Manga

My favorite 7 manga that started (and for some ended) in 2021

7) Candy Flurry

Candy Flurry is a manga series that began in April of 2021. Unfortunately, it’s already been cancelled. The series followed Tsumugi Minase, a “sweet user” who uses a lollipop as a weapon. In the world of Candy Flurry, a corporation called the Toy Toy Candy, makes confections that grant those that eat them magic candy powers. After five years, Toy Toy Candy became restricted and the “Sweet Police” were formed to stop Sweet Users. Each user can’t have the same powers but somehow Minase and a mysterious criminal both can use lollipop’s. She must hide her powers to avoid getting arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. Candy Flurry only reach 2 full volumes, but I think it’s worth a read.

6) The Hunters Guild: Red Hood

Like Candy Flurry, The Hunter Guild got the axe. A manga from Yuki Kawaguchi, Hunters Guild tells the story of Velou. From the small village of Kasoka, Velou calls the Hunters Guild to deal with their werewolf problem. Grimm is a hunter that arrives. At first she’s a little then she becomes a tall woman. Hunters Guild was always a gamble. Based on the fairytale (Little Red Riding Hood), the series was potential going to feel unoriginal. It liked what Kawaguchi did with werewolf lore, but it wasn’t enough.

5) Ayashimon

Ayashimon is a new series written and illustrated by Yuji Kaku. Maruo Kaido is a manga fan with dreams of becoming a “manga hero”. Blessed with superstrength due to special training inspired by manga he reads, Maruo meets Urara. An oni ayashimon, Urara is on the run from the ayashimon yakuza. Using his strength, Maruo saves her from the gang. Impressed, Urara recruits him into her yakuza group. The first question that came to mind after reading the first chapter of Ayashimon was, do we really need ANOTHER series about demons? I think the genre is becoming bloated. That said, making the ayashimon yakuza is an interesting twist. I don’t think it will be enough. But, I’ll give it a try.

4) Choujin x

Sui Ishida is best known for the series Tokyo Ghoul, which collectively sold 34 million copies. This year Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump released Choujin X. The story focuses on Azuma Higashi and his friend Tokio Kurohara. Polar opposites, the two friends live in the Yamato Prefecture, a district overwhelmed by Choujins. After an encounter with a Choujin, Tokio and Azuma decide they must become Choujin themselves. Tokio injects himself with a mysterious syringe, transforming into a vulture form. His life will never be the same.

3) Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse

A spinoff of the popular Seven Deadly Sins series, Four Knights of the Apocalypse follows Percival, a young boy who’s prophesized to become one of the Four Knights that will destroy the world. Unlike sequel series like Boruto, Four Knights was deliberately separated form the cast of Seven Deadly Sins. Instead of using the son of Meliodas and Elizabeth, Tristan, Nakaba Suzuki created Percival. Son of the Holy Knight, Ironside, Percival was raised by his grandfather until his father tried to murder them both. Percival is set on a journey to find his father and get revenge.

2) Bleach: One Shot

Like most Bleach fans I was eagerly awaiting the return of one of the best manga series. This year the Bleach One Shot was released. As Soul Society prepares for Soul Funeral Festival, a “ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain.” Kubo attempts to explain the reason we never heard of this festival is due to how rare Captain deaths are. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander Genryusai, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. The One Shot introduces several new characters specifically, Vice Captains Rindo and YuYu. I wouldn’t recommend it for those new to Bleach. The One Shot is worth reading especially if you’re a fan of the series.

1) Dandadan

I was first drawn to this series when I saw the art on Twitter. Dandadan is a series written and illustrated by Yukinobu Tatsu. It focuses on high school girl Momo Ayase. She believes in ghosts but not aliens, contrasting her with Okarun, who believes aliens but not ghosts. The two decide to prove each other wrong by heading to separate locations where the occult are known to exists. They both prove the other right, as they encounter aliens and ghosts respectively. Manga isn’t short on demon, ghosts, and the other occult imagery but I think Dandadan has a unique spin on this genre. I love the creative design of the various creatures, they’re so well done and imaginative. Dandadan blends sex comedy, action, and humor with beautify art. I think it’s the best new manga series of 2021.

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.