While it’s also a superhero manga, Choujin X is the complete opposite of all of the values that My Hero Academia stands for – that’s part of its appeal.
The surprise launch of Sui Ishida’s latest series Choujin X has taken the manga world by storm, drawing great excitement from fans over the return of the Tokyo Ghoul author. The story follows two friends, Tokio and Azuma, as they are thrown into a mortal battle against a superhuman choujin. At the end of Chapter #1, the couple make the decision to become choujin themselves.
Azuma and Tokio imagine themselves as superheroes, making it easy to compare Choujin X and My Hero Academia’s approach. Where MHA takes a more candid look at the challenges of doing the best, Choujin X seems prepared to take a markedly different path through the traditional superhero narrative.
The first chapter of Choujin X introduces the concept of Choujin and our two main characters. The sublime choujin are criticized because instead of using their power for good, most choose to destroy. In the manga’s opening, the choujin not only brought down a plane, but it was also revealed that the choujin destroyed a large part of Azuma and Tokio’s hometown. Azuma himself doesn’t appreciate them, commenting that they should do good with their powers, rather than destroy everything they touch.
Azuma plays himself as a local hero but takes his role too far when he jumps in to save a young woman from being harassed by a group of thugs. With a powerful kick, Azuma broke one of the thug’s arm. While this did his job to get the rest of the thugs on the run, it backfired on him when Johnny, the thug, became a choujin and returned to defeat Azuma. Among the options to stop Johnny, Azuma and Tokio have no choice but to become monsters themselves.
Being a hero can have many different meanings. The My Hero Academia outlook is a hero meant to help everyone. Following in the footsteps of legendary hero All Might, Midoriya wants to save as many people as possible – including villains. When Midoriya confronts Shigaraki, almost every hero tells him that Shigaraki cannot be redeemed and that his only option is to kill the villain, even though Midoriya only sees him as someone begging for help. Midoriya’s compassion is what allows him to reach out to the perpetrators and reach out to help them, realizing that the hero and the villain are just two sides of the same coin.
However, the kind of heroism Choujin X seems to focus on is acting against justice – even if it has to be done by violent means. While Azuma saved the woman from Johnny, he focused on punishing the thug rather than making sure the girl was safe. Also, breaking both of Johnny’s arms is definitely overkill. Where Midoriya works to ensure everyone gets the help they need, Azuma prioritizes punishing those who deserve it, while Tokio watches.
The irony here is that Azuma looks down on Choujin, who has these abundant powers but refuses to use them for good, but Azuma doesn’t do much good with his brutal pursuit of justice either. He doesn’t mind hurting people as long as he gets the job done, which only makes him better than choujin. But, really choujin now, will he follow his own advice? Or will he become the very thing he once despised?
We don’t know much about the nature of the choujin other than Johnny and the man earlier in the chapter, who destroyed a plane but strangely didn’t kill anyone. But what is evident is that being a choujin is not a gift – it is a curse. Their destructive impulses can be intrinsic, which can certainly trouble our main couple who want to do good. However, the end of chapter 1 doesn’t reveal much about how the transformation has affected Azuma and Tokio physically and mentally.
Choujin is considered a “disease” – an illness that seems to foreshadow Tokio and Azuma’s choice to become choujin that will not only bring them pain and suffering, but also lead to alienation. While Chapter 1 leaves a lot of room to guess where the story will go, if the manga sticks to its heroic plot, Choujin X could take on an even darker vigilante role for their two main characters. us compared to when they were human.