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Let's Talk Ships # 5 | Kaneki & Touka


So for the fifth installment of the Let's Talk Ships series, I'm going to be talking about Ken Kaneki and Touka from the Tokyo Ghoul Series. This couple was actually requested so I'm actually a bit excited. Anyway, since we're on the topic of Tokyo Ghoul, this is a series that definitely ended up disappointing me. I mean the first season was phenomenal and then everything else just seemed...mediocre and a bit confusing.


On a more positive note though, TouKen did come out of it and that's definitely something I can roll with it.


Background


Ken Kaneki:


So Kaneki's story is a bit of a sad one, especially if we go back to the beginning when Ken Kaneki was an ordinary human attending Kamii University - studying Japanese literature. And though he didn't seem to have much of a social life, he did have a best friend named Hide at the time and was very kind. All in all, he seemed to have a pretty normal life.


Do you know how they say change doesn't happen overnight? Turns out that that saying isn't necessarily true - at least in the anime world.


Kaneki's life changed both drastically and horribly.


The worse part about is that Kaneki didn't deserve what would befall him and the events that would follow after it.


All because of a woman no less - Rize Kamishiro.


If I recall correctly, Kaneki seemingly enjoyed reading and was reading one day at a café. I could be wrong but I believe he had a crush on her but was too shy to say anything to her. Rize, being the predator that she is, approached him and one thing led to another and he ended up walking her home.


To be honest, I don't think they made it too far in before she revealed her true identity and then sunk her teeth into him. Rize basically turned out to be a ghoul and had all but attacked Kaneki, who never saw it coming.


He never stood a chance either.


He would've been done for if no one intervened, but Rize ended up getting smushed under a pile of steel beams at a nearby construction site. The next day Kaneki awoke in a hospital, where he seemed to make a full recovery; however, Kaneki would forever have a memory of that night as he not only had Rize's organs but he was now a ghoul.


Soon after, Kaneki joins Anteiku as a part-time waiter and he eventually learns how to live as a ghoul. However, we all know that the story doesn't end there, in fact, just when we think things are somewhat becoming tolerable, he ends up getting kidnapped by Jason.


And let's just say that Kaneki not only underwent a drastic personality change while he was in Jason's hands, but he also went through a lot period. Even beyond Jason. Even beyond being brainwashed and forgetting his own identity, courtesy of Arima. And I think it's pretty fair to leave it at that.


Touka:


So unlike Kaneki, Touka has always been a ghoul, but she also had a pretty rough past. Now Touka has a younger sibling and is the daughter of Arata Kirishima and Hikari Kirishima. But contrary to Kaneki, whose mother died due to overworking when Kaneki was just 10 years old, Touka had both of her parents.


But that still didn't prepare Touka for what was to come and unlike Kaneki, Touka wasn't exactly kind.


At least not initially as she had a lot of pent-up rage.


And this was most likely due to her losing her father at a young age and having to survive in the ghoul world at a fairly young age. I mean, thanks to the CCG - the Commission of Counter Ghoul her family was torn apart. Oddly enough, her father taught her to reject the ghoul world and to live with humans in order to survive. But on the flip side, she seemed to detest humans and we saw this when she first met Kaneki. Especially since he was a former human. I mean Touka certainly had it rough because as a ghoul, she was just trying to do her best to survive, but in a world like that, when you're constantly persecuted by humans for being a ghoul, that's got to be pretty rough and confusing.


How did they meet?


So the first time they met, they met briefly at Anteiku. I think this was around the time that Touka had served Kaneki some coffee. It was also revealed that Touka knew what Rize was up to with Kaneki, but just chose not to intervene. At this point in time, Kaneki didn't really know anything about ghouls let alone that they existed. Now after Kaneki had survived and became known as the one-eyed ghoul, she was pretty cruel to him.


Forcing him to eat human meat when he refused to eat.


At this point, Kaneki was struggling with his humanity and his ghoul side and did not want to feed on humans. I mean that's a pretty fair struggle. After all, he was basically human the majority of his life - of course, he'd feel some way about eating his own kind.


And Kaneki being Kaneki, was very kind still, and tried his best to please others and Touka.


But let's be honest here, Touka wasn't exactly easy to be around. Especially when it seemed as if any little thing Kaneki did, bothered her. To the point where she would often give him a hard time by chastising him for any and every mistake he made. I don't think I shipped them at this point because it was very clear that Touka did not like Kaneki at all and I didn't see much hope for development between the two.


But eventually, there finally seemed to be a bit of growth between the two thanks to Uta. It was Uta that helped Kaneki see past Touka's tough and harsh exterior. After all, I think Kaneki found her frightening and I would have been afraid of her too, to be honest.


Especially if there seemed to be no way possible to please her.


I think another moment that sparked growth between the two would have to be when we saw him tending her wounds after she attacked a pair of ghoul investigators, and when we saw Touka actually agree to train Kaneki at one point.


I'd also have to add that taking care of Hinami was also something that sparked growth in how they saw each other as well. Little by little, their relationship went from difficult, to respect and admiration, to friendship and we saw that continuously the more they interacted with each other.


Unfortunately, their relationship kinda came to a halt for a bit when Kaneki was kidnapped by Arima, and yet again Kaneki was subjected to brutal and cruel torture. Just like after Jason, Touka and Kaneki were eventually reunited once again.


Only this time they stuck by each other's side. It took some work as Kaneki pushed Touka away, especially after winning a major battle against Arima. But Touka managed to break through his barriers basically being direct with Kaneki and one thing led to another. Touka became pregnant and they decided to get married after that. Touka is very devoted to Kaneki and it's clear they care for each other a lot.


Verdict/Conclusion


So, as always, I'm a sucker for development and this ship definitely has a lot of it. They went through a lot individually and together and I personally think this is a good ship mostly for that reason. Especially, if you look at how they were when they first met up until now. I'm really glad that they can both find happiness because they really deserve it.


Especially Kaneki.


Just when it felt like things were gonna get better for him, he was going through yet another ordeal. I mean he got kidnapped like twice and I'd say he really went through a true identity crisis. Somehow he was able to get himself back on track and I'd like to think that Touka had a part in that. Anyway, I'm curious what everyone else thinks about Kaneki and Touka? Do you like them together? Do you feel like they're well developed? Or lacking in any areas?



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