Why did I strive to be strong? Why did I have to bloodshed? Why did I throw away his humanity, why did I have to throw away his weakness?
The following review contains major spoilers and this post written only by reading Tokyo Ghoul and not Tokyo Ghoul:RE.
Kaneki’s character is portrayed” the parallel of the innocent naïve college child to the cold traumatized guy. One of the biggest themes throughout Tokyo Ghoul is Kaneki’s struggle with his identity. Kaneki single-handedly uplifts the whole manga into a whole new level. His character development is one of the most gratifying moments of the story, I’ve never seen a better character development in an action manga.
To be honest I like how sui Ishida approached Kaneki as the main protagonist. In the opening few chapters the author had the opportunity to show the readers whether Kaneki was either anti-hero or a hero and this is what most authors do. I don’t know whether this is intentional or not but it’s amazing, the author keeps the pen on Kaneki on the borderline of both. It could go either way which was interesting to see.
Also I like the fact that unlike most heroes he does not unleash his power the second he gets angry or sad. He suffers in the borderline of becoming a villain, the author pushes him to his limits of how much he can still be sane after realizing he was a ghoul. This is also plays a role in him identifying what’s right and what’s wrong.
At the beginning Kaneki has a strong sense of justice against ghouls, he thinks they are the bad guys and humans are the nice one but realizes he’s none of them. He can’t be a hero because already half-ghoul and he can’t become a villain because he still cares about others. So just what is he?
He was only were forced to dance at other’s whims like puppet until he learns to walk his own path. While he appears to be strong on the outside, he’s frightened of being alone on the inside. He wants to be powerful. To fight monsters, he must become a monster. He finally accepts what he is. A ghoul.
Kaneki’s character growth is the best thing in the series. Kaneki believes he can fight with without losing his true self. As time goes on he seems more confident on his skills without using his Kagune. This is where his extensive knowledge to reading books comes to use as he can fight on his own but he also soon comes to realize that there are even stronger opponents that he could only defeat when he accepts his ghoul side completely.
Kaneki was the type of person that wants to know pain instead of hurting. The first major characteristic of Kaneki is his utter kindness, that later on the readers as well as Kaneki realize was just naivety and selfishness.
I can’t believe he just went from a wimp who didn’t want to hurt anybody to a complete badass. The guy who once had a human body, can now compete with the strongest of ghouls. He’s come this far on his own strength.
He’s a single person who has two worlds in which to belong. But that’s exactly what he needs to be a main protagonist, a redeeming a feature that is unique to him when compared to the other characters and that is that he is half-ghoul.
Ken Kaneki’s struggle with himself and the ghoul world’s twisted cage are a reflection of Sui Ishida’s own scuffle with himself and of the world that traps and surrounds him, from which he couldn’t escape from even while writing the manga.
“The thing that you are trying to throw away is half of what makes you who you are”.
Kaneki is filled with regret and curses his own powerlessness, which is the first step towards his desperate chase for power but trying to achieve a power that he cannot control was his biggest regret.
In the end, his selfish attempt at being the tragic hero that saves everyone backfires at him, he goes against his loved one’s wishes and distances himself, which he eventually realizes and decides to go back, but his realization proves to be too late and his attempt at saving those dear to him fails once again as his efforts are proven futile as he is killed by Arima.
There lies the tragic hero on the ground regretting his own decisions and finally the curtain closes to the unfortunate protagonist
“To live is to eat others”