Why is Rize So Special in Tokyo Ghoul?

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A close-up of Rize Kamishiro.
Credit: Pierrot

Rize Kamishiro is quite the character in Tokyo Ghoul. A binge-eating demon under the guise of a beautiful, attractive bookworm, she is quite easily able to figuratively grab Kaneki Ken by the neck, where she later literally bites off of him.

Spoiler alert, she is "killed" on the very first episode. But even if Rize's not physically anywhere to be seen, her absence is far from felt, as she's still able to indirectly influence many of the characters and, in effect, the story itself.

This article attempts to answer the questions that everybody has about Rize.

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Why is Rize So Strong?

A close-up of Rize in ghoul form with blood on her lips.
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Let's start with the most-pressing question at hand. While neither the manga nor the anime actually goes to explain the reason behind Rize's overpowered status, there's lots of scattered information to support why her strength is more than just a plot armor.

For starters, Rize Kamishiro, whose real name is unknown, is a product of the Washuu Clan, a large family of ghouls led by former CCG chairman Tsuneyoshi Washuu. I say 'product' because she was born for no other purpose than to become a "womb" or a breeder to make sure the clan's bloodline is kept pure.

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Though Rize managed to escape this fate which she found repulsive, there is no denying the power that she got from being a part of the Washuu Clan, whose members are known to regularly practice cannibalism and inbreeding to increase their strength.

Without the constraints of being in the clan, Rize's appetite grew so big that it became a problem for other ghouls who wanted to avoid investigations and crackdowns on them. She became a binge-eater, having no regard whatsoever for her surroundings. The more she ate, the stronger she got, and she ultimately became the most-feared and most-hated ghoul across different wards.

To sum that all up, Rize is so strong because of her bloodline and her abnormal eating habits. It may seem like an oversimplification, but I think it makes a lot of sense.

Why is Rize's Kagune So Special?

Rize attacking with her kagune visible.
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In Tokyo Ghoul, ghouls have what is known as a kagune, an organ that acts as their weapon. There are four known types of kagune: rinkaku, koukaku, ukaku, and bikaku. Rize is known to possess a rinkaku type, which is characterized by its tentacle-like appearance that protrudes from a ghoul's back.

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In TG biology, ghouls need to consume Rc cells to survive. Rc cells are stored in the kakuhou, a storage organ found in ghouls, and then released through the flesh and skin as kagune. Since Rize is a binge-eater, she has consumed a large number of Rc cells over the course of her life. As a result, her kagune is known to have a ridiculous regenerative ability, and that's what makes it so special.

Related: Where to Watch Tokyo Ghoul: Is it on Netflix, Crunchyroll, Funimation, or Hulu in English Sub or Dub?

Why is Rize in Kaneki's Mind?

Rize sitting beside the chair that Kaneki is chained to.
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First, hear me out.

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Kaneki only wanted to go on a date with this beautiful lady who seemed to share the same interests with him, particularly reading. Yes, he is able to spend quite a nice time with her, but it doesn't end with a sweet 'good night' and a plan for the next date like most romantic appointments do.

Instead, his life is dragged into the absolute worst: he is attacked by this dream girl and is later made to survive as part of a morbid experiment (more on this later). He then wakes up a few days later as a ghoul, with new needs he simply couldn't fathom soon enough. If he were to lose his mind after such a tragic development, I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

Kaneki is able to survive fairly well with the help of the other kind ghouls at Anteiku, the café where he met Rize, but it couldn't be that simple for too long. When Yamori abducts and tortures him, he is finally pushed onto a state of psychological unwellness.

Since Rize is ultimately revealed to have actually survived the Steel Beam Incident where she was believed to have died, it's clear that the Rize in Kaneki's mind is nothing but a figment of his imagination—one that he needed to conjure so he could finally embrace his ghoul side and save himself. Fans are thankful for Kaneki's Rize as they are subsequently gifted with one of the most epic fight scenes in anime history.

Why is Rize Still Alive?

Rize in Dragon form.
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Contrary to what most people know, Rize does not die during the Steel Beam Incident, where a metal beam was deliberately made to fall on her by a member of the ghoul group, the Clowns. In fact, she stays alive up until the end of the series.

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After the incident, Rize is taken by Dr. Akihiro Kanou, who is working on a ghoulification experiment. He makes her the donor ghoul, with Kaneki being the first person he performs a transplant on. Dr. Kanou continues to farm her kakuhou for experiments, seeing as Kaneki turned out well.

Rize is then taken a few more times by other ghouls as the series continues, with varied intentions like caring for her and even more brutal experimentation, which ultimately leads to her transforming into Dragon before Kaneki could finally kill and save her from this extremely pitiful life.

Rize, who was born into unfortunate circumstances, lives a reckless life and eventually dies after a string of even more horrendous situations than she had to begin with. While she earned the disdain that both characters and audiences feel toward her, there's no denying that she doesn't deserve such a sad life. It's only fitting that Kaneki would be the one to put an end to it. It's a bittersweet conclusion to the life of a ghoul greatly feared by many.

So there you have it, the answers to some of the whys that surround the brilliantly written character that is Rize Kamishiro.

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