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Image Credit: VizMedia / ©石田スイ／集英社・東京喰種製作委員会
Tokyo Ghoul is a one-of-a-kind manga whose fast-paced story representing both physical and mental struggle took the world by storm. Many of the anime and manga settings were based on real life places, so naturally we’re here to introduce the areas in Tokyo worth exploring. We also introduce Tokyo Ghoul and explain why exactly its sequels are so confusing.
Interested in photos of real life places? Skip straight to Nerima.
Table of Contents
Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida ran from 2011 to 2014 spanning 14 volumes. The manga received a 12-episode anime-adaptation in Summer 2014. Tokyo Ghoul is a dark fantasy, tragedy, and supernatural thriller story set in alternate reality Tokyo where ghouls and humans exist. Ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul look like regular humans but can only survive on human flesh, regular food tastes repulsive to them and may even make them sick, they can have coffee though. With extraordinary strength, fast regeneration, eyes that change colour (red pupils and black sclera), and a special body trait kagune that can be manifested or kept away at will that acts as a weapon. They usually live amongst humans, concealing themselves until their next hunt.
The unique concept of Tokyo Ghoul itself makes it very-appealing. Coupled with its interesting story line that includes representations of society, perspective, dark humour and lovable characters have captured a large audience.
The story starts with the main character Kaneki Ken, an ordinary college student who encounters Kamishiro Rize - not knowing that Rize is a ghoul who ends up nearly killing him while on a date. In a strange turn of events, Rize is crushed by steel beams after taking a bite out of Kaneki. The dying Kaneki has Rize’s organs transplanted into him and transforms into a half-ghoul. Kaneki now has to live life as a half-human and half-ghoul. His first and biggest obstacle, accepting what he has become and what he must do to survive.
After Tokyo Ghoul’s first season, it received 2 sequel adaptations plus 2 OVAs - Jack, and Pinto. Quite recently in 2017 and 2019, 2 live-action movies were also released.
For now, we’ll focus on the sequel anime adaptations which can be confusing especially to those who did not read the manga.
Pronounced Tokyo Ghoul Root A, this is the direct sequel to the first season. Though it does adapt the later volumes of the manga, major parts of the storyline were written as an original plot for the anime by the manga author Sui Ishida. This was quite a topic of confusion for manga-reader fans at that time. The best way to think of √A is that it is a “what if Kaneki did this” alternate plot line rather than a true-to-manga adaptation.
In any case, regardless of Kaneki’s different take by joining Aogiri Tree instead of setting up his own organisation, the anime’s ending does tie up well with sequel Tokyo Ghoul :re.
A 2-season, totalling 24 episodes, anime adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul’s sequel manga of the same name, Tokyo Ghoul :re. Tokyo Ghoul :re consists of 16 volumes and ran from 2014 to 2018. The story is set 2 years after the end of Tokyo Ghoul manga and Tokyo Ghoul √A. The main character this time is Haise Sasaki who is mentor to the CCG’s new special investigators squad called the “Quinx Squad” made up of half-ghouls.
Compared to Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 and Tokyo Ghoul √A, Tokyo Ghoul :re was not well received by fans. Complaints were aplenty, the loudest being the low quality animation, bad plot progression caused by arc skipping which means inability to understand the plot especially for non-manga readers, and bad character development directly affected by the plot progression. For some fans, it is a decent adaptation which had plenty of room for improvement (or a remake).
If the title isn’t already a dead giveaway, Tokyo Ghoul takes place in Tokyo with many scenes resembling real life places. This is part of the series' charms as fans can visit the actual areas that transpired in Tokyo Ghoul - “Anime Tourism”.
The model for Kamii University where Kaneki took Japanese literature. His best friend, Hideyoshi, also attended the university studying Foreign Language Studies. Honourable mention that Nishiki Nishio, senpai (senior) to Kaneki and Hideyoshi, also attended the university.
Other scenes in Ikebukuro include the Milkyway Cafe, a star-themed cafe serving elaborate parfaits. A classic landmark in Ikebukuro, it is quite often depicted in anime. In Tokyo Ghoul, “Milkyway” is replaced with “Caprieonus”.
The model for :re, the cafe Touka works at as manager in Tokyo Ghoul :re following the 2 year timeskip. Unfortunately, the cafe closed down in 2017.
More than 15 scenes depicted in the anime and manga can be identified in the Tokyo neighbourhood of Nerima. In fact, the 20th ward where Anteiku is located is based off Nerima Ward down to its ward logo.
Image Credit: Nerima City Office
練馬の喫茶店アンデス様が閉店されたそうです。コーヒーを飲んでじっと次の物語を考える。漫画を作り出す最高の「場」だったと思います。今まで本当にありがとうございました。 pic.twitter.com/3448YGX3bD— あだち充情報【公式】 (@mitsuru_mix) August 8, 2020
Rumoured to be the model cafe for Anteiku, this is the cafe where Kaneki ends up working as a part-time waiter to learn how to live as a ghoul and to acquaint himself with them. Anteiku is actually a front for an organisation that overlooks the ghouls in the 20th ward. Part of their duties include preparing food for the resident ghouls, by ethical means of course. Unfortunately, Andes closed down in 2020.
We paid a special visit to Nerima City to capture the scenes that transpired there.
Taken from Nerima Ward Office 20F Observatory Space, this was depicted in the last page of Chapter 142 that marked the end of the Owl Suppression Operation.
And right outside Nerima Station.
That triangular roof was where Kaneki leapt from to escape the pursuing CCG in Chapter 132 “Reunion”.
For more photo coverage of Nerima, have look at our special post here:
Omotesando is heavily featured in Episode 1 of Tokyo Ghoul. It is where Kaneki and Rize went for their first (and only) date before Kaneki got chomped on. The very recognizable Emporio Armani storefront in Omotesando (see Google Maps above) was part of the couple’s date route.
The twinkling Christmas lights and zebra crossing that Kaneki and Rize walked upon can be found in front of Omotesando Hills as shown above. How romantic?
Episode 2 of Tokyo Ghoul heavily featured Kichijoji, more specifically the area surrounding Kichijoji Station. Friendly reminder, Episode 2 was when Kaneki accompanied Hideyoshi in fear that Nishiki-senpai would eat him (there’s no eloquent way to say this). Kaneki, to protect Hideyoshi, unlocked the usage of his Kagune for the first time.
Ah, this brings back memories. pic.twitter.com/kgTOOn0pfK— Tokyo Ghoul (@TokyoGhoul) September 11, 2019
We hope this article helps you on your Tokyo Ghoul anime tourism, or just simply for a fun read. Aside from the abovementioned “major” areas, there are a few places scattered throughout Tokyo that were depicted in Tokyo Ghoul. These include Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ueno.
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