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Tokyo Ghoul: What Does ‘1000-7’ Mean?

Tokyo Ghoul’s most iconic quote comes from its darkest moment and represents a major shift in the series as a whole.

The anime adaption of Tokyo Ghoul took the anime community by storm when it first aired. This dark and gritty story about main character Ken Kaneki becoming a man-eating monster and learning how to live his new life instantly attracted fans. The world-building and lore surrounding the series were always intriguing and left audiences asking more questions. It’s clear to see why Tokyo Ghoul was a major hit and why so many elements from the series became iconic.

Many different aspects of Tokyo Ghoul’s story made it stand out from other anime, including the aesthetics of its world, the distinctive masks worn by the ghouls and the vibrant character designs. However, the dialogue in the series was especially powerful. Various profound and iconic quotes can be found throughout the story but one in particular dug itself into the minds of every Tokyo Ghoul fan. “What’s 1,000 minus seven?” This quote defined Kaneki’s character and carries a bleak and gruesome history alongside it.

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The Origin of “1000-7”

Jason prepares to torture Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul

Kaneki was not the first person to speak this famous quote. The originator was Yakumo Oomori, nicknamed Jason, a major antagonist of Kaneki. Jason was a sadist torturer who often wore a hockey mask, referencing the horror movie killer Jason Voorhees. Before he became the sick and twisted version of himself shown in the series, Jason was a victim of torture himself. While held in a prison, Jason was tortured relentlessly. In order to escape his reality, he convinced himself that he was the torturer instead of the victim. Eventually, he managed to kill his torturer and escape the prison.

This event permanently changed Jason for the worse. He became obsessed with torturing his victims in horrific ways. Kaneki became one of these victims when he was captured by Jason. While being tortured, Jason forced Kaneki to count down from 1,000 by seven. This would keep Kaneki’s mind focused and make sure he didn’t lose consciousness from the pain. Jason’s command was repeated constantly while Kaneki was tortured, and it became a kind of mantra.

Why Does Kaneki Say the Quote?

Kaneki with scary grin

Kaneki was tortured by Jason for a total of ten days. Ghouls have an incredible healing factor that allowed Jason to inflict damage on Kankei that would kill a normal person. Jason would cut off Kaneki’s fingers and toes with pliers and then force him to eat them so they would grow back. The trauma of this experience altered his personality and worldview in a major way. By the end of the torture, Kaneki’s hair had turned white, and he was no longer the kind boy he was before.

Eventually, Kaneki broke free of his captor and attacked him. When Kaneki defeated Jason, he enacted his own torture on the man. This time, he made Jason count down from 1,000 by seven while he slowly devoured him. This event represented a major change in Kaneki’s character. He was no longer willing to be a pacifist and would gladly hurt or kill those who got in his way.

To further symbolize the shift in character, Kaneki adopted some mannerisms from his torturer. At times, Kaneki would ask himself or the people he’s fighting, “What’s 1,000 minus seven?” He would even crack his knuckles in the same way that Jason did. All of these things reinforced the fact that the sweet boy was gone and replaced with a dark and more sadistic version of himself.

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