Choujin X Turns a Classic Tokyo Ghoul Villain Into a Hero
Spoilers ahead for Choujin X chapter 26.1!
Mangaka Sui Ishida is revisiting dynamics he explored with his semi-reformed villain Shuu Tsukiyama aka the Gourmet Ghoul from Tokyo Ghoul in his new manga Choujin X.
As a ghoul who enjoys eating the rarest and most delicious human and ghoul meats, Tokyo Ghoul's Tsukiyama has always been obsessed with the prospect of feasting on Ken Kaneki's flesh, since Kaneki is a rare hybrid. Eventually, Tsukiyama joined Kaneki's group under the guise of friendship (though he planned on eventually betraying Kaneki.) Ironically, Tsukiyama came to actually love and even worship Kaneki, though he still fantasized about eating his flesh. Although his feelings were genuine, Kaneki and his friends could sense the twisted nature of Tsukiyama's desires and therefore never truly trusted him. But Kaneki always kept him close regardless, to the surprise of his allies.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Choujin X’s Long-Awaited Return Still Won’t Identify the Hero
Sui Ishida is now emulating this dynamic in his new manga Choujin X through his character Azuma who lost control when he first transformed into a choujin and tried to kill his best friend Tokio. In chapter 26.1, it's clear that many of the other choujins where Tokio trains don't trust Azuma. A more established and experienced choujin named Kagomura even confronts the young Azuma directly and makes sure he's aware of his grievances. Meanwhile, two choujin leaders discuss why they are taking the risk of protecting such an unstable person in the same chapter.
Although similar to Tsukiyama, Choujin X is incorporating newer elements into Azuma's relationship with the other choujins when compared to Tokyo Ghoul. Unlike Azuma, Tsukiyama is much more established as a monster with superhuman powers that could easily overpower the other ghouls in Kaneki's group. So even though no one else trusts him, it never puts Tsukiyama at a disadvantage that threatens his life. Of course, if Kaneki rejected him then Tsukiyama would have had no choice but to leave, but this dynamic is very different from what Azuma currently faces.
Choujin X's Azuma is new as a choujin and can't control his powers very well even though he's quite strong. Therefore, when other choujins give him a hard time and even threaten him, the situation is much more dire and readers are more inclined to fear for his wellbeing. This was never the case with Tsukiyama. Moreover, Choujin X's version of Kaneki, Tokio, is much more naive and innocent and has accepted Azuma full-heartedly. There isn't any "begrudging trust" going on with their relationship. It definitely helps that Tokio is more compelled to love and trust Azuma since they grew up together as kids and Tokio has always admired him, even worshipping him like a hero.
Besides for the fact that both series are written by the same creator, mangaka Sui Ishida has drawn other parallels between Choujin X and Tokyo Ghoul, some of which are blatantly obvious like naming Tokio after the previous series. Even the premise of how Tokio and Azuma became choujins mimics the grisliness of how Kaneki became a ghoul. Regardless, Azuma's character is undoubtedly complex, remixing many ideas and themes from Tokyo Ghoul into an intriguing new form for Choujin X.