In the world of Tokyo Ghoul, the Ghouls are practically the central characters. And while the hierarchy of the Ghouls was determined by the CCG, it is fact that the Ghouls themselves recognized the stronger members among them. In the world of Tokyo Ghoul, each of the Ghouls uses a very specific set of skills that is innate to them and them only (unless they somehow share some traits, but that is a complex issue). These skills are manifested, among others, through their “weapons” which are known as the Kagune. But, there is also a very similar terminology in Tokyo Ghoul called Kakuja and in this article, we are going to explain the difference between the two.
The Kagune is the main predatory organ of a Ghoul. It is mostly used for offensive purposes, i.e., as a weapon or as a Ghoul’s claws, but it can also be used for defensive purposes, based on the situation. On the other hand, a Kakuja is actually a Ghoul whose Kagune has transformed so much that it has covered their whole body; this is most often seen in Ghouls that have cannibalized other Ghouls too much.
The rest of this article is going to be divided into three sections that are going to elaborate on the above-given answer. The first section is soing to define and explain the Kagune, while the second is going to do the same with the Kakuja. In the end, we are going to compare the two to determine the exact difference between them.
What is a Kagune in Tokyo Ghoul?
The Kagune is the predatory organ of the Ghouls and is used by the latter as a weapon, to protect themselves or to hunt their prey. It is usually red like blood (although in the anime the colors are changed to distinguish the kagune of each individual), it is a kind of liquid muscle, flexible but also solid and robust. Once activated, the kagune is able to strengthen a ghoul’s physique, as their stamina and agility grow. The kagune is composed of Rc cells, which are released by piercing the skin, and solidify, forming the kagune.
The kagune can be strengthened or weakened at will by the ghoul. Rc cells are released from the Kakuhou. The size of the kagune depends on the quantity and quality of the Rc cells, while the shape depends on the creativity and intellect of the ghoul. Although a ghoul’s ability to regenerate wounds is high, if wounds are inflicted by another ghoul’s kagune, the regeneration slows down. It is evident that to counter a ghoul in battle one must be in possession of a kagune or something similar. For this reason, investigators use the Quinque to fight ghouls, weapons created by the kagune itself and usually contained in briefcases.
It is also thought that the kagune is a voluntary muscle as ghouls are able to control its movements. The kagune and the location on the body from which it emerges depend on the ghoul’s Rc cell type. There are four types of Rc: Ukaku, Koukaku, Rinkaku and Bikaku. Each type has characteristics that make it stronger and weaker than another. Each Rc type has its own strengths and weaknesses that are exploited by the CCG in the creation of Quinque and Q shells. It is also possible for a child to inherit both parental kaguna as in the case of Hinami Fueguchi and Nutcracker.
The four basic types, thus, are:
- Ukaku develops in the shoulder area and looks like wings, specializing in high-speed attacks. This kagune is light and to attack, the owners crystallize the Rc cells in order to use them as projectiles even if during this phase due to its stiffening it cannot be used for short-range attacks. Some ghouls, such as Yomo and some quinque created with ukaku kagune, such as Narukami and T-human, are able to attack with Rc cell energy beams resembling lightning. While the Ukaku kagune is suitable for both close and long-range combat, close-quarters combat is considered its weak point. This kagune can also be used as a shield and some ghouls are able to shape it into a blade.
- Koukaku develops under the scapula due to a high concentration of Rc cells. It is heavy and extremely robust, making it particularly suitable for self-defense. It usually has a shape similar to that of a shield or armor, but can be shaped to create real melee weapons such as hammers, drills or blades. Due to its excessive weight, this kagune is difficult to control.
- Rinkaku develops around the waist and resembles tentacles. Ghouls possessing this kagune have excellent regenerative abilities and are endowed with greater endurance than others. This powerful regenerative ability is due to the placement of Rc cells which are more liquid compared to those of other ghouls. However, due to the weak bond between Rc cells, this kagune is easy to break. Until now, rinkaku-types can create a number of tentacles ranging from 1 to 8.
- Bikaku resembles a tail and develops in the coccyx area. It is useful in medium ranged attacks and is balanced in speed, strength and endurance. This makes it the preferred type of kagune for investigators to construct quinques. They have neither particular strengths nor weaknesses, so they are very balanced. Bikaku can create multiple tails, as demonstrated by Noro and Miza.
What is a Kakuja in Tokyo Ghoul?
A kakuja is a type of ghoul with a transformed kagune. Although uncommon, it is possible through recurrent cannibalism. Due to territorial disputes and a lack of food sources, cannibalism is more frequent in wards with a greater ghoul-to-human ratio. Individuals whose metamorphosis isn’t complete are sometimes referred to as Half-Kakuja. Cannibalism is hypothesized to enhance the concentration of Rc cells in the body of the ghoul that absorbs Rc cells. It is possible for the cells to mutate if the concentration becomes high enough, creating a new kagune.
If a kakuja keeps engaging in cannibalism, their kagune will advance. The ghoul’s psyche appears to have some impact over the change because Kaneki’s Kakuja has assumed the shape of a scolopendra, just like the one Yamori used to torture him. Notably, members of the Tsukiyama family have a genetic flaw that virtually eliminates the possibility that cannibalism may cause mutations in their Rc cells through cousin unions. A kakuja has a unique kagune in addition to the usual kagune that ghouls possess, which armors the ghoul’s body and acts as armor.
This specific kagune increases the kakuja’s power or diversifies its skills, making it more challenging to defeat one of them. However, because most users have a tendency to lose control while manifesting a kakuja kagune, employing one is practically impossible. It is unknown why certain ghouls can use it and remain conscious while others cannot. As full kakujas don’t seem to have a problem maintaining control, one explanation might be that all ghouls who seem insane have incomplete or half-kakujas. However, there are cases, such as Ken Kaneki and the King of the Underworld, where once transformed—albeit involuntarily—into Dragons (complete Kakuja), they lost control of their powers because of their enormous size and power.
Furthermore, if one continues to evolve his Kakuja, it will increase not only his powers but also the duration of life (thus strengthening their regeneration factor) of the individual, in fact Roma Hoito, who precisely has the Kakuja (however it is less powerful than Kaneki’s) although she is 53 years old, she proves to be still young (in fact she still looks like a teenager) this is because the latter has practiced cannibalism for many years and also ate human flesh.
What is the difference between a Kagune and a Kakuja?
We have now explained everything about these two terms from the Tokyo Ghoul lore. You now know that the Kagune is a term that describes the main organ of a Ghoul, an organ that is used for hunting, offense, and defense, depending on the situation. There are four basic types of Kagune, based on where they come from and how they can be used in battle. On the other hand, a Kakuja is actually a Ghoul whose whole body has become a Kagune; true Kakuja are rare and most Ghouls usually become only half-Kakuja. The “easiest” way to do so is to cannibalize a lot of Ghouls.
The difference between these two terms is not that difficult to explain. Just remember this: every Kakuja is actually a Kagune, while every Kagune is not necessarily a Kakuja. In fact, most Ghouls never become true Kakuja, as it is a very difficult process and while it is not impossible, it is very rare. Also, the term Kakuja is mostly used to describe a Ghoul itself, although it is actually connected to the Kagune, while the Kagune is never used to describe a Ghoul, but simply its primal predatory organ.