Kishou Arima was a Special class investigator at the CCG, dubbed the white reaper for having dispatched numerous ghouls during the 18 years he spent as an investigator. He headed Squad 0, and was feared by the ghouls for his genius and his abilities.
However, he was secretly acting as the One-Eyed King and helping the terrorist ghoul organisation Aogiri Tree overthrow the Washuu clan, who headed the CCG and the Organisation V till his death. He then entrusts Ken Kaneki to be the new One Eyed King after his death.
The manga and anime both establish that Arima and Eto Yoshimura worked together so that ghouls and humans could live peacefully with their plans revolving around Kaneki being the One Eyed King and beacon of hope.
However Ken Kaneki was a One Eyed Ghoul who happened to exist due to sheer luck, thanks to Nimura’s actions and Eto and Arima were in cahoots much before the incident with Ken Kaneki.
So what exactly could have been Arima and Eto’s end goal?
Why did Arima side with the ghouls?
Kishou Arima was a half human with exceptional physical abilities raised in the sunlit garden by the Washuu family. He was trained to be a ghoul investigator from the start. He is shown to be rebellious against the Washuu clan, whose main branch members were ghouls.
His interactions with Minami in Tokyo Ghoul: Jack while he was a teenager, and a young Eto after defeating her later on made him further understand the fucked up world he is currently in.
Arima had killed a lot of ghouls as an investigator because he thought he couldn’t escape the Washuu clan and defeat them on his own. Having met Eto and being able to relate to her ideals, he concocted a plan (possibly half baked) which would eventually bring down the Washuu Clan and their hypocrisy.
His encounters with Eto and Minami possibly made him sympathize with the ghouls that were being targeted and decided to secretly support them. With the help of Eto he founded the Aogiri tree, which would eventually help both of them reach their goals.
Leading the Aogiri Tree and acting as One Eyed King
As the One Eyed King, Arima was the brains behind the ghoul organisation, giving orders to Tatara and Eto about what needs to be done from time to time.
Aogiri was solely focused on empowering the ghouls and overthrowing the CCG by revealing their secrets. Eto releasing a book, (which she probably had been writing for sometime, or had the idea to write for) about the One Eyed King could eventually have been a part of this plan from the start.
This consisted of Aogiri tree strengthening their ranks and attacking CCG to weaken them, with SenTakatsuki’s ghoul reveal and emotional appeal to the humans coming as a final nail in the Washuu clan’s coffin.
As the plan progressed there were lot of casualties on both side of ghouls and investigators.
One could question Arima’s morality at this point, because if his actions as the head of Aogiri tree were leading to a lot of his subordinates and team mates being killed, then he too could easily be shunned into the same bracket as the villains for solely focusing on furthering his motives.
The way he was brought up and his restricted surroundings possible drove him to this line of action, but it would be nice to see a prequel about Arima and Eto to clear the air.
Kaneki’s Arrival and Change in Plans
Kaneki initially caught the Aogiri Tree’s eye for being a peculiar one eyed ghoul. As he became a member in their ranks, it was only to make the Aogiri tree stronger and there was nothing which hinted at making him the One Eyed King.
However, his actions during the Owl Supression Arc, where he decided to give everything to protect his friends, and also refrained from killing Koutaro Amon, was enough to convince Arima that there was something special about him.
Eto too could have relayed a similar story to Arima, as she had the chance to watch Kaneki closely while he was at Aogiri.
Realising that Kaneki was someone who could objectively see the point of views of both humans and ghouls, Arima decided to train him and eventually make Kaneki kill him, the most dangerous and decorated investigator of the CCG, giving the ghouls a strong symbol of hope, something which Eto with her sadistic and violent methods couldn’t..
Arima also realised that building peace between humans and ghouls would be much more easier, provided Kaneki could understand both of them and would refrain from resorting to unnecessary violence.
This notion was further confirmed when Kaneki refuses to kill Arima at the end of their fight.
Did Arima Know About the Dragon?
Speaking of peace, did Kishou Arima know of Nimura Furuta’s sinister plan of making Kaneki a dragon? That’s something we can only speculate about. Arima does passingly mention once that in the end people will be forced to become ghouls. Was ghoulification a part of Arima’s motives too then?
There is no evidence in the series that points to the fact that Arima and Furuta were working together. Though both were raised at sunlit gardens, Arima and Furuta seemed distant. Also Furuta had his own set of ulterior motives for all the actions that he planned.
But we can’t know for sure unless Sui Ishida decides to clear the air a bit for us. However, Arima’s character could be seen as a dark knight in the series, ready to sacrifice his life and his comrades for the greater good. Ready to play the part of villain so that ghouls could unite under a new king.
The characters in Tokyo Ghoul are well crafted and imperfections and internal struggles influencing decisions is a major theme in the anime. Analysing his character, we realise that it was the same with Arima too.
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