Although Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul really had a great story, it was the characters that made us love the show so much. Humans, inspectors, ghouls… the series offered us a colorful plethora of various characters, personalities, and powers. In this article, we are going to talk about one major Tokyo Ghoul character, namely, Kishō Arima. The White Reaper, as Arima was called, was the CCG’s most powerful member and he was even able to defeat Kaneki with ease. Still, his story had a much deeper context within the general narrative of Ishida’s manga and with the question still lingering after so many years, we have decided to tell you whether Arima was a Ghoul or not.
Kishō Arima was actually a half-human, a type of hybrid between a human and a Ghoul. Half-humans, unlike half-ghouls, have mostly human traits and are the result of copulation between a ghoul and a human, which means that they have both human and ghoul DNA. They have superhuman abilities and age more rapidly, but they can eat normal food and cannot manifest the kagune or the kakugan.
Today’s article is going to be about Kishō Arima and his role in the Tokyo Ghoul series. You’re going to find out his story evolved in the narrative and how the revelation of his true nature in the second part impacted the future of the story. For those that still haven’t read or seen the Tokyo Ghoul story, this article is going to be spoiler-heavy.
Is Kishō Arima a Ghoul?
In order to answer this question properly, we first have to tell you Arima’s story, because his true nature was not clear from the very start and it was a shocking revelation that shook the very foundations of the interpersonal relationships we had seen until that moment, as well as the balance of power and allegiances presented in the series.
The protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul: JACK, Arima is the ultimate investigator of the CCG, the living legend, he is the most powerful of all the detectives of the CCG. He is recognizable by his glasses, his white hair (blue when he was a teenager), and his little expressive temperament. Rarely showing his emotions, he remains polite and quite smiling with his colleagues. Faced with the ghouls, Arima has no compassion and eliminates them without further ado. He marked the entire history of the GCC with his unmatched power. Nicknamed the CCG Reaper, his skills in combat and during investigations have led many detectives, such as Kōtaro Amon, to admire him.
However, there are many people who are jealous of Kishō’s power in battle; the older inspectors realized their own inferiority to Kishō. During the Battle of The Ancient, after eliminating many ghouls in the sewers, he confronts Ken Kaneki who is desperate to reach the cafe and is already weakened from his fight against Kōtaro Amon. Arima defeats the young man without difficulty by gouging out his eyes. If Ken appears dead to all, he actually survived. Locked up in the Cochlea for some time and amnesiac due to Arima’s blows which also affected his brain, Ken Kaneki is taken in by Arima who himself offers him his new name, Haise Sasaki, before becoming his mentor for him. offer a new life within the CCG, however having the order to kill him if ever the young man lost control.
Charged with protecting the Cochlea during the CCG’s operation on Rue Island, Kishō Arima and Ken Kaneki (who has regained his memory) then confront each other in a final face-off at the end of which Arima uses his strongest quinque created from the Owl’s kagune. The Inspector quickly gets the upper hand and dismembers the one-eyed ghoul before it gets back up, hair white again, with its increasingly evolved kagune. Once Ken Kaneki is regenerated, the fight resumes. At the end of this long and violent fight, Kishō Arima loses his last quinque following a feint by Ken Kaneki. With nothing left to defend himself with, Ken begs Arima to give up the fight.
The White Reaper, reputed to be undefeated in his eighteen-year career, then experienced his very first defeat. Seeing that Ken has no intention of killing him, Arima decides to end his life by slitting his throat with his quinque broken, his face impassive. Before dying, he reveals to Ken Kaneki the true nature of Nimura Furuta, as well as his own: he turns out to be a half-human, a possible variation of the interbreeding between a human and a ghoul.
He also reveals the secrets of the Sunlit Garden where he was trained and finally declares that he had a shorter life expectancy, that he didn’t have much longer to live. Following these revelations, Kishō Arima dies in the arms of Ken Kaneki. According to Inspector Take Hirako, Ken Kaneki would be one of the only people capable of making Arima smile; in return, Kaneki considered the latter as his father. He would in fact be the One-Eyed King, a title he passes on to Ken Kaneki after the fight. Defeated, Arima asked Kaneki to kill him, but when Kaneki refused, he simply cut his own throat and died, much to Kaneki’s despair.
This revelation, where Arima confirmed that he was the One-Eyed King and, actually, on the side of the Ghouls, was a shocking one. People had perceived Arima as the prime example of a CCG member; he did not hate Ghouls actively, but he was merciless towards them and eliminated them without a shred of sorrow. His actions spoke more about him than anything else and that is why this revelation came as a complete shock. But it did make sense from a narrative standpoint and Ishida did explain it well.
But, along with the revelation of his role, the revelation of his nature was also a shocking one. Namely, at that moment, it was revealed that Arima was actually a half-human and not a regular human. This meant that Arima actually had Ghoul DNA inside of him and that he was similar to Kaneki, but a half-human and a half-ghoul are not the same. In order to completely clarify all of this, we are going to explain what half-humans are in Tokyo Ghoul.
What are half-humans in Tokyo Ghoul?
A human-ghoul hybrid with mostly human traits is called a half-human. They are hybrids created from the union of a ghoul and a human. Half-ghouls are the less cruel counterpart to half-humans (or natural one-eyed ghouls). They are also born as the result of a human and ghoul union. Half-human birth is more likely than the naturally occurring one-eyed ghouls, which are thought to be quite rare. All of the investigators raised by the Sunlit Garden, according to Kishō Arima, are hybrids. A half-human resembles a human more than a ghoul, in contrast to a naturally one-eyed ghoul. A half-human hence lacks both a claw and a kakugan.
In exchange, a half-human can consume human food, unlike a ghoul. Half-humans are more physically capable, although they have far shorter life spans than a typical human or ghoul. Kisho Arima was just 32 years old when he was diagnosed with glaucoma, an eye condition that is more common in older people. However, considering that half-humans are stopped at the Rc control gate at the entry to the CCG, they appear to have more Rc cells than humans do. All known half-human people come from the Sunlit Garden, where they are held and raised for breeding experiments including hybridization. The known half-humans, aside from Arima, include:
- Yusa Arima is a former ghoul investigator and student of the Sunlit Garden. He served on Kisho Arima’s personal team until his defection at Cochlea. He now serves as one of Ken Kaneki’s bodyguards. He is a distant relative of Arima’s.
- Kichimura Washū, also known as Nimura Furuta, is a 1st class inspector and partner of Special Assistant Inspector Shiki Kijima. He later becomes Haise Sasaki’s partner, after his superior’s death. He then became director of the CCG under the name of Kichimura Washū and created the oggai, real living weapons, which are in fact children who have been implanted with a unique.
- Ching-Li Hsiao is a Peacekeeper and a member of the second batch of Quinx Squad recruits. She is originally from Taiwan.
- Hairu Ihei is a pink-haired A-list detective, Special Investigator Koori’s partner. She is killed by Matsumae during the operation to destroy the Tsukiyama clan.
- Shio Ihei was a former ghoul investigator and a pupil from the Sunlit Garden. He was a member of Kisho Arima’s personal squad until Cochlea, when he defected. He had been one of Ken Kaneki’s bodyguards before.
- Kaiko is a ghoul and one of the members of the mysterious organization called V. He was a half-human who was later turned into a ghoul.
- Suzu Sanzu was conscripted to serve with her hero, Ching-Li Hsiao, and is a third-generation Quinx, a Sunlit Garden alumnus, and a member of the Ihei Branch family.
- Rikai Souzu was a former ghoul investigator and student of the Sunny Garden. He/She served on Kisho Arima’s personal team until his/her apostasy in the Cochlea. He/She served as one of Ken Kaneki’s bodyguards.