Analyzing Choujin X Chapter 3: Guilt

I guess Asuma feels guilty about Tokio's current predicament. Will this cause friction among the close friends or will they somehow work things out? Read on as I breakdown Choujin X Chapter 3 to understand their relationship

Sui Ishida, the man behind the masterpiece known as Tokyo Ghoul, is back with a bang! Yes, the popular Mangaka seems quite excited about his new series Choujin X, so much so that the guy dropped Chapter 3 without any warning. In the intro of my Chapter 2 review article, I did say he’ll take us by surprise by suddenly announcing that the next chapter is almost done. But I never imagined he’ll drop the whole chapter on Twitter right out of the blue!

I’m just glad he feels alright and quite energetic. Mangakas work better with no deadline pressures. It gives them room to explore and write the story comfortably. But in recent times, the fear of increasing health issues is concerning. In a recent live stream, Ishida did cough a lot. I hope he takes better care of his health.

The last chapter was wacky and hysterical. The whole chase scene was a fun ride. Choujin X Chapter 3 takes a serious turn as the focus finally shifts to our two main protagonists – Tokio Kurohara and Azuma Higashi. I’m sure the folks at r/ChoujinX will go wild with the theorizing. But now that we got some material, I guess it wouldn’t hurt… (Proceeds to spend hours zooming in each panel and taking notes).

The much-awaited continuation of Choujin X Chapter 1’s cliffhanger is here! So without further ado, let’s get crackin’!

Azuma’s Guilt

As Tokio carries an unconscious Azuma in the hopes of reaching a hospital, the latter wakes up and glances shockingly at his friend. Junpei is glad that Haise Sasaki is unharmed. But on the safe side, he instructs to check himself at the hospital. However, the usually strong-willed Azuma appears queerly downtrodden. Sure he gives an excuse to go to the hospital alone, but I think he’s hiding something. Something about Choujins that he doesn’t want to reveal yet. Or it could be something to do with his physical and mental health that he does not want to discuss.

Strangely enough, the white-haired hero didn’t seem to be affected by the syringe. At least for the time being. Let’s go deep to understand why it is so.

Why didn’t Azuma become a Choujin?

After visiting the hospital, Azuma tells Tokio that there’s no change in his body and everything seems alright. Hmm… seems very fishy.

I think he’s lying here. His facial expressions tell me something’s up. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Right now, let’s think about what happened after Azuma injected himself with the syringe.

Azuma suspects that a Choujin turns into a form he/she desires the most. I reckon this happens when one is injected with a serum and not infected by someone else’s powers like Ely in Chapter 2. For Tokio, that visit to the Zoo and being compared to a Buzzard hold a special memory. For Johnny Takeyama, I guess he’s been reading too much of One Piece. He got inspired by Luffy’s Gomu Gomu No and wanted similar powers. Will I become a Saiyan if I take a shot?

So why didn’t Azuma transform into a Choujin? Here are some possibilities that I could think of:

  • The serum simply did not work on Azuma. Perhaps there exists a probability and the serum’s chances of working are slim. As a result, he did not become a Choujin.
  • The serum does work but has a delayed effect. Choujins require a trigger or physical damage for their powers to activate. This is true in the cases of Tokio, Johnny and Ely. Mohawk man transformed only after Azuma kicked on his face, Tokio changed when Johnny whacked him on his cheek and Ely unleashed the smoke after piercing her hand with a knife. Maybe Azuma will transform once a powerful trigger comes in his way.
  • Notice how Johnny’s arms got healed even before Azuma kicked him. This means that the Choujin healing ability activates even without a trigger. But Azuma is still hurt after getting injected. What if the injection had a critically adverse effect that is causing our white-haired hero both mental and physical pain?

It’s surprising that Azuma didn’t feel glad he didn’t turn into a monster that he hated. So why the gloomy face? There could be two reasons:

  • Azuma feels guilty about Tokio’s current predicament. The Junpei look-alike wanted to run away and get as far away from Johnny when the latter went berserk. But Azuma said that no matter how far we run, he’d find and kill us. So Mr. Specs boy decided to take the syringe and do the dirty work. But flashbacks happen and Tokio decides to join him. He felt that Azuma’s always the one to save his ass and now he wants to do something heroic for a change. Otherwise, his guilt and cowardice may sour his friendship with Azuma.

After hearing those words, Azuma gives the same sad expression he gives in Chapter 3.

Analyzing Choujin X Chapter 3: Azuma is not happy with Tokio's decision
Tokio injecting the serum along with Azuma doesn’t resonate well

Azuma could have listened to him, but no, he had to open up and say “let’s inject ourselves with some god only knows what”. Of course, if this happened the plot wouldn’t be interesting. But you get what I mean.

He’s usually the intelligent one amongst the duo and these events made him feel humiliated. Maybe he thought Tokio would hate him and that’s why he didn’t reply to his text. He truly feels sorry for the guy and gets overburdened by guilt.

Analyzing Choujin X Chapter 3: Feelings of Guilt sprout from Azuma
Feelings of guilt overflow Azuma’s mind

However, Azuma suddenly screaming at Tokio was intriguing. Why did he do so? Did his overburdening guilt make him lose his temper? Perhaps. But is there more to it than meets the eye? That’s what I’m thinking.

Recall the possibility of an adverse effect caused by the injection I mentioned a while back. What if the effects are fatal? What if he’s dying slowly and he doesn’t want Tokio to know? This will be quite shocking if this happens I agree, but it’s not as far-fetched as you think.

Remember the first panel of Choujin X Chapter 1 where there was a huge vulture and a naked Tokio & the words “It’s something of an affliction”? Well, why isn’t Azuma there? He’s supposed to be more useful than Tokio while the latter brands himself as pathetic. Maybe Azuma doesn’t become a Choujin or he dies a slow and painful death. I admit It’s quite a scary thought but one that is possible.

Tokio’s Fear

Our Junpei look-alike is filled with anguish and despair as the words “You’ll never go back to old life if anyone finds out you’re a Choujin” keep ringing in his ear.

Azuma said two important things:

  • “If word gets out you became a Choujin by injecting a serum, the wrong person might start meddling in”
    • Does this mean either the mysterious mask man who killed Johnny or Chandra Hume might start looking for Tokio? We’ll discuss more into that later.
  • “Until you can control your body, you can’t go outside”.
    • Tokio starts shivering and wails at the thought of being like this forever. He struggles to even eat a couple of pancakes (the dude takes half an hour. That’s quite a long time). Thankfully he’s not facing the exact same problems as Kaneki regarding food but there are some similarities. Since he has a vulture-like body, I wonder whether he’d be comfortable eating flesh…

Anyway, he’s unable to control his Choujin form. Ely and Johnny experienced the same issue. All three of them have no memory of when they went berserk. Tokio doesn’t remember how he took down Johnny while the latter couldn’t believe he killed his own men and wept before he died. Also Ely doesn’t remember saving the plane. Her powers went kaput when she unleashed all that smoke to save the goat humanoid creatures.

On the contrary, Chandra and Hoshi Sandek seem to be in control of their Choujin abilities. Practice makes a man perfect. If Ely and Tokio learn to control their powers, I think they could retract their Choujin forms at will. Then Tokio would not have to be stuck with his form all the time. When Kaneki transformed into his Kakuja form, he could revert to his earlier form. This is because he had control over the power. The same can be possible for Tokio as well. Cheer up man, at least you don’t find human food putrid.

But there’s no denying that Tokio faces similar problems Kaneki faced. The same fear, thought process and feelings of self-deprecation.

And just like Tokyo Ghoul’s themes, there’s seems to be an Aogiri Tree, the CCG and the masked men gang of Choujin X.

Enter Furuta 2.0

If someone like Furuta exists, I think we know where this is going. F for Tokio in advance.

If we’re gonna compare aspects of Tokyo Ghoul, I guess he’s the leader of an organization that wants to convert more humans into Choujins. Chandra Hume might have hopped into that plane for the same reason. He could be a part of this masked man’s guy’s operations. Or he could be part of a different group than the masked men. Just like how the clowns and Aogiri Tree were separate in Tokyo Ghoul.

We saw this guy in chapter 1 handing over the syringes to Johnny. Under his shoe, the word “Helmes” is written. Helmes is a famous American shoe brand so Mr. Mask man might be American. We don’t know whether he’s a Choujin himself or not, but he might know about those syringes. He said something weird as well. He referred to Tokio’s Choujin looks as a “mask with a beak”. And Tokio does indeed look like he’s wearing a mask in some panels. Is it like a mask that is stuck to your skin? Could be…

Incidentally, Hoshi Sandek and Chandra Hume seem to know each other. Maybe Chandra is a wanted criminal by the Yamato Prefecture Choujin Protection squad so as soon as he saw Hoshi, he’d thought it might be better to flee.

Final Thoughts

Another great chapter done and dusted. With a great desire amongst the fandom to know what to the duo, Choujin X Chapter 3 gave us what we wanted. With Ishida writing without constraints, Choujin could end up being better than Tokyo Ghoul, if done right. I know it sounds far-fetched with only 3 chapters released so far, but it does have the potential…

I reckon Tokio and Azuma will have a pretty dynamic relationship, given what’s been going on. Azuma was seen as the leader and a brave lad who takes all major decisions whereas Tokio is that timid, cowardly and harmless creature who followed orders or relied on others. I could definitely foreshadow a reversal of roles.

This Chapter is named “Stand by the west”. Azuma’s name signifies the east direction. This could foreshadow the possibility of them parting ways and going in different directions. Will this create tension between the duo?

So what do you think of Choujin X Chapter 3? How will Tokio and Azuma move on from here? Let me know in the comments below!

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