|Japanese Name||冴木 空男|
|Relatives||Karao Saeki's father †|
Unnamed Mother †
|Manga Debut||:re Chapter 1|
"At the moment, since the beginning I haven't needed faces. Because I know I would not be accepted by people. I cannot trust in people who have arms and legs."
— Karao Saeki, diary entry in :re Volume 4
Karao Saeki (冴木 空男, Saeki Karao), also known as Torso (トルソー, Torusō), was a ghoul serial killer who was known for dismembering, then decapitating his victims by only taking their torso. He was investigated by the CCG's Mado and Shimoguchi Squads.
Torso was a lanky man with short hair, usually looking gaunt and underfed. He wore a dirty, long-sleeved shirt with buttons.
Torso was a deranged individual. He had a twisted personality, committed acts of violence considered extreme even for a ghoul, and spoke of his "lover" while cradling a headless corpse. His room was usually littered with various knives and scissors, as well as numerous Polaroid photographs. The disarray surrounding him further suggested a lack of mental stability.
Despite his first impression, Torso was quite careless and easily scared. This became evident when he found himself chased by the CCG and police. Several times during the fight between the Quinx Squad and Serpent, he hid but still watched on, evading possible danger. In his interactions with Ayato Kirishima and Hinami Fueguchi, he showed a rather meek and polite personality. He also expressed strong feelings of loneliness, which he dealt with through his desire to collect human corpses as "lovers."
Writings in his diary made apparent that he suffered from an inability to relate to others, finding it difficult to even think of them as people. He felt something was wrong with him and was desperate to fill that apparent void of emotions through the victims he searched for. However, their "rejection" of him drove him to extreme violence to punish them. It was hinted that at some point in the past, a lover rejected him and the loneliness and anger drove him to seek out a replacement. He claimed to have experienced a spark of emotion after meeting Mutsuki and believed he would fix whatever was wrong with him.
Karao Saeki grew up in the mountains surrounding a small village, living in a tent with his father. He was told that food was so scarce, that his father had been forced to cannibalize his mother to survive. Saeki was forbidden from leaving the mountain because he was "stupid," and would endanger his father by drawing the attention of the Doves. He spent his days searching for books in landfills, looking at the pictures because he was unable to read.
After his father abandoned him for over a month, he was forced to venture down from the mountain and saw a human village for the first time. He was too afraid to cross the road, and stood there until a human girl approached him. The girl, Minomi, took him to a shrine where the two played together until they had to go home. After that, his father returned and Saeki continued to meet Minomi in secret.
Minomi taught him to read and write, and how to ride a bicycle. She also hinted at the source of the bruises that fascinated Saeki, stating that her family had a "strange way" of loving each other. He did not understand, but felt that her bruises allowed him to sense her very life force.
One day, his father confronted him about breaking the rules by going into the village. Saeki's cheeks were torn open as punishment, and his father threatened to abandon him before storming out. He chased after his father in desperation, but was unable to find him. Alone, he took shelter from the rain and waited there until a badly-bruised Minomi joined him. He took her back to his family's tent, where the two talked about going to the ocean together and slept beside each other.
In the morning, Saeki was awakened by strange sounds outside the tent. He discovered his father butchering Minomi, and killed him in a blind rage. Afterwards, he was left with only Minomi's intact torso and slowly developed into the killer known as "Torso".
Torso Investigation Edit
During this time, both the Quinx Squad and Shimoguchi's team had begun actively pursuing him. After several months of investigation, Shimoguchi had failed to produce any results and Akira Mado declared that her team would solve the case within a month's time.
Investigation eventually reveals him to be a taxi driver, using this to obtain his victims and move the bodies around the city. When Haise Sasaki and Donato Porpora discussed the details of the case, they theorized that he was someone deeply ingrained into human society, but mentally unstable and a "picky eater" who behaved unusually for a ghoul.
Hinami Fueguchi hailed his taxi, and delivered a warning to him from "the Tree", presumably meaning Aogiri Tree. They exchanged a flash drive, and discussed the rumors surrounding the Quinx who were pursuing him.
Chie Hori had considerable knowledge about him, having photographed his hunting grounds and obtained several Polaroids he left behind. She provided this information to Kuki Urie, advising him that the ghoul was someone who used a foreign brand only available from specialty stores. Based on this and the location of his hunting grounds, she stated she had a suspect in mind.
Weeks later, Tooru Mutsuki spotted him watching a woman, and rushed to get into the taxi before her. Once inside, the two briefly made conversation about how long he had been a driver. However, he quickly turned on the young investigator and attacked, tearing open his passenger's shirt.
Seeing Mutsuki's scars, he started getting excited and was surprised when his victim fought back. He realized his passenger was an investigator, and responded with a brutal beating. But before he could do more, he noticed a motorcycle coming towards them and panicked. He sped away in his taxi, with Urie and Shirazu in pursuit.
Realizing his identity as a ghoul has been found out, he panicked and worried about not having his mask. When a police car tried to pull him over, he used his kagune to kill them but ended up trapped in a blockade. Torso used his shirt as an improvised mask, and jumped out to face the police and investigators waiting for him. He quickly killed the police, but realized the investigators were the rumored Quinx.
The battle was interrupted by Serpent appearing on the scene. Torso was shocked upon recognizing the other ghoul's kagune. During the ensuing battle, he cowered behind several wrecked vehicles and eventually made his escape.
Torso's home was later raided by Shimoguchi and his team, who found he had been hoarding the bodies of his victims all over the apartment. The investigators also discover he had been recording the conversations that took place in his taxi cab, and turning them over to Aogiri for some unknown reason. Ayato Kirishima ambushed and slaughtered the team, and later met with Torso to discuss what he would do next. Though frightened of joining Aogiri as one of their soldiers, he realized that he might be able to use them, while thinking about Mutsuki.
Torso next appeared watching Hinami analyze the sounds from various recordings, commenting to Ayato about how amazing she was. He was surprised when Ayato told him he would be taking part in the mission to guard Big Madam in order to get used to his new role as a member of Aogiri. Torso thought about how lonely he had been, without "that cold body temperature" and again thought about Mutsuki.
On the day of the Auction, Torso joined Ayato and Hinami on guard duty. He expressed amazement at the events, discovering that humans could be purchased and was shocked at the prices some fetch. The sale of a famous actor made him realize the vast wealth of some ghouls, compared to what he made driving a taxi in the city.
The sight of Mutsuki on stage sent him into hysterics, shook Ayato, and begged to find out how he could participate. He did not even consider the record bidding prices, and spiralled further into panic as the bidding war continued. When the auction came under attack, he initially started to flee the building alongside Hinami... but caught a glimpse of Nutcracker dragging Mutsuki away through a neighboring hallway. He slipped away in the chaos, arriving in time to witness Kanae von Rosewald strike in order to taste his blood. Torso tackled the other ghoul, beating him savagely until he was completely out of breath. He expressed relief at having saved Mutsuki, but was surprised when he attempted to run away -- calling out his name, and apologized for their previous encounter.
Rose Extermination Edit
Torso was among the Aogiri hitmen hired by Kanae. He confronted Mutsuki but was quickly countered back as Mutsuki inflicted injuries on him with his quinque. He noted that Mutsuki had grown stronger and relished in the fact. As he was quickly losing, and Grave Robber intervened. He later escaped with the rest of the Aogiri hitmen.
Post-Rose Extermination Edit
When the Hachikawa Squad went to Rushima for their investigation, Torso sensed Mutsuki and longingly called out to him. He was later in a cave where Mutsuki and Ayumu Hogi had taken refuge and ambushed the two. Torso then grabbed Ayumu's hair, bashed her against the walls of the cave, and tossed her aside as Mutsuki looked on in horror. He then grabbed Mutsuki by the throat and asked if he came to see him. Torso kidnapped Mutsuki and held him in a pit he claimed was their secret home. He told Mutsuki that they were going to get married and spoke cryptically about how they had the same eyes and being strangely drawn to him. While Mutsuki struggled, Torso showed him the limbs he severed off him while he was unconscious.
Rushima Landing Operation Edit
Some time later, Torso returned to the cave carrying a handmade flower crown. He gifted it to Mutsuki while offering praise, having read that giving girls compliments was important. But when Mutsuki only silently glared at him, he became enraged and beat his prisoner as punishment. That evening, he lay down with Mutsuki on a makeshift futon and explained that the beating was out of love. He asked if Mutsuki was happy with him, and spoke of a field of flowers he wanted them to see together.
On another day, he silently watched Mutsuki having a nightmare and asked about it when the other was startled awake. He hurried to make a meal when asked, and fed Mutsuki while they discussed memories of the past. Mutsuki asks him about his own past, hoping to keep him distracted. Torso related the story of his childhood, how he made his very first friend and how his father eventually killed her. He cried while admitting that he wanted to bring Minomi to the ocean, the last thing they promised before her death. Some time after relating this story to Mutsuki, he picked up his captive from behind.
As he carried Mutsuki to another location, his captive panicked and began to fight back. He threw Mutsuki to the ground, stating he could not explain where they were going, and knocked his captive unconscious. Some time later, the pair arrived at a field of flowers that Torso intended as a surprise. As he smiled at Mutsuki, the other decapitated him with a single strike and later mutilated his body. The gruesome remains were later discovered by Kuki Urie in the cave where Mutsuki had been held prisoner.
After their initial encounter, Torso has become obsessed with Mutsuki. He fantasized about the Quinx member, and experienced loneliness as well as frustration at being unable to fulfill his "desire." This obsession had led him to react in extreme ways, flying into a panic when seeing Mutsuki up for auction and later brutally attacking Kanae for harming him. Torso was seen almost psychotic at times with the obsession, evident by his joy of being stabbed repetitively by Mutsuki, gaily expressing their connection through the knives. His diary entry revealed he felt that Mutsuki and himself were connected by fate. Torso's "love" for Mutsuki, however, was aberrant, as he goes to extreme lengths to keep the latter from leaving him. Mutsuki later decapitated Torso and mutiliated his remains in a psychological breakdown.
The two have worked together for some time, with Hinami coming to pick up the recordings that Torso took in his taxi. Their interactions were comfortable, regardless of his brutality towards women, with her giving him advice about the strong scent in his vehicle. After he joined Aogiri, he viewed Hinami as an amazing person and admired her unique abilities.
Ayato was the one to rescue Torso from the CCG and officially recruited him into Aogiri. Torso was initially afraid of him, but Ayato's reassurances and kind attitude quickly won him over. As a subordinate, he looked up to Ayato and looked to him for guidance.
For an unknown reason, Nishiki had been pursuing Torso. Torso recognized him on sight, and was terrified of the stronger ghoul.
Minomi was the first human girl Torso had ever met. During their time together, Minomi had taught him how to read and write. He cared for her deeply, even promising to take her to the beach.
Despite being verbally and physically abused by his father, Saeki still followed and had affection for him. This is before Saeki discovered that his father had killed his first human friend. After he blackouts, he later found that he had murdered his father in a fit of rage.
Powers and Abilities Edit
Ghoul Physiology: Having been born as a ghoul, Torso possessed great physical capabilities. He was a moderately powerful ghoul, assigned an A rating by the CCG.
- Rinkaku Kagune: He possessed a kagune with several tentacles, allowing him to attack from a distance. He also had a strong regeneration ability, which allowed him to recover almost instantly from his injuries.
- He favored the instant camera brand Immortal, a foreign brand that is difficult to obtain. It is noted for its faded colors.
- All his victims were women with scars.
- His obsession with Tooru Mutsuki heavily mirrored Shuu Tsukiyama's obsession towards Ken Kaneki in the original series.
- Hooguro called Torso Torutoru (トルトル, Torutoru).
- In Tokyo Ghoul Trump, he is featured as the "Two of Hearts."
- Diary: "Insults, pleading, sounds of shrieks let out from the head. A gaze of contempt at me. Just thinking back upon these makes one feel weary. At the end, I destroy the face. Then I use only the shadow of their remaining carcass to let myself obtain comfort."
- Diary: "At the moment, since the beginning I haven't needed faces. Because I know I would not be accepted by people. I cannot trust in people who have arms and legs."