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Sui Ishida’s two-part manga, Tokyo Ghoul, has been adapted into a popular anime series. Although the series wasn’t consistently praised, it is considered to be among the better modern-day anime series, especially in the seinen category. The story of Tokyo Ghoul is set in an alternative reality where people coexist with demonic creatures known as ghouls. The story follows a young boy named Ken Kaneki, who accidentally becomes a ghoul after surviving being eaten by one. Ghouls aren’t inherently evil – not all of them, at least – but they can only taste human meat and blood; everything else makes them vomit, which is why they eat humans. Tokyo Ghoul became a massive hit for Ishida, which also lead to the aforementioned anime adaptation and even two live-action movies based on the series.
In today’s article, we are going to give you the complete watching order for the Tokyo Ghoul anime. You’re going to find out how many seasons and episodes there are, when they aired and how you should watch them. We are also going to include the two OVA episodes ([JACK] and PINTO) so you can know exactly when to watch everything. Enjoy!
How many seasons does the Tokyo Ghoul anime have?
Three years after the manga’s debut, the first season of the anime series Tokyo Ghoul premiered in Japan. The anime series consists of a total of four seasons. The first season, Tokyo Ghoul, aired from July 4, 2014 to September 19, 2014 and it adapted the first 60 chapters of Ishida’s manga. The second season, titled Tokyo Ghoul √A, aired from January 9 to March 27, 2015 and it roughly adapted the second part of Ishida’s manga series, but it wasn’t a direct adaptation like the first season and it contained a lot of original content. The Tokyo Ghoul:re manga was likewise adapted into an anime series of the same name. The first season of :re aired from April 3 to June 19, 2018, while the second season of the same anime aired from October 9 to December 25, 2018. :re was a direct adaptation of Ishida’s manga, with the two seasons adapting two pars of the manga. This is a summary of the anime adaptations:
|Title||Season||Episodes||Start Date||End Date|
|Tokyo Ghoul||1||12||July 4, 2014||September 19, 2014|
|Tokyo Ghoul √A||2||12||January 9, 2015||March 27, 2015|
|Tokyo Ghoul:re (I)||3||12||April 3, 2018||June 19, 2018|
|Tokyo Ghoul:re (II)||4||12||October 9, 2018||December 25, 2018|
As you can see, each season of Tokyo Ghoul has exactly 12 episodes, which amounts to a total of 48 episodes that you have to watch in order to complete the narrative. Each episode is roughly 20 minutes long, which amounts to around 1000 minutes of material, i.e. a total of 16 hours. If you have the time, Tokyo Ghoul is not an overly complicate binge watch and we strongly recommend it.
As for the two OVA episodes, they were released as follows:
|Tokyo Ghoul: [Jack]||1||September 30, 2015||30 minutes|
|Tokyo Ghoul: PINTO||1||December 25, 2015||25 minutes|
Tokyo Ghoul: The Release Order
Since yours truly is among those that watched Tokyo Ghoul directly as it came out, we decided to present to you the watching order based on the release dates of each season and OVA first. Despite the fact that the chronology doesn’t really add up in this way, we felt that you might want a more authentic experience like we had when we originally watched Tokyo Ghoul as it aired. Plus, some prequel events incorporate a lot of the mythology that had before been explained in the main narrative so if you start with them first, you might encounter some difficulties, as the prequels don’t really explain everything but rather rely on the fact that you’ve seen the main stories and know the basic premise of the show. Once this list is done, we’ll give you the precise chronological watching order for the show. Now, let us see:
Tokyo Ghoul (Season 1)
The first season of the anime was simply titled Tokyo Ghoul and it aired from July 4, 2014 to September 19, 2014. The season had a total of 12 episodes and it adapted roughly half of Sui Ishida’s manga. The season received critical acclaim for its narrative, direction, animation and music, and it is noteworthy for being true to the source material unlike some later seasons.
The story of the first season follows Ken Kaneki, a college student who barely survives a fatal encounter with Rize Kamishiro, his date that turns out to be a ghoul. He was taken to hospital in critical condition. Once recovered, Kaneki discovers that he has undergone an operation that has turned him into a half-ghoul. This was achieved because some of Rize’s organs were transferred to his body and he now has to consume human flesh like normal ghouls in order to survive. The ghouls who run the “Anteiku” cafe welcome him and teach him to manage his new life as a demi-ghoul. His daily struggles consist of integrating into ghoul society and hiding his identity from his fellow human beings, especially his best friend Hideyoshi Nagachika.
Here is the episode list:
|#||Episode Title||Air Date|
Transcription: “Higeki” (Japanese: 悲劇)
|July 4, 2014|
Transcription: “Fuka” (Japanese: 孵化)
|July 11, 2014|
Transcription: “Shirohato” (Japanese: 白鳩)
|July 18, 2014|
Transcription: “Bansan” (Japanese: 晩餐)
|July 25, 2014|
Transcription: “Zankon” (Japanese: 残痕)
|August 1, 2014|
Transcription: “Shūu” (Japanese: 驟雨)
|August 8, 2014|
Transcription: “Yūshū” (Japanese: 幽囚)
|August 15, 2014|
Transcription: “Enkan” (Japanese: 円環)
|August 22, 2014|
Transcription: “Torikago” (Japanese: 鳥籠)
|August 29, 2014|
Transcription: “Aogiri” (Japanese: 青桐)
|September 5, 2014|
Transcription: “Shōten” (Japanese: 衝天)
|September 12, 2014|
Transcription: “Kushu” (Japanese: 喰種)
|September 19, 2014|
Tokyo Ghoul √A (Season 2)
The second season of the anime was titled Tokyo Ghoul √A and it aired from January 9, 2015 to March 27, 2015; it had a total of 12 episodes, just like the first one. Tokyo Ghoul √A wasn’t all that well-received, mostly due to its narrative, which was a loose adaptation of the second half of Ishida’s manga. A good thing here is that the second season was Ishida’s own work and his adaptation of his own work, so it’s still something that the author conceived. Most people consider the anime storyline inferior to the manga storyline, but we have to admit that the general outline of the story was the same.
The second season of the anime follows Ken Kaneki after he joins Aogiri Tree, as the group begins their battle against the CCG, who are trying to exterminate the ghoul organization. The season culminates in a large clash between the ghouls and the CCG, which ends with the epic clash between Kaneki and Arima, although the fight itself was never shown on screen.
Here are the episodes:
|#||Episode Title||Air Date|
Transcription: “Shinkō” (Japanese: 新洸)
|January 9, 2015|
Transcription: “Buka” (Japanese: 舞花)
|January 16, 2015|
Transcription: “Tsurushibito” (Japanese: 吊人)
|January 23, 2015|
Transcription: “Shinsō” (Japanese: 深層)
|January 30, 2015|
Transcription: “Sakeme” (Japanese: 裂目)
|February 6, 2015|
Transcription: “Senro” (Japanese: 千路)
|February 13, 2015|
Transcription: “Tōka” (Japanese: 透過)
|February 20, 2015|
Transcription: “Kyūkyū” (Japanese: 旧九)
|February 27, 2015|
|9||“City In Waiting”|
Transcription: “Gaibō” (Japanese: 街望)
|March 6, 2015|
Transcription: “Shūu” (Japanese: 終雨)
|March 13, 2015|
|11||“Deluge of Flowers”|
Transcription: “Itsuka” (Japanese: 溢花)
|March 20, 2015|
Transcription: “Ken” (Japanese: 研)
|March 27, 2015|
Tokyo Ghoul: [Jack]
Tokyo Ghoul: [Jack] is the first OVA episode released as part of the Tokyo Ghoul series. It was released on September 30, 2015, about six months after the second season of the anime ended. [Jack] has a total runtime of 30 minutes and is based off a manga written by Ishida himself. [Jack] is a prequel that chronicles the youth of Kishō Arima, before he joined the CCG and became its best enforcer.
The OVA’s main character is a young man of Kaneki’s age, but very different from the shy protagonist of the anime. Taishi Fura is a high school student from Tokyo whose life is deteriorating; it is suggested that the trigger was a sports injury which kept him from the one thing he could have been good at. He turned into a delinquent, joining a biker gang and growling at his teachers. Not long into the episode, Fura and his delinquent friends meet a ghoul in the dark alleys of Tokyo. This is a completely new ghoul, one we have not seen in the main series, and is a walking Halloween reference, choosing to wear a “pumpkin head” mask and call himself Lantern. Lantern quickly kills one of Fura’s friends, and is about to do the same to Fura and the girl Fura is protecting, when an inhumanly calm boy appears on the scene. His name is Kishō Arima, and he is a classmate of Fura’s whom Fura hates. To Fura’s amazement, the composed Arima intimidates Lantern and sends the creature running through the night. For the rest of the story, Fura teams up with Arima to fight the ghouls, with Fura hoping to eventually settle the score with Lantern. A girl later joins the team and the OVA shows the characters bonding through battle; it’s an illustration of the same camaraderie that unites the anti-ghoul police in the main series. But Fura also learns a bitter lesson about the nature of ghouls, leading the story to a cruel and dark result.
Tokyo Ghoul: PINTO
Tokyo Ghoul: PINTO is the second OVA episode from the Tokyo Ghoul series and is, like [Jack] part of the same narrative canon. It was based on a story from the novel Tokyo Ghoul: Days and tells the story of how Shū Tsukiyama and Chie Hori met and became so close. It has a runtime of 25 minutes and was released on December 25, 2015, roughly three months after [Jack].
The protagonist of PINTO is Shū Tsukiyama, the greedy dandy ghoul who dominated much of the first season of the anime, and is known to fall into orgasmic ecstasy at the thought of perfect meat. Shū is portrayed as being in good shape at the start of PINTO. He murders a random jogger, then feasts on his victim’s trained body with a fetishist delight. He delivers a long ode to the beauty of the corpse before chewing a leg. Yet, the story suddenly takes an unexpected turn. Shū finds out that he is being watched by a young girl who has just finished primary school and takes photos of him. The complete lack of fear of the child does not bother Shū, but rather fascinates him. Shū decides not to kill the girl just yet and instead decides to make her witness more horror. She realises that she can be completely calm and composed when seeing ghouls eat humans – as the perceives it as a natural process – but she reacts vigorously to human cruelty, which she considers to be unnecessary and empty. The OVA explores the nature of their relationship and the strengthening of their friendship.
Tokyo Ghoul:re (I) (Season 3)
After a three-year pause, Tokyo Ghoul finally returned with the first season of Tokyo Ghoul:re, which was a direct adaptation of the first half of Ishida’s sequel manga of the same name. With a total of 12 episodes, the first season of :re aired from April 3, 2018 to June 19, 2018. The season was mostly well-received by critics and fans and was a step forward from Tokyo Ghoul √A, although some criticism was directed towards the somewhat unamusing narrative.
Two years have passed since the CCG’s raid on Anteiku. Although the atmosphere in Tokyo has changed drastically due to the increased influence of the CCG, ghouls continue to pose a problem as they have begun taking caution, especially the terrorist organization Aogiri Tree, who acknowledge the CCG’s growing threat to their existence. The creation of a special team, known as the Quinx Squad, may provide the CCG with the push they need to exterminate Tokyo’s unwanted residents. As humans who have undergone surgery in order to make use of the special abilities of ghouls, they participate in operations to eradicate the dangerous creatures. The leader of this group, Haise Sasaki, is a half-ghoul, half-human who has been trained by famed special class investigator, Kishō Arima. However, there’s more to this young man than meets the eye, as unknown memories claw at his mind, slowly reminding him of the person he used to be.
Here are the episodes:
|#||Episode Title||Air Date|
|1||“START: Those Who Hunt”|
Transcription: “Karu Monotachi START” (Japanese: 狩る者たち START)
|April 3, 2018|
Transcription: “Kakera member” (Japanese: 欠片 member)
|April 10, 2018|
Transcription: “Zen’yasai fresh” (Japanese: 前夜祭 fresh)
|April 17, 2018|
Transcription: “Ōkushon MAIN” (Japanese: オークション MAIN)
|April 24, 2018|
|5||“PresS: Night of Scattering”|
Transcription: “Chiri Yuku Yoru Press” (Japanese: 散りゆく夜 Press)
|May 1, 2018|
|6||“turn: In the End”|
Transcription: “Sono, Hate ni turn” (Japanese: その、果てに turn)
|May 8, 2018|
|7||“mind: Days of Recollections”|
Transcription: “Kokorooboe Arishi Hibi mind” (Japanese: 心覚え在りし日々 mind)
|May 15, 2018|
|8||“TAKe: One Who Writhes”|
Transcription: “Ugomeku Mono TAKe” (Japanese: 蠢くモノ TAKe)
|May 22, 2018|
Transcription: “Bōrei play” (Japanese: 亡霊 play)
|May 29, 2018|
Transcription: “Yureru think” (Japanese: ゆれる think)
|June 5, 2018|
|11||“writE: The Absent One”|
Transcription: “Ketsuraku-sha write” (Japanese: 欠落者 writE)
|June 12, 2018|
|12||“Beautiful Dream: Dawn”|
Transcription: “Yoake Beautiful Dream” (Japanese: 夜明け Beautiful Dream)
|June 19, 2018|
Tokyo Ghoul:re (II) (Season 4)
The fourth and final season of Tokyo Ghoul, i.e., the second season of Tokyo Ghoul:re, was finally released on September 29, 2018 and aired to December 25, 2018. It also contained 12 episodes, just like all of the previous seasons. The second season of :re adapted the final part of Ishida’s sequel manga of the same name and it focused on Ken Kaneki’s path to becoming he true One-Eyed King and the leader of the ghouls who would establish a working relationship between them and the humans. Despite the somewhat long filler-like elements, the finale was truly amazing and emotional, which is why people generally praise this season as well. It was a direct adaptation of Ishida’s manga.
After the conclusion of the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, the members of the Commission of Counter Ghouls (CCG) have grown exponentially in power and continue to pursue their goal of exterminating every ghoul in Japan. Having resigned from Quinx Squad, the now seemingly emotionless Haise Sasaki begins taking on more and more tasks from the CCG with no regard to the difficulty. Despite his vacant expressions, Ken Kaneki’s memories are resurfacing in Haise, leaving him in a state of internal conflict. Meanwhile, his new coldhearted behavior is affecting the people around him. Quinx Squad are left in shambles, having to cope with the death of one of their members without the support of their former mentor. Amidst this turmoil, both Quinx Squad and Haise must continue to fulfill their duties to the CCG, whether willingly or not. However, the presence of a mysterious group behind the CCG has been made known to Haise, and certain whispers of corruption have not gone unheard by the Quinx Squad as well.
Here are the episodes:
|#||Episode Title||Air Date|
|1||“Place: And So, Once Again”|
Transcription: “Soshite, Mōichido Place” (Japanese: そして、もう一度 Place)
|September 29, 2018|
|2||“VOLT: White Darkness”|
Transcription: “Shiroi Yami VOLT” (Japanese: 白い闇 VOLT)
|October 16, 2018|
|3||“union: Cross Game”|
Transcription: “Kurosu Gēmu union” (Japanese: クロスゲーム union)
|October 23, 2018|
|4||“vive: Those Left Behind”|
Transcription: “Nokoshita Mono vive” (Japanese: 遺したもの vive)
|October 30, 2018|
|5||“MovE: Confluence, Confusion”|
Transcription: “Deai, Tomadoi MovE” (Japanese: 出会い、とまどい MovE)
|November 6, 2018|
Transcription: “Kakukakutaru FACE” (Japanese: 赫々たる FACE)
|November 13, 2018|
Transcription: “Kizuna proof” (Japanese: 紲 proof)
|November 20, 2018|
|8||“incarnation: Awakened Child”|
Transcription: “Mezameta ko incarnation” (Japanese: めざめた子 incarnation)
|November 27, 2018|
Transcription: “Kokorooboe Morse” (Japanese: 心覚え Morse)
|December 4, 2018|
|10||“call: The Far Side of Tragedy”|
Transcription: “Higeki no Hate call” (Japanese: 悲劇の果て call)
|December 11, 2018|
Transcription: “Kaigō ACT” (Japanese: 邂逅 ACT)
|December 18, 2018|
|12||“The Final Episode”||December 25, 2018|
Tokyo Ghoul: The Chronological Watching Order
Now that we’ve seen how the franchise’s instalments were released over time, we can tell you the exact timeline of the events. Here it is:
- Tokyo Ghoul: [Jack] – prequel OVA chronicling Arima’s entry into the CCG;
- Tokyo Ghoul: PINTO – prequel OVA showing how Shū Tsukiyama and Chie Hori met;
- Tokyo Ghoul – a direct adaptation of the first half of Ishida’s manga;
- Tokyo Ghoul √A – a direct/loose adaptation of the second half of Idhisa’s manga;
- Tokyo Ghoul:re (I) – a direct adaptation of the first part of Ishida’s sequel manga;
- Tokyo Ghoul:re (II) – a direct adaptation of the final part of Ishida’s sequel manga.
This watching order is, we think, good if you plan on watching the show for a second time, i.e., if you plan to re-watch it. Why? Well, if you’re going for a re-watch, you already know the basic mythology and lore of Tokyo Ghoul, which means that the unexplained concepts from the prequels are not going to be unknown to you. If you’re going to watch the show for the first time, you should stick with the release order, as you’ll get a good understanding of the mythology and the lore of Tokyo Ghoul. This is our advice and we hope you’ll enjoy the show!
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!