Story/Art: Sui Ishida
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
Amid clashes between Ghouls and the Commission of Counter Ghoul investigators at Doctor Kano’s underground facility, Kaneki finds himself locked in battle with Special Class Ghoul investigator Yukinori Shinohara. When the battle subsides, the CCG discovers shocking evidence that leads them closer to discovering the truth behind Kano’s sinister plans.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As the volume opens, we find Kaneki in his new weird centipede form, and he’s just completely and utterly snapped. Like, he’s literally just sputtering gibberish and attacking wildly, which is… something. The other fights also carry on, and the biggest one is probably the one between Juzo and the twins. We do actually get a little bit of backstory jammed in about the time the three of them spent together when they were younger, but it’s nothing too special. Largely, it just kind of confirms the obvious point that Juzo is pretty messed up more than anything else. Juzo does pull off a kind of amusing maneuver with a ton of knives back in the present though, so that’s at least a little bit of something interesting.
A good chunk of the book, though, does indeed go to that battle with the new, broken Kaneki. It’s still got the issue of being more flash than substance, but I’ll admit that at least in a few places it does manage some nice moments. Or to be more accurate, Amon is kind of neat as he throws himself and his emotions in to the thick of things at full force. That said, it’s still a little off due to the weird state Kaneki’s in. Like, it’s definitely an unusual twist to have the main character just completely fall apart as he desperately gains power as fast as he can, but… it’s just not that interesting to see him effectively swapped out for gibberish. Rather than reading like a truly broken character, where we still can see the traces of him underneath it all driving things, it’s just like something completely different is in control as he indiscriminately fights everyone. And that’s just… not that interesting to be honest, because it feels like he’s so separate from his actions that it’s hard to actually tie him to being properly responsible for them.
With all that out of the way, though, things do indeed keep on rolling. When Kaneki’s favorite author actually becomes a character, will that be enough to save the series from its doldrums of late? And of all the various teases about the unknown pasts of several characters, will any of them actually amount to anything worthwhile?
At the very least, I will say this volume does manage a slight upturn from the crap that the series peddled last time around. If nothing else, Amon manages to push a few nice moments into an otherwise awkward battle, and brings along some flash to the proceedings as well. And there are a few bits of legitimate attempts to develop the characters, though they’re a bit on the flat side sadly. So that’s at least a few positive points in the favor of the book, which is something. Sadly, though, the rest is the same sort of big old pile of bland we saw last time, with a big number of ideas that could potentially have been interesting, but just lack the punch they should have thanks to subpar execution. I still haven’t 100% given up hope for the series recovering, as there’s still the slightest hint of something intriguing buried deep down inside it. But this book sadly most definitely doesn’t manage to make use of that potential, and remains a rather so-so read that’s hard to recommend.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: December 20th, 2016