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Tokyo Ghoul ‘S’ – movie review – Fantasia 2019

Tokyo Ghoul ‘S’ / 東京喰種 トーキョーグール S [Tokyo Guru S ] (2019)
Director: Kazuhiko Hiramaki, Takuya Kawasaki
Writer: Chuji Mikasano
Cast: Masataka Kubota, Shota Matsuda, Maika Yamamoto

Synopsis

This sequel (although I doubt that’s what ‘S’ stands for) has Kaneki facing off against an uber foodie ghoul, Tsukiyama, nicknamed the “Gourmet” who becomes obsessed with Kaneki due to him being a hybrid of ghoul and human. Tsukiyama wants to eat Kaneki. Obviously Kaneki does not want to be eaten.

Review

While I’m tempted to say the ‘S’ stands for stupid, I don’t think this sequel is all bad but it is a step backwards. Before getting to why that is, this sequel makes several references to the first movie. The main plot is simple enough that it could be understood without watching the first movie but a lot of background will be lost on those who didn’t watch the first movie or don’t remember it. I strongly suggest that you watch the first movie before this one. The first movie establishes the world and characters and the sequel assumes you’re already aware of all that.

A different actress plays Touka in this movie. She does a pretty good job in my opinion and she does the tough look just as well as the previous actress and with the costume and makeup resembles Touka from the first movie as much as feasibly possible. I’d argue this new actress might actually be a better Touka. Interestingly the actress who plays her classmate was also recast in this movie. Touka actually has a small but interesting bit of development.

On the other hand, Kaneki seems to have regressed, he’s weak here, if not weaker than he was at the end of the first movie. Character-wise he doesn’t seem to have learned anything. Right after Touka warns him about Tsukiyama, Kaneki goes and hangs out with him at the first opportunity without suspicion. Granted he has a reason but that’s based on trusting another ghoul, which he should know by now is something one shouldn’t do so easily.

The main villain, Tsukiyama, seems quite threatening at first but soon becomes campy and at times cringey. Sometimes it goes into so bad it’s good territory but sometimes it’s just bad. He’s still clearly more powerful than the ghouls who try to fight him with only Touka being somewhat able to keep up with him. The way he is defeated makes no logical sense. He’s also pretty stupid as his actions make little sense throughout the movie, basically allowing Kaneki to escape dismemberment at one point and then in the final battle allowing him and his allies to recover in the final fight while he blabbers on about wanting to eat Kaneki.

The obviously restrained use of special effects for the kagune (sort of like these weird but unique appendages that each ghoul has and uses for fighting) in the final fight makes it almost feel like this movie had a smaller budget than the first movie or ran out of budget. Although the fighting is intense, there’s nothing new or original. A lot of attacks are out of the frame. It’s actually a boring fight compared to fights from the first movie.

Some characters who had significant involvement in the first movie appear here but aren’t involved in the main story with only brief appearances. There’s also a supposed revelation about an event in the first movie that’s introduced by a new character then dropped completely which probably means it will come up in the third movie. For a sequel this movie actually feels smaller in scope than the first movie.

Overall, this seems like an unnecessary movie as nothing significant seems to have changed after the events of this movie. I’m not sure even hardcore Tokyo Ghoul fans actually need to see this movie because I don’t think anything important happens. I definitely don’t recommend this to non-fans.

 

 

Author:

Longtime fan and reviewer of East Asian films. Formerly a short segment on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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