- Mangaka : Ishida, Sui
- Publisher : Viz Media
- Genre : Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Seinen
- Published : Feb 2023 - Present
For about a decade since 2011, there was a single seinen manga that stood at the pinnacle of popularity. That was Tokyo Ghoul, as well as its sequel, Tokyo Ghoul:re. This manga series, and its anime adaptation, took the world by storm and pretty much stole the attention of every manga reader and anime viewer around the world.
Tokyo Ghoul elevated the status of its creator, Sui Ishida, into the upper echelon of manga creators. And now, he has finally come back with a new series. The name of this new manga is Choujin X. It was actually first published back in May 2021 on Manga+, but we’ll get to see the physical version of this series from Viz in February 2023. Just the name Sui Ishida alone will make the fans flock to this new series en masse, so let’s see whether it can live up to the unbelievable hype. This is our review for the first volume of Choujin X.
Tokio Kurohara is a shy and awkward high school boy who always somehow ends up being under the spotlight. After all, he always hangs out with his best friend, Azuma Higashi, a dashing boy who excels both at academics and sports. Not only that, Azuma also has an incredibly strong sense of justice, which is why he always runs head-first into any kind of danger in order to save people and punish evil, with Tokio meekly standing behind him. Unfortunately, they soon learn that being a hero of justice can be extremely dangerous.
On one fateful night, while Tokio and Azuma walk home together, they encounter a thug who can turn his body into a rubber-like substance. These kinds of people are called Choujin, a unique group of people who are blessed/cursed with strange powers. Needless to say, Tokio and Azuma are beaten senseless by the Choujin. When the situation seems grim, they stumble upon a couple of syringes that the bad guy claimed to be the Choujin serum. Without hesitation, both of them inject the contents of the serum into their bloodstream. While nothing seems to happen to Azuma yet, Tokio instantly turns into a bird-like beast, with a large beak on his face. And that is the beginning of their story as Choujin.
1. Tokyo Ghoul, But With A Rather Positive Vibe
For those of you who have read Tokyo Ghoul before, you might notice that there are some similarities between Tokyo Ghoul and Choujin X. After all, both of them are basically a story about an awkward boy who suddenly turns into a ghastly creature, and is forced to enter a hidden world that he never even thought about before.
The main difference between the two is how the story progresses after that initial premise. You see, Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul has to undergo countless cruel tragedies before he finally accepts his new fate as a Ghoul. Meanwhile, Tokio seems to find himself in a rather calm and uneventful situation. There are even some funny scenes happening, such as when Tokio talks about his predicament to a couple of pigeons.
That’s why the overall vibe of Choujin X is certainly way more positive than Tokyo Ghoul. This approach allows us to enjoy a rather carefree and leisurely journey as we navigate through the story. So if Tokyo Ghoul is akin to a nerve-racking rollercoaster, then Choujin X is actually more like an exciting Ferris Wheel. This means Choujin X manages to offer something familiar to those who have read Tokyo Ghoul before, but it also has something unique that makes it different and interesting on its own.
2. 2. Mind-Blowing Art
If you've ever seen a page of Tokyo Ghoul before, then you’d know what to expect from the art of Choujin X. Because, as usual, the illustrations are simply spectacular. Sui Ishida has the skill to draw anything with intricate details, but he is particularly masterful at using light and shadows. That talent first bloomed during his Tokyo Ghoul era, but he keeps honing that skill throughout the years to the point that he can basically draw some simple lines and turn it into a life-like and dynamic burst of blackened smoke.
There are loads of examples of Ishida’s brilliant illustrations in this first volume of Choujin X. However, one panel in particular stands out from the rest - the one that we can see right at the beginning of the story. A smoke choujin uses his power and produces a sudden burst of smoke that instantly melts everything that it touches. Ishida drew this panel in such a way that it feels like you can see where the smoke originates, how fast it travels across the room, how much power this sudden gust of smoke generates and how it affects its surroundings, and how scorching the smoke is to the touch. All through one single panel. What a masterful illustration.
1. A Slow Paced Story
Just like Tokyo Ghoul, Choujin X also takes its time to deliver its story. The action sequences are still incredibly fast and exciting, but in between those fight scenes, everything moves at a snail’s pace. Tokio will spend quite a lot of pages wandering around different places, pondering over what has happened to his body and what he should do from now on.
There are pages that have no words, and there are also panels where characters lay out some thick walls of texts that we have to read in order to understand the story. This kind of thing decreases the overall pace of the story tremendously. So if a slow-paced story with several well-timed fight scenes along the way doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then Choujin X might not be for you.
Choujin X is the long-awaited new project from the creator of Tokyo Ghoul, Sui Ishida. Tokyo Ghoul fans will surely find some similar story elements in this new series, but there’s also new stuff introduced in Choujin X that makes it unique and different from its predecessor. Not to mention that the art is also utterly sublime.
However, just like Tokyo Ghoul, Choujin X also uses Sui Ishida’s trademark rollercoaster pace that alternates between a short burst of fast-paced action sequences and a long and winding road of slow-paced drama. One thing for sure, Choujin X is certainly a worthy successor to Tokyo Ghoul and we can’t wait to read the next volumes.
Have you read Choujin X? If you have, what do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.