Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 4

With the death of a First-Class Ghoul Investigator and attacks on Doves, both ghouls and humans are on high alert and everyone’s a suspect. Even worse, ghouls don’t just need to be more cautious of humans, but around their own kind as well. Enter Shu Tsukiyama, a ghoul known to all as The Gourmet, due to his eccentric tastes, who remains a mystery to Ken Kaneki. Soon enough, Kaneki’s newfound friendship with this suspicious character will unearth new information behind Rize’s death and turn our world upside down.

Just when you thought you had Kaneki and his world figured out, creator Sui Ishida flips everything on its head in Tokyo Ghoul, vol. 4. It’s no secret that Ishida is a great writer, but his skill as a storyteller reaches a whole new level in this volume. As readers are introduced to emerging players like The Gourmet and ghoul ally Itori, we find out who they are and the role they’ll play in Kaneki’s life. But it’s our job to determine if we can trust what they’re saying and, unfortunately for Kaneki, his continued naiveté makes him easy prey. The Gourmet also introduces readers to a dangerous new world that leaves a lasting yet violent first impression, as well as a plethora of unanswered questions regarding his true intentions.

Ishida also gives Touka more character development, allowing us to see her interactions and friendships with humans, as well as her playful personality in her relationship with Kaneki. As we see how she fits in among her peers, we gain a better understanding of who she is beneath the tough ghoul exterior to which we’ve grown accustomed. Sadly, she’s only in the first few chapters of volume four; her story comes to a screeching halt with a missed opportunity to properly explore her character, which makes this small glimpse seem out of place in the overall storyline.

Ishida distinguishes text-based speech with font changes when more than two characters are present, which helps to guide the reader through conversation without interruption. On occasion, the text was difficult to read, hindering the story’s flow during particularly detailed scenes. Luckily, these instances were few and far between.

Tokyo Ghoul is visually striking, with detailed imagery, especially during numerous character close-ups in moments of high emotion. As always, Ishida’s illustrations are reflective of what’s happening and can easily carry the storyline without the use of text. For example, the fine detail put into The Gourmet’s character design deliberately gives readers an uneasy feeling. There’s a creepiness we haven’t seen in other characters, and readers will have an immediate reaction to him.

The artwork has gotten more graphic due to the gruesome turn this volume has taken and it gives us an idea of the direction in which we can expect future volumes to continue. Ishida’s artwork truly shines in the very graphic final chapters of the book, as limbs are ripped apart and bodies smashed to a bloody pulp. Ishida does not miss a beat, putting the reader right there in the action and showing the urgency with which Kaneki tries to escape the trap he’s falling into—the emotions felt by him and those around him are palpable.

As Tokyo Ghoul, vol. 4 is grislier than previous installments, it’s best suited for older teens and adults. Despite the violence, it is well-written and impactful. This volume’s brutal, emotionally charged final chapters end on one heck of a cliffhanger that’ll make you rush to get the next installment. Tokyo Ghoul keeps getting better and better, and it’ll be exciting to see where the story will take us.

Tokyo Ghoul, vol. 4
by Sui Ishida
ISBN: 9781421580395
VIZ, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)

  • Marion Olea

    Past Reviewer

    Marion Olea is the Teen Services Librarian at the Northlake Public Library District in Northlake, IL. She is in charge of weeding and ordering Teen Fiction, Graphic Novels, Manga, and Video Games, as well as implementing all sorts of geeky and crafty programs for her teens. Her first real introduction to the world of manga and anime were Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, which she would rush home after school to watch, and while they continue to be her favorites, many other mangas have since found their way into her heart. Similarly, the animated X-Men series on Fox is what introduced her to the world of comics and opened up a whole new world of reading to her. When Marion isn’t reading or binge watching anime, she enjoys gaming, going to conventions, crocheting, baking, traveling, and running 5Ks.

    View all posts
Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!