Tokyo Ghoul Root A Review (Anime)

Tokyo Ghoul √A is a sequel to a great anime but instead of following the source material, it decides to go for an all-original route for its second season. I’m a big fan of the first season, bar the ending, but as someone who didn’t enjoy the route the manga took, I looked forward to seeing Tokyo Ghoul Root A would do more to satisfy me.
For those wondering, the √A stands for Root A and yes, I’ll now refer to it as so! Root A follows on from where Season one ended and, spoilers for those who’ve yet to watch it, Kaneki now has white hair and is living on the run, having succumbed to being more ghoul than human – yeah, I’m not a big fan of that twist either as the whole human and ghoul relationships angle was what helped the anime to stand out to me. Root A isn’t a great sequel or a great anime in its own right, and it suffers from poor pacing, inconsistent art and characters who seem to have drastically changed from the first season in ways that do not make sense in the series.
I’m not sure how Tokyo Ghoul managed to go so wrong but somehow it did. Anime Limited have done the best that they could with this release but they can’t change the anime itself, and that’s where the problem lies. Kaneki has become one-dimensional and sullen, Touka has become more social and is desperately yearning for Kaneki, and Amon isn’t quite the talented human that season one portrayed him to be. Don’t even get me started on how much I dislike newcomer Juuzou Suzuya, a twisted child who has somewhat decent development but is let down by his overall character – I’m not a big fan of the ‘check how crazy I am!’ sort of characters, but Juuzou may float others boats better. Everyone seems to have been downgraded in some fashion and the story feels like it takes a long time to get anywhere without anything of note actually happening, and it makes for a dull watch. On the back of this, a third season seems highly unlikely.
Tokyo Ghoul Root A Review 1

I thought season one was a good looking anime, and I mostly praised the series in my review of it, but season two drops the ball visually pretty hard. It was clearly made on a smaller budget and the art seems to lack the detail and fluidity that season one had, and it’s very obvious during fight scenes which seem clunky and jarring rather than fierce and intense. In general it’s hard to not pick up on the inconsistencies throughout season two, and it’s harder to not be disappointed by it.
I can’t complain too much about the English or Japanese voice-overs though – they’re the highlight of the show and do the best with the script they’ve been given. The voice-cast from the first season reprise their roles here with Austin Tindle and Brina Palencia voicing Kaneki and Touka respectively. I’m happy to see the original voice-actors and actress reprise their roles although it’s a shame that they weren’t given something better to work with. Like the first series, the OP’s and ED’s are pretty decent too, and the soundtrack as a whole makes for a good listen, leaving audio to be the true highlight of the series.
Tokyo Ghoul Root A Review 2

Tokyo Ghoul Root A isn’t the sequel that the series deserves and even the most diehard fans may not enjoy how it deviates from the source material so much, but it’s likely worth a watch if you want more Tokyo Ghoul whilst the manga continues. I still stand by the first season being a decent adaptation and fantastic in its own right, and I recommend watching it regardless of how poor this season has turned out, but it’s a shame that that’s where it has peaked. I have no complaints about Anime Limited’s release with it, which has been spectacular as always, but sadly the show isn’t quite the experience that I would’ve liked it to have been, or that it should’ve been.

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