Did you like this chapter? Thoughts?
Yup, I liked it a lot. Thank you for asking this question, because I have many things to say about this chapter. Forgive me in advance for what I feel it will be a long reply.
First of all, I was surprised (though I shouldn’t have been) at Akira’s coldness towards Kaneki. I get where she’s coming from and I understand how hard it must be to digest this sudden change, and everything that goes with it. Flat out acceptance would have been unrealistic and the result of bad writiing, because Akira couldn’t possibly have gone from a mindset in which she represented Justice, and she had no reason to doubt her moral standing, to one where she must admit to herself that her worldview was limited and bigoted, and that the world isn’t as black and white as the Academy would have liked them to envision.
Despite that, I wasn’t expecting for her to shut Kaneki out completely (
and for killing Arima on top of that, which is a lie for f*** sake Akira c’mon, you can figure that much out!), because however confusing her feelings might be right now, he’s one of the few people she’s closest to in Goat, and that’s true the other way around, too. I feel like Akira needs Kaneki’s perspective on this new situation she’s been forced into by her own rash decision-making, because unlike Seidou or Amon, who are in it because of circumstances, Kaneki is her only ally that’s in it because he fully believes in what he’s doing. Amon is getting there, too, what with his forgiveness of Touka and with his newfound way of channeling his anger and grief towards the unfairness of the world instead of random scapegoats like faceless “Ghouls”. But I don’t know. I feel like Kaneki’s perspective is important, too. And having Akira’s approval is even more symbolic for him, I reckon.
She’s still a mother figure for him. We all can agree of how positive of a character development this could lead to, if he were to finally have a healthy and supportive mother figure for a change. Eto has always used him for her machinations. He needs someone who can guide him and respect him without asking anything from him, without taking anything from him. Akira can (and will) be that person, imho.
Anyway, I’m positive that she’ll come around eventually. She’s smart, strong-willed and perceptive. There’s no way she won’t pull herself together in order to follow her heart instead of suppressing her feelings and get things taken from her, even if her whole narrative wasn’t centered around the theme of being left alone. She just needs a bit of time to sort out her feelings and find a new reason to fight. and that can happen only after she talks it out with a few characters currently part of Goat. I’m really looking forward to her confrontation with Hinami and Touka in particular, though I’m also curious about her feelings towards Takizawa (if he’s not dead).
On a side note, I really love how Ishida pointed out the irrationality of Hinami’s feelings towards Akira. Grief doesn’t obey logic, and even though she does realize that Akira has nothing to do with the cold-blooded murder of both her parents, she can’t help but associate her with it, anyway. It’s a curious diversion from the usual theme that states “the children pay for the sins of their parents”, because even if Akira didn’t do anything wrong per se, she’s not innocent, since she did approve of her father’s doing and she would have done the same in his place. She doesn’t see Ryoko’s and her husband’s death as a sin at all, and instead used the quinque derived from Mr. Fueguchi with the obvious pride of someone who thinks they’re fighting for the right side. So I’m curious as to how Ishida intends on smoothing out this particular conflict, and how it will affect both Akira’s and Hinami’s character development.
Forgive me for my obvious bias, but Ayato too deserves a small mention, here.
This scene gives me SO MANY FEELS for so many reasons ;n;
The way I see it, this scene wasn’t portraying just Hinami’s grief. Just look at Ayato’s expression right before he goes to comfort her. Ayato knows where Hinami’s coming from. He too lost both his parents, and he too knows what it feels like to have his own life saved at the cost of his mother’s, who chose to stay behind in order to buy her children time to escape. Just. He knows how she’s feeling because he’s already felt it all, too.
I love that their relationship isn’t based on forced companionship. It might have been like that at first, but they grew to be such mature and strong people thanks to the support and trust they gave to each other, thanks to the shared burdens and mutual understanding of each other’s pain. Idk, this scene might have been really brief but it meant a lot to me.
Moving on: Amon and Touka’s talk. *Deep breaths* What can I say. It beat all possible expectations I might have had.
I think that in a sense it was exactly Amon’s unyielding sense of justice that brought him where he is now. He says it himself: he doesn’t hold a grudge against Touka specifically anymore, but he would have arrested her anyway, if he was still an investigator. That was the right thing to do; setting a moral example for everyone to see so that no one else will have to undergo the same pain. That’s the kind of justice of a ghoul investigator. But this sense of justice itself was flawed, because it didn’t take into account Touka’s own take on justice, and how it was Mado the bad guy from her perspective. So arresting her can’t be the answer. Not only that, but he’s no longer an investigator, so he can’t appeal to the sense of justice of one.
He himself has changed, and so his moral grounding has to change, too. So then, it comes to this:
This scene is one of my favourites of the whole chapter because it doesn’t just represent Amon’s character development, but also Touka’s absolution. You see that shocked face Touka pulls? I can assure you that Amon’s forgiveness means a great deal to her. This was Touka after Ryouko’s death:
“It doesn’t matter if a murderer like me dies.”
She doesn’t sugarcoat it for her own sake. She’s aware that what she does, killing people to survive, is wrong. She doesn’t conveniently brush it off as something she needs to do because she’s born that way, unlike other characters. She’s always felt this conflict more than other people. Killing never came easy to her, and deep down, she feels obvious guilt over what she does. So having Amon, a former human and enemy, come to her specifically with the intention of telling her that the real evil is not her nature but the circumstances that make men monsters, is really important for her character. For the first time, someone who has every right to hate her, to want her dead, is offering her acceptance. If Kimi’s comment about Touka’s kagune was meant as a “you’re as valid as I am” moment, I consider this talk with Amon as a “you’re as evil as I am” moment. Both were very important for Touka’s character development, and a necessary step towards her own acceptance of her dark past in order to move forward.
Then there’s Furuta’s moment of glory. Gosh, he leaves me speechless every time. :’D The way he’s not taking the ceremony seriously is very significant imho. Once again, he proves that his role in the story is that of the comedy to Kaneki’s tragedy.
Take this single panel as an example:
Kaneki’s group is facing an internal crisis? Meanwhile, Furuta is at the peak of his power. Kaneki despairs because he’s a horrible leader and his organization is only held together by the lack of other options, meanwhile Furuta laughs in the face of his own success, and all of his scheming give way to the exact outcome he’s envisioned.
I love how he keeps being the comedic aspect of this whole tragicomedy of a story, how he keeps up the facade of the “six year-old” while feeling dead inside, and I love how he chose to wear a stupid mask the moment he reached his goal, because it only stresses further the artificial nature of his own playfulness.
Just think about it from a narrative perspective: this is the moment that we, as readers, should feel threatened by him. This is the moment he officially becomes the Enemy, because everyone in the CCG accepts him as the leader. Instead, we laugh at him. We don’t feel threatened at all. We’re asked not to see him as the final villain, but as a joke, as another victim of the system. A guy who in his moment of glory, when everyone’s looking his way, chooses to wear a mask, and chooses to treat his victory as a laughing matter. Idk, the more I think about it the more it makes me want to cry. This guy doesn’t have anything (or anyone) else but his sense of humour, and he clings to it like a lifeline. It’s such a lonely, empty existence… I know I shouldn’t pity him after all he’s done but…
Anyway, anyway. This post is already long as it is so I’m going to stop there. Thanks again for giving me an excuse to vomit all my thoughts/feelings of this chapter! o/ I hope it was an interesting read :’D