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.
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.
I never could finish the insects/arachnids/arthropods theory HEREregarding TG 2015 calendar (sorry).
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.
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
mind, fire, reincarnation of dead soldiers, rebirth, transformation, change,
transitory nature of happiness, circle of life.
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
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
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
(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 !
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…
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
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
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
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…
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 &
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
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 (
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) ?
i love giant centipedes a lot. theyre very dangerous and capable predators, i get why people think theyre scary and they are due respect as a (relatively) large, venomous animal. but they also can be pretty cute tbh. a good mom