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- This article is about the revolutionary title.
The One-Eyed King (隻眼の王, Sekigan no Ō) is a mysterious figure within the Tokyo Ghoul universe, often associated with revolutionary ideology. Rumored to be the leader of the ghoul organization, Aogiri Tree, the King's identity is the subject of much speculation and a primary target of V. In reality, however, the King is revealed to be a title passed from one individual to another. Kishou Arima held the title as part of a larger plan to bring about a revolution. After his death, the title is claimed by Ken Kaneki.
Identity and Suspects Edit
Throughout the franchise, multiple characters speculate on the identity of the King and offer possible suspects:
- Eto Yoshimura - She later denied the allegations, stating that she is not the King. Instead, she is the co-conspirator and partner of the King. However, she was suspected by Nico, Kaiko, Tsuneyoshi Washuu, and Ken Kaneki.
- Yoshimura - Kuzen took on the mantle of a false One-Eyed Owl in order to divert attention from his daughter who was speculated to be the One-Eyed King. Since the One-Eyed Owl was equated to the One-Eyed King in the minds of many, he unknowingly masqueraded as the false King.
- Kishou Arima - The previous holder of the title. Eto described him as "keeping the seat warm" for his successor.
- Ken Kaneki / Haise Sasaki - Eto initially asks him to kill the King, and later reveals to him that Arima was the prior King. She offers him the proverbial throne, and he later declares himself the One-Eyed King when confronting members of the CCG.
Eto Yoshimura grew up hating the world at its current state, abandoning hope as well. Eto develops the One-Eyed King concept/title, a title for a half-human or mainly a one-eyed ghoul that is powerful enough to lead a revolution against the depraved Washuu clan and be a symbol of hope for ghouls, by freeing them from the world of being oppressed by humans and uniting the two species. The reason why those two said-species have to be the ones that hold the title is because they understand "both sides of the same coin". At the age of 14, she begins her bloody rampage and developed the group of ghouls (which would eventually reincarnate into Aogiri Tree) in order to defeat the CCG for its warped root (the Washuu clan and V influence). It is presumed that this methodology was inspired from the Underground King legend.
At an unspecified point, Kishou Arima defeated Eto at her shrine hideout single-handedly. Rather than killing her straight away, he questions Eto of her goal. Eto explains her motive of wanting to change the world which in turn interests Arima into conspiring with her, taking the title of One-Eyed King.
Between that certain point and the beginning of the Tokyo Ghoul series, Eto has been growing the ranks of Aogiri Tree. The whole of Aogiri Tree (except Tatara and Noro) wasn't aware of a number of characteristics about their organization: Eto was both the famed author "Sen Takatsuki" or even the infamous One-Eyed Owl, Arima was their One-Eyed King, and that the true purpose of Aogiri is to annihilate the CCG's warped root. Many have been deluded into believing the One-Eyed Owl is equated to the One-Eyed King. Arima has managed to preserve his position as the strongest ghoul investigator and V agent as a facade for his true ideals, while expressing a false enemy-based relationship with the Owl. It is shown that the general ghoul-population were blinded by the King's true identity.
Due to the circumstances of being a half-human, Arima had accelerated aging, which resulted in a quicker death of old age. They also realized that a ghoul who would kill Arima, being the feared "CCG Reaper", would without doubt become the true hope for the ghouls. They decide to "raise" another one-eyed ghoul into becoming the successor to the "throne". Thus, their expedition for a candidate begun.
Eto considered Ken Kaneki interesting after witnessing his mutation into a half-kakuja. She refers to him as the "Kakuja's Egg". It is presumed that through her talent of mentally scanning a person's psychology by studying their expressions and impressions, Eto had him a candidate for two reasons:
- She is aware that Kaneki's core persona is to be needed by someone.
- He is considered a masterpiece of an artificial one-eyed ghoul.
Disbanding Arc Edit
Owl Suppresion Operation Arc Edit
By the climax of the Owl Suppression Operation, Kaneki runs to Route V14 and engages Arima. Route V14 was a household of ghoul corpses that Arima killed, but Kaneki hallucinated them as a white flower garden. They fought and eventually, Kaneki loses through his sanity. Arima concluded the battle by piercing Kaneki's head with his quinque, IXA. Arima's plan was to have Kaneki in an amnesia-tic state so that he could gain ownership rights of the latter as a ghoul investigator, and mentor him into becoming strong enough to kill the former and bestow the title.
Later on, he confronted and fought the One-Eyed Owl on his own, mirroring his actions from his first encounter with her. It was later revealed that this was simply a performance so that Eto could have Yoshimura as a donor for Dr Kanou's ghoulification experiments.
Post-Owl Suppression Operation Arc Edit
Kaneki was imprisoned Cochlea by Arima's orders as "Prisoner #240". He suffers intense mental breakdowns, yelling about wanting to save his friends, refusing food and constantly ripping his eyes out. Eventually, Arima lends #240 books to read, in order to keep him sane. Sometime later, Arima allows Kaneki to give a name to himself for his new role as a Ghoul Investigator, "Haise Sasaki".
To Sasaki, he used his name and role as another one of his "Cocoon Personalities/Dream". Within his mind, the full memory and name of Kaneki lurks inside, but Sasaki wants to use his current persona in order to redeem himself, only then would he accept his full and true self. Sasaki may be another person on the outside, but he still has Kaneki's core way of thinking (this was also a quote from Hinami Fueguchi). The Rc suppressants were said to be increasing Haise's melanin production, which explains the overflowing black hair.
During the Auction Mopping-up Operation, Eto and Dr Kanou sent an unsecured and ghoulified Seidou Takizawa to the Operation. It was likely that Arima and Eto's plan during this operation was to have Takizawa at a certain level of strength and send him to fight Sasaki, to test the latter's power.
Rose Extermination Arc Edit
Eto, having the talent of understanding one's psychology simply by studying their expressions and eyes, and being aware of Sasaki's mental state of temporarily suppressing his true self, devises a plan to test Sasaki's ghoul strength whilst having facade, as well as pursue Sasaki to unleash his hidden self.
Throughout the Arc, Eto has been observing from behind the scenes, and manages to analyse Kanae von Rosewald's true intention of having Shuu Tsukiyama's love for herself. After a brawl against the Quinx Squad, an injured Kanae was confronted by Eto, who then corrupts her into a state of despair. At an unknown Aogiri Base, Eto brutally tortures and corrupts Kanae to pure madness, as well as attaching a portion of her kagune into the latter's ravaged body.
Eto, Noro, and Kanae arrive during the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation. Eto and Kanae intrude the area of the Luna Eclipse, where Sasaki and Tsukiyama were having their emotional battle. Kanae begins to attack Sasaki to Eto's delight.
Moments later, Sasaki turns the tables and stabs Kanae in the eye with a steel pipe, weakening her. After impaling both Kanae and Tsukiyama, Sasaki walks up to Eto for their confrontation. By the end of their brawl, Sasaki impales the One-eyed Owl's head. Eto briefly seduces Sasaki, admitting her admiration to him, only to be sliced in half by his kagune. Following the fight, Koori Ui and his squads finds Sasaki devouring the One-eyed Owl's kakuja, presumably to enhance his kagune. Since then, Sasaki has renowned as the Black Reaper (adding more symbolism to how he and Kishou Arima are reflections of each other).
Eto's plan: Have Kanae embrace her rage and jealousy towards Sasaki so that she can take part in brutalizing said-investigator, so that Sasaki could accept his true dreamless self, and unleash his cold persona. She will then fight herself Sasaki and see if he was truly strong enough to defeat her.
Third Cochlea Raid Arc Edit
Kaneki decides to temporarily keep his "Haise Sasaki" identity for his advantage. His current goal was to takedown Eto and Aogiri Tree through the CCG by collecting and presenting data to the bureau, only for them to perform the physical war on Aogiri. The reason why he is motivated to take down Aogiri is to protect his allies, considering said-organisation a threat to them. Once he has completed his work as Sasaki, he plans to breakout Hinami Fueguchi, only to then fight Kishou Arima in order to "die in style", similar to his actions in the Owl Suppression Operation. Sasaki was promoted to Associate Special Class and was partnered with Nimura Furuta into investigating Sen Takatsuki.
On Rushima, during an assembly speech, Eto announces to the Aogiri Tree members that she is The One-Eyed Owl and that she is also known as the author Sen Takatsuki. According to her, Aogiri Tree exists to create a good world for Ghouls. Her true aim is to eradicate the warped root behind the CCG and requests the assembly participants to become foundation of the destruction of the "birdcage" (merely unwittingly forecasting their membership of Goat). She closes her speech with declaring that, contrary to what many believe, she is not the One-Eyed King.
Briefly after Shiono confesses, Eto turns herself in to Sasaki, who then arrests her. Eto acts calm and composed through the situation, and pretends to be the enemy Sasaki views her as. Although under the CCG's custody, Eto was given the opportunity to announce her tenth novel King Bileygr. At the press conference, Eto announces that this book's publication was something she longed to do. She then confesses herself to be a ghoul, and dedicates the book to all her fellow ghouls. The announcement was broadcast all over Tokyo.
Eto's confession of being a ghoul goes viral, triggering massive turmoil:
- The general public were alternately condemning or celebrating the work.
- Eto's confession had readers understanding a deeper message in the novel, and eventually found a mere glimpse and exposure of the Washuu Clan's warped root, causing mass criticism towards the said-clan and the CCG from the general public. A series of CCG Investigators (notably Itsuki Marude) have begun a private investigation into the Washuu's secrets.
- The novel's consoling perspective of the oppression suffered by ghouls became the foundation of Ghouls Rights Organisations, most of which were disbanded for violating the Ghoul Countermeasures Law.
- Many readers have discovered that the novel's title is a translation of "One-Eyed King", realising that this was a fictional version of the real king, being the hope of the ghouls. For the ghoul community, the novel's purpose was to motivate ghoul-readers to wish for the One-Eyed King's rebellion a reality.
Later, Sasaki was escorting Eto to her cell in Corniculum, until it's officially confirmed that she was a ghoul. Sasaki asks Eto of her motivations of King Bileygr, in which she states: the novel is an offering the king and a symbol of hope for ghouls. She explains further that the novel's antagonistic human organisation cooperating with ghouls to control the world was based of the Washuu Clan, and she uses this conspiracy to spread distrust towards the family. Noticing Sasaki in disbelief, Eto reminds him of the Rc scan gate, catching his interest. Eto educates him of the gate's true system, as well as information about V, proving the conspiracy to be true.
At Eto's cell, Furuta interrogates her, complimenting her short hair, only to be silenced and called Kanou's clown. Eto tells Furuta that she was aware of his acts of mischief, as well as being the perpetrator in the Steel Beam Incident. Furuta attempts to gain information of the One-Eyed King, and spoke of how his predecessors have been "controlling the masses". Eto gives a hint by saying that the king was in the CCG's bellies.
Prior to Eto and Furuta's argument, it was revealed that Eto advised Sasaki to plant a hidden recorder in the interrogation area for interesting information, hoping to gain his trust. Eto tells Sasaki that his "last job" would be more difficult than it appears on surface. In exchange of "wishes", Eto offers to "lend him a hand", and as Sasaki departs the room, the former tells him to "kill the One-Eyed King", forecasting his purpose of killing Arima to acquire the title.
Eto was sent to Cochlea, sitting in her cell, listening well to whatever goes beyond the prison, waiting to fullfill the "lend him a hand" promise (which happens to be aiding the escape of his friends). Sasaki, Arima and the Arima Squad was set to protect Cochlea. Sasaki, confident that Aogiri Tree will reach it's end, now sees this as an opportunity to breakout Hinami and die at Arima's hand, whilst having a mental breakdown. Sasaki then unlocks massive numbers of cells, freeing imprisoned ghouls, as well as Hinami.
This sets a fierce battle in Cochlea. Coincidentally, Banjou, Ayato, Gas Masks, Touka Kirishima, and Renji Yomo raid the prison to rescue Hinami as well. Sasaki achieves in initiating a fight between him and Arima, and mentally states that he will sacrifice himself again to save his allies. Sasaki and Arima fall into the lower level of Cochlea, to pursue their emotional and mentally complex battle. The basement was shown with the Flower Garden Symbolism. Sasaki was ready to be killed by Arima. In his subconsciousness, "Hide" appears in his head. "Hide" provides Sasaki a sense of positivity, criticising his suicidal tendencies. "Hide" encourages him to live. Kaneki now conquers the Rc Suppressants, revealing his white hair and fights Arima while willing to live.
Kaneki couldn't pull himself to kill Arima, picturing him as a father-figure. Arima, aware of the situation, knowing that Kaneki has to kill him in order to become the King, Arima decides to slice his own throat. Kaneki, in shock, holds Arima as he states that he'e speeding up his accelerating ageing process. Arima educates Kaneki about the Sunlit Garden, Half-humans, and the truth of the Washuu Clan. Kaneki was confused, and asks Arima for requests. Arima tells Kaneki to take the blame for his death, pretending to be the killer (in order for him to bestow the title for One-Eyed King).
When leaving Cochlea, Kaneki and 0 Squad (which were assigned by Arima to assist Kaneki) comes across Eto in a weakened state, claiming that she is going to die. Eto informs Kaneki that she had fulfilled her promise to him by helping his friends from Anteiku. She then reveals the whole One-Eyed King concept to him: how she and Arima had been conspiring together, how they developed a plan to find and nurture somebody to be strong enough to defeat the most feared and powerful Ghoul Investigator in order to become the One-Eyed King/the hope for all ghouls, and that they have chosen and preparing Kaneki from behind the scenes for this role.
In a flashback, it was shown that at this point Eto then convinces him for the role by saying that the world is like an egg, in order to change it and stop the ghouls from suffering and being discriminated against, they must break it's shell and rebuild it. As the strongest ghoul of this world, the one who "killed Arima", he is the only one capable of doing so (this whole philosophy is a mere reference to The Black Goat's Egg).
Kaneki and the Arima Squad made their way to save Ayato's group, and proclaimed himself to two investigators to be the One-Eyed King, thus fulfilling Arima and Eto's wish.
Arima and Eto's plan throughout this Arc:
- Eto purposely wrote King Bileygr for a number of purposes and messages:
- To give a message of the definition of the One-Eyed King.
- To foreshadow the One-Eyed King for the ghoul community, and motivate them to wish for the king's appearance.
- To have humans notice the novel's sympathetic viewpoint of the oppression suffered by ghouls, leading to a series of Ghoul Supporters
- To write a hidden message that merely reveals the Washuu clan's secret, spreading distrust towards the family.
- Eto knew that in order for humans to understand the hidden message, she had to reveal herself to be a ghoul, which would lead to her being sentenced to Cochlea.
- Eto knew that the Arima Squad (which includes Kaneki) would be stationed at Cochlea during the Rushima Landing Operation. So she would allow herself to be imprisoned there prior to her confession, so that she can share information about V to Kaneki, and "lend him a hand" just in case.
- Arima's intentions for his fight with Kaneki were to push him into a mental state where he has the desire to live and would be motivated to fight at full force (a sign of this would be that Kaneki overcomes his Rc Suppressants and have his hair white again).
- Originally, Arima conjectured that Kaneki would kill him, and Eto would escape from her cell to explain the concept. However, the action was different but ended with the deliberate result. Kaneki had no intention to kill Arima because of him being his father figure, so Arima needed to sacrifice himself and have Kaneki take the blame for his death. Eto was severely weakened by Furuta, but had enough energy to explain the concept to Kaneki.
Post-Third Cochlea Raid Edit
Approximately one month after the wars that occurred on Rushima and Cochlea, Kaneki and Squad 0 were living as fugitives. The group, alongside the Touka and the ghouls associated with :re, arrived at a secret facility owned by the Tsukiyama family. He leads them into a big room, where many escaped Cochlea convicts along with previous Aogiri members including Ayato, White Suits and Three Blades Miza, as well as Kurona Yasuhisa awaited.
Miza approaches Kaneki, asking him of his intentions as the King. Kaneki reveals his decision: to take up the will of the former King and make humans and ghouls understand each other. Most of the audience were in disbelief. Kaneki states that his goal is possible, setting himself as an example: a former human, turned ghoul. He wasn't disillusioned, though, he was aware that the CCG would not budge or agree with these terms immediately, which was why he intended to force them into negotiating. He concluded the announcement by naming the new found organisation "Goat".
Clown Siege Arc Edit
Clowns attack the CCG claiming to be conducted by the One-Eyed King, Kaneki ordered a large assemblement of White Suits. This Clown Seige which was in truth orchestrated by Furuta was purposefully meant to have the general public and authorities view Kaneki as an arsonist. Kaneki approached the Clowns with his band consisting of White Suits, Squad 0, and highly experienced Goat members. Their clash was briefly proven to be effectual for Goat, as the Clowns were virtually exterminated.
However, a squad of V agents claiming as "Main Branch Special Investigators" make their appearance as the ace-in-the-hole to exterminate the ghouls present. V slaughtered the White Suits with Kaneki being their primary dupe, referring to him as the "Nameless King", the main protagonist of King Bileygr.
Goat Migration Arc Edit
During the debut of the Oggai and Furuta as bureau director Kichimura Washuu, they staged an execution of a false Haise Sasaki to defraud the public and CCG to acquire their trust. Unfazed by this false news, Kaneki uses this facet of being deceased to the world as advantage. Seidou Takizawa, knowing that Kaneki has no veracious interest in the coexistence of ghouls and humans, questions the latter's true motivations, which Kaneki refused to answer.
Kaneki successfully transported the Goat organisation to the underground 24th Ward after the conditions of the aboveground were deemed dangerous for ghouls via the Oggai influence. Goat has then been rescuing the aboveground ghoul occupants for shelter in the 24th Ward, and aimed to reclaim their place on the surface.
Since then, Kaneki and his have been disarming the CCG Investigators of their quinques instead killing them. According to Tsukiyama, the situation was dire: The risk of mass starvation or extermination of the underground residents were accelerating, and Kaneki wishes not to have humans killed on Goat's account otherwise the oppression against ghouls would continue. This methodology is contrast to Eto and Arima's during the Aogiri era, where they chose to perform homicide towards the CCG.
Kaneki and Nishiki have a conversation concerning the former's accelerated ageing he involuntarily attained through Yamori's torturing. Kaneki wishes to prevent the situation. Nishiki suggests him to reduce usage of kagune and regeneration, or to cannibalise ghouls. This conversation brings escalation to how Kaneki and Arima are reflections of each other.
Prior to Kaneki devouring the Oggai as an orchestrated plan by Kichimura, and morphs into the "Dragon", a kakuja in which was considered Kichimura's "last boss". The Dragon, presumably in an insanity state as well as manifested with Rize's impulses, mercilessly consumed and rampaged across Tokyo.
Later onwards, Hide appears with Akira and Amon to discuss the situation. They successfully united the CCG and Goat together in order to bring down the Dragon and rescue Kaneki. This is further adaptation of the One-Eyed King's purpose of eliminating the oppression against ghouls.
In his subconscious, Kaneki discusses with "Rize" about his sins and one-sided dictatorship. Kaneki finally reveals his true motivations, which is to be needed by someone, and that Eto and Arima needed him to be the One-Eyed King. After Kaneki has been extracted from the Dragon by the collaboration of Goat and CCG, the Dragon (having Rize as it's host) produces a toxin for the ghoulification of Tokyo.
Prior to Kaneki being rescued, the Defense of Tokyo war was initiated. Kaneki and Ayato venture into the depths of the oviduct's location, and after leaving the latter behind, Kaneki successfully nullified the Dragon core after engaging a fierce final fight with Furuta. This whole plot line is portrayed as a mere reflection and reference to both King Bileygr and the Underground King Legend.
In conclusion the Dragon War and the six-year timeskip, humans and ghouls have come to peace with each other. The One-Eyed King ideal has finally reached it's achievement.
- Sasaki speculates that Nameless, the protagonist of the novel King Bileygr, is intended to be a fictional version of the King.
- In the English edition of Volume 4, the One-Eyed King is mistakenly mentioned twice, once by Kureo Mado in Touka Kirishima's flashback in Chapter 31 and once in Chapter 34 in Kaneki's thoughts. Correctly, it should state in both cases "(that other) One-Eye" which refers to Eto.
- The re in the title of Tokyo Ghoul:re comes from the Italian and Maltese word for "King".
- V agents call Kaneki the "Nameless King," possibly in reference to the main protagonist of King Bileygr. * In contrast to Kaneki declaring himself the One-Eyed King, Furuta names himself the "Washuu King".
- A powerful one-eyed ghoul, possessing a kagune with remarkable similarity to that of Ken Kaneki, ruled the 24th ward as its King a hundred years ago.
- In :re Episode 16, Arima states that he and Eto "created" the King.