When hinges creak in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls. Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still. That is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight!
Hi. You don’t know me, because I have absolutely no experience in the PR industry, and there are probably thousands of (on paper, at least) more qualified candidates than I am for any PR job you have.
However, in light of recent events and the accusations of [ sexism / racism / ableism / homophobia / transphobia / antisemitism / etc] that have been made against your company or persons associated with your company, and/or your current practices that involve [ police brutality / environmental destruction / etc ] I have several key skills that I believe would make me a good fit for your organization.
First, I have a basic sense of human decency, and I strive every day to at least do the bare minimum to be a good person and a participant in a healthy society. I take this absolute bare minimum and apply it to everything I do, including things at work. For instance, when someone makes a sexist joke at work, I say ‘that’s sexist, and not particularly clever’ out loud, in front of the person who made the joke. As another example, when I fuck up and someone tells me I did, I say ‘damn, I am sorry, I will not do the thing again’ out loud and in public, and hold myself accountable.
Second, I know how to stay in my lane, and would like to help your executives to stay in theirs. If a problem comes along that I believe would benefit from the voices of those who are marginalized by the problem (read: every problem, always, every time and forever) I would find someone in the PR department or an executive who can speak with that voice, and ask them how we should deal with the problem, and then give them a bonus for sticking with us and doing additional emotional labor on top of their usual work. If we do not have someone who works for us and can deal with this issue who also comes from the appropriate community, I would ask you why the fuck not and pay a professional consultant three times their going rate just to deal with us, because we are assholes.
Third, please see the attached audio files, where I articulate key statements that have been missing from your campaigns in the past, including:
I am personally sorry and the company is working to rectify the problem,
We are changing our policies so this does not happen again, and here are the concrete steps as to how,
We have fired the employee in question, because ‘suspending’ them is usually a way to get the press off our backs while actually doing nothing,
I acknowledge the basic humanity of the person we have wronged, and
while this will not undo the damage here is a substantial settlement that comes without a gag order, because buying silence is pretty gross.
I am willing to work just about anywhere, and for 10% of the collective salaries of people whose fuckups I have to fix on an annual basis, plus expenses. This includes secondary fuckups like doubling down before calling me. Any fuckups I have to fix that are a result of you ignoring or contradicting what I say cost the full annual salary of those who fucked up. Failure to follow through on promises I make in public on behalf of your corporation cost $18 billion each and the right to stand, silently, in your annual meeting making uncomfortable eye contact with every member of the board while I very slowly peel carrots and potatoes with a very sharp knife for as long as I damn well please.
I am willing to work in just about any industry but I reserve the right to laugh, tell you to fuck off, and remind you I have a soul if you’re just too ghoulish to take money from. You know who you are.
Tokyo Ghoul (the original series at least) is the story of Ken Kaneki’s transformation from a harmless human into a powerful monster. But while Kaneki is undergoing this journey, Touka is making the opposite transition. The reason for their mirroring paths? A simple matter of chemistry.
Ghouls are not inherently evil and humans are not inherently good, but the worlds they each inhabit clearly have different values and qualities. The world of the ghouls is characterised by violence but also by strength, whereas the world of humans is characterised by peacefulness but also by weakness (The CCG, despite being humans, spend more time in the Ghoul World than out of it, and so some investigators end up being more ghoulish than some ghouls).
So as Kaneki turns from man into monster (and all the strength that comes with it), Touka turns from monster into man (and loses the power she once possessed). But their transformation, although not entirely because of one another, was certainly influenced by their admiration for and absorption of the other’s qualities.
When Kaneki evolved from this:
Touka evolved from this:
Touka’s Influence on Kaneki’s Transformation
Although Kuroneki’s transformation into Shironeki is usually attributed to Rize and Yamori, it was in truth a much more gradual process that merely spiked during those events. The threats posed by Nishiki, the CCG, and Tsukiyama, the poking and prodding of the Clowns, and his child abuse (though this was only revealed in :re) were all various pressures that sent him down that road. But the example of strength set by Touka and his voluntary entry into her battles was a turning point.
Kaneki rejects the human-esque passivity of Anteiku after hearing how Touka had fought the doves, and though he is not yet willing to go to the full extent she did, it is an important first step into the ghoul’s world. Kaneki’s request for Touka to teach him how to use his kagune, the physical symbol of his ghoulhood, reflects this subtle evolution, and indeed that’s exactly what he goes to do - a lesson full of the violence characteristic of the ghoul’s world.
…And it works. The threat of death makes him stronger, and allows him greater control over the ghoul inside him, leaving him one step closer to the strength of true ghouldom.
Touka’s strength in the face of a harsh world is part of what makes Kaneki learn to protect himself and begin to accept the ghoul side of his nature, and, through their joint operation to defend Hinami, see its positives in how it can be used to protect his loved ones and fight against his fear of loneliness. He sees the ghoul in Touka and is awestruck.
Kaneki’s Influence on Touka’s Transformation
Yoshimura and Yoriko had begun pushing Touka towards the human side of the spectrum, but it’s the subtle admiration she has for Kaneki that really swings her into the peaceful lifestyle of the Human World.
She is baffled but warmed by the simple human love and care he shows for her, for Hinami, and for everyone he meets, even enemies like Nishiki. It helps along a great change within her that Tsukiyama, someone extremely far gone in the Ghoul World, notices and laments.
But just as Kaneki had two ‘fiends’ to push him over the edge in Rize and Yamori, so does Touka. Her fiends that push her into human pacifism are Kureo Mado, whose wedding ring forces her to re-examine her perspective, and Ayato. In the ultimate mirroring event, just after Kaneki fully accepts the ghoulhood that begun when Kanou implanted a kakuhou in his body, Touka’s kakuhou is devoured by Ayato.
If the kagune is the expression of the ghoul, then Kaneki’s mastery of his makes him a true ghoul, whereas Touka’s inability to use hers makes practically human.
But this is far from the end of their journeys. In the next part, I’ll be looking at their attitudes to the other’s changes and the pivotal event that allowed them to begin reclaiming their old selves in union with their new - to become, as it were, half-ghouls.
When we meet Touka again, 3 years later, she practically glows with human kindness.
Thankfully, her feelings of impotence have not convinced her to erase the admirable human side she had been developing, because she has had the support of the remainders of Anteiku and their hybrid viewpoint. And since that is a hybrid viewpoint, the Ghoul side of her has resurfaced as well, as we find out at the end of the Tsukiyama Family Extermination arc.
Her re-acceptance of her Ghoul self is reflected through the regrowth of her kakuhou and being able to use her kagune again. But while she has brought herself to kill people again, it is not a revenge killing, as it was with Kusaba, but a commitment to violence in order to save a friend. Like Yoshimura before her, she is peaceful when she can be, but when a friend is endangered, she’s willing to fight. A true spiritual Half-Ghoul; something she proves again when she helps rescue Hinami from Cochlea.
And the symbol of this reconciliation is her creation of :re. As Tsukiyama points out, it is a second Anteiku; a second symbol of human nature and Ghoul nature co-existing. And just as Yoshimura created Anteiku as a home for the prodigal Half-Ghoul close to his heart, Touka created :re as a home for the prodigal Half-Ghoul close to hers.
Kaneki’s struggle to reconcile his two selves, however, is still ongoing. At the end of the first series, in Kaneki’s mind his Ghoul self comes into direct contact with his Human self, and the Ghoul realises what a great mistake he’s made in abandoning the Human. But the Human sees the virtue in the Ghoul self as well.
They embrace, and they fade away together, to merge into one.
To merge into Haise, whose hair is both black and white to symbolise the co-existence of the two selves. As Haise, he seems, like Touka, to have mastered this balance. Simultaneously, a kind and gentle soul…
…And someone who is willing to fight when it’s called for, especially when it’s to protect his loved ones.
However, the transformation is not yet complete. Haise still fears sliding back full-swing into the Ghoul World, reluctant to use his kagune. Rather than his two selves being in union, they are fighting for dominance. He sees his past self as the demonic figure in Yamori’s chamber, and it frightens him.
The reason that he has adapted so badly compared to Touka is that the pain the Ghoul side of himself brought him was so extreme, he tried to shove it away entirely, locking away his memories. Being raised in the CCG with its strong prejudice against Ghouls only made his self-denial worse, to the point of crying when Urie calls him a Ghoul.
Touka equally fears Kaneki slipping back in the Ghoul World after seeing what it has done to him (and the own pain she felt because of it), and it’s her principal reason for not trying to bring back Haise’s memories. She believes him to be better off in this not-quite-there state, lest he regress dramatically (as indeed he later does).
(And of course Tsukiyama wants Kaneki back in the Ghoul World, because that’s where he is.)
But to Haise’s surprise, the mental image of the devil within changes into that of a child.
A white-haired child. The Ghoul self he was hiding from was as vulnerable as the human side he treasured. Haise re-examines his perspective, and seeks to understand the part of him he was suppressing. Beginning to understand the Ghoul inside of him is an important part of Kaneki’s development, but it takes him to darker places before brighter.
The confrontation with Eto, the reflection of himself - the Half-Ghoul who strayed from Anteiku into the Ghoul World to fix the world herself - brings Kaneki to a crucial revelation about himself.
Kaneki had always believed that the Ghoulish side within him was something that came about with the implantation of Ghoul organs into his body; indeed he initially tried to carve them out in the hope it would make him human again. However, with the flood of recaptured memories, Kaneki remembers that his life characterised by violence had begun long before that. He had been in the ‘Ghoul World’ even when he was human. The stream was poisoned from the source, and there was no escaping what he saw as his tragic fate - so he embraces it, seeking to at least do something positive with his Ghoul abilities before he can destroy the violent monster he so detests for good.
The white-haired child had represented the major memory Kaneki had been suppressing all along, an ability he possessed that was foreshadowed by the existence of Haise. It represented that he had his Ghoul nature even when he was a child - as foreshadowed by the ‘Black Goat’s Egg’, suitably written by his doppelganger - and so, though it is red in actuality, in the monochrome style of manga, his hair turns black as he accepts the Ghoul as an irremovable part of himself. Black hair was the colour of his human self, but the Black Reaper is the most Ghoulish of Kaneki’s personas - it represents how the distinction in Kaneki’s mind has been utterly obliterated, and he can no longer see where the Ghoul ends and the human begins.
This destruction of the boundaries could be a positive thing for his character, if he didn’t despise himself for it. His hatred for himself is symbolised by slicing his doppelganger in two - although, of course, she survives, and reforms, because the Ghoul within Kaneki cannot be destroyed so easily.
Another thing about doppelgangers; according to legend, when one first meets their doppelganger, death will soon follow. And that is exactly what Kaneki believes. But this is a conviction that is thrown off balance when Kaneki comes to interact with someone who has been a Ghoul since their birth, and who has dived into the human world as well. Someone who has managed to demolish the boundaries between her Ghoul and Human sides in a far healthier manner.
Though Kaneki believed himself to have been part of the Human World, his past was characterised by the Ghoul World in his mother’s abuse long before the attack by Rize. And although Touka believed herself to have been part of the Ghoul World, her past was characterised by the Human World in her father’s kindness long before she went to school. Seeing Touka again is what triggers Kaneki’s self-doubt over his initial goal. Seeing such a healthy specimen of Half-Ghoulness - having now seen her both kindly serving customers in :re and breaking into Cochlea to save Hinami - makes him start to question his self-hatred.
Then, in his mind he speaks with Hide, and recognises that the Hide he is talking to, urging him to live on and demonstrating Human kindness to the highest degree, is a mental conjuration. Which makes that Hide part of Kaneki’s own mind. And if that’s true, then Kaneki can be Human too, after all. Human and Ghoul - he’s always been both. So he doesn’t have to hate himself anymore.
His hair turns white once more to represent the new peace he has found with his Ghoul self, and to call back to the self-confidence and determination to change the world that the first Shironeki possessed. With Ghoulish hair and a Ghoulish eye, his face is lit up by a Human smile. He’s finally mastered the way of the Half-Ghoul.
And that is precisely what makes him the One-Eyed King.
And where does Kaneki wake up after all of this?
In :re, the home of the half-Ghoul.
Kaneki has finally returned to Anteiku.
Now both Kaneki and Touka have destroyed the boundaries between their two selves - also represented by the mixed membership of Goat between Anteiku, Aogiri, CCG, and independents - they have saved themselves, and now that they have saved themselves, they can save the world.
rick and morty: the rickshank redemption sentence starters
– spoilers ahead if you have yet to watch this episode! i also kept in a bunch of quotes about the damn szechuan sauce just to make myself laugh.
‘ anyway, that’s how i escaped from space prison. ’ ‘ i just got my sixth promotion this week and i still don’t know what i do! ’ ‘ it’s great to have you back no matter where we are, but wouldn’t you like to go home? ’ ‘ get out of the booth, take all your clothes off, and fold yourself twelve times. ’ ‘ you cheap insect fucks didn’t think i was worth your best equipment? ’ ‘ relaxed, enough? ’ ‘ he is the smartest man in the universe. ’ ‘ well, when you’re not sure what you do for a living, you can make your own rules. ’ ‘ you’ve hardly touched your pills. ’ ‘ stop saying his name. he abandoned us! ’ ‘ horses live longer than tortoises now. is that what you want? ’ ‘ maybe i just want you to care if i run away yelling! ’ ‘ admit it, you’re going crazy cooped up in here. ’ ‘ yeah well, tough titties. ’ ‘ that depends on who breaks first: me or the titty. ’ ‘ if we stay here we’ll die along with all your memories. ’ ‘ oh, that sounds cool. i can get what i want and you can say goodbye. ’ ‘ fine, but i’m driving. ’ ‘ hey, i like being 35. i can rent a car now. ’ ‘ they weaponized the eiffel tower! ’ ‘ no one’s special to him. not even himself. ’ ‘ i’m not right! i was using ghoulish overkill. ’ ‘ we’re going to the day it all began… and ended. the moment that changed everything. ’ ‘ i’d like to get a 10 piece mcnugget and a bunch of the szechuan sauce. like as much as you’re allowed to give me. ’ ‘ in 1998 they had this promotion for the disney film mulan where they created a new sauce for the nuggets called szechuan sauce and it’s DELICIOUS. ’ ‘ wow, this sauce is fucking amazing! you said it was promoting a movie? ’ ‘ i used to wear blue pants. ’ ‘ well, well, well if it isn’t us. ’ ‘ nobody has to know about that. we can put it right back and pretend we never saw it. ’ ‘ i’ll make it up as i go. ’ ‘ oh my god… i have that exact same top! ’ ‘ that’s my sister. this used to be my home. ’ ‘ imagine doing anything you want and hopping to a timeline where you never did it. ’ ‘ excuse me? we don’t pass on this. who do you think you are? ’ ‘ i heard sci-fi noises. did you make a breakthrough? ’ ‘ i only wanted to stop by here for a quick ‘i told you so.’ ’ ‘ why would you do that? what is the matter with you people? ’ ‘ i’ve got it… i’ve fucking got it!!! ’ ‘ awesome possum! ’ ‘ yeah, that’s the three lines of math that separates my life as a man from my life as an unfeeling ghost. ’ ‘ you can alter anything you want about a totally fabricated origin story. ’ ‘ lovely. not only is my plan screwed up, i also forgot how to improvise! ’ ‘ he’s a spy, blow him up. ’ ‘ i’m gonna go take a shit. ’ ‘ he’s not a lawyer. we just keep him here because he’s fun. ’ ‘ i say: fuck you. ’ ‘ you killed him because you were jealous of him. that’s pretty obvious. ’ ‘ what? no! i don’t want to see your pog collection. ’ ‘ let’s not suck the ghost of his dick too hard. ’ ‘ he’s not a villain, but he shouldn’t be your hero. he’s more like a demon or… a super fucked up god. ’ ‘ i know you’re too stupid to get this, but you’re really fucking this up right now. ’ ‘ i wasn’t going to let her die, you fucking moron! ’ ‘ you’re a serious fucking idiot. you basically killed us all! ’ ‘ who’s stupid now, bitch? ’ ‘ i’m almost proud. ’ ‘ look, i’m not proud to share this, but the truth is i just kept crawling and it kept working. ’ ‘ guess who dismantled the government? ’ ‘ please don’t leave me again. ’ ‘ is there any light beer left? it’s insane what you miss in prison. ’ ‘ no, you’re right. where’s the vodka? ’ ‘ i’m sorry to hear that, sweetie. i hope i had nothing to do with that. ’ ‘ i better tend to him before he changes his mind and doesn’t move out. ’ ‘ but never him. you wanna know why? because he crossed me. ’ ‘ take it easy – that’s dark! ’ ‘ welcome to the darkest year of our adventures! ’ ‘ if you tell them i said any of this, i’ll deny it and they’ll take my side because i’m a hero and now you’re gonna have to go do whatever i say – forever! ’ ‘ and i’ll go out and i’ll find more of that mulan szechuan teriyaki dipping sauce because that’s what this is all about – that’s my one-armed man. ’ ‘ i’m not driven by avenging my dead family, that was fake. ’ ‘ i’m driven by finding that mcnugget sauce. i want that mulan mcnugget sauce! ’ ‘ that’s my series arc. if it takes nine seasons! ’ ‘ i want my mcnugget dipping sauce. szechuan sauce! ’ ‘ that’s what’s gonna take us all the way to the end! ’ ‘ what are you talking about? ’ ‘ nine more seasons. nine more seasons until i get that dipping szechuan sauce or 97 more years! ’ ‘ fine. fuck it. who cares? ’
Kaneki considers Touka’s transformation to be a positive thing. He is aware that he is part of the Ghoul’s World, and to fulfil his goals he knows that he will have to go deeper into it. So when Touka offered to go with him, potentially undoing all her development in the direction of the Human World, Kaneki felt like he had to refuse, to protect Touka from herself, even while it pained both him and her to do so.
Kaneki wants Touka to live like a human, because it’s the life he himself wants, but feels he cannot have. His martyr complex demands that he must shoulder the burdens of everyone else so that they can live happy lives while he alone suffers. But it’s precisely because of this complex that Touka suffers in the first place since she only wants to be by his side. In trying to be ‘save’ Touka, he only ends up hurting her.
And himself too. His own Human emotions, and the truth, nag in his head to give up his warped sense of responsibility and to go down and see her, but he shuts them out by allowing himself to be distracted by his ‘Ghoul business’.
He knows in his heart that Touka can never be a complete Human with her Ghoulish past, but won’t accept that truth. Just as he will not accept that he can never be a complete Ghoul with his Humane past.
Seriously, if any of the characters consistently listened to Yoshimura then this series wouldn’t be a tragedy, it would be a peaceful coffee shop AU. GO BACK TO ANTEIKU, KANEKI. What Anteiku represents is spiritual Half-Ghouldom - Ghouls living alongside Humans and being both monster and man, living in peace when they can and fighting when they must; a world away from the constant fighting that Kaneki’s Group undergoes and from the impotent passivity of the life of a college student. This revelation comes immediately after Yoshimura reveals that he is the father of a half-Ghoul, and it’s not just Eto - it’s the community he founded. Kaneki still doesn’t understand that, as a half-Ghoul, this is his home, where he can be both Kuroneki and Shironeki.
You’re a Half-Ghoul in body, Kaneki, so be a Half-Ghoul in spirit too.
Touka on Kaneki’s Transformation
Touka sees Kaneki’s slide completely into the Ghoul’s World as extremely negative, as he casts aside the very qualities that inspired her to change in the first place. It’s a trend she’s seen before. with both Ayato and herself, and she wants none of it.
This ‘endless bullshit’ is exactly what Ayato is doing now in Aogiri, and exactly what she did in her past hunting doves. To see Kaneki repeating her mistakes is infuriating for her.
The Bridge to Half-Ghouldom
The scene on the bridge is pivotal to our protagonists’ position on the Human-Ghoul spectrum - it’s hard to find a more symbolic setting than a bridge, after all. On one side of that bridge is the road back to the Ghoul’s World, and the other leads back to the Human’s World. Kaneki and Touka meet in the middle, and although they both leave the same way they came, the encounter with the traveller from the opposite road changes their perspectives forever.
It’s this retort from Touka that really snaps Kaneki out of his hero act. He begins to realise that if he keeps going far, far down the rabbit hole into the Ghoul Wonderland, Anteiku may not accept him back at all. He might lose his home - and it frightens him, because he realises the world of the half-ghoul is his home, not dark back alleys brawling with Aogiri.
And then Touka proceeds to demonstrate why she still belongs at Anteiku.
Kaneki’s efforts to “humanify” Touka were a complete waste of time. Touka doesn’t want the complete powerlessness that comes with living in the Human World. She wants the love and affection that it provides, but what’s that even worth, when the one she wants it from most is a denizen of the Ghoul World who refuses to give it to her? Against her better sense, she proves here that the Ghoul inside her is still alive and well. That’s why she still belongs at Anteiku - in spirit, she’s become part Human, but she’s still part Ghoul. She fits better into Anteiku’s hybrid world than the current Kaneki does.
Kaneki, seeing the Ghoul still within Touka, gives up trying to cut off part of his own nature.
And accepts that Human part of him while staying true to his new self as well, going back to Anteiku but changing his role.
Meanwhile Touka’s old self has been brought to her awareness, even if she’s still viewing it as a relapse rather than an indisputable part of herself, not realising that it was the Ghoul part of herself that she has been repressing that was what convinced him to return.
Both come close to Half-Ghouldom and the reconciliation of their fractured sense of self…
But, as is typical in tragedy, the revelation comes too late, and when the push comes to the greatest shove they remain in their separate worlds as the symbol of the worlds’ union goes up in flames, destroyed by the CCG, who want to keep those worlds separate for good.
Kaneki sticks to the ‘Ghoul’ way, and this is his punishment:
Touka wants to go down the Ghoul’s way again, but the memory of Mado’s wedding ring, one of the major stimuli for her journey into the Human World, paralyses her. She cannot escape the ‘Human’s Way’, and it’s deeply painful for her. And this is her punishment:
But despite all that, she keeps faith. She believes Kaneki will find a way back to that Half-Ghoul paradise, and sub-textually, herself as well.
But Anteiku, named after the antique coffee cup that Yoshimura saved to drink with his half-ghoul child - making the shop a beacon for the half-ghoul spirit - has been destroyed. So where does hope lie now for the hybrid existence?
Summary: Legends tell of a valiant warrior, blessed by the divine, betrayed by the leader he fought so hard to serve, locked into an eternal half-life. Called goblin, this man lives forever, watching the years pass him by, until his fated other half can release him.
(It’s funny, Nico thinks. They say legends are always a little true.)
General Nico di Angelo is killed at noontime, under a sky as blue as his lover’s eyes.
It happens like this, like divine retribution for the guilt he keeps pressed between his fingers. He returns from the war triumphant and blood-stained, followed by a legion of adoring soldiers and whispers of divinity, of spirits, of death. His name has spread across the continent, passed between enemy lips, like a promise. A warning.
If the fates abandon you, and you meet the man with clothes as black as midnight and a sword red as blood, turn back, turn back.