Review: Tokyo Ghoul √ A [Blu-ray]

Release Date
13th June 2016 / 25th July 2016 (Standard Blu-ray)
Blu-ray CE / DVD / Blu-ray
Studio / Publisher
Pierrot / All The Anime
Audio / Subtitles
Japanese 2.0, English 5.1 / English
2 (BD), 2 (DVD)
Run Time
288 Minutes

Tokyo Ghoul Root A is available in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD from All The Anime Limited; once again, the collector’s edition officially went out of print incredibly close to release. Like the original series, Root A is animated by Studio Pierrot, the studio behind other such series as Yona of the Dawn, Naruto, and Twin Star Exorcists. Director Shuhei Morita also returned for this series, which remains his most recent work. It’s good to see All The Anime release a standard edition blu-ray so close to the collector’s edition as well

In modern day Tokyo, society lives in fear of Ghouls: mysterious creatures who look exactly like humans — yet hunger insatiably for their flesh. None of this mattered to Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turned him into the first ever Ghoul-human half-breed. Picking up where the first season left off Ken continues onwards into the dark world he has found himself in.” – All The Anime

The end of the previous series was a massive disappointment to everyone that watched it, and this series, sadly, follows right on from that. The disappointment continues throughout pretty much the entire first half of the anime, while the latter half reverts back to the thoroughly enjoyable anime the majority of the first series was. As a simulcast, this series was difficult to watch for the first six weeks, with little of interest happening throughout. This series works much better being able to watch it at the pace you choose, as you can suffer through the lesser episodes in one session rather than waiting each week to continue with it. While the first series had impressive animation throughout, some of the early episodes of Root A are lacking, as though the animators cared about these episodes as little as the viewers.

While the earlier series focused on progression from Kaneki’s point of view, this series instead has Kaneki off shunning his human side and joining an aggressive group of ghouls, while the audience is left following other characters from the earlier series, alongside some newcomers. Unfortunately, the newcomers have little time spent on their backstories, so it’s difficult to feel for them as we do the pre-existing characters. Having not read the manga, I’m left feeling as though I’m in the dark for portions of this series; details are glossed over or ignored entirely, and I can only assume the manga takes the time to explain things, rather than rush towards a finale that leaves unanswered questions. Overall, this series is definitely worth picking up if you enjoyed the first series, just don’t go in expecting it to be quite as enjoyable. I have both Collector’s Edition blu-rays on my shelf, and although I watched review copies for both, it’s only Root A I left sealed as I doubt I’ll ever look through the included book.

The English dub track is included as a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track, while the Japanese track is presented as a 2.0 Dolby TrueHD track. This is standard fare for a televised anime, with the dub producers often choosing to make use of surround sound in an attempt to better immerse the viewer. Both audio tracks are of excellent quality, but having watched with the Japanese track back when it was airing, I opted for the dub this time around; I much prefer the voicework of the Japanese cast.

In terms of on-disc extras, this release includes an Episode 7 Video Commentary, Episode 1 & 12 dub commentary tracks, promotional videos and the textless opening song. Being Funimation-authored discs, we’re treated to trailers for Assassination Classroom, Garo the Animation, Yona of the Dawn, Ghost in the Shell The New Movie, Rage of Bahamut Genesis, and Black Butler Book of Murder. The discs also include the awful FunimationNow trailer below, and I hope Funimation stop including this on their discs soon, as it makes me regret choosing to watch on blu-ray more than a little.

71A-nlVLhpL._SL1022_©Sui Ishida/Shueisha, Tokyo Ghoul Production Committee

Tokyo Ghoul Root A is by no means a bad, or unejoyable anime, it's just not as good as the first series was. I found Root A to be around 50% tedious viewing, and 50% on-par with the earlier series. The first half of Root A is incredibly unimpressive, but if you suffer through it, the latter half manages to save the anime as a whole.