Manga Review: Tokyo Ghoul Volume Five

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Tokyo Ghoul Volume 5 focuses on Ken Kaneki, a college student who becomes a Ghoul after receiving organs from Rize Kamishiro during an emergency transplant. Ken now finds himself navigating the world as a human and Ghoul hybrid.

Tokyo Ghoul Volume 5
Written by: Sui Ishida
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 16, 2016

Volume 5 has a strong emphasis on a Ghoul named Nishio and his human girlfriend, Kimi. Ken is one of the few people who know their secret, so Kimi asks Ken for advice on how to help a weakened Nishio. Unfortunately, Kimi finds herself entangled in a plan being cooked up by Shu, the Gourmet Ghoul.

Tokyo Ghoul Volume 5 includes a lot of impressive action sequences, but it also provides backstory for Nishio and Kimi. There’s a very important flashback of Nishio’s childhood and how he came to meet Kimi, which helps the reader to become interested in what happens to both of these characters during the major fight with Shu.

While the fight sequences are very well done and keep readers engaged, I couldn’t help but think at times that Shu was an overpowered villain. But near the end of Volume 5, Ken and Touka do something rather unexpected that helps to turn the tide of the fight. With what they do, the reader gets to see just how impressive of a Ghoul that Touka can really be.

Tokyo Ghoul Volume 5 also includes three side stories at the end. The first one focuses on Rize Kamishiro, which provides some backstory for this character. It’s set about six months before the start of the Tokyo Ghoul series, and it ultimately ends with a foreshadowing of what will happen at the start of the main story. Of the three side stories, I would have to say that this one was my favorite.

The second side story is a little confusing to follow, because it can be hard to figure out where to place it in the timeline. The part focusing on the Ghoul investigators is easy, because it would have to go after the end of Volume 3. But the portions of the story focusing on the Ghouls appear to not be in chronological order, and skip around to various points in time. I had a hard time enjoying this side story because of how confused I became over its narrative structure.

The final side story focuses on the Ghoul investigator named Kotaro Amon, who is investigating the deaths of fellow Ghoul investigators. Overall, this side story is more about exposition than action. However, there’s a surprising scene that happens right at the end of it that keeps it from completely being a snoozefest.

When it comes to the art in Tokyo Ghoul Volume 5, I have to say that the thing that jumped out at me the most is how much effort Ishida put into depicting characters’ shock and fear. He made sure that panels featuring these expressions jumped out at the reader, and I think this helped to emphasize the tone of terror and horror that he wants to convey in Tokyo Ghoul.

Tokyo Ghoul Volume 5 should appeal to readers who have been following this series from the beginning. This volume provides important information and backstory that helps readers to better understand some of what they saw earlier in the series, and the fight sequences should also keep readers engaged and interested in the story.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional post about Tokyo Ghoul:

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