A lot of the stuff I've hidden with spoiler tags here is also a large part of the premise. I have no clue what counts as a spoiler for this first volume...
Ken Kaneki, an 18-year-old college student studying Literature, has a huge crush on a woman he saw in Anteiku, a coffee shop. He's thrilled when the two of them arrange a date after she sees that they're reading the same book, but things end very badly: she bites him and he realizes to his horror that she's a ghoul, a being that pretends to be human and hunts humans for food.
Fortunately for Kaneki, his would-be murderer is killed by a falling beam. Unfortunately, he receives an organ transplant from her (the doctor who made this decision gets in trouble, since proper consent wasn't given). After that, Kaneki has trouble stomaching human food - it seems that he is now at least partly a ghoul. He tries to avoid eating human flesh but almost ends up eating his best friend. He's saved by two ghouls, Touka and the elderly owner of Anteiku, who are apparently at the head of some kind of ghoul movement to live a quieter life (if only for their own survival). They provide meat to ghouls who, for whatever reason, cannot or do not hunt.
The art style took me a bit to get used to. The linework is thick, and hair highlights are scratchy.
The action scenes in this series are really hard to follow, and I wouldn't be surprised if the story becomes both more gross and more depressing as it progresses. I've been tempted by the anime boxed sets for this series for some time, but I keep passing it by because I don't know if I can handle how dark I suspect it's going to get. Then again, I love the Attack on Titan anime, so who knows?
I'll wait and see how this works for me. Right now it's basically just setup. Readers learn that the ghouls each have territories, and that Rize (Kaneki's date) was a binge eater whose behavior was frowned upon. Kaneki discovers that the only human food/drink he can still enjoy is coffee. Touka loathes him, while Yoshimura, the owner of Anteiku, seems to be pretty nice - although he's still a ghoul, so I'm not entirely sure how far that niceness extends.
I'm very iffy about Kaneki so far. Even before he
, he seemed to be a bit of an emo loner. He was lucky that Hideyoshi, his best friend, was more outgoing and looked out for him. Crossing my fingers that Hideyoshi doesn't end up dead later on. I would like for this series to not be crushingly depressing, please.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)