Strange murders are happening in Tokyo. Due to liquid evidence at the scene, the police conclude the attacks are the results of ‘eater’ type ghouls. College buddies Kaneki and Hide come up with the idea that ghouls are imitating humans so that’s why they haven’t ever seen one. Little did they know that their theory may very well become reality.
Humanoid beings that feed exclusively on human flesh, and possess enhanced physical traits. They typically live in hiding, periodically hunting human victims in order to survive. In turn, they are hunted by the Investigators of the Ghoul Countermeasures Bureau.
A half-ghoul can either be born naturally as a ghoul and a human’s offspring, or artificially created by transplanting some ghoul organs into a human. In both cases, a half-ghoul is usually much stronger than a pure-blood ghoul. In the case of a half-ghoul, only one of the eyes undergoes the “red eye” transformation. Natural born half-ghouls are very rare, and creating half-ghouls artificially initially has a low success rate.
There is also the case of half-humans, hybrids of ghouls and humans that can feed like normal humans and lack a Kagune while possessing enhanced abilities, like increased speed and reaction speed, but shortened lifespans. Naturally born half-ghouls can also eat like normal humans or full ghouls.
The story follows Ken Kaneki, a student who barely survives a deadly encounter with Rize Kamishiro, his date who reveals herself as a ghoul and tries to eat him. He is taken to the hospital in critical condition. After recovering, Kaneki discovers that he underwent a surgery that transformed him into a half-ghoul. This was accomplished because some of Rize’s organs were transferred into his body, and now, like normal ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive.
Ghouls who run a coffee shop called “Anteiku” (あんていく) take him in and teach him to deal with his new life as a half-ghoul. Some of his daily struggles include fitting into the ghoul society, as well as keeping his identity hidden from his human companions, especially from his best friend, Hideyoshi Nagachika.
The prequel series Tokyo Ghoul [Jack] follows the youths of Kishō Arima and Taishi Fura, two characters from the main series who become acquainted when they join forces to investigate the death of Taishi’s friend at the hands of a ghoul, leading to Taishi eventually following Arima’s path and joining the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), the federal agency tasked into dealing with crimes related to ghouls as well.
The sequel series Tokyo Ghoul:re follows an amnesiac Kaneki under the new identity of Haise Sasaki (the result of horrific brain damage sustained from Kishō Arima). He is the mentor of a special team of CCG investigators called “Quinx Squad” that underwent a similar procedure as his, allowing them to obtain the special abilities of Ghouls in order to fight them but still being able to live as normal humans.
On the surface, the cafe appeared innocent, plain, and pleasant. However, at its heart, it was also an organization of ghouls of the 20th ward. It provided aid for ghouls in need, managed the feeding grounds of those in the 20th ward, and collected food for others by searching for the bodies of humans who committed suicide.
Anteiku had two floors and a basement. The ground floor was the cafe itself, where the customers entered and the coffee was brewed. There was a storage space along with a meeting room on the upper floor. The basement was a hidden floor underneath the ground floor where human meat was stored. There was also an entrance to the 24th ward here.
Anteiku has two floors and a “basement”. The ground floor is the café itself, where the customers come through and the coffee is brewed. There is some storage space and a meeting room on the second floor. In the anime, the second floor also contains living quarters for some Anteiku members, including Touka Kirishima and Hinami Fueguchi. The “basement” is a hidden floor underneath the ground floor where meat is stored for the ghouls.
There is also an entrance to the 24th Ward here. Due to its influence, the 20th Ward is considered docile in comparison to other wards, and has been neglected by CCG. By tacit agreement, the ghouls refrain from hunting human customers of the cafe. During the 20th Ward One-Eyed Owl Battle, the cafe was destroyed and its remains were salvaged.
Ken Kaneki is the main protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul:re.
Formerly a human who studying Japanese Literature at Kamii University and living a normal life, everything was soon changed after he had Rize’s kakuhou transplanted into him and became a One-Eyed Ghoul. After joining Anteiku as a part-time waiter, he learns how to live as a Ghoul and became known as Eyepatch.
A 17-year-old high school student Ghoul working in the local cafe, Anteiku. She is helping Kaneki understand what it means to be one and the thin line between humans and ghouls. She is fascinated by humans, and longs to live a normal life among them as much as possible.
A sweet girl with a fondness for books. However, under her charming personality and appearance she is known as “Binge Eater” Rize, a well-known Ghoul that terrorized several other wards before moving to the 20th ward. Her kagune is started to be extremely powerful and unique, making her a much-sought after target by multiple groups.
A laid-back man with numerous tattoos who makes masks for other ghouls. He was once the leader of the 4th Ward but has since settled into a quiet life running his shop.
Itori (イトリ, Itori) is an old friend of Yomo and Uta. She can be found in Helter Skelter bar, where she shares information in the underworld. Itori is also a member of the Clowns.
A playful woman that runs a bar in the 14th District. She is old friends with Yomo and Uta, and has an extensive information network.
A young man with an eccentric personality and taste to match it. He is known as the Gourmet, and models his feeding off high-class dining with a focus on “interesting” or unique victims. After meeting Kaneki, he becomes obsessed with him.
A stoic man that serves as Yoshimura’s right-hand man, carrying out odd jobs for Anteiku. He was once a violent thug but has been reformed into a wise man of few words. Along with Touka, he provides guidance to Kaneki on life as a Ghoul and teaches him how to defend himself.
A young Ghoul who is a second year in Kamii University, and an upperclassman to Hide and Kaneki. Before the start of the series, his hunting territory was overtaken by Rize and his efforts to reclaim them place him at odds with Kaneki. He has a human girlfriend, and his devotion to her slowly leads him to change his ways.