Tokyo Ghoul S (東京喰種 トーキョーグール S)

Directed by Takuya Kawasaki and Kazuhiko Hiramaki, Tokyo Ghoul S ( 東京喰種 トーキョーグール S) is a Japanese dark fantasy action horror film and is the sequel to the live-action film Tokyo Ghoul, inspired by Sui Ishida’s manga and anime of the same name. In this sequel, Ken Kaneki played by Masataka Kubota, is half-ghoul and half human and although allied with a few ghouls, it seems he still hasn’t made peace with what he is yet.

In this alternate world, humans are no longer at the top of the food chain, with ghouls being above all. Despite Kaneki requiring human flesh to survive, he refuses feed on humans, still valuing their lives like his own. Which is not odd, considering Kaneki is still half human. When Kaneki meets fellow ghoul Shuu ‘The Gourmet’ Tsukiyama played by Shota Matsuda, Kaneki believes he has found kinship in a fellow ghoul, this is until Kaneki discovers his rarity makes him a desired meal on the menu too.

I thoroughly enjoyed Masataki Kubota‘s portral of Kaneki who although is still conflicted with his new found life, Kaneki‘s morals never waver. Kubota displays Kaneki as introverted, innocent and pure with a good heart, despite being part ghoul. I found Kaneki extremely relatable and likable. It didn’t take me long to become attached to his character and extremely concerned for his well being. Maika Yamamoto is great as Kaneki‘s ghoul friend Touka Kirishima. Unlike Kaneki, Touki is a lot more negative, scolding Kaneki to not care for humans as much as he does.

But the stand out performance would be villain Shuu Tsukiyama aka ‘The Gourmet’ played by Shota Matsuda. Having already been a fan of Shota Matsuda, I was keen to see him play the bad guy in a fantasy horror setting, and man, he did not disappoint. The Gourmet was shown as a powerful ghoul foodie who is well dressed, well educated, rich and absolutely bonkers. Because Kaneki is so kind-hearted and gullible, he does not appear frightened nor intimated at all by Matsuda‘s character. Meanwhile, watching the film, I kept feeling constantly stressed for Kaneki‘s safety. Matsuda and Kubota‘s on-screen chemistry together was also electric. Despite both characters being ghouls (well one half-ghoul), it was quite obvious who was the predator and who was the prey.

The use of classic style music by music producers Yosuke Miyaji and Hideoki Mogi was very clever, especially during the carefully orchestrated and choreographed karate fight scenes. The visuals were also very impressive; detailed enough to look real, but still intentionally looking like something straight out of an anime at the same time.

Tokyo Ghoul S is a solid sequel to the 2017 live-action film. Sure, it makes the Gourmet story arc its own, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing in the slightest. If you’re a fan of the Tokyo Ghoul franchise, manga, anime, or just love a good wacky Japanese film, this flick is worth a look. It’s not the kind of world I’d want to live in, but it’s damn enjoyable to watch.

Tokyo Ghoul S will be in selected cinemas from July 25.

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