HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Choujin X" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Choujin X" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Choujin X" - Volume One

In the animal kingdom, there are those who live for the hunt, and those who live for the scraps. A lion puts everything into capturing even the smallest of prey, but a vulture bides its time to swipe a carcass when the lion least expects it. It’s not that the vulture is greedy; it’s more due to the nature of the animal rather than the attitude of one. This is what the friendship of Azuma and Tokio is like in Choujin X, the latest series from Tokyo Ghoul creator Sui Ishida.

It’s 1998, and superhumans known as Choujins roam the Earth secretly amongst the normal people. Tokio and Azuma are average kids, with the latter doing all he can to protect others in the name of justice. However, Tokio tends to be more of a bystander to Azuma’s brave deeds, only getting slivers of credit solely for just being there by his side. But the opportunity to be a hero arrives when a past hooligan named Johnny comes to take revenge on Azuma, using Choujin powers to finish what he tried starting.

During the fight, two needles meant for Johnny’s friends drop, with both Tokio and Azuma deciding to take the questionable elixir. Azuma seems to be unaffected, whereas Tokio’s face takes the form of a vulture’s. How they deal with Johnny isn’t quite fully explained, as the fight is showcased with a plethora of chaos and confusion. Nevertheless, Azuma heads to the hospital whilst Tokio covers his new look back home as best as he can.

What follows is an internal and external battle regarding Tokio’s current situation. For the first time, Tokio has the ability to be the hero in bad situations, as he’s felt guilty being unable to assist Azuma in the past. With that being said, because he’s never been the one to solve problems, Tokio has no idea what to do about his look and his new powers. Most importantly, he has no idea if/how to change back into his original human form!

Much of the first volume focuses on setting up the world of Choujin X. We learn of the existence of these superhumans, and see what kind of power some of them have. From super-stretchy limbs and explosive smoke to transforming into animals, there appears to be different variations of a Choujin’s quirk. But where they come from and why they exist has yet to be revealed, adding a layer of mystery to the overall narrative.

As for Tokio, he spends most of his time dealing with his new look. Even when facing off against another Choujin, much of his antics result in constantly running away. After all, since he has no idea how his power works, this is all that he can do. And it’s no use fighting without a handle of how to do so, especially when what you’re dealing with is as terrifying as a snake woman!

There’s also another character that the manga focuses on, in the form of a poor farmer’s granddaughter. Currently unnamed, she has the first run-in with a Choujin in the story, resulting in a wild chase filled with sheep-headed goons, pogo sticks, and a tractor. Although she’s the first character introduced, readers won’t see what she’s capable of until the second chapter. And when we see what kind of skills she’s capable of — with or without superpowers — the end result is a chase sequence akin to Looney Tunes on steroids!

The strength of the story is equally weighed by Ishida’s visuals. This is a guy who knows to bring beauty to the grotesque, putting in a lot of detail to the violence on display. He also has a knack for adding a little comedy to even the most wildest of situations, which is showcased strongly during the chase between the farmer’s granddaughter and the Smoke Choujin. It’s hard to stop turning the pages when the madness is unleashed, making Choujin X a fast and exciting read.

Volume One of Choujin X sets up the premise very well, while at the same time still keeping key aspects in the dark. But I feel like that’s intentional, as the audience is supposed to learn alongside Tokio how these powers work. Once the acceleration is pushed into full throttle, it doesn’t stop delivering one badass moment after another! Has Ishida struck gold again? Judging by how the premiere of Choujin X goes, I’ll say there’s only 1/1000th of a chance he didn’t.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt and Mandy Earles of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)