Update: This article remains as originally published. A new article discusses the manga author’s thoughts about Tokyo Ghoul: re ending.
The Tokyo Ghoul: re manga is ending in only a couple chapters and fans are already trying to guess where creator Sui Ishida might take the story next. Some believe it’s possible that chapters 176 through 179 will set up the conditions necessary for Tokyo Ghoul: Part 3. Others protest that Kaneki’s character has come full circle, so why keep pushing a series if the character has fully developed? It turns out tarot cards may predict the future…
The news about Tokyo Ghoul: re ending came thanks to the latest Weekly Young Jump magazine. It was announced that the series would finish in only three chapters, presumably including Chapter 176 since that was released slightly later. It is said that Tokyo Ghoul: re 176 is the “climax” of the entire story, so similar to the first part of the manga series the remaining chapters will probably act as more of an epilogue.
The idea that there will be a Tokyo Ghoul: re sequel is not without justification. The entire franchise is among the top 10 best-selling media franchises in Japan, beating even My Hero Academia in 2017. In fact, Tokyo Ghoul’s sales almost reached the top 5 but it was barely edged out by Attack On Titan. So, just from a financial perspective, there’s plenty of reason to renew the manga with a Part 3, but does it make sense to continue from an artist’s perspective?
Warning: Manga spoilers contained below.
Over the years, fans have noticed that Ishida likes to use tarot cards to personify characters. The so-called Fool’s Journey literally parallels Kaneki’s story, with the first manga series ending with the Death tarot card during Kaneki’s “death” at the hands of the CCG.
Read the description of the Death tarot card and see how it foreshadowed what happened to Kaneki:
“The Fool now begins to eliminate old habits and tired approaches. He cuts out nonessentials because he appreciates the basics of life. He goes through endings as he puts the outgrown aspects of his life behind him. He process may seem like dying because it is the death of his familiar self to allow for the growth of a new one.”
Thus, we have Haise Sasaki. It could be argued that other tarot cards of The Fool’s journey represent different story arcs from Tokyo Ghoul: re manga, so the ending would follow the World card. Kaneki’s journey started by meeting Rize, and now it’s ending by completing the circle with Dragon Rize. The only difference is that Kaneki himself has been changed by the journey. Or as the World card puts it, the “Fool reenters the World, but this time with a more complete understanding.”
If Ishida is indeed using The Fool’s Journey as a literary device within the plot framework of the Tokyo Ghoul: re manga, then the World card also points to a new beginning.
“The Fool experiences life as full and meaningful. The future is filled with infinite promise. In line with his personal calling, he becomes actively involved in the world. … This cycle is over, but, the Fool will never stop growing. Soon he will be ready to begin a new journey that will lead him to ever greater levels of understanding.”
The covers of the manga have been referencing the World card in subtle ways, so it can’t be just fans’ avid imaginations. Is it also just coincidence that the Middle East, Germany, China, and other world locations outside of Tokyo were part of the narrative? Some fans believe Ishida foreshadowed Part 3 in this manga panel that lists three parts of a story and ends with “a battle between an empire, where dragons controlled by magicians soar through the sky, and a rebel army that stirred the heart.” Based on these allusions, could it be that Kaneki’s journey will now take him into a battle involving the entire world where the enemy is a hidden empire?
From a practical storytelling perspective, it also makes sense for there to be a third part of the manga series. Ishida only has three chapters to resolve the fact that the empire-like secret organization V is still manipulating events from the shadows, Dragon Rize is still alive, that nasty Ghoul virus is still infecting Tokyo… never mind Touka and Kaneki’s baby! Sure, if the only purpose is ending Kaneki’s development as a person then the manga’s story could just end, but fans wouldn’t be happy with all the hanging story threads.
The way that Tokyo Ghoul: re was announced may also be useful for predicting the release date for the Tokyo Ghoul: re sequel. The original Tokyo Ghoul manga ended on September 18, 2014. A month later, Tokyo Ghoul: re was announced through the epilogue in the final volume. A week later, the first chapter was released. If Tokyo Ghoul Part 3 follows the same pattern, the announcement could come next month when Tokyo Ghoul: re Volume 16 releases in Japan on July 19, 2018. Stay tuned!