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As a child, Kaneki liked eating the burgers that his mother made when she was still alive. He lost his father when he was four years old. He barely remembered his face and was awfully curious as to what sort of person he was. He knew that his father was an avid reader and had loads of books. Kaneki followed the sentences in the books his father had been reading, saying he felt like he was having a conversation with his father which calmed him down. This developed his hobby for reading and interest in literature.
When he was a child, his mother struggled to provide for them. All the work that she had to deal with was too overwhelming and the one who put the most stress on her was Kaneki's aunt (his mother's sister). His aunt was tight on money and hounded his mother for cash. Being left with nothing but burden, his aunt can be seen as the one who drove his mother to her death. Kaneki's mother, in turn, turned her frustration towards Kaneki, abusing and beating the boy. Kaneki, however, repressed these memories and convinced himself his mother treated him kindly. His mother finally died from overworking when he was 10. Now orphaned, Kaneki was then adopted by his aunt's family, the Asaoka family.
However, Kaneki's life with his adopted family was no less hostile. His aunt always compared him to her son, Yuuichi, who did not do well at school, which greatly angered her. When comparing her son with Kaneki, she also likened Kaneki with his late mother, saying how alike they were. Her feelings of inferiority regarding Kaneki's mother were turned on him as spite. As time passed, the family became a place that did not give Kaneki any comfort for long because nobody in the family would look after or care for him.
He barely had any friends during elementary school. During that time, Hide approached Kaneki, most likely because he noticed that Kaneki had trouble dealing with his classmates. Since then, Hide and Kaneki have been best friends. Hide was his only support during the time the Asaokas ostracized him, which really saved him from loneliness.
Kaneki and Hide listened to the news about ghoul attacks in the 20th ward while in Anteiku. Hide then wondered if Touka was Kaneki's new crush that he wanted to show, which Kaneki denied. Instead, he pointed to Rize as she entered the café. After Hide left, Kaneki was able to arrange a date with Rize after they were able to talk when she bumped into his book. However, Rize later revealed herself to be a ghoul targeting Kaneki after tricking him into entering a isolated alley. During her attack, Kaneki was pierced through the abdomen by her kagune, but before she could finish him off and feed, steel beams fell and crushed her. To save his life, the staff of the Kanou General Hospital under the direction of Dr. Kanou decided to transplant Rize's organs into him. From then on, Kaneki became a half-human, half-ghoul.
After the accident, Kaneki hid the fact that Rize was a ghoul. He found that everything he ate tasted disgusting and he was hardly able to eat normal food, so he started to live on little more than water for days. Around that time he realized ghouls were also unable to eat normal food, his hunger struck him. Unable to find anything to satisfy his hunger, he wandered the streets. At that time, he found out that the waitress, Touka, from Anteiku was also a ghoul when she killed a human in front of him. In terror, he ran away. Moments later, he saw that he could barely keep himself in check, salivating profusely. Since he thought the organ transplant was the reason for his transformation, he tried to get rid of the transplanted organs, but was unsuccessful. Desperate, he turned to Touka for help. Touka refused to give assistance to the former human, but Anteiku's manager Yoshimura kindly gave Kaneki human meat to satisfy his hunger.
However, Kaneki was still repelled by the thought of having to eat human meat, so he decided to continue rejecting it. Instead, he frantically looked for other digestible food. From there, he discovered he was still able to drink coffee. Drinking coffee calmed him down, so he went off to buy more. In a store, a man revealed to be Nishio advised him to buy the instant coffee Blondy. As Kaneki was returning home, he noticed the smell of delicious food. He traced the smell's source, which turned out to be a human corpse. The ghoul Kazuo Yoshida was eating the freshly slain body, but he was immediately killed by Nishio. Asserting that this was his feeding ground, Nishio attacked Kaneki as well. At that moment, Touka appeared and declared this location was not Nishio's, but Rize's. Nishio retorted that it was originally his feeding ground until Rize came, but Touka, unfazed, responded that the feeding grounds would be re-allotted among the weaker ghouls and that it was his own fault for being too weak. Angered, Nishio attacked Touka, but was immediately defeated. When Touka tried to force Kaneki to eat some of the meat, he hysterically screamed that he was human and different from ghouls. Angered, Touka retorted that Kaneki was neither human nor ghoul and no place where he belonged, before warning him that a ghoul's hunger was hell.
When Kaneki and Hide visited a senior student from the university to get the DVD of the previous year's college festival, they disturbed him and Kimi in the middle of lewd activity. Kaneki realized the senior student was Nishio, the ghoul who had attacked him from before. Nishio told them to help him look for the material, only to then claim he took the disk home and proposed they go with him to get it. In reality, he deceived Kaneki and Hide, knocked Hide out and started fighting Kaneki. He provoked Kaneki by puking on Hide and then standing on his face with his foot, but even an angered Kaneki was no match for the kagune-wielding Nishio. However, when Nishio tried to kill Hide, Kaneki was able to release his kagune in a fit of desperation. With his kagune, Kaneki heavily injured Nishio. As Kaneki started to lose control and was about to eat Hide, he was stopped by Touka.
Later, Kaneki awoke and found himself inside Anteiku. When he asked for Hide, the manager led him to the room he was sleeping in. Kaneki wanted to approach Hide, but stopped. Before, he had already noticed blood inside his mouth and his diminished hunger, so he asked Yoshimura what he had eaten. The manager told him that he already knew what the answer was, since there was only one way to satisfy a ghoul's hunger. Kaneki cried out that he was neither human nor ghoul and there was no place for him, but Yoshimura told him he was wrong since he belonged to both worlds. Yoshimura proposed that Kaneki to work at Anteiku. Yoshimura would teach him how to live as a ghoul so Kaneki could keep his place as a human.
After Kaneki started working part-time at Anteiku, he was visited by Hide. Hide thanked Touka for nursing Kaneki and him after the "car accident" (the lie the manager used to cover up what had really happened to Kaneki, Nishio, and him). After they moved out of earshot of Hide, Touka told Kaneki to make sure Hide would not find out about him being a ghoul, stating she would kill him to protect the ghouls' identities if that were to happen. Afterwards, the manager showed Kaneki how to eat sandwiches like a human. After Kaneki failed to successfully do so, the manager gave him special sugar cubes that he could use to curb his hunger, but warned him he may have to eat meat when the time came. During Kaneki's working time, Ryouko Fueguchi and her daughter Hinami came to Anteiku. He was informed by Touka that the two ghouls did not hunt themselves.
Later, ghoul investigators from the CCG entered the 20th ward looking for Ryouka and Hinami. As the news spread in the ward, the manager asked Touka to guide Kaneki to the mask shop, HySy ArtMask Studio in the 4th ward. Here, Kaneki became acquainted with its owner, Uta.
One day, the manager asked Kaneki to obtain "food supplies" with Yomo, i.e., they looked for humans who committed suicide. Afterwards, they picked Ryouko up, who was warned by Yomo that the investigators came because of her and that she should move more prudently for Hinami's sake. Ryouko agreed and said she would stop relying on her dead husband so Hinami could depend on her. Kaneki then thought that a parent's concern for their child was strong in any world.
A few days later, Kaneki walked in on Hinami eating human flesh in a room on Anteiku's second floor. After he apologized for not knocking, she asked if he was ghoul or human. To answer her question, he explained his situation. He noticed that she had one of Sen Takatsuki's books and began talking about the stories. He also taught her how to read some new kanji to expand her vocabulary. Before she and her mother left, Hinami thanked Kaneki and asked him to teach her again next time. Just after they left, they were encircled by ghoul investigators. Ryouko gave her daughter the chance to escape while she fought the investigators. During her escape, Hinami ran into Kaneki and asked for help, but Kureo Mado killed Ryouko just after they reached the scene. Kaneki participated in Anteiku's meeting after Ryouko's death. Kaneki considered Ryouko's death his fault for being too weak to save her.
The next day, after Touka had attacked the ghoul investigators, Kaneki noticed Touka's injuries. He intended to treat her wounds, but Yoshimura stopped him, saying she would have to carry the responsibility for her actions herself and Anteiku did not have the power to oppose the CCG. Even so, Kaneki still chose to treat her wounds. Kaneki told Touka that he believed the ghoul investigators' existence was necessary and that he considered her actions wrong. Nevertheless, he would mourn her were she to die, and asked her to teach him how to fight, so that he would be able to act next time. The next day, they entered the underground tunnels originally built by ghouls to practice. By threatening his life, she managed to goad him into releasing his kagune. After training, Uta delivered Kaneki's mask.
Later, they went to the CCG 20th Ward's Branch Office to spread false information on Hinami's whereabouts. But before they could leave, they passed by Mado, who suspected them of being ghouls. He then forced Kaneki through the Rc Scan Gate, but the gate did not react to both their surprise. While Hinami confined herself in Anteiku's room on the upper floor, Touka visited her and gave her a newspaper that contained Kusaba's death notice. Realizing what Touka was doing, Hinami ran away. When Touka and Kaneki noticed Hinami was missing, they split up to search for her. Touka found Hinami and informed Kaneki, but before they could leave, they were attacked by Mado. Kaneki, who had been relieved that Hinami was found, overheard Investigator Koutarou Amon's phone conversation with Mado. As Amon set off for Kasahara River where Hinami and Touka were, Kaneki donned his mask and stood in Amon's way to try to buy enough time for Touka and Hinami to flee.
Kaneki initially underestimated the investigator until Amon was easily able to overpower him. After taking down Kaneki, Amon paused to talk about the recent death of a fellow investigator and children orphaned by ghouls, demonizing ghouls for corrupting the world with their gluttony. As a former human, Kaneki could not deny that ghouls had brought violence to the world and caused tragedies because of their need to feed on humans. However, after remembering Ryouko's sacrifice for her daughter, he finally realized the truth to Yoshimura's earlier comment; that he was the only one who could see both the human and ghoul worlds in their entirety, that they could manage to get along due to their similarities if they would sit down and talk.
Convinced that he had a reason to fight, Kaneki won using his reluctantly-used kagune. After defeating Amon in battle with his ghoul instincts excited, Kaneki started losing control of his powers. Desperately, he asked Amon to leave so he would not become a killer. Shortly thereafter, Kaneki lost control and began madly craving flesh. He attacked Yomo as he arrived and was brought back to his senses when he realized who he just attacked. Yomo remarked on how he now saw why Yoshimura was interested in Kaneki before giving him a package of meat to eat. The two of them then rushed to Hinami's and Touka's whereabouts and afterwards left to go back to Anteiku. On their way back, Hinami asked if it was right for her to live and Kaneki answered that he believed Hinami's mother told her to live in her last moments.
After Mado's death, Kaneki went to Kanou General Hospital for a checkup. Kaneki heavily questioned if Kanou knew what had happened to his body. Afterwards, Kaneki went to university. During class, Hide brought up the news about the death of two ghoul investigators. To Kaneki's concern, Hide had mostly figured out the Rabbit case through deduction. As Kaneki asked Hide why he was interested in this matter, Hide pulled out Hisashi Ogura's new ghoul book that he found really interesting. Hide toyed with the idea of joining the investigation to which Kaneki loudly objected.
Later on, Kaneki went to Touka's apartment because he was worried about Hinami who had started living there. To Kaneki's surprise, Touka ate all of the home-made food by her classmate Yoriko, making him wonder how important Yoriko was to Touka.
The day after Touka and Kaneki practiced underground with Yomo, Tsukiyama, nicknamed the Gourmet, came to Anteiku during their work time and was attracted to Kaneki's smell. On a later date, Tsukiyama approached Kaneki in his university as Kaneki immersed himself in a martial arts book. Tsukiyama persuaded Kaneki to meet him at a cafe the next Sunday. Lost in thought, Kaneki went to Anteiku despite it being closed and met Yomo in front of Anteiku. Yomo invited Kaneki to meet someone who asked for Kaneki. Together, they went to 14th ward's Helter Skelter bar and met Yomo's old friends, the bar owner Itori and Uta. After they had talked about the relationship between Yomo, Uta and Itori, Itori spilled a glass of blood on Kaneki to uncover his sole kakugan. Itori was excited seeing a one-eyed ghoul and wondered if the other "One-Eye" felt as self-conscious about his eye as Kaneki. Kaneki wanted to know about the other one-eyed ghouls, so Itori told Kaneki about hybrids, pregnancy of half-ghouls and the rumored "One-Eye." Soon, the conversation turned about Kaneki and Rize's mysterious death, and Kaneki discovered that the accident was likely set up by someone. Itori proposed a trade to Kaneki: if Kaneki uncovered information on the Ghoul Restaurant from the Gourmet, namely Tsukiyama, she would share information on the accident.
After the meeting, Kaneki, immersed in thought, got lost and ran into a group of ghouls attacking Nishio. Kaneki saved Nishio from the ghouls that planned to eat him and returned him to his apartment, while Nishio was cursing him. As Kaneki was about to leave, Kimi attacked Kaneki to protect Nishio, thinking Kaneki was the "narcissistic man"; however, Nishio asked her to stop.
The following Sunday, after Kaneki and Tsukiyama played squash, they visited the café. After Tsukiyama cut Kaneki's finger accidentally with his finger nail, he used Tsukiyama's handkerchief to soak up the blood. Unbeknownst to him, the scent of the blood would further intensify Tsukiyama's obsession with him. As Kaneki asked Tsukiyama about the ghoul restaurant to gather information, Tsukiyama invited him as a guest to the ghoul restaurant. However, this was a trap set by Tsukiyama, because he was not meant to be a regular guest, but instead was meant to become the dinner together with Kobachi and Ami. The restaurant's scrapper Taro made quick work of the latter two, leaving Kaneki to fend for himself. He managed to get a few hits but was soon subdued by Taro. In desperation, he pushed his limits, causing his one kakugan eye to reveal itself. Realizing he was a one-eyed ghoul, Tsukiyama realized that Kaneki was an even rarer dish than he had thought and came to the conclusion that he did not want to share with the other members, and killed the scrapper as Kaneki's replacement.
Kaneki, frightened of Tsukiyama, slept at Anteiku for the night. The next day, Hinami, also bringing along the cockatiel Hetare, Yomo, and Yoshimura, visited Kaneki. Kaneki told them he saw lots of ghouls and commented at how they laughed behind their masks as he, Kobachi, and Ami were injured. Yoshimura commented that they were ghouls who killed their emotions and forgot the value of life. After Yoshimura and Yomo left, Touka called Kaneki because a girl was waiting downstairs for him. Kimi begged Kaneki for help since Nishio's state had worsened further. Kaneki promised to help her. As she was returning home, Tsukiyama kidnapped her to set the next trap for Kaneki.
After Kaneki had found Tsukiyama's letter about Kimi being kidnapped by him, Nishio came looking for Kimi. Kaneki and Nishio decided to face Tsukiyama together to save Kimi but Kaneki and Nishio were no match for him and Tsukiyama quickly defeated both of them. Touka arrives to help, and for a few moments she and Kaneki managed to hold their ground against Tsukiyama, but were eventually incapitated because Tsukiyama was the only one who could use his kagune. As Tsukiyama prepared to finish them both, Nishio stopped him, prompting Tsukiyama to stomp him repeatedly. This provided enough time for Kaneki to come up with an idea. As the only one with a chance to beat him was Touka, he let Touka eat a small part of him to regain her strength. This allowed Touka to fight evenly with Tsukiyama and eventually defeat him. When Touka decided to kill Kimi, Kaneki frantically begged her not to do it, but was left stunned when Touka decided not to.
Banjou and his followers came to Anteiku to search for Rize by orders of Aogiri's leaders. Touka and Kaneki decided to hear his story, and Banjou began to talk about his time with Rize in the 11th ward. However, Banjou soon realized that Kaneki smelled like Rize. Because he suspected Kaneki to be her boyfriend, he attacked him, but Banjou was easily knocked out by Kaneki. When Banjou woke up again, Kaneki tried to clear up the misunderstanding. He told Banjou that Rize had moved somewhere else, hiding from him that she had died. Banjou asked Kaneki to tell her that she should run away because he feared that Aogiri would try to gravely hurt her. At that moment, Ayato Kirishima, Yamori and Nico raided Anteiku. They announced that they were ordered to capture Rize herself or "the person who smells like her." As Ayato quickly incapitated Touka, Kaneki was similarly overpowered by Yamori, who beat him savagely. Kaneki was then taken away by Yamori.
After Kaneki had regained consciousness, he asked Ayato about Touka's condition, but in response, Ayato taught Kaneki the rules of the place while kicking and beating him. Kaneki was brought before Tatara. To make Kaneki reveal his kakugan, Tatara pierced his abdomen. Tatara realized that he could not use Kaneki the way he originally planned, so he granted Ayato the right to do whatever he wished with Kaneki. Tatara revealed to Kaneki that the escaped Doctor Kanou was aware what had happened to Kaneki's body and that Kanou did not transplant a kidney into Kaneki, but a kakuhou.
After the meeting, Kaneki was approached by Banjou, who proposed that they should escape together. During the meeting, he met Banjou's resistance group who were also subdued by Aogiri. Banjou proposed that because the Aogiri superiors took turns leaving on different days of the week, they would make their escape when security was light.
On the night of the escape, the Anti-Aogiri group attempted to escape. However, the Bin Brothers were alarmed by their escape and went after the group to intervene. When Banjou stayed behind to cover their escape, Kaneki and the Gas Masks came to his aid to confront one of the Bin. Amidst of fighting, Yamori and Nico joined them along with several of the resistance members, revealing that they have overheard their plan and proceeded to ambush them. Despite knowing that death was the penalty for betrayal, Yamori instead proposed to Kaneki that he will overlook this event in exchange for his cooperation as an assistant because he possessed Rize's organs and had "potential." Kaneki hesitantly accepted, knowing that they would be killed otherwise and was taken by Yamori and Nico into his "hobby room."
Ten days before the CCG stormed the Aogiri hideout, Yamori showed Kaneki his "hobby room." Kaneki was shocked when he saw a dead person sitting on a chair, whom Yamori revealed to be his former underling who was tortured for making a mistake. Yamori showed Kaneki Rc suppressants and explained that they are used to weaken ghouls and forcibly injected the drug by stabbing Kaneki's left eye with a syringe. After the injection, Kaneki's body was weakened so Yamori could torture him for pleasure. Days of torment took a toll on his physical and mental state. Trivially, Yamori revealed to Kaneki that Kanou had known he was surgically making him into a half-ghoul and that Rize's kakuhou was "special" for its abnormal vigor. The torment had made his hair whiten and he wondered what had happened to his friends. In a state of despair, he started to hallucinate "Rize" and began to reminisce over his tragic past. "Rize" called him and his mother weak, but Yamori appeared with Kei and Kouto before she finished. Enraged that Yamori did not fulfill his end of their bargain, Kaneki was given another ultimatum: who of the two would he spare? Unable to comply to Yamori's twisted pleasure, Kaneki refused as Nico protested against Yamori's distasteful violence. The aggravated Yamori ultimately killed both the mother and child ghoul and he and Nico left Kaneki in despair. "Rize" spoke to Kaneki, taunting him that it was his weakness that lead the two to their grisly demise. "Rize" reasoned that if more brutal ghouls like Yamori and Aogiri were to come to power, then his friends would eventually suffer similar fates. Realizing that in order to prevent this, he must become a ghoul full-heartedly and learn to control his kagune.
During the CCG attack, Yamori returned to Kaneki. He told him of a rumor that if a ghoul were to cannibalize one another, they will become stronger but ghoul meat was considered disgustingly distasteful. When he motioned to carve out Kaneki in order to eat him, Kaneki bit him and agreed with his latest notion. Freeing himself from the chair, he attacked Yamori and bit him again, jeering that ghouls were indeed made to compete and that it could not be help that Yamori could be devoured, too. The two fought with their kagunes, but Kaneki eventually overpowered him and proceeded to eat Yamori's kagune. After feasting on his kagune, Kaneki reminded him, before leaving, that the CCG would come to the hobby room and kill him while he has been wounded and disarmed.
Kaneki later fought Ayato. During the fight they had a brief conversation about Ayato's motivations in Aogiri. Kaneki concluded that Ayato joined Aogiri in order to protect Touka because he had impeded Yamori to "play" with her. The fight was even, but it ended when Kaneki broke through an entire building using Ayato as an battering ram and "half-killed" him by breaking 103 of the 206 bones in Ayato's body as revenge for Touka.
When the fight was over and Kaneki and his friends were safe, Kaneki stated that he would not come back to Anteiku. He accepted the help of Banjou and Tsukiyama, even Hinami, but he did not allow Touka to follow him.
Raid of Kanou's Lab
After the invasion of the Aogiri hideout, it was rumored that Kaneki was the one to single-handedly destroy the Ghoul Restaurant and kill about 50-60 members.
The annihilation was an attempt to capture and interrogate Madam A, a collaborator of Kanou. Tsukiyama's position in the society allowed Kaneki to sneak in disguised as the meal of the night. Banjou's group were positioned at the exit to prevent any members from escaping. The attack commenced when Tsukiyama presented the meal: everyone. Kaneki pursued Madam A, killing many of the guests that were in his way. Just as he was about to reach the Madam, Kaneki was confronted by Kurona and Nashiro Yasuhisa, two one-eyed ghouls with the same kagune from Rize, which were later confirmed to be newer products of Doctor Kanou. Kaneki had failed to accomplish his goal since Madam A fled, while he was held back by fighting Kanou's one-eyed twins.
Later, while investigating Rize's life before coming to the 20th ward, Kaneki's group came across a ghoul with the same family name as Rize: Matasaka Kamishiro with the alias of "Shachi." In the past, he was the leader of the ghouls in the 6th ward.
Back at their quarters, Kaneki cut Hinami's hair as promised. Upon receiving data gathered by Chie Hori concerning Cochlea's escapees from Tsukiyama, he headed to the bar Helter Skelter in order to exchange it for Kanou's whereabouts from Itori. However, Itori stated that she did not have such information, instead she told him what she knew about Kanou. There, he learned that Kanou was previously a coroner affiliated with the CCG. He then questioned what was Kanou trying to accomplish by transforming people into ghouls. Nico then visited the bar, meeting the two. This caused Kaneki to suddenly turn aggressive. He asked Nico why he was at the Aogiri Tree hideout back then. Nico simply answered that it was for Yamori's sake. In order to gain Kaneki's trust, he offered him certain intel about the Aogiri Tree. He stated that the Aogiri Tree was an organization composed of militant ghouls led by the One-Eyed King, many of them being from the 24th ward of Tokyo's underground. Kaneki asked Nico why Aogiri was chasing Kanou and Rize, and what was the actual goal of Aogiri tree. Nico said that the goal was to "smoke out a liar," words he apparently cited from Tatara. Finally, he whispered the information to Kaneki about who the "One-Eyed King" really was. Kaneki then told Itori that he now had a "mental image" of the enemy, and if he indeed led the Aogiri tree, he only needed to crush him, though, not before he talked to Kanou and figured out why was the said organization chasing after him. For that means, he needed to talk to Madam A, but was also worried about the one-eyed twins guarding her. Itori mentioned several incidents happening recently, and that a ghoul wearing a rabbit mask was being involved in all of them.
Kaneki was later training with Banjou, easily overwhelming him each time they fought. He informed everyone that he only got the intel about Kanou being a former CCG coroner, but that he unfortunately failed to obtain the information about his whereabouts. Banjou suggested going to the 20th ward again, as there was a chance that Kanou left some kind of trace at his hospital. Kaneki agreed, also wanting to confirm whether or not the "Rabbit" that goes on killing sprees was actually Touka. In the hospital, he met the nurse Taguchi that was taking care of him during his hospital stay. After asking about Kanou's whereabouts, she replied that Kanou was at a research meeting in Germany. Next, he sent a gift to Touka, and when Banjou asked him whether or not he wants to see her, he gave a quick answer that he did not want to involve Touka in the ghoul world. He also stated that he checked the passenger lists before they spoke to the nurse, and said that Kanou's name was not there. He theorized that either Kanou lied to the nurse or Taguchi lied to them.
His group decided to pursue and interrogate Taguchi about Kanou's whereabouts. When they attempted to kidnap her, Aogiri members showed up who are under orders to kidnap her, too. He and Naki clashed, and suddenly Kaneki was attacked by Shachi, who had apparently joined the Aogiri Tree for unknown reasons. When Shachi quickly charged at Kaneki, he failed to properly block Shachi's first strike. His arms broken, he got hit by the second punch, knocking him back. He swiftly got up, his broken limbs quickly healed, and he revealed his four-tailed kagune. He tried to strike at Shachi, missing the first time, then he quickly changed the direction of his kagune so that it pierced Shachi through the back. In response, Shachi activated his kagune, breaking away from Kaneki's hold. Shachi began to persistently attack him. Kaneki failed to dodge, and got hit by an immensely powerful strike, right at his abdomen. He fell to his knees, constantly coughing blood. After the fight, Shachi and the others left with the nurse, Kaneki then began to angrily curse at them.
He and his group waited for the opportunity to ambush and capture Madam A. When she was only with Kurona at the time, they followed her into the cargo docks and they succeeded in ambushing Madam A, causing Kurona to flee and left her behind. Due to his defeat at the hands of Shachi, Kaneki began to train even more in order to get stronger. He asked Tsukiyama to train with him and go all out in order to improve his fighting ability.
Later on, Madam A led them to a mansion where Kanou supposedly resided. While investigating the house, Banjou found the basement and informed Kaneki about it. He asked Madam A if that place really was Kanou's mansion as she previously said. She said that she was positive, and Kaneki threatened to attack her, accidentally crushing the wall and exposing a strange organic structure revealed to be the "Rc cell wall" also known as the "24th ward's wall" made from detached kagune. While going further into the Mansion's underground, they encountered various remains of Kanou's failed experiments, finally encountering the twins again. Kaneki stated that he had no time to deal with them, and jumped over them, further rushing into the underground facility, while leaving the others to deal with Kurona and Nashiro. After leaving his comrades, he eventually encountered Shachi, who attacked him immediately. He is successful in dodging Shachi's attacks, and saw the opportunity to charge at him swiftly and blind him temporarily. However, Shachi dodged, and seeing that he had no chance in close combat, Kaneki activated his kakugan, as well as his kagune. He briefly cut Shachi, although his wounds healed almost immediately. He then proceeded to stab him consecutively, and finally downed the ghoul. Believing he had incapacitated his opponent, Kaneki approached him, intent on cannibalizing Shachi. However, Shachi quickly got up, grabbed Kaneki by the head, and pummeled him into the floor.
He got up, questioning how powerful Shachi really was, only to see Kanou, standing at the top of the kakuhou farm chamber, revealing Rize in it. He learned about Kanou's ideals, how he wanted to "free" the mankind trapped in the cage, the only salvation being ghouls. Kaneki angrily stated that no sane man could do such thing, and that his life was hell after Kanou made him what he currently was. Kanou said that he gave up in living in a world of man, and that if Kaneki wanted to live in the ghoul world, it would be prudent to join hands with ghouls. Kaneki immediately questioned the offering, but Kanou said that he would show him the "true world" that was out there, before stating that the one who produced the source that gave birth to Aogiri tree was a ghoul named "Yoshimura." Kaneki, shocked, looked helplessly at Kanou, who tried to convince him to join his side. Their conversation was soon interrupted by Yomo, who broke in and grabbed Rize, saying that Kaneki should follow the path he had decided upon, and escaped after informing him that "doves" tracked Kanou and were coming into the mansion. Shachi quickly overwhelmed him again, saying that he was no match for him, and grabbed Kanou. Kanou then made failed experimental subjects attack Kaneki, and told him that he looked forward to the day they met again. Confused, broken and hurt, Kaneki proceeded to cannibalize the experiments, saying that all this time, he was trying to hide his weakness in order to protect what was important to him, but no more.
When the CCG broke in and entered the underground, Shinohara encountered Kaneki, now in a centipede-like half-kakuja. In this form, Kaneki quickly turned to him and immediately charged at the investigator. Shinohara prepared his blade sword quinque, evaded, and activated Arata's armor. While he did that, Kaneki mumbled mindless words due to the effect his kakuja had on him. He continued in jumping around walls looking for a chance to engage Shinohara, and when he finally did so, Shinohara cut the right side of his abdomen with his quinque. Kaneki fell to his knees, and while his kakuja was cut, he activated his six-tailed kagune, and swiftly charged at Shinohara once more, catching him off guard and completely immobilizing him. When Amon entered the room where Shinohara and Kaneki where in, he saw Kaneki feasting on what appeared to be Shinohara's corpse. Angry and confused, Amon fiercely charged at Kaneki, while the latter blocked his quinque with kagune. After more investigators arrived, they labeled Kaneki as a SS-rated ghoul, deciding not to drag Amon down whilst in fight and join it if needed. After Amon had lost a part of his quinque, Juuzou arrived, cutting Kaneki with his quinque as well, followed by Amon's final strike at Kaneki, finally bringing the half-ghoul to his knees. Instead of continuing the fight, Kaneki simply said that he did not want to eat anymore and ran away. During his escape, he ran into his group, and as Banjou offered help to Kaneki, he immediately stabbed Banjou through the abdomen. He again entered a mindless state, and when he regained his senses, he questioned why he strived to become strong and for what reason he threw away his humanity, constantly apologizing because he believed he killed Banjou. However, Banjou's wound healed, and when Banjou comforted him, he finally calmed down, with his kakuja mask falling off his face.
Post-Raid of Kanou's Lab
After an unknown period of time, he is seen in his room, depressed. Hinami interrupted him while he read a book, asking if he had read "The Hanged Man's MacGuffin". She also informed him that Sen Takatsuki had a book signing meeting, wondering if he will go there. Kaneki said that he needed some mood change, and asked Hinami if she will go with him. At the meeting, they have a brief conversation with the author, the author being surprised at how dedicated Kaneki is when it came to reading her books, also noting his sharpness when it came to noticing things related to her books' characters. He happily leaves the meeting with Hinami.
Some time later, he visited Uta at his mask studio, and inquired about Yomo and Yoshimura. In response, Uta told him about how he and Yomo became friends, and how Yoshimura saved Yomo's life during his fight against Arima. Not long afterwards, he visited Yomo, and expresse a wish to see Rize once more. Yomo declined his request, but Kaneki insisted on it, running to the container that he heard a sound from, and finally found Rize. He tried to talk to her, but witnessed her maniacal behavior. Yomo informed him that he is feeding Rize nearly enough to keep her alive, but not enough for her to break free. Kaneki claimed that his strength was just an illusion, to which Yomo responded that his strength was his alone, and no one else's. He told Kaneki that he should walk his own path from now on, with his own strength, and apologized for not telling him this sooner.
After his encounter with Rize, and finding out that Yoshimura is covering for the real One-Eyed Owl, he visited Anteiku again to question the manager. He explained how he came to know his story, and claimed that his child is the One-Eyed King that is currently leading the Aogiri Tree. Yoshimura then said that only Kaneki can understand both ghoul and human worlds, and that the thing he is trying to throw away what makes a half of him. The manager stated that it is only a matter of his choice, but he hoped that in the future, Kaneki saves a lot of people, as well as his daughter.
He left Anteiku shortly after, only to be intercepted by Touka. He told her that the manager told him to return to Anteiku, and she asked him what has he decided upon. Kaneki said that he is not sure, and that he wanted to protect everyone dear to him, no matter the cost. This angered Touka, as she claimed that the truth behind that is that he does not want to be alone, and that he is afraid of that happening before finally telling him that he should stay out of Anteiku, while trying to hit him. Hearing this left Kaneki shocked, as he received a hit from her that made him fall on his back. Touka sat on him, asking why he had to change like that shortly before leaving him.
At the group's headquarters, Kaneki claimed that he wanted to disband the group, the reason being him wanting to return to Anteiku. He invited everyone else to join as well, while others happily accepted the invitation. Meanwhile, CCG's Bureau Director Yoshitoki Washuu requested permission from Chairman Tsuneyoshi Washuu to carry out the Owl Suppression Operation that aimed to suppress the Owl at Anteiku.
Owl Suppression Operation
After overhearing CCG officers' plans to raid Anteiku, Kaneki decided to head there as fast as possible to help out Yoshimura. After making sure that Kaya Irimi and Enji Koma, both of whom were critically injured during the battle, were safe, he made his way to aid Yoshimura. However, he ran into Amon and the two began fighting after the latter refused to stand down. Kaneki quickly defeated Amon, breaking his quinque in the process. Kouitsu Chigyou suddenly showed up and gave Amon a repaired and upgraded Doujima 1/2, and the newest prototype of Arata armour. Thanks to the armor, tremendous improvement of his speed and strength, Amon was able to land a blow that knocked Kaneki back. The impact forced the ghoul to activate his kakuja, and the two continued with their clash. The fight ended when both combatants lunged at each other, which resulted in Amon losing his left arm and Kaneki losing a chunk of flesh on his waist. Kaneki retreated into the sewer paths to continue on. In the sewers he gradually began to lose his mind due to his incomplete-Kakuja's side effects until Hide appeared. Trying to convince himself that Hide could not possibly be there and what he is seeing is in fact an illusion due to his madness, Hide confronted him and told him that he knew Kaneki became a ghoul but still wants to aid him. After being told that CCG had surrounded the entire place, Kaneki is asked by Hide if he can go all out once more to escape the raid.
Kaneki passed out and woke up with a sweet taste in his mouth. Hide is nowhere to be found so he continued to wander to the route V14 only to run into Kishou Arima in what he first believed to be a flower field, but later found to be a field of ghoul corpses slain by Arima. He instinctively knew who Arima was but is nonetheless drawn into a battle with him, getting pierced in the back and stabbed through his one kakugan eye. He had started losing his mind, after he got eight claws on his kagune, they started battling while Kaneki shouted nonsensical sentences. However Arima surpassed him, so he finally decided to finish Arima with one hit thinking that because Arima is a human he would die, but was instead blocked by Arima's quinque Ixa's, defensive barrier. Then Arima revealed that he knew who Kaneki was by calling him by his name and saying that he was impressed that Kaneki managed to damage his quinque. Arima then went on to pierce Kaneki through his body with Ixa which raised him from the ground before dropping him in front of the man. After stating how he had not expected Kaneki to damage his quinque, he stabbed Ixa through his head before mentioning he needed a new quinque.
Post-Owl Suppression Operation
After the operation had ended, Kaneki was imprisoned in Cochlea as Prisoner #240. His mental state had deteriorated seriously: He was repeatedly picking at his eyes until his wounds were festering, refusing food, crying at night, and was clawing at the doors such that his finger nails came off while screaming they should let him out. Furthermore, he was suffering from amnesia. The prison staff expected him to die.
Arima started bringing him books. Reading those books greatly improved his mental state. Later, Arima told Kaneki that he would need a name, as it had been planned to appoint him as an investigator as part of his rehabilitation program, and asked him to choose one. He picked his two favorite kanji from the words 'coffee' and 'world', forming the name 'Haise'.
Some time later, as Akira was visiting her father's grave to tell him of her promotion to Rank 1 and how she had been assigned to oversee the training of a junior who was said to be an oddity among investigators, that pupil approached her and introduced himself as Rank 3 Investigator Haise Sasaki.
Root A (Anime)
Soon after Kaneki defeated Yamori, he saved Touka from Ayato and asked Nishiki to take care of her. While Kaneki and Ayato fought, he asked Ayato about his reasons for joining Aogiri. Kaneki's analysis about it being for Touka enrages Ayato. The fight was stopped by Noro, whom took away Ayato with his kagune. Kaneki escaped the collapsing building then was stalked by Eto. Later, Kaneki found Touka at the safe spot Nishiki had left her. He told Touka that he would not return to Anteiku and would instead join Aogiri. After becoming indoctrinated into Aogiri, Kaneki was greeted by the Aogiri executives while surrounded by soldiers, hailing his arrival. His new journey began.
Having led attacks in the 10th and 11th Wards, and suspected in the death of Kureo Mado, Kaneki began to earn the reputation of a dangerous ghoul and a high priority targret by the CCG. Throughtout his membership, Kaneki participated in missions that resulted in many casualties and he would look over the dead bodies. He participated in a mission to raid a CCG convoy with Ayato and other Aogiri members. They observed the highway from atop a tall building before they lept down to attack the vehicles. Kaneki overturned several police cars with his kagune and Aogiri grunts killed the officers. Kurona and Nashiro appeared and observed Kaneki before attacking him. Kaneki blocked their attacks and they quickly backed off. They noted Kaneki's strength before removing thier masks, exposing single kakugans. Distracted by an explosion, Kaneki turned to see a van on fire. When he turned back to the twins, they had disappeared. Naki bursted out of the flaming van and Kaneki watched as he threw a tantrum over Yamori and attacked Ayato. They brought Naki back to the Aogiri hideout where he continued his tantrum. Kaneki pitied Naki, so taught him how to write Yamori's name. Naki thanked him and considered Kaneki a good guy. Later, Kaneki and Ayato watch over Cochlea.
The attack began and Aogiri's forces infiltrated Cochlea, entering through the roof. Kaneki descended into the lower level with Ayato and other ghouls. During the descent they were separated and Kaneki went to the bottom alone. There he found that one of the cells had not opened. Inside he found Shachi and tried to free him. Shachi however smelled Rize then attacked Kaneki. They fought, but Shachi was the superior fighter and took little damage even when Kaneki pierced him with his kagune. Shachi's speed and martial arts skills overwhelming Kaneki, and after a powerful blow from his kagune, he sent Kaneki crashing threw several walls until he landed in a dark room. Shachi attempted to follow Kaneki, but was stopped by Eto who asked if he wanted to see Rize. In the room, Kaneki was surrounded by bones and contemplated his reasons for joining Aogiri: to become stronger and protect everyone. He then unleashed his Kakuja for the first time.
Afterwards, he fought against Shinohara. Kaneki had superior abilities from the beginning of the fight and gave Shinohara and the Arata armor a hard time. Shinohara managed to give Kaneki a dangerous blow, which made his kakuja disappear. Kaneki fell and appeared defeated, but quickly rose and released both is kagune and his kakuja. Kaneki's mental stability dropped and he babbled about his torture by Yamori. He moved behind Shinohara so quickly that Shinohara was not able to see him until it was too late and gave him a powerful blow that knocked the investigator unconscious. Kaneki was devouring the Arata armor when Amon and Akira arrived. Enraged, Amon attacked Kaneki, while asking him why he let him go the night Mado died. Amon managed to cut off both his kagune and his kakuja, and Kaneki was unable regenerate because of the CRc gas that was being released into Cochlea. Kaneki knelt down from weakness. Amon, after Kaneki had not answered his questions, stated that Kaneki was just an ordinary ghoul after all. Amon's words affected Kaneki and he began to cry and said that he did not want to eat anymore. Kaneki was then saved by Eto, who picked him up and fled.
After the incident, Kaneki returned the hideout where he tried to drink coffee and rest. He dropped the cup as his kakuja violently emerged. Kaneki screamed hysterically as he lost control of his kakuja. He eventually regained control of it, but it took all the energy Kaneki had, which left him exhausted and collapsed.
Kaneki had a nightmare where the fights he had at Cochlea and the spectors of Rize and Yamori haunted him. Throughout the nightmare, he imagined himself being painfully engulfed by his kakuja. He woke with a start in Aogiri’s hideout. Kaneki told himself that he thought he was eating ghouls, but it was him that was being eaten instead. He eventually went to see Yoshimura where they spoke in private. After he left Anteiku, he was confronted by Touka and their conversation turned emotional and violent. Touka told Kaneki not to return to Anteiku and taken aback, Touka punched him. She pined Kaneki to the ground and continued to punch him, and asked why he had become that way. After Touka left, Kaneki remained on the ground and smiled as he wondered why himself.
Kaneki had visited Yoshimura to learn more about the One-Eyed Owl. Yoshimura told Kaneki about his tragic past and how his family was ripped apart by the same organization he worked for. While Kaneki had not learned the identity of the One-Eyed Owl, Yoshimura did reveal to him that it was his child. Kaneki later contemplated Yoshimura’s story and the One-Eyed Owl.
Kaneki wandered the city streets when the news of the battle in the 20th Ward announced. Devastated by the news, he went to fight. Kaneki contemplated the situation when Nishiki met with him on the roof. After not having seen each other in a long time, they discuss the upcoming battle and what Nishiki would do. Nishiki decided to flee, but Kaneki felt guilty that he would have to leave his life behind. Nishiki did not hold anything against him and assured Kaneki that he would not have to wear a mask anymore. Tsukiyama arrived in a maddened state and begged Kaneki not to go. He fought Kaneki to prevent him from joining the fight and would rather have killed Kaneki himself to eat him. Kaneki defeated Tsukiyama, but he still begged Kaneki not to go. Kaneki apologize and told Tsukiyama that he would not be able to stop him because he did not want to be able to not do anything anymore.
He fought his way through the CCG troops that swarmed the 20th Ward, ambushed and defeated Mougan Tanakamaru to rescue Koma. Later, he ambushed Chuu Hachikawa and defeated his squad in order to rescue Irimi. He learned of the situation from his former coworkers then headed off to attempt to save Yoshimura from CCG's forces. However, news of Yoshimura’s defeat had spread throughout the 20th Ward and Kaneki stopped. Grief stricken, he remembered Yoshimura’s last wish. As someone who could be part of the ghoul and human world, he wanted Kaneki to save lonely souls, which included his child. He was broken from his thoughts by Amon and a large group of soldiers who blocked his path.
The long-time rivals engaged in one final battle and were near evenly matched. After they had clashed for a while, they paused to catch their breaths. Kaneki told him that he did not want to fight, but Amon said it was not possible not to. Kaneki removed his mask and asked Amon for his name before they launched a final attack that left them both critically wounded. Injured, Kaneki managed to make his way to the alley behind Anteiku before he passed out. He awoke in the cafè, and was greeted by Hide. Hide claimed that coffee was surprisingly hard to make before he greeted his friend.
Kaneki became self conscious and covered his kakugan, but Hide reassured him that he knew all along. Kaneki remained uncomfortable, so Hide spoke casually until he was at ease. Hide told Kaneki how he felt left out when Kaneki worked at Anteiku, so he wanted to help the best he could. Hide was eventually able to cheer Kaneki up and the friends shared a moment of laughter, but that was broken when Hide collapsed. He had received a fatal injury and was bleeding out. Hide requested that they go home before he collapsed onto Kaneki’s lap. Kaneki remained with Hide for a while as the cafe began to burn around them. Kaneki agreed to go home and carried his friend's body back to CCG's main base camp. He observed the aftermath of the battle, with human and ghoul corpses everywhere and survivors struggling to deal with their losses.
He finally came face to face with Arima, and set down Hide's body in the snow before facing the legendary "Reaper". Arima drew his quinque, and Kaneki’s fate afterwards remained unknown.
At the CCG main office in the 1st ward, Haise Sasaki is revealed to be the mentor of the Quinx Squad. He became distraught at the fact that his team mates went out to conduct an investigation without him. Haise and Mutsuki decide to consult Team Hirako, a group of higher-class investigators, only to face nothing but prejudice and inequity, as Sasaki was labeled incompetent and dishonorable for not being able to control his squad independently. Later on, Sasaki arrived at the scene of the investigation, ordering Urie to spare Akashi Kobayashi’s life; for he might have some sort of helpful information (In the anime, Sasaki lets Akashi escape). He also scolds his members for trying to exterminate ghouls needlessly. However, Sasaki was forced to face criticism once again, being accused of following the “Torso” case blindly by not putting any sufficient efforts into his work.
Sasaki visited Shiba in his office, and the two conversed about the fate of the Qs' diet being affected by their Rc levels. He then attended a meeting held among Team Mado, Team Hirako and Team Shimoguchi. When he was singled out for being slack about ghoul extermination, Sasaki began to argue with Shimoguchi. However, much to his dismay, he was forced to co-operate with Team Shimoguchi. After the meeting’s dismissal, Sasaki met with a colleague, Kuramoto Itou, whom provided him with information on Serpent. When he arrived home, Sasaki found out yet again, that Urie and Shirazu have gone on an independent mission. He later tried to teach them about working together, but after they left without listening to what he had to say, Haise became serious about his work, and asked Mutsuki to accompany him on a mission to pursue Torso.
Haise and Mutsuki visited the SS level of Cochlea, where they spoke to Donato Porpora to gather information about Torso. Haise was told that ghouls often blend into society to maneuver their way for hunting, and that most of them take the method of driving taxis. Sasaki realized that Urie had been ahead of him in the Torso Investigation all along, but Donato requested Haise to pay a visit once more, for there is a special case that involves Sasaki himself. Recently Haise had recurring nightmares of a young man seen pondering in despair and hopelessness, trying to persuade Sasaki that he is worthless and will never rise above his weakness, but Haise paid no heed to the dream.
Sasaki soon immersed his interests into the Torso case; studying Torso’s pathological possessiveness since the ghoul has an abnormal habit of cutting off the legs of victims who subsequently acquire scars from surgeries; which may have a meaning. Before the deadline of the Torso Investigation, Haise, along with Mutsuki, visited a few surgical clinics within the area.
On the night Torso's identity was exposed, Sasaki decided to request a barricade of police cars in order to halt the taxi which contained Torso and Mutsuki, being chased by Urie and Shirazu. Moments later, his team are faced with a sudden appearance of Serpent. After noticing that Urie, Mutsuki and Shirazu are weakened by Serpent’s combat skills, Haise suddenly intervened, using the blade quinque Yukimura to slice Serpent’s Kagune in half (In the anime, Sasaki slices off a portion of Serpent's kagune. Also in the anime, Sasaki's quinque brakes in half after blocking Serpent's attack). However, this did not affect Serpent, who consequently ridiculed Haise’s abilities and effortlessly beat him down. While thinking of a combat strategy, Sasaki abruptly entered his subconscious, whereby the same young man from his recurring nightmares, Ken Kaneki, was seen brooding in Jason’s Hobby Room. He tried to persuade Haise that his squad members would die if he didn’t have the courage to be strong for them. However, Haise dismissed this, deciding to think on his own.
He asks Mutsuki to call Akira Mado, and as his Kagune started to manifest itself, he cracked a finger and generated his kakugan; getting ready to battle Serpent. Haise was pierced through the torso by Serpent’s Kagune, and concerned for Haise’s safety, Mutsuki and Shirazu ran to his aid, but he ordered them to stay back as he quickly revived from his injuries. When Sasaki began to taunt Serpent menacingly, Mutsuki was shocked at this sudden change in demeanor. Serpent, after being impaled by all the tentacles of Haise’s Kagune fell weak, and was told by Haise that this was his payback. Haise pulled off his mask, and Serpent, revealed to be Nishiki Nishio, berated him by openly pointing out that wherever Sasaki went, or whatever he did in life he’d always be “helpless.” Nishiki then called Haise by the name “Kaneki,” and as an automatic response, Sasaki absentmindedly muttered “Nishio-senpai,” becoming confused and puzzled afterwards. Nishiki escaped, and out of frustration, Haise started screaming as he entered a state of mental and physical instability. Take Hirako called off the Serpent Investigation, implying his team’s new target to be Haise himself. Akira then arrived at the scene, and using a Sniper, she shot Haise with a Rc suppressant bullet, telling him to rest for a while. Akira then treated Haise, and asked him to interpret his current situation. Akira later explained to the Qs that Haise was the victim of a Kakuhou transplant done by Akihiro Kanou, Aogiri Tree's scientist. Despite this, the CCG treated Haise as a human, but would treat him as a ghoul if he were to lose control and might eventually exterminate him if there were no other way to deal with him.
Several days after Haise’s failure to capture Serpent, he was requested to attend an S3 meeting to have a private conversation with Kishou Arima.
At the Quinx’s living quarters, Haise berated Urie for jeopardizing the lives of his comrades for his own selfish needs. He then relieved Urie of his duties as Squad Leader, therefore appointing Shirazu instead. Urie insulted Sasaki, calling him a “ghoul,” and Haise in turn, jokingly threatened to eat Urie if he should ever call him a ghoul again. Sasaki was then seen in his room, weeping over the contemplation of fighting for the CCG. He then visited Arima, and the two had a minor spar. Arima returned the book he borrowed from Sasaki as they conversed about the story. Sasaki then told him that he was forced to exceed his boundaries and use his Kagune, but Arima calmly dismisses the issue. When Haise was asked about the auditory hallucinations he frequently got, he mentioned that Kaneki wants to consume his body; concluding that Ken Kaneki was the person Haise use to be. Sasaki also mentioned that he remembers absolutely nothing about the first twenty years of his life, and therefore respects Arima and Akira as his own parents, rendering his superiors and the rest of the Quinx Members to be his “make-believe” family. Haise also stated that he was happy to be affiliated with the CCG, while at the same time, he was completely uncertain about this statement.
He later accompanied Akira to the hospital to visit a critically injured Shimoguchi. Akira explained to him about the SS rated Black Rabbit ghoul of Aogiri Tree, and the motives of Torso to blend in with the organization. When Akira showed sadness over Shimoguchi's loss, Haise was taken by surprise. Together with Mutsuki and Shirazu, Haise discussed their new target, Nutcracker, since the Torso Investigation was put on suspension. He also mentioned his first encounter with Juuzou Suzuya, whereby the latter gave him money randomly upon seeing him. Sasaki suggested that they visit a new cafe before heading home. He approached a coffee shop named :re. Upon entering the cafe, Haise was immediately drawn by the smell of the delicious coffee, but later looked on in confusion as the shocked waitress stared at him.
After leaving the coffee shop, Haise began to space out, rendering Mutsuki and Shirazu to feel worried. The next day, Haise, Urie, and Tooru met with Hanbee Abara to discuss the Nutcracker case. However, Haise was not attentive, as he reminisced over his experience at the coffee shop. Sasaki grew startled when Yomo scrutinized his facial features. After the coffee was delivered, Haise took a sip and began to tear up. While drying his tears with a handkerchief Touka gave him, he mentioned in an internal monologue that the waitress gave a troubled but sad smile, and thought to himself that someone this beautiful really does exist.
The meeting is stopped when Juuzou Suzuya arrives at the reunion. As soon as he sees Haise, he checks his pockets in order to find snacks, which Haise had prepared the day before. The meeting is stopped again when Shizaru enters, carrying Saiko at his back. Hanbee decides to sum up the meeting, telling that Nutcracker is part of a human trafficking network related with Madam. Haise and his team has to spy her in disguise but the mission is a failure because Nutcracker caught wind of the investigation. Later, Urie asks Haise to sign a letter in order to release one of his Kagune's frames. Haise remembers how director Washuu begged him to be the Quinx Squad mentor and responds Urie saying that there are more improvement aside of the Kagune and that they are not guinea pigs. Finally, he asks Urie for a little time to decide.
At the next meeting, the teams discuss Nutcracker's role in finding humans for an upcoming auction. After the meeting, Sasaki excuses himself and heads to Cochlea to meet with Donato Porpora. The subject turns to Sasaki's memories, and his changing attitude towards them — Donato advises him to seek them, and reveals to him the identity of a "certain ghoul" of personal interest to him that may hold one of the keys to Sasaki's lost memories. The ghoul calls him his friend, while Sasaki recalls visiting :Re again on his own. There, he looks over the many books on a shelf and is asked by Touka about what he does for a living.
Later that evening, he meets with his squad to discuss the next stage of their investigation. Looking over the "ingredient" list for the Auction, Sasaki declares that the team will be going undercover as women. Nutcracker's latest targets have all been young women, being recruited under the guise of "a part-time job" and lured to the Auction to be sold. The team go to a nightclub in the 13th Ward while in disguise, and Sasaki jokes that a previous investigation with Akira involved spending time at a club. He mentions that she cannot hold her liquor, and became a problem.
Shirazu is unhappy with the results of their disguises, criticizing Saiko's job of disguising him and how he compares to the others. Sasaki — dubbing himself "Sasako" — chides him for his previous mistake and advises him to do his best. Unlike the others, Sasaki studied how to apply makeup and stuns the others with how convincing he looks as a woman. The group settle in to observe Nutcracker, and Shirazu confronts him over his overly-permissive attitude towards Saiko. He admits to being easy on her, revealing her difficult past and his sympathy for being forced into the Quinx. Shirazu then brings up his lost memories, and asks whether Sasaki will leave should his memories return. Though uncomfortable, he tries to play things off with a joke and reassures his subordinate that he won't be going anywhere.
Their conversation is interrupted by Mutsuki, who has gotten drunk and approached Nutcracker alone. He manages to get offered the part-time job, and brings back the information about the Auction. With the mission a success, the others head off onto the dance floor to celebrate. Sasaki watches them, and worries about whether the return of his memories will mean the death of his current self. He is unaware that Nico and Roma Hoito have spotted him, and started talking about him.
During the next meeting, he is called along with Juuzou to meet with Matsuri Washuu, the head of Division II. The commander is hostile towards him, and insults his use of cross-dressing to carry out the mission. Sasaki is horrified when Matsuri orders Mutsuki to be used as bait for the operation, and sent in alone without any backup. His protests earn a harsh rebuke, but Juuzou intervenes and offers to join Mutsuki undercover. With the matter settled, Squad Leaders Akira Mado, Shimoguchi, and Take Hirako join them. The final plans for the operation are made, and afterwards Sasaki thanks Juuzou for his help. He attempts to congratulate Shimoguchi on getting out of the hospital, but gets a harsh response. Akira advises him that everyone in CCG has lost someone, and tells him that he must get stronger in order to not lose anything.
Akira's advise continues to haunt him later that night, as he advises Mutsuki about the mission and collects Shirazu's mislabeled Will.
In the next couple of weeks leading up to the operation, Haise trains Mutsuki, Shizaru and Saiko in preparation for battle.
Taking full command of the Quinx Squad, Sasaki anxiously awaits the signal to begin with the operation with the others. He advises his subordinates to flee should they encounter something they cannot handle, annoying Urie with what he considers an overly cautious approach. The group make jokes about Mutsuki and the need to rescue him quickly, attempting to lighten the mood and deal with the worry that consumes most of them.
As the raid begins, he leads the Quinx and Atou squads into the main building, effortlessly defeating numerous ghouls without pause. Daisuke Atou and his squad gossip upon finally observing the mysterious leader of the Quinx, with Atou making note of how similar Sasaki's movements are to his mentor, Arima. The group encounters the bald ghoul that had previously been with Nutcracker during their stakeout, and engage in a fierce battle with him. Sasaki manages to rescue one of Atou's squad members, and takes on the powerful Koukaku-type ghoul, managing to parry blows strong enough to shatter pillars. Before he can continue fighting, however, Matsuri orders him to continue advancing through the building — he protests this initially, but accepts Atou's reassurance that his squad can handle things alone. Sasaki leads the rest of the Quinx deeper into the building, while his thoughts turn to worry over Mutsuki.
The team come across Kanae von Rosewald attacking Mutsuki, and Sasaki carries him to safety while Urie and Shirazu attack the ghoul. Upon recognizing him, Kanae flies into a rage and attacks Sasaki but is quickly overwhelmed by the combined efforts of the three men. Matsumae intervenes in the battle, rescuing Kanae and using her kagune to seal the hallway behind her. Unable to advance any further, Sasaki radios command to report that they had successfully rescued Mutsuki. They are informed that the Ooshiba squad had been wiped out by Nutcracker, now an S-rated ghoul. The Quinx are ordered to eliminate her and secure the Administrative Building, but Sasaki requests that Mutsuki be allowed to retreat to receive medical treatment. Matsuri agrees, and requests that Urie lead the retreat. When Urie resists, he pleads with him and leaves Mutsuki in his hands. Along with Shirazu and Saiko, he heads for the Administrative tower.
Along the way, the group encounters Naoto Hayashimura, a survivor from the Ooshiba Squad. They are ambushed by Seidou Takizawa, and Sasaki loses Yukimura in the struggle after it is embedded into his shoulder by the force of the blow. As he regenerates, the Aogiri member realizes who he is and charges in for a second attack. Without any other options, Sasaki brings out his kagune and is shocked to see that his opponent is another one-eyed ghoul. He orders the others to retreat and radio for help — Matsuri assigns a temporary rating of SS~ and orders Sasaki to fight alone as a decoy. When Shirazu protests, Sasaki orders him to carry out their primary mission and protect Saiko. He prepares to face Takizawa alone, as his counterpart requests that they "share secrets". However, Sasaki is overwhelmed by his opponent and the next time they are seen, he is being strangled.
Takizawa then explains the necessity of weakening an enemy before talking to them, and throws Sasaki into a wall when he starts trying to break free. Takizawa begins talking again, recalling his past feelings of inferiority and resentment for having always second best stating that this simply means they're a loser. He calls Sasaki Dr. Kanou's masterpiece, and wonders whether this is true anymore, expressing the desire to prove himself. Once again, he throws Sasaki into the air and impales him with his kagune. Sasaki then thinks to himself that he only has to two options; to die or to disappear. Kaneki once again appears in Sasaki's mind and begs his current persona to look at him and say his name, but Sasaki repeats to himself that if he uses Kaneki's power to deal with Takizawa, then he will disappear.
Takizawa then runs along the building while dragging Sasaki's beaten body along with him. Once they reach the top Takizawa throws Sasaki through the ceiling and he crashes into the stage where the auction was being held prior to the raid. Takizawa continues to brutalize his opponent, berating him by calling him weak and expressing his disbelief that he was ever compared to him, but Sasaki just mentally notes that it's not that he is weak, but Takizawa is just too strong. Takizawa asks Sasaki why he is hesitating, but corrects himself by addressing the latter by his true name, Ken Kaneki. This causes Sasaki to begin to mentally break down as he tries to assert his identity as Haise Sasaki and denies even knowing who Ken Kaneki is. Takizawa uses the buildings PA system to broadcasts Sasaki's pain-filled screams across the entire premises. Takizawa proceeds to torture Sasaki a little longer, and when he decides to eat him, Hinami appears, saving Sasaki just in time.
As Hinami engages Takizawa, Sasaki regains consciousness and questions why Hinami is protecting him. He then asks her to leave as he is no longer the person she once knew, and that even though he has Ken Kaneki's body, he is still Haise Sasaki, but he says that Kaneki must have been a great person for Hinami to remember him like this. Saiko appears and tearfully begs Sasaki not to go. Sasaki glances at her and then turns away saying that it's okay if he disappears and asks Kaneki to give him the power to protect. He cracks his fingers and his two personalities seemingly accept one another. Sasaki and Kaneki engage in a dialogue within their subconscious while their body re-engages Takizawa in a heated battle. During this Sasaki explains that he feared Kaneki because of his strength, but Kaneki rebuffs this by saying that he isn't all that strong. Kaneki then takes on the form of his child-self although with white hair and tearfully begs Sasaki not to erase him. After seeing his past-self's tears, Sasaki realizes that Kaneki was just as afraid of disappearing as he was. Sasaki claims that he will save Kaneki as he and Takizawa inflict serious injuries on each other.
Arima and Squad 0 arrive and corner Hinami, who can no longer fight due to her injuries. But before any harm comes to her Sasaki intervenes claiming that he cornered Hinami and asks for rights over her, which Arima grants.
Sasaki is seen along with Saiko decorating a Christmas tree, asking Mutsuki and Shirazu to help them out. He then greets Kuramoto and Kuroiwa when they arrive for the party and asks where Hirako is. He later greets Juuzou and Hanbee, and is surprised when Juuzou asks him for a trick/treat. He is then seen at the table eating along with Arima, Akira and others where Shirazu questions whether or not Arima killed a ghoul with an umbrella. Haise then hands out presents to his team, Akira and Arima saying he's indebted to him. He then sits wondering about Ken Kaneki and thinks he can investigate about him if he knew how to write his name. He then wonders what Touka is doing,wondering whether she's on a date. The following morning, Haise receives his old mask from Uta as a present, with Kaneki saying that mask is an Eyepatch. He also receives a birthday present, "The Hanged Man's MacGuffin" addressed to Kaneki from Sen Takatsuki, making Haise realize how to spell his former name.
Months later, Sasaki is among the Investigators recognized for their accomplishments and is granted promotion to First Class. He watches as the members of the Quinx Squad are also promoted, and Juuzou is made a Special Class Investigator. Afterwards, he speaks to Akira during the reception and congratulates her on her own promotion to Associate Special Class. He jokingly requests a hug from her, and is shocked when she embraces him and praises him for doing well.
Later on, the two discuss the situation with Fueguchi and the on-going efforts to gain information about Aogiri from her. He praises her as a valuable source of information, notes that she has been extremely cooperative with them so far. Sasaki discusses wanting more time to work with her, but Akira warns him about taking too much time. Though he doesn't say anything, Sasaki acknowledges the situation with Fueguchi has been difficult for Akira — who is unable to do anything, with one of the ghouls responsible for killing her father so close. He admits to hesitating, as a result of Kaneki's connection to Hinami.
A flashback to the time when Kaneki and Touka encountered Kureo Mado shocks him, and he returns to the restroom to recover. Looking in the mirror, he notes that these flashbacks have become more common since the Auction causing him bouts of excruciating pain behind his eyes. The vision of the childlike Kaneki appears before him, telling him about the Cordyceps, parasitic fungi that infect Caterpillars. He compares their situation to how the fungus and Caterpillar struggle against each other, noting that it is impossible for them both to continue to exist. He asks that Sasaki (disappear) not erase him.
Sasaki attends a meeting of several Investigators where they are discussing a series of mass kidnappings. Matsuri concludes that among the culprits is a survivor of the Rosewald family judging from the similarities of the kagune used by the ghouls involved and the Rosewald family that he had faced before but since there is only a 27% match between the two, the survivor is not closely related to the original Rosewalds but is more likely a blood relative of theirs living in Tokyo.
After the meeting ends, Sasaki explains to Mutsuki that genetically parents and siblings are 50% identical with identical twins being over 90% identical and that lower numbers usually mean an inadequate trace. Sasaki then uses this fact to explain how the kagune traces from the past Rabbit attacks suggest that Rabbit is actually two separate twins rather than one person. He goes on to say that if there is no pattern applicable to this then the ghoul in question has cannibalized.
Later, Sasaki pays a visit to Hinami in prison and brings her several books. She thanks him and refers to him as "Big brother", which bothers him. He insists that he is a different person from Kaneki, something Hinami admits may be true. Even so, she states that his personality is still somewhat similar to Kaneki. She tells him that she, and the many others that loved Kaneki, are all probably feeling the same confusion.
As he departs for the day, Sasaki remains troubled by his growing attachment to Hinami and how this conflicts with his duties. He is then approached by a diminutive man with a face covered with scars who notes how Sasaki is affectionate towards ghouls. Sasaki asks the man how he knows his name and he responds by saying that the young man is very famous. An acquaintance of the man arrives and tells him that the interrogation is over, the man then introduces himself as Shiki Kijima and that he'll be working with Sasaki in the "Rose case" before departing with his associate named Furuta, who bids Sasaki farewell.
Sasaki is later seen with squad at a briefing in the S1 conference room for those involved in the investigation. There he once again meets Kijima and Furuta where he exchanges greeting with the former. He then greet Kuramoto who arrives with Hirako's squad and supportively pats Mutsuki on the shoulder when he sees the improvement of the squad's opinion of him. Koori Ui then arrives along with Taishi Fura and a young female Investigator and introduces himself as the leader of the investigation, he then proceeds with the meeting.
After the meeting ends the young woman from earlier approaches the Quinx Squad and introduces herself as Ui's partner, Hairu Ihei. Sasaki explains after she leaves that Ihei being an Investigator as well her status as a member of Squad 0 and her involvement in the Owl Suppression Operation. He later offers words of comfort and encouragement to Shirazu after he breaks down upon seeing the Quinque made from Nutcracker.
At some point, he talks to Kuramoto about Hirako being transferred to Arima Squad after Ui's promotion with Kuramoto expressing his misgivings about it. Afterwards, Sasaki contemplates to himself about how he can use the Quinx's unique abilities to try and get a leg-up in the Rosewald Investigation as he looks at the mask that Uta had sent him. He then visits HySy ArtMask Studio, asking Uta if it was still open. Sasaki inquires Uta about the mask and novel sent to him back in Christmas. Uta claims that the mask was a gift for a regular customer and that he must have sent it to the wrong address; Uta also states that the book wasn't sent by him. Haise then asks Uta if he could order some custom-made masks.
Shortly after, Sasaki gives a lecture at the 2nd Academy. As he was leaving, he was approached by the class's instructor, Goumasa Tokage. Tokage inquires about the students as well as Mutsuki, whom he considers a problem child, and expresses dark amusement upon hearing that Mutsuki is training with another of his former student, Suzuya. Sasaki senses something dark emanating from Tokage as the latter walks away.
Upon returning to HySy ArtMask Studio, Sasaki brings along the other members of the Quinx squad to get measurements for their custom mask; he intends for the squad to masquerade as actual ghouls in order to rise up the ranks in the ghoul world to obtain information the CCG cannot. Visiting Koori Ui to be granted permission for his idea, he was flat out rejected with the reason of it not fitting the image of CCG as heroic figures.
Later, Sasaki watches the video uploaded by Kijima. He tells Shirazu that Kijima's method was cruel and completely wrong and there should be another way.
When Sasaki was sitting on a bench in the public park reading a book, Tsukiyama appeared in front of him thanking him for helping him the other time. Tsukiyama then sat next to Sasaki and got into a conversation with him about books. Sasaki mentioned that contents of books written by Sen Takatsuki are a little heartbreaking. Later, Saiko and Mutsuki came, so Sasaki had to leave Tsukiyama and go back to work with them.
Some time later, Sasaki and the Quinx are investigating a parking garage when Kanae appears before them, and lures Urie and Shirazu away. The remaining Investigators are ambushed by a group of White Suits, led by Hooguro and Shousei. Sasaki orders Mutsuki and Saiko away, realizing they have fallen into a trap. After the Quinx successfully drive off their attackers, they hurry back to help Sasaki. However, Sasaki has managed to kill most of his attackers and is completely overwhelming the remaining ghouls. The sight of him fighting with his Quinque and kagune shocks the three, who can only watch him. Realizing that he is too strong and fearing they will be devoured, Hooguro and Shousei leap off the building to escape. Sasaki watches them go, before leading the others towards where Saiko was hidden. They are surprised to find her relatively unharmed, as she informs them that she was saved by a huge man.
Afterwards, the Quinx reported on Aogiri Tree and Rose's ambush in a meeting. As Koori Ui berates Kijima for recklessly escalating the investigation without any intel, Sasaki states that the key is to determine the scale of cooperation between Aogiri and Rose. He asks Ui to reconsider his plan to go undercover amongst ghouls to acquire intel, which Ui puts to a vote among the S1 squad leaders. With the majority on his side, Sasaki and his squad launch Operation Mask. The Quinx don their custom masks, and Sasaki wears the eyepatch mask he received.
The operation proved successful; Sasaki's squad were able to gain detailed information about ghoul movements throughout Tokyo. However, his own investigation was less fruitful. Ghouls who saw him would run away in fear, calling him the Eyepatch ghoul. Sasaki heads over to file storage to research on the Eyepatch ghoul. He fails to find any official documents, and happens upon investigator Amon Koutarou's draft file which briefly summarizes his three encounters with the Eyepatch ghoul. Reading the file, Sasaki begins to realize that the Eyepatch ghoul is most definitely his past self's identity as a ghoul. Interested in the investigator named Amon, he inquires about the investigator's whereabouts from a desk worker; however, all he learns is that Amon Koutarou was killed in the line of duty during the Owl Suppression Operation, and that details on the case are classified.
Yearning to learn about his past, Sasaki waited around the area he last met Tsukiyama in and succeeded in finding said man. Before the conversation goes anywhere, Sasaki begins talking about how their encounters are numerous yet all coincidental, which made it suspicious. The investigator then directly asks Tsukiyama if he is a ghoul, much to the latter's surprise. Understanding the answer from his reaction, Sasaki asks him again to not answer, and instead asks if he knows of Uta, Fueguchi, or Kaneki himself. He then begins talking about how he recognizes the inevitable outcome of remembering the past, and as result wants Tsukiyama to tell him anything he knows about the Kaneki from before despite his own reluctance. Seeing Sasaki asking for the favor whilst breaking down in tears confuses Tsukiyama and he decides to leave. Sasaki is surprised and asks what he's doing, only for Tsukiyama to reply that he doesn't know what to say anymore.Sasaki is caught by Akira searching for files in the file storage room and she inquires what he is searching for. When he asks about her participation in the 20th ward, she replies that what Sasaki wants to know about is her former co-worker, Amon Koutarou, who died in the battle to subdue Owl. She is also asked about the Eyepatch ghoul, which she dismisses by telling Sasaki that he doesn't need to know. Angered by her answer, Sasaki yells at her, which shocks Akira. He asks why he cannot to know who he was, the feeling of not knowing his identity frustrating him. When she tried calming him down, calling him Haise, he angrily shouts that that is not his name. Now in tears, Akira hugs Sasaki, telling him that he is himself regardless of names.
Haise participates in the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation after discussing with the Quinx squad about their battle formation, where he was shocked to learn that Mirumo Tsukiyama surrendered without any resistance. Believing something to be off, he learns that the Tsukiyama family's successor has already escaped, and tracks them to the LE building. Fighting their way inside, Haise finds the aftermath of Ihei's battles, commenting that he disliked her brutal nature. As the Qs push through remaining ghouls, he notes that the opposing ghouls this time are so weak that any squad could take care of it. When asked by Ui to secure the rooftop first, he orders Shirazu to take care of the team before climbing up the business building from the exterior using his kagune. While finding nothing on the rooftop initially, he suddenly experiences yet another headache after wondering the consequences of a huge company's sudden downfall. He later finds Tsukiyama emerging from within the building, shocked that the Tsukiyama ghoul who appeared is the one he had met before, as well as an acquaintance of his past self. Haise suggests that Tsukiyama surrender so he can have ownership rights over him, but Tsukiyama refuses and charges Sasaki, kicking him in the stomach, and a fight ensues. After a short clash against Tsukiyama, Haise overpowers him, pinning the ghoul on the ground. Tsukiyama tells him that he is indeed strong, and that he should finish him off. Voices inside Haise's head screams at him to not kill the ghoul; but before Haise can come to a decision, his right hand is abruptly severed from his arm by Kanae.
With his arm severed, Sasaki yells in pain and is struck by Kanae's kagune, launching him through a wall, away from Tsukiyama's position. He briefly loses consciousness from the blow. However, when Kanae drags him off the floor and decides to drop him off the building, exclaiming that even being a ghoul won't save him, a memory or hallucination enters Haise's mind. In it, he sees Arima urging him to quickly stand up and kill like he does, before threatening him by holding IXA right in front of his eye and asking him if he'd rather "die again". This causes a shock to the investigator and he quickly counters by decapitating Kanae with his legs in one swift movement. Shocked by his vision he rambles about his existence being entirely his own property and the phrase "kill Arima", and engages Kanae after the latter regenerates. A brief spout ensues and he easily overpowers Kanae, but is hindered from finishing him off by Tsukiyama, who is clinging to his clothes, causing a momentary feeling of profound sadness to overwhelm him. He remembers a quote from Takatsuki Sen's "The Black Goat's Egg" and was caught unaware by the Owl, who strikes him a powerful blow to the head. As Eto "motivates" Kanae, she continues her assault on an injured Sasaki while Eto watches from a distance. While Kanae continued to beat his head mercilessly, he enters his subconscious once more. There he meets "Kaneki", who taunts him, asking him if that's how he's "protecting" him like he had promised. Reaching out his hand, Sasaki grabs "Kaneki's" throat. As he strangles him, his previously suppressed memories came forth, and he recalls the memories of his mother's abuse to him as a child. The image of "Kaneki" also reveals that his desire had been not to live, but to actually die back at V14, becoming some sort of a happy memory for the people who knew and loved him. He also reveals it was not actually fear he felt when he first met Arima, but joy. He thought of him as the "reaper" that had finally come to claim him. He curses his own incompetence in failing to just die back then. Afterwards, Haise asks if that would be his real salvation. After Kaneki answers positively, Haise finally accepts his past and resolves to stop "dreaming".
As Sasaki recovers his senses, he immediately strikes back at Kanae. His hair, now drenched in blood as a result of Eto's and Kanae's earlier cranial assaults, takes a darker color. He slices off Kanae's right arm, which causes her to scream in pain. Using a hand-shaped kagune to grab a metal bar from the roof, he follows up by "shutting her up" and shoves the metal bar in her eye. This makes Kanae go completely berserk, uncontrollably trying to hit him using the destructive force of her new kagune, but Sasaki dodges every attack and jumps right behind Kanae before mercilessly impaling her with his kagune. He begins moving towards Tsukiyama, whom he now remembers when the latter questions his identity. As Eto begins to merge back into her Kakuja, Sasaki recalls a memory of when he exchanged information with Itori and Nico. Nico whispers to him that Aogiri's "One-Eyed King" could be "the little girl covered in bandages". He stabs Tsukiyama in the chest, telling him it's okay. Moving to face Eto, she comments on this action, calling him cold for shedding blood right after "waking up" and openly wonders who is the stronger between him and Kishou Arima. Sasaki bluntly retorts that she is the cold one and to just "go die already" as they engage in combat.
As Sasaki avoids Eto's projectiles, he inquires the purpose of her appearance, to which she replied she was passing the time by watching the situation unfold between Tsukiyama, Kanae and himself. Sasaki recalls the time he visited and spoke with Yoshimura in Anteiku about the latter's past and his wish that Kaneki can save his child. He informs Eto of her father's wish, which she mockingly laughs at. In a swift movement, he tries to kill her by slicing off the head of her Kakuja, aiming for her real body, which he barely misses. He then proceeds to question why it is that he has to save "trash like her".
As Eto reforms her kakuja and goes berserk, he continues to dodge Eto's attacks. Her assault drives him off the side of the building, prompting him to use his kagune as a grapple to swing himself along the side of the building while Eto gives chase, unknowingly being seen by Matsuri Washuu and his team on the way up. Making his way back to the rooftop, Sasaki positions himself on a steel frame. He waits for the Owl to reach him before brutally piercing her with his kagune, striking her with enough power to force her real body out. When she falls onto him she licks his left eye and expresses her continuously increasing fondness for him, thinking of him to be the same as her. He immediately cuts her in half afterwards causing the latter to fall from the building, while remarking he feels honored by her words.
Exhausted from the fight, Sasaki devours part of the Owl's kakuja, which catches the attention of Koori Ui as the latter arrives at the rooftop. After a brief explanation as to what had happened, Sasaki quickly turns his attention to Shuu Tsukiyama, stating that the Owl and the Tsukiyama family are connected in some way, and informs Ui that Kanae is also a member of them. As Tsukiyama utters his name, Sasaki stabs him and hangs him out of the building, glancing at Kanae before throwing him of the side of the building. As Kanae jumps to rescue Tsukiyama, he watches the two free fall before bidding his former comrade farewell.
Some time later, he meets with the Quinx Squad, coming face to face with a grief-struck Urie. Urie berates him for not being there when Shirazu wanted to see him, but Sasaki reminds Urie that he was the one by Shirazu's side at his time of death. He tells Urie that all the losses in the world are due to the lack of ability and suggests that he should blame his own weakness for Shirazu's death. He then holds and mourns Shirazu with the rest of the squad, leaving Urie speechless.
Post-Rose ExterminationAfter the Tsukiyama extermination operation, Sasaki is promoted off-season to an Associate Special Class for his accomplishments in battling the One-Eyed Owl, and willingly left his position as the mentor of the Quinx squad. As an Associate Special Class, he joins the CCG's efforts to eliminate the members of Aogiri Tree, and has become known among ghouls as "The Black Reaper".
Six months later, Sasaki has not been visiting Hinami for months, thus leaving her depressed and withdrawn. He and Nimura Furuta approach Sen Takatsuki's manager Shunji Shiono to question him about her whereabouts, but have to discover that she is absent. Sasaki takes Shiono into custody and interrogates him. Sasaki reminds him that if he doesn't cooperate with CCG, and Takatsuki turns out to be a ghoul, he will be charged of concealing the whereabouts of the ghoul. He informs him that the most severe punishment for said crime is death before kicking a table flying into the wall, terrifying Shiono, and leaves the interrogation room. He contacts Furuta and orders him to play the good cop in front of Shiono.
Some time later, he attends a special class conference, serving as a substitute of Arima. He presents to his fellow investigators all the information they have gathered about the executives of the Aogiri Tree, as well as their respective ratings. He explains the general strategy to weaken the fighting strength of Aogiri tree, which is divided into two main objectives:
- Taking down the leader of Aogiri by finding the "One Eyed-King". Sasaki states that the work is being done with a minimal number of investigators, due to "One-Eyed King" possibly being socially influential.
- Striking the suspected Aogiri stronghold located on Rushima in the Tokyo Bay, which is currently being investigated by the Hachikawa Squad.
Afterwards, he asks Furuta about the progress they have on the suspect. Furuta warns him about not getting permissions from CCG before processing the investigation, but Sasaki replies that time is precious, and that he personally doesn't mind getting demoted or punished for the goal of this investigation. Furuta then briefs him about his former team and the new members of the Quinx Squad. Later, he crosses out dates on a calendar in his office, revealing his scale-like arm.
Sasaki manages to get Shiono to testify against Eto. He then brings Eto inside the interrogation room and tells Shiono he can go home. As Shiono kneels and begs forgiveness to her, Sasaki tells her that he has testified to finding human parts in her apartment, and officially declares her arrested for being a ghoul.
With Eto under custody, Sasaki keeps Eto under his constant watch. He accompanies Eto to her conference about her last work, granted by the CCG and her management. Sasaki notices she has cut her hair, noting that it's his first time seeing a suspect do this while being followed by an investigator, but all the it same suited her. He warily accompanies Eto to her conference at her request, though he initially hesitates. Later, he stands beside Eto during the conference when the latter reveals the nature of her last work. Sasaki is then shocked as she publicly outs herself as a ghoul on live television.
Sasaki speaks to Furuta about the scandal that Eto made at her press conference. He is informed that the CCG is being overwhelmed by calls and that people are giving various opinions on Eto showing her ghoul nature in public and the organization taking her into custody. Furuta asks whether he has read her last book yet, and Sasaki gives him a brief explanation of what the book is about. On the surface, it looks like a regular work of fiction. But since Eto had dedicated the book to her comrades, the book takes on a different meaning if one recognizes the clues.
As he was escorting Eto back to her cell in Cornucopia, she tells him of V's connection to the CCG and how they were both able to pass through the Rc gates despite having Rc levels high enough to set them off because the gates were made to ignore certain patterns of Rc cells. Specifically, they ignore Rc cells in quinque and those of ghouls working for V. In Eto's case, it was because her father had served V and so she shares his pattern. Haise's meanwhile, came from Rize, a ghoul who had escaped from V.
Later, he greets the new Quinx squad at the Chateau's gym, and requests to speak with Urie. In their conversation, Sasaki mentions that he will not be participating in the Rushima operation as he, being a part of Arima squad, is assigned to protect CCG's most valuable asset. He pleads Urie to save Mutsuki, who is still trapped on the island, and says that he's counting on him.
Sasaki later arrives at Eto's interrogation room, having secretly recorded her conversation with Furuta at her request. After listening to the recording, Eto tells him that his last job is harder than he realizes. He asks her if she knows what he is going to do, which she confirms. Eto offers her assistance to Sasaki provided he fulfills her wish, but he responds that he has no time to listen to it. As Sasaki is exiting the room, Eto tells him her wish: to kill the One-Eyed King. Sasaki replies that he does not know what she means.
Third Cochlea Raid
On the day of the Rushima Operation, Sasaki is assigned to defend Cochlea as a member of Arima's squad. While patrolling the cells he recalls his own time imprisoned at Cochlea, and Arima's role in his memory loss and establishing his new identity as an investigator. The latter arrives and heads to the main building, leaving a section of the prison in Sasaki's watch. After Arima leaves, Sasaki enters a locker room and breaks down in tears while reassuring himself that he will do what he has decided to. When the alarms go off inside Cochlea because prisoners had been released on Floors 0 and 1, Sasaki takes off his glasses and silently cracks his index finger with wide eyes.
As Floors 0-1 have been compromised, the Warden Shinme Haisaki sends out an order to capture Sasaki because he opened the cells. Sasaki discovers that Hinami is being kept in the third floor by searching Cochlea's computer systems. He recalls the time when he ran into Hide in the sewers during the Owl Suppression Operation. In his memories, he was asked by Hide to eat him so that he would have the power to fight Arima. As he reaches Hinami, he thinks to himself that just like Hide, he would like to lay down his life for someone else's sake.
Hinami then slaps Sasaki and asks why he came for her if he was going to do the same thing again. He responds saying that it's his last job, then thinks to himself that after saving Hinami he'll die by Arima's hand. He then tells Hinami that there's a loophole that will get them out of Cochlea even though it's dangerous, when they are intercepted by Furuta.
Furuta questions Sasaki about why he would help an incarcerated ghoul. Sasaki tells Furuta to stand down, but Furuta laments that he will miss his former boss. Furuta charges at Sasaki with Rotten Follow, but the latter dodges the attack and suddenly appears behind Furuta. He kicks the quinque out of Furuta's hand, but Furuta counters by grabbing his leg; Furuta then tries to cut him with Rotten Follow. In response, Sasaki dodges the attack and slams Furuta face first into the wall, knocking a tooth lose. While Furuta is rolling on the ground, Sasaki follows up with a downward kick which he dodges. Furuta attempts to counter by attacking Sasaki's eyes, but Hinami intervenes and impales Furuta through the back with her kagune. Sasaki and Hinami then continue towards their escape, leaving Furuta for dead.
When Arima attempts to deliver a final blow to Renji Yomo, Sasaki intervenes and protects Yomo by blocking Narukami's lightning with his kagune. As he blocks the attack, Arima immediately drops Narukami and slashes at Sasaki with IXA, the latter blocking the impact with his arm. Sasaki orders Ayato to lead the way to the only available exit, the drain of the waste compactor that is used to dispose ghouls. Before they leave, Touka calls out to Sasaki and tells him that she would see him later, which surprises him. As the group run away, Sasaki tells Touka she is cruel for saying such a thing. He then takes off his coat, activating his kagune to face Arima alone.
He immediately attacks Arima, only for his attacks to be parried by the investigator. Mid-battle, Sasaki thinks to himself that he does not want to fight Arima, as the former pierces his abdomen. As both of them keep dodging each other's blows, Sasaki attacks Arima with his kagune from behind in hopes of striking him at his blind spot, however, Arima blocks the attack by swinging IXA to his back and slashes both of Sasaki's legs while telling him to stop "playing around".
Unable to stand, Sasaki falls to the ground and is immediately faced by Arima. He realises that Arima is already set on hunting Touka and the rest, and ponders why he thinks of Arima as his father. As Arima attacks him again, he turns away and helplessly tries to reattach his legs to his body, but Arima stabs him and rips them away again. Arima confronts him and asks him what will he do. Sasaki replies he will stop Arima but his reply is cut short by Arima, who strikes him down and prepares to make the final blow. Aware that he is going to be killed, Sasaki suddenly launches himself in the air and strikes at Arima, dealing a massive blow to IXA and completely destroying the quinque. As he lands on the floor, his kakuja slowly wraps around his head. Arima receives a new quinque from an unknown figure, and states that it's his first time using it against a ghoul. He then tells Sasaki to get ready, calling him "Ken Kaneki".
As the battle proceeds, the two fight toe to toe. Sasaki blocks a barrage from Arima's quinque and strikes at him. He is be able to pierce his coat with his Kagune, narrowly missing the investigator. Sasaki clashes headfirst with Arima's quinque and uses his kagune hand to restrain it. However, Arima detaches his quinque and remotely activates it, impaling Sasaki and throwing him in the air. Unable to act, Sasaki is brutalized by Arima, who slashes him relentlessly, cutting of any limb as soon as it regenerates. As he falls brutally wounded, he loses his consciousness, and sees himself naked walking towards a river, attempting to drown himself, claiming that his job was done. However, he then sees Hide grabbing him by his hand, telling him not to drown himself, asking if he was trying to be like the protagonist of one of Kafka's stories that was sentenced by his father to die drowning. After putting on clothes, he sits next to Hide and says that Touka, Ayato, Hinami, Banjou, Yomo and the rest should have escaped by the time. However, Hide reminds him that he was worried by the disposal room's sounds. As they continued to talk, Sasaki starts crying, saying that he missed Hide, and that he felt alone without him. Hide encourages Haise to live, reminding that he sacrificed himself with the goal of "living together with him" and that living would allow Haise to find a purpose in life. 
Kaneki’s kagune begins to replace his limbs as he gets up, he lifts his head and smiles at Arima, the latter responds with a faint smile. An armor slowly covers Kaneki's entire body apart from his head, and their clash continues.  Kaneki attacks Arima from afar with his kagune which has no effect after Arima sliced the tentacles off. Realizing that simple frontal attacks would not affect Arima in any way, Kaneki burrowed his kagune underground, shaping it into a net with curved sharp edges protruding out from the top. Arima leaped through the net in order to search for Kaneki's position, only to be surrounded by several tentacles from all sides, cutting them all in one session. Arima hears a loud shout coming from behind him to which he immediately attacks with Owl, only to be shocked to discover that he slashed one of Kaneki's tentacles and not Kaneki. Taking advantage of this window of opportunity, Kaneki strikes at Arima from behind with a bladed arm. Arima manages to block Kaneki's attack in time but allows Owl to be destroyed by Kaneki.
Though Kaneki declares the battle over, Arima charges him while continuing to attack with the broken quinque, slashing apart tentacles until he closes the distance between them and stabs Kaneki through his abdomen. However, Kaneki pleads with him to accept his defeat and states continuing is meaningless. Arima began to step back, lowering his broken quinque and asks whether Kaneki has no intention of killing him, which Kaneki affirms. He turns his gaze upwards, musing that in his eighteen years as an Investigator, he has never faced an opponent he could not defeat. Once more, he asks Kaneki whether he will really not finish him off. Kaneki confirms his decision once more, and after stating his understanding, Arima slashes his own throat with Owl.
A horrified Kaneki rushes towards Arima, demanding to know why he slashed his own throat. Arima replied that he has been waiting for this every moment and that his time was running out. Arima reveals a shocking truth to Kaneki; those who have been raised in the Sunlit Garden are not human but rather half-humans, failed human-ghoul hybrids that have extremely heightened physical capabilities but suffer from accelerated aging and shortened life spans. Arima indicates his failing eyesight as a sign of a half-human's defects and his imminent death. Kaneki asked why half-humans are being created to which Arima responds by telling Kaneki that the Washuu Clan members are ghouls and hypothesizing they have been working together with V to find a way to change ghouls into humans. Kaneki asked what does Arima want of him. Arima relays to Kaneki his final wish; to make the CCG think that Kaneki was the one who killed Arima. Arima explains that while Kaneki may not understand his goal right now, he will find out soon enough and that Kaneki is the only one who can accomplish this. Kaneki after a period of hesitation complies with Arima's request. Arima gratefully thanked Kaneki and with his final breaths divulged to Kaneki his innermost thoughts; He has always hated his existence, seeing himself as someone who only knew how to take lives away. With a faint smile and tears in his eyes, Arima said that he was glad to finally be able to leave something behind. Arima attempts to call out to "Haise" one last time but succumbs to his fatal injury. Witnessing Arima's death cause Kaneki to lift his head up and let out a scream of anguish and grief. While standing besides Arima's corpse, Kaneki is approached by Squad 0 and Hirako, who called out to him, calling him "Ken Kaneki". Kaneki threatened Hirako, as Hirako told him he did not want to fight. Squad 0 are revealed to be children of the Sunlit Garden, who are permitted to say final salutations to their idol. Hirako informs Kaneki of Squad 0's orders: to assist Ken Kaneki in his escape. Kaneki asks if he may say his goodbyes as well. After receiving Arima's pin from Hirako, he recites an excerpt from the poem "Song of the Old Ainu" in Arima's honor and says how thankful he is to Arima, who he refers to as his teacher and father. When leaving Cochlea, Kaneki comes across Eto in her weakened state, claiming that she is going to die soon, Eto informs Kaneki that she helped the people from Anteiku escape. Kaneki ponders over her recklessness, as she said only reckless people fulfill promises. She then told Kaneki that he doesn't need to do her own request, as he has already killed the One-Eyed King. Kaneki then made his way to the two investigators proclaiming to be the One-Eyed King.
Post-Third Cochlea Raid
Approximately one month after the events that transpired on Rushima and Cochlea, Kaneki was living in a safe house with Take Hirako and the members of Squad 0. One morning the children awakened him abruptly and all of them subsequently depart for :re. Once there they are greeted by Touka. She brewed some coffee for Kaneki, who in turn complimented her by comparing it to the manager's. They chatted briefly, with him assuring her that he still was the person she knew and her punching him hard, just when Yomo entered the shop. He announced the time had come and they left the shop. Outside they met Irimi and Koma, whom Kaneki had thought deceased since the Owl Suppression Operation. They revealed that it was all thanks to him blocking Arima's way that they made it. Just then Nishiki Nishio arrived, in time to go with Kaneki and the others. Koma and Irimi wished them good and said they would look after the shop.
The group then arrived at a secret facility of the Tsukiyama family where they are welcomed by Shuu Tsukiyama himself. He leads them in a big room, where many previous Aogiri members including Ayato, the White Suits and Miza, along with Kurona awaited. Tsukiyama revealed when asked that Hinami and Banjou were at a female investigator's house (likely referring to Akira Mado) and their other investigator affiliate (likely Seidou Takizawa or Koutarou Amon) was absent. Naki, however, recognized Kaneki as the one who killed Yamori and assaulted him, refusing to believe that his killer and a human sympathizer like him was the One Eyed King. Miza then approached Kaneki, introducing herself and asking him what he intended to do as the King. He reminisced his last talk with Eto, who tried to convince him that, for the world to change and for ghouls to stop suffering, they must break its shell like that of an egg's and then rebuild it. As the strongest ghoul of this world, the one who killed Arima, he was the only one capable of doing so. Kaneki then revealed his decision: to take up the will of the former King and make ghouls and humans understand each other. Kurona laughed at his goals, reminding him that such a thing would go against the very nature of both species. Kaneki however insisted and was sure that it could become possible, setting himself as an example: a former human, turned ghoul. He was not disillusioned, though, knowing well that the CCG would not budge and agree to terms that quickly, which was why he intended to force them into negotiating. Then, the ghouls that he freed from Cochlea entered and bowed to him. Thus, Kaneki founded a new organization called "Goat."
As Furuta was taking a walk, Kaneki approached him on the street with a smile. He inquired who was guilty of killing Tsuneyoshi Washuu, as Furuta indicated it was him who did it, and that he was going to blame Kaneki himself for doing it. He rejected Furuta's offer to take blame so the latter could set his plan in place, and questioned why Furuta dropped steal beams on him in the past. Furuta laughed, saying that it was Rize he was aiming for, and not him. He elaborated on the Washuu lineage, then stated that he was in love with Rize, so he let her escape V. However she would not notice him while she was enjoying her freedom, so Furuta had her captured as a way of keeping Rize close. After hearing Furuta's true intentions for Rize, he quietly observed Furuta leaving. As Fuka questioned whether to let him go, Kaneki said that it was no use killing or hurting him, and that him in power would contribute more than the previous option. As the Cowns attacked the CCG in the name of the One-Eyed King, Kaneki ordered a large assemblement of the White Suits. He was approached by an enraged Naki, who disproved of his plan. When Naki refused to join Kaneki, the latter inquired how he can get the former to join his group. As Naki wanted to fight, Kaneki accepted the challenge and quickly defeated him, saying that Yamori still served as his symbol of power, and offered him a hand, which Naki accepted. After the fight, Kaneki had a discussion about Ogura's group with Nishiki, while Nishiki warned him about Nico. Kaneki shrugged it off, saying that they would have ambushed them if that was their intention. Afterwards, they arranged a meeting with the Great Wheel Act. They meet at a secluded location where he was greeted by Ogura and another member, recognizing the former from his public appearances.
While Nishiki and Tsukiyama questioned their motives, Kaneki decided he was not interested and instead asked them whether they had a medical team. Ogura confirmed this and said that they had members that were well-informed about ghouls. After moving to a karaoke at Tsukiyama's suggestion, they continue their talk while Tsukiyama sang. Ogura explained how the Great Wheel Act was founded and the ideals behind the group. Kaneki then noticed Nishiki's shock when they explained that one of their founders was a female student who was aiming to develop a treatment for ghouls because she was in love with a ghoul. The member continued and explained that treating ghouls and humans was not that different aside from the Rc Cells, which meant they needed Rc suppressing drugs in order to heal Akira, which were in turn kept by the CCG. Kaneki suggested breaking into their lab, and reassured Tsukiyama that he was able to identify the drug by it's smell when questioned. After the Great Wheel members left, Kaneki asked Nishiki about the identity of the founding member, but Nishiki changed the subject and asked Kaneki to sing with him instead. Kaneki told him he was quite bad, but joined him anyway in singing the song "Unravel".
Some time later, when the preparation of costumes was finished, Kaneki assumed that things were going to work out. While thinking about splitting the teams, he was approached by Squad 0 member. The latter wanted to know whether Squad 0 was going to be a part of the Suits or the Lab group. Hirako had the layout of the lab memorized, thus felt positive about teaming up with him. Kaneki admitted that it would be a great help, but the Suits also required someone with experience as an investigator. Deciding that infiltration of the lab needed few members with pain tolerance, Kaneki suggested Ayato, Nishiki and Kurona along with him would be enough. Afterwards, he appointed Tsukiyama as a leader of the Suits group with support of Irimi, Miza and Hinami. Takizawa interrupted Kaneki’s talking by saying that he was going to lab, since another member who could recognize the smell of Rc suppressants would be a major help. Kaneki decided to switch up the members after a moment of silence and assigned Nishiki for the Suits group. He left Koma, Yomo and Touka to hold down the fort. Touka seemed to be disappointed with her role and asked Kaneki if they could talk after coming back. Kaneki accepted her request and recalled the scene of getting punched by her, wondering if it was going to repeat.
CCG Lab Infiltration
During the Clowns' attack in the 22nd ward, Kaneki appeared with a large host of White Suits behind him, co-led by Tsukiyama, Nishiki, and Naki, enforced by Take Hirako and the Arima Squad and with Three-blades Miza, Hinami, and Kaya Irimi acting as scouts on a separate location. While the investigators initially lost hope, they soon realized the White Suits had taken up dispatching the Clown forces. Goat's efforts proved more than fruitful, as the Clowns had been almost exterminated in less than twenty minutes. However, a squad of self-proclaimed "Main Branch Special Investigators", in reality V agents, make their appearance and state their intent to exterminate the ghouls present. Hirako warns Kaneki of them being extremely dangerous, much like a matured Squad 0. Kaneki realizes that since the Washuu and the CCG are now facing a greater threat than anticipated, their "ace in the hole," V has made their appearance.
The tide of the battle begins to change, as V begins slaughtering their way through the White Suits, their main intent being to exterminate the "Nameless King." Even the more experienced members of Goat soon have difficulty in holding their own against them. Doing everything he can, Kaneki ponders on whether he should stay and help further against them, as the time for him to join the lab team had come. Irimi briefly joined the battlefield and told him it would be fine and if he was going to assume the role of King, he would have to place his faith in his most powerful allies at times. Kaneki decided to do so. He subsequently had his coat put on by Fuka, handed over control of his forces to Tsukiyama, and left the battle. Pursued by three V agents, he pondered on how to deal with them as non-lethally as possible. Being on a bridge directly above the railways, he performed a backflip and escaped them.
He soon arrived in the 1st ward and met up with Ayato, Takizawa, and Kurona. They entered the CCG facilities and began their search for the Rc suppresant drug. While walking down a hallway, he had a brief exchange with Kurona over their similar experiences as Kanou's subjects and Kurona expressed her repressed jealousy of him as Kanou's beloved prototype. Kaneki reassured her that she was in no case a failure, referring to their initial fight in the Ghoul Restaurant, and telling her that someone who ignored her existence itself had no right to label her a failure. Kurona cracked a sad smile while thanking him. Their search for the drug was fruitless, however Kaneki found out they had changed its location to Research Facility 4.
Once they arrived there, Ayato performed reconnaissance of the room in a similar way that Hinami would. They rounded up the researchers and both Kaneki and Takizawa ended up vomiting because of the room being full of the drug's stench. While Ayato questioned the purpose of the extravagant quantity of the drug, a hidden researcher attempted to escape. Takizawa caught up to her, but not before she could press a button that activated the middle one of three large, liquid-filled, human sized tanks, labeled "re" on the top and containing a comatose Koutarou Amon. Kaneki recognized the investigator he had encountered years ago just as he woke up, released himself and his kagune in a frenzy.
While looking at him, Kaneki got absorbed in his thoughts and memories of the investigator: he recognized him as the only member of the CCG who ever considered him a person, rather than another senseless ghoul, before he became Haise Sasaki. He pondered on why would the CCG even imprison Amon as an experimental subject, as he had been a ghoul investigator too. Regretting the fact that he could not let him go in this berserk situation, he tried attacking him. To no avail, as Amon's amazingly high reserves of Rc cells gave him the ability to activate a behemoth kagune and block. Ayato intervened, telling him there was no reason to fight with Amon at all; they had gotten the suppressant drug. He further elaborated that far too many people counted and placed their hopes on him: the ones back in Anteiku, the White Suits team, Arima Squad, Banjou, Akira, Ayato himself and finally, even Touka. Choosing to leave things behind was to be a responsibility of his from now on. Takizawa and Kurona interrupted him. They elaborated that since neither of them was the King, choosing was not a responsibility to them. Takizawa pleaded with Kaneki to get the drug back to Akira, while he and Kurona would defeat Amon and bring him back to Goat HQ. Choosing to leave it to them, he quickly escaped with Ayato.
Post-CCG Lab Infiltration
At Goat's base, Ogura and an unnamed Great Wheel Act member informed Kaneki regarding the success of Akira's surgery. Before leaving, they express their support to Goat and Kaneki. As he sat by Akira's bedside, he was approached by Amon.
Upon being informed of Akira awakening, Kaneki immediately visited her and filed her in on what happened during the recent operations. After Kaneki inquired about her well being and stated his feelings regarding her, Akira requested Kaneki to leave her alone. Later, Kaneki expressed his concern over Akira to Hirako, and was advised by the latter.
During the debut of the Oggai children, they staged an execution of a false Haise Sasaki to deceive the public. The news led the members of Goat to believe the actual Kaneki was off mourning for himself somewhere. Unfazed by his "death" however, Kaneki believed the incident was in his advantage and shared this with Takizawa after being located on a rooftop. Although asked what his true motives for coexistence were, he chose to leave the question unanswered. Takizawa then attempted to leave Amon's cross with him to return to Amon, but Kaneki refused and tossed the necklace back as his fellow one-eyed ghoul departed, as a way to keep him from going off and dying.
Sometime later, Amon joined Kaneki on the rooftop after talking with Akira, Kaneki guessing it did not go well despite their past as boss and subordinate. The two proceeded to their own talk, Kaneki telling the former investigator his story, Amon marveling at their current circumstances as two who were once in the position to kill the other. After further discussion, Kaneki made clear his loyalties lay with the ghouls, mostly due to the special people in his life being ghoul and the species as a whole being similar to himself — isolated and limited. Amon however resolved to only continue doing what he believed was morally right, but asked Kaneki how he would feel if someone he had lost had reappeared. Kaneki thought it would be frightening, in fear that they reappeared only to disappear again.
While in the middle of research at a computer, Kaneki was paid a visit by Akira before she left the Goat hideout. She told him about her feelings after her encounter with Hinami. She was confused and empty, but Kaneki attempted to reassure her that he was still there, only that Akira no longer saw him as Haise despite his memories and experiences with her during that time. She thought they were no longer connected, Kaneki asked if it was because he was no longer Haise before Akira delivered another Mado-Punch into his gut. However, she told him there was a part of him she was fond of before saying her goodbye. After calling out to her, the two admitted their loneliness to each other before she left.
Kaneki had a coffee in :re with Touka afterwards, shocked when she had dyed her hair to black. Following the information he had found about the one-eyed ghoul of the past, Touka questioned his virginity, resulting in his coffee being spilled on the cafe floor. As she pressed the question, he searched for her reasoning while drinking out of his empty cup. To her, Kaneki appeared like a man about to die and allowed him do it with her when the time came. The conversation was confounding Kaneki until Touka's next question. Kaneki had her recall their time together at Anteiku, her tendencies scared him, fearing they would cause her early death. But Touka instead felt the same about him this time around and embarrassed Kaneki after reminding him of Haise's infatuation with her. Kaneki was stunned after hearing she had accepted those feelings, it made her happy. Tsukiyama then entered the cafe with bad news.
Despite the organization being in hiding, numerous Goat bases were being destroyed by the Oggai Squads consecutively. Although it was inconclusive if it was the fault of an information leakage, the bases were rapidly being found unpredictably. After being informed of their capabilities, Kaneki concluded the children were Quinx and made the decision to dissolve the bases and split into squads, arranging a future meeting to re-coordinate. Kaneki and Touka intended to leave together but just before the cafe door was locked, Mutsuki appeared.
Mutsuki was excited to see him, claiming to be conflicted after witnessing "Sasaki's" execution and asked for his return. He refused however and watched as Mutsuki changed his demeanor to deliberately detail Kaneki's betrayal of the CCG and the people he had left behind, all before being hit with Mutsuki's rapid assault. After coming into contact with the Rc suppressants in his quinque, he realized Mutsuki meant to capture him. Pushed outside, he met his second assailant, Shinsanpei. Dodging most of the Quinx's kagune attacks, he managed to defeat him with a surprise strike from below just as an Oggai squad arrived on their bikes. Successfully evading the Oggai's attacks, he and Touka quickly made their escape.
Forced to take refuge in an abandoned building, the two conversed about Hide. Touka asking what he did when he felt like seeing him, but Kaneki never had the chance to do something and suggested they rest. Instead, Touka pounced on him and the two kissed. It resulted in the two spending the night together having sex, ending in Kaneki falling asleep on her lap. They later observed Yoriko's weeding from afar on a hill. Following the ceremony's conclusion, Kaneki received Touka's parents' ring from her, one of her sources of strength. He decided to use it to remember her before leaving to meet up with the rest of Goat.
Goat Migration Arc
Kaneki effectively moved the Goat organization underground into the 24th ward after conditions above ground had worsened. After successfully integrating the members with the ward's original occupants, they aimed to reclaim their place on Tokyo's surface. Kou witnessed the gathering as Kaneki emerged from one of the tunnels. Returning from the surface disarming the CCG, Kaneki was met with the ghouls' reverence and made a spectacle of raining the quinque of investigators from above before delivering a speech of liberation.
However, while showering, he spoke about the reality with Tsukiyama, the ghouls' situation was in fact dire. Although the threat of starvation or attack was great, Kaneki ordered that the investigators not be killed while they attain their goal. He explained to Tsukiyama, who thought otherwise, that it was so peace could stand even in his absence and asked him to stay with him until the end. Tsukiyama questioned why he was so invested in the future of ghouls, but Kaneki did not reply.
After Kou had been exposed as a spy named Hajime Hazuki, the letter he was sent to deliver to Kaneki was taken and he was locked underground. Kaneki's eye bled black as others briefed him about their infiltrator, and then burned the letter from Mutsuki shortly after reading it, keeping the document enclosed with it. Mutsuki had informed him of Yoriko's upcoming execution, expressed interest in his cause, and would be waiting for five days but Kaneki deemed it a trap. At some point in time, he had told Touka about the One-Eyed Owl's mother, how she managed to carry her hybrid child to full-term, information Touka later used in secret.
He contemplated the document he kept before Nishiki reported the unsuccessful food gathering above. The CCG was hunting for Kaneki and was possibly going to venture underground. Nishiki emphasized Kaneki's importance and unconsciously mentioned the child that Kaneki had to consider. Kaneki then dashed to Touka's room and pushed to hear about her well-being, even turning down sex for a definitive clue until he annoyed her. Just as he wondering if he was perhaps mistaken, he asked about the marked calendar she had and was tossed out of her room. Kaneki then believed his suspicions to be confirmed after Touka's final outburst, that she was possibly pregnant.
Kaneki hoped Touka was not too angry about a memo as he and the orphaned Aogiri children searched for her, spotting her on a scaffold. As she read to them, Kaneki thought she appeared fine and went to visit Hajime. Hajime held Kaneki on a pedestal as the miracle human, but did not know anything about the letter's contents, information which Kaneki thought he had. He reckoned that Mutsuki was perhaps his only option in saving Yoriko just as more black tears dripped from his eyes, unconvinced that he was a "miracle human" but a mere man.
Nishiki gave an explanation of what was occurring with Kaneki from the use of his kagune and healing ability, he was rapidly aging. In order to bring it to a standstill, he had to either not use those capabilities and/or commit cannibalism. In his room, he realized Touka may have somehow seen the document under his pillow, Yoriko's execution order. With Touka, he planned to ask her but found it difficult, so she decided to tell him she was pregnant and apologized for keeping quiet, much of which she was uncertain of. Kaneki was pained however, that she had made her choice. The two then entered a ghoul marriage, leaving bite marks on each other meant to remain as scars even after death.
Kaneki discussed with the other the plans to secure Goat's food source, organizing an upcoming expedition. After the meeting adjourned, Kaneki along with Tsukiyama and Yomo spoke about their current and future issues with the CCG and Yoriko. Along their way, they encountered Touka and Kaneki used the opportunity to share with them the news of their marriage, leaving her flustered. Tsukiyama promptly planned a ceremony for them in traditional ghoul fashion. Donned in full ceremonial clothing, they observed the party from above where they conversed, ending with Touka asking for cake.
Goat Wipeout Operation
On the 21st of April, Goat's massive expedition was set into motion, consisting of multiple foraging squads including Kaneki. While they approached the first of two inspection points above ground, Hajime was escaping and the Oggai began their attack on the 24th ward. Upon finding even more than expected, a bad feeling overcame Kaneki. He discussed with Tsukiyama their options and possibilities of taking action or not regarding Yoriko's execution ceremony. Having everyone turn back on account of a gut feeling was not a possibility since they could not afford to starve.
Instead, Kaneki returned to the 24th ward alone. Upon arriving, the ward was littered with lifeless bodies, including Naki's which was watched over by Miza. She told him where the escaped ghouls should be, directing him to Route E14. He made it in time to save Hinami from her fight with Suzuya, whom he briefly clashed with before having her go on ahead. Suzuya and Hanbee prepared for battle with their Arata armors while Kaneki entered into his kakuja state. With the intention to protect and succeed, Kaneki fell into an unconscious wild state as he battled the two investigators.
However, Kaneki came to and found himself lying limbless on the ground, severely injured and defeated, with both Suzuya and Hanbee having received heavy injuries. Kichimura approached Kaneki and taunted him over his lost, as he was powerless to do anything. The bureau chief had sealed off Route E14 to prevent any ghouls from escaping. While Kaneki continued his futile attempts to comprehend what had happened, Hajime brought over two heads of the 0 Squad children, although fighting well, Shio and Rikai had lost their battle with Hajime. Horrified and anguished, Kaneki was mocked further by Hajime and was left with him by Kichimura for "special treatment" as a squad was moving in to eliminate the group including both Touka and Hinami.
In that moment, Kaneki entered into his mind and his various personalities discussed their current state of circumstances. They considered the possibility if everyone had returned altogether rather than Kaneki alone, agreeing it would have been the better option. They reflected on their participation in the Owl Suppression Operation and what would have been, yet the aftermath was worth it despite bringing about much misfortune. They conflicted over their own set of individuals they had wished to protect and the actions they took in order to achieve that. Their contrasting temperaments and outlooks eventually boiled to a heated argument for them to see and accept the harsh reality, the others trying to diffuse it. However, the prospect of never seeing Touka again united them, they still had to name their child and saw their remaining chance with their ability to still bite and crawl.
Resolving to push forward, Kaneki ripped off Hajime's face with his teeth and pierced through his head with his kagune, killing him. The Oggai's uncertainty on whether to kill Kaneki or follow Kichimura's orders caused chaos as Kaneki mercilessly slaughtered them. Cannibalizing them with the help of his kagune's mouths while repeating Touka's name to himself, his kagune increased in size at an alarming rate until his tentacles engulfed much of the 24th ward and burst through the five kilometers of soil to the surface as Kichimura's "Dragon."
Kaneki's monstrous kagune ravaged the city of Tokyo as Scarecrow watched from afar. The citizens were left terrorized and helpless as they and the city were consumed. The arrival of the Japan Self-Defense Forces marked the beginning of their volley of aerial assault upon Dragon until it fell and began making it's way toward the 4th ward, only to be met by a force of tank who opened fire. Taking no serious damage, Dragon continued its widespread onslaught of Tokyo as the desperate cries of the people caught in the kakuja's path overwhelmed the area.
Inside the dragon, Kaneki hallucinates and awakened in what appears to be a shrine, surrounded by a vast ocean of water and rows of gates. Baffled, he wonders where Touka is, and begins wandering throughout the halls, confused. He slowly recalls having returned to the Goat headquarters and battling the CCG. With some struggle, he remembers having been defeated by Suzuya, and having devoured the Oggai afterwards. However, he also remembers having been engulfed by something massive, and his memory fails him.
Kaneki panics as he wonders whether he's awake, asleep, or even dead. He runs outside and jumps into the water, wading but soon having to swim. As he swims through the gates, massive eyes underneath the surface of the water quietly watch him. Being pushed back by the waves, he dives underwater, only to see countless corpses. Horrified, he resurfaces, only to see Rize Kamishiro sitting upon a pillar. She asks him where he's going, calling him a murderer. Shocked by her appearance, he asked her why is she here, and what she meant by that phrase. She responded by asking him where is he planning to go. Kaneki, desperate at this point, said he wants to save everyone from the doves so he went back to the base. However, Rize only laughed and continue to question his motives for his actions all this time. At this point, Kaneki realizes that even though his goal is a peaceful resolution, the future he was aiming can only lead to one-sided dictatorship, something which he claims he'll even do if its necessary.
Hearing his resolve, Rize then asked him to "touch her hand", to which Kaneki did and saw the same countless corpses he saw underneath the water, only for now to hear their dying voices. He then realizes that these were the people he killed and started to break down and cry. She continues to taunt him, saying that it was his inability to take action that people died in the first place, and that he shouldn't have done anything from the start.
Moments later after calming down, he lies in the patio of the temple along with Rize, as they continue to watch the corpses falling down from the sky. She then talks about the first time they met, and their same trait of not really caring who dies as long as they achieve their personal goal. Kaneki then states that he didn't knew that this would happen, but Rize taunts him if it is okay for him to kill as long as one is unaware. She continues to mercilessly question him for his motives, what was he doing all this time, why and how did it came to this. Kaneki finally breaks down and states that all he wanted was to be needed by someone. He said that after turning into a ghoul and meeting all those people, his horizons have expanded. People chose to be with him, which made him happy, and felt like he belonged somewhere. And yet he still didn't care about anyone else, nor the reasons for his actions. He felt that if he continued fighting, then someone out there would want him.
But he still have the sins, so he believed all this is now meaningless. Rize comforts him, saying that she too is an "irresponsible egoist", and that he has the choice whether to stay in here or not. Kaneki wonders out if this were all in his imagination, if he was renouncing reality again just like what he did in Yamori's prison. So Rize asks him about something he said in the past, about why he never really bore a grudge on her despite the tragedies he faced. He states all this happened so he can meet the people he now have, and that they were all necessary, and despite everything he has faced, he is still happy.
Finally after facing the truth, he makes up his mind and starts swimming back. She asks him if he will be able to cross the sea now, despite now knowing the atrocities he's committed. Kaneki then replies he'll "try to see if he can bear them".
In the real world, Kaneki has been brought back from Dragon by Touka and the Q's, who have been waiting for him to wake up. Meanwhile, Kimi and her associates have found numerous unidentified organs within him. Sometime after, Kaneki finally awakens to all of his friends and allies sleeping around him. After discussing their current situation and learning that Hide is alive and has brought everyone together, Kaneki asks if he can see the destruction he's wrought. However, Urie says Kaneki cannot go unsupervised and volunteers to show him around with Saiko. While they're walking in the city, Urie smells a ghoul and chases after it. However, Kaneki stops him and says the ghoul he smelt was actually a human who worked for the CCG.
Suddenly, all of the screens on the buildings turn on, revealing Furuta in the midst of a skirmish between the JGSDF and the golems spawned out of Dragon's body. Kaneki watches as Furuta reveals that killing certain golems releases a poisonous cloud of RC cells that attacks the cells and overloads them with RC, creating the symptoms of ROS. As the broadcast ends, Saiko suddenly groans in pain, revealing that she was poisoned as well when they were rescuing Kaneki from Dragon's body. While Urie and Kaneki are rushing over to Saiko, they're surrounded by golems that have been spawned out of one of the nearby oviducts. Urie commands Kaneki to take Saiko and run for backup as Kaneki is too unstable to fight. However, Saiko refutes his command and volunteers to be the bait and tells Urie and Kaneki to run instead. Seeing their plight, Kaneki becomes conflicted on whether he should act or not. Resolving to act as he's "tired of not being able to do anything", Kaneki's kagune erupts into two large wing-like structures and eraditcates the remaining golems.
Back at the base, Saiko has been has been hospitalized and Kimi reveals that due to his organs, Kaneki has an innate resistance to the poison. Soon after, Kaneki finally meets with Hide at the top of the building. Hide reveals his scars as a result of Kaneki's actions, and the two discuss their current situations as they watch the sun set. The next day, Kaneki and his group decide what their current course of action should be. Some of the structures left by Dragon have begun to decompose, but nine oviducts still remain. Right as Kaneki volunteers to go down to the base of one of them and investigate, the Clowns and V attack the CCG. Offering to go down and help defend the base, Kaneki is soon rebuked by Hide who says that the current attack is once again meant as a distraction to prevent Kaneki from visiting the oviducts. Deciding that they need a small, undetectable group to investigate, Ayato and Kaneki venture down into the oviducts recesses. Kaneki is concerned as he feels Rize somewhere in the oviduct. There, they find an immeasurable amount of pods containing the golems, which soon erupt out of their sacs and chase the two. Ayato tells Kaneki he'll fend them off, as Kaneki will need his strength for whatever lurks down there. As Kaneki decends further, he finds Furuta searching there as well.
Furuta attempts to aggravate Kaneki, declaring that Kaneki was just a pawn in the grand scheme of things. However, Kaneki simply states he doesn't care and unleashes his massive kagune on Furuta. Furuta eventually slips up and is cornered by Kaneki, before he unleashes his own kagune and catches Kaneki off guard. He stands up and brandishes a katana before telling Kaneki that he is indeed strong. Kaneki cracks his fingers in response, saying nothing as he prepares to battle Furuta once again. The two fight a fierce battle, with Furuta gaining the upper hand even without using his kagune. He asks Kaneki if he'll spare him the chance to have a proper sword fight. Obliging, Kaneki forms a quinque out of his kagune and charges at Furuta. Kaneki overwhelms him with a combination of his quinque and kagune, and deals a ghastly blow to Furuta's face. Furuta simply laughs it off and reveals his own kagune, which has now taken the form of Dragon's. The battle once again turns in Furuta's favor, and right before he's about to deal the finishing blow, Kaneki catches his sword with his teeth and escapes Furuta's grasp. Stating that while Furuta may be Kaneki's superior in cunning and intellect, Kaneki still needs to protect both humans and ghouls. With that, Kaneki unleashes his kakuja and declares that he'll beat Furuta and save everyone.
Kaneki once again turns the tide and throws Furuta around. He dodges and counters Furuta's onslaught all while listening to Furuta's explanation of his goals and how fun it was to watch Kaneki fail. Upon realizing that Kaneki has been listening rather than fighting, Furuta brings out his kakuja and demands that Kaneki give him "everything". The battle is now even on both sides, until one of Furuta's tentacles makes it's way past Kaneki's defenses, slamming him on the ground. Furuta wastes no time and jumps on top of Kaneki, hammering away at him with his kakuja. However, in the midst of his rampage, Kaneki spots an opening and deals the deciding blow.
After Furuta collapses to the ground from his injuries, the two talk to each other, discussing Furuta's reasons, his goals and motivations, and potential what-ifs regarding Kaneki meeting Rize for the first time. At the end of their talk, Furuta asks Kaneki if he'd laugh if Furuta said all he wanted was a normal life, in which Kaneki smiles and replies no. After this, Kaneki leaves Furuta and heads further into the oviduct, finally hearing Kimi on the coms once again. She directs him towards the center of the massive structure and tells him that the source of the poison is inside. Before he leaves, she tells him to come back home as Dragon's final defenses swarm Kaneki.
Whilst engaging in a brutal battle with the various kagune structures within Dragon, Kaneki rationalizes everything that's happened to him. Yes, he'd be the protagonist of a tragedy, but at the end of it all, everyone else is their own protagonist was well. He's not special in regards to his life as a whole when looking at other people like Furuta and Rize, who also suffered all their life. In life, we take and are taken from, follow and be followed, steal and be stolen, imprison and be imprisoned; life is sad, everything will die. Yet despite it all, we strive to be better, to be able to choose.
While thinking all of this, Kaneki is beating back Dragon's last vestiges of defense, being constantly overwhelmed and rebounding. Finally, Kaneki makes his way to Dragon's core, knowing that Rize lies within. Shedding a tear, he apologizes to Rize before dealing the final blow.
As Kaneki stands above Rize's corpse, he senses Dragon beginning to dissolve and come apart. Rushing out in an attempt to find Ayato, Kaneki is swept up by Dragons remains and is engulfed within, drifting deeper and deeper into its recesses.