Manga: Tokyo Ghoul

"I am... a Ghoul."

"If, for argument's sake, you were to write a story with me in the lead role, it would certainly be a tragedy."
Ken Kaneki

Tokyo Ghoul is a seinen manga series that mixes together elements of horror and action, starting off with references to The Metamorphosis, but quickly switching into a tragic story about the circle of violence between humans and ghouls.

Your average bookworm, Ken Kaneki, has fallen for a beautiful woman. On their first date, said woman reveals herself to be a monster known as a "ghoul", a creature in human form that feeds on human flesh. Having taken the time to trap him, she prepares to eat him when a falling girder smashes her to bits and leaves Kaneki horribly injured. Saved through a transplant of organs from the dead woman, Kaneki is left with the inability to eat normal food and a hunger that just won't go away. It doesn't take long before Kaneki realizes what's happened to him, and the far-reaching implications of being a person who belongs to both the human and the ghoul world..

The manga ended at 143 chapters on September 18, 2014, with a total of 14 volumes. A spin-off manga called Tokyo Ghoul: Jack was published digitally starting on August 2014 and ran for 7 chapters. It centers around the ghoul investigator Arima and his high school days. A sequel, Tokyo Ghoul:re began serialization in October 2014. It follows Haise Sasaki, Akira Mado, and members of a newly-formed team of Ghoul-Hybrids created by CCG.

An 12 episode anime adaptation from Studio Pierrot debuted in Summer 2014. A second season, Tokyo Ghoul √A, debuted in January 2015.

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     Tokyo Ghoul 

This manga provides examples of:


  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Ghouls utilize the underground tunnels to train, or travel without being observed. The area known as V-14 becomes significant, being the only way for Ghouls to enter or leave the 20th Ward. Arima sets up an ambush there, and slaughters the wounded Ghouls attempting to flee. He later encounters and defeats Kaneki there.
  • Abusive Parents: Several examples.
    • Kaneki's aunt took him in after his mother worked herself to death trying to support both families. However, she began to take out all her resentment towards her sister on him and accused him of trying to make her son look bad. She began to verbally abuse him, as well as isolating him from the rest of the family and showed no interest in him after he left for college.
    • Juuzou was raised by a sadistic Ghoul, which twisted him into a Psychopathic Manchild.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Classier Ghouls (such as Tsukiyama and Itori) drink blood from wine glasses, in imitation of human behavior. After the timeskip, Kaneki is seen drinking from a martini glass while discussing business with Itori.
  • The Alcatraz: Kokuria (as in "cochlea", the spiral cavity of the inner ear), the special Ghoul prison located in the 23rd Ward. Quite literally a massive shaft built into the ground, it is divided into separate basements that house Ghouls based upon their ranking. The lower ranked Ghouls are towards the top, and the further down one goes the higher rated (and more dangerous) the Ghoul prisoners are. These prisoners are kept alive for information, or as eventual resources to create new Quinque weapons. It takes a large-scale invasion by the most powerful members of Aogiri Tree to liberate some of the prisoners. Even then, they weren't able to reach the lowest levels of Kokuria where the SSS rated Ghouls are stored.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In the final arc, Anteiku is raided by CCG. Most of the cast are sent fleeing for their lives, while Yoshimura makes his last stand along with Koma and Irimi. Kaneki heads into the battle zone in a desperate attempt to save them, but instead is subjected to a Curb-Stomp Battle thanks to Arima and may have been killed.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: There's a considerable amount of unresolved feelings, rejections, or dead lovers in this series. The finale sees a heart-broken Touka firm in her belief Kaneki will return someday, Tsukiyama in a grief-fueled Angst Coma, Akira mourning the loss of two more people she loved, and Nishiki forced to leave Kimi behind to protect her.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted all over the place. Kaneki and Hide's initial conversation makes it blatantly clear neither one of them has ever been on so much as a date, with Kaneki's first date being the event that triggers the entire series. Likewise, Amon is a Chaste Hero that rejects Akira's many advances and is essentially a paragon of masculinity. On the other hand, the only male character with a confirmed sex life (besides the settled-down older Investigators with families) is Nishiki, who is mocked about his sex life and generally treated as a Butt Monkey.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Kaneki goes from a normal young man with typical attitudes about the mysterious Ghouls, to a Half-Human Hybrid forced to adjust to living as a Ghoul. He very quickly learns that they aren't the monsters he believed them to be.
    • Chapter 143 gives us an even more straight-forward example: Some of the Investigators listed as deceased during the raid on the 20th Ward were really stolen by Aogiri, and are set to become the new test subjects for Dr. Kanou's experiments in creating artificial Ghouls.
  • Animal Motifs: Numerous Ghouls are associated with animals, using their imagery for their masks or aliases.
    • Kaneki: Insects, in particular Creepy Centipedes.
    • Touka: Rabbits
    • Yoshimura: Owls
    • Yomo: Ravens and Crows
    • Irimi: Dogs
    • Koma: Great Apes
    • Hinami: Butterflies
    • Chie Hori: Rodents (hamsters, rats, and mice).
  • Applied Phlebotinum: RC cells. Humans and Ghouls both have them, and the later use it as their primary source of energy.
  • Arc Symbol: A random shot of a centipede appears throughout the Aogiri Arc, leading up to Yamori sticking one in Kaneki's ear during his torture.
  • Arc Words:
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Suzuya's first two chapters has him slaughtering a gang of ghouls for fun, sucking out a police officer's eardrum and squashing it for wasting his time, and stealing Kaneki's wallet.
  • Art Evolution: The early chapters' art is a bit inconsistent, with some panels looking much better than others. this smooths out over the course of the series, with the art becoming more polished and consistent.
  • Asshole Victim: As a general rule, if a character is a Jerkass, be they Ghoul or Human, chances are they will die horrifically.
  • Astral Checkerboard Decor: Checkered patterns appear throughout the series, most notably in Yamori's Torture Cellar, the CCG chairman's office, and Uta's mask studio. Suffice to say, this pattern appearing is never a good thing.
  • The Bad Guys Win: How the series ends. Anteiku and the CCG's battle causes massive damage to CCG, while Anteiku is destroyed. While Aogiri Tree takes the hurt CCG inspectors and Yoshimura to continue their experiments with Pierrot laughing their asses off at their manipulations
  • Badass Crew: Tokyo Ghoul is filled with this.
    • There's the Anteiku rescue team of Yoshimura, Yomo, Uta, Touka, Nishiki and Tsukiyama.
    • Then there's Kaneki's crew with Tsukiyama, Hinami, Banjou and the Gas Mask Brothers.
    • The CCG Investigators form one whenever preparing to hunt a dangerous, high-ranked Ghoul.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: All over the place.
    • The staff of Anteiku wear high-end dining uniforms, and are almost to the person powerful Ghouls.
    • CCG Investigators wear suits, and are highly-skilled fights able to fight Ghouls head-on.
    • Yamori wears a nice, white suit while dishing out brutality. Naki and his two nameless lackeys imitate his style, while acting as front-line soldiers for Aogiri Tree.
  • Badass Normal: CCG's Investigators are this out of necessity, facing Ghouls with little more than intense physical training, their wits, and weapons made from slain Ghouls.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: In the side novel Days, Tsukiyama reveals to Chie that the kind and gentle nurse they'd spoken to the day prior was actually a Sadist that beat her elderly patients at night. Since they suffered from dementia, she could explain away their injuries and remain secure that no one would ever believe them. He does it to make a point about humans, rather than out of any concern for her abused patients.
  • Becoming the Mask: A literal case for Kaneki. As masks in the ghoul world reflect both personality and fighting style of their wearers, Uta making such a monstrous leather mask for the soft-spoken Kaneki seemed like a mismatch. However, as the story progresses, Kaneki grows to become just the fierce and savage character his mask exudes.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: A major, reoccurring theme that hits more than one character. Kaneki, Yamori, and Suzuya all suffered extensive torture over long periods of time, and emerged from their ordeals changed for the worse. While Yamori and Suzuya are psychopaths that revel in their brutality, Kaneki manages to hang onto enough of his former self to simply become a very ruthless Anti-Hero instead of a monster.
  • The Berserker: Some Ghouls that develop Kakuja-type Kagune seem to fall into this state while using it, losing control of themselves and brutally attacking everything in their path.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: A common theme.
    • Kaneki is noted for his kind personality, but has incredible potential for violence when it comes to protecting those he cares about.
    • Yoshimura may be a kind and supportive grandfatherly figure to his employees, but he is also one of the most powerful Ghouls in the series.
    • Uta is easy-going and friendly, but noted he was extremely violent in his past. When he does fight, he can tear his opponents to pieces without evening using his Kagune. He's also part of the Pierrot, the group of ghouls that caused Rize's accident and thus the reason why Kaneki became a ghoul.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Kaneki pulls an epic one together with He's Back and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when he saves Touka and holds her in his arms in a Bridal Carry.
  • Big Eater: "Binge-eater" Rize.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The biggest tell if someone is a ghoul. Their eyes go black when especially hungry or using their powers.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The majority of ghouls kill humans without hesitation. Humans generally kill ghouls indiscriminately due to how easily they can be killed by ghouls' kagune. The few ghouls that don't kill humans are either killed by ghouls due to being weaker and involved in territorial disputes or by humans so they can be stripped of their kagune so they can be manufactured into anti-Ghoul weapons.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Played with. Several ghouls that have fully accepted their nature see humans as nothing more than prey of some sort and don't really believe in good or evil. Ghouls closer to humans, however, mostly follow these beliefs as a way to cope with killing humans to survive.
    • Chie Hori is a human example of the trope, with a rather...unique morality that allows her to remain completely detached from the scenes she photographs.
  • Body Horror: The ghoul's kagune. They don't match their mostly human appearance, instead being crimson insectoid limbs that tear out of the ghoul's body.
  • Bonus Material: Each volume has several bonus comics, some plain old parodies while others are comedic extra moments that appear to be canon and provide a little extra characterization. Some of the humorous, non-canon ones even made it into the anime as comical post-credits bonuses. Script-style pieces are also sometimes included, featuring interactions between two or more characters and adding little extra information about their relationships.
  • Book Dumb: A common trait of Ghouls, most of which grew up living on the streets or in poverty, with no access to a formal education. The best they can hope for is very basic homeschooling from their parents. Ghouls such as Touka and Nishiki, who attend school, are the exception.
  • Breakout Character: Tsukiyama. He starts out as an arc villain, but returns later to become Kaneki's most valuable — if untrustworthy — ally in the second half of the series.
  • Break the Cutie: Almost every single character is shown to have suffered a traumatic experience or five over the course of their life, robbing them of their innocence and leaving them severely damaged people. This is what makes many Ghouls become brutal killers, and drives many CCG Investigators to hunt Ghouls so aggressively. Kaneki is flat-out stated to be the protagonist of a Tragedy, and it shows with the sheer amount of cruelty he endures.
  • Bridal Carry: Kaneki does this to Touka after he swoops in to save her after she was defeated by her brother, Ayato.
    • Kaneki again after catching Banjou, who fell off a roof during training.
  • Came Back Strong: Each near-death experience sees Kaneki essentially reborn, emerging as a stronger being each time. However, it isn't without a price.
    • Came Back Wrong: Each subsequent "rebirth" and increase in power chips away at his sanity, leaving him a little less human each time.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Ghouls are able to become stronger as a result of feeding on their own kind, though it is implied to take a toll on their sanity.
  • Cannibal Larder: To be expected from a series about cannibalism and creatures that eat humans.
    • A prequel side story focuses on Rize. Early on, her land lady approaches her to discuss a complaint about a smell coming from her apartment, which Rize claims is from trash she allowed to accumulate. Later on, we see that its actually because she's got a bath tub filled with blood and body parts.
    • The storage freezer in Anteiku completely averts this trope, as it seems to be neatly organized with innocent-looking packages of meat.
    • The pilot oneshot, which features a more violent version of Kaneki, shows body parts hanging in what may be his refrigerator and an eyeless head floating in a jar on the floor in his room.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: Kaneki's inability to just tell Hide what happened to him, and slowly cutting him out of his life to protect him. Then it turned out that Hide knew almost the entire time, and was simply waiting for Kaneki to tell him.
    • Amon and Akira have considerable UST as a result of both having serious issues with letting down their guard. This leads to Akira making an Anguished Declaration of Love after Amon is reported dead.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Some characters look more different than others, but it's pretty much impossible to mistake someone for somebody else unless there's a reason for it.
  • Character Tic: Used heavily in relation to several characters.
    • Yamori's unique manner of cracking his knuckles, a habit he picked up from his human torturer. Naki does it to imitate him, while Kaneki begins to do it as well after being tortured.
    • Kaneki has a tendency to adopt the tics of others, such as Yamori's knuckle cracking. Hide informs Touka that he has a tendency to touch his left hand to his chin whenever he's lying to spare someone's feelings. In a flashback, we see his mother doing the same thing.
  • Chekov's Gun/Chekhov's Gunman: All over the place.
    • In Chapter 20, a pair of Investigators are seen discussing how The Gourmet has killed one of their men. In Chapter 39, Tsukiyama has a Quinque prepared for the scrapper to use against Kaneki and mentions it was a "souvenir".
    • The Bin Brothers and their kagune. Their kagune are used along with the broken pieces of Amon's first Quinque to create an Anti-Centipede weapon to bring down Kaneki.
    • Sen Takatsuki, the oft-mentioned author. She is the One-Eyed Owl, Yoshimura's Half-Human Hybrid child. As it turns out, she is also Aogiri's true leader, Eto.
    • Madam A, one of the members of the Ghoul Restaurant. She has been working for Dr. Kanou, and her Scrappers are his failed experiments.
    • Souta, another member of the Ghoul Restaurant. Not only is he a member of the Clown masked Gang, but he's the one that dropped the steel bars on Rize.
    • The Clown Mask Gang, mentioned from time to time throughout the series. They are Pierrot, a gang of pranksters led by Uta and Itori. They have been manipulating Kaneki throughout the series for their own amusement, leading him along a path to his doom.
      • When Kaneki meets Uta, one of the first things he sees is a clown mask on the wall.
  • The Chikan: The Joker one-shot features one that Hanbee and Suzuya catch molesting a schoolgirl on the train. Suzuya intervenes, which turns out to be the break in the Skulls case — the girl is their leader, and later rips off the pervert's offending hand.
  • Child Eater: Donato Porpora's favorite meal was children, leading him to pose as a Catholic priest and open an orphanage. Little surprise that Amon has such serious issues related to Ghouls and orphaned children.
    • Subverted with Tsukiyama, who turns out to prefer the flesh of the elderly. He considers men over the age of 90 to be a particularly rare delicacy.
  • The City Narrows: The 24th Ward, an underground labyrinth where an unknown number of Ghouls live. It is considered horrible even by Ghouls, but because CCG rarely dares to go there it is also an ideal location for a hunted Ghoul to hide. Yoshimura discusses sending Hinami there to escape the Doves pursuing her, but the others ultimately argue that keeping her in near-constant House Arrest is better than sending her to the 24th Ward. It is also mentioned that the infamous One-Eyed Owl emerged from there, and it is one of two Wards that prominent members of Aogiri Tree called home. Yoshimura sent his infant daughter to live there, in order to hide her from the organization called "V".
  • Combat Pragmatist: How the members of the CCG operates, as humans against ghouls whose strength and power ranges from 4-7 times of that of an adult human wouldn't last in a fair fight. As Mado had put it, ""Even 'cowardice' can be forgiven in the name of 'justice.'"
  • Cosmic Plaything: If it wasn't obvious enough, the universe really seems to hate Kaneki.
  • Crap Sack World: Humanity must deal with the constant fear of a predatory species that looks just like them, until they reveal their Game Face and start eating people. However, in reality the majority of Ghouls live miserable lives and simply want to live in peace, killing only because there is no other choice for them. Most are orphaned young, and they live in constant fear of the Ghoul Investigators charged with exterminating them without mercy. The cycle of death and revenge draws in everyone, with very few characters in the series that are genuinely innocent.
  • Crazy Consumption: Tsukiyama to the other ghouls. He's absolutely obsessed with eating.
  • Creepy Child: Eto, who is covered head-to-toe in bandages. Her creepiness is amped up when the audience finds out her true identity as the One-Eyed Owl.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Ghouls are physically superior to humans in all ways, with enhanced senses, a Healing Factor, and a predatory organ they can use to pretty much destroy anything. They are also highly resistant to mundane weapons like knives and guns, leading many Ghouls to see themselves as a superior species.
    • Blessed with Suck: But all this power comes with the cost of being forced to live off human flesh, with coffee and water the only normal things they can enjoy. The vast majority live lonely existences on the fringe of society, always having to look over their shoulder for risk of discovery by Humans or predation by aggressive Ghouls. Almost all Ghouls are orphans, with little hope of a normal life and no ambitions or dreams beyond living one more day.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A central theme of the series. Many Investigators and Ghouls alike are driven by their bitterness over losing loved ones, and lash out at the other species in revenge. CCG actively encourages this, often taking in children orphaned by Ghouls with the intention of raising them to be future Investigators. Many Ghouls, likewise, seek to kill Investigators to avenge their murdered family or friends.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Kaneki sees Rize often in his head, especially in times of distress and intense emotional pain. Until he learns that she is not dead at all.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Deconstructed with Kaneki's mother, as her gentle nature led her to work herself to death for her sister, who would repay this by abusing Kaneki. Played straight with Arata Kirishima and Kureo Mado, both shown to have been doting single fathers.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The finale of the series sees Kaneki facing the legendary Kishou Arima, an Investigator with nicknames such as "God of Death/Grim Reaper" and "The Undefeated Ghoul Investigator". Arima dishes out a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle, but is genuinely impressed when Kaneki manages to not only damage IXA in the process, but nicks him on the cheek.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Anteiku staff, after the Aogiri Arc. Touka in particular ends up on the sidelines until nearly the end, because Kaneki is intentionally avoiding her in hopes she'll continue living like a human.
  • Department of Child Disservices: CCG is given custody of children orphaned in Ghoul attacks, and sends them to their Junior Academy with absolutely no intention of ever finding them new families or giving them a normal life. Instead, the facility is a Tyke Bomb factory that raises orphans to become future Investigators and while their physical and educational needs are met.....it doesn't seem like much focus is given on their psychological well-being. In particular, it's shown that little to no effort was taken in helping Juuzou recover from being Raised by Orcs — Shinohara accomplishes in a few months what the Academy couldn't be bothered to do given years.
    • The Academy staff in fact framed Juuzou, for the animal killings around their campus committed by one of the teachers—who used to a warden at Cochlea and is implied to be Yamori's torturer—further isolating Juuzou from his peers.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After torturing Kaneki for days, Yamori decides to renege on their deal and brings in a mother and child that Kaneki gave himself up to protect. He offers a Sadistic Choice — he'll kill one, but spare the other but Kaneki has to decide which one. When Kaneki refuses and offers his own life instead, Yamori simply kills both hostages in front of him. This event causes Kaneki to hit rock bottom, with him emerging out the other side a changed person.
    • Touka and Tsukiyama both cross it during the raid on Anteiku, despairing at their helplessness to save Kaneki. Touka manages to cling to hope and keep moving, while Tsukiyama appears to have fallen into an Angst Coma.
  • Dirt Forcefield: Even when characters are impaled, dismembered, disemboweled, half-beheaded or suffering any of the other enormous injuries the series dishes out, their clothes show only the most superficial indications like a moderately reddened hole instead of the remains of river of blood. And those dealing the violence may be covered in gooey bits during a fight, only to get away almost completely free of any splatter later.
  • Disposing of a Body: Anteiku acts as a "soup" kitchen for ghouls, so left over bodies are brought over, butchered and stored away in their fridge.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Suzuya is quick to violence for minor offense. For example, when a cop arrests him for carrying a bloody weapon and doesn't believe he's an Investigator, he sucks out his ear drum and then stomps on it.
  • Downer Ending: The series warns from the beginning that it is a tragedy. That doesn't make the particularly bleak conclusion to the original series any less painful, with Anteiku destroyed by CCG, Yoshimura captured by Aogiri as Dr. Kanou's new donor, and those in the cast that aren't possibly dead either maimed or on the run. Added to this is the revelation that two of Kaneki's closest allies, Uta and Itori, were secretly part of a group manipulating him for their own amusement. Good thing they announced a sequel.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Anteiku rescue team disguise themselves as members of Aogiri, in order to make infiltrating their base easier. Uta provides them with counterfeit masks, and they all wear the same robes as the Faceless Mooks until continuing the ruse becomes pointless.
  • Dynamic Character: The sheer amount of Character Development the characters undergo over the course of the series is noteworthy, with several completely transformed by the conclusion.
    • Kaneki undergoes a very extreme change over the course of the series, even commented on multiple times by the other characters. From a meek but normal young man, to the early attempts at being an All-Loving Hero, then a descent into ruthless Anti-Hero tactics and increasing Sanity Slippage, before he finally begins to question his actions and searches for a balance between his conflicting desires and goals.
    • Touka in the start of the story is a very aggressive and angry woman that is willing to do anything to survive and is a Knight Templar against the Doves. Meeting Kaneki and fighting Mado changes her ideals, as she starts to see the other side of the argument and becomes much more calmer and willing to listen to others instead of rushing off. She becomes more more open towards her feelings at the end of the series.
    • Amon begins the story as a Knight Templar willing to do anything it takes to eliminate Ghouls, with a very stark view of the world. Meeting Kaneki begins to change him, as he begins to question his ideals and slowly warms up through his partnership with Akira. Over the course of the series, he develops into a more flexible and merciful man, willing to consider ideas contrary to what he has been taught and full of respect for Kaneki as his Worthy Opponent.
    • Juuzou begins the series as a straight-up Psychopathic Manchild with complete Lack of Empathy. His relationship with Shinohara begins to change him, slowly but surely with him beginning to mellow out his violent tendencies and learn how to care about not only himself but others as well. In the final chapter, he apologizes profusely to Shinohara's wife for his failure to protect his partner, and expresses his gratitude to Shinohara for all that he has done for him while kissing the comatose man's forehead.
    • Nishiki begins as a selfish, petty, and cruel young man that lashes out at others in spite. But his love for Kimi results in him changing his ways, with him slowly warming up to those around him. After the Time Skip, he has become a snarky but kind friend to the other characters and is even shown caring for Tsukiyama when the other Ghoul falls into an Angst Coma, regardless of their previous mutual hatred.
    • Tsukiyama starts out as childish, cruel, and only concerned with his own enjoyment. During his long pursuit of Kaneki, he adopts a subservient persona to get closer to him but becomes more mellow as the story progresses. By the finale, he has genuinely come to care about Kaneki to the extent that he desperately tries to keep him from going on a suicide mission, and is so overwhelmed with grief at Kaneki's apparent death that he falls into an Angst Coma. The sequel mentions him as being "depressed", suggesting he still hasn't fully recovered even years later.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Almost every single character is messed up in some capacity, with either serious psychological issues or a traumatic past. Justified by the Crap Sack World they live in, and the nature of the conflict between Humans and Ghouls. The Ghoul characters' issues stem from lives spent being hunted by CCG, while the employees of CCG are messed up because losing loved ones to Ghouls is what motivates them in their work.
  • Ear Ache: Two particularly gruesome examples occur.
    • During one torture session, Yamori places a centipede in Kaneki's ear. Rather than scream in agony, Kaneki begins to laugh hysterically.
    • During his introduction, Suzuya takes revenge on a police officer giving him a hard time by sucking the man's ear drum out.
  • Eat the Evidence: Ghouls manage to stay hidden by eating the entire body of their victims. Sometimes, they just find people that have killed themselves and eat that over a living person, because there's less chance someone will miss that person and less chance of law enforcement becoming involved.
  • Eat the Rich: Possibly the gourmet club's favorite food.
  • Emergency Transformation: Central to the plot. Kaneki becomes a Half-Human Hybrid as a result of a life-saving organ transplant.
  • Evil Genius: Mado Kureo, an Investigator obsessed with Ghouls and making new weapons for their kagune.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Rize and Tsukiyama are both descriptive in how delicious the taste and suffering of their victims is to them. Likewise, Kaneki realizes the first time he tastes human flesh that he can feel himself being overwhelmed by hedonistic urges, and has to fight against the temptation to give in to his Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • Expository Hair Style Change: Several occur over the course of the story.
    • Kaneki's change from black hair to white, after being kidnapped by Aogiri.
    • Touka grows her hair out during the timeskip.
    • Hinami starts wearing her hair in a stylish bob, which Kaneki cuts for her.
    • Nishiki starts wearing his hair shorter and neater after he becomes a waiter at Anteiku.
    • In the Joker one-shot that takes place in the future, Suzuya seems to have dyed his hair black.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Kaneki starts wearing one when he has trouble controlling the color of his left eye. Subverted with his mask, which covers the other, non-ghoul eye. The designer made it that way so he could see Kaneki's hidden eye properly.
  • Faceless Goons: A staple of any Ghoul gang, wearing themed masks.
    • The Gas-mask Trio that work for Banjou are a rare heroic example.
    • The nameless members of Aogiri, all dressed in identical robes and masks.
    • Irimi's old gang, Black Dobbell, all wear black trench coats and dog masks.
    • Koma's old gang all wear parkas and gorilla masks.
    • The members of the Skull Mask gang in Joker.
  • Fair Cop: The members of the CCG are a varied lot, but several stand out for being insanely good looking. Amon and Akira in particular are noted for being attractive.
  • Fairytale Motifs: The Ghoul Restaurant takes inspiration for tales such as The Restaurant of Many Orders, with Kaneki even drawing a comparison between himself and the protagonists of that tale.
  • Fan Service With A Smile: The waitresses at Kaneki and Hide's favorite restaurant, Big Girl, are noted for being very attractive.
  • Fantastic Racism: The conflict between Humans and Ghouls often veers into this, with people on both sides expressing such sentiments about the other species. Most humans don't think there is anything wrong with killing children if they happen to be Ghouls, while the members of Aogiri Tree hold to an ideology of Ghoul supremacy.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Played straight. Yoriko and Akira are both capable cooks, in comparison to their more tomboyish counterparts, Touka and Misato. Touka's case is justified by her being a Ghoul, while Misato appears to be known as a Lethal Chef among her peers.
  • Five-Bad Band: Aogiri Tree serves in direct opposition of Anteiku, and later Kaneki's group.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Flat "What.": Kaneki after meeting Dr. Kanou, who reveals that Manager Yoshimura is deeply connected to Aogiri.
  • Flower Motifs: Several appear during the course of the series.
    • In the final episode of the anime, flowers are used extensively in Kaneki's hallucinations. The field is initially all white Carnations (Innocence) — flowers his mother filled their house with prior to her death. Rize's appearance prompts the flowers to transform into Spider Lilies, a motif that continues through the episode as Kaneki comes to grips with his past and accepts his nature as a Ghoul.
    • Daffodils feature prominently in the final chapters, as Kaneki faces Arima. A single Daffodil, as seen on the cover featuring Arima, means misfortune. On the other hand, Kaneki is repeatedly shown in fields of daffodils, which symbolize Respect, Rebirth and New Beginnings. The flower is associated with the New Year.
    • Hinami is associated with Sunflowers, which symbolize Adoration.
    • Tsukiyama brings a bouquet of Rudobekia (Black-Eyed Susans) when visiting Kaneki's group, and places one in Hinami's hair while talking to her. They symbolize Encouragement and Motivation. They are also noted as an attractant for Butterflies, which Hinami is associated with.
  • Food Chain of Evil: Yamori theorizes that Ghouls are meant to prey on each other, since it's rumored that cannibalism increases a Ghoul's strength. This turns out to be true, as the Kakuja are the most powerful of all Ghouls and become this way through devouring their own kind. While ordinary Ghouls prey on humans, Kakuja and Half-Kakuja prey on normal Ghouls.
  • Food Porn: Inverted. There's a lot of detailed food items in the series, but many of them are made with human meat, even some sugar cubes Kaneki uses with his coffee. Some are outright human parts, like an eye Tsukiyama eats from a famous woman. There are also incredibly descriptive summaries of how human food tastes to Ghouls, that gets downright nauseating.
  • Foreshadowing: Wow. Where to start?
    • In the very first chapter, Hide and Kaneki discuss ghouls over coffee, and they both draw what they think ghouls look like. Kaneki draws something that look a lot of like the One-Eyed Owl, and Hide jokingly draws Kaneki.
    • Kaneki comments that Takatsuki Sen's short story, Sayoshigure (meaning "cloudburst"), was a precursor to Black Goat's Egg. Sayoshigure is soon after shown to be a portent of Ryouko's death. These two works further connect through Kaneki, as the event related to Sayoshigure is the first catalyst driving Kaneki's determination to gain strength, even as his psyche splinters like that of the protagonist in Black Goat's Egg.
    • The bug mentioned in Kaneki's discussion of The Metamorphosis looks a lot like a centipede.
    • A centipede appears in a tiny panel in the chapter where Kaneki and Banjou and his group attempt to escape.
  • Fowl-Mouthed Parrot: Loser, an injured Cockatiel adopted by Hinami and prone to shouting insults at people.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Volume 11 features several comics parodying various fairy tales.
    • "Kenderella": Kaneki is abused by his Evil Stepmother Yamori and wicked stepsisters Rize and Ayato, but sent to the Royal Ball by a wizard named Hide. There, he meets Prince Tsukiyama....who turns out to be a pervert. To avoid being found, he smashes the Glass Slipper before they can make him try it on.
    • Snow White: Evil Queen Nico asks his Magic Mirror, Yamori, who the fairest of them all is. The Mirror punches him in the face.
    • Little Red Riding Hood: Ayato pretends to be Hinami's grandmother and threatens to eat her, but then claims it was a joke.
    • Rapunzel: Nishiki climbs the tower in hopes of finding Kimi, but instead discovers Shachi waiting for him. He checks the script, and horrified when it instructs them to fall madly in love and conceive a child. Shachi waits expectantly.
    • Momotaro: Amon emerges from a peach and goes on a quest to defeat the Oni. When he arrives with his companions, they find Arima standing on a mountain of Oni corpses.
    • Hansel and Gretel: Brothers Yamori and Naki get lost in the woods, and eat Nico's house. Nico demands repayment with their bodies, so they beat him up.
  • Freudian Excuse: Nearly every character has one and in this world, that's not surprising.
  • Game Face: Ghouls have Black Eyes of Crazy with red pupils and Tainted Veins around their eyes when revealing their true nature. Those extending their kagune take it a step further, since they're essentially growing extra weaponized limbs.
  • Gendered Outfit: The employees of CCG dress in typical gendered office attire. This results in female Ghoul Investigators going into the field wearing pencil skirts and modest heels even when they fully expect to be fighting Ghouls.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG), a government agency responsible for all matters related to Ghouls. An unnamed Chinese counterpart is mentioned, as well as the mysterious Ghoul Forschung Gesellschaft in Germany.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It is raining when Mrs. Fueguchi is killed by Kureo Mado, with the skies going from bright but rainy to dreary and depressing as the event unfolds. It is also raining during the final arc, which concludes on a particularly bleak note.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The final Arc deals with this, ultimately summed up through Yoshimura expressing that they are all ultimately sinners that have done evil things. The majority of the staff at Anteiku are formerly brutal Ghouls that have tried to reform and live peacefully with humans, but acknowledge their past sins as something that must be atoned for in the end. On the other side are the forces of CCG, who genuinely believe what they are doing is right and will make Tokyo safer. There are Knight Templar types among them, but the majority are just average folks that are trying to protect the citizens of Tokyo. The perspective flips between the two sides, ultimately showing the tragic consequences when these two well-intentioned groups are forced to fight each other to the death. As a direct result, heavy losses are taken on both sides and The Bad Guy Wins.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In the anime, the worst injuries are obscured from the audience. In the manga, not so much.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The One-Eyed Ghouls. Kaneki is the first known example of one actually existing, though others are the stuff of legend in the Ghoul community.
    • Hybrid Power: One-Eyed Ghouls are stated to be far more powerful than full-blooded Ghouls, as a result of Hybrid Vigor. For a reason never explained, they are able to pass undetected through the special scanner gates CCG uses to prevent Ghouls from entering their headquarters.
  • Happy Place: Kaneki is prone to hallucinating the locations of happier times in his life or fields of beautiful flowers, during moments of extreme duress. While being tortured by Yamori, he spends quite a bit of time in a massive field of white Carnations or in his childhood home, talking to an imagined Rize. Near the end of the series, when critically wounded by Arima, he travels through several moments from his childhood as well as several imagined fields of flowers.
    • Dream Sequence: Chapter 140 is entirely composed of this, as Kaneki revisits scenes from his past and converses with various versions of himself in a field of flowers. It may or may not also be a Dying Dream...
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A common theme of the series. Several Investigators are shown to have become monsters themselves over time, taking pleasure in the suffering of the Ghouls they hunt. Kaneki himself also begins down this path, having decided to take the fight to Aogiri Tree to protect the people he cares about.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Ghouls live among humans in modern society, with a few characters even going to public schools with human friends.
  • Homeschooled Kids: CCG uses this as one method to ferret out Ghoul Children, asking people to look for children that never attend school. Hinami, Nishiki, Touka, and Ayato were all shown to have been given rudimentary education by their families with only Nishiki and Touka managing to eventually attend school like normal humans.
  • Horror Hunger: The very nature of the ghouls.
  • Humans Are Flawed: The series portrays both species as equally flawed, making mistakes or acting in a selfish manner for the sake of survival. The central conflict of the story results not from inherent evil, but merely the difficulty of understanding others in spite of good intentions.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Justified. Itori explains to Kaneki that if a female Ghoul became pregnant with a human's child, her body would simply treat her offspring like a food source and absorb it for nutrients. The only way for a natural One-Eyed Ghoul to be born is for the human mother to resort to cannibalism.
  • Human Resources: Played straight and inverted.
    • Ghouls will devour as much of a human body as possible, and some will even scavenge the dead in order to avoid having to kill. Anteiku makes this a primary source for the food provided to their customers, with Yomo scavenging the bodies of suicide victims and others already dead in order to feed the community.
    • CCG makes use of Ghoul bodies whenever possible, and not only through researching them. Quinque metal used to make bullets or the Investigators' custom weapons come from a Ghoul's kagune. RC suppression fluid used to subdue Ghouls is also made through liquifying the bodies of Ghouls.
  • Human Subspecies: No one knows the exact origin of Ghouls, something Touka expresses the desire to study in the future. But the two species are clearly closely related, allowing cross-species organ transplants and reproduction.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Ghouls cannot digest human food, which tastes absolutely vile to them. This is a telltale sign of one, so many practice tricks to swallow just enough food to pass, but must quickly throw it up to avoid becoming sick. After his surgery, Kaneki's first sign that something is wrong is his inability to eat food. He's intensely relieved when he discovers that coffee still tastes good, making it the single human food Ghouls can enjoy.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: All Ghouls, though special mention goes to the incidents of cannibalism that occur in more violent areas.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Tsukiyama sees Kaneki as this.
  • Instructional Dialogue: At a scene of carnage left by Juzo, Shinohara takes him aside for a lecture on humane conduct (according to CCG) and ghoul anatomy.
  • Invited As Dinner: The Ghoul Restaurant's primary method of getting their meals, with individual members bringing a "guest" as dinner.
  • I Shall Taunt You: How Kaneki manages to defeat Amon. He goads him into attacking recklessly so his movements will be simpler and easier to dodge.
  • It Amused Me: In the final chapter we learn that the events of the manga have been orchestrated by the group of Ghoul pranksters called "The Pierrot" : Uta, Roma, Itori, Nico, Souta being confirmed members. Their motivation seems to be "the last to laugh" in the world where both human and ghoul are hunted.
  • It's All About Me: Rize doesn't seem to care about anyone but herself, going on binging sprees that leave the Ward in chaos. She killed the former leaders of the 11th Ward, and then skipped town with the Investigators closing in. This allowed Aogiri Tree to move in and take over the Ward.
  • Knight Templar: The "Doves," human investigators that have absolutely no sympathy for ghouls.
  • Laughing Mad: After Yamori places a Chinese red-headed centipede into Kaneki's ear, the insect goes to town in Kaneki's brain. Instead of crying out in pain, Kaneki starts cackling insanely.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: How the Ghoul Restaurant operates, making a big show out of it.
  • Living MacGuffin: The One-Eyed Owl, a legendary Ghoul rumored to be a Half-Human Hybrid. She is Yoshimura's daughter, as well as the leader of Aogiri Tree. Both CCG and the mysterious organization known as "V" consider its very existence a threat, and seek to destroy it.
  • Lost in Translation: The series utilizes a good amount of wordplay and discussion of kanji that doesn't exactly translate into other languages. Many unofficial translations have dealt with this issue through inserting notations to explain it.
    • The translation gets even more muddled when poetry gets involved, such as in chapter 139. The translation available during the part Kaneki recites the poem probably doesn't make sense unless you find the accompanying notes that various users have provided.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Ukina, the human woman that Yoshimura once loved.
    • Kasuka Mado, the long-dead wife of Kureo and Missing Mom to Akira.
    • Harima, the classmate and first love of Amon.
  • Love Martyr: Two incidents with drastically different outcomes.
    • Kaneki's mother cared for her sister so much, she worked herself to death trying to support both families. Her sister repaid her by abusing Kaneki out of spite.
    • Kimi is one towards Jerkass Nishiki, but her devotion is eventually rewarded when she's willing to be eaten to save his life. This leads to him joining Anteiku and becoming a kinder person overall.
  • Mad Eye: Several variants occur.
    • Kureo Mado has one, as a result of his unstable personality.
    • All One-Eyed Ghouls naturally have it, when revealing their Game Face. Kaneki in particular is prone to this in his less stable moments.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tsukiyama lures Kaneki to the Ghoul Restaurant with the intention of having him for dinner.
  • Masochist's Meal: Human food to ghouls. Some eat anyway, mostly to avoid suspicion. On the other hand, it's taken to extremes by Kaneki, who helpfully describes how bad the food is after it makes him violently ill.
  • Masquerading As The Unseen: Yoshimura and Ayato both take up the identities of loved ones, Taking the Heat to protect them. It works since the only things known about them are their masks and general appearance of their kagune, both easily imitated.
  • Metamorphosis: Kaneki goes through a gradual one at series start.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Amon's entire reason for hunting ghouls is to avenge fallen human children.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Averted. Kaneki starts out lean but then trains to develop a Heroic Build to improve his fighting and kagune skills.
  • Morality Chain: They are everywhere.
    • Hide serves as one for Kaneki, helping bring him back to his senses when his powers go out of control.
    • Yoriko became one to Touka, helping her adjust to living a more peaceful existence.
    • Kimi is one for Nishiki, who gives up on hunting humans for her sake.
    • Kaneki becomes one to Tsukiyama in the second half, as his desire to stay at Kaneki's side leads him to give up his "gourmet" habits and betray the Restaurant. It's pretty clear, though, that when Kaneki isn't around to keep him in check, Tsukiyama is happy to slip his chain a bit.
    • Shinohara makes himself one for Juuzou, in an attempt to keep his destructive tendencies in check. He tells Juuzou to do to him whatever things he was considering doing to people that make him angry. It results in considerably less maiming of people.
  • Mommy Issues: Kaneki watched his mother slowly work herself death trying to support him and her sister's family.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the end of each action-packed, blood-soaked volume/episode are short, comedic comics about various characters doing plot-unrelated things. Can also happen mid-action, such as the monstrous butcher, Taro, not knowing how to open a briefcase.
  • Must Have Caffeine: A darker example with Kaneki while he's first discovering his new eating habits. Coffee is one of the few things he can digest properly besides human meat. As time goes on, he's constantly drinking the stuff with a sugar cube packed with bits of human meat and blood to stay healthy.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Kaneki as a newly-changed Half-Human Hybrid is invited by Yoshimura to begin learning about the Ghouls, and understand them as a former human. On the other side, Juuzou serves as one for CCG, lacking any formal training or education prior to being put on active duty. Shinohara, a former instructor, is made his partner and gives lectures on Ghoul anatomy, regulations, and the Quinque technology.
  • Named Weapons: Quinque are given a name when created, usually chosen by their owner. In some cases, the name is taken from the Ghoul used to create it and those with multiple copies will have a fraction in the name as well.
  • Natural Weapon: The ghoul's kagune are predatory organs formed from Rc cells they gain from eating humans. While each kagune is unique to the user (although close family such as siblings can have similar kagune) they fall into one of four categories.
    • Ukaku: Wings that form from the shoulder blades.
    • Koukaku: Heavy weapons that form from the mid-back.
    • Rinkaku: Tentacles that form from the lower-back.
    • Bikaku: Bladed tail that forms from the coccyx.
    • Kakuja: An exceptionally rare mutation that occurs as a result of extensive cannibalism. It creates an armored shell around the Ghoul.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Hide is the primary example in the series, intentionally acting like a fool to throw people off just how clever he actually is.
  • Obsessed with Food: Tsukiyama, and by extension all the members of the Ghoul Restaurant. For a more benign version, Touka's human friend Yoriko, who wants to be a professional cook.
  • One-Man Army: Post-timeskip Kaneki, Amon, Juuzou, Yoshimura, Arima, and the One-Eyed Owl are all considered capable of demolishing large numbers of foes on their own. The Owl and Arima, in particular, are noted to be the only ones capable of taking each other on.
  • Organic Technology: Humans and Ghouls both have their own unique technology based around RC cells. Humans harvest the corpses of Ghouls to create various substances, from an RC fluid to Quinque metal used in Investigators' weapons. On the opposite end, Ghouls have developed a building material made from flesh, that reacts to their Kagune. Rarely seen outside the 24th Ward, it allows them to make maze-like dens that are difficult for humans to navigate or even discover.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The Catholic Orphanage run by Donato Porpora seemed like an Orphanage of Love, but was actually this. The children supposedly adopted out into loving families were actually being murdered, and what he didn't eat himself was secretly fed to the other children as snacks. Amon was his favorite, and the fact that he was spared by the Ghoul that raised him continues to haunt him.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: The Ghouls in the series are essentially super-powered humans with a Horror Hunger for human flesh.
  • Parental Abandonment: It would probably be easier to summarize the characters that still have both their parents. Most of the cast are orphans, with very few Ghouls still having parents by the time they reach their teenaged years. The most notable examples significant to the story are:
    • Kaneki's father died while he was still very young, and his mother eventually died from overwork. This left him to be raised by his maternal aunt, who pretty much took the Evil Stepmother route with him.
    • Touka and Ayato lost their mother early on, and eventually lost their father as well. Ayato grows up to have some very serious Daddy Issues as a result.
    • Yoshimura was forced to abandon Eto in th 24th Ward to save her life. It isn't clear how she feels about her abandonment, or the father that has spent her entire life either lying about her existence or impersonating her to keep her safe.
  • Past Victim Showcase: When Yamori leads Kaneki into his Torture Cellar, the mutilated corpse of his previous victim is still chained to a chair.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: A major theme of the series, as ultimately the conflicts are driven by both sides trying to do this. Whether it is acceptable to kill a human or a Ghoul really seems to depend on which side of the story we are currently following. When Amon is the protagonist, the Ghouls killed are almost always brutal killers deserving of death but when Kaneki is the protagonist, often the Ghouls are morally ambiguous and the Investigators the brutal killers.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Offend Suzuya at your own peril.
  • Power-Up Food: Ghouls can become stronger, based on the quality of their diet.
  • Posthumous Character: Rize is the primary one of the series, as her death triggers the events of the series.
    • Minor characters Ukina and Harima have a strong influence on the men that loved them.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The 12-episode anime greatly rearranges the order of the Daughter and the Gourmet arcs, as well as greatly condensing the Aogiri Arc.
  • Promotion to Parent: A common event among Ghouls, with the eldest sibling acting as provider and protector to their young sibling(s) after their parents have been hunted down and killed. Touka became this to Ayato, while Nishiki and Yomo were both raised by their respective elder sisters.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Discussed in the aftermath of the raid on Anteiku. Though numerous Ghouls were exterminated, many Investigators were either killed or maimed in the process and their primary target(s) escaped.
    "Just who the hell is the winner in this operation?"
  • Random Power Ranking: CCG has a system of ranks used to designate how dangerous a Ghoul is believed to be, though no formal explanation has ever been given concerning the qualifications. The lowest mentioned is Rank B, while the highest is SSS-rank, held by the legendary Hero Killer, the One-Eyed Owl. Their ranking determines what level of Kokuria a Ghoul is sent to, should they be captured.
    • Rank Inflation: The SS and SSS rankings for Ghouls, used to designate the strongest Ghouls.
  • Red Baron: Numerous Ghouls use aliases, often given to them by CCG.
    • Eyepatch / Centipede: Ken Kaneki
    • Rabbit: Touka Kirishima
    • Owl: Yoshimura
    • Raven: Renji Yomo
    • Devil Ape: Enji Koma
    • Black Dog: Kaya Irimi
    • No Face: Uta
    • Jason: Yamori
    • One-Eyed Owl: Eto / Sen Takatsuki
    • Binge Eater: Rize Kamishiro
    • Gourmet: Shuu Tsukiyama
    • CCG's Grim Reaper: Kishou Arima
    • Yukinori "Indomitable" Shinohara
  • Sadist: Several characters display tendencies towards brutality.
    • Rize states that she enjoys "gently scrambling" the organs of her victims.
    • Yamori is a full-blown Torture Technician that enjoys preying on other Ghouls.
    • Mado enjoys the screams of the Ghouls he kills, taking it to such extremes that he goes out of his way to inflict as much physical and emotional harm as possible before killing them.
    • Arima is described by the creator as "Massive and Sadistic". However, he never displays enough emotion to verify whether or not he genuinely enjoys slaughtering Ghouls.
  • Samus is a Girl: Disguising their gender is a trick used by many infamous Ghouls, taking advantage of the tendency to assume a deadly Ghoul is male. The One-Eyed Owl, Lantern, and the leader of the Skulls Gang all turn out to be women long after their deadly reputations are established. In-universe, the Binge Eater (Rize) is assumed to be male until Shinohara points out that the pattern of victims suggests a woman.
  • Screw Destiny: Touka gives one of these when she stops Kaneki from giving into his hunger, deciding that she doesn't want to see someone fall to the ghoul hunger again.
  • Sequel Hook: The final chapter concludes with absolutely none of the various plots have been resolved and several cliffhangers. Amon is listed as dead but they Never Found the Body, Hide is missing and may have been eaten by Kaneki, Tsukiyama is in an Angst Coma, Yoshimura has been captured by Aogiri Tree as the new source of material for Dr. Kanou's experiments using captured Investigators, Anteiku has been destroyed and its employees exposed as Ghouls who then are forced to go into hiding, Shinohara is left brain dead and on life support, and the worst of all, it appears Kaneki is in fact dead, and even if he isn't the CCG has erased all traces of his existence and handed Arima the rights to use him for a quinque, while Touka is still waiting for his return. Thank God, Tokyo Ghoul:RE came out.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: All ghouls have access to special organs called kagune, which all take different forms for each ghoul.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Kaneki and Touka get multiple bits of this over the course of the series. Examples include when he forces her to stay behind at Anteiku so she can graduate school, but still has a present sent to her on her birthday. On her end, when she hears he has visited Anteiku, she rushes out to meet him while imagining multiple scenarios of how she'll greet him.
    • In an omake, Kaneki is placed in Cinderella's role and Tsukiyama is the prince. (Tsukiyama still wants to eat him.) There's also the issue of Kaneki's battle suit, which is completely backless and also form-fitting. The backless part would make sense given the nature of his kagune, but the gap doesn't need to be that big. Then the author suggested that Tsukiyama was the one who designed it.
    • Amon and Akira, primarily because her advances are repeatedly rejected by him. She's tried to kiss him twice, while it seems he's still not entirely over Harima's death. She makes an Anguished Declaration of Love after he is declared dead, weeping openly in front of her peers.
    • Enji Koma and Kaya Irimi, the two senior waiters at Anteiku, get this late in the series. Even while they are fighting to the death in different locations, each is shown to be thinking about how the other is doing.
    • Takizawa goes from resenting Akira as his rival, to calling himself an idiot for only "having seen her from the side". His mother and Hide both tease him over her, suggesting her as a potential girlfriend. After he's declared dead along with Amon, Akira weeps while declaring she loved them both.
  • Shoot the Dog: A major element of Yoshimura's back-story. Ukina, his human lover, was exposed as a reporter investigating the organization he served. They forced him to kill her himself, as his final job. However, doing so allowed him to flee the organization and protect his Half-Human Hybrid child by hiding her in the 24th Ward. Touka threatens to do this to Hide and Kimi, in order to protect herself and Kaneki from being exposed.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the final arc, Kaneki braves the CCG blockade of the 20th Ward in order to rescue Yoshimura, Koma, and Irimi. He manages to save the later two and sends them off with others to escape through the V14 tunnels. Later, he himself ends up there and discovers that the fleeing Ghouls were ambushed and massacred. Arima proceeds to dish out a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle, possibly killing Kaneki in the process. Yoshimura is defeated by CCG, but ultimately kidnapped by Aogiri Tree to be used in the next stage of Dr. Kanou's experiments.
  • Shout-Out: As with foreshadowing, where to even start? The series makes dozens of references.
    • Kafka's The Metamorphosis is discussed extensively in the beginning chapters, with Kaneki comparing himself to the main character.
    • Hermann Hesse's Demian is drawn on for a quote defining Kaneki's moral transition.
    • Almost everything about Yamori/Jason.
    • The works of Takatsuki Sen are an homage to the psychological, surrealist tales by real world author Haruki Murakami.
    • Living up to his classical literature specialty, Kaneki frequently makes connections between his situations and things he's read.
    • As Amon searches for information on Rabbit, he visits his adoptive ghoul guardian, Father Donato Porpora, who tells him to chase Alice instead.
    • In the final battle, Kaneki clings to his sense of self by reciting Kitahara Hakushu's Ode to an Old Ainu.
  • Slasher Smile: Ghouls and some of the less stable Investigators (such as Mado or Juuzou) wear one while on the hunt.
  • Social Darwinist: A recurring theme in Tokyo Ghoul is the idea that those who are weak and vulnerable will always be trampled by the strong and privileged. Many ghouls rationalize their existence as superior lifeforms since they are designed to devour human meat to survive.
  • Spin-Off: Tokyo Ghoul Jack, a 7-issue prequel starring Arima Kishou and Taishi Fura when they were in high school. It also features minor appearances by a younger Itsuki Marude and Yamori.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening and ending credits show multiple characters that don't appear until later, as well as showing Kaneki with white hair.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Kaneki's initial development focuses on his struggle to adapt to becoming a Ghoul, and goes through the various stages over the course of the story.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: The CCG. Amon is the primary example of the series, serving as the protagonist of chapters focused on the human side of the story.
  • The Syndicate: Aogiri, the underground ghoul organization led by the fabled 'One-Eyed King'.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: The Ghouls' Kagunes have a form of this, prompting one of the characters to point out that Ghouls are created to kill even their own kind. Lampshaded here.
    • Ukaku: Uses speed to outmaneuver and overpower the plain Bikaku, but quickly depletes their energy reserve and risks running empty mid-fight. (Shoulders/Upper Back)
    • Koukaku: Their defensive capability is sufficient to tank out Ukaku's flurry of light attacks, but the increased defense comes with reduced speed. (Below/between the shoulder blades)
    • Rinkaku: Their offensive capability is enough to punch through the slow-moving Koukaku's defenses, but their RC cells are less concentrated, resulting in lower defense. (Waist)
    • Bikaku: Lacking any glaring weakness to prey on, they are considered a Rinkaku's worst enemy. (Tailbone)
  • Taking the Heat: Yoshimura takes up the identity of the Owl to protect his daughter, while Ayato starts wearing a Rabbit mask and establishes himself elsewhere, taking pressure off Touka.
  • Tarot Motifs: Certain characters are associated with numbers which are hidden in manga panels featuring them. These numbers reference a tarot card and reflect the current state of the character. This tumblr page has an in-progress analysis of these numbers.
    • Kaneki Ken - The Hanged Man (XII), The Chariot (VII), Temperance (XIV), The Hermit (IX)
    • Juuzou Suzuya - Death (XIII), The Hanged Man (XII)
    • Touka - The High Priestess (II)
    • Hide - The Fool (0), The Magician (I)
    • Itori - The Lovers (VI)
    • Seidou Takizawa - The Devil (XV)
    • Arima - Justice (XI), Wheel of Fortune (X), Death (XIII)
    • CCG - The Hierophant (V)
    • Chie Hori - The Fool (0)
    • Rize Kamishiro - The Devil (XV)
    • Shuu Tsukiyama - The Moon (XVIII), The Lovers (VI)
  • Time Skip: The series skips forward nearly six months after the end of the Aogiri Arc.
  • Torture Technician: Yamori is the primary example of the series, and seems to have left his proverbial mark on Kaneki who shows a willingness to engage in these same tactics. Suzuya has elements of one, though too disorganized to be effective at it.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Kaneki zigzags this trope, eventually abandoning his human life entirely to live as a Ghoul. Even so, he avoids killing the Investigators he faces in battle and instead breaks their weapons or knocks them unconscious. On the other hand, the Creepy Twins Kuro and Shiro play it absolutely straight, even defiantly claiming they have no further use for the human world.
  • Tranquil Fury: Kaneki wears a serene expression as he breaks half the bones in Ayato's body in a precise, clinical manner
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Invoked. Investigators convince the Kirishima's neighbors to turn them in by claiming that even though Touka and Ayato are children, if they are Ghouls they are monsters that wouldn't hesitate to dismember an adult. In reality, Ghoul children tend to subvert this by being gentle until forced to grow up very quickly.
  • Tsundere: Touka, who's normally violent, but has a vulnerable side around those she trust or those who surprise her, in the case of Hide in the first chapter.
  • Tunnel Network: Ghouls make use of a complex network of underground tunnels to move around, or carry out other tasks such as training safely away from the prying eyes of humanity. The 24th Ward is nothing but these, being a complex underground maze occupied almost entirely by Ghouls.
  • Tykebomb: The CCG openly use this trope, albeit in a more positive manner than most other examples. They take in children who are orphaned in Ghoul attacks, give them food, an education, shelter, and train them to become members of the organization. From what we've seen of the CCG-run orphanages, children there are treated very well.
  • Uncertain Doom: Oh, lord.
    • Kaneki's CCG file lists him as "Erased", leaving it ambiguous whether or not Arima killed him.
    • Hide is listed as "Missing", leaving it ambiguous whether or not Kaneki ate him.
    • Koma and Irimi were last seen heading to V14, where Kaneki later finds that Arima has massacred the Ghouls fleeing through there.
    • Amon is listed as "Killed in Action", but last seen in the presence of Tatara and his body was not recovered. It is revealed that Aogiri Tree has captured Investigators, with the implication they will be used for Dr. Kanou's second round of experiments creating One-Eyed Ghouls.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: The CCG is full with characters with odd eyebrows, including Amon.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Tsukiyama has one of these when Touka takes a bite out of Kaneki.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: The Anteiku is a cafe that covertly sells human flesh to ghouls that can't bring themselves to kill humans. The shop scavenges flesh from suicide hotspots and other remote locations where corpses can be found.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Whenever a Ghoul needs to purge the human food they've previously consumed, the audience is sparred actually seeing them throwing up. Special mention goes to Kaneki's epic binge-and-purge sequence as he first realizes he's become a Ghoul, attempting to eat every single thing in his apartment and repeatedly getting sick.
  • Voice of the Legion: With exception of one character, ghouls using kakuja gain an especially inhuman quality to their voices.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: The experience of any particularly hungry Ghoul that lives among humans. In particular, Kaneki experiences this repeatedly when he first becomes a Half-Human Hybrid, and struggles with suddenly viewing human beings as a tasty snack.
  • When It All Began: In chapter 119, Yoshimura reveals the events that led to the creation of both Anteiku and Aogiri Tree. His recruiment into the mysterious organization known as "V", his relationship with a human woman, and the birth of his Half-Human Hybrid daughter, Eto.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Everything to do with ghouls who've gained the kakuja form, which is a rare mutation that comes from cannibalism. The kakuja form is incredibly powerful, but also renders the ghoul into a screaming, raving lunatic. Kaneki best illustrates this; he suffers a mental breakdown every time he uses his kakuja kagune.
    • Averted with the CCG using kakuja-formed Quinques. Aside from being powerful the weapon forms don't seem to have much of a downside. The exception comes in the Arata prototype armor, which gifts the user reflexes that equal or surpass a ghoul, but doesn't inflict insanity. Instead, it tries to eat you.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Zigzagged with the various white-haired characters of the series.
    • Tatara and Arima both play this relatively straight, being ruthless agents of their respective sides.
    • Renji Yomo subverts it, as while he initially seems like an intimidating figure with his stoic demeanor and Crow-themed motif, he turns out to be a supportive and caring individual.
    • Kaneki plays with this trope in many ways, as the change from black hair to white hair signals his spiral into Anti-Hero status.
  • Workout Fanservice: Kaneki and Amon each get a scene devoted to showing off their bodies while working out.
  • World of Symbolism: The entire series is rife with various symbolic images and themes, including many messages hidden within the artwork itself. Particular symbolisms seen frequently are tarot card numbers and flower motifs and meanings.
  • Yandere: Kaneki attracts them, it would seem. Tsukiyama and Roma Hoito are both crazy for him in their own ways, one the Token Evil Teammate willing to do anything to protect him and the other a Loony Fan that loves him best when his life is in ruins.

     Tokyo Ghoul:re 

The sequel provides examples of:


  • All of the Other Reindeer: Haise Sasaki is a highly-skilled and hard-working Investigator, but treated with suspicion by his peers due to his half-Ghoul nature.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Urie's ambition leads him to cause considerable problems for the group, intentionally sowing seeds of doubt and undermining Sasaki's leadership.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The story switches to the perspective of a new group of CCG Investigator, supervised by Akira Mado. Team Leader Haise Sasaki appears to be the new protagonist.
    • Subverted, Sasaki is Kaneki.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And then Takizawa was a Ghoul...
  • Animal Motifs: Once again, there are Ghouls that use animal motifs as part of their aliases.
    • Orochi: Snakes
    • Seidou Takizawa: Owls
    • Ayato Kirishima: Rabbits, having taken over the identity of "Rabbit" from his sister.
  • Ascended Extra: Several very minor side-characters have been given more prominent roles, most notably Chie Hori from the novels.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Sasaki. Or rather, "Sasako". Later on, Suzuya as an Elegant Gothic Lolita.
  • Big Fancy House: The appropriately-nicknamed "Chateau", a rather impressive multistory house where the Quinx Squad live together. Not only is it shown to be quite large, but designed and decorated in very modern style with plenty of luxuries.
  • Black Sheep: Akira Mado, Haise Sasaki, and their team are looked down on by other Investigators, who consider them an embarrassment.
  • The Bus Came Back: Slowly but surely, characters from the original series have been showing back up.
  • Cannibal Larder: The Investigators raiding Torso's home note that it is horrifying, even by the usual standards of Ghouls — with the headless, limbless torsos of women scattered all over.
  • The Coats Are Off: Urie and Sasaki both remove their coats prior to getting into a serious fight, to avoid Clothing Damage when using their kagune.
  • Continuity Nod: All over the place.
    • The prequel sees Akira meeting Sasaki for the first time as she visits a grave, echoing her first meeting with Amon.
    • In chapter 5, Shirazu's motorcycle is destroyed during the battle with Orochi. Marude's motorcycles being blown up during operations was a Running Gag in the original.
    • Nishiki lampshades this, when he's impaled by Sasaki's kagune.
    • In chapter 9, Sasaki recalls the first time he met Juuzou and their strange interaction. Juuzou recognizes him as Kaneki, and pays him back to make amends for stealing his wallet.
    • In Chapter 13, Sasaki mentions that Akira shouldn't drink.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several, often powerful Ghouls facing weaker human opponents.
    • Orochi dishes one out to the Quinx, teaching them the limits of their powers in comparison to a powerful Ghoul.
    • In turn, Sasaki deals one out to Orochi after unleashing his powers.
    • Takizawa's slaughter of the Atou Squad has about as much to do with an even battle as throwing a frog in a blender.
  • Disguised in Drag: An undercover Investigation requires the team to pose as women, to mixed results.
  • Distress Call: Played straight and subverted during the Auction Arc. While the Ooshiba Squad manages to get out one final communication with vital intel before being wiped out, the Atou Squad isn't so fortunate. When Command radios them with new orders, Takizawa simply answers it to create the illusion that all is well.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Torso's attack on Mutsuki, with torn clothing and brutal beatings after the attacker calls him a "woman".
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: While training the Quinx, Sasaki berates them about the importance of never dropping their weapon in a fight, no matter what.
  • Dynamic Entry: In Chapter 10, when Saiko refuses to come out of her room, Shirazu and Urie break the door down. Using their kagune. Mutsuki spends the rest of the scene in the background, hopelessly attempting to repair the broken door.
  • Ear Cleaning: In Chapter 14, Saiko asks Sasaki to clean her ears.
  • Evil Tastes Good: There are several scenes of Ghouls savoring the results of their carnage, such as Nutcracker sensually licking gore from her fingers or Takizawa repeatedly commenting on how delicious his victims taste.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Shirazu overhears Sasaki refer to Orochi as "Nishio-senpai".
  • Fatal Flaw: Quite a few characters have them.
  • Five-Man Band: The team consists of five hybrids.
  • Flat "What.": Saiko's reaction to Sasaki's plan. Mutsuki and Shirazu are merely stunned silent.
  • Gender Reveal: Used as a significant plot point during the hunt for Torso, with his identity exposed when he kidnaps Mutsuki.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The main cast are all Ghoul-human hybrids working for CCG. The Quinx are labeled "humans with an installed Quinque", though this is mostly semantics with a Power Limiter keeping their Ghoul traits in check. Sasaki is a straight-forward example, and the prototype used to create the Quinx Surgery. Takizawa is also revealed to have become one.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Urie suffers one when he is defeated by Orochi, and the rest of the team suggest retreating. In desperation, he starts trying to eat his own flesh in order to recharge his kagune.
    • Sasaki suffers a truly epic one after recognizing Orochi as Nishiki, and hearing his real name.
  • History Repeats: Several moments echo similarly incidents in the original series.
    • In the prologue, Akira and Sasaki's first meeting takes place as she reports her promotion to the grave of a loved one. This is exactly how Amon and Akira first met.
    • Sasaki/Kaneki is forced to use his kagune to rescue his friend(s) from Nishiki, triggering a loss of control that requires the female protagonist to defeat him. Nishiki even lampshades this, quoting himself from their original battle.
    • Sasaki/Kaneki first meets Touka at a coffee shop where she works.
  • Hope Spot: In Chapter 24, a cornered Red Shirt is visibly relieved after she manages to get Takizawa to remember giving a lecture to her class at the Academy. Both smile at each other.....and then he shoves his hand through her chest and tears her head off, scolding her for talking during class.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: The special Quinx squad, a team of Investigator modified into artificial One-Eyed Ghouls.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Courtesy of Sasaki, who engages in considerable word play and terrible puns.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Orochi does this to Sasaki, who shortly afterwards returns the favor. Both possess a Healing Factor strong enough to walk off a hole in the stomach.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Quinx are "humans with installed Quinque", not One-Eyed Ghouls. This distinction seems to be important in drawing a line between their "experimental soldiers" and the controversial hybridization research performed by the likes of Dr. Kanou.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Haise Sasaki suffers from it, having lost the memories from the first twenty years of his life. It isn't clear exactly what caused it, but probably had something to do with his trauma-induced breakdown and Arima stabbing him in the skull twice.
  • The Lost Lenore: Several, as a direct result of the Downer Ending of the original series.
    • Akira has repeatedly eluded to having lost people, hinting that she remains haunted by Amon's loss.
    • Tsukiyama is shown to have never fully recovered from losing Kaneki, becoming a bed-ridden Ill Boy as a result of his grief.
  • Monster Misogyny: Torso, the deranged Ghoul targeted by the Quinx, is noted to exclusively prey on women.
    • Inverted with Nutcracker, a female ghoul that attacks only males.
  • Morality Pet: Sasaki seems to be one to Arima. However, it isn't clear whether his kindness is genuine or merely an act to manipulate him.
  • Open Secret: Sasaki's true identity. It seems nearly everyone at the CCG knows that Sasaki was a created identity and based on Ayato's question to Torso, Aogiri might know too.
  • Panty Thief: Urie (and Shirazu) steal Sasaki's underwear and trade it to Chie for information. She readily admits her intentions to give them to her "creeper" friend as a present.
  • Parental Abandonment: The trope returns in full force. Akira, Urie, and Mutsuki are all orphaned as a result of Ghouls, while Saiko was essentially sold to CCG by her mother. Shirazu states his mother abandoned them long ago, and he doesn't seem to think much of his father.
  • Parental Substitute: Amnesiac Hero Sasaki states that because he has lost most of his memories, Arima and Akira are essentially his parents. Arima responds by calling the Quinx Squad his "grandkids". In particular, Sasaki is a substitute to Saiko and admits that he babies her— sheeven refers to him as "Maman".
  • Power Limiter: The Quinx's implanted kakuhou have 5 'frames', and allexcept Urie in chapter 15—of them have theirs limited to the second leavel, meaning they can only use 40% of the power. Using more power probably will mean becoming less human.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: In contrast to the previous series, the hybrid members of Quinx are firmly on the side of humanity.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Quinx are not especially well-known in the CCG, and seem to be made up of rather quirky individuals.
  • Red Baron: Numerous Ghouls use aliases, often given to them by CCG.
    • Orochi: Nishiki Nishio
    • Torso: Karao Saeki
    • Yotsume: Hinami Fueguchi
    • Three Blades: Miza
    • Nutcracker
    • Scarecrow
    • Big Madam
    • Owl: Seidou Takizawa
  • Red Shirt Army: The Auction Arc features 20 Red Shirts based on winners of a promotional contest. Each chapter features a page devoted to listing the ones killed that chapter, their method of death, and how many remain.
  • The Reveal:
    • Haise Sasaki is an amnesic Ken Kaneki, being kept in check through the use of RC Suppressants and a restriction on using his kagune.
    • Orochi is Nishiki Nishio.
    • Seidou Takizawa is alive, and a Half-Human Hybrid working for Aogiri.
  • She's All Grown Up: All the younger characters from the original series when they reappear have become much better looking.
  • Ship Tease: Present and accounted for already.
    • Shirazu is shown to have a crush on Akira, blushing in her presence and later declaring her the "Holy Mother of CCG".
    • From the moment they meet, Sasaki is taken with the beautiful waitress at a certain cafe and she seems interested in learning more about him. Even without his memories as Kaneki, Sasaki is still drawn to Touka.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: In chapter 3, Sasaki recalls Urie giving him his investigation expenses for the month — 198,220 yen ($1777.98) in taxi receipts.
  • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: CCG has a regulation in place to dispose of the members of Quinx, if need be. They all seem to be aware that they are expendable research subjects, viewed with a mixture of disgust and mockery by their peers.
    Urie: "Rank 3 Investigators that rampage with their kagune will inevitably be exterminated."
    • Chapter 7 reveals that Sasaki is subject to immediate termination, should other methods to control him fail.
  • Shoot the Dog: A non-lethal variant in Chapter 7: In order to bring an out-of-control and hysterical Sasaki back under control, Hirako has his team seriously wound him, so Akira can shoot him with a Sniper Rifle. Afterwards, she explains to the Quinx that should this method ever fail to bring him down, their orders are to kill him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Arima mentions reading Franz Kafka's A Crossbreed, at Haise's suggestion. The short story involves a man describing his very strange pet, a creature that is half Lamb and half Kitten. Caught between its instincts as predator and prey, the creature considers him its family and is content under his protection. However, the man wonders if a Mercy Kill might be the right thing to do for the tormented creature left in his care.
    • In chapter 10, a poster of Umaru is in Saiko's room.
    • Saiko's mumblings about games refer to real titles such as Final Fantasy 11, Conception, Kerbal Space Program and several others.
  • The Squad: Quinx, a team of Human-Ghoul Hybrids created by CCG to address increasing concerns about Aogiri.
  • The Squadette: Saiko, the lone female member.
  • Stealth Pun: According to his official profile, Sasaki has been awarded the Kinmokusei Medal. Not only does this bring back the Flower Motifs of the previous series (Kinmokusei = Fragrant Olive), but an alternate reading for "Kinmokusei" is "Kaneki".
  • Super Senses: Each member of the Quinx seems to have at least one heightened sense. Shirazu and Saiko both have inhuman hearing, while Urie's sense of smell is incredibly keen. Mutsuki seems to have unusually keen eyesight, even with one eye almost always covered.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Haise Sasaki bears a more than notable resemblance to the previous protagonist, being a kindhearted bookworm with concealed mental issues. Mutsuki also bears several key traits of Kaneki early in the series, being a meek youth that wears a medical eye-patch and struggles to manage his powers.
    • It turns out that Sasaki is Kaneki, suffering from amnesia and given a new identity by CCG.
  • Tarot Motifs: As with the original series, hidden references to the Tarot can be found within the artwork.
    • Haise Sasaki - VIII. Strength, XII. The Hanged Man.
    • Torso - III. The Empress.
    • Hinami Fueguchi - II. The High Priestess, VIII. Strength.
    • Tooru Mutsuki - X. The Wheel of Fortune, VII. The Chariot, XIII. Death, VIII. Strength.
    • Uta - XIX. The Sun.
    • Nutcracker - III. The Empress.
    • Seidou Takizawa - III. The Empress, VII. The Chariot, XV. The Devil.
    • Kuramoto Itou - X. The Wheel of Fortune.
  • Tested On Humans: The surgery developed to create the members of the Quinx squad.
  • Time Skip: It takes place roughly two years after the end of the original series.
  • Title Drop: In chapter 9, Sasaki, Mutsuki and Shirazu visit the coffee shop Re. And meet Touka and Yomo
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Coffee remains prominent as a favorite among humans and Ghouls alike, especially the members of the Quinx Squad. And in a particularly dark example, several Ghouls that show up have favorite "snacks" — Karao Saeki likes the torsos of women with scars, Nutcracker likes to drink crushed testicles like oysters, and Seidou Takizawa likes eating brains.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Seidou Takizawa, one of the Investigators from the previous series, returns as a Half-Human Hybrid working for Aogiri.
  • Transsexual: Tooru Mutsuki, in a rare example used without any comedic elements.
  • We Have Reserves: Discussed. The Washuu clan are noted for having this attitude, viewing their subordinates as completely expendable. The only reason they have continued to lead CCG for more than a century is because of their success at accomplishing missions in the process. Matsuri Washuu in particular is infamous for getting anyone under his command killed in the process of accomplishing the mission.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 7 has the reveal that Sasaki is indeed an amnesiac Kaneki. The strict rules he lives under are also introduced.
    • Chapter 20: The introduction of the new Owl, Seidou Takizawa.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Chapter 4 combines this with a Gender Reveal, as Torso rips open Mutsuki's shirt and reveals a scarred, bound chest.
    • Chapter 6 delivers one in the form of a Cliff Hanger with Sasaki's kagune manifesting as he cracks his knuckle, tears streaming down his face.
    • Chapter 9's last page is a shot of Sasaki looking in shock at Touka.
    • Chapter 20: Dr. Kanou and Eto decide to send in the new "Owl", revealed to be Seidou Takizawa.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: The investigation into Nutcracker and the Auction involves several Investigators going undercover Disguised in Drag, with (mostly) stunning results.
    • Sasaki really gets into things, getting into disguise without any female assistance. He dubs himself "Sasako" and seems to have great fun with it. When Matsuri later criticizes his "unconventional" methods, it further cements him as an unreasonable Jerkass.
    • Suzuya goes undercover as an Elegant Gothic Lolita, and has his Big Damn Heroes moment while in a dress.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Among those associated with the Quinx Project, Akira is literally the only one with a natural hair color. Sasaki has Multicolored Hair that is black and white, Arima has white hair that was once dark blue, Urie has dark purple hair, Mutsuki has teal hair, Saiko has blue hair, and Shirazu's blond hair has a distinctly orange cast to it.


     Tokyo Ghoul √A 

The anime provides examples of:


  • Alternate Continuity: Described as "another Tokyo Ghoul", written by creator Ishida Sui but an original story.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening is minimalist to the extreme, with beautiful and bright colors set to a quiet and somber theme. The series itself is dark and full of violence.
  • Body Horror: The Arata Armor is fairly horrifying, both in appearance and what it does to the user. The Kakuja form is also milked for every ounce of Body Horror, especially after Kaneki begins his transformation.
  • Bridal Carry: The main image for the anime features Kaneki holding a sheet-covered body this way. The finale reveals it to be Hide, whose body he carries back to CCG's main base camp.
  • Collapsing Lair: Once CCG manages to take control over Aogiri's base, explosives cause the entire thing to come crashing down.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Ayato is furious when Noro rescues him.
  • Curbstomp Battle: The Owl dominates the battle against Shinohara, Iwao, Amon, and Hirako.
  • Death by Adaptation: Hide, who is fatally wounded by Noro but manages to reunite with Kaneki one last time before dying of his wounds.
  • Demoted to Extra: Tsukiyama and Banjou have significantly decreased roles, in comparison to the manga version of events.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Ukina dies of her wounds in Kuzen's arms. Also, Hide in Kaneki's arms.
  • Downer Ending: Anteiku is destroyed. Hide dies, and a grief-stricken Kaneki is implied to commit Suicide by Cop. Amon is missing, and the surviving CCG members as well as Touka are all left broken and struggling to pick up the pieces.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Kaneki trades in his mousey street clothes and Anteiku waiter's uniform for a sleek, bondage-inspired black battle suit after joining Aogiri.
  • Exorcist Head: In episode 11, Noro turns his head almost completely around to look at someone behind him. That his neck makes a gross snapping noise in the process adds to the sheer Body Horror of the scene.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Kaneki joins Aogiri at the conclusion of the first episode.
  • Giggling Villain: Eto's distorted, child-like giggling is downright creepy.
  • Kill the Cutie: Takizawa in episode 11, Hide and possibly Kaneki in the finale.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: The pools of blood in the cafe at first seem to be from Kaneki, but then Hide collapses and reveals a stomach wound. He dies shortly afterwards.
  • Never Found the Body: Akira comes across Amon's broken and bloody Quinque and armor, but there's no sign of him.
  • Off Model: The animation is noticeably more inconsistent than the first season, ranging from better in quality to considerably worse. Good examples of the latter include the fight between Kaneki and Shachi, as well the infamous shots of Arima with an triangular chin towards the end.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Eto does this while watching Kaneki, moving to different locations around him every time the smoke obscures her form.
  • Sensual Spandex: The anime design of Kaneki's battle-suit veers into this, with the material rendered shiny as well as extremely form-fitting. The hoodie and shorts he wears over the suit are a completely different material, implying that he added them for the sake of modesty.
  • Shirtless Scene: Kaneki is shirtless (or possibly nude?) throughout the opening.
  • Shout-Out: The Funimation dub throws one into episode 9, with Mougan referring to Koma as a "damn dirty ape".
  • Snow Means Death: The major battles at the beginning and ending of the series take place during snowfall.
  • Snow Means Love: Inverted. It's snowing when Kaneki leaves Touka behind, ignoring her desperate attempt to catch up to him. Played straight with Hide, when Kaneki is carrying his dead body in his arm, apparently choosing to go to Arima in order to be killed and join him in death.
  • The Stinger:
    • Episode 11 combines this with The Reveal, unmasking the mysterious One-Eyed Owl.
    • Episode 12: Some time later, we see Touka opening :re cafe.
  • Suicide by Cop: Implied. After Hide dies, Kaneki carries his body back to CCG's main base camp and faces Arima.
  • Tears of Blood: Kaneki weeps them in the opening. He similarly weeps a single bloody tear while holding Hide's body.
  • Uncertain Doom: We are never told what happened to Kaneki, Amon, Koma, or Irimi.
  • Vulnerable Convoy: In the third episode, Kaneki and Ayato lead an attack on a police convoy and free Naki.
  • War Is Hell: Multiple scenes show the carnage that has left both CCG and Aogiri with heavy losses.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Twins and Shachi vanish after the prison raid.


     Tokyo Ghoul JACK 

This manga provides examples of:


  • Action Duo: Arima and Taishi.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Lantern turns out to be a tragic, if twisted, being.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Katou and Minami both seem like kind, caring individuals until exposed as Ghouls.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series concludes 12 years later, during the early events of Tokyo Ghoul. Taishi is now a Ghoul Investigator, and crosses paths with Arima in the hallways of CCG — however, the former comrades completely ignore each other. After a moment, Taishi looks back sadly and notes that Arima never seems to change.
  • Blood Bath: Minami mentions bathing in human blood, causing another Ghoul to mistake her for a human.
  • But Now I Must Go: Arima goes from one mission to another, moving from Ward to Ward as necessary. When his mission is completed, he bids farewell to Taishi and leaves.
  • Damsel in Distress: Aki and Minami both end up having to be rescued from Ghouls by the duo.
  • Decoy Damsel: Minami was never actually in danger when Katou attacked her, since she's a Ghoul as well. But she uses the opportunity to get closer to Taishi and Arima.
  • Dual Wielding: Arima dual-wields Yukimura's spare blades in the final battle against Lantern.
  • Evil Is Petty: Lantern's motivations prove to be fairly petty, killing Taishi's friends because they annoyed her at school.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Arima's standard finishing move involves running a Ghoul through with Yukimura.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Taishi, Ryou, Aki, and their friends are all a classic example. They skip classes, dye their hair bright colors, and ride around on motorcycles causing mischief.
  • Love Triangle: Taishi has feelings for Minami, who has eyes only for Arima.
    • Imaginary Love Triangle: It turns out to all be in Taishi's head, since Arima already suspects Minami of being a Ghoul, and she only got close to them so she could kill them.
  • New Transfer Student: Arima and Minami.
  • Original Video Animation: Announced for Summer 2015.
  • Prequel: Jack takes place 12 years before the main series, focusing on a teenaged Kishou Arima and Taishi Fura. A younger Yamori and Itsuki Marude also appear during the story.
  • Second Love: Taishi and Aki become this to each other, eventually becoming Happily Married by the time of the main series.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Taishi admits to feeling sorry for Ghouls, after hearing Lantern's Motive Rant.
  • Teen Genius: Arima is a prodigy ghoul investigator at 17.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Lantern makes use of various Ghouls, manipulating them to test Arima and Taishi.