The Tokyo Ghoul manga differs from the anime in a way that conveys the meaning of Kaneki and Hide’s relationship much better.
Warning: Spoilers for Tokyo Ghoul Chapter 136 and Tokyo Ghoul: Regarding Chapter 164!
While Tokyo Ghoul‘s anime started off strong with its first season, the second season was received far less enthusiastically, with some major departures from the manga weakening the story. One of the most significant contrasts between the manga and the second season is how both treat Hid and Kaneki’s character development throughout the series.
The dark fantasy series is set in Tokyo, where mysterious man-eating “ghouls” assimilate into society as humans. In this alternate reality, there is a constant battle between ghouls – who must eat human flesh to survive – and the authorities, who are sworn to protect humans from slaughter. However, everything changes when college student Ken Kaneki is attacked by a ghoul and survives as a half-human/half-ghoul, suffering mentally and physically from this split identity.
Tokyo Ghoul‘s anime kills Hide pre-emptively – a big mistake as it represents Kaneki’s hope that humans and ghouls can coexist peacefully. Disappointed anime fans will find that the manga’s storytelling maintains a better flow of events, leaving Hide’s status ambiguous and Kaneki’s motivations alive. In Chapter 136 of the manga, Kaneki embraces his ghoul powers while trying to heal, saving everyone in Anteiku and fighting Kishou Arima. Hide suddenly appears and confesses that he already knew that Kaneki is a ghoul and wants to help him. When Hide asks “Can you fight again with everything you have? Since there is only one way into the abyss…” a splashing noise can be heard in the darkness. The anime instead features Kaneki carrying a dead Hide (who suffered a fatal abdominal wound). Over the years and struggles, the two are reunited Chapter 164 of Tokyo Ghoul: right. When Kaneki asks what he did to Hide, it is revealed that Kaneki ate the bottom half of Hide’s face and neck. While the anime haphazardly inserts this scene into the second half of its third season, it leaves viewers confused for previously showing Hide’s lifeless body.
The anime seems to answer mangaka Sui Ushida’s open question. Hide was part of Kaneki’s strength and hope, but that dies with his friend and changes his motivations altogether. When Hide is revealed alive and disfigured, the inconsistency becomes apparent because viewers have been led to believe Haise Sasaki replaced him in Kaneki’s life. On the other hand, the manga leaves Hide’s status unclear and up to the reader’s interpretation, and offers some room for the hypothesis that Hide might be alive. When Hide says “Here is only one way to the abyss” He suggests that whenever he uses his kagune, he will always be a part of Kaneki’s strength. Hide’s understanding and protectiveness as a human inspires him to fight for a better world for people and ghouls in the rest of the story. When Kaneki finally sees what he did to Hide, it reignites, confirming Kaneki’s desire not to be helpless and to use his ghoul powers for the greater good one last time.
Anime fans must read Tokyo Ghouls Manga, as its differences from the second season significantly affect the character development of Kaneki and Hide as the story progresses. The anime fails to flesh out their friendship by changing small but crucial details. For a manga that spends a lot of time on world building and character development, that’s a shame Tokyo Ghoul Anime chose the deviations it did.
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