Film Review: TOKYO GHOUL (2017)

TOKYO GHOUL **** Japan 2017 Dir: Kentaro Hagiwara 119 mins

This is a live-action adaptation of the anime series of the same name that tells the story of a world where Ghouls share the Earth with humans. It follows a shy college student who finally asks his crush out on a date. The date seems to go well, she doesn’t eat much but as they quietly walk through the park they turn and gaze into each others eyes then embrace. The romance is shattered when the girl then sinks her teeth into him. This would be because she is a Ghoul. Ghouls take on human form but are far from human, in fact humans are their only food source. As she attempts to devour him she ends up being crushed to death and the boy, Keneki,  also mortally wounded, winds up in hospital. It would seem a curious doctor decided to replace some of Keneki’s organs with those of the deceased Ghoul, creating the first human/ghoul hybrid.
Without going into too much more detail Keneki can’t live a normal life anymore and finds a group of ghouls who take him in and teach him their ways. He discovers they are not the blood thirsty monsters he had been led to believe and they too are being hunted and executed,  by officers from the ghoul division who are slaughtering them in their hundreds and harvesting their powers. Those of you familiar with the anime series already know this story and those of you that don’t, don’t need me to tell you the whole thing just know that it is well worth watching! As with all good Japanese movies there is plenty of blood and gore to enjoy. At almost 2 hours in length I did not feel that it dragged at all but kept up a good pace and went into a lot of detail. The first half is a bit of a weird coming of age type thing for Keneki as you watch him go from a painfully shy boy to an angry arse-kicking ghoul by the end of it. The second half focuses on a young ghoul called Hinami and the length’s that Keneki’s group will go to to save her. Director Kentaro Hagiwara studied Sui Ishidas drawings from the TV series very studiously to make sure the characters were portrayed correctly and i thought it was very in keeping with the anime style of characters. Keneki (Masataka Kubota-13 Assassins)  is very over the top with the crying and screaming but you do warm to him as the movie progresses and there is the tough, mopey,  tom boy type to show him the ropes. The whole cast are all incredibly good. The soundtrack, cinematography, stunts and fight choreography are all superb. The effects are good but it let’s itself down a bit with a lot of CGI that  doesn’t look great at times, mostly when it comes to the Ghouls. Which is a shame as the Ghouls weapons are a big part of the movie. I really liked the idea of the Kagunes which are a ghouls predatory weapon  (each one unique to the individual) which protrude from their back when they are hunting or threatened but thought they could’ve looked better, but it is in no way awful and doesn’t sway my opinion that this is a really good movie. I’ve never been a huge fan of Manga or any other anime stuff before now but after watching that I’m very tempted to check out its anime series.

Review by Sarah Budd

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