Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Tokyo Ghoul

Go To

In case you missed it:

"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

Yeah. Needless to say, Tokyo Ghoul is rarely kind to its protagonist, or to any of the other characters populating the series.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Tokyo Ghoul:

  • The first opening, Unravel, really sets the tone of this series. If you pay attention to lyrics, especially the chrous line, it's about how twisted the world of this series really is and Kaneki got stuck in the middle of it, and he's pleading his friend Hide to not forget who he used to be. Key word is used...
    • In this shaken, distorted world I'll gradually become transparent and vanish/ Please don't bother searching for the me whom can't be found/ I don't want to hurt you in this world that came out of someone's imagination/ Remember me, the way I used to be.

  • Kaneki, as the series' protagonist, naturally takes the lion's share of Tearjerkers.
    • Kaneki's father died in his early childhood, leaving him introverted and lonely for most of his life and susceptible to bullying. His mother worked herself to death in order to financially support both herself, Kaneki, and her sister. The aunt then takes Kaneki in, initially guilty over his mother's death, but she soon grows to despise him for excelling academically in comparison to her own son. She then starts depriving Kaneki of food and merely giving him enough money to survive on his own. And that's all before the series starts.
    • Kaneki hits his first in-series Despair Event Horizon moment after Rize's organs are transplanted into him and he becomes a half-ghoul. The poor kid is horrified when he realizes that he can no longer eat human food, and desperately goes through his entire fridge in search of something edible. He even tries to cut himself open. To see him reduced to tears as he lays on the floor, clutching his growling stomach, is just heartbreaking.
    • Advertisement:
    • During the Aogiri Arc, Kaneki was forced to endure his fingers and toes getting cut off daily, which always regrew. He had a centipede forced into his ear and he still didn't break. What did finally break him, however, was Yamori taking Shu and Haru, forcing Kaneki to choose who should die. Kaneki chooses neither, and begs for himself to be killed instead; Yamori ends up killing both in a fit of rage.
    • And during his torture sessions with Yamori, Kaneki hallucinates a conversation with Rize in which she brutally deconstructs the noble, self-sacrificing image of his mother that he's kept for so long and tried to emulate. His disbelief and denial are painful already, but it's his later confession, that he wished his mother had chosen him instead, that he became so lonely after her death and that he didn't care even if his aunt died without their help that makes the scene heartwrenching.
    • Advertisement:
    • The anime added an extra scene where Kaneki hallucinates Hide discovering that he's a ghoul, and coldly rejecting him for it. Then a hallucination of Jason comes in and kills Hide, while poor Kaneki can only scream in abject horror and sorrow. The rejection and just the idea of losing his best friend terrifies Kaneki and it's made a thousand times worse for manga readers who, by the time the episode came out, know that Hide has known for the whole series that Kaneki's a ghoul, has accepted him for it, and wants nothing more than for him to come back home.
    • The Kaneki who finally manages to walk away from the trauma he endured under Aogiri is colder, darker, and more brutal. While in another series his change to a badass might be lauded, in-universe Kaneki's radical change is mourned instead, with many of his friends hoping that he'll return to the kindly young man he once was.
    • Kaneki's later fights as a half-kakuja waver between CMoA's, tearjerkers, and nightmare fuel. While the fights are spectacularly illustrated and incredibly dynamic, it's also quite clear that Kaneki is losing his mind and is badly traumatized by everything he's experienced since becoming a ghoul.
    • Later on in the series, Kaneki finally comes to his senses and decides to return to Anteiku. And then he finds to his horror, almost immediately after this decision, that Anteiku is being raided by the CCG.
    • The Anteiku Raid Arc caused a massive amount of tears to be shed, but for the ones limited only to Kaneki:
      • Hide and Kaneki finally meet—with the latter suffering from terrifying hallucinations caused by the injuries sustained from his fight with Amon. Kaneki thinks Hide's another hallucination, then panics, afraid that Hide will realize he's a ghoul—but Hide just casually tells him that he already knew. Cue a smaller panel underneath: a surprised black-haired, pre-Aogiri Kaneki.
      • Kaneki reaches V14, but he sees neither Koma or Irimi there—just Arima Kishou, in the middle of a field of slaughtered ghouls. Then Arima kills him.
      • Kaneki's last, drifting thoughts as he dies: he remembers his mother, he begs forgiveness from himself, and then, for a brief moment, he remembers the person who killed Rize in the first place.
    • Now, in case you forgot, before all this, all he wanted was to go on a date with the girl he liked.
    • In fact, the TG fans created a Memetic Mutation just for our poor protagonist: "Kaneki Ken did nothing wrong." And they're right. He did nothing to deserve all the shit he went through. This cruel world we live in just decided to take this kind, compassionate young man and give him the most fucked up life ever.
  • Hinami loses her father and then watches her mother get killed by CCG investigators. Or, she would have—but Kaneki, in the only small act of mercy he can give her, being too frightened and too new to the circumstances of living as a ghoul, covers her eyes. Sadly, this doesn't stop Hinami from crying out in anguish as tears stream down her face.
    • The anime makes this worse by having her think her father is coming to see them when she smells the Quinque Mado made from his remains. And then Mado lures her into a trap with her mother's severed hand (and possibly other body parts). And then he attacks her with both her father's AND mother's kagune (her reaction here is arguably even more heartbreaking than when her mother was killed).
    • Just what we see of Hinami immediately after her mother's death is heartbreaking, particularly in the English dub. Kaneki has his hands covering Hinami's eyes and mouth, and that somehow makes it worse to see her screaming in anguish and crying because it's so disturbingly muffled while we see only Kaneki's reaction to the violence and the tears rolling down Hinami's cheeks past Kaneki's fingers.
    • Then there's Kaneki's Shower of Angst, where he is repeatedly slamming his head against the wall, sobbing, and calling himself useless because he couldn't do anything to save Ryouko.
  • Touka and her brother Ayato share an equally tragic, and all too common backstory. Her father was discovered by the investigators Yukinori Shinohara and Kureo Mado, and it destroyed Touka's family. Her kindly neighbor also turned on her and exposed both Touka and Ayato to the CCG. She eventually was taken in by Yoshimura and given a chance to live her life as a normal schoolgirl. This drove a wedge between her and her brother, who hated humans and wanted nothing to do with them, and who ended up leaving her to join Aogiri.
  • The death of Mado. Sure, he was kind of a jerk who hated ghouls but after his wife was murdered by one, can you blame him? Yes, he did become a Sadist who killed ghouls viciously but in the end, he died rather pitifully, desperate to fulfill the revenge he could never have. And Amon's wail over his dead body just hammers home that those two were close friends.
  • Word of God states that Naki's biggest fear is being left alone, hence why he's always accompanied by his bumbling henchmen. At the end of the manga, he is shown sitting on a seesaw with them and looking visibly depressed. Yamori's death left such an impact on Naki that he no longer knows what to do with himself.
  • Yoshimura's past. While working for an organization called V, he fell in love with a human woman named Ukina. Despite the odds, they managed to have a child together. Ukina, knowing it was half ghoul, consumed human flesh in order to provide it with nutrition. She was, in fact, a journalist looking into V. Having deemed her a threat, V told Yoshimura he had to either kill Ukina or die along with her. With no other choice, Yoshimura attempted to lure his lover into a trap. However, realizing she was going to die, Ukina calmly told Yoshimura to kill her. To make matters worse, Yoshimura had to abandon their child (who is revealed to be Eto) in the 24th Ward, and could only watch from the shadows as she became the infamous One-Eyed Owl. It is this that lead him to become the Owl's double, in order to draw attention away from Eto. Even now, he's still trying to protect his daughter.
  • The CCG's preparations for the Anteiku Raid which include preparing their wills in the event of their death.
    • Takizawa's most badly affected by the act of writing his will, despite his previous eagerness to get on the field. He ends up managing to write one, but he mangles it with the desperate words I don't want to die.
    • Despite all the fear and awe that Arima inspires, there's something a little sad about him quietly, seriously thinking about what to write in his will, but being unable to write anything at all. So he gives a blank letter every time.
  • Chapter 137 has the One-Eyed Owl toy with Shinohara and Suzuya. From cutting Shinohara's leg up and eating it and then seemingly killing Shinohara as Suzuya desperately tries to save him, remembering all the good times they shared.
  • Now, how about that ending?
    • Tsukiyama has fallen into his own Despair Event Horizon following Kaneki's assumed death.
    • Hinami, Banjo and the rest of Kaneki's group are leaderless, not even having Anteiku to go back to.
    • Touka and Yomo are left to mourn on their own, with Touka unable to return to her old life and even meet her friend, Yoriko.
    • Both Anteiku the cafe and the organization is destroyed, with Nishiki fleeing and the fates of Koma and Irimi unknown. Yoshimura has been captured by Aogiri and Kanou, with the plan to use his organs to "create another Kaneki".
    • Lots of members of CCG die/disappear. Of the named cast, Amon, Takizawa, and Hide are missing; Amon and Takizawa possibly have been taken by Aogiri for experimentation, and Hide is implied to possibly have been eaten by Kaneki.
    • Shinohara ends up in a coma that he's unlikely to recover from. Suzuya, for the first time in the series, is mournful. When Shinohara's wife comes in he bows to her and apologizes—and she graciously and quietly declines his apology, telling him that it's not his fault. Suzuya spends most of his time in Shinohara's room, and the last we see of him in the series is him kissing Shinohara on the forehead and thanking him.
    • And finally, we see just who have been running the show behind the scenes: the Pierrot, or the clown mask gang of ghouls, whose members include Uta, Itori, Nico, Souta, and Roma. They aim largely to create havoc and "to be the ones who laugh last".

Tokyo Ghoul:RE :

  • Hinami becomes one to the audience, upon her return — the innocent girl has become a member of Aogiri, serving as a messenger between the group and Torso. She also gets one of her own, gazing out the window of the taxi sadly as she thinks about how the Quinx are like Kaneki.
    • Made even worse considering the Quinx concept was likely inspired by Kaneki and the squad leader whom she is probably aware of greatly resembles Kaneki himself. Turns out Haise is Kaneki and now since Nishki is aware it's likely he might tell her and the rest of Anteiku which will lead into even more Tear Jerkers....
  • There's something just a little sad already about Sasaki's situation. As a ghoul, he's facing discrimination and dislike from his supposed allies, and, being more of a ghoul than his subordinates, he's still just as separate from them. And then the reveal comes that he's Kaneki...
  • Chapter 7 provides several emotional moments.
    • Orochi/Nishiki: matter where you go, you just can't be saved — Kaneki.
    • Sasaki's entire situation, especially him lying on the ground with tears streaming down his face. He is an amnesic Kaneki, and Akira prompts him to verify that the false identity CCG has given him is still intact. He has been allowed to live as a human, but should he ever lose control of his powers and normal means fail to contain him, Akira and his other coworkers will kill him. He's aware of this, and accepts the risk to protect the very people that might one day be called on to kill him.
  • Chapter 8 has Urie call Sasaki a ghoul. This is a slap on the face, as Sasaki was willing to sacrifice his life for him and this was the thanks he gets.
    • It doesn't help that shortly after, while Haise jokingly threatens to eat Urie if he continues acting up, when Haise's all alone he can't help but cry.
    • Sasaki states he thinks of Arima as a father, Akira as a mother and the Quinx as his children. But admits he knows that it's a "make-believe" family, and won't last.
    • He reassures Arima that he's happy with his life as it is, while smiling cheerfully. However, he touches his chin while doing so — something Hide once pointed out he does when he's being evasive or dishonest.
  • Chapter 10's last few pages really hurt, Sasaki after meeting Touka again is shaken and after tasting the coffee, he starts crying probably subconsciously remembering the good time. When Touka brings him a napkin and gives the saddest smile.
  • In Chapter 13, Shirazu and Sasaki briefly discuss his amnesia. After the others head off to dance, Sasaki watches them with a wistful expression while thinking.
    Sasaki: "Shirazu.....if I regain my memories, will I (Haise) die? I wish I can keep remembering all of you."
  • In Chapter 16, Hanbee asks Shirazu and Saiko to accompany him somewhere. They end up at a hospital, and he introduces them to a still comatose Shinohara.
  • Gagi and Guge's Heroic Sacrifice to protect Naki in Chapter 21.
    "BROTEKT BIEG BROH!!" (Protect Big Bro!)
    Naki: *in tears, stretching himself over their bodies* Don't leave me alone...
    • Even worse when you remember back in the original series, when he jumped in to protect them because (paraphrased) "twins mean twice the chance they'll die, so I'd rather get hurt and cry than cry alone." And it was Akira back then, too. And she just told him his holding on to memories of Yamori made him weak.
  • Another one from the CCG's attack on the auction house: for the second time, poor Hinami's heightened senses have alerted her to the fact that the weapons made from her dead mother and father are being used against them (wielded by the daughter of the man who killed them, at that). You can see her expression begin to crack at the realization just for a second.
  • After everything Takizawa Seidou went through, The Reveal that Aogiri Tree turned him into one of their new one-eyed hybrids is downright tragic. Even when he ran in to rescue Amon, he was terrified because he wanted to live...and he did. Not to mention the fact that they seem to tortured him on a similar level to what Kaneki went through, but for years.
    • What makes it worse? He clearly has lost a great deal of his humanity. He is nothing like he was back in the original Tokyo Ghoul. Now consider for a second what Akira and Houji in CCG will think about this once they discover (if they haven't already) who the new Owl is. Hell, consider what his family whom he clearly had a close relationship with think of this... if they are still alive of course...
    • Now mind you all Takiwaza wanted was to become a stronger Investigator (he didn't want to be second best to everyone else and was severely depressed over the fact that he was) and survive the Anteiku raid so he could return to his family.
  • Chapter 28:
    • After a great deal of effort and coordination on with help Saiko and the other investigator, Shirazu has finally defeated Nutcracker. As he delivers the finishing blow, he remarks on how a ghoul as dangerous as her will bring a reward. He then proceeds to ask her how much she's worth, and in a brief panel, we get a glimpse of Nutcracker's childhood and life (along with all of the disturbing implications that come with it) before we get her last words.
    Nutcracker: I.. want... to be... beautiful... I want some money... I want... I want to be... beautiful...
    Shirazu: *visibly shaken by this* Quit sayin' things... like you're a human...
    • Takizawa's absolute thrashing of Sasaki is quite brutal but once he refers to him by his real name, Sasaki's torture no longer becomes just physical, but also psychological, as he starts freaking out, trying to hold onto his current identity, insisting that he is Haise Sasaki and not Ken Kaneki.
    • Thanks to Scarecrow accidentally pushing a button in a control room, which broadcasts Sasaki's screams and Takizawa's chilling laughter for everyone to hear.
      • Saiko in particular turns on one of the monitors and we can only see her horrified face as she speechlessly watches Haise, who she has previously referred to as Maman, get tortured.
  • Chapter 30: Saiko tearfully begging Haise not to fight Takizawa.
  • In Chapter 35, the whole situation with Tsukiyama is heartbreaking. Tsukiyama thanking his servants and apologizing to them for his condition, while trying to smile weakly for them all. Kanae trying to smile for him through his tears, while lying about what happened so he won't realize that he almost killed them all during a fit. Kanae being so overwhelmed with frustration and grief that he smashes his head into a tree repeatedly and admits he's even come to hate his loyalty to the Tsukiyamas.
  • The pain just keeps coming on the Tsukiyama front, in Chapter 38. When he sees Sasaki from a distance, Tsukiyama manages to climb out of his wheelchair and tries to run to him. And it isn't just Kaneki he missed, Tsukiyama pleads to reunite their old gang and just wants to be with them all again because he was genuinely happy even though he was The Friend Nobody Likes. When he collapses, Sasaki helps him up while failing to recognize him in the slightest.
  • Chapter 42, the reveal that Shirazu only agreed to join the CCG and the Quinx Squad to pay the huge medical bills for his little sister, who he more then likely raised by himself after the loss of their parents, and the treatment of her ROS disease. He never wanted to find his purpose in life like Mutsuki, wasn't sold into it like Saiko, didn't join because he wanted validation and revenge like Urie; he just joined so that his sister could live!
  • Everywhere in Chapter 45. Kanae as a child is shown while the present Kanae is being tortured by Eto and is calling out for his mother and his Master Shuu. Mirumo Tsukiyama puts his son to sleep and hands him over to Matsumae after tenderly stroking his face, which may be the last time he sees his son as the Tsukiyama family is about to be attacked by investigators planning to wipe them out. Haise gets increasingly upset that everybody is hiding things from him, to the point where he breaks down in front of Akira about the fear of not knowing who he is or where he comes from.
    Haise: "I am not Haise!!"
  • Chapter 46. The CCG begins raiding the Tsukiyama Mansion. Shuu Tsukiyama wakes up in a van being driven by Matsumae. They arrive at a building with a heliport owned by Mirumo, and the employees, all ghouls, of that building all promise to defend Tsukiyama until he is safely out of the city. Mirumo surrenders to Koori Ui without resisting, simply asking to be able to live his last moments as a human.
  • Chapter 48: Regardless of what side you are on, the ending to the duel between Ihei and Matsumae can be this. Ihei is clearly distressed after being wounded badly by Matsumae and comes undone, forcing the duel to end by pulling out her T-Human quinque. Before she can overwhelm Matsumae, Mairo pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and Ihei, suddenly realizing she is about to die, has a quick flashback to her child version meeting a young Arima in a field of flowers. Cut back to the present where we see her smile before being decapitated. Mairo even manages to distract Kijima afterwards, delivering a Badass Boast, but dies shortly after.
  • Chapter 53: The latest chapters have not been kind to anybody, but this chapter shows Haise going deeper into a spiral of conflict between his present and past self, with his psyche being dissected in the process. It turns out he's been repressing the fact that his mother was physically abusive. The Kaneki identity suggests that his battle against Arima was suicidally driven, and that he may still be suicidal. Finally, the last panel implies that the Kaneki identity has finally silenced Haise. All while he's having the pulp beaten out of him. It's hard to look at.
  • Chapter 55: Shirazu's death. Just.....this chapter pretty much broke the fandom.
    • The way Urie just screams and sobs and begs Shirazu not to die and tells him that he can have all the credit and money for killing Noro and just the way he's sobbing when he finally screams out to Shirazu after his heart stops to "DON'T YOU FUCKING DIE ON ME!!!!!!!",then refusing to leave Shirazu's corpse and the rest of his squad alone in order to fight Eto it just shows how much Urie has matured and come to see the Quinx squad as his family.
    • Also, he pointedly asks Washuu....Does this not move you...Commander?
    • Washuu's response to the above is simply that it doesn't move him. It doesn't just deepen the pain the Quinx feel over Shirazu's death, but also serves as a painful reality check; to the commander, Shirazu is no more than just another soldier, of which he has seen many die over the course of his service in the CCG. He's desensitized to it and simply wishes to press on with the mission.
  • And Chapter 57 provides a suitably crushing finale to a particularly brutal arc:
    • Kanae leaping from the roof of the L.E. Building after Kaneki tosses Shuu from it, and refusing to save herself. She makes a Dying Declaration of Love in her native German, and is surprised when Shuu answers her in German and reassures her in their final moments. Kanae then uses her kagune to throw him to safety, and thinks that she's happy to be able to die as herself.
    • Seeing Kaneki Take A Level In Jerkass, and repeat the mistakes of his past. He throws Tsukiyama to his apparent death, berates a traumatized Urie by telling him that Shirazu's death is his fault for being weak, and abandons the Quinx by requesting a transfer following the operation's end.
    • The final shot of the arc, with Kaneki cradling Shirazu's body in his arms.
  • Chapter 58. Thought Ishida would give readers a break for the new arc? Nope, as one of the first scenes of the arc is the Quinx at Shirazu's grave. Made worse as Shirazu's corpse was stolen by Aogiri for experimentation, meaning he doesn't even have a body to bury.
  • Speaking of Shirazu's funeral, just the way that literally everyone is sobbing especially Saiko and even Akira,plus the implication that the reason the other investigators at the funeral are all looking down at the ground is because of the fact that they feel just as responsible for Shirazu's death since a few months ago they were all celebrating Christmas together and now one of them is dead.
  • Chapter 59 keeps the tears coming: Kaneki hasn't visited Hinami in almost six months, and as a result she has sunk into a deep depression. The guards note that she has stopped talking to people, and merely sits reading the same book over and over again while waiting for someone that won't come. Even Urie and the guards seem to feel sorry for her, noticing that she has given up and no longer cooperates with most Investigators. As such, she's been added to the list of Ghouls to be terminated. The worst part? The look of innocent hope on her face when she realizes she has a visitor, only for it to fade into a blank expression when she sees it's Urie and not Kaneki. Hinami, the little girl so afraid of being alone, has been abandoned by the person she cherishes the most and the very person that once gave her reassurance that it was alright for her to continue living.
  • Chapter 62 sent the audience into wails of despair upon learning that Yoshimura's Tragic Dream of being reunited with his beloved daughter almost came true. As a teenager, Eto once stood outside Anteiku and watched him......but stormed off in a rage after seeing him laughing with his employees. She never realized that he made Anteiku for her, and that he wanted nothing more than to share a cup of coffee with his beloved daughter. Instead, Yoshimura never realized she was there and she would go on hating him, unaware of how much he'd sacrificed to protect her.
  • Chapter 68 reveals why Kaneki wants to die in style. He wants to die in the same way he perceived Hide as having done.
  • Chapter 70 reveals that Yomo's sister was Touka and Ayato's mother, making him their uncle. In chapter 71 a flashback shows a young Yomo blaming Arata for not being able to protect his sister, which he regrets. It's indicated that Yomo accusing Arata of being too weak to protect anyone led the latter to pursue power, ultimately leading to him becoming a major CCG target and dying. Yomo has been living with that guilt ever since and devoted his life to protecting his niece and nephew from the shadows, so they wouldn't meet the same fate.
    • In the present, Yomo, with Ayato and Touka backing him up, tries to fight Arima. He is, however, visibly shaken by Arima's Narukami, heavily implied to be crafted from his deceased sister. After his attack fails to hurt Arima and he sees Narukami's lightning currents approach him once more, he loses the will to fight, wishing only to embrace his sister again.
  • Chapter 72 has Kaneki arrive just in time to save Yomo's life. The former declares he will be the sacrificial pawn and keep Arima at bay. When Touka seemingly tries to encourage him by asking whether they'll see each other after everything is over, Kaneki is visibly saddened and calls her cruel, believing there won't be a next time as he has resolved to fight Arima to the death.
    • Barely seconds away from being hit by Narukami's electric current, Yomo had resigned himself to death, emphasized by the metaphor of seeing his sister again. When Kaneki saves him, the mix of sadness, shock and relief on his face is utterly heartbreaking.
  • In Chapter 75, Kaneki is slashed apart by Arima to the point where he is expecting death, only for him to hallucinate Hide telling him not to throw away his life. Kaneki breaks down in tears about how lonely he is without Hide.
  • In Ch. 77, we learn the reason for the White Suits' Undying Loyalty to Naki: he has a ritual of reciting the name of every single friend he has ever lost, and mourns for them. Hooguro and Shousei explain that their lives are brief, and the Doves will kill them eventually. So they want to follow Naki, taking comfort in the fact that he will never forget them.
  • Chapter 82 concludes with one: Kaneki defeats Arima, pleading with him to stop fighting because it's pointless now. Arima visibly deflates and steps back, musing over how he's spent 18 years as an Investigator and never before faced an opponent that left him helpless. He asks Kaneki twice whether he really has no intentions of finishing him off, and when Kaneki states that his decision won't change.....Arima slits his own throat in front of Kaneki.
  • The tears keep flowing in Ch. 83: Arima confesses his secrets while Kaneki holds him, weeping. A flashback shows a young Arima releasing a butterfly out a window, smiling gently as he watches it fly away — all while he admits to having hated his life of killing, and praises Kaneki as the one meaningful thing he was able to leave behind. Arima struggles to reach up to touch Kaneki's face, and dies smiling gently at him with a single tear running down his cheek.
    • The last page is also reminiscent of Old Snake hugging Big Boss.
    • The more one thinks about it, the more tragic Arima's entire life was. He was doomed to die young no matter what happened to him due to circumstances completely beyond his control — and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. To pour salt in the wound, Arima had to spend that all too brief life serving as the attack dog of the very organization who made him that way. He was a slave from birth. One created with an expiration date in mind.
    • In chapter 85 of re: Squad Zero's final orders from Arima were to help Kaneki escape alive from the Ghoul Detention Center. There's also a image of Kaneki walking together happily with Arima while thinking of Arima like a teacher and a father.
      • Sasaki and Squad Zero give Arima a impromptu funeral and Sasaki recites poetry as a eulogy for him.
    • In Japan, they have flower language which is called ‘hanakotoba’. The flowers seen all around Arima and Kaneki during their final fight in :re are called Shiran. It was mentioned in one of Ishida-sensei’s commentaries in TG Zakki. The flower bears these meanings:

    Do not forget me.
    I will not forget you.
    Let us not forget each other.
    Unwavering love.
    A love that fades.

    • Around the time Arima dies, both Sasaki and Arima admit they love the other as family.
  • Chapter 89 Makes Takizawa's story even more tragic. Takizawa saves his former squad by killing Tatara. Even though he's been driven mad, Takizawa still craves the approval of his former co-workers and desires to be a hero. But he's too far gone and CCG attacks him. Takizawa then murders Houji, blaming him for all of his misfortune. Takizawa truly has no one left.
  • Ch 95: Akira shields Takizawa from Mutsuki's attack, and refuses to move in spite of being aware her actions are a major crime. She endures multiple attacks, while Takizawa slowly comes back to his senses and pleads for her to stop. Badly wounded, Akira calls herself a failure that could never face her father....and breaks down crying while confessing that she's never been able to stop wondering what might have happened, if she'd stopped Takizawa from leaving that night.
    • Amon's reaction to Mutsuki in the same chapter has him go as far as to bite a good chunk out of Mutsuki's shoulder to gain the upper hand. Seeing the Nice Guy Amon be forced to do something as drastic as eating someone's flesh shows how damaged he's become as a Half Ghoul. He may not be Axe-Crazy, but seeing him like that simply hurts to see.
  • Chapter 98: After Amon loses control and is consumed by his Kakuja, Saiko is forced to attack him to save her squad. She bursts into tears, demanding to know why he saved her. This brings Amon back to his senses, causing him to recall his various encounters with Kaneki in the original series. He warns her how easily a person can lose sight of what is truly right, and then pleads with her to finish him off before he loses control again and becomes a "murderer". Saiko is momentarily speechless, then comes to a decision and grits her teeth with tears running down her face — seemingly crushing him with her kagune.
  • Chapter 100: A massive one for the remaining investigators of CCG...
    • Koori Ui come to the realization that he stands all alone after losing everyone he ever cared about, including his mentor, his superiors, his colleagues and even his successors. His final statement is what settles it though...
    "Why do you fight, Koori Ui...?"
    • Suzuya and his torn feelings about being forced to fight what he considers to be his only other friend within CCG.
    • Matsuri´s emotional breakdown after losing his family, clan and emotional supports in life and his current pitiful state of mourning. The man looks like a zombie...
    • The remaining first generation Quinx and their realization that they´ll be forced to fight their mentor eventually. Saiko´s opinion on the matter in particular.
  • Chapter 123 and 124 has Mutsuki finally managing to track down Kaneki. He desperately wants Kaneki to return to being his beloved sensei, Haise Sasaki, and return to the CCG. The two chapters highlights Mutsuki's depressing Sanity Slippage.
  • Chapter 126:
    • Urie tries to reach out and stop Mutsuki from pursuing a path which could lead to the latter's destruction, only to have his efforts violently rejected by Mutsuki who not only tells him off, but also outright comes out with (her) true feelings for their former mentor before leaving. Urie stands left behind with a utmost heartbroken expression over the revelation as he watches Mutsuki leave.
    • Ui´s slow Sanity Slippage when it´s shown that despite being told that the "dead don't return" by a former patient of Kanou, he still clings to the hope that he can get Hairu back, consequences and morals be damned.
  • Naki stands against an army of Oggai in order to allow Hinami and Touka to escape with the children. When Kaneki finds Miza kneeling next to a dead Naki propped up against some rubble she tells her king that Naki was sleeping, and calls him an idiot. They both know Naki is gone.
  • Chapter 129-130:
    • It gets revealed that Mutsuki follows up on his earlier bluff and has Yoriko detained. He sends a message to Kaneki revealing that unless he turns himself over, Yoriko is going to be tried and executed for her previous affiliation with Touka. Touka eventually learns the truth herself and the two end up wordlessly making the decision to leave Yoriko to her fate since they know that it's an obvious trap.
  • Chapter 140-142: Basically the second coming of the Anteiku raid, if not worse.
  • First, we are given a Hope Spot - Kaneki seemingly menages to come in time, only to repeat his mistake yet again and engages Suzuya and Hanbee all alone. He ends up soundly defeated by them, at most being able to heavily fatigue Hanbee and only inflict minor injuries to Suzuya after the battle.
  • Then, he is unceremoniously presented with the chopped off heads of Squad 0, courtesy of Hajime.
  • Furuta's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Kaneki is DEFINITIVELY this, as Furuta is absolutely right about everything he says about Kaneki's bad habit of always charging into the most important fights all alone, going as far as bringing up the Anteiku raid as an example. It makes it even harder to watch given Kaneki's helpless, literally limbless state.
  • Touka fighting with Mutsuki once again, and tells them to get out of her way so she could meet her husband. She's desperately holding onto any hope that she'll be able to see Kaneki again.

Tokyo Ghoul √A:

  • In episode 2, there is a scene of Yoshimura sitting quietly at a table drinking coffee. There are two extra cups set out, as though he were waiting for company to join him. Manga readers might remember these antique cups, foreshadowing Yoshimura's tragic past.
  • In episode 3, a hysterical Naki tries to write Yamori's name in crayon on the floor. Barely literate, he's unable to do it and scribbles nonsense until Kaneki takes pity on him and writes it for him. Unaware that Kaneki is the one responsible for Yamori's death, Naki thanks him and tells him he's a really good guy.
  • Ayato vs Shinohara, with the former immediately recognizing his Quinque Armor as having been made from his Disappeared Dad. Just before he passes out from his injuries, Ayato weakly punches the armor while recalling the last time he saw his father alive. The look of pure anguish on his face actually makes Shinohara hesitate to finish him off, and he had previously noticed that his armor seemed to be making him sluggish instead of enhancing his abilities like usual.
  • Episode 8 is pretty much one from beginning to end. Yoshimura's back story is nothing but tragedy, while the older members of Anteiku quietly bracing for the oncoming storm while trying to keep Touka and Hinami oblivious is heartbreaking to watch.
  • Episode 12, full stop.
  • Hide dying in Kaneki's arms, followed by Kaneki carrying his body back to CCG and his apparent suicide by Arima.
  • Houji being handed the crushed, blood-splattered remains of Douhi, and shaking with grief.
  • Akira kneeling alone in the snow long enough to get covered in a layer of snow, staring blankly at the bloody, torn-up remains of Amon's Quinque and armor.
  • The scenes of CCG troops tending to the wounded or carrying the dead away. Two men are spotted desperately performing CPR on a third. Another shot focuses on a soldier curled up in a fetal position against a wall, weeping.
  • Juuzou sitting against a wall, overwhelmed with grief.
  • Touka watching Anteiku burn to the ground.
  • And the clincher, this entire sequence plays out set to a heart-wrenching acoustic cover of Unravel. It even sounds like the singer himself is crying while performing this cover. Bring over the tissues.
  • Hide telling Kaneki that ever since he became a ghoul and made new friends with the Anteiku workers, it has made him incredibly lonely to see Kaneki not hanging out with him anymore like they often used to.

Example of: