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Kanae von Rosewald (カナエ＝フォン・ロゼヴァルト, Kanae fon Rozevaruto, sometimes also 叶, Kanae) was a German ghoul and the last survivor of the Rosewald family, being the youngest daughter of Emma von Rosewald and her husband. After Matsuri Washuu led an operation to exterminate her parents and older brothers, Karren was taken as a servant in the Tsukiyama family in Tokyo, where she pretended to be a boy under the fake name of Kanae (カナエ, Kanae) for nine years.
Because she shares the nickname of Rose (ロゼ, Roze) with all the other "hunters" of the Tsukiyama family, she was soon targeted by the CCG, who quickly became the link between the Tsukiyama and Rosewald families.
Kanae was an attractive, androgynous youth who bore a great physical resemblance to her cousin Tsukiyama as well as her mother Emma. She had violet hair, cut short with long curling bangs on the right side and very thick eyebrows. She tended to wear the standard uniform worn by the servants of the Tsukiyama family, and had a preference for dress shirts and slacks when out of uniform. Kanae's mannerisms and style of clothing were intentionally masculine, completely disguising any indications of birth sex.
When out hunting, Kanae wore the black trench coat and veil worn by family servants. Her personal mask was a stylized white Domino mask that covered the upper half of her face. After being captured and tortured by Eto, Kanae's style changed significantly. She switched to wearing a massive black trench coat with a pair of rings at the shoulder, and heavy combat boots. Her mask has a massive, stitched on smile with bared teeth and multiple eyes scattered across the surface of the white mask. It heavily resembled the clothing and mask worn by Aogiri member Noro.
Kanae had been shown to be in a state of distress, crying over Tsukiyama's catatonic state. She was also shown talking to a rose, and Chie Hori had implied that she had a tendency of doing so. Like Tsukiyama, she had a habit of using foreign words in her sentences; specifically German. She was also quite flamboyant and over-dramatic in her speech and gestures. However, beneath her flashy exterior, Kanae was very devoted to her family and was completely willing to sacrifice her identity as a woman to help fulfill her father's dying wish to continue the Rosewald family line in place of her brothers.
Kanae had also been shown to be especially compassionate of Tsukiyama. She even resorted to "vulgar manners" such as trying to steal Tooru Mutsuki off the auction to help her master recover.
However, her personality was later warped due to Eto's influence as she displayed clear signs of mental instability. However, she still held her feelings for Tsukiyama, as after killing Shimoguchi she proceeded to search for her master. Obvious signs of her change were shown when she addressed a severed head as a rose and sought out Tsukiyama to present the "rose" to him. This warped thought process was a result of her torture.
Originally raised in Germany as Karren von Rosewald, a raid led by German ghoul investigators and Matsuri Washuu forced part of the family – including her – to relocate. Her father stayed behind during the attack in Bremen to create another opportunity for his direct family to escape. Her mother, Emma von Rosewald, collapsed and died early on during the escape, while her brothers, Nathanael von Rosewald and Arunolt von Rosewald, died protecting her. When she had made her way to the Tsukiyama family's household, she decided to take the place of her brothers and took on the identity of the male heir of the Rosewald family to fulfill her father's wish to carry on the family line. For this role, she chose the given name "Kanae," a combination of the initials of her family members' given names who had tried to escape Germany.
As Kanae, he was taken in by the Tsukiyama family, an act seen by other servants as charity. During this time, he began to serve Shuu Tsukiyama and would become extremely loyal to him and eventually developed romantic feelings for him. In later years when Kanae was sparring with Matsumae, Kanae bent over in pain and tried to ease Matsumae's concern by saying it was something that always happened. It turns out that all the servants knew he was biologically female, implying Kanae's earlier statement was referencing menstruation, with the exception of Shuu Tsukiyama.
Kanae was in despair, crying about Tsukiyama's state and talking to a rose. Chie mocked him for this behavior, suggesting that he did it frequently. He was later seen standing outside a door, holding a large – human-sized – suitcase.
Ultimately, Kanae brought Haise Sasaki's undershorts, retrieved by Chie, to Tsukiyama to let him identify its scent. While Tsukiyama reported that he was unable to feel anything in particular but faint sadness, as his ability to recognize smell has declined, Kanae told Chie that he did not feel anything at all. Chie saw through his lie to which Kanae threatened to kill her because Kanae was jealous when she mentioned that Tsukiyama would not be happy if something happened to Chie.
He next appeared in a parking garage, hunting for victims suitable for his master. Having obtained a sprinter's thighs and the tongue of a Sommelier, he targeted someone with rare Rh negative blood. However, he determined that the scent of the blood was not suitable and rejected it. He brooded over Tsukiyama's current situation, admiring his master's interest focus but blamed Kaneki for his downfall. Jealous and resentful, he decided that should Sasaki turn out to be Kaneki, he would secretly kill him so that Tsukiyama would never find out. He decided to attend the upcoming auction, in hopes of finding his master a suitable meal.
Kanae attended the auction in the company of another servant, Matsumae. He noted the many cloaked ghouls of Aogiri Tree were present at the event, correctly guessing they were hired bodyguards. The first major "item" up for auction was a famous actor, Yoshiki Ookura, whose appearance triggered a bidding war between Big Madam and Croque Monsieur – Kanae observed this with disdain, calling the actor past his prime. He was unimpressed with the merchandise until Tooru Mutsuki was brought on stage and was revealed to be a supposed one-eyed ghoul. Deciding this was exactly what Tsukiyama needed, he engaged in an unsuccessful bidding war before losing to Big Madam. Matsumae attempted to comfort him as he despaired at his failure.
Though he considered stealing beneath him, Kanae decided to take advantage of the chaos created by the appearance of Juuzou Suzuya. Intending to steal the auction's prize item, he went in search of Mutsuki and cornered the investigator as he tried to make his escape. He decided that sampling was necessary, striking Mutsuki across the face with enough force to draw blood. He sampled this, reacting with an extreme motion to both the exceptional flavor and the thought of having finally found something to satisfy Tsukiyama. Before he could do more, however, he was ambushed and beaten by Karao Saeki. In the chaos, Mutsuki attempted to flee – Kanae pierced him through the stomach with his kagune to prevent him from escaping.
While the ensuing struggle was not shown, later on, he finished beating Saeki as punishment for interrupting him and ordered him to stay put until he could retrieve his prize. He went in pursuit of a wounded Mutsuki, eventually catching up with him and noting that the injuries had begun to heal. This delighted him and he charged to attack, claiming that since his prey healed it would not matter if he injured him further. The Quinx Squad arrived on the scene, with Sasaki retrieving Mutsuki while Kuki Urie and Ginshi Shirazu held Kanae off. After a moment, he recognized their leader's scent and flew into a blind rage at coming face to face with Sasaki.
He fought with the team, managing to knock Urie and Shirazu aside before turning on the target of his rage. Cursing him, Kanae recalled a happier time when he played music with his master, laying all the blame for Tsukiyama's depression on Sasaki. The three members of the Quinx managed to overwhelm and wound him but he was rescued by Matsumae. She sealed the hallway with her kagune, took the wounded Kanae, and fled.
In the aftermath of the auction, he regrouped with his master, Mirumo Tsukiyama, and the group resolved to continue looking for "ingredients" elsewhere.
While watering flowers at the Tsukiyama estate, Kanae thought back to his childhood when he was taken in as a new servant after his family was eliminated. He cried as he overheard the other servants talk about their concerns about the master taking him in. He was then approached by Tsukiyama who regarded him cheerfully and was impressed by his surname as it meant "Forest of Roses" in German.
Tsukiyama took Kanae to the Tsukiyama family garden where he showed him a high-class German rose and asked Kanae to live as beautifully as the flower.
In the present, Kanae silently wept for Tsukiyama at his bedside as his master suffered, unable to think about how pitiful he had become.
Months later, Kanae was still distressed, especially as Tsukiyama's father was equally at a loss at what to do for his son.
As the investigative team began working on the case, Chie Hori visited him at the estate and warned him. Since the CCG was closing in on him, she suggested that he abandon the Tsukiyamas and serve a different family. Kanae was outraged by this suggestion, crying as he screamed that only Tsukiyama mattered. The human girl compared his situation to Tsukiyama's own despair, noting that neither of them would be happy unless they had exactly what they wanted. She asked him whether he would be willing to abandon the entire Tsukiyama family for Tsukiyama's sake.
Mirumo asked him to bring Tsukiyama wine, to which he thought back when Tsukiyama was still in high school. Mirumo asked the young Kanae to bring his son, who was singing outside in the rain, an umbrella. He gladly did so, but then spotted Chie Hori with his young master. He tightly grasped the umbrella and stopped in his motion, feeling jealous, as Tsukiyama was as nice to her, a human, as he was to him.
The flashback was disrupted by Tsukiyama losing control over his kagune and attacking servants. Kanae sent Aliza, whom he was informed by, to immediately inform Mirumo over the events and then rushed to his master's room. He apologized for having to use his kagune against him and put up an effort to stop his master and became injured by him in the process. The servants used the fight to restrain their master and fed him a substance, which made him calm down. Bringing Tsukiyama back to bed, his master forgot the previous event and asked what everyone was doing in his room. Kanae lied to him, withholding the fact that he had just lost control. Tsukiyama apologized and caressed his face, asking him to take care of his family from now on. Kanae began to cry but accepted the requests, leaning into the touch.
Soon after he was seen running outside, willingly hitting his head against a tree repeatedly. He fell to the ground, still crying thinking about how he resented Chie and Ken Kaneki/Haise Sasaki, but also, how he resented his loyalty to the Tsukiyama family.
Kanae was later asked by Hori whether he could give up the entire Tsukiyama family for Tsukiyama himself, to which he stalled the reply and asked Matsumae the same question. After being told that the two options were one and the same, he approached Hori for help and was given a set of photographs revolving around Sasaki which Hori instructed him to show Tsukiyama one each time when she told him to. With Hori's plan, Tsukiyama regained composure at an astounding rate, albeit still confused initially when Sasaki did not recognize him at all. After some time, Tsukiyama became distraught as even though he needed time to talk to Sasaki without rushing in order to bring back his memories, the Quinx Squad members kept getting in his way.
Yearning to provide his master with the time he needed, Kanae hired Aogiri hitmen to exterminate all the Quinx members aside from Sasaki. Leaving Sasaki, Saiko, and Mutsuki to the hitmen, he attempted to eliminate Urie and Shirazu by himself. He lost his advantage soon after disabling Shirazu though, as he did not anticipate Urie's fast ability growth over half a year and was overpowered by the investigator before escaping.
While brooding over his defeat, Kanae was approached by Eto and taunted until he attacked her in a rage. However, he immediately found himself overwhelmed by her abnormal kagune and left completely at her mercy. She began to wax philosophical, discussing the Garden of Eden and the story of the Fruit of Knowledge while toying with an apple. Revealing herself as a one-eyed ghoul, she questioned him about his religious beliefs and idea of what "God" was. Eto then began to dissect his actions and the motivations behind them, confronting him about his feelings towards Tsukiyama and stated that he would never be loved in return. She suggested all of his actions had ultimately been selfish, to control his beloved master and to make Sasaki suffer. As Kanae began to weep and break down under the contrasting barrage of words, Eto loomed over him and promised to become his new "God."
Later on, Tsukiyama expressed concern when told that Kanae never returned to the manor and remained missing. Kanae and the missing Aliza were suspected of leaking information on the Tsukiyama family when the household noticed investigators cornering them with the two servants still missing. However, Kanae had actually been held by Eto, who used a variety of torture methods, including sewing his eyelids open and mouth shut and wordplay, to bend him to her will.
Sometime later amid CCG's Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, Kanae appeared in Luna Eclipse wearing a mask and robe similar to those of Noro's from Aogiri Tree. He engaged in combat with Shimoguchi Squad. When the First Class attempted to face the Rosewald, Kanae cut off Shimoguchi's left arm and the fingers on his right hand and finally decapitated him after having killed his subordinates. In a form of morbid fascination, he remarked that Shimoguchi's severed head was as beautiful as a rose and called it a perfect ingredient. He exited the building through a broken window and began to climb the building in search of Tsukiyama.
When Tsukiyama had been overpowered and pinned down by Sasaki, Kanae reached the top floor and immediately cut off the investigator's right hand to save his master. He followed up his attack with more strikes by his altered kagune. Finally, he told Sasaki to become a beautiful memory for Tsukiyama while dangling him over the edge of the skyscraper. Before dropping Sasaki off the building, however, the investigator struck back and decapitated Kanae with his legs.
Despite having been decapitated by Sasaki earlier, Kanae's body immediately reattached his head back together through a regeneration cycle similar to Noro's; Kanae himself, however, was confused about blanking out as he was unaware of the regeneration that transpired. As he continued to take on the now rampaging Sasaki's blows, he was reminded of his past when the Rosewald family were hunted by investigators in Germany. Kanae was quickly dispatched by Sasaki, who approached her only to be briefly stopped by Tsukiyama before the One-Eyed Owl attacked the investigator.
Fueled by Eto's words, Karren once again attacked Sasaki, who had been incapacitated by Eto's attack. Karren thrashed him around and beat his head repeatedly with her fists until Sasaki's consciousness became hazy. A few moments later, however, Sasaki's consciousness returned with him having regained his memories as Kaneki. Sasaki severed Karren's left arm. As Kanae knelt in pain due to this injury, Sasaki used his kagune to grab a steel bar and shove it through Karren's left eye. Screaming in pain, Karren went berserk and used her kagune to attack Sasaki. The latter, however, dodged her attacks and jumped behind her before tearing Kanae through the abdomen with his kagune, leaving her incapacitated.
After Eto was driven off by Sasaki and additional investigators, including Koori Ui, on the rooftop, Karren lay defeated alongside Tsukiyama. When Kaneki held up Tsukiyama on the roof's edge ready to drop him, Karren called out to her master and followed suit down the building when he was thrown. During the fall, Karren told Tsukiyama that she would protect him at all costs. She expressed her final wish for Tsukiyama to call her by her real name and apologized to him and her family for falling in love with him. Tsukiyama obliged and called her Karren, telling her that all would be okay. She used her kagune to grab hold of a ledge, using the momentum to throw Tsukiyama to safety. In her final moments, she questioned whether she deserved to be so happy before finally falling to her death.
As an employee and relative of the Tsukiyama family, Kanae was deeply devoted to her master/cousin, Tsukiyama. She puts her master's needs above her own and always showed her support for his decisions, though she would warn him of the risks involved. Her feelings towards him were romantic in nature, but knowing that her feelings would not reach him, she contented herself at being at his side as his servant and was careful not to show her feelings around anyone. Despite that, she had shown jealousy towards others who had a close relationship with her master, especially Chie. Eto later took advantage of her unrequited feelings, using them to fuel her anger towards Sasaki. Besides caring for him and running errands, she imitated both Tsukiyama's manner of dress and odd behaviors.
Chie addressed Kanae by the Japanese honorific "-kun." Although both Chie and Kanae were in close relation to Tsukiyama, they were not on good terms with each other. Kanae looked down on the human girl and referred to her with rude names like "stray rat", "guinea pig," or profanities in German. Kanae was extremely jealous of Chie's relationship with Tsukiyama. Although she has been helping Tsukiyama during his severe depression, Kanae is not grateful to her and even threatens to kill her. However, Chie sees through her intentions and outsmarts her easily, adding to his resentment towards her.
Later in the series, Kanae's attitude toward Chie changed when Tsukiyama's health and mental state continued to deteriorate. Out of desperation, she consulted Chie for advice and finally agreed to cooperate with her plans. He begins to acknowledge her intellect and respects her as Tsukiyama's trustworthy friend.
Kanae holds a deep hatred and resentment towards Kaneki, blaming him for Tsukiyama's current condition. She believes that what her master needs is simply quality food and not to learn that the person he has been mourning has survived. Her hatred was turned into a desire to kill him when Eto tortured and brainwashed her.
Mirumo was the one who took Kanae in as a child after her family was wiped out by the CCG. In return, Kanae serves Mirumo as one of his servants. Kanae responds directly to Mirumo, keeping him up to date with Shuu during his unstable period.
Kanae and Matsumae seem to have a positive, professional relationship. Having been the one to save Kanae during the Auction mopping up operation, she seems to look out for her. Likewise, Kanae seems to be worried about her well-being after she returns injured from the encounter with the CCG, and asks her for advice. Matsumae was the first to confront Kanae about her true gender.
Kanae gained Eto's interest due to her feelings towards Shuu, something that Eto had picked up on. Eto used this against her, forcing Kanae to confront her true feelings for Shuu. During her torture, Eto convinced Kanae that she needed to act for her master while unwittingly doing her bidding instead.
Powers and Abilities
Ghoul Physiology: Living as a ghoul, Karren possessed high physical capabilities along with a rinkaku kagune. After being tortured, Karren had an abnormal healing factor.
Rinkaku Kagune: Kanae is able to create up to 6 whiplike tentacles, with a ribbonlike shape that wraps around itself like a vine. During the extermination, Kanae's kagune can now turn into one massive tentacle with mouths forming on it.
Superhuman Regeneration: When battling Sasaki, Karren could reattach her head in a matter of seconds.
- (About Tsukiyama): "Together to the end of the world...Glorreich (master Shuu)."
- (About his conflicted loyalties to the Tsukiyama Family and Shu): "Hass (hate)... Hass ...Hass ....Hass ... Hass...Hass...Hass...Hass...Hass...Little Mouse (Chie Hori)...Nuisance (Ken Kaneki)... Nameless (Haise Sasaki)... now I hate this loyalty..."
- (To Haise Sasaki): "Haiße (No Name), do you know why the rose is beautiful? Because you pluck it before it withers. At the very least, become a beautiful memory for Master Shuu before you...Sterben (Die)."
- "I will... be loved."
- Last words (To herself): "The sorrows of life, to not be able to live like yourself. The joys of life, to be able to die like yourself. Do I deserve to be happy..."
- Karren came up with the name "Kanae" by taking the first initials of her family members name (except her father's) and combining them. Kanae is actually the names of the Rosewald family combined— Karen, Nathanael, Arnold, and Emma.
- It was believed that in Chapter 14, Matsuri Washuu eliminated the "Roswald" family instead of the "Rosewald" family, making it seem like Kanae changed her name. This is false, with the confusion resulting from a typo in the Young Jump issue.
- Her surname means "Forest of Roses" in German.
- She is a member of the German branch of the Tsukiyama family, and related to the main family through her grandfather
- In Tokyo Ghoul Trump, she is featured as the "Jack of Hearts". In a redistributed version, she is also featured as a "Red Joker".
- In Re: Volume 4, Kanae's profile lists her as "Male" in spite of the later revelation. This was likely done to avoid spoiling the twist of Re: Chapter 52.
- Just before her death in Re: Chapter 57, the stitches on her mouth form an XI, which, in the Major Arcana, indicates Justice. Justice can be interpreted as truth. Fittingly enough, this is just after she reveals her true feelings to Shu.
- However, the same stitches can also be seen as a XXI, "The World" in the Tarot Card Deck. This association means the completion, the accomplishment or the travel. That way the last moments of the character can be interpreted as Karren reaching her objective, and being paid off for all her efforts and hardships.
- Her life's work is watering flowers and taking care of Shuu; skills are playing the violin, sewing clothes, and repairing shoes; and she loves everyone in the Tsukiyama family, especially Shuu Tsukiyama.