Tokyo Ghoul, Vol.3Investigator Ippei Kusaba and Hiname Fueguchi’s mother have both been violently murdered for crimes they did not commit. Ghouls and humans alike must now cope with their losses while continuing their neverending fight for survival. Already nearing the point of no return, ghoul Touka Kirishima and Senior Investigator Kureo Mado are driven further down the path of destruction while seeking retaliation for the loss of their comrades. Ken Kaneki, meanwhile, is no longer an innocent bystander in the battle, but a key player as he dives deeper and deeper into their world.

While many manga series tend to lose steam within a few volumes, Tokyo Ghoul only continues to rise. Kaneki is finally beginning to find purpose and balance in his new life as his connection to the ghoul world strengthens. He continues to fight for his humanity and resists becoming a murderer, but his new ghoul instincts make it difficult. His willpower is especially tested when he goes into battle with Inspector Amon: Kaneki wants to hurt Amon enough to surrender and prevent him from helping Mado, who is battling Touka, but not enough to cause irreparable damage. Initially, Kaneki holds back, but he soon realizes he can only get what he wants if he momentarily surrenders his humanity and unleashes his ghoul side, which proves much easier than he’d anticipated. Author/illustrator Sui Ishida sends readers on the same rollercoaster of emotions Kaneki experiences while facing Amon, placing us right beside him in battle.

Similarly, we are taken further into the world Ishida has created as we get to know other characters better. Even though Inspector Amon has lost a colleague and hunts ghouls for a living, he does not view things in simple black and white. Unlike Mado, he is not blinded by hate, and he tries to understand the significance of Kaneki’s hesitation during their confrontation and vocalize the messed up realities of the world; he is Kaneki’s best hope at ending all the senseless killings. Characters like Kaneki and Amon are great contrasts to Mado and Touka, who show a complete lack of empathy to one another and only seek vengeance. These characters add depth to the story and mirror what readers may be feeling as the plot progresses. The line between right and wrong continues to blur, and it grows more difficult to decide which side you’re on.

Once again, Ishida’s artwork clearly represents emotions felt by the characters, which in turn affects our connection to them and the events in the book. Severe facial close-ups capture the gravity of the situation and the emotions of the moment, especially during fight scenes; this is most powerful in the scene where Kaneki is fighting Amon, pleading with him to walk away to prevent Kaneki from becoming a murderer. The book’s black and white illustrations begin with lighter tones in the first few pages, but quickly evolve into darker gray and black tones that capture the anguish, hate, and fear felt by the characters. Certain panels are drawn entirely in black, representative of the dark nature the book has developed and will continue going forward.

Unfortunately, some of the same issues that plagued the previous installment have bled into this volume. Fight scenes are still indistinguishable and difficult to follow. Many times one has to reread certain scenes to figure out what is going on, especially when Touka and Mado are fighting. Line work and hues need more clarity; characters tend to blend together, in turn affecting the effectiveness of the scene.

Tokyo Ghoul, vol. 3 is best suited for older teens and adults due to the graphic content of its fight scenes. It is a great topical read that deals with the timeless issue of right and wrong, illustrating how we need to understand one another before we consider harming each other.

Tokyo Ghoul, vol. 3
by Sui Ishida
ISBN: 9781421580388
VIZ, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: T+

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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