Sui Ishida’s globally popular Tokyo Ghoul manga was originally published between September 8, 2011 and September 18, 2014, ending its run with a total of 14 volumes. A sequel, titled Tokyo Ghoul:re, was published between October 16, 2014 and July 5, 2018, and collected in a total of 16 volumes.
The manga became a global phenomenon, and that popularity also spread to the anime adaptation. Tokyo Ghoul was in the spotlight for several years and in this article, we have decided to give you an overview of the manga’s arcs so that you can find your way around Ishida’s narrative masterpiece.
How many Tokyo Ghoul arcs are there?
As we have said, the original Tokyo Ghoul manga was published between September 8, 2011 and September 18, 2014. It had a total of 143 chapters which have been published in a total of 14 volumes. The sequel manga, which came out between October 16, 2014 and July 5, 2018, had a total of 179 chapters collected into 16 volumes.
Now, what do these 302 chapters in total amount to in terms of story arcs? The two Tokyo Ghoul manga series are usually divided into 19 arcs, with an additional two spin-off arcs set in the same universe.
The arcs are of an uneven length and don’t contain the same number of chapters. The shortest among all the arcs is the “Epilogue Arc” of Tokyo Ghoul, which has only one chapter.
Tokyo Ghoul arcs in order
This section is going to list all the major manga arcs and give you some basic info about their plots. The arcs are going to be divided based on which source material they are taken from. We’re also going to include the two spin-off arcs. The arcs are listed in chronological order, not by the release date.
Tokyo Ghoul [Jack]
After being kicked out of class, Taishi Fura wanders the streets and sees friends of his. He decides to find them and realizes that they are being chased by a strange creature wearing a pumpkin mask. This is Lantern, a fearsome ghoul. Out of nowhere, Kisho Arima, one of his classmates, intervenes to save him. Arima is not just a student; he is also an investigator. Both of them will go on a Lantern hunt.
Ken Kaneki is a first-year student at Kamiya University in the Faculty of Philology. Together with his friend Hide, he rests in Anteiku and watches a television program in which Hisashi Ogura talks about ghouls. Hideyoshi remembers that Ken wanted to show him a girl he likes, and he begins to wonder who she might be.
At first, his choice falls on Touka, but Kaneki immediately protests. When Rize Kamishiro comes to the cafe, he points to her, but Hide immediately cools his ardor, noting that he and Rize do not fit together at all. Ken does not lose heart, and Hideyoshi, wishing his friend good luck, leaves. Kaneki still manages to ask Riza out on a date, during which they have lunch together and discuss Japanese literature, specifically the works of Takatsuki Sen.
After spending time together, Ken escorts the girl home. Once in a secluded alley, Rize suddenly attacks the protagonist and bites him, betraying his nature as a ghoul. She inflicts a serious injury on Kaneki and was about to eat him, but she is prevented by beams that collapsed on her, which presumably kill her. An ambulance rushes the dying Ken to the Kano General Hospital, where the doctor takes full responsibility and transplants the deceased girl’s organs into him.
Soon, Kaneki realizes that all food has become disgusting to him, but people attract him with their aroma. Realizing in horror that he is a ghoul, the protagonist tries to cut out the kidney transplanted to him, but he fails, because his body has become very strong. Tormented by hunger, out of hopelessness, he goes to Anteiku and asks Touki for help, but receives a rude refusal. Instead, Yoshimura comes to the rescue, who gives Kaneki a portion of meat.
Kaneki discovers that he can eat not only meat, but also coffee, after which he immediately goes to the store for grains, where Nishiki Nishio recommends him the Blondie brand. Returning home, Ken smells a sweet aroma; an attempt to follow its source leads the protagonist to an alley where a ghoul named Kazuo Yoshida is about to eat the fresh corpse of a murdered man.
However, he himself is killed by the hands of Nishiki, who, declaring that the territory belongs to him, attacks Kaneki, who is saved from death by Touka. Later, when Kaneki decides to go back to university, he finds out that Hide knows Nishiki, to whom he is going home to buy a CD from last year’s festival. Fearing for a friend, Ken ties in with them. Along the way, Nishio knocks Hideyoshi unconscious with a strong blow, and then attacks Kaneki as well, mockingly provoking him.
A hunger-ridden Kaneki unleashes his kagune and overpowers Nishiki before nearly eating Hide. This is hindered by Touka, who arrives in time and takes him to Anteiku. In the cafe, the staff takes care of him and Hida, knowing about everything that happened. Yoshimura offers Kaneki a job as a part-time waiter at Anteiku to get to know the ghouls better, and Ken accepts the offer.
Doves’ Emergence Arc
After becoming part of Anteiku’s staff, Ken Kaneki, under Yoshimura’s guidance, gradually gets used to life as a ghoul. One day, Ryoko and Hinami Fueguchi come to the cafe for help. At the same time, ghoul investigators arrive in the area, who are looking for fugitives with the aim of immediate destruction.
After her husband’s funeral, Ryoko decides to start a new life with her daughter, they are finally found by investigators Kotaro Amon and Kureo Mado. Mother sacrifices herself to save Hinami. Upon learning of what happened, Touka becomes obsessed with revenge for Ryoko’s murder
One day, one of the well-known ghouls visits Anteiku’s cafe – Shu Tsukiyama, nicknamed Gourmet. Despite the fact that he is not welcome in the institution, he immediately draws attention to Ken Kaneki, attracted by his scent. After that, he tries in every possible way to get closer to him, and eventually invites him to some “place for the elect.”
He, remembering a recent conversation with Itori and a request to get information about the Ghoul Restaurant, agrees. But Kaneki is unaware that he will not be a visitor at all.
Aogiri Tree/11th Ward Battle Arc
Kazuichi Banjo comes to Anteiku in search of Rize, accompanied by his followers. He asks Kaneki to warn Kamishiro to flee, but at that moment, Ayato, Yamori, and Nico burst into the cafe and kidnap Ken because he possessed Rize’s scent. At this time, the CCG creates a Special Forces Detachment of the 11th district, which will be tasked with the operation to storm the Aogiri hideout.
Tatara – one of the leaders of Aogiri – comes to the conclusion that the captured Kaneki is completely useless, and hands him over to Ayato. However, later, as a result of a failed escape attempt (which was not filmed in the anime), Ken falls into the hands of Yamori, who tortures him both physically and spiritually for 10 days.
Having renounced his old ideology, Kaneki escapes and kills his tormentor, and a little later, reuniting with the members of Anteiku who came to his aid, he forms his own group, setting himself the goal of protecting loved ones, finding information about Rize and finding out the whereabouts of Dr. Kano.
Post-Aogiri Tree/Timeskip Arc
After escaping from Aogiri’s hideout, six months pass. Kaneki’s group continues to search for traces of Dr. Kano, and target Madame A, who is somehow connected to the scientist. Kaneki sneaks into the Ghoul Restaurant again, but this time it’s not him, but the patrons. Madam A, who was guarded by two one-eyed ghouls Kuro and Shiro, manages to escape, and an enraged Kaneki massacres the restaurant, killing all its patrons.
Raid on Kanou’s Lab Arc
Kaneki, along with his followers, goes on the trail of Maiko Abe and captures him, after which he interrogates. She reveals to him the location of the mansion, under which Akihiro Kano’s laboratory is located. Descending underground, Ken is confronted by a scientist and learns a shocking truth.
After the incident in Kano’s lab, Kaneki becomes depressed. Having lost his way, he seeks answers from his friends, collecting the truth bit by bit.
Owl Suppression Operation Arc
At the CCG, investigators learn about One-Eyed Owl and where she hides. Believing that their main target is hiding in the Anteiku cafe located in the 20th district, the authorities organize a large-scale operation to clear the area of ghouls, planning to use all forces in the plan, including a special class. At the very last moment, Kaneki learns about the impending threat, who seeks to reach Yoshimura with all his might and save him, while protecting his comrades along the way.
However, all events go against his plans, which are not destined to come true due to the tragedy that later unfolded in V14. Both the CCG forces and the ghouls suffered heavily during the operation. After the battle was over, the identities of those whose actions led to such a tragic denouement are revealed.
The chapter begins when Akira visits her father’s grave. She tells him how she has now become a First Investigator and because of her skill with the Chimera Quincea she will be part of the special team against the Phoenix Tree led by First Investigator Kisho Arima. She says that although a few months have passed since the fight with the owl, she firmly believes that they will still take care of it.
She then comments that Arima made her mentor to a certain Junior. From what she’s heard, he’s said to be somehow “different from the other investigators.” At that moment, said young man approaches and greets them before introducing himself as Third Investigator Haise Sasaki. The surprised Akira then greets him back.
Tokyo Ghoul: Joker
Joker One Shot
The story begins in the 20th district and revolves around Juuzo Suzuya’s new partner, Hanbee Abara, who acts as the narrator and protagonist. Investigator 2nd Class Hanbee Abara mentions a darkness lurking in the world related to stories between humans and “mysterious creatures” that lurk in the crowd and prey on humans: these creatures are known as “ghouls”.
The ghouls are opposed by specially trained people belonging to the CCG organization, which includes Abara himself. He mentions that ghouls have a hunting organ called a kagune. They are extremely terrible, and Hambee also adds that even some people are not inferior to them in this regard, one of which is his boss, Investigator First Class Juzo Suzuya.
Abara states that he will never reach even a tenth of Juzo’s courage, as often, being surrounded by ghouls, he flees, thereby confirming his hopelessness. At a meeting of investigators, it is revealed that Suzuya’s group is currently tracking down a group of ghouls known as the Skull Gang. Akira Mado mentions that this group is gradually replenished with ghouls, as a result of which their hunting grounds are expanding.
Investigators come to the decision to eliminate the leader of this organization. On Kurashiki Street, Suzuya and his team begin searching for clues. Although Abara is frightened, Suzuya mentions that his methods of killing ghouls should not include unnecessary movements, however, among the members of the squad, only Juzo himself possesses this skill.
The group decides to split up in order to more effectively search for traces of the leader of the Skulls. Abara notes that the sought-after ghoul hunts haphazardly and is 165 cm tall, which speaks of his youth and inexperience. Hanbee also mentions that he can only think clearly when alone, but when confronted by a ghoul, he instantly loses all his spirit.
Abara appears to have heightened senses, noting that the smell of the crime scene irritates his sense of smell, and also says that he can hear the breath of every person on the train he traveled on during the investigation of the skull leader’s case. Seeing how an older man molests a young girl, Hambee regards this as sexual harassment.
While he tries to muster up the courage to stop the crime, Suzuya intervenes and deals with the attacker himself, after which he points out Abara’s uselessness. Juzo offers to follow the man from the train. Abara tells Suzuya that he was attacked by a ghoul as a child, from which his father tried to protect him, as a result of which he lost both legs. Hanbee was looking for a way to save his father, but despite all his efforts, he could not muster up the courage.
Torso Investigation Arc
Three years have passed since the operation to clean up the 20th district. The protagonist, Haise Sasaki, works for the CCG as a Ghoul Investigator First Class and mentor to a squad of experimental Quinx soldiers who have had Quinx implanted in their bodies.
Worried about his inexperienced subordinates who refuse to listen to him and prefer to work on their own to solve the case of the dangerous ghoul known as Torso as quickly as possible, Sasaki also takes on the case, seeking to identify the criminal before his students encounter him.
At this time, Haise is tormented by nightmares in which someone seeks to take over his mind and regain lost memories. In the course of events, the true nature of the protagonist is revealed: Haise Sasaki is a one-eyed ghoul, formerly known as Ken Kaneki.
Nutcracker Investigation Arc
After the operation to capture Torso is thwarted and the entire Shimoguchi group is exterminated by the SS-ranked ghoul known as the Black Rabbit, Torso’s investigation is declared on hold. Instead, the Quinx Squad gets a new target – the Nutcracker: a mysterious female ghoul who preys on men and eats their testicles.
During the investigation, it turns out that the Nutcracker is related to the Ghoul Restaurant, kidnapping people for Big Madam, who arranges auctions, where the kidnapped victims are subsequently sold.
Along with this, Sasaki’s internal struggle continues, intensified by visiting a cafe called “:re”. Subconsciously, Haise wants to remember everything, but at the same time he is also afraid, because he believes that as Sasaki he will cease to exist. Meanwhile, the Aogiri Tree makes itself felt again, and prepares to make its next move.
Auction Mopping-Up Operation Arc
After the Quinx Squad uncovers the Nutcracker’s involvement in ghoul-run auctions of kidnapped humans as merchandise, CCG special class candidate Matsuri Washu decides to send Tooru Mutsuki along with Juzo Suzuya to a ghoul event to purge and put an end to Big Madam’s activities. On November 11, the start of the operation is announced, but everything does not go quite according to plan, as the Clowns intervene again, and a new threat appears on the battlefield.
Rose Investigation Arc
In Tokyo, a group of ghouls is found involved in mass kidnappings and leaving traces of kagune on hunting grounds, which coincide by 27 percent with the traces of members of the exterminated German Rosewald family. CCG decides to investigate this case in order to find out who is behind all this: the surviving Rosewalds or another family related to them by blood?
Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation Arc
The Rose case is solved, during which the true nature of the Tsukiyama Corporation was revealed. The CCG decides to launch a full-fledged operation to destroy this powerful ghoul family, which was related to the Rosewalds. But will everything go according to plan?
Third Cochlea Raid/Rushima Landing Operation
Six months have passed since the destruction of the Tsukiyama family. Ken Kaneki, who continues to play the role of Haise Sasaki in CCG, becomes a candidate for a special class. In a battle on the rooftop of the Lunatic Eclipse, after learning One-Eyed Owl’s true identity, he begins to track down Sen Takatsuki, who eventually turns herself in to the Ghoul Control Office. What is the head of the Aogiri Tree up to and what will Ken Kaneki do? What is his environment really like?
At dawn on December 13, a large-scale operation begins, including military operations on two fronts at once: on the island of Rushima, where most of the ghoul investigators are sent to clear the island of the presence of the Aogiri Tree, and in Kokuriya, the defense of which becomes the task of Kisho Arima, the Detachment 0 and Ken Kaneki.
Kuki Urie, who leads the revamped Qs Squad and is under orders from Matsuri Washu, is determined to find and save Mutsuki at all costs, but things don’t turn out quite as expected.
Clown Siege/CCG Lab Infiltration Arc
A month passes after the assault on Kokuriya and the operation on Rusim. Ken Kaneki reunites with his old friends from the :re coffee shop and enlists the help of former Kokuriya prisoners, the remnants of the Aogiri Tree, and the deserted Arima Zero Squad. The protagonist sets himself the goal of fulfilling the will of the previous One-Eyed King and creating a world in which people and ghouls can live in mutual understanding.
For this, he creates a mixed organization, which he gives the name “Black Goat”. In turn, Souta Vashu Furuta, nominated by the previous chairman to the post of director of CCG, is building his plans, immediately starting to implement them.
24th Ward Raid
The Clown attack is successfully repelled, and Ken Kaneki’s infiltration into the CCG lab is bearing fruit: after an operation using RC depressants, Akira Mado comes to his senses. Those who were separated are reunited, and those who held evil against each other are reconciled.
At the same time, the new director of the CCG, Kichimura Washu, takes decisive action, staging a show execution of Haise Sasaki and entrusting the cleansing of Tokyo from ghouls to new human-ghoul hybrids, Oggai, who achieve impressive results. Due to their activity, the Kose has to retreat to the 24th district, however, Kichimura has his own plans for it, already preparing a large-scale raid.
Dragon War Arc
Operation “Kill the Goat” ends in success: most of the ghouls are destroyed, the One-Eyed King is defeated. However, Kichimura Washu’s plan was by no means this: Ken Kaneki, driven to despair, destroys the Oggai prepared for him to feed and devours them.
Due to the huge amount of rinkaku-kakuho eaten and received Rc-cells, his body mutates into a huge monster that sweeps away everything in its path, gets out to the surface and fills the streets of Tokyo, wreaking havoc and destruction. Kichimura, satisfied with the result and the appearance of his Dragon, resigns as CCG director. Humans and ghouls have no choice but to unite against a common threat.