Tokyo Ghoul is racing towards its big finale, and this volume packs a lot in. We are treated both to backstory and action in equal proportions. This volume even has some romance – a rarity for the universe! Wanna check out Volume 12 first? Read my review of it here!
Every good character needs an origin story, and Juzo’s was long overdue. Juzo was raised by a Ghoul called Big Madame. He performed stunts and killed humans in an arena for her. He was rewarded with body suspension, deriving pleasure from the pain. Taken into the CCG during a raid, Juzo was selected to the academy to begin training. While there, he caught an interrogator for Cochlea mutilating cats. Already labeled as the weird kid, Juzo was blamed for it.
Out of all the characters we have origins stories for, I am most glad for Juzo’s. So far he’s been portrayed as a weird masochist, toeing the line to psychopathy. But, that isn’t the case at all. He’s a product of his terrible upbringing, and is always unfairly blamed for anything bad happening. In my eyes, this origin story was the redemption Juzo deserves to be seen as something other than a monster.
While Juzo is thinking back on his past, the other members of the CCG are preparing for their raid of the 20th and 24th Wards. Knowing they might not make it out alive, they each prepare a Last Will and Testament. This task is something Seido especially struggles with.
Not wanting to be outshone, Mado makes it known that she wants to fight the One Eyed Owl of the 24th ward to avenge her mother. This is a surprisingly emotional statement for Mado. Even more surprising is the fact that she helps design Amon’s new quinque. The most surprising moment occurs when the two prepare to face their separate Owls. Out of nowhere, Mado kisses Amon. At least we know romance isn’t dead in the Tokyo Ghoul universe!
On the other side of town, trouble and coffee are brewing for the Ghouls of Anteiku. A Ghoul named Kaiko shows up and threatens Mr. Yoshimura. He tells him that by not giving up the One Eyed Owl, he is betraying V. After insisting that he has no son, Kaiko threatens Yoshimura once more with death before leaving.
Meanwhile, Kaneki overhears some CCG agents discussing a convergence on Anteiku. Both he and Yomo urge the others to lie low and leave Anteiku. Only Irimi and Koma stay to help Mr. Yoshimura hold down Anteiku. However, after seeing the force of the CCG, Kaneki decides to go help. Tsukiyama unsuccessfully tries to stop him. Yomo is more successful at stopping Touka from joining the fray.
Irimi and the Koma do their best to hold off the CCG agents from advancing. Irimi is overpowered, but Kaneki shows up just in time to assist. As he neutralizes the CCG threat, he heads towards Anteiku. There, he comes face to face with Amon, blocking anyone from entering the 20th ward. Will Kaneki get through in time to save Anteiku? I guess we’ll have to tune in to the final volume to find out!
Sui Ishida’s art continues to impress in this latest volume. He seems to specialize on the duality of people, pulling out the beauty and horror of his creations. In Juzo’s body suspension panel, skeletal butterflies are trapped in a spiderweb. The allusion to Juzo’s own situation is not lost on me, and is a clever metaphor. As I mentioned above, Juzo is fragile and was nurtured by a horrible environment. What worse environment could there be for a fragile butterfly but that of a spider’s web?
Sui also excels in drawing absolute sorrow in a way that evokes a feeling in the reader. When Seido is struggling with his last will, his head is initially drawn in black. This is a great way of showing him trapped in his despair before. The next panel shows a tense and tear-stricken Seido, truly fearful of his fate. It is haunting and disgusting and real and I can’t get enough of it.
With one volume left, I feel as ravenous as our Ghoul friends as I wait to read it! Those looking to read Tokyo Ghoul can buy the manga in store and online. Those a little more tech savvy can read the manga here on Viz’s website.
Note: VIZ Media provided us with a digital copy of this manga in exchange for our honest review