The biggest differences between anime and manga

The biggest differences between anime and manga

Tokyo Ghoulthe premiere was an experimental one to say the least. While the premise of an ordinary boy becoming a monster is a much tackled concept in anime, and just media in general, Sui Ishida deconstructed it. Kaneki Ken, the main character of the series is kind and soft-spoken, even extremely observant and calculating.


Ken’s quiet life ends as a result of a bad date, when his crush turns out to be a ghost and tries to kill him. As a result, her organs are transplanted into his body to save his life. The anime sticks pretty well to this premise, but a number of changes were made during its debut. These are the biggest.

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Kaneki’s torture

Instead of being taken by force in the anime, Kaneki is instead tricked into coming with Jason. In the manga, he and some of his companions are collecting bodies for Aogiri when Jason approaches him and offers to take him under his wing, in exchange for the freedom of a mother and child.

As manga readers know, this turned out to be a lie, as he was instead tortured over a 10-day period. This timeline remains consistent with the anime, but it was only during that time that Kaneki’s hair slowly begins to turn white. Also, Jason breaks his promise to let the mother and child go when he makes Kaneki choose one to sacrifice. The outcome is the same, but there is a greater impact on Kaneki’s psyche.

Aogiri in season 2

Ishida wanted to take a different turn for Season 2 and create an alternate continuity with similar events happening in the manga. Unfortunately, this was best left as an idea on paper, as Kaneki’s personality took a drastic and confusing change. In the manga, Kaneki leaves Anteiku to create his own group with his comrades.

In the anime, he instead betrays everyone to join Aogiri so he can become more “powerful”. In both adaptations, he aims to become stronger to protect his loved ones, but the manga keeps his character true to himself.

Mutsuki’s past

Tooru Mutsuki’s past is only very briefly touched upon in the anime, but the audience is never shown that he was born female, and the decision to present as male was a means to avoid further sexism or abuse.

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The manga shows his troubled past with his family, and how his encounter with Torso caused his mental deterioration. The only clue the audience gets to Mutsuki’s dilemma is when the Quinx squad disguise themselves in dresses to investigate a ghoul.

Touka’s pregnancy

Kaneki’s reaction and his decision to marry her remain the same in both versions, but the pacing is much different. To make up for the limited time each episode had, two different instances were combined into one. When Nishiki tells Kaneki that he is going to be a father, she pushes him out the first time he confronts Touka. The second time she confides in him about the pregnancy. And before they get married, Kaneki proudly proclaims that he is going to marry Touka, much to Touka’s embarrassment. Although one of the more significant moments that was shortened was during Kaneki’s internal monologue with his past self.

At one point they get into an argument, but ultimately decide that Kaneki needs to get out alive. Reason? If he doesn’t, Touka will have to name the child herself, and she’s bad with names. The exclusion of these scenes doesn’t take away from the anime, but they certainly would have added to it. For the most part, many anime tend to diverge from the manga after the fact – but Tokyo Ghoul was one of the more notorious.

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