Chapter Eight: My Benefit.
The eighth chapter of Sui Ishida’s Choujin X, “My Benefit,” is another solid chapter that picks up well with the aftermath from Tokio and Ely’s fight with the Snake Choujin, Nari.
It starts off by immediately dismissing my theory that Tokio’s name being mistaken for Zaven in the last chapter would allow him to hide his true identity from the Choujin organization, while continuing to help them.
It actually turns out that whole Zaven thing was just a gag because the organization of Yamato Mori knows who Tokio is and have given him the story that he is now a witness for a secret agent, so his family and people at school will not learn that he is a Choujin.
The only one who does know from Tokio’s life is obviously Azuma, who takes the time to apologise to Tokio for yelling and not helping him when he needed it.
Tokio forgives him and admits Azuma was right about him constantly relying on people.
Things seem good between the two but the next panel displaying the light reflecting off Azuma’s glasses, hiding his eyes, does raise some suspiscion.
I wonder what is truly going through Azuma’s head?
After this, Tokio goes to Yamato Mori to learn about his registration.
It’s here that he meets up with Ely and two other Choujin, Simon Kagomura, who was the Choujin who saved them from Nari last chapter, and Maiko Momoma, the woman seen with Ely in the last few chapters but who had her face hidden previously.
The two inform Tokio and Ely about the registration system.
Simon and Maiko, along with others at Yamato Mori, have Class A registration, meaning they can use their powers for research or the betterment of society, like protecting people from Choujin attacks like Simon did with capturing Nari.
Tokio and Ely are about to receive Class B registration, which will only allow them to use their powers if they or others are in danger, or by accident since Choujin powers are connected to emotion.
Tokio does express some interest in getting Class A registration but Simon’s scolding gets him to meekly relent.
We then get our first look at Maiko’s powers when she uses super strength to clear a fallen tree.
She makes Tokio and Ely look away when she does this though, so she must be shy about it for some reason.
Either that or there is a practical reason for her trying to hide her power, which could be revealed later.
Following this, Tokio and Ely are interviewed by Sandaq, who drills them on what they consider to be good and evil, and who they consider their allies and enemies to be.
He then hits them with the impotant question that shapes the chapter and possibly Tokio’s life going forward: what do they hope to benefit from their lives?
For Ely, the answer is easy: money.
That’s right, we got another Ochako Uraraka on our hands here.
Although, the dream for money to make them and their loved ones happy is pretty much the only similarity between the two.
On another note, I’m interested to see what the other character’s thought about Ely’s declaration, since it could be interpreted as not being noble and the reaction panels we get from Tokio, Sandaq, Simon and Maiko are interesting.
Yet, this bit is cut short for a comedic moment when Sandaq questions if it will make all of her wishes come true and Ely says most of them, reminding us again of her crush on Sandaq.
I wonder if this will become a running gag or if Ely’s crush on Sandaq will become disillusioned in the future?
Maybe like how Tokio and Azuma’s friendship could become broken if their bond is going the way I think it is.
Once this comedic moment is over, Sandaq turns to Tokio and asks him the same question but, unlike Ely, Tokio has no idea what he hopes to benefit.
It is interesting how most other protaganists in manga have some kind of goal or dream to achieve at the beginning of their stories.
Izuku from My Hero Academia wanted to become a hero, Eren from Attack on Titan wanted to exterminate the Titans, Denji from Chainsaw Man wanted a good life and to touch some boobs.
Tokio, on the other hand, does not know what he wants and it is a pretty good change of pace.
He and Ely really are complete opposites.
Whereas Ely is already certain about what she wants in life, Tokio is hesitant and uncertain.
Ely later confronts him about this, asking what’s the point of living without a dream, probably coming off more insulting than she intended.
With this scene expanding on the opposites dynamic of Tokio and Ely, it also offers a possible character arc for Tokio in the future, as he could slowly begin to sperate from needing Azuma and discover his own dream and strive towards it.
This could also be foreshadowed in the next scene where a news report states that a vulture and a tiger remain at large, having escaped from the zoo Tokio and Ely fought Nari in.
Tokio is definitley being represented by the vulture and Azuma most likely the tiger.
Whatever Tokio decides his dream is though, there will probably be complications to achieving it, no doubt mostly caused by the enemy Choujin out there.
We get our first look at two of them after the zoo symbolism, and these Choujin are revealed to be named Ririka Umezawa, or Ume, and Richard, or Ricardo, in the next chapter.
These two dangerous Choujin have been sent to clean up after Nari, probably by the masked Choujin who started this whole thing.
But, because this is Choujin X, there has to be some comedy so, instead of ending on this ominous note, the chapter instead ends with Tokio curiously asking his sister what dreams she has, only for her to shout that it is to marry into money.
I guess her and Ely would get along then.
Overall, “My Benefit” is another solid chapter for Choujin X.
It formly introduces us to some interesting characters and excellently sets up the future of Tokio’s character arc, wherever that may take him.
Chapter Nine: Sinker, Part 1 – Grounder Boy.
Chapter Nine picks up from “My Benefit” in an interesting way because, while it continues to expand on Tokio’s lack of a dream, it seems to contrast this with a new character whose dream was destroyed by him becoming a Choujin.
This contrast starts with two sets of characters, Tokio at his home, and the Choujin Ume and Richard in what appears to be a motel, watching Azuma’s baseball match on TV.
On a side note it is intriguing to see how this world differs somewhat from our own through the portrayal of baseball, with the bases seemingly being in the shape of a hexagon.
The main focus is on how this sets up the introduction for the new character though, with Azuma’s skills being compared to that of a student who was even better than Azuma.
However, Richard says that he had to quit because he turned into a Choujin in the middle of a match.
This student is then revealed as Tezuya Shiozaki, who will clearly be a big focus of the next chapter, if the Part 1 in the title refrencing him is any indication.
From his introduction, we cut to an expansion on Richard and Ume, as Tokio sees their wanted posters.
Noticing this, another new character, Ichiro Sato, who is explained by Simon to be Sandaq’s protege, tells Tokio that Ume is the Paper-Cutout Choujin who is responsible for numerous bank robberies.
As for Richard, he is a Tentacle Choujin who works as a bodyguard for criminal organizations, but also betrayed one of these groups, killing all of the members.
Since we have seen Richard working with Ume, I wonder if that means she hired him to help her in whatever job she has been tasked with?
Back to Tokio, he sees Ichiro taking Tezuya for his latest Choujin evaluation and Tokio becomes intrigued when Simon tells him that Tezuya used to go Tsuru High, like him.
This intrigue is interrupted by anoter great gag when Ely wonders aloud if Yamato Mori could make her some cash, and her eyes become coins, much to Tokio’s exasperation.
From here, we get a brief look at Ichiro’s evaluation of Tezuya, during which he claims to not be interested in baseball anymore, and afterwards has a brief interaction with Tokio.
Following this, Tezuya goes home to his siblings, only to take part in a bank robbery later.
It would seem losing his dream of baseball thanks to his Choujin powers caused Tezuya to go down a dark path.
Once this is displayed, we get another showcase of Tokio and Ely’s days at Yamato Mori, with them watching a presentation on what the consequences can be if they lose control of their Choujin powers.
Maiko also falls asleep during this, which is comedic since it seems she was supposed to be supervising.
In the next scene, we then get an expansion on Tokio and Ely’s growing friendship, with Tokio teaching Ely how to use a phone so she can call her grandfather.
The two then walk out, with Ely consoling Tokio, telling him it does not matter if he does not have a dream, motivating Tokio begin trying to find his own dream .
This causes Ely to ask if he can help her find something, but we don’t hear what.
Then, for the last scene, we cut back to Tezuya, who discovers one of Ume’s cutout dogs, which shocks him when he grabs hold of it.
This is concerning because if Ume and Richard learn of Tezuya’s darker side then they could try to recruit him, maybe even blackmailing him.
Yamato Mori certainly would not be pleased if they learned of Tezuya’s nightly activities, after all.
Still, Tezuya has a chance of redemption from Tokio and Ely, as the chapter ends with the two of them seeing him illegally use his Choujin Powers to steal a soft drink when the vending machine won’t accept his money.
How fitting that the chapter ends with the Choujin whose dream was destroyed by becoming one about to have a conversation with the Choujin who does not have a dream and the one who does.
This could lead to some interesting growth for all three characters, so I am intrigued to see where Chapter Ten will go.
The ninth chapter of Choujin X is another solid one from Ishida.
He has yet to release a bad chapter for this series.