|Relationships:||Kirishima Touka (love interest); Kaneki Ichika (daughter); unborn son|
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Kaneki Ken (金木 研) is the main protagonist of the Tokyo Ghoul series.
Reception and Popularity
As the protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki is a very popular character within the fandom, being the most tagged character on Archive of Our Own in Tokyo Ghoul fanfiction as of April 2022. He has many traits as a character that make him popular with fans- his deeply traumatic backstory and his many compelling relationships with other characters in the main cast of Tokyo Ghoul make him fertile ground for fanfiction, and the complexity of his character and the large amount of symbolism surrounding him makes him a popular topic for meta. 4 out of 10 (7 out of 10 if you count platonic relationships) of the top Tokyo Ghoul Ao3 pairings involve him in some way, making him the fandom's resident Little Black Dress.
However, there is some backlash to Kaneki's massive popularity, with some fans believing that this comes at the expense of watering down his character and ignoring the many morally dubious actions that he takes throughout the series.
Fanon and Tropes
Kaneki-centric fanfiction frequently deals with his trauma in some manner, whether it be trauma sustained pre- or during the series. "Kaneki Ken Needs A Hug" is a canonical tag on Archive of Our Own, reflecting the extent to which Kaneki-centric fanfiction tends to portray him as a woobie.
It is common for explicit fanfiction staring Kaneki to involve his kagune, which in canon takes the form of tentacles that extend from his back. This occurs across a variety of pairings, but is most common in slash works.
Kaneki is the resident little black dress of Tokyo Ghoul fandom, with many notable ships.
- Kaneki Ken/Nagachika Hideyoshi
- Kaneki Ken/Kirishima Touka
- Kaneki Ken/Tsukiyama Shuu
- Kaneki Ken/Uta
- Kaneki Ken/Kishou Arima
- Kaneki Ken/Amon Kotarou
- Kaneki Ken/Kamishiro Rize
- Kaneki Ken/Yoshimura Eto
- The Black Tapes by TimelessTears
- You're Everything A Big Bad Wolf Could Want by Aglio_Sagezza
- Trust Fall by zynnser
- untitled by chemicaideath
- here's to the series that terrorized my teen years by basstual
- Haise Sasaki/Ken Kaneki fanart by me by aexxxea
Fan Communities and Archives
- FanFiction.Net (FFN): Tokyo Ghoul [ stories] and [ crossovers] featuring
- DeviantArt (DA):
- Archive of Our Own (AO3):
- What sort of things do others need to be wary of regarding Ken?, answered Tumblr ask, toukaisbetterthanyou, August 6, 2017