Please note that this review contains heavy spoilers for Volumes 13 and 14.
Volume 14 sees the aftermath of the brutal defeat of Kaneki and the subsequent consequence of his violent metamorphosis into the giant and grotesque being known as “Dragon” as familiar faces, both human and Ghoul, have to come together to save Tokyo and Kaneki.
The people of Tokyo, Ghouls and humans alike, are scattered and disorientated. The CCG are desperately clutching at straws trying to figure out how to combat the threat whilst the remaining Ghouls are left without stable footing as their leader has gone astray.
It’s not all bad news as several familiar faces have re-emerged, including Marude and his men, former investigator Akira and former-investigator turned Ghoul Amon, and even the rumoured-dead best friend of Kaneki Hide, who has now shed his Scarecrow facade.
The volume opens with the wordless Chapter 145 as the reader is given an insight into the state of Tokyo as the Dragon emerges from the underground. Mangaka Sui Ishida’s artwork is given a real chance to shine as the chaos unfolds upon the unwitting citizens who are helpless to avoid the destruction and devastation that engulfs the city.
We catch glimpses of politicians in hurried debate, news reporters taking to the skies and those on ground level being ripped to shreds as the Dragon tears through the streets, culminating in one of Tokyo Ghoul’s most harrowing two-page spreads.
Perhaps just as ghastly is that Furuta, having seemingly been cut down by Kaneki, has survived. He waxes lyrical with Koori Ui about what Dragon could have been before announcing his resignation and disappearing.
If there was ever a problem I had with the series it would be Ui and his foolish path to become Furuta’s right hand man for resurrecting Hairu-related reasons, though their realisation that it’s all gone to pot does add a payoff at least.
One of my favourite scenes in the volume comes from Marude’s triumphant return to the CCG headquarters having previously crashed the party at Furuta’s Integrity Investigation.
Less impressive a return is both Mutsuki and Aura reviving after their…shocking defeat at the hands of Yomo. How exactly they survived is uncertain though Ghoul regenerative abilities have always been both insanely flexible and inflexible depending on the individual.
Hide has the bright idea to consult self-certified Ghoul expert Ogura, last seen making a brief television appearance in the original manga. He and his men fix up Hide’s non-speaking problem and suggest locating the infamous Dr Kanou, whose experiments kicked off the story in the first place and also played a part in birthing Dragon, the reasons for which are partially explained during this volume.
Hide also meets up with Akira and Amon who have been on the run due to the Washuu family being on their tail and Akira being wanted for protecting Seidou aka Owl from being attacked and still recovering from their poisoning.
Meanwhile, Kaneki’s comrades are trying to figure out a way forward as clown member Itori deposits an injured Yomo and tries to stir up the remaining Ghouls into making a martyr of Kaneki’s ultra-violent excursion.
This gives way to Shu, Kaneki’s “sword”, giving an impassioned speech about the desperation he must have faced to have become such a monster and how he struggled to avoid devouring those around him both human and Ghoul.
It’s a true sign of character development from the Ghoul that was once an antagonistic force and though his desire to eat Kaneki is still a recurring joke, his bonds with the others feel more genuine here than ever.
The volume continues as the two conflicting sides of the Ghouls and CCG slowly merge together in their need to drop Dragon. Touka, Nishiki and the now-returned Ayato realise that digging through the currently-dormant Dragon might be the best solution to save Kaneki whilst Kanou’s unexpected graveyard suicide gives way to his assistants (including Nishiki’s lover Kimi) providing all of his research documents.
Good old Hide is the one that ultimately bridges the gap as he leads the remaining Ghouls right through the front doors and declares that they can help with the Dragon problem. Obviously the CCG are reluctant to help at first but history is made and an alliance is formed with a little push from Suzuya who having inadvertently caused Kaneki’s rampage sees the potential of everyone getting along.
The novelty factor of seeing all these characters under one roof interacting and getting on is quite fun, it certainly feels like the final arc of a story in that respect, though with Tokyo Ghoul all of these characters have already been in the same space, just in rather different and antagonistic circumstances.
Thanks to Ayato’s expedition to the 24th ward, the alliance discover that a similar occurrence happened wherein a giant creature caused terror and was defeated by taking out the eyeball-like appendages on its surface (sort of like an out of hand Zelda boss.)
The problem of finding Kaneki amongst all that Kagune is also resolved when Touka recalls that Kaneki was wearing their wedding ring around his neck and Shu’s father calls in a favour (aka a lot of metal detectors) and shares a subtle but welcome moment with Ui, fitting considering the events of the Tsukiyama extermination arc.
As everyone springs into action to free Kaneki and seemingly stop the dragon from rampaging, old antagonists re-emerge as members of V make their move and the deranged duo of Mutsuki and Aura attempt to sabotage the rescue.
Volume 14, whilst not possessing the shock factor of #13, is a very solid continuation, providing some vital progress for the overall narrative as the very dynamics of the series are altered to reflect the circumstances the characters must face and overcome. It also continues to have little character moments and even a cameo appearance from two familiar faces of the light novel side stories.
Sui Ishida’s artwork continues to impress, conveying emotionally-creased faces and monstrous beings with detail and stylish flare but also breathes life into the hellish landscape that Tokyo has become. Some may see an issue in a lot of panels having blank backgrounds but it never bothered me.
Overall, with just two volumes to go Tokyo Ghoul: re is seeing various forms of change, though will the newly formed alliance be able to save Kaneki in time, or will it all be for naught as V stalk from the shadows?