Tokyo Ghoul has a very complex narrative and a lot of characters so people often find some of the narrative elements confusing, which is why there are a lot of questions asked on a daily basis. A lot of these questions are related to the differences between the anime and the manga, especially between Tokyo Ghoul √A, the second season, and the corresponding manga arc. One of such details is related to Ken Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree after killing Jason. Why did he do it and did he do it in the manga as well?
In the Tokyo Ghoul √A anime series, Ken Kaneki joins Aogiri Tree so he could be close to the only enemy that is threatening Anteiku; he joins them so he could watch over them and protect his loved ones. In the manga, Kaneki never joined Aogiri Tree.
But, there is still a lot more to be said. In the rest of the article, you’re going to find out everything about the moment when Ken Kaneki joined Aogiri Tree, probably the best-known and most dangerous ghoul organization in the franchise. You’re going to find out why he did it and whether the same thing happened in the manga. Enjoy!
In Tokyo Ghoul, Ken Kaneki, as the carrier of Rize’s kagune, was captured by Aogiri Tree and after having betrayed them, handed over to Jason so that the latter could “play” (torture) with him. Kaneki withstood the torture but had an identity crisis, as he was unsure whether he was a human or a ghoul; this was due to the fact that he was turned into a half-ghoul after receiving Rize’s organs during transplantation (this saved his life, but it cost him his humanity).
Earlier, Yoshimura, the leader of Anetiku, convinced Kaneki that he was unique in the sense that he was the only person he knew that could at the same time be a human and a ghoul, which reassured Kaneki. Still, after being exposed to Jason’s torture, he had a break and was unsure of his true nature. After killing and cannibalizing Jason, Kaneki decided to leave Anteiku and join Aogiri Tree, the same organization that tortured him. Knowing his power, Aogiri Tree gladly welcomed him into their ranks.
The reasons behind his sudden change of heart are explained, or rather, implied throughout Tokyo Ghoul √A and the future episodes. Kaneki implied that he wanted to become stronger as the reason for joining Aogiri Tree and it seemed that he was, indeed, brainwashed to a degree where he would actually agree with their ideologies sincerely.
Yet, it turned out that the real reason behind his move was for him to be able to keep an eye on Aogiri Tree and its leader, i.e., to be able to protect Anteiku. By being a member of the Aogiri Tree, he had knowledge of their actions and would be able to save and/or warn his loved ones from Anteiku.
This aspect wasn’t elaborated all too well, to be honest, but Sui Ishida is the only one to blame here since he wrote the story for Tokyo Ghoul √A. It was more of an alternative take on how the manga story might have evolved and despite the fact that the anime did keep some general plot ideas, a lot of the details were different. Whether it’s good or bad is up to you to judge, but it is how it is and these are the reasons behind it.
No, this controversial move never happened in the manga. In the manga, Kaneki does leave Anteiku after being tortured by Jason but he doesn’t join Aogiri Tree. Rather, he forms his own “Anti-Aogiri” group, known as Kaneki’s group, which – in a way – spanned out of the Anti-Aogiri group that was led by Kazuichi Banjō; this group was present in both the anime and the manga, unlike Kaneki’s, which never appeared outside of the manga.
Ken Kaneki was the leader of this group. It consisted of ghouls who willingly agreed to help Kaneki fulfill his various personal goals; its members were Kazuichi Banjō, Hinami Fueguchi, Shū Tsukiyama, and several others. Its primary enemy was Aogiri Tree, but they also had enemies in the Ghoul Restaurant and the CCG, but that animosity wasn’t as strong as the one with Aogiri. The group also helped Kaneki find out more information about Rize and the history of the ghouls. One of the goals of the group was to enable Kaneki to protect Anteiku from any harm.
The fact that the second season of Tokyo Ghoul, Tokyo Ghoul √A, deviates so much from the manga is that Sui Ishida, who was the writer for Tokyo Ghoul √A, decided to go with a completely original story for the anime. Okay, to be fair, it wasn’t completely original, but most of the story was. It seems that Ishida opted for an alternative take on the narrative; he wanted to explore how the story might have evolved had he decided on that path and that explains the massive differences.
Still, both the manga and Tokyo Ghoul √A started from the same point – Kaneki leaving Anteiku after being tortured by Jason – and ended at the same point as well, with Kaneki being heavily defeated by Arima in their epic duel, which resulted in him becoming Haise Sasaki in Tokyo Ghoul:re.