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A “ghoul” was originally a creature in Arabic folklore that feasts on the flesh of the living or the dead, depending on the tale. The corpse-munching version became more popular in the West, but not in Japan, if Kentaro Hagiwara’s hair-raising “Tokyo Ghoul” is any indication.

Based on a manga by Sui Ishida, “Tokyo Ghoul” unfolds in an alternative modern-day Japan where humans uneasily coexist with ghouls who look and act like their human hosts, though they only consume human flesh. Ghouls live undercover with their own kind, which they identify by various marks such as tentacle-like organs called kagune that explode from their backs when they are roused to feed or fight.

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