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    Ken Kaneki/Haise Sasaki (Tokyo Ghoul)

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    "Don't let your kids watch this!" - Robbie Rotten

    This article contains potentially sensitive content that may be discomforting or upsetting to certain users. Reader discretion is advised!

    Reason: Gratuitous violence.

    WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

    This article may reveal some pointers such as ones from the Manga or Light Novel of certain anime.‎

    Ken Kaneki
    KenKanekVolume16.pngEndgame Kaneki.jpeg
    Black Reaper 1.jpgKaneki Black Reaper 3.jpg
    Haise.jpg
    Kaneki tortured.jpg
    Human Ken.jpg
    "I've... To you, been nothing but a plaything. And you've toyed with me for a while. I'm not as adroit as you, I'm not smart, and I'm not particularly strong. Forget the world, I can't even protect a small country. I've lost every single time I've faced you till now. So... Despite all that, this time for sure... I will do this. I will defeat you, defeat you, and protect everyone! People, AND GHOULS, TOO!"
    Gender: Male
    Type: Tragic Protagonist
    Age: 17-18
    22-27 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)
    Species: Human (Formerly)
    Artificial One-Eyed Ghoul
    Portrayed by: Natsuki Hanae (Japanese)
    Austin Tindle (English)
    Adrien Solis (French)
    Ricardo Richter (German)
    Manuel Meli (Italian)
    David Jenner (European Spanish)
    Status: Alive
    Media of origin: Tokyo Ghoul


    "If, lets say, you were to write a story with me as the main character, it would certainly be a tragedy. No. Everyone’s the same, in fact. He’s the main character of his novel, and she’s the main character of her movie. All those that walk this earth are the main characters of their own tragedies. All steal, and from all, something is stolen. We can’t help it. That’s who we are. Steal, and be stolen. Imprison, and be imprisoned. Follow, and be followed. Do, and be done. Affirm and negate over and over. We fight ceaselessly to save ourselves from loss. And yet the people and places we love will one day surely be lost. We will all surely be forgotten. Life is sad. Empty. But, despite knowing we will one day be bereft, despite knowing we will one day disappear, we still strive in wretched ways. We still wish to be beautiful. And I consider. “Which one?” I choose. “This one.” Forever choosing, forever being chosen. Nothing more. Nothing less. I'm sorry, Rize... that I have to kill you..." ― Ken Kaneki in :re Chapter 177.
    "Yeah... That's right. Now would you shut the hell up?!" ― Kaneki's first words after regaining his memories.

    Ken Kaneki is the main protagonist of the dark manga series Tokyo Ghoul, and its sequel, Tokyo Ghoul:re. He is currently the husband of Touka Kirishima, the father of Ichika Kaneki, and the best friend of Hide Nagachika. Previously, he was a student who studied Japanese literature at Kamii University, living a relatively normal life. However, this quickly changed after Rize Kamishiro's kakuhou was transplanted into him and transformed him into a one-eyed ghoul. Kaneki is the first known artificial one-eyed ghoul. His unique half ghoul state is what later inspires the idea of the Quinx. After joining Anteiku as a part-time waiter, he learns how to live as a ghoul and eventually becomes known as Eyepatch (眼帯, Gantai).

    Why He is The King

    "Black and blue, turning and over-turning the things I'd chosen countless times, forever repeating the same actions... Ungainly. Awkward. Indecisive. Weak. Endlessly useless. That is what I am."
    1. The way Kaneki lived through with his upside down life painfully, is how he accepted his own tragedy. Making viewers sympathize and feel along with him. His personality changes after being haunted and traumatized, Kaneki's mental state undergoes extreme changes over the course of the series, and each transformation is subtle writing and made sense:
      • Human Kaneki: A shy college student who just want to read books. Upon meeting with Rize, he almost gets eaten, then gets Rize's organs transplanted inside of him, and becomes a ghoul. After knowing that he can no longer eat normal food and live as a human being, Kaneki must overcome his conflict and learn how hard it is for a ghoul to live in society.
      • White hair Kaneki: After being tortured by the infamous Jason, he accepts his ghoul side and became cold hearted. He forms a group of ghouls to stop Aogiri Tree from commiting acts of terrorism.
      • Haise Sasaki: After his encounter with the CCG's white reaper, Kishou Arima, and gets his head impaled and both of his eyes gouged out, Kaneki survives, but suffered from amnesia and lived under a new name: Haise Sasaki, and he is working with the enemy of ghouls. Haise may have his dorky side, but he is actually a reliable mentor. While funny, yet he is haunted by his former self.
      • Black Reaper: Sasaki has regained his old memories, in sharp contrast and a much more opposite compared to his previously gentle personality, Sasaki became colder and much more violent. He fought with more brutal force and was willing to put Tsukiyama's life at risk, despite already remembering his old acquaintance. And after meeting Touka, Yomo, and Ayato again, he makes a vow where he is going to sacrifice himself as his final mission and for his old friends to escape Cochlea.
      • One Eyed King: He gained a new personality where he will stay alive to protect his friends and loved ones. After Arima had committed suicide, Kaneki makes a promise to be king for Arima in order to make peace between humans and ghouls.
      • Post Dragon: Although not much of a personality change, but during his final confrontation with Rize, Kaneki reflects on his life, finds his own redemption, as he recognizes that everyone is their own protagonist, and that his tragedy doesn't make him anymore special than anyone else. He knows that the world is a harsh and unforgiving place, but despite it all, people will still strive to be loved and chosen by those around them. As a result, he'll carry on and choose and be chosen, nothing more, nothing less.
    2. What makes Kaneki a character that audiences can sympathize with is he was abused by his mother most of his life, was treated like crap by his aunt for having better grades than her son, was almost killed, gutted, and eaten, penetrated through the skull, dismembered, became a victim to Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, guilt, and Multiple Personality Disorder to cope the tragedy he's been through.
      • Kaneki went through the same experiences as Eren Yeager, it gets much sadder that both characters were once nice individuals that was forced to do terrible, horrible things in order to succeed and have both opposing sides to co-exist together. The only difference is Kaneki had his character arc ended happily, alive and well, while Eren ended his the opposite.
    3. All his voice actors - Natsuki Hanae (Japanese), Austin Tindle (English), Adrien Solis (French), Ricardo Richter (German), Manuel Meli (Italian), and David Jenner (European Spanish) - did an amazing performance voicing him.
    4. His character design may start out simple at first, based from his human state, but it gets better as story progresses. Going from having white hair and monochrome clothing from Jason's torture, back to black hair, dons glasses and trench coat as the Black Reaper, then finally, back to white hair, which is longer in length and dragon marks on the eyes to the neck, and a large scar on the left side of his face.
    5. Ever since he obtained Rize's organs, Kaneki had to go through hell to keep himself and hunger for human flesh in control, while having to defend himself in using tentacle-like Kagune from the CCG.
    6. Kaneki has great reflexes, skill in martial arts, leadership and swordsmanship.
    7. He happens to get along well with other characters:
      • When Kaneki first interacted with Touka, Kaneki had at first gone to her for help when his hunger was becoming increasingly worse, but Touka harshly rejected him after he stated he was different from "monsters" like her. Touka does try to train Kaneki to become stronger in order to avenge Hinami's mother, and then later on, she became morally concerned about Kaneki when he was abducted by Aogiri.
        • Upon leaving Anteiku, Kaneki stayed true to his intent to preserve her safety and protect her, shown when he refused to allow her to come with him and avoided her during the months he was away. This caused Touka to often wonder of his whereabouts and wanted to meet him again, as observed by Hinami.
      • Hideyoshi "Hide" Nagachika was his first and only childhood friend. Kaneki tried really hard not to expose himself as a ghoul, so he wouldn't have his ties cut with Hide, but Hide already knew from the start that he trusted him to eat his mouth to survive.
      • He acts as a big brother figure to Hinami by teaching her how to read books.
      • As Haise Sasaki, he is a great teacher to the Quinx Squad, and acts like a father to them.
      • He has shown respect to his superiors Kishou Arima and Akira Madō.
        • Even with his second battle with Arima, Kaneki still remains loyal to him, and stated that even if one continues while the other knows he's/she's stronger but refuses to battle, it will remain meaningless in the end.
    8. Just by listening to the openings just describe his perspective and state:
      • Unravel is about Kaneki overcoming his suffering as a ghoul.
      • munou means Kaneki's acceptance.
      • Asphyxia meant Haise's happiness is nothing but a dream.
      • Katharsis goes by the meaning of Kaneki's reality and redemption.
    9. His Post Dragon Kagune in the final battle against Furuta looks awesome. He also has massive cross-shaped blades attached to them that he can swing around as close range weapons or extend long distances. In addition, he can use these as shields to defend against even the strongest of attacks. Their defensive power are great enough to withstand an attack from Dragon with Kaneki sustaining little to no damage.
    10. "I won't pull back. I will press forward. Like a centipede."
      • "It's not like I'm the protagonist or anything. But if you were to write a story about me, then it will be... A tragedy..."
      • "You think something like that... will hurt me?"
      • "That actually hurts... Now... ...It's my turn."
      • "What's 1000 minus 7?"
      • "I am... a ghoul..."
      • "In this world, the strong devour the weak. Who is the strongest? I am. I fucking am."
      • YOU'RE A FUCKING PSYCHO!
      • "Why would I save trash like you?"
      • "You're the cruel one, Touka..."
      • "Don't care."
      • "I've... To you, been nothing but a plaything. And you've toyed with me for a while. I'm not as adroit as you, I'm not smart, and I'm not particularly strong. Forget the world, I can't even protect a small country. I've lost every single time I've faced you till now. So... Despite all that, this time for sure... I will do this. I will defeat you, defeat you, and protect everyone! People, (grows crossblade Kagune) AND GHOULS, TOO!"

    Bad Qualities

    1. While likable, he isn't properly protrayed in the anime. In the manga, he is traumatized, yet he is living happily with Hinami, Tsukiyama, and Banjou. However in season 2, he is nothing but a sad, yet vengeful young man. Not helping the fact that he almost has the same personality as Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizzare Adventure.
      • Speaking of the anime, he joined Aogiri. First, he gets kidnapped and tortured by them, then he gets rescued by his friends, then goes back to the same organization who was kidnapped and decides to join them, which was one of the dumbest decisions that any anime character has done.
    2. Kaneki is still placed guilty after the atrocities he had done:
      • Contradictory: He trashed his previous ideology of "It's better to be hurt rather than hurting others." pledging to crush and murder those who dared come in his way.
        • As iconic as the scene is, him breaking half of Ayato's endoskeleton for torture. And take note Kaneki was a 19 year-old man crushing and destroying the skeleton of a 15 year-old teenager.
        • Has threatened and scarred Madam A, when she hasn't done anything wrong.
      • has gotten power hungry during and after his fight with Shachi.
      • acted really cold to Urie after the death of Ginshi Shirazu.
      • Turned into a dragon that killed and infected millions, but to be fair, it was out of his control that the CCG were planning to wipe out his people.

    Trivia

    • The term "Kaneki" translates as "gold tree" while "Sasaki" translates to "Helpful Wood".
      • The name "Haise" was created by combining the kanji from "coffee" and "world". The kanji used for "Ken" is the same one used for "to sharpen" i.e. sharpen one's fangs.
    • Kaneki has a habit of touching his chin with his left hand when he is hiding something. This habit appears to be subconscious, as he still does it even after his memory loss.
    • In the Tokyo Ghoul popularity poll, he was ranked 2nd, then Touka was ranked 1st, while Haise Sasaki was ranked 3rd.
    • Kaneki likes reading, beautiful language, intellectual women, and hamburgers.
    • His Japanese voice actor Natsuki Hanae, also voiced Kousei Arima from Your Lie in April, and Tanjirou Kamado from Demon Slayer: Kimitsu no Yaiba. His English voice actor Austin Tindle, also voiced Vali Lucifer from the High School DXD series, Ayumu Aikawa from Is This a Zombie?, and Marco Bodt from Attack on Titan. Both have also voiced Kuzan Montoban in Code Geass: Akito the Exiled.
    • Kaneki bear many similarities with Riku Dola from the No Game No Life: Zero:
      • Both have white hair (Riku's hair is natural, while Kaneki had his from being tortured by Jason), split personalities, and (formerly) lifeless, emotionless eyes.
      • Both have lovers with dark colored hair, with Kaneki having Touka, and Riku having Schwi.
        • Speaking of Touka and Schwi, both characters have purple colored hair, specified wings, and are non-human.
        • Both Schwi and Touka happen to be complex characters, sometimes wanting learn what it's like to be human, and warms ups to the protagonist. The main differences is Schwi is a kuudere (meaning cold and emotionless), and Touka on the other hand is a tsundere (meaning hotheaded or harsh).
      • Both had suffered too much, gone mentally insane, and lost people they cared about:
        • With Riku, he had his home destroyed by an army of ex-machina, sacrificed his allies only to survive only to feel regret, lost his wife Schwi in the war, and destroyed everything in his sight only for him to die in the end.
        • As for Kaneki, he lost his mother from overworking herself, had to move in with his abusive aunt, watch his close friends die in front of him, and suffers from PTSD, identity crisis, and memory loss.

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