Best Anime Like Tokyo Ghoul You Should Watch Next
As a visual art, anime can show a huge array of feelings through nothing more than the little nerves of the eyes. It brings out the darkness found in every single heart and the goodness that everyone is capable of. From hopes and dreams to life and death, it gives us an inkling of what it takes to be human, and perhaps the opposite.
And of course, Studio Pierrot’s Tokyo Ghoul shows all these in a neatly-packaged, four-season anime series of dark fantasy and humbling tragedy. It tells the ravaged story of a young college student, Kaneki Ken, as he moves from the haven of human life into the darker pits of reality among the ghouls.
Turned into a strong, human-like monster who has to eat human flesh to survive against his own will, he questions his identity, now no longer a human, yet neither a true ghoul. He wanders into the insanity of ghoul culture, hunted down by the human Commission of Counter Ghoul and the power-hungry, cannibalistic ghouls alike.
The Tokyo Ghoul anime series presents itself as a tv adaptation of the hit-seller manga of the same name by Sui Ishida with large deviations from the source material. However, this doesn’t mean that Studio Pierrot did not give it the respectful adaptation it deserves.
What Makes Tokyo Ghoul So Tragically Good
A huge part of what makes Tokyo Ghoul deserve all the acclaim it has received throughout the years stems from the level of immersion you get as you watch further into it. It mainly comes from the fact that Kaneki’s life is so relatable as he is seen going to school and meeting up in a coffee shop with a friend. It makes you wonder just how much different ghouls can be from humans, and whether the true monster is really “them” or if it could have been “us” all along.
In a large way, the show depicts the grittiness of life and the thin line of gray morality. It depicts a wide range of characters with various moral codes, from the rather docile ghouls of Anteiku to the wildly unsatisfied Big Madam.
Then it turns everything around and casts the same shadow on the human side, with people living together with ghouls and those hating them to the point of excess. Most ghouls have a kind of nurturing nature, looking for their own kind and working among their peers just as much as humans would.
The film score also lends itself to the show’s success. Composer Yutaka Yamada’s soft melodies blend into the animation so well before bursting into a large stream of notes in various climaxes, such as during the fight scene between Touka Kirishima and Shuu Tsukiyama. Then there’s also the iconic opening, Unravel, by TK from Ling Toshite Shigure.
Perhaps the only real problem with the show is that it has already ended. So if the ending has left you wanting for more, here are some anime that will give you the same feels as Tokyo Ghoul:
- Seraph of the End
- Future Diary
- Devil’s Line
- Akame Ga Kill
- Attack On Titan
- Code Geass
Seraph of the End
In Seraph of the End, humanity has once been brought into near extinction by a virus that killed every person on the planet, safe for all children aged thirteen and below. With this, the vampires began to rule over mankind by imprisoning these children, harvesting them for blood in exchange for protection against the ravaging monsters that followed upon the wake of the virus.
The show follows Yuichiro Hyakuya who barely escapes from the vampires’ clutches and learns that there are humans who have survived the virus. He desires to avenge his family and trains to become a vampire exterminator.
Seraph of the End brings the same dark fantasy and tragic themes but with more emphasis on life after the apocalypse. It brings out Yuichiro’s problems with life outside the vampire encampment and his quest for revenge and protecting his precious teammates.
He may not have been as complex as our beloved Kaneki, but his character arc brings an optimistic taste that, after watching the last episode of Tokyo Ghoul, actually feels a lot more refreshing. You can find it on Netflix and Crunchyroll.
Set in a medieval island inhabited by humans and shape-shifting monsters called Yoma, Claymore is an anime series that topped the charts with its beautiful imagery and unique storytelling. It tells the story of Clare, a half-human and half-Yoma hybrid. Her kind is called Claymores by the common folk based on the large claymore swords they use to kill Yoma. The Organization makes hybrids like her become Yoma exterminators for a price.
Claymore is one of those rare anime shows that feature unique, experimental tropes and characteristics. Unlike the usual anime, Claymore characters are drawn with semi-realistic faces and bodies. None of the characters could ever really fit into a single anime archetype as they all show a wide range of emotions that you don’t see much in anime.
If you think that this should be a dealbreaker, though, then think again. These themes fit well into the show’s dark fantasy setting, bringing realism into the show without ruining it for fanservice. It’s like Tokyo Ghoul as a whole: gritty, scary, but a lot more serious.
Future Diary is a thriller anime series about phones that can tell parts of their owners’ future through a diary entry. Everyone who owns a future diary needs to kill all the other owners to become the next God of Time and Space. Yukiteru Amano is one such person, thrown into a survival game of life and death with his social awkwardness and incredible darts skills.
How bad does he have it? Well, considering that he’s up against a mercenary, a terrorist, a cult leader, and a murderous maniac, among others, it looks like he needs some help.
Yukiteru Amano would have been slightly how Kaneki would have been if he wasn’t defended by Anteiku and eventually tortured to become the overpowered hero that he’s become. He’s a shy guy who has never been on a date and barely has any friends. And while Kaneki had Hide, Yuki had, well, his dartboard.
The series lends itself to great directing from Asread Studio. The thing with Future Diary is that it has a ton of plot holes, but you can never really find them during your first watch. They’re just there. You can’t notice them without thinking too hard. But then, it’d be harder to think when you’ve gotten so immersed with the characters. You can enjoy it on Netflix.
Devils’ Line is another anime series that features bloodsucking vampires in place of man-eating ghouls. It’s about the love story between a human and a vampire in a world where vampires don’t need blood to survive, but their instincts make them go wild for blood especially when feeling extreme emotions. It follows the love between the half-vampire Yuuki Anzai and the human Tsukasa Taira.
In a way, the show is like Tokyo Ghoul but with romance. It deals with the consequences of falling in love with someone who is deemed a monster. It’s like if Nishio Nishiki and Kimi Nishino were the stars of Tokyo Ghoul.
However, Devils’ Line is geared more towards more mature audiences compared to Tokyo Ghoul. If darker stories and countless gore suits your tastes, then Devils’ Line is definitely for you. You can binge it on Netflix.
Akame Ga Kill
Akame Ga Kill is set in a world where Danger Beasts roam the land and political problems run rampant across the empire. Tatsumi is a mercenary, sent to the capital in search of a job so he could feed his dying village.
But while looking for a job, he happened to stumble upon a dangerous assassination group called Night Raid. Joining them, he goes with the group to help the revolutionary army by killing key personalities and exacting righteous revenge for the common folk.
While lighthearted and funny, Akame Ga Kill is a dark anime that emphasizes the evils of people in a political setting. It sings the name of unsung heroes; Night Raid’s members just die without anyone else ever knowing that they had ever lived.
The show makes Tatsumi a relatable character by having him be a normal guy who has to train hard just to survive. His experiences will make you laugh, cry, and fall in awe at various moments with the Night Raid team. It also has a lot less gore compared to Tokyo Ghoul. This makes it a milder watch while still retaining the gritty drama and awesome fight scenes. You can find it on Netflix.
Attack On Titan
Attack On Titan is essentially what happens when a zombie apocalypse happens but with gigantic titans instead of zombie midgets and skyscraper-sized walls holding them back. It follows the story of Eren Jaeger, who has the ability to transform into a titan, seeking revenge against all Titans for killing his mother.
In a way, Eren is what Kaneki would have been if he was a bit more assertive and a lot madder at the world at large. While Kaneki cried because of all the horrors that being a ghoul entailed, Eren cried for, well, not killing enough titans.
What makes Attack On Titan a good anime to watch is how deep the world-building for the story went. It had its own history, lore, and a bunch of weapons that are meant to kill titans and humans alike.
The story goes deep into the political side of things while also going for the mystery of the titans and the unknown titan shifters who, like Eren, have the power to transform into titans but for the sake of destroying the rest of humanity.
If anything, Attack On Titan rivals Tokyo Ghoul in terms of everything, including the soundtrack, but one-ups with the greatest animation that the world has to offer outside anime movies and OVAs. You can find it on Hulu.
Keeping the dark fantasy theme, Steins;Gate is another anime that you might want to watch. It features the mad scientist Hououin Kyouma and his ragtag team at the Future Gadget Laboratory as they make progress over their time travel research. But everything goes awry when they find out that tweaking with time ruins things for everyone in the future.
Steins;Gate is as dark as it can get, with Kyouma’s funny antics and intellectual clashes giving you brief humor in the middle of a long crisis. It brings you into a feeling of companionship while being under a huge problem as if taking refuge in their humor as you wait for the ensuing darkness to arise.
Parasyte is about an invasion of brain-eating alien parasites, one of which happened to have failed in fully taking over the protagonist’s brain and ended up controlling his right hand, instead. Together, they fight against other parasites attempting to devour him and protecting other people from getting eaten by the other infected hosts.
Much like in Tokyo Ghoul, Parasyte delves deep into the meaning of humanity, love, and sacrifice. Shinichi Izumi, the show’s protagonist, begins the question of what makes humans any greater than any other being. On the other hand, Migi, his parasitic hand, discovers what it’s like to want to protect others.
Code Geass follows the story of Lelouch vi Britannia, the exiled heir to the throne of the Holy Britannian Empire. Together with his sister, Nunally, he lived peacefully under the care of the Ashford family, plotting his secret revenge plan on his own.
But then, everything changed when he met a mysterious green-haired girl named C.C. who gave him the power of the Kings, giving him the power to command anyone with absolute power.
Much like Tokyo Ghoul, Code Geass runs on a dystopian world-building but on a conflict between humans from different nations instead of species that depend on another. And instead of ghoul kagune, the characters of the latter use large, robotic machines of war to launch large battles against each other.
But what really stands up for Code Geass is the antihero trope. Lelouch and Kaneki are both antiheroes, protagonists who look nothing like heroes but are good guys all the same. While Kaneki left Anteiku to become stronger and protect those he loves, Lelouch was a genius mastermind, usually nefarious but mostly a manipulative person who accepts that he can’t find good without being evil.
Code Geass, however, is an older anime. You should check it out if you want to see the shift between the mainstream hero archetype of the day to the now-common antihero archetype in anime. You can enjoy it on Netflix and Hulu.
A horror novel adapted into animation, Another is a gripping tale of friendship and survival in the face of unspeakable supernatural forces. It tells the tale of Misaki Mei, a girl with a special prosthetic eye that can see the things that are better left unseen.
She covers it with an eyepatch so she would never need to see them. But when a supernatural event causes the people of her classroom to die one by one, she uses it to find the truth and stop it before it claims more lives.
Another is a dark horror-mystery thriller that will shake the life out of you as you watch it through. It lacks the “me vs you” approach of Tokyo Ghoul but replaces it with frightening scenes and creepy visuals. If Tokyo Ghoul’s horror appealed to you, then you probably want to watch Another. You can find it on Netflix.
Question: How many seasons does Tokyo Ghoul have?
Answer: Tokyo Ghoul officially has four seasons. The following are in chronological order:
- Tokyo Ghoul
- Tokyo Ghoul √A
- Tokyo Ghoul:re Part 1
- Tokyo Ghoul:re Part 2
However, Netflix counts Tokyo Ghoul:re as one season in their watchlist. But the Netflix classification still has the complete episodes.
Question: Will there be a fifth season?
Answer: There will not be a fifth season. Kaneki Ken’s story has finally come to an end in the fourth season, concluding everything there has to be concluded in the story.
Question: Why are one-eyed ghouls stronger?
Answer: In the manga, natural-born one-eyed ghouls are thought to be stronger because of a biological phenomenon called hybrid vigor. This happens when a mix of two sets of genes creates offspring with better resistance by inheriting them from their parents’ genes.
On the other hand, artificial one-eyed ghouls are known to be stronger because of the way their RC cells react to pain. In normal ghouls, their RC cells follow an RC pathway, making them regenerate faster in certain areas where fast regeneration would be best in a fight. But as artificial one-eyed ghouls are former humans, they do not have RC cell pathways.
Their RC cells react in a general manner, looking for the damaged body part and remembering where that part is. This makes for artificial RC pathways that can get stronger the more the artificial one-eyed ghoul gets hurt.
Question: Why is Kaneki’s hair white?
Answer: Kaneki Ken experienced the Marie Antoinette syndrome when he was under Jason’s torture chamber. This is a condition in which the person has been stressed so much that their hair has grown white. The name comes from the real-life story of Marie Antoinette who was known to have had white hair following her imprisonment.
Question: Why does Kaneki crack his fingers?
Answer: Kaneki’s finger-cracking dates back to Jason’s torturer who used to crack his fingers as he tortured Jason. Jason then did the same to Kaneki which Kaneki ended up learning as he killed Jason and escaped.
Question: Who will win in a fight between Kaneki Ken and Eren Jaeger?
Answer: In a battle between Kaneki and Eren, Kaneki will win by a slight margin because of the differences in their skillset. While Eren is trained in fighting against foes far larger than him, neither his body in human form with a 3D maneuver gear nor his titan form is properly equipped to fight someone as small as him.
This gives Kaneki the advantage as he is far more mobile and can hunt down Eren in his human form. Meanwhile, he may find himself in large trouble against Eren’s titan form because of his hardening ability. This makes Eren nigh-invincible in a defensive battle, but will not let him win on a one-on-one.
Question: How does the ghoul rating system work?
Answer: The ghoul rating system works to classify ghouls based on their battle strength and social influence. If it takes more CCG officers to kill them or if they’ve amassed a large ghoul army, then they can be considered among the higher ranks.
The following shows the ranking of the rating system:
C-class ghouls are so weak that they can’t win against any CCG officer. SSS class ghouls are considered the strongest and have been used to refer to the One-Eyed Owl. A rich ghoul with a large private army like Big Madam counts into the SS class while a regular ghoul grunt from Aogiri Tree usually falls at class B.
Question: What happened to Kaneki’s life at school?
Answer: At first, he tried to live a normal college life, easing his hunger for human flesh by drinking a special sugar cube that Yoshimura made for him. But after a string of events causing him to get kidnapped and tortured, he was never really able to get back to school and education has become the least of his priorities.
Question: Who were Kaneki’s parents?
Answer: This was not expanded upon by both the anime and the manga. Kaneki’s father died when he was four, and he barely remembers his face. Meanwhile, his mother died of overwork, leaving him alone in his home before he met Rize Kamishiro.
Question: Did Kaneki have any siblings?
Answer: No. Kaneki was a sole child and he never had any siblings.
The Final Verdict
In a way, Devils’ Line eerily resembles Tokyo Ghoul the most. You could say that it’s the romantic version of Tokyo Ghoul even though it seems watered down in terms of grittiness. But if you are looking for an anime that best resembles Tokyo Ghoul’s grittiness, then you should check out Attack on Titan and Claymore for their deeper dark fantasy themes.
But in the end, you can choose any of these and still have a good time. They are all great anime like Tokyo Ghoul each with differences that makes them stand out in their own way.