Tokyo Ghoul is one the hottest animes to hit the media theater in the last couple of years. Its wild success in Japan translated well with the American audience- naturally Tokyo Ghoul was licensed and dubbed very quickly. Like all popular series Tokyo Ghoul was not only licensed but got itself a nifty little collector’s box set ($109.99); that consists of the dvd and blu ray version of the series, commentary, and a small trove of collectible items.
The one thing that really sticks out about the box set is the packaging. I will admit: I can care less about packaging. Especially with my blu ray sets because I like to dismantle the set to save space on my movie shelf, or keep the nifty collectibles out on display; but the Tokyo Ghoul packaging is very eye catching. From the get-go, you can tell Tokyo Ghoul isnt a light hearted anime and some serious business is about to happen. What I particularly love about the packaging is the two dimensional character portraits on the outside–I love the ghoul overlay on top of the human. It’s smart packaging that any Tokyo Ghoul fan can find meaning in. My only nit pick is I wish the overlays were flip-flopped, I wish the human portraits were resting on top of the ghoul, because any watcher of the series knows the characters are far from human, instead it is only a visage. But for artwork sake, I can understand why the ghoul is on top. Not to mention it makes the box more eyecatching.
The initial impression of the box is convincing for any passer by to pick it up, but how do the contents inside justify a $109 price tag to a series fan and collector?
Obviously you’re going to get the series: dvd and blu ray copies included, always a nice bang for the buck. The disc packaging is gorgeous, I really love the water style character portraits that are chosen, and I love the texture of the packaging. It adds a nice depth to the art on display and gives it a little extra umph, making it stand out from typical disc packaging of a digitized and printed image. Dvd and blu ray discs are clearly labeled and distinguishable from each other–which is good because I hate sets where dvds and blu rays looks exactly the same. Making them different helps eliminate the chance that Ill accidentally watch the dvd version instead of the glorious high def blu ray version. (I’ve totally done this before too. After completing a series, I found out I was watching DVD quality the entire time and wanted to cry.)
The Tokyo Ghoul collector set has a decent amount of collectibles: art book/commentary book, art prints, note book, and wall scroll (hangers not included).
Personally, I love getting art books/commentary in my collector sets. The Tokyo Ghoul art book included isnt a bad item. The art book is the size of your standard dvd case, the pages are glossy, and there is enough art work and commentary to keep your preoccupied for a solid 30-45 minutes. I do have some complaints about it though: I really hate the size of the book. I understand that
they had to make sure that this particular collectible had to fit in the blu ray set, but I feel downsizing the art to this scale really takes away from the experience. Even though the book is made of good quality, I was struggling to really enjoy it. The art was scaled so small that it was hard to enjoy all the details in many of the pieces. A second let down of the art book is that the images chosen are not hard to come by; if I really liked the art I wouldn’t have a problem hitting up Google search and locating it online at a higher resolution. For a collector’s edition, Im hoping to find something somewhat exclusive, especially with my art books. The plus side of the art book is the included commentary about each Tokyo Ghoul episode with director Morita. I love stuff like this, it’s always fun to get into the head of director, or any staff member, to hear about behind the scenes info or understanding the direction of the series. Its great insight and gives the audience a great appreciation for the work that goes into a series like Tokyo Ghoul.
Once you get past the the discs, art and commentary book, the collector’s set has this nifty little box with more goodies for any Tokyo Ghoul fan. It includes some decent character portraits…However, my letdowns in the art book are also extended to the art prints– the paper they are printed on are of good quality, but the size is disappointing and the character portraits are commonly found on any fan site. The collector’s edition also include a small notebook/sketchbook- about the same size as everything else in the set- but I feel this notebook is the biggest “wtf?” item of the bunch. Everything that is included in this collector’s set makes sense, with the exception of this notebook…It is painfully out of place and its obvious. I mean, why in the hell would I need a notebook? To make it even more confusing, the said notebook isnt even Tokyo Ghoul themed. I could be wrong about this, there is some text written across the cover, but since I dont read Japanese I cant confirm what it says. It could easily say “Tokyo Ghoul” on the cover; but Id much rather have a clearer visualized theme if I absolutely need to use this awkward note book for anything.
The final piece to the collector’s edition is this pretty awesome Tokyo Ghoul wall scroll (no hangers provided, you will need to figure out how to get it up on your own!). The wall scroll/poster is pretty massive and made of good cloth quality. The image on the cloth isnt pixelated, its nice and clear and the image certainly makes a statement. It’s of good size, it nearly the size of my cabinet that stores all my board games–but put it into better perspective, I have a very large Mondo poster, this Tokyo Ghoul scroll is nearly just as big. So, good quality scroll with a great image, in a great size—no cons here! Just need to figure out if your wall will have enough room for it! The scroll is a good bonus to the collector’s edition and I can see many fans hanging this up on their walls to declare their fandom (ain’t no shame, you let that Ghoul flag fly!)
Im not going to spend a whole lot of time reviewing the actual Tokyo Ghoul series- considering its been out for a while and the series is clearly a fan favorite and continues to be after several seasons. Tokyo Ghoul, hands down, is a great show. The animation is clean and new, definitely of high quality production, and I absolutely low how the character’s are drawn. Each character has its own distinct style and is each to distinguish from one another. Voice acting- in both English and Japanese- is enjoyable to listen to. I prefer my anime subbed, but it doesnt hurt my ears to watch and listen to few episodes of Tokyo Ghoul in English. The English cast is filled with voice actor veterans who alot of emotion to the table, bringing the cast to life and making the story a believable. There were a few sequences where I winced, there could have been some better direction, but as a whole the English dubbing is good and stays true to the script after a translation.
The plot to Tokyo Ghoul is also very fresh, compared to the rest of the shows saturating the anime market– its nice to see something other than the standard shounen genre get some hype. Every so often you get a horror anime topping the charts, and Tokyo Ghoul is well deserving. Lately, the living dead is a major source of inspiration for the media, anime has also enjoyed many zombie themed shows, but Tokyo Ghoul takes the concepts of a zombie and rewrites it to not be background horror monster, but layered and complex beings who all have very different opinions on what it’s like to be ghoul or supernatural. The plot to Tokyo Ghoul is, truthfully, pretty standard fare–innocent main character so happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes a victim of circumstance. He is left trying to cope and understand what he has exactly become. Yeah, we’ve seen this kind of story a hundred times, just dressed up in different costumes; but what makes Tokyo Ghoul stand out above other similar stories is the character progression. For a good portion of the show, character progression is left on the back burner so the audience can explore and understand the concept of ghouls, their society, and it’s pitfalls. Towards the end though, things take a dark and fascinating turn and in a matter of few episodes you start to see some of your favorite character change….and in some character’s situations, it isnt for the best. And that’s what makes Tokyo Ghoul so exciting, is all of the character progression. Some grow and mature into better understanding, some begin a dark spiral, other’s are left broken and bruised. Tokyo Ghoul reminds the audience that character progression, or character development, isnt always reflected positively in your cast.
Overall, the Tokyo Ghoul collector’s blu ray set is a good buy for a great series with some qualified fan collectibles. Would I say it’s entirely worth the $109? Eh, I’d wait for it to drop in price just a little bit. The price tag is a little high, specially since most the items you can pick and choose or buy by themselves; but the set is definitely made of good quality. Funimation didn’t cheap out of anything, and some of the downfalls of the set isnt because Funimation doesnt understand its audience, but rather are limited by the packaging size (with the exception of that note book… it always leaves me asking “seriously, wtf?”). If you’re a Tokyo Ghoul fan, I’d definitely recommend the set if you’re looking for some ghoul swag.