Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 37: Dead Secret

“It’s extremely simple. You just have to tell him Kaneki’s alive.”

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Impression

A slow chapter this week – most of it focused around seemingly unrelated threads of plot, probably meant for world-building rather than anything else. I still think Yoriko must have been re-introduced for a purpose other than just being a potential love interest for Kuroiwa, but the focus on the CCG means that we’re unlikely to get more of her for the time being – similar to how it is with Touka, who we only know visits the hospital occasionally and works at another coffee shop. At least now we know that whoever Touka’s visiting, it’s not Yoriko. It being Hide now looks even more likely.

All that biology stuff was interesting, and I’m sure it’s making Urie especially happy to know that there’s a way to quickly have his physical strength increase so he can duke it out with Kuroiwa. And it’s only applicable to ghouls or anyone with RC cells in their system – because the RC cells apparently aid with healing damaged muscles and other body parts, leaving them a lot stronger after they end up rebuilding compared to the results of normal muscle training. In essence, the more ghouls get hurt, the stronger they become. I guess it’s the reason Urie is such a muscle maniac, because the gym is a relatively safe environment through which he can get stronger with tangible results. The only other way to exploit this method is to do a Haise and get injured countless times, and that’s clearly not been too fun for him. I bet his fingers, toes and eyeballs must be tougher than steel now.

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Speaking of Haise’s fingers and toes, we also saw him meet his torturer’s torturer this chapter – basically, the guy whom Yamori learnt all his torture techniques from, by virtue of having been subject to the same pain when he was captured and interrogated in Cochlea. I swear he was dead given that Yamori managed to break free, but clearly not – I’m also wondering if it’s just a coincidence that they have such similar facial structures. In general, he’s just not a very nice guy – Haise should have reminded him that the Mutsuki he said was so useless is now Rank 1, and that Juuzou’s made it all the way to Special-Class.

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As for Tsukiyama… well, I can understand why Kanae was so unwilling to let him know Kaneki was ‘alive’. I don’t think I’d use the same wording Hori Chie did, given that Haise isn’t really Kaneki (yet), but it should prompt some sort of reaction from Tsukiyama. The thing is, Kanae hates him for the same reason he hates Hori Chie – it’s because Tsukiyama has an odd fixation with them that goes beyond just food, and it’s the sort of attention he’s jealous of because he’s so obsessed with his master. Kanae knew all along that telling Tsukiyama about Kaneki was the way forward – but for him it’s a rock and a hard place, essentially a choice between a depressed, useless Tsukiyama and a lively one who only cares about Kaneki-kun and Little Mouse. Poor Kanae, forever alone.

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 36: Suddenly

Uta, you stinking liar.

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Impression

“Where did Hirako transfer to?”
“Arima Squad.”

Oh shit. If there’s any off-screen tension that we’ve had in this manga so far, it’s whatever’s up between Hirako and Arima – the rough idea being that Hirako has spent practically his entire career in Arima’s shadow, and thus has a pretty unfavourable opinion of him. At the auction, the one thing that got Hirako to drop his poker face was Uta morphing into Arima and telling him to ‘stand by’ – and that was when Hirako got a clean shot in at Uta by targeting his face in an incensed rage. Poor Hirako.

_re 36 Img002Speaking of Uta, I have a feeling Haise knows perfectly well that Uta is lying about his permanent kakugan being contacts. Haise got his info on the mask from the Kaneki in his head, whom he knows is a ghoul – the idea is that he probably wanted to look for one of Kaneki’s past contacts, who is also likely to be a ghoul. And the chances are, ghouls have their masks made by other ghouls anyway. I’m kind of glad his visit didn’t amount to any kind of conflict – it’s not like Haise was there to fight, but pretty much anything could have gone wrong with him visiting Uta whilst dressed like a dove, so it’s good that nothing ended up happening. Haise achieved two objectives, the first of which was to confirm a potential link between Uta and Kaneki, which Uta himself hinted at when talking about how the mask was meant for a ‘regular customer’. The second was to figure out a role in his current operation that only the Quinx could play, and the custom-made masks he’s ordered must have something to do with that. I’m hoping we end up getting a team of eye-patched ‘ghouls’ running around undercover doing all sorts of stuff – that would be really cool, especially as it’d be a perfect disguise for a dove.

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Hairu was such a cutie this chapter, she kind of reminded me of Juuzou with her mad skills yet childish nature. I was surprised Matsumae even survived that battle – looks like all the members of Zero Squad are where they are for a reason. Hairu joins the ranks of the investigators wanting to be praised by Arima (i.e. Hirako) although the cost of getting a compliment might be higher than she thinks. I remember Haise being praised back when he was Kaneki, but then he had his eyes gouged out and his entire personality eradicated and replaced. It can’t possibly be worth it.

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So finally, we have the return of Yoriko. I… really wasn’t expecting to see her at all, let alone as someone who knows Kuroiwa Jr – damn, I bet Urie will be jealous when he hears that his one-sided arch enemy not only has the ability to strangle ghouls bare-handed, but also gets all the girls. Looks like her dream kind of came true, although Touka never really was the best judge of her food, what with being a ghoul and all. I don’t know if this means more Touka, not that Yoriko even knows Touka is a ghoul – but at least this dispels the whole ‘Yoriko is Hairu’ theory I’ve heard floating around the internet. I mean, seriously?

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Sakura Amidst the Chaos [ Oda Nobunaga Route ]

Holy Moley Batman, welcome to one of the longest, if not the longest, Voltage games around. You’re in for a big one on this game, 18 chapters and an epilogue all in one package. Voltage spared no expense, releasing 5 characters at once and giving a huge variety in order to market this story.

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I’m impressed, usually I wait on every Voltage game because there’s no guy I like- but they pretty much cover all of their bases for that problem in their new release: Sakura Amidst the Chaos. I love Japanese history and historical fiction, the first game I ever reviewed in terms of romance games was actually ‘Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom’, so naturally I am completely excited by this game. To start it off, I picked the most notable choice: Oda Nobunaga.

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The interesting thing about Oda Nobunaga in history is that while his name is synonymous with ‘powerful’ and usually a sword beyond reason and unmatchable skill, indeed I only ever looked him up because his name was used for powerful swords or students or masters and the like, he has a complicated history that actually involves a lot of infighting with his family. So while Voltage has a history of unanimously happy stories, this one is one that to a degree I know they couldn’t.

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Namely the story begins with you impoverished and living with your aunt, and your abusive borderline rapist cousin. The entire concept is you’re saved by Nobunaga who basically repays you with a gift way beyond your paygrade, then invites you to work for him. Nobunaga is refreshing in that he is so dorkishly in love with you and it fits into his history:

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Nobunaga was kind of deemed unworthy of ruling his family and this caused in fighting basically for the rest of his life. It makes sense for him to be selfish and self righteous, and I admire that Voltage do that.

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I admire a lot of this route. It takes such interesting history that I don’t actually want to take away from it, but the nature of your romance feels very important. It’s clear very quickly that Nobunaga is in love with you and it goes to the extent of him shunning his other love interests. . .his intended fiance. In history he actually does marry her and his sister makes a point to note that a wife is something you have to expect but not what he would actually care about.

The way this route progresses is almost naive, but I love it. Everything about it is fun and culturally interesting, and the art is slightly different than normal and gives something boyish to the. . .blodstained warlord. But isn’t that what we’re kind of here for? All the same, I highly recommend this route. The romance is top notch and Voltage delivers on trying to both juggle romance and enlighten players on Japanese history.

Giving this an OH DAMN HE’S COVERED IN WATER out of 10.

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Oki

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 35: Dependence

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 34: Rose

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 33: Embracing Books

“She’s a ghoul… and I’m a ghoul investigator.”

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Impression

I had to go look up what ‘consanguineous’ meant. According to Wikipedia, consanguinity “is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person”. Today I learned something new! So basically, the Tsukiyama family have sustained themselves through repeated cases of incest, and thus their RC cells are genetically vulnerable. I don’t really get why that means no-one in their family can develop a kakuja, though. It’s a type of kagune mutation, and from my limited knowledge of biology I seem to remember that children born out of incest have a higher chance of mutated genes? At any rate, it’s impossible for Tsukiyama, and things are not looking too good for him at the moment. I presume being a ‘foul feeder’ relates to cannibalizing ghouls – most ghouls do it with the hope of becoming a kakuja, because other than that it’s not a fun diet.

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I hope Haise keeps Hinami safe. Ayato already doesn’t like him, imagine what he’ll do if Hinami ends up dying on his watch. I think a lot of us were relieved with her being placed into Cochlea at the end of the auction arc instead of dying at the hands of either Takizawa or Arima, but back then we didn’t even know that ownership rights had expiration periods. The time-skip now means that this deadline is fast approaching, and investigators apart from Akira are now saying things about Haise and Hinami. I thought it was a bit odd that Haise decided to reference Kaneki on camera – in fact, Hinami also spoke openly about their relationship and called him onii-chan. So surely anyone watching the camera logs would start to ask questions about them, and suspect that him defeating her was a lie – which won’t do any favours for Haise’s reputation within the CCG, at least amongst those who know about his hybrid status and don’t trust him that much. At any rate, Haise is feeling something for Hinami as Haise himself, instead of as Kaneki – and is questioning the injustice of her being there, which is a rather odd stance to take as an investigator. Or is Kaneki slowly starting to fuse with Haise, represented by the surprising amount of black now back in his hair?

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So as predicted, this next arc will focus on Tsukiyama, in a mirror of the original manga. As much as I want to believe it has something to do with Rize, the ‘Rose’ case most probably refers to the remnant of the Rosewald family they picked up on at the auction – who is, of course, Kanae. I can actually see Kanae asking Haise for help if Tsukiyama’s condition deteriorates far enough despite his hate for him, because Haise is the one thing that’ll rejuvenate him completely. More likely to be an antagonist is this new investigator, Kijima, who looks like a ghoul, a member of V and an ex-Scrapper all at the same time. He’s the most shady investigator I’ve ever seen – how did this guy make it to Associate Special-Class?

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 32: Eat and Run

How pitiful…

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Impression

What has Haise done to his hair?! It reminds me of Touka. I do hope this is just for the promotion ceremony and not something more permanent. A year has passed, and Haise is now a year older – and maybe a year closer to assimilating himself with Kaneki, too. For some reason, the vision of Kaneki is no longer as young as he once was, and now seems a lot more threatening than he was back at the auction. Was it all merely a false sense of security? Now he’s talking about not being able to coexist and him being similar to a caterpillar fungus that’s slowly taking over Haise the moth. It’s interesting that the end result in that analogy is ‘vegetation’, which is something different to both the fungus and the moth – it hints that if Kaneki succeeds, he won’t be the old Kaneki he once was, but will also have a bit of ‘Haise’ and his experiences in him. But at any rate, Haise is remembering more and more. He has visions of Mado, who he shouldn’t be able to picture at all, as well as a younger, glasses-wearing Touka from the time they infiltrated the CCG. And of course, there’s the ‘sharp pain gouging out the back of his eyes’. Hmm, I wonder why he’s feeling that sort of pain, right Special-Class Arima?

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The main thrust of the chapter was a promotion ceremony – pretty much everyone who made a notable contribution to the auction got a promotion. Urie got the Osmanthus Award and a promotion to Rank 1, but is still incredibly salty over how Kuroiwa Takeomi is the only one people are talking about. It’s kind of amusing that he still hasn’t changed even after all that’s gone on: he thinks, ‘why the fuck are you touching me?’ when Kuroiwa Sr. pats him on the shoulder. Juuzou’s promotion to Special-Class is well-deserved, but why was Washuu Matsuri also given a promotion? He didn’t do anything! I mean, he coordinated it all and stuff, but in terms of danger his life was nowhere near as threatened as the rest of the entire CCG. And he was the one who made Haise suffer and left him to fight Takizawa on his own. Similarly, it’s nice that Mutsuki jumped two ranks to Rank 1, but will it help him in the long-run? Presumably you have to take on more dangerous tasks, and more is expected of you in terms of combat ability – neither of which Mutsuki seems to be prepared for. I was under the assumption that ranking changes should take things like skill into account, too.

Haise is now First-Class like Amon, and Akira has been promoted to Associate Special-Class. I found the hug between them really cute! I think one of the greatest losses Haise will sustain as a result of reverting into Kaneki is his relationship with Akira. It’s now a little strained though, since Haise has decided to keep Hinami instead of killing her and making a quinque out of her as Akira presumably wants. The reason for her father’s death is reading books in Cochlea, and she can’t do anything about it. I didn’t even know ownership rights had an expiration date – but it must be conflicting for Haise. If he still is Haise, I don’t think he’s willing to go against the CCG and protect Hinami just because she saved her life – he has to remember more, first. At the moment, he still refers to her as ‘Yotsume’ and ‘Fueguchi’ instead of ‘Hinami-chan’ or something. At least she’s relatively safe.

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Now, with Tsukiyama on the horizon, it’s pretty much confirmed that :re will be mirroring the original Tokyo Ghoul. This next arc will involve Tsukiyama, and if he ever comes into direct contact with Haise, I’m sure the resulting confrontation will be interesting – regardless of how Haise might have changed, the Gourmet can identify him by smell. I have no idea what’s up with him, but he’s gone from not having an appetite to wanting to eat anything at all, so we’re taking baby steps at least. I know there are theories saying Tsukiyama now has a kakuja, but I’m pretty sure it’s just some sheets or the canopy of his bed covering his face. I mean, you can’t even use your normal kagune if you haven’t eaten anything. How is he supposed to use a kakuja in the condition he’s in?

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 31.5: With The Master

“What do you people want to do? Wait for Kaneki? Or…”

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Impression

So the question is: how seriously are we supposed to take this? It’s canon for sure, but for an omake-styled chapter its content seems to be a little too significant – it pretty much reveals the status quo a month on from the auction raid, and there’s a lot that can be inferred. Haise is still alive as Haise, for one, but Kaneki is now a continuing presence in his life – they still talk to each other, and it’s actually pretty nice seeing Kaneki relay little tidbits of advice across to a Haise who’s willing to listen to him. All seems normal with the Quinx Squad as well, with their existence now acknowledged as useful by the CCG. It quickly became apparent that Hinami was not around, and I think this (unfortunately) debunks the theory that Hinami would live with Haise like she used to – this takes place a month after the raid ended, after all. And Haise still refers to her as ‘Yotsume’. I guess she’s in Cochlea. I hope Haise visits frequently at least, it’s the least she deserves after having saved his life. At least he’s thinking of Touka, the only other contender for best girl!

It really is odd to see that treacherous bastard Uta just sitting in :re, as if he’s truly on their side. To be honest, I don’t even know what’s up with him any more, it’s confusing just thinking about the short exchange between him and Yomo. After Uta mentions that he met Kaneki (which he kind of didn’t, since he only really heard his screams over the intercom), Yomo asks what the Clowns are thinking. It’s vague enough such that we don’t know what he really meant – is he directly addressing Uta, thus implying he knows Uta is a member? Would Uta be a double agent in that case, if Yomo is tacitly approving? But then in asking what ‘they’ plan to do with Kaneki, it’s like he’s instead making a general statement, meaning he doesn’t know what Uta is up to. It’s not like Uta’s response is any less cryptic – he says he doesn’t know much about the boss of the Clowns. Is he saying that as a member? As a ghoul with general knowledge of the Clowns? Is he not supposed to be the boss in the first place? Is he just a lying bastard who’s deceiving everyone and their dog?

At any rate, the Clowns are moving. It’s a really audacious move for Uta to suddenly gift Haise his old mask for Christmas. It’s not enough to trigger a relapse (we may not even be getting those spasms of insanity now that he’s found some inner peace) but Kaneki recognized it. I just find it really strange that this is happening now, in a seemingly unimportant chapter – because it’s symbolic and really significant, and I can easily see this moving the plot forward. I guess the same goes with Eto giving him one of her books for Christmas, signing it to Kaneki Ken from Takatsuki Sen. That’s just evil. It also means both the Clowns and Aogiri know where Haise lives, which is kind of scary. It could also possibly be Hide who sent that book, given that he’d gotten a book signed for him back in the original manga at the event Takatsuki held. But that raises questions about what he’s up to, how he knows about Haise and why he hasn’t approached him before now – and now in such a roundabout way. Again, these are issues that are important enough to be raised in a chapter of its own.

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We still got some fun, omake-style interactions though. Stuff like Saiko only being able to decorate the bottom half of the tree, the doves playing Smash, or stories about Arima defeating ghouls with umbrellas when he didn’t have Ixa – I think it’s the happiest we’re going to see these characters for quite a while, if ever. It’s still really unnerving whenever I see Arima and Haise talk casually though. I mean, Haise is giving a Christmas present to the same guy who ran through his skull twice through both his eye sockets, giving him forced brain surgery and further mental instability.

And now they’re smiling together.

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shudders

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 31: Pute

“I see… I was not the only one who was afraid…”

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Impression

“Haise. Am I… scary?”
“…Yeah.”
“Why?”
“You’re asking… why? Because you are… strong.”

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_re 31 Img008An incredible chapter this week. I’ve had trouble containing my excitement all weekend after seeing some of the raw spoiler images. At long last, the auction is over, but we’ve been left with a couple of massive reveals and developments. The first of those is as regards Haise and Kaneki – the mentality of the former with regards to the latter going forward will be very different from how it’s been up until now. It wasn’t quite a ‘merger’ between the two as per my speculations, but Haise has accepted Kaneki to an extent, and is willing to accommodate his presence. All this time, Kaneki has been pleading for Haise to ‘look at him’ – not (just) so that he can seize the chance to tempt him into the darkness, but because Haise has been getting the wrong idea about him all this time. Before Hinami, he was terrified at the supposedly savage monster who lived the first twenty years of his life. But now, the Kaneki that appears in his mind is just a kid, and this change is a major step for their future relationship going forward. Haise seems to be willing to take requests, too – his bold request to Arima must have been influenced by his inner Kaneki in some way.

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_re 31 Img005And what a request it was. I literally froze when Arima appeared and had his men surround Hinami – and like Hinami herself, I thought she was going to die for sure. It was the worst possible scenario – apart from Kaneki, when has Arima ever spared a ghoul? It’s also debatable whether we can say that what Arima did was ‘sparing’ him. I have a feeling that Arima knows full well that Haise was lying to him, or at least was aware that there was more to it than what he could see – but when he lied, he was still Haise. And that’s what I think Arima was there to check. He’d just finished another operation, and yet he rushed over to check on Haise – out of concern, perhaps, but also definitely in case he started reverting and going on a rampage again. At any rate, it seems pretty radical to let Haise just keep a pet ghoul like that, even if Hinami is most likely willing to live in the house with him and the rest of the Quinx Squad. Or will she be thrown into Cochlea?

_re 31 Img006My initial prediction for Floppy arriving on the battlefield was that it would be either Rize or Amon, and that they’d help unlock more of Haise’s memories. As the newcomer turned out to be Arima, that little idea was temporarily foiled – until Amon actually did appear, with Kuro at his feet no less! Amon is indeed Floppy, and despite being only featured on a single page, that was just about enough to tell us about his current situation. He is most likely a fellow one-eyed ghoul experiment – but a failed one, assuming that Takizawa and his mentally-broken state counts as a success. Before the auction, Eto told Ayato to ‘finish it’ if Floppy ever came – meaning that Amon isn’t with Aogiri, but instead was with them. But unlike Takizawa, in the face of all the torture he did not descend into madness, and managed to escape. If he’s helping the CCG clean up, it means he’s essentially anti-Aogiri – and the symbolic reversal is thus complete. Amon is now forced to live as a one-eyed ghoul, and is now in the same position Kaneki was in after he experienced his torture. And Haise is forced to live as a human, and is now a First-Class Investigator like Amon if he gets promoted as a result of his ‘distinguished service’ in the auction raid. But seriously, how long has Ishida been planning this for? Look at this!

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It’s like ‘Halfway’ all over again! I presume ‘Yasuhisa’ is Kuro, and the absence of Shiro does suggest she’s dead. At least Kuro is alive. Maybe not safe, but alive. Rescue her, Amon! I wonder what Amon thought of Kuro and Shiro when he first found out they were one-eyed ghouls. At the time, their appearance was just to make him believe in the existence of the concept, but I do wonder whether he would have killed them if he had to directly confront them. He is a kind person, but also one very much driven by justice and a hatred for ghouls. Now he’s in the same position they were – but I can’t see him eating humans at all, which is probably why he’s cannibalizing the Aogiri members he defeats. When he meets Haise, the two need to have a nice, long chat.

If we consider this arc as :re’s Hinami arc, the next arc will involve Tsukiyama and his father. There have been parallels – Haise has discovered more about himself like he did at this point in the original series, and Hinami has been ‘rescued’ from certain death at the hands of a scary, white-haired dove. I cannot wait for the impending argument between Hinami and Saiko over onii-chan and Maman.

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 30: Unravel

“It’s okay if I disappear, so… please give me the power to protect.”

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Impression

The lyrics of Unravel actually fit Haise so much more than they do Kaneki.

A really poignant chapter – and a really cool one as well. I’m so proud of how strong Hinami has become – she looks like she can use four rinkaku tentacles now, but she doesn’t even need to rely on her koukaku to be able to push back Takizawa. It’s very same Takizawa who wrecked Haise easily, but Hinami is able to cut off his hand in a flurry of badass and force him to say that ‘it hurts’ – and in light of all the torture he must have gone through at the hands of Aogiri, to get Takizawa to say that something hurts is a feat indeed. And yet, even though she’s grown so much stronger, she’s still the same Hinami deep down – a girl who loves books, and someone who still misses and believes in her onii-chan even years after his disappearance. It’s become apparent that her goal in leaving Banjou and joining Aogiri is ultimately ‘to protect’, and this auction is the first opportunity she’s had to do that directly, instead of indirectly minimizing the damage caused by Aogiri through her influence.

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It was vindicating and yet a little sad to see Juuzou confronting and ultimately killing Big Madam. Well, his subordinates did, anyway – Hanbee is such a great guy, you know? No matter what Juuzou thinks of Big Madam, it’s undeniable that she (or he?) brought him up, and her last words were not something he would have wanted to hear. I love how Juuzou came to terms with both his past and present though, and it really cements how he’s matured so much: “I don’t hold a grudge against you. This is just my job.”

_re 30 Img006It doesn’t look good, though. Takizawa does indeed have a power-up, and it seems like Hinami can’t handle him in his half-kakuja form. It’s really odd that it seems to mirror that of Kaneki, though of course we have no idea what Yoshimura and Eto had for half-kakujas, or even if they went through that sort of transition. It’s given Takizawa a major boost in power whilst turning him crazy, as all half-kakujas do, so negotiation has gone completely out of the window now. If Haise couldn’t handle normal Pineapple, he has a snowball’s chance in hell against his half-kakuja version. But are we still dealing with Haise, here? In the panels below, he’s displaying some awfully Kaneki-like traits. He has decided to accept the Kaneki inside him as the ‘power to protect’ – and remember, a desire to protect is exactly what triggered the transformation during the battle against Nishiki. And yet, it doesn’t seem like he’s about to descend into insanity. Is Haise still at conflict with Kaneki? Even if he doesn’t remember Hinami, he now knows that Kaneki was loved very much – and that this girl is willing to protect him, even if he’s not Kaneki, several years down the line. Haise has always mentally blocked Kaneki out of fear and denial, forcing him down into the recesses of his mind as an evil, unstable entity – but now he has recognized that Kaneki may not actually have been a bad person. Both Haise and Kaneki have people who care for them – Haise has Saiko, and Kaneki has Hinami. It feels like Haise has come to some sort of silent reconciliation with himself, and if I had to predict his change now, I’d say it’d be more a merger than a takeover.

That is, if he even has time to engage Takizawa properly before the unknown question mark makes its way to their battlefield. Get hyped, because Amon Rize Floppy is here!

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