Title: Choujin X Vol. 1
Author: Sui Ishida
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural, Battle
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Choujin X is a brand-new manga series by Tokyo Ghoul creator Sui Ishida. In the first volume, we are introduced to two parallel stories that eventually intersect. We start off by being introduced to a young country bumpkin of a girl named Ely. She’s on the way to the farmer’s market in place of her pa because he threw his back out. There, she was going to present her farm’s “Tomayto” in hopes that it would win first place in a crop-growing contest to bring their farm fame and fortune. While on the plane to the market, a man asks an old lady to move but when she struggles to, he gets rather annoyed and tries to strike her. Ely stops him but suddenly, the man engulfs the plane in flames.
This is our introduction to Choujin… humans with superpowers and the first we encounter is the Smoke Choujin.
We shift gears to two high school boys… one named Azuma and the other named Tokio. Tokio is kind of a weakling while Azuma, while small, knows many forms of martial arts, is intelligent and has a strong sense of justice. When a woman is in trouble, Tokio calls Azuma who shows up to the rescue. After saving her, the thugs head back to their hideout where the “boss” swears to get revenge. A guy in a creepy mask gives him a shot and turns him into a Choujin.
Meanwhile, Tokio recalls a memory at the zoo where they draw an animal that they feel best represents them. Tokio is compared to a vulture because he’s always latching onto Azuma and stealing all of his glory. At least, that’s how others see him. This comes into play when “Boss” returns as the Mollusk Choujin and attempts to get revenge on Azuma. Conveniently enough, Boss brings two other shots with him. Tokio and Azuma take them but only Tokio turns into the Vulture Choujin.
From here, he cannot revert back to human form. He has to call out sick from school and do his best to hide his identity to try and figure out how to transform back. While he does this, he learns that he can talk to birds. He decides to go to the zoo to talk to the vulture there to see if he can get any insight but the guy in the mask hires Nari, the Snake Choujin, to capture Tokio after Boss fails and is questioned by the guy in the mask. Nari meets up with Tokio and tells him about a way to get into the zoo after it closed. Once inside, she has him cornered and decides to play a game with him. He’s about to lose when, suddenly, Ely shows up and rescues him. Things don’t go smoothly and now, Tokio is left with a decision to make!
One thing Sui Ishida had an issue with Tokyo Ghoul was an overabundance of characters and, so far, things seem to be heading in that direction… BUT… it seems contained right now.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to our three main characters Ely, Tokio, and Azuma. Ely is a really deep-in-the-country type of girl whose very young in age. Despite being young, she’s full of spunk and is a bit more mature than she would appear to be. After encountering the Smoke Choujin, she gains his powers which means there are ways to become a Choujin without taking the shot. She begins to learn how to harness her powers but it’s slow going.
Azuma is quite the justice seeker. He looks like a bookworm on the outside (well… he actually is) but his sense of justice causes him to put himself in harm’s way more often than not. When the Mollusk Choujin shows up, he quickly learns that perhaps he should stick to books than fight people’s battles for them. Despite him always trying to be positive, he reaches a breaking point with Tokio and actually yells at him. Azuma wasn’t blind to the fact that people saw Tokio as a vulture leeching off of him. He scolds Tokio to think for himself for once in his life and those words cut deep. I’m glad this happened because it showed a different dimension to Azuma and yanked him out of an overplayed archetype. I’m interested in seeing where his character goes from here.
Finally, when it comes to Tokio, he’s just someone who was content with being around Azuma. Even his sister pokes fun at him by saying that the two should hold hands. When he turns into the Vulture Choujin, Azuma tells him that people turn into monsters that they desire to be. This also hit Tokio quite harshly. There are a lot of parallels here to Tokio and Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul. Both are really meek and timid that end up gaining power…. Power that they want to use to help people but Tokio is way more self-loathing than Kaneki ever was. Not sure if he’s a really interesting main character just yet. I’ll have to see how he develops over time.
This was a really solid opening to a new series. It did a great job of building the world, introducing the characters, and getting us familiar with them. As I mentioned earlier, Sui Ishida has a problem with managing a large cast and right now, we have multiple Choujin being introduced and it seems as if some are independent, some work together, some are on the side of good, some evil… and it’s reminding me a lot of the ghoul situation in Tokyo Ghoul. I was hoping to see what Ishida could do with a smaller cast so if things stay as they are right now while introducing a main Choujin faction and keeping it contained, that would be great.
I just hope things don’t spiral out of control and I have to keep a spreadsheet of characters just to do a review. That would be bad. Ishida’s art seems to have cleaned up some since Tokyo Ghoul… or at least things look a bit cleaner this time around. The story is pretty easy to follow but we haven’t made it to any large-scale battles yet. If we do, I only hope he doesn’t jump back and forth between fights every other page.
As good as Tokyo Ghoul was, there were a lot of faults and those faults made me hesitant to try out his new series. So far so good. I can only hope it continues on this way and he keeps it simple. If so, he’ll probably have a bigger hit on his hands than his previous work. I’m excited, yet cautious, to see where this goes!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media