centipedes

Kaneki Ken, a butterfly story and the latest wheel of fortune

When I first starting reading Tokyo Ghoul (almost 6 years ago lol), there were 2 characters I thoughts were associated with “Butterflies” : Touka and Hinami.

Why Touka: the 1st butterfly in the series is seen with Touka. Later in TG:re calendar, she is depicted as a moth.

Why Hinami: Hina’s introduction as a Chimera with kagunes shaped like butterfly wings. Plus, the child became a strong link between Ken and Touka, with them almost co-parenting the girl. She also helped in proving to Kaneki that not all ghouls are monsters but can be victims too. The young girl also showed to Touka that hatred and revenge weren’t the only answers to loss.

Originally posted by mysterythetherian


However, later arcs in TG:re forced me to give up on that theory and see the larger picture. Before turning into a centipede, Kaneki was on a journey to become a butterfly.

Hence why I never could finish the insects/arachnids/arthropods theory HERE regarding TG 2015 calendar (sorry).

Kaneki Ken, first steps in to a new world

The panel mentioned above, when taking into context, is in direct parallel to what was going on inside Anteiku in TG #09.

In this chapter, after Touka rescued Hide and Kaneki (yet again), Yoshimura is talking to the half-ghoul about him belonging to two worlds instead of none. The old man also spoke about his hope that, by staying at Anteiku and living this dual life, Ken would see for himself whether ghouls are nothing more the monsters they are depicted as. Queue to Mr.Butterfly slowly approaching a beaten up Touka before resting on her finger.

Interestingly, Chapter 9 is titled “Hatching” (coming out of one’s egg), possibly in reference to Kaneki facing the reality of being a ghoul, in addition to his journey as the “Goat’s Egg”. People don’t decide to be conceived/to be born: someone birth them while they’re passive in this situation, with only variables like hormones making it happen.

Some Butterfly Symbolic around the world and through time

Positive: young women’s availability for marriage; “you’ll receive money”; “a loved one will visit you soon”; love; conjugal bliss and joy, peace, harmony, life

Neutral: soul, mind, fire, reincarnation of dead soldiers, rebirth, transformation, change, transitory nature of happiness, circle of life.

Negative: soul of dead children, bad omen, death, spirit of the dead, sickness, warfare.

If Kaneki is symbolised as a Butterfly, then the panel in TG #09 is literally Ken tentatively approaching the ghoul world and getting to know his ghoul self.

After the chrysalid phase, the newly born butterfly enters a new world (it can fly now). From then on, a butterfly needs to find sustenance and a mate to pass on the genes like most animals (I say most because some animals such as jellyfishes, female Aphids and female Komodo Dragons, to name a few, can CLONE themselves when no mate is available).

By working at Anteiku, interacting with ghouls and even doves, Kaneki started to make his own opinion of this new world. It’s a grey environment rather than the dichotomic world of good (humans) versus evil (ghoul) he first thought of. The reality even made Kaneki break down yet again, after the murder of Mrs. Fueguchi.

Kaneki was slowly finding his bearing even if he still considered himself a monster and was slowly cutting himself from Hide (le sigh…).

Then, Yamori arrived and the butterfly had its wings clipped off repeatedly, chained to the floor, until pain and anger turned it into a centipede.

For some time, this new creature dwelled into the darkest part of the ghoul world. Chinese red-head centipedes lived in dark damp places and feed on whatever it can grab. Ironically enough, they are not really aggressive to other centipedes.

This period of Shironeki loneliness was the time when Ken was lost and didn’t even realise/accept that he was searching for home.

Kaneki chose to surround himself with people who wouldn’t go against his quest, however they would feel about it. Consciously or not, Ken also chose not to bring anyone linking him to the human world. Banjou & Co were from Aogiri, Hinami didn’t know about Hide and was an orphaned ghoul without much knowledge of the human world, Tsukiyama was ghoul who embraced their own predatory nature and appetite as an art with no concern for humans. There is no way Kaneki would have brought Nishiki (because Nishio knew Hide and was now part of Anteiku with a human lover) or Touka (who knew of Ken’s link to Hide and, as confirmed recently by Kaneki, because he wanted to protect her and her peaceful life).

We all know how well this ended for everyone…

In TG:re, Kaneki Ken was announced to come back as a butterfly. Ken, with his restored memories and his status as a lone / lost centipede still lingering.

In :RE #63, Shinigami!Ken is showed next Eto at the press conference where the writer trolled everyone by coming out as a ghoul. Right before that: a butterfly slightly similar to the one back in TG #09, is seen flying above/next to Touka.


Further in the story, on death’s door, Arima envisioned his younger self freeing a butterfly from his grasp. Most of the fandom agrees to see the butterfly as Kaneki Ken (or Sasaki Haise). To me, it also meant that Arima freed the creature that he had kept captive and/or protected : Kishou was the one who subdued Kaneki Ken back in V14; he helped in creating Sasaki Haise and the dreamworld (golden cage) the younger man lived into for a few years. Arima helped in rebooting the story of Butterfly!Ken by giving him a way to escape his physical prison (leaving Cochlea with the help of Squad Zero) and a goal to tempered Ken’s own wish to die (temporary Band-Aid known as “my final wish” trope aka Ken became the OEK to fulfill his Father and Mother’s last request).

RANDOM FACT: Interestingly, in Gnostic art, the angel of death is depicted crushing a butterfly underfoot, either because the butterfly symbolises Life or the Corrupted Flesh. Maybe Ishida used this as a reference when Arima, god of death, freeing Butterflyneki ?

Now that Kaneki had his wings back, the journey has :restarted.

A butterfly is flying around to search for subsistence and for a mate to keep the genes going. It’s searching for a flower.

Guess who has been depicted with flowers?….Yep, Kirishima Touka.

Apart from the numerous illustrations Ishida has bestowed to the fandom, one of the “in your face” panels appeared in TG:re 16 when Saiko and Shirazu saw Touka with a bouquet in her hands, strolling the hospital. The reason of her being at the hospital is still unknown, I hope Ishida will get back to that later.

(Yes, that’s Touka’s bra 😉 )

RANDOM FACT 2: Butterflies have six lets and they each have sensors on them that can tell just by landing on a flower what it tastes like. So now you know why my boi Kaneki was groping them titties like no tomorrow !  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 

A panel of Ishida “Did I stutter?!” Sui would be the colour page from TG:re 122.

Everything is there: Touka, death flag, flowers, le innuendo “Bloom me a flower of my own / Place your order, My only flower” (depending on the translation)…EVERYTHING !

In a way, B-fly Kaneki has found a flower to lean on.

For a butterfly, flowers are sustenance (nectar), home (some would stay around the same bunch of flowers, meet their mate and lay their eggs). Flowers can also be a butterfly’s last resting place. Indeed, since butterflies are short-living animals (less then a year if no hibernation), it’s not unusual for them to die around flowers since drinking is the only thing they do when they’re not looking for a mate, flying towards another flower, escaping a predator, etc.

On the other hand, most plants need insects like butterflies to help in the pollination. For many plants, no wind or animals => no pollination => NO FRUITS aka new life. It means death in the long run…

I don’t know if this means a potential Touken child. While no protection was present in RE125, Kaneki’s fertility as an artificial OEG has yet to be confirmed HOWEVER…

RANDOM FACT 3: Sodium as well as many other minerals is vital for the butterflies reproduction. With all the sweat and tears the couple got on Chapter #125, plus all the salt from some parts of the fandom…Touka might get pregnant with twins 😂 ! Ahem.

The current arc low key should be called :RE Touken Arc shows some of Kaneki and Touka’s mutual feelings and fears for the other. They are two very clumsy, insecure and fearful kids who cared a lot about each other, about their safety, wellbeing, happiness, stability, etc. Circumstances and their own short coming kept them apart for years up until now. In :RE 122, Touka confessed her feelings to Kaneki and my boi Ken was also completely exposed by Haise, sip sip.

The latest chapter, TG:re 125 titled X, went back with the butterfly parallels.

The first page is a resting butterfly seen through some window (?). One similar to all the butterflies in the series, showing some form of continuity.


The final panel shows Kaneki in his now infamous foetal position. Touka is watching over him as he sleeps, resting with his head on her lap.

Many fans have spotted the Tarot numbers 6 and/or 19 from the get-go so I won’t elaborate on them (why can I never see those numbers as quickly as they do, sheesh!). What kept my attention was the shape of the sheets around Kaneki.

They’re shaped like a wing !

>> me reaching towards the symbolism and beyond!!…but maybe not  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 The circle seems to be closed, at last. The lost butterfly finally found its flower.

Now, will the flower bear fruits? Like butterflies, flowers don’t live long: they “die” once the pollination is successful and a fruit/seed on its way to be created.

Will Touka be Kaneki’s last resting place?

Only Ishida-sensei knows…

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The Tarot number I did see was in the title: X, the Wheel of Fortune (10).

If I’ve got enough time and it’s not already done, I might post something on this:

        A- Tarot Card X : the Wheel of Fortune (10) and the possible meanings for the chapter

        B- The tarot card and its links to Touka, Kaneki and their relationship and the opposite combination (example: [X & II] and [II & X]) =>

1/ Wheel of Fortune and Touka, the High priestess

2/ Wheel of Fortune and Ken, the Hanged Man

3/ Wheel of Fortune and the Lovers aka Touken

4/ Wheel of Fortune and the SUN


What a time to be alive !

NOTE 21.05.2017: I double-checked the words for this post and I would say that Kaneki would be a MOTH rather than a Butterfly. I didn’t make the difference mostly because I didn’t realise that english speakers have very different words for these insects (in French, a moth = un papillon de nuit, while a butterfly = un papillon de jour…) Sorry…   Moths and Butterflies were lepidoterans formely separated into opposite sub-species ( Heterocera and Rhopalocera). Now the distinction is a little obsolete.

Still, in culture and through time, moths have been viewed as ugly and negative (in opposition to Butterflies). Many of the “negative symols” of Butterflies are also found for Moths, especially Death. Yay ! With the Reverse Tower of Doom, Reverse Sun of bittersweetness and a possible Wheel of Fortune…What kind of tragedy will befall onto Touka, Kaneki (and maybe their hypothetic unborn child) ?