The story of Tokyo Ghoul is also more than a little contrived, with characters making grand, illogical assumptions just so that the series can end with a climactic battle. After a mysterious author meets with the police and tips them off to the idea that some ghouls may run a coffee shop, the police come to the conclusion not only that Toka’s coworkers are ghouls (which they are) but also that they are Aogiri (which they aren’t). Of course, the police never find evidence of either claim but nonetheless decide on a hunch to attack the coffee shop.
Moreover, when the coffee shop ghouls find out about this, instead of running away to avoid conflict, they decide to stay and fight the police in a certain bloodbath—despite the fact that they have sworn off killing to the point that they eat the corpses of suicide victims rather than hunt humans for food. Again, this seems more than a little forced as it goes against what we know of the characters but is done all for the sake of an action climax.
The final battle itself is simply chaotic, with new characters popping up left and right to battle the ghouls and the actions of many of the characters making little to no sense. And like the last season, ends mid-climax, with Kaneki seemingly about to face off with the strongest the police have to offer—and who is a character that has received literally no development. It is as confusing as it is unsatisfying.
Tokyo Ghoul is a mess of an anime, but I believe there is a simple reason for this: it is an anime that assumes you have already read the original Tokyo Ghoul manga. Rather than a direct adaptation of that work (like the first season was), is an alternate way the manga’s story could have unfolded—a hook to get the manga readers invested. While I have no doubt that the numerous forgotten characters and plot threads were explored in the original manga, to someone like me who has not read it, this anime appears contrived and badly written at best.
The anime has also received positive response from critics and viewers alike. In Southeast Asia, Fairy Tail won Animax Asia’s “Anime of the Year” award in 2010. In 2012, the anime series won the “best Japanese anime” award and the best French dubbing award at the 19th Anime & Manga Grand Prix in Paris, France.
In reviewing the first Funimation Entertainment DVD volumes, Carlo Santos of Anime News Network praised the visuals, characters, and English voice acting, as well as the supporting characters for its comedic approach. However, Santos criticized both the anime’s background music and CGI animation. In his review of the second volume, Santos also praised the development of “a more substantial storyline,” but also criticized the inconsistent animation and original material not present in the manga. In his review of the third volume, Santos praised the improvements of the story and animation, and said that the volume “finally shows the anime series living up to its potential.” In his reviews of the fourth and sixth volumes, however, Santos criticized the storyline’s formulaic pattern, saying that “unexpected wrinkles in the story keep the action from getting too stale,” but calling the outcomes “predictable”.