Tokyo Ghoul is currently enjoying its status as one of the most popular Japanese mangas around, and its popularity has managed to draw readers from all across the political spectrum—including social justice warriors and fujoshi, or female readers who fetishize gay men. Following the leak of its 125th issue this week, ahead of its official release, progressives who follow the psychological horror manga were outraged to discover that the story did not unfold according to their wishes, and accused the author, Sui Ishida, of homophobia.
A substantial portion of the fanbase is angry that the manga’s main character, Kaneki and the female lead Touka have sex. This obvious development went against their “headcanon” of having Kaneki romance his male best friend, Hide.
As with Overwatch, Mass Effect, Doctor Who, and many others, a large segment of fans dedicate a goodly amount of time coming up with gay relationships for obviously heterosexual characters, and these same fans get upset when they’re presented in any other way by the creators. A similar explosion of anger occurred when a “queer-coded” Mass Effect Andromeda character was revealed to be straight. Likewise, fans were upset when Steven Moffat refused to turn Sherlock Holmes and Watson gay in the TV series, Sherlock.
The fujoshi who are a part of Tokyo Ghoul’s ravenous fanbase set their sights on Sui Ishida, targeting him with accusations of homophobia. “Touken” is short for Kaneki and Touka’s canonical relationship. Users on 4chan’s anime imageboard summed up many of the tweets in a collage:
In response, Sui Ishida’s more rational fans created a hashtag called #IshidaAppreciation on Twitter to show their support for the creator (who posts under @sotonami), where they continue to post photos of their Tokyo Ghoul collections, tattoos, and art.
A storyteller should never be a slave to his audience. The stories he weaves are his to tell, and no one else’s. You’re just along for the ride.