Title: Tokyo Ghoul:re Vol. 16 Author: Sui Ishida Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 328 Genre: Fantasy, Battle Publication Date: April 21, 2020
After thirty total volumes, the world of Tokyo Ghoul has come to an end. The 16th and final volume of Tokyo Ghoul:re is exactly what you would expect it to be… a mammoth 300+ page volume that is comprised of all action and an epilogue. The final battle took up about 90% of this volume as it was fought on four fronts CCG vs V, Amon vs Donato, Renji vs Uta, and of course, Kaneki vs Furuta.
Each battle followed the same formula. Each one held special meaning to those who fought and after the battle was won, there were some nice moments of dialogue intertwined with flashbacks to really help set the significance of the characters involved. Renji and Uta knowing each other as long as they could remember, Amon being raised by Donato as a child, Kaneki’s reason for doing what he’s doing versus Furuta’s vision of what the world should be. We also got to see a bit of Furuta and Rize when they were younger, too.
Ishida mixed story and action together really well in this final volume. The action kept you on the edge of your seat but there was a meaning behind every fight. This is what the battles in Tokyo Ghoul should have been all along. Far too often did Ishida draw big-scale battles only to have them end up as giant messes. My biggest critique about this series has always been the size of its cast and how everyone had a name and a title and were often referred to as such. It made it very difficult to keep track of who was who and when people got promoted within the CCG, it didn’t really mean much of anything because there was too much information to digest.
I felt that Ishida sat there with a notebook filled with character names and ranks that he referred to so in his world, it made complete and total sense. To a reader, that was information overload 24/7 and large-scale battles suffered because of it. In addition, he always switched scenes to show battles on multiple fronts but he would do so before certain parts of the battle could conclude. Bouncing around made things much worse when trying to understand what was going on. Thankfully, the final volume was nothing like that. It took him 30 volumes to realize it but focusing on one part of the battle at a time and telling a story within that battle was done absolutely perfectly. My only regret is that we couldn’t have had it this way from the very beginning. Just think how much better this series would have been had it been that way all along?
Still, that was truly my only gripe with this series. Watching Kaneki start out as just a boy going to a coffee shop and trying to pick up Rize as a date to becoming the bridge between the world of humans and ghouls was a fascinating journey. There were some tremendous moments throughout the series with the biggest, most pivotal moment being the end of the first fourteen volumes with the battle of Anteiku, the Owl, and Kaneki taking on Arima. That set things in motion and gave birth to Haise Sasaki and began to throw the story into a completely different direction.
It was kind of funny how we went from the ghouls’ point of view to the CCG’s. One simple event… that fight between Kaneki and Arima changed the landscape of the entire series but it wasn’t just going back and seeing things from their point of view. It was continuing the story forward while looking at it from the opposite side. You get the see the changes within the CCG slowly taking shape and the more that you do, the more you begin to realize that Kaneki’s goal of bridging the two worlds together could actually be a possibility.
Then, in the epilogue, we see all of that come to fruition… sort of. The world has changed and, yet, the world hasn’t. Some things remain the same and maybe that was for the best. It brings a sense of realism because you know, just like in the real world, you can bring about change but you will never win over 100% of the people when things do change. Because the world remained the same in some facets, it plays to that reality and it works so well.
Still, catching up with everyone and seeing where everyone landed brought nice closure to the story. Also, Kaneki and Touka’s daughter is cute as all heck!
Typically, I would do a review with Story, Characters, and Final Thoughts as separate sections but with this being the final volume, I didn’t think there was a need for that. This is the end of an incredible journey and I just wanted to talk about what I liked, what I didn’t like, take a bit of a trip down memory lane, and just wrap everything up with one great big “Final Thought.”
I can say that while the story wasn’t perfect, there was a living, breathing world laid out in front of us. Despite a huge cast, Ishida did an incredible job making the bulk of his characters all seem relevant. As more and more characters came in, you got to see how they were intertwined with the existing cast. Everyone has a history and it usually involves someone else on the character roster. Not only did it give the world of Tokyo Ghoul life, but it did so in a way to where you realized that the ghouls were more than just flesh-eating beings. They had a network… they had their own lives…. They were intertwined and while they had differing views and opinions on what the world should be, they were their own society.
For some, they were a society that just wanted to fit in. For others, they were a society that wanted control… for them to take the place of humans and to use them as a food source. No matter if you were human or ghoul, good and evil still existed on both sides. What is right? What is justice for that particular society? This series examined that from the very beginning. With Kaneki being a half-human/half-ghoul, he saw both sides of the coin. That’s why he wanted to become that bridge because even though there were two different societies, he saw that they weren’t so dissimilar. Despite the opinions of others, he forged his path ahead and paved the path for all humans and ghouls.
Of course, a path like this is never smooth. It comes with consequences and sacrifices. Tokyo Ghoul drove that point home and it did so extremely well. Call it seinin, call it horror. Call it whatever you will. Tokyo Ghoul made a huge impact on the world of anime and manga and has quite the following because as such and for good reason.
This is going to go down as one of the biggest and most-recognizable manga of our time. I don’t know if it will be up there with series such as Fullmetal Alchemist or anything but Sui Ishida did his best to make it something people would talk about for years and years to come. Whether or not he succeeded is not up to me to say. It’s up to you to judge that for yourself.
All I can say is that I enjoyed this series. Thank you to Sui Ishida for 30 volumes of great story, characters, action, and entertainment!