There is a really positive way of seeing this episode and a really negative one. I will spend most of my review on the positive side of things and will address the negative side only shortly near the end, but keep in mind that I am more than aware that opinions will most likely be very divided on Tokyo Ghoul after this final episode.
Let’s take our pink glasses here and look at this episode as just that, an episode, and see how awesome and shockingly cool EVERYTHING was. From the symbolism, to the character development, to the horror, to the battle, everything was bigger and better than ever before. I think the key point of the episode was the intense reward we had with the sudden surge of psychological development regarding Kaneki. We’ve been watching the guy go around as a passive player in this story since episode 1, therefore to see him cornered, suffering and at the end of his rope ready to give up who he is…it is a tremendously fun experience.
Tokyo Ghoul is an horror show at its core, while the theme was always floating around and present, I think this episode of Tokyo Ghoul is the first one I would actually classify as horror in a heartbeat. The torture scene was gruesome, I know that we had a glimpse of it in the past episode too, but this time we were really inside Kaneki’s head, we could feel and understand the madness and pain of the torture. Every time Jason spoke I was shivering as if I would be the one to lose my hand next. This vivid torture really brought this feeling of inner fear and disgust that is associated with the horror genre. It was a great success.
The torture didn’t just bring forth the best of the horror though, the psychological ascension of Kaneki during this episode was marvelous. It wasn’t entertaining simply because our main character finally managed to climb the step to become a real man and someone with real strength, it was great because of the way he climbed those steps and how we were shown this progression. All the internal monologue between him and Rize was just a perfect medium to recreate the internal struggle and dilemmas that someone in such a situation would be facing. While story wise there was a reason for two people to be in the same head, it was also a great method to create an internal dialogue and to have our main character’s thought communicated in a dynamic way. To see the culmination of months of suffering and worthlessness, to see Kaneki bundled up emotions finally all release at once to change his personality completely. He has been able to reach the power he needs to stop being a bystander and begin actively addressing his needs and protect those he cares about, Kaneki finally learnt to be selfish. It was a great moment to see his true inner self be expressed in such a terrific fashion, it still gives me the chills.
Unfortunately, now is the time to take those pink glasses and put them in the trash can. It is time for a much more pessimistic view of this episode. Despite how great the episode was on its own, at the end of the day, it marks the end of Tokyo Ghoul and cliffhangers are just never a good thing unless another season has already been announced. It is also rather terrible that our main character finally had his big development and reveal…just in time for the show to finish. It is great that we got to have this happen as a great turning point, but it makes for a moot point when there is nothing to follow up after that. Even worse, the previous episode opened up a good thousand interesting fight and we will probably never see how any of those turns out…unless of course you read the manga, in which case, you probably thought the anime was a bad recreation of the manga in the first place.
For how great the episode itself was, this was a terrible way to end a show, I feel like things are ending just when they were getting started, they gave us a taste of awesome, just in time to close the curtain… I would have rather have had an average conclusion than being teased with awesome without any closure. A second season could mend the wounds, but for now I will say that Tokyo Ghoul probably won’t be loved by many because of this final episode alone, but overall I still enjoyed the show for what is was and therefore I do not regret a thing.
ZeroGhj signing off
EDIT: Since writing this review, the second season of Tokyo Ghoul is now scheduled to air in the Winter of 2015. This is excellent news as it voids most of the negative commentary I had about the show/episode. With only the Fall season of 2014 in between, the second season of Tokyo Ghoul will be here in the nick of time, rejoice !