Choujin X opens with a sweet moment between an old lady and young girl on a plane. The young lady is hoping to win a fair with her tomayto’s. The winner gets prompt leading to more orders and hopefully wealth. She goes through the hopes and dreams she has for herself. A “ginormous house,” a big “dog” , and a “handsome goldilocks hubbie.” Suddenly, a rude passenger asks the old lady to let him pass. When she struggles to unhook the seat belt, he threatens to hit her. The young lady interferes, chastising the man for his actions. The man apologizes, then releases what appears to be black smoke from under his fingernails. The passengers all ignite in flames as the plane begins to smoke. Choujin X is already showing us the innocent will suffer in this series.
Tokio Kurohara is a second year student at Tsuru High. When walking home he witnesses a young woman being harassed. He calls his friend, Azuma Higashi to save her. The blond mushroom haired hero, leaps onto the scene. With a kick he shatters the thugs bones that stick out of his arms. The thug flees with his associates, while Tokio shutters at the scene. The two comment on the terrorist attack we witnessed in earlier pages. The culprit is apparently a “Choujin.” Azuma notes that the Choujin abuse their powers and he hopes to find a way to stop them. Elsewhere, the thug from earlier has a casts on both arms and now can’t online shop. He wants revenge on Azuma. A mysterious figure offers to heal his arms with a syringe.
The Flexi Choujin meets the Bestial Choujin
At home, Tokio marvels to his family over Azuma. The son of a cop, Azuma has won numerous judo and karate tournaments. Sui Ishida presents Tokio admiration of Azuma as almost cult like. During an art class, the students are tasked with drawing an “animal that’s just like you.” Azuma’s classmates compare him to a lion and Tokio is compared to a vulture. Despite what his classmates and sister think, Tokio seems to be okay with his sidekick status. The next day, Tokio and Azuma volunteer at the plane crash site. Apparently, there were 200 survivors. Returning home, Azuma is attacked by the thug from earlier. With his arms healed he dominated Azuma, whos kicks have no impact. The thug’s name is Johnny Kiyoshi Takeyama and has become the Flexi Choujin.
According to his fellow gang members, Johnny’s behavior has change. As they ask him to return to the “kinda naughty mama’s boy” he decapitates them. Panicked, Tokio rushes to Azuma’s side, grabs him, and jumps in the river. Sensing Johnny is a violent monster, Azuma decides to inject himself with the syringe becoming a Choujin himself. In a flashback, we see how they meet. Azuma saved him from some bullies. In order to pay Azuma back, Tokio injects himself, becoming the Bestial Choujin. With any new manga series the first thing we do is look for comparisons with other series. Choujin X has some features particularly it’s theme (superheroes) and the mechanism for acquiring powers, that reminded me of My Hero Academia and One Piece.
Choujin X’s, One Piece inspiration
While the Quirks in My Hero Academia are hereditary and therefore predictable, the devil fruit in One Piece are more random. Flexi Choujin reminded me of Monkey D. Luffy with his stretchy ability. None of this is an attack on Choujin X, there’s only so many superpowers and personally I think originality is overrated. That said, I can’t image Sui Ishida doesn’t have some king of original take on the superheroes genre. Tokio is an interesting character. He’s seems to be the main character compared to Azuma, but he’s a coward. With his transformation he has taken a first step towards taking initiative for his own life. He still did so out of guilty and a sense of responsibility towards Azuma. I like that his change seems to be subtle and hopefully he will slowly come out of his shell.
The survival of 200 passengers in this chapter is the most interesting part. Why didn’t they all die? I can’t imagine the series will not reference this outcome in the future. Was there another Choujin involved? Who’s the mysterious man who injected Johnny? To my earlier points regarding Choujin X’s similarities to other series, I really want to know how the power system functions. All these mystery’s will likely be solved in the future. Choujin X has large shoes to fill considering Sui Ishida previous series Tokyo Ghoul was such a hit.