The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
Send this page to Twitter!  

THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is a live-action adaptation of Sui Ishida's manga horror series. It is full of weird creatures, bloody mayhem, and outlandish action sequences. At the same time, though, there's a real core of humanity at the center. That mixture helps to make the movie consistently engaging, even if it doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel. Tokyo Ghoul will play in select theaters across the United States and Canada from October 16-20, 2017.

The basic concept is that there are “ghouls” living among humans. Telling them apart is nearly impossible, except that their tongues cannot stand human food and thus they avoid eating when around non-ghouls. They also sprout wings or tentacles from their backs when ready to munch on their preferred snack, human flesh.

Masataka Kubota plays Kaneki Ken, a college student who gets bitten by a ghoul and transformed into one. He soon finds himself taken in by a community of ghouls who teach him how to successfully hide in plain sight. They even offer food, in the form of body parts taken from suicide victims. Keneki, however, can't bring himself to eat a human. He just wants to go about his life without harming anyone. That becomes difficult when two professional ghoul hunters come looking for him.

The action-oriented sequences in Tokyo Ghoul are quite fun. Keneki tries very hard to hold his new form in check, but you know it's just a matter of time before it reveals itself. When that happens, it's glorious. Special effects used to create his and other creatures' various appendages are sometimes a little cheesy-looking. Even so, director Kentaro Hagiwara brings a great deal of style to the fights, focusing on how the ghouls use their individual “weapons” to their benefit. (The hunters have pretty cool weapons of their own.) Blood and gore abound, yet the movie never goes overboard, keeping the most graphic moments off-camera. Still, anyone looking for a dose of monster gruesomeness will find enough to satisfy here.

Of course, those moments only work because of the story at the heart of Tokyo Ghoul. Much of the emphasis is on Keneki struggling to reign in the inevitable. Being a ghoul sounds deeply unpleasant to him, so he does everything possible to avoid all of the gross aspects of it. Masataka Kubota does a fine job of showing the internal anguish the character feels as he struggles to hold on to his humanity. A subplot involving a little girl also carries surprising emotional weight. The less said about that, the better, as you'll want to experience it for yourself.

Some of the supporting characters in the film are slightly underdeveloped and, a few “ghoul rules” aside, there isn't really anything dramatically new in the concept of people and supernatural beings uncomfortably sharing the world. That's okay in this case for the simple reason that Tokyo Ghoul provides blood-dripping horror entertainment, while also delivering a character-based story worth becoming invested in. You can't beat a mixture like that in the genre.

To find a location showing Tokyo Ghoul near you, please visit the official website.

( out of four)

Tokyo Ghoul is unrated, but contains graphic violence. The running time is 1 hour and 59 minutes.

Buy a copy of my book, "Straight-Up Blatant: Musings From The Aisle Seat," on sale now at! Paperback and Kindle editions also available at!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.