptation containing two seasons (which we have reviews if you do a quick search for “Tokyo” on The Outerhaven). This Viz Signature release marks the first official release by Viz for an English version of Tokyo Ghoul, which has already sold more than 6 million copies in Japan. 

Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul represents a familiar world that is torn apart by the internal turmoil of one boy who was fated to survive disaster. We are introduced to Ken Kaneki, a University freshman who has some very nerdy and reclusive habits. It is joked that Ken will never get an attractive girlfriend because he reads too much and has a strange fascination with Ghouls and other phenomena. One day Ken is in a coffee shop with his best friend discussing Ghoul sightings along with talking about Ken’s interest in a smart, cute girl who is out of his league. It just so happens that Rize, the woman of Ken’s fascination, is in the coffee shop and has a chance encounter that leads to a date with Ken. The freshman is very excited about his date but it turns out Rize is only interested in his flesh; she is a Ghoul and has been studying him the whole time. Since Ghouls are easily disguised as humans, Ken has no way of knowing Rize is a one until it is too late. As he is about to be consumed by her in a lonely alley, a freak accident saves him and kills his date instantly. Although he survived, he is found in critical condition and both bodies are transported to the hospital. There, a doctor makes a morally dubious decision that changes Ken’s life forever. Now he must reassess the life he knew and his new life as the first half-human, half-Ghoul hybrid. Which world does he belong too and can he control his urges to protect his best friend? The answers can be found in Volume 1.

I found the story very compelling and the artwork is very enjoyable. In some cases I found myself spending more time studying the illustrations than reading the text. The structure of the story really comes together quickly in the first volume and you can truly understand Ken’s issues with his new body. I would definitely compare Ken’s feelings of exile and isolation to the struggles many people face because of their race, gender, sexual preference, etc. I highly doubt any of Ishisda’s readers will be Ghouls themselves, but I guarantee everyone will find a way to relate to Ken.

I didn’t have any moments of boredom or temptation to skip ahead. Ishida’s writing is very fast-paced and will keep you hooked until the very last page. I finished reading this volume very quickly and now I am simply biting my nails because I want to continue onto the next volume to see where the story goes.

 Final Word:

I thought this first volume was amazing. Although this is a popular series, this is my first time reading it and I was simply blown away. If you haven’t read Tokyo Ghoul yet, I suggest you pre-order it immediately.

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**This item was provided for review.