The anime adaptations of Tokyo Ghoul took several creative liberties, and not all of them were beneficial to the series.
Tokyo Ghoul’s debut was quite experimental, as it deconstructed the concept of an ordinary boy turning into a monster. The protagonist, Kaneki Ken, is a kind and soft-spoken character, known for his keen observations and calculating nature.
Kaneki’s peaceful life takes a drastic turn after a disastrous date when his crush turns out to be a ghoul and tries to kill him. To save his life, her organs are transplanted into his body, a premise that the anime remains faithful to. However, there were significant changes made during its adaptation. Here are some of the notable ones:
- Kaneki’s Torture: In the anime, Kaneki is tricked into going with Jason, while in the manga, he willingly follows Jason’s offer to save a mother and child. Kaneki is then subjected to a 10-day torture period, during which his hair slowly turns white. In both versions, Jason breaks his promise and forces Kaneki to choose between the mother and child, impacting Kaneki’s psyche.
- Aogiri in Season 2: The anime takes a different direction in the second season, creating an alternate continuity with similar events from the manga. However, Kaneki’s personality undergoes a drastic and confusing change in the anime, betraying his companions to join Aogiri for more power. In contrast, the manga keeps his character consistent.
- Mutsuki’s Past: The anime briefly touches upon Mutsuki’s past but fails to reveal that they were born female and chose to present as a man to escape abuse and sexism. The manga delves deeper into Mutsuki’s difficult family history and the impact of their encounter with Torso.
- Touka’s Pregnancy: While Kaneki’s reaction and decision to marry Touka remain the same in both versions, the pacing differs. Due to time constraints, the anime combines two distinct instances into one, where Nishiki informs Kaneki about the pregnancy, and Touka later confides in him. Additionally, Kaneki’s internal monologue with his past selves, including a discussion about naming the child, is omitted from the anime.
Tokyo Ghoul’s anime adaptation, like many others, deviated from the manga to some extent. However, it gained notoriety for straying from the source material in significant ways.