Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida is one of my top seinen manga of all-time. It follows Ken Kaneki, who was an ordinary college student until an encounter with a ghoul, a humanoid that survives off human flesh, transforms him into the first half-human, half-ghoul hybrid.
One of Tokyo Ghoul's biggest strong suits is that its main character, Kaneki, exists between two worlds, that of the humans and the ghouls, which places him in the middle of the two. On top of that, it has one of the best main characters and stories and Sui Ishida’s aesthetic and art style is one of the most unique I’ve ever witnessed.
If you are wondering if Tokyo Ghoul is worth reading even though you watched the anime, it definitely is. The anime changed a lot in regards to the story. They swapped the timing of events, left out elements altogether, and more.
That being said, if you are looking to get into Tokyo Ghoul for the first time, the manga is the best way to get into the series. It's one of the top manga I recommend, but what’s the best way to collect it?
Ways to Collect Tokyo Ghoul
At the time of this post, Tokyo Ghoul and its 14 volumes have been released with English translation in three formats: The individual volumes, which are collected in the manga box set, and the Tokyo Ghoul Monster Editions, which were released exclusively at Barnes and Noble. Tokyo Ghoul:re, which is the sequel to Tokyo Ghoul, also received an individual as well as a complete box set release and it is complete with 16 volumes.
The Tokyo Ghoul box set collects all 14 volumes of Tokyo Ghoul and the Monster Editions are 3-in-1’s with the final volume being a 2-in-1 and there are 5 in total to collect. I purchased all of the editions of Tokyo Ghoul to find out how they compare.
One of the biggest differences is their size. The individual volumes of Tokyo Ghoul were released under Viz’s Sig imprint, so they are larger than their Shonen Jump releases. They are the same size as Dorohedoro and Gangsta. While the Sig volumes are 8.1in tall, the Monster Editions are almost 10in tall. They are wider too, at 6.90in vs. the singles 5.7in. To give you an idea, they are about the same size as something like the Attack on Titan Colossal Editions, but they are still a little smaller than they are.
The Monster Editions save you a bit of space on the shelf. You will need more vertical space, but horizontally, they save you around 2.5in of shelf space.
One big consideration is the cost. The Tokyo Ghoul individuals retail for $12.99, so to collect all 14 it would be around $181.86 USD. The box set retails for $149.99. The Tokyo Ghoul Monster Editions, on the other hand, vary in terms of price.
With the unavailability of the Tokyo Ghoul Monster Editions, they are being sold on sites like eBay for high aftermarket prices, particularly the first volume, which commonly goes for around $200 USD or more. The whole set recently sold for $800, but you can get lucky on bids sometimes if you shop around.
The Monster Editions are the most expensive ways to collect the series. But with the volumes being unlisted from Barnes & Noble's site and the fact that they are theorized to be out of print, we may never see these editions again. I don’t like to say never, because we’ve been getting a lot of unexpected reprints and re-releases lately, though, but as it currently stands, these are the highest priced editions.
That all being said, the cheapest way to fully collect the series would be via the manga box sets, which save you around $32 USD in comparison to buying all of the individuals.
Availability, in addition to cost, may be a factor in your choice as well, because a lot of the Tokyo Ghoul Monster Editions volumes are no longer available on Barnes and Noble’s website. You may find a stray volume, most notably the final volume, here and there in store or online, but they, unfortunately, are hard as well as quite costly to come across.
They also are a Barnes & Noble exclusive release, so they were only available there, whereas the other two are available across multiple retailers and are more accessible for purchase worldwide.
I know the Tokyo Ghoul manga box set has been in and out of stock too, but it recently restocked at select retailers in the US. I will keep you guys up-to-date on stock on my manga restocks post!
Design and Quality
I reviewed the Attack on Titan Colossal Editions also, and if you own those, you may notice similar issues with the Monster Editions. The covers are nice with unique illustrations and I love the design of them, but since they are paperback, they are prone to dents and creases. The spines look great on display with each one featuring different colors, but they are also prone to creases. As a result, you have to be careful while reading them and putting them back on the shelf. All in all, they feature bold colors and full artwork of the characters and the spines look great on the shelf too.
One thing I wish they would have done is made the Monster Editions hardcovers instead of paperback, but I personally decided to purchase them regardless, because I love their larger format. When it comes down to it, what makes the Monster Editions unique is their larger format and their unique design.
The individual volumes, on the other hand, allow you to collect each cover, which all look amazing. I really enjoy Sui Ishida’s aesthetic. Both editions look good in their own right and I enjoy the design of each. The individual volumes are less flashy on the shelf than the Monster Editions, but in a good way. The covers are matte, are more uniform in terms of design, and they have a clean look to them.
The box set's design is one of my favorites. I love the artwork on the box set and it looks good all-around, especially with this front artwork of Kaneki pulling down his mask, which wraps around onto one of the sides. The Tokyo Ghoul logo is minimally featured in the corner. On the other side of the box set, there's artwork of Rize, Kaneki, and Jason. And on the back, they've included artwork of all of the characters featured on the 14 covers. Inside, there's artwork Rize and Kaneki.
Translation, Lettering and Sound Effects
The translation, sound effects, and lettering is the same in all editions of Tokyo Ghoul. I didn’t see any changes or differences, so nothing to report here.
Since the Tokyo Ghoul Monster Editions aren’t as thick as editions like the Attack on Titan Colossal Editions, I found them easier to read. All of the Monster Editions collect three volumes of Tokyo Ghoul aside from the final edition, which collects two volumes. These are just the right amount of thickness because few if any words or panels disappear into the centerfold, which is something that larger paperback issues commonly have an issue with. Now this still sometimes happens, maybe towards the beginning of the volume, but far less frequently than any other manga I’ve seen printed in this larger, paperback format.
The easiest edition to read is the singles. The Monster Editions are heavier, and due to their larger size, aren’t as comfortable to read. You have to lay them somewhere to read, which some may or may not like. If you are looking to read in hand or are looking for portability, the individual volumes may be a better choice for you.
Print and Page Quality
Both editions of Tokyo Ghoul have good print quality. The Tokyo Ghoul Monster Editions are printed on glossy white paper, while the individuals are printed on off-white paper that has an eggshell-like texture. The printing is more crisp in the Monster Editions. The pages aren’t thin either and they are thicker in comparison to other paperback releases of this size. So the paper and print quality in the Monster editions is awesome.
The singles are good too, though. They are Sig volumes, which are larger, so the artwork stands out more than standard releases and the paper is thicker, so you can’t really go wrong here. But, the Monster Editions do have that glossy, thicker paper, which makes everything look just a tad bit sharper and the mid-tones stand out more in them too, allowing for better visibility, so you can see even more details in the panels. After a side-by-side read-through, the best print and page quality goes to the Monster Editions.
The Monster Editions don’t really have any extras per se, but they do have illustration galleries, which feature the individual cover art of the volumes that are included in each edition. So, in edition 1, we have volumes 1-3’s cover art and so on. The box set is the only edition that comes with extras. It comes with a double-sided poster, which features Kaneki wearing his mask on the front and Touka and Kaneki on the back.
Final Verdict: What's the best way to collect Tokyo Ghoul?
As always, it definitely depends on what you are looking for. The Monster Editions don’t come with any extras aside from the cover art galleries and the box set comes with a double-sided poster. The print quality is the best in the Monster Editions and the artwork looks absolutely amazing thanks to the larger format.
They could have improved on some things, like the overall quality of the volumes. The fact that they are paperback makes them prone to dents and creases and you have to handle them with care while reading more so than the individuals. But, when I open them up, I can’t deny the way the panels look, and I find myself captivated by them all over again.
The Monster Editions have a more bold look to them if you prefer that, while the singles have a more uniform, clean look if you are more so a fan of that aesthetic. Design-wise, I like both.
With the Monster Edition's high cost and the lack of availability, though, I would say the manga box set is the way to go right now, because it’s the cheapest way to collect Tokyo Ghoul and the singles look incredible. It’s more widely available for purchase worldwide too, so it’s definitely easier to shop than the Monster Editions, which are available now for aftermarket prices.
If you can find them for decent prices and you love larger formats or are looking to experience the series in a new edition, the Monster Editions are definitely worth owning, in my opinion, after owning and reading through both. If you are new to the series, I’d say the manga box set is the best way to go since it’s much cheaper and is of great quality.
To get an all-around and inside look at the editions, check out my review on YouTube below!
Want more manga recommendations? Check out my top horror manga of all-time, which includes Tokyo Ghoul.