Title:Choujin X Vol. 2 Author: Sui Ishida Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 271 Genre: Supernatural, Battle Publication Date: May 16, 2023
In Volume 2 of Choujin X, we pick up with Nari in full beast-out snake form taking on Tokio and Ely. Tokio goes into full beast-out mode for the first time but is still not even able to make a dent in Nari’s scales. Tokio and Ely try to make a run for it but they realize that it’s futile to try. They go with a rather risky plan but when Ely cannot produce her smoke, things are looking bleak.
Just then, Mystery Boy A comes in and begins skewering Nari with giant swords and she’s done! Turns out his name is Simon Kagomura and he is part of a place called Yamato Mori. Yamato Mori offers to protect citizens from evil choujin. They also have license exams that will allow law-abiding choujins to use their powers in public in a limited fashion.
You guessed it! Time for Tokio and Ely to take their exams! Meanwhile, we get a bit of a side story about a boy named Shiozaki who used to be a baseball player. Now, down on his luck, he has mixed himself in with a group of choujin thugs as they pull off heists in order to make some quick cash. Tokio and Ely find him destroying a vending machine because it only takes cards and not cash and he REALLY wanted that Goga Gola inside of it. This raises their suspicions and, sure enough, after his little gang of brainless bandits turns on him, Shiozaki is forced to beast-out but ends up going out of control. Due to their suspicions and tracking him down, Tokio and Ely end up in battle against him.
Once the battle is settled, they receive their licenses and it’s time for Ely to go back home… or is it?
Tokio’s development stems from his teacher, Hoshi Sandek. Sandek asks them some pretty basic questions but the most important one was if Tokio had any dreams. He was embarrassed to answer because he has none. Ely even scolds him a little by asking what the point of living is if he has no dreams. This takes Tokio on a bit of a journey of reflection but it’s not really put front and center. Through his experience with fighting Shiozaki, Tokio discovers that his dream is to help other people as a choijin. That alone is a pretty significant piece of character growth because that is going to be the foundation of his character and his reasoning for doing things in the future.
Ely is about a country as country can get still but it seems as if she’s grown attached to Tokio… even if it’s not super obvious at first. It doesn’t become apparent until the end of the volume and even then, it’s not really obvious. The volume dances around the topic but you can just tell through reading some dialogue that Ely cares for Tokio… even if it’s just a little bit right now.
Sandek is pretty cool. He is a boulder of a man but he’s wise, gentle, and noble. He’s a pretty good teacher that only wishes to help choujin find their place. A side character, yes, but it should be a reliable one that serves as the voice of reason.
Simon is your typical sword user. If you’ve seen one emotionless “filled-with-duty” character before, then his archetype won’t be anything new. He’s all about following the rules but it’s not like he’s unreasonable. When he saves Tokio and Ely, he realizes that they are both brand-new choujin and don’t yet have licenses. Instead of throwing the book at them, he gives them a fair chance to earn their licenses.
His counterpart is Maiko Momoma. She’s a bit more lively and playful but her specialty is super strength. Not much to her in this volume yet except that she’s one of Yamato Mori’s Keepers alongside Simon.
And, of course, Shiozaki. A former pro-level baseball player that let his emotions get the better of him during a game once, thus bringing out his choujin powers by mistake. He was banned from playing baseball and has been down on his luck since. As detailed in the story section, he turned to crime to get by and ended up getting some sense knocked into him. In the end, it looks as if he and Tokio could become friends but that remains to be truly seen.
A lot to unpack in this volume of Choujin X. Not only do we get new characters, but we also get a license system, we get a new level of power that can be accessed in a… well… gruesome way, we resolve one issue, move onto the next, and even get a bit of a snippet of the main story continuing right at the end. Add in all of the character development and what we are left with is a well-rounded volume that hits all the points it needs and then some!
Tokio’s growth was accelerated in both a good way and a bad way in this volume. It’s good that Tokio got not one but two power-ups, but it’s also good that it wasn’t an immediate power boost. While he has unlocked different levels of his choijin powers, he’s still too inexperienced to use them properly. I like this balance because it puts the end goal out there first, gives readers a taste of it but never really unveils that end goal’s true potential. It makes the main character aware of what he has been given but he still has work to do in order to make full use of these gifts.
The way that I think it’s bad is that it just came on too quickly. If it had been spaced out a bit more, I would have been fine with it but he learned how to fully beast out at the very start of the book, and halfway through he learns how to power up even more. Even if he can’t understand or use his powers to their full potential just yet, I think getting two power-ups in one book is a bit much. You could still have the “here’s the end result now go master it” angle with those power-ups spread out more. It just felt a bit rushed.
But that would be my only issue with this volume. Everything else was solid and Sui Ishida is well on his way towards making another smash hit. Anime adaptation that will ruin the source material when? (Yes, I still haven’t forgiven seasons 2 and 3 of Tokyo Ghoul).
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