Severed Voice (切声, Sessei) is the one hundred fortieth chapter of the manga Tokyo Ghoul.

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Summary Edit

As Ken Kaneki wallows in his defeat, his subconscious enters a nostalgic dimension; the street where he and his mother lived when he was a child. Kaneki's mother welcomes him home, and although exhausted, she is still seen working. He begs her to stop overworking herself, which was something he never got the chance to do as a child. Kaneki then goes on to explain that his mother always wanted to do everything for those she loved, and as a result she drove herself into a corner. He starts to evaluate this ideology, along with the options of living, being saved, going back to Anteiku, and staying where he was — all suggested by Hinami, Banjou, and Tsukiyama — even though he hesitated to do any. He comes to an inference: he and his mother were no different, realizing that they pretended to care about others, but in the end it was all about themselves.

He finally understands why his mother worked so hard for her sister, for the same reason was his father’s death — his mother was afraid of losing someone close to her. He mentions that his mother was not a kind person; but a coward afraid of solitude, and so is he — he never wanted to protect everyone, but himself rather. Kaneki describes what his childhood was like; he read books in his father’s room alone and even played in the sandbox alone. Loneliness was something he never wanted, and admits that Touka was right for calling him a selfish coward all along.

Kaneki sees a figure of his younger self in a sandbox and approaches him, suggesting that they go home. All the while in his internal monologue, he mentions how he held himself by the hand, trying to fill the empty void in his memories. Though they had no destination, they kept walking aimlessly, and Kaneki asks his younger self if he liked Mother. The boy says his ambition is to become just like her when he reaches adulthood — for she was always doing her best for people until night. He realizes that his fate had changed immensely by the time he was an adult, because he became a ghoul, and had not managed to keep the promises he made to his mother to carry on her ideologies. This is where Kaneki enters an emotional breakdown. In tears, he blames himself, apologizing for the person he had become. His younger self comforts him, and thanks him, saying that Kaneki fought in place of his weak side. The child suggests that they rest for a while, and both forms subsequently fade away in the form of ashes.

As his consciousness blurs out, Kaneki finally remembers the night he and Rize Kamishiro were injured during the Steel Beam Incident. At the end of Rize's gaze was a clown laughing, and counting backwards at intervals of seven. Kaneki remarks that he will never know what meaning that held, for he was already falling unconscious; laying limp at Kishou Arima's feet.

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