Home Review: Sui Ishida's Choujin X Vol. 1

Review: Sui Ishida's Choujin X Vol. 1

Choujin X, the newest series from Sui Ishida (best known for the Tokyo Ghoul series), began serialization in 2021, but what better time to take a look at it than now, when it is finally getting a physical English release? If you’re familiar with Ishida’s previous works you’ll rightfully assume that it focuses on introspection, personal growth, and overcoming obstacles from within. But, this is not Tokyo Ghoul and while they do share some similarities, it is a completely different story.

The story of Choujin X is set in an alternate universe in the 1990s: mysterious creatures called choujins wreaked havoc in the world and Japan now has a completely different government. The first character we meet is Ely Otta. She’s a teenager who helps her grandfather with his farm and she is on a plane when a choujin attacks it and the passengers.

As the plane goes down, a teenager named Tokio Kurohara sees it from his classroom. One thing about Tokio is important: he spends his days living in the shadow of his best friend, Azuma. So after his teacher pays him no mind, Tokio heads home and sees a woman who is being harassed. Of course, he calls his best friend to help and Azuma chases the thugs away. But the thugs come up with a sinister revenge plan: they will become choujin and pay Azuma back. As the two groups clash, Tokio is able to do something he hasn’t been able to do before: protect Azuma. He awakens the choujin power by injecting himself with a mysterious serum and is able to defeat the thugs.

But, now he is stuck looking like a bird: a vulture, to be more precise. Tokio, who was once compared to a vulture standing next to a lion (Azuma), subconsciously took on the form he most desired. Much to his surprise, Azuma pushes him away, forcing him to think for himself at last. Left alone, Tokio spends his days trying to figure out how to turn back to “normal” but is unable, until he gets attacked once again. During the fight, he learns new things and runs into Ely…

Choujin X – What Makes It Stand Out?

For me, it’s Tokio. He is the imperfect protagonist, not someone to look up to, but someone weak and perhaps even annoying at times. In some regard, he is similar to Kaneki Ken just with less angst. Choujin X also has something Tokyo Ghoul seldom did: absurd humor, especially when you don’t expect it. Tokio’s interactions with pigeons, zoo birds that place bets while using feed as money, and the scooter chase (with Ely’s tractor skills) all helped make the story flow smoother. These moments are also in stark contrast with the biblical names and titles, as well as the art that borders on disturbing.

It is obvious that Choujin X is aimed at an older audience that is not fully ready to let go of common “shonen” style tropes. And that is a great thing because you can get the best of both worlds: enjoying the silly action while questioning the meaning of life and existence.

The first volume of Choujin X is going on sale on February 21.

Anime Corner received a review copy of Viz Media’s release of Choujin X manga for review purposes.
CHOUJIN X © 2021 by Sui Ishida/SHUEISHA Inc.

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