This chapter is important because Ishida’s relationships work by gestures, simbolism, unsaid. To say that that I was shocked is an understatement, but now I’ve reread it, I think I’ve got the point. It’s not about them having sex, it’s about him opening up. WhenTouka jumped on him last chapter was because she knew he was starting to feel down and reacted to that. Now that he cries, just like he cried when he saw her in :re cafè, it means much more than back then. It means something has changed.
This time someone is looking at him, someone confronting him on this. And this time he cannot escape this gaze.
What are other times when he broke down?
When he was trying to recover his memory. But back then he had no-one to rely on and he himself partially refused to rely on anyone, due to fear, due to relisiance of Kaneki’s character inside of Haise, so that he found himself speaking about himself with a younger image of himself. The only one he received feedback from was this version of him.
And the effects of it showed. He broke down, as one does when he doesn’t let out anything and all the negativity suddenly bursts out incotrollably. But these weren’t tears of relief, as nothing changed.
He couldn’t help himself. The people around him couldn’t help him, even when, in rare moments like this, he actually let Haise prevail and asked for their help. Akira is uncomfortable in the position Arima has put her in, for a number of reasons, and to help him as he should be helped is a trauma for her; she can’t be blamed. She does what she can, but it’s not enough.
And her way of helping him is “uncommon” to say the least. It doesn’t fail completely. Kaneki is a person who needs both to encouraged to stay alive and to be shaken - much like Hide did when he fought Arima.
But at the same time, it doesn’t work. Even now, after all that has happened between them, now that he has finally mustered to courage to ask her for help - or maybe, he simply lets Haise prevail with her - , she can’t give it to him, because she, herself, is broken and in doubt. So he finds himself in a dark place again. And here comes Touka’s question.
Why are you crying?
Why indeed. He doesn’t know. Even we as external readers may not know either if it’s even happiness or sadness. But something has changed now, something has shaken him, again, …
so though he doesn’t have an answer for this question, he doensn’t stop to try and overthink it to look for an asnwer. He opens up. He lets another person in his personal space, in his bubble - no pun intended, I swear.
This doesn’t mean everything is solved. It means it’s more open to solutions than it has ever been.