Previously on Tokyo Ghoul Re, “think: Sway”
There’s a lot going on this week, yet I feel like the most interesting theme I noticed wasn’t intended. writE: The Absent One would have been near perfection in either of the two previous seasons, but under Watanabe’s watch, bad habits and poor planning bring it back down to earth. It’s actually a problem that predates him, but this season’s new direction did him no favors. The penultimate episode was almost great as long as you don’t think about it too hard. Even when Tokyo Ghoul: re gets rolling it can’t help but trip over its own feet.
Not Even By Blood Slip
For a perfect example, look no further than Senior Investigator Ihei. She enters with an action packed bright spot in an otherwise dismal episode under her belt and the promise of more in a building assault episode. Not only do they kill her off, but of all the ways to die this nigh superhuman trained killer slips on a bloody floor and gets stabbed through by Matsumae, leading to her borrowing a quinque that shot like a Ghostbusters proton pack, failing to kill Matsumae, and getting beheaded by Mairo, the butler who never mattered until now. For those keeping score, the lion share of her screen time consisted of a Looney Toons blooper and a failed attempt to avenger her death via uncomfortably close copyright infringement.
To be fair, Mairo did sacrifice half his body and live long enough afterwards to set Kijima up for a gory, comically long death scene at Matsumae’s hands (that really stuck out in these edited episodes) but her death definitely felt too soon. On the other hand, Kijima had to go and not just because he’s a dollar store Daddy Mado minus the intellect yet with 100% more resemblance to Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Toht.
For bonus points, with the heavy hitters down, Matsumae starts touchdown dancing a little too early thinking he can mow his way up to The Gourmet. The reserved Furuta turns out to be more of a monster than Kijima, needlessly sacrificing an investigator when he could easily swat Matsumae’s attacks like a gnat.As twisted and sadistic as Aogiri and CCG have been towards each other, none have ever gone against their own other than the weak acting Furuta and New Washu. A sweet reveal marred by lazy writing when, blinded by Furuta, Matsumae just stares at faces him while he revs up Kijima’s chainsaw and finishes him off with a cheesy blood splatter effect. He had more than enough time to swipe, roll, attempt a block, or at least step back but nope, the man couldn’t even die by blood slip.
A Sword Only A Ball Could Love
The Quinxes finally become the well oiled machine they were destined to be just in time for the massively overpowered Noro’s return. Just like before, he shape shifts and heals no matter what and racks up a high body count in a flash on the red shirt Ito Squad. The Q’s counter attack is a thing of beauty capped with this lil asshole finally getting in the game.
Not content with one possible lawsuit, we also get Shirazu’s new quinque, Nutcracker, or “thinly veiled rip-off of Blade’s sword (complete with timer trap) that turns into a giant baby ball toy instead of shooting out 3 spikes.” It’s powerful in an odd yet underwhelmingly effective way, but read that description again. Out. Loud. Yeah, I couldn’t really defend it either. The action was great, especially building off of Saiko’s reveal, but starting with the awkward throw before the sword blowing up into a skeleton balloon, I was taken out of the episode. There was no ball action going on with Nutcracker, there’s nothing cool about a sword turning into a ball, and I really need to see how the hell any of that added up. Never mind the fact Saiko’s kagune style doesn’t match up with Nutcracker’s death because powerful Noro gets sliced in half but weak assed Nutcracker didn’t have a scratch, screw it. And scratch whatever the deal is with Shirazu’s sister’s face, I care even less now. I need some answers on that ball sword and how it made it all the way to my eyes. That’s my cliffhanger. Not Noro surviving being cut in half and rampaging, or whatever the Quinxes will have to pull off to win, it’s the mystery of that damn ball sword.
You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore
In the main event, Sasaki takes on the Gourmet on a generic moonlit helipad in the weakest fight of the week. Instead we’re supposed to ride the emotional wave of an amnesiac and his ex-creepy stalker, who suddenly has matured into a full blown character with emotions, but it just doesn’t work, and worse yet, they skip past the decisive blow to Sasaki standing over The Gourmet. I’d be more pissed but they didn’t manage to get me invested in the first place. Again, we’re screwed out of important moments in order to rush to the next thing.
That thing being the mess they made of Kanae. Using Ball Sword LogicTM, somehow fusing with one of Eto’s spare bones equals getting Noro’s powers. In theory it makes for a good fight, in practice he doesn’t last a cup of coffee and retroactively pisses on all his previous screen time considering he can’t beat a one-armed Sasaki. There is nothing he did that couldn’t have easily been done by anyone else, including the disturbing torture that left his eyes and mouth sown half open, if you’re an optimist.
That’s right, there are stitches and just keeping him from bucking his eyes or having a good yawn. The only important note was the revelation that Arima is also in Sasaki’s head, be it metaphoric or more literal, which would be interesting but there’s no way this gets paid off or explained in the finale, so fuck it. Arima is presumably back at the mansion and the One Eyed Owl is on the scene so it’ll most likely be another plot point left to be assumed.
Shut up, Brain
It’s a part of a major problem this season had: almost nothing is given enough time to develop. Kijima’s death was supposed to be a cathartic moment, but he only ruthlessly murdered characters we barely knew in generic torture scenes that we’ve seen a million times, and he was barely on screen to do that. By the 7th inning stretch of his death my thumb was begging to hit the fast forward button. Then when they decide they want you to feel something for a death, they trot out some flashbacks to try add some empathy that they couldn’t have been bothered to take the time to earn before, which only gets better because they do it to death. Ihei has a flashback to a time she had with young Arima, Kanae and Matsumae can’t get enough of young Gourmet, and that’s just this week off the top of my head.
They pulled that card with Nutcracker and fell in love with it for some reason I’ll never understand. It’s a horrible lazy habit that you would think someone along the way would’ve pointed out. Kanae’s flashback included an unknown medical condition, persecution, kinky Eto time, and enough material for its own episode crammed into a minute. I know they were shooting for parallels when they showed the CCG coming for his family like The Gourmet’s, but tell me they don’t seem Klan like appearing in big groups, dressed in white, and burning everything down. It kinda makes me want to go back and watch Ghoul as an allegory about being black in America, but then I’d have to watch this :re again. Pass.
I’ll be honest, when I first sat down to write this, I was slightly optimistic and somewhat happy with what I had watched. Then I came to talk to ya’ll about it and reality hit. I was prepared to tell you that this week was a certified “Ok” in a season that has seen more ups and downs than a pogo stick orgy, and that’s streets ahead of what we had been getting, but I made the mistake of thinking about it, my bad. This season is awful. Everything it touches turns to shit and I’m going to need them to fix this. Fix this and tell me the truth behind the damn ball sword!
Tokyo Ghoul S3E11 Review Score
"writE: The Absent One"
2018 | Directed by Odahiro Watanabe | Written By Sui Ishida & Chûji Mikasano | Production Company: Pierrot | Funimation SimulDub | Tuesdays 11 AM EST | 12 Episodes