A Melody Of Grieve And Tragedy? Tokyo Ghoul A Manga Vs. Anime Honest Review

Tokyo Ghoul A is the sequel of Tokyo Ghoul – the 2015’s masterpiece that took the manga and anime world by storm. But, will its sequel achieve the same effects and get in the same line with icons like Attack on Titan? Find out the answer in today’s post on Tokyo Ghoul A manga and anime review.  

Not A Tragedy As It Seems: Tokyo Ghoul A Manga Review

One of the best completed manga of all time, no doubt, is Tokyo Ghoul. Entering Tokyo Ghoul A, Sui Ishida’s follow-up manga to the outstanding Tokyo Ghoul, it’s crucial to note that it’s different from the original manga. Well, not in terms of vibe; the plot remains as cruel and violent as ever (besides the ending, which we’ll go over later).

Tokyo Ghoul A keeps tabs 2 years after the original series, featuring an amnesiac Ken Kaneki, currently known as Sasaki Haise, serving as a ghoul inspector at the CCG while heading his entire team, the Quinx Squad.

The Quinx Squad is a collection of individuals that, similar to Kaneki, have developed ghoul abilities via experimenting, but, unlike Kaneki, they are still basically human.

Let’s jump into Root A: Tokyo Ghoul manga review details!

New Characters 

Quinx Squad’s members are the figures who gain the most appearance in this part, whereas most of the previous main characters are limited to insignificant parts at first, which can be challenging to adjust to.

Not to claim that the new characters aren’t good; in fact, I began to enjoy them all with one exception.

Tokyo Ghoul A spends more time on supporting characters. - Amino Apps
Tokyo Ghoul A spends more time on supporting characters. – Amino Apps 

I would admit, though, that I was not a fan of the primary antagonist. It’s also a pity that plenty of previous fantastic character interactions, such as Kaneki’s with Amon, are missing throughout the sequel.

To compare, the new characters’ chemistry is nice but not as strong as the formers’. Although to be fair, specific figures have been considerably boosted and developed since the original manga.

Takizawa, who grew into a tragic figure, and, obviously, my beloved character Eto, who was handed lots of recollections and beautiful scenes, are the clearest examples.

Eto is among my favorite characters in Tokyo Ghoul A manga. - Pinterest
Eto is among my favorite characters in Tokyo Ghoul A manga. – Pinterest 

Old Characters

For one thing, it was a little disturbing how many dead figures came back from hell or how Ishida pretended they died away before sending them back.   

For instance, remember when Hide was killed at the climax of the 1st season, and Kaneki was bringing him down that wintry road to the beautiful piano sound of “Unravel?”  Don’t sweat! Hide somehow comes back to life in this season with no clarification! 

Hide comes back to life with no explanations. - Crunchyroll
Hide comes back to life with no explanations. – Crunchyroll

To be honest, there were several moments when I wished Ishida hadn’t revived the people he did. Indeed, when the dead characters reappear, we clearly see the links and tensions lacking during the first part. 

But, of course, this is also due to the evolution of the newly introduced personalities, as my attitudes toward them change over time. For instance, Tooru turned from being one of my beloved personalities in the new lineup to becoming one of my own least favorite ones in the whole series.

Tooru suddenly became a monster to me. - CBR
Tooru suddenly became a monster to me. – CBR 

I understand that Tooru has the most painful backstory of all characters and that what occurred to him is the tragedy that no human deserves, but it does not explain his unspeakable evils.

Speaking of hostile acts, another of my many issues with the manga is that heinous acts done by characters are simply ignored, and these people eventually have happy endings.


Tokyo Ghoul A’s ending is abrupt.

Everything goes too rapidly, and there are even crucial personalities that are utterly neglected in the ending. This is most likely due to Ishida’s exhaustion from releasing new chapters weekly for months, which is fair.

Then there’s my biggest issue with the ending: it doesn’t fit the vibe of the manga up to this moment.

For me, the ending was too rushed. - Elo7
For me, the ending was too rushed. – Elo7 

At the start of Tokyo Ghoul, Ishida made it clear that the plot would be heartbroken, both through the storyline and the brutal bloodshed. However, with most characters finally having a fairytale ending, it felt contradictory to what the plot had structured.

To be honest, I don’t detest this ending. It’s not the most terrible finish the manga might have had. I simply hope it had been slower and more in sync with the remaining portion of the manga.


Another element of Tokyo Ghoul that is built upon is the horrors and bloody violence. Honestly, the brutality in this sequel makes the original one seem like a cute dog.

I can remember multiple times when I screamed or gasped in horror at how nasty a few of the pictures were, which I’m sure was Ishida’s intention. Thus, take this into consideration if you want to read this series. If Naruto can’t make you feel on cloud nine, sip a cup of espresso and get lost in the Tokyo Ghoul page-tuner.

Superb Graphics Yet Shallow Content? My Root A: Tokyo Ghoul Anime Review

Tokyo Ghoul A anime adaptation falls flat on my expectations. - Madman Entertainment
Tokyo Ghoul A anime adaptation falls flat on my expectations. – Madman Entertainment  

Overall Impression 

Indeed, Root A is a jumble of inexplicable story details that belittle the intricacy of the original work. Despite Sui Ishida’s claim on creating a unique take for the anime, Root A fell desperately flat in practically every way it could.

Having an intriguing premiere episode that quickly established a deviation from the manga’s plot, Root A never seems to focus on the main story. Instead, all episodes concentrated on only interpretations of the manga’s side stories. 

Furthermore, I never got any impression that there was anything unique about this anime season. The studio didn’t even try creating any unique points and it hosted a bunch of problems.

Plot Progression 

Back in 2015, I was so excited about the anime as it claimed to “not just copy all details from the manga.” Instead, it intertwines the occurrences and main storyline of the manga with an original take penned by Sui Ishida.

However, for some reasons, there are no variations in plot progression between the anime and manga, other than the fact that the development of the personalities is far weaker.

Furthermore, Root A chronicles the maturation of the surrounding characters at a relatively slow pace, with periodic inexplicable brutality. The narrative is similar to the 1st season of Aldnoah Zero in that there are fascinating story ideas mentioned. Still, nothing to expand the plot and lend effect to the plot’s pivotal moments.

I don’t rate the plot progression of Tokyo Ghoul A anime highly. - HDQwalls
I don’t rate the plot progression of Tokyo Ghoul A anime highly. – HDQwalls 

A big part of the issue is undoubtedly due to the logic of the adaption. Although not ideal, the 1st season managed to encapsulate about 60 chapters of the manga into a relatively logical storyline.

Meanwhile, Root A tries to pack something closer to 75-80 chapters and ultimately fails. Key plot arcs are blended in such a way that the entire anime is entirely illogical.

There is no logical flow from one occurrence to another; thus, the anime generally feels like a chaotic, compacted tangle of the manga. It’s extremely hard to get engaged or understand the plot when everything feels hasty and out of the left field.

Character Development 

Tokyo Ghoul anime is such a disappointment when it comes to character development!

Kaneki, who should have been the primary focus of the so-called “main narrative,” is entirely undeveloped and gets just around a half-minute of screentime every episode.

Before Tokyo Ghoul’s release date of season 2, I was thrilled about the promise of a slight twist on arguably the manga’s worst arc, but I was let down by the shortage of focus on the central protagonist.

Having said that, there are a few cool moments of supporting characters’ development. For example, the anime version of Suzaya Juuzou and his bond with Shinohara is described much stronger than that of the manga version.

I truly love the relationship between Suzuya Juuzou and Shinohara. - Pinterest.
I truly love the relationship between Suzuya Juuzou and Shinohara. – Pinterest. 

Sadly, most of the other characters’ maturation is exact copies of the manga. If you’ve followed the manga, you’ll immediately forget that this is meant to be a unique take of the original manga, as 90% of each episode is taken directly from the manga.

You’ll also start to wonder about Studio Pierrot’s objectives when the primary plot arc is so overshadowed by side storylines (how sad) that you get no clue what the battle is about when there is one.


The pace was a problem in the 1st season, but Root A brings bad pacing to a whole new extreme.

The manga’s dramatic ending was powerful and well-thought-out, but it is totally absent in the anime due to the lacking of the massive battle.

The cut-down of many parts in the original manga leaves me disappointed. - Pinterest
The cut-down of many parts in the original manga leaves me disappointed. – Pinterest 

The key concern, though, is not translating enough of the original storyline to truly grasp Kaneki’s significant character growth, which loses the last arc’s essence.

Once again, I’m left wondering about the director’s goals: if you’re going to adapt the grand, climactic battle of the major plot arc, why not invest more time recreating the occurrences of the main storyline?


Most folks think that dark-styled anime lacks graphics and art, which is sadly a false belief. On the contrary, Tokyo Ghoul is an incredibly well-drawn and animated anime.

And the studio spent the majority of the budget honing the skills portrayed in each episode, which includes dramatic battles. So except for a few little moments that run less than a minute, I have no complaints regarding Tokyo Ghoul’s graphics.

The graphics of Tokyo Ghoul A anime is good as always. - The Silly TV
The graphics of Tokyo Ghoul A anime is good as always. – The Silly TV 

Furthermore, the characters are meticulously constructed; every piece, including kagune, represents hard work. Tokyo Ghoul would not have looked fantastic in all scenes if it hadn’t been for the high graphics quality.


The anime’s music is incredibly engaging, featuring beautiful melodies. However, what stands out the most is the wild background piano music, which makes you shake because of the tension it lends to the events.

When it comes to opening music, Munou is a great song. However, since Unravel is too excellent; thus, when compared together, Munou can’t beat the shadow of the predecessor’s opening! 

The voice acting is also fantastic, with standout contributions of Rie Kugimiya as Juuzou Suzuya and Maaya Sakamoto as Eto Yoshimura.


When Did Tokyo Ghoul Come Out?

Sui Ishida is the author and illustrator of Tokyo Ghoul. It started serializing in the 41st volume of Weekly Young Jump, distributed by Shueisha on Sept 8, 2011, and completed in the 42nd volume, aired on Sept 18, 2014.

How Many Seasons of Tokyo Ghoul Are There?

Up till now, there have been 4 seasons.

The 1st season, Tokyo Ghoul, screened from July 4 to Sept 19, 2014, and translated the initial 60 chapters of Ishida’s manga.

The 2nd season, named Tokyo Ghoul A, ran from Jan 9 to March 27, 2015, and essentially tailored the 2nd half of Ishida’s original work. However, it wasn’t a pure translation like the original, and it incorporated a lot of unique elements.

The manga Tokyo Ghoul:re was also made into an animation sequel of the same title. The 1st season of :re went from April 3 to June 19, 2018, even though the 2nd season spanned from Oct 9 to Dec 25, 2018. The show was a straight translation of Ishida’s manga, featuring each season translating 2 chapters. 

Should I Watch Tokyo Ghoul?


The manga is a much more enjoyable experience. In my viewpoint, Studio Pierrot screwed the animation up by attempting to portray the storyline of 80 or more chapters in only 12 eps for the 1st season. The animation overlooks the manga’s vibe and makes the whole thing seem shonen-ish.

The anime vibe is…mildly odd. Of course, it’s all subjective, but Ishida Sui’s coarser, darker parts aren’t conveyed well on screen.

Will Tokyo Ghoul Have a Season 5?

Given that the fourth season marked the end of Ken’s journey, viewers may not get to experience the 5th season.

As difficult as it seems, the 5th season is unlikely to occur because season 4 closes upon a point that wraps the stressful occurrences of the former 3 seasons.

Unless Sui Ishida chooses to extend the manga work with a different narrative and perhaps a spinoff?

That being said, viewers are unlikely to get much more of ‘Tokyo Ghoul,’ as the anime’s storyline is concluded, addressing all of the problems.

Wrapping Up 

Overall, both the manga and the anime didn’t leave me with terrific impressions. However, when putting them on a scale, it’s evident that the manga wins the showdown. 

Not only is the manga more logical, but the characters in it also feature significant mental development, which explains their behaviors and acts well.

Note that this is only my thoughts on Tokyo Ghoul A manga and anime! Although I myself found so many flaws in this adaptation, many fans still consider this sequel an acceptable season! So, I guess it’s all up to you to decide whether the manga and the anime are worth your time! 

If you’ve already read or watched Tokyo Ghoul A manga or anime, share how you feel down below! For more film and anime reviews, refer to our College Life section on Jobandedu

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