One of the greatest tropes in horror literature is the fear that the monsters might look just like us. I call it a trope due to its widespread use, but it remains an effective one, and in the second volume of Tokyo Ghoul, Sui Ishida takes that device and tries to use it to show us both sides of the coin: humans and ghouls mostly look just like each other, and that's what makes them both so frightening to the opposing side. Ghouls, nominally the predators in this situation, have enhanced senses of smell to help them, but when the prey starts fighting back, even that isn't quite enough to defend against them. To a degree, it's as if an osprey swooped down on an unsuspecting fish only to discover that it was rigged to explode.
The primary theme…show more content… The first part basically introduces some of the more “human” aspects of ghoul society and its diverse members; most importantly it brings in the characters of Hinami and her mother. Hinami is a young ghoul girl who has been kept out of school (and not, apparently, homeschooled) who lives with her mother and visits Anteiku for meat, as they do not hunt. Her father was killed by the Ghoul Inspectors, and the clear grief she and her mother feel, as well as the way her mother seeks to protect her, is a clear example of how everyone sees what they want to see: when Kaneki observes them, he just sees them as a loving family and Hinami as a girl. When the Ghoul Inspectors encounter them, they see the mother's protection of the daughter as animalistic and refer to Hinami as a “midge,” a small biting fly. More interesting is how one of the Ghoul Inspectors' character design looks more inhuman than any of the ghouls in the story, even when they wear their…show more content… Ghouls wear them in order to hide their faces so that they can still walk around in daylight and lead regular lives but also hunt for food. The masks run the gamut from Phantom of the Opera to creepy bunny to the unusual one Kaneki receives at the end of the book, and they have some very interesting implications. Does the mask hide the real face, or is the mask revealing who the wearer really is? Feisty and angry Touka's mask may reveal some hidden insecurities, but what will Kaneki's give him license to do? Will it be impossible to retain his humanity in a ghoul-tainted body after all?
With this volume being less action-oriented, Ishida's art works a little bit better, as he doesn't have to rely on large sound effects or speed lines as much. Feet are still disproportionately small and Hinami's age is very unclear from the way she is drawn, but there are also some quite powerful artistic moments as well, such as a ghoul with transformed eyes crying or the first scene of Kaneki in his mask. Character designs show some good variation as well, with newcomer Uta especially standing out as noticeably