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Tokyo Ghoul Re – S3E9 – play: Departed Spirit

Previously on Tokyo Ghoul, “TAKe: One Who Writhes”

“I’ll do what I can to save this, but don’t get your hopes up…

It is truly amazing how much damage can be done in a short amount of time. I used to be excited knowing The Gourmet was coming back, but after what we’ve been through, my guard was up. They already managed to make me hate Kaneki, I couldn’t afford to let them take Tsukiyama too. How did we get to the point that I’m praying they don’t screw up a sure thing? Well, we made it through the cold open. That’s worth something right?

G’s Up, Common Sense Down

Tsukiyama, as dark and evil as he can be, has always been a comedic character. Rarely (if ever) did his bits come at the expense of the plot or scene, a rule they seemed to have forgotten. Spurred on by Sasaki’s picture, Tsukiyama scurries around until he’s fallen face down at the Quinx Squad’s feet in broad daylight, with a rose suit on.

We couldn’t even last 5 minutes.

Considering the squad is investigating the rose ghouls, you’d think a strange man in a rose suit would raise some eyebrows, but nope. It’s the same silliness they pull later when Sasaki takes the gang to Uta’s for undercover masks. They all think Uta is a ghoul but let it slide and leave it alone so we can watch him screw with them.

It’d be funnier if the road to get there made more sense. It’s hard to take the CCG seriously when ghouls aren’t even trying to hide in their faces. Tsukiyama sports his fam’s calling card while Uta is rocking his eyes straight up and running a business that only makes sense for ghouls. Still, it wouldn’t hurt the episode as bad if it were just those two instances, but there’s  a big tonal shift around 2/3 in that cashes in on nothing that came before it. Once again, they want you to go from reaching for laughs to fearing life and death but between the lackluster choreography and lame build-up I just didn’t care.

The first half belongs to The Gourmet. Obsessed with Kaneki, and unable to accept his amnesia, there’s a fare amount of slapstick and stupidity to wade through before we get a glimpse of our favorite psychopath.

Le sigh.

Inexplicably “happening” upon Sasaki and not arousing his suspicion, it finally dons on Tsukiyama that he has the upper hand. In theory, he knows more about Sasaki than he knows about himself. The only problem being that Sasaki does have a different personality, which in turn (after a minor fluster) forces The Gourmet to get back to what makes both Kaneki and Sasaki tick:  loneliness and pain. It’s a master move that is only stymied by Saiko and ole Mutty showing up. Keep the slapstick and give me the cerebral Gourmet, that’s the freak I’m here for. And just as they start to get it right, Gourmet exits stage left.

I’m Shiki Kijima and this is Jackass.

A Man Got To Have A Code

Playtime is over when Kijima openly broadcasts a torture video online hoping to bait The Gourmet’s father, Mirumo. Hilariously this brings up an ethics violation which hasn’t ever been a problem for the Doves. We’re talking about the same dudes who have detention centers, live experiments, an open brutally horrific war, and also love to turn their enemies into weapons. Somewhere in all that, there are some laws past “kill all ghouls” and a public image they are struggling to keep. I don’t know where this has been for 3 seasons but it would’ve been nice to see how O.G. Mado got around it. He was the farthest thing from a “Champion of Justice” and still makes Kijima look like a K-Mart knockoff.

The last act is a whack battle in the world’s busiest car garage between the Quinxes and Aogiri Tree’s White Suits, who are hired to kill all Quinxes except for Sasaki. None of them come close, with most of them falling to the one guy they weren’t supposed to fight:  Sasaki. Shirazu freezes up when he tries to use Nutcracker while they have started to waste what good will Torso’s plot thread had mined. There’s nothing special to the action sequences this go around, or any great plot moments except two mystery spots.

Hey guys! I’m a thing! Look at me!

Late To The Party

First we meet Grave Robber, the mysterious ghoul who also uses a quinque before unsheathing her kagune. Matched up with Mutsuki, they both happen to have the same kagune type, bikaku, and that’s supposed to be enough to care who she is. The odds of Grave Robber turning out to be anyone special are pretty slim considering we only have 3 episodes left. It’s pretty late in the game to introduce anyone when we still haven’t gotten anywhere with Kaneki.

The other spot came after an infuriating scene with Saiko. We have literally seen her do nothing and be pointless. Her one shining moment was off-screen and still didn’t get the job done. Here, Mutty makes her hide where she is found by a ghoul who casually starts choking her. Not only does she not fight back, I’m not 100% convinced she wasn’t helping position his hands. Just before our cloaked Not Amon makes the save and disappear, I was starting to root for the ghoul. I don’t care what her arc is anymore, just get rid of her. As for Amon, what are the odds his return gets the gravitas it should? Three episodes left and no real aim past, “there’s some bad guys, let’s kill them” ain’t looking good.

An artist rendering of us fighting their bullshit.

Whatever comes next, I hope this experiment ends and Ghoul gets back to basics. In the end, the pace has become the same yet so much more shallow and that’s being nice. More and more lazy writing and animation have begun weighing this ship down. The aforementioned battle royale car garage saw the surviving ghouls escape by just jumping out like it was a burning ship. Not too bad except that they did it at least five separate times in less than 5 minutes. That doesn’t even look or sound good on paper and mistakes like this that make it worse to think this is the best Watanabe and crew could muster up with three years to play with. The manga is still hitting milestones, so this won’t get shelved any time soon presumably, but this new direction is the wrong one. Please, just stop.

Tokyo Ghoul S3E9 Review Score
  • 4/10
    Plot - 4/10
  • 6/10
    Dialogue - 6/10
  • 4.5/10
    Action - 4.5/10
4.8/10

"play: Departed Spirit"

2018 | Directed by Odahiro Watanabe | Written By Sui Ishida & Chûji Mikasano | Production Company:  Pierrot | Funimation SimulDub | Tuesdays 11 AM EST | 12 Episodes

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About Stephen Smith (72 Articles)
Stephen Smith is an old military brat who claims Houston, TX as his hometown. Growing up on a steady diet of anime, comic books, and video games, he has always kept his nerd light shining bright. Now, as a married father of 4, he passes on the tradition to his kids, while trying to not be too much of an adult in his bid for world domination.
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