Anime

Choujin X Chapter 2: The infectious nature of Choujin powers

In Chapter 1 of Choujin X, we were briefly introduced to a young lady on a plane before it’s blown up by a choujin. That young lady is named Ely Otsuta. In Chapter 2 of Choujin X, she awakens south of where she needs to be. When a worker tells her where the airport is, he’s suddenly set on fire. Ely flees from the choujin that blew up the plane. She steals a roller boy from a child and the choujin give chase. They both soon abandon their rides. The choujin crashes into an alley while Ely grabs a more familiar vehicle, a tractor. The choujin encounters a gang of bikers with heads like sheep. He offers them a “flip phone” if they catch Ely. We finally get his name. Chandra Hume, the smoke choujin.

Blindly chasing Ely, Chandra is hit by a truck. He’s sent flying. However, Ely doesn’t have too much time to celebrate. She along with the bikers crash into the concert and sea below. Suddenly, Ely’s finger tips begin to smoke like Chandra. Assuming she’s going to die, she grabs a sharp object, and stabs herself in her hand. Her powers explode. Chandra appears unharmed. He’s excited to see what he considers the “quick judgement, resolve, and persistence of Ely.” He claims that he “infected” her with his power. He promises to teach her “everything there’s is to know about Choujin.” Ely isn’t interested in becoming his apprentice. She’s horrified that he killed the people on the plane.

Choujin powers are like diseases

Chandra is unsurprisingly is enraged. He grabs Ely and tries to scar her face. Suddenly, a Choujin named Hoshi Sandek arrives. He seems to have a some kind of wind or telekinetic powers. Regardless, Chandra escapes while Ely stares at Hoshi with stars in her eyes. We briefly see the result of Tokio’s transformation. He’s grossed out by his appearance and believes he’s never going to be able to go outside. Choujin X Chapter 2 introduces two interesting concepts to the hero manga. The first is the ability to “infect” other with your powers. It’s interesting that Sui Ishida uses “infect.” Furthermore, they are injected with syringes, connecting the powers with dirty needles.

He’s comparing choujin powers to diseases. Clearly Chandra forced his powers on to Ely but would everyone need to do that? The tone of this series suggests that it will have a negative view of heroes and/or powers. Or at least that’s the impression I got after two chapters. The second thing Choujin X introduces or I should say wants the audience to notice is that Choujin powers aren’t always appealing. While I expect Tokio to revert back to his normal form eventually he’s trapped in a body he hates. I wonder how Ishida will handle this issue. It’s already been done before in American comics like X-Men. Will Ishida have a different take?

Manga

Choujin X Chapter 1: Can a side kick become the main character?

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.

A terrorists' torches the passengers in Chapter 1 of Choujin X.
A terrorists’ torches the passengers

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.

Tokio becomes the Bestial Choujin

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.