Choujin X, Chapter 21, A Cloaker Review: Antagonist Payoff.

Ever since the first Chapter of Choujin X, readers have been wondering what role Azuma would have in the story, with many, including myself, theorizing that he would go on to become an antagonist.
Well, Chapter 21, “A Cloaker”, seems to have confirmed this theory.
I have not reviewed many of recent Choujin X chapters but I have really enjoyed them, as it felt like something big was coming, what with Tokio’s kidnapping by Ume and Ricardo, followed by Azuma’s brutal death at Ume’s hands.
However, I and many others did not believe Azuma was dead because he had been built up quite a bit beforehand, and had seemingly awakened some of his Choujin abilities, what with the escaped Hyena being able to talk with him.
Sure enough, “A Cloaker” begins with Azuma’s resurrection, as his Choujin power finally acitvates, and in the most horrifying way, at that.
This resurrection appears from a dying Azuma’s POV, as we see a statue looking down on him, presenting its hands, almost as if it is gifting him his Choujin power.
Along with this religiously symbolic image, we also see a fly coming down to land on Azuma’s eyelid and walk across it, reminding Azuma of a time when he saw jets flying in the sky as a child.
While this is happening, we get narration from an unknown person explaining that Choujin are given the form that most becomes them, often based off their emotions and feelings, like that of hope, fury, love, etc.
This creates a complex, which Azuma was apparently lacking up until this point because he could not become a Choujin without it.
Now, however, as the dying Azuma looks up at the moon, he gains this complex, allowing him to transform into the titular Moon Beast we saw at the end of the previous chapter.
So, great, Azuma is here to help save Tokio, right?
Well, not exactly.
He certainly starts off doing so by brutally dispatching Ricardo and Ume, decapitating Ricardo, and kicking Ume in the back so hard that his foot ejects out of her chest.
The reason Azuma so easily defeats these two is explained by the narrator to be because his fighting strength was already strong before he become a Choujin, so it has been amplified.
Ely realizes the Moon Beast is Azuma, yet, before she can do anything, Azuma is upon her, punching through her stomach, even though she is trying to help Tokio.
At this point, Tokio and Azuma seem to notice one another, and Azuma is shown to be baring his teeth towards Tokio in a look of surprising hatred.
Azuma easily beats Tokio aside when he tries to help Ely, and breaks Momoma’s neck and slices Simon’s throat when they try to stop him as well.
With Tokio being the last man standing, Azuma then turns to him and speaks his first words as a Choujin: “Tokio… Fight… Me.”
The chapter then ends on Tokio’s horrified, “why?”, which, in my opinion, is Tokio asking both why Azuma would hurt all of his friends and why Azuma wants to fight him.
As for the answer to the latter, I think it is because Azuma has an inferiority complex directed towards Tokio.
For so long, Tokio had relied on Azuma for almost everything, yet he was the one to become a Choujin first and do heroic acts.
With Azuma’s penchant for fighting for justice, this may have caused him to feel inferior to Tokio, leading to him entering a chaos state when he first transformed, much like Shiozaki, resulting in him attacking everyone and wanting to fight Tokio to prove himself.
My question, though, is why Azuma was able to speak with the Hyena a couple of chapters ago?
Beast Choujins are able to talk to the animals that their transformations are based off.
So, Tokio can talk to birds as a Vulture Choujin and Nari can talk to snakes as a Snake Choujin.
Given that Azuma could talk to the Hyena, I thought that meant he would turn into a Hyena Choujin but he has instead transformed into a Moon Beast.
This makes sense because Azuma was looking up at the moon when he resurrected and transformed but I still wonder how he was able to talk with the Hyena?
Hopefully, this will be explained in a future chapter.
Another obvious question I am sure all of us readers have after finishing this chapter is how many of the characters have died at Azuma’s hands?
I am sure all of our main characters who were injured will survive, these being Ely, Simon, and Momoma.
Ume and Ricardo, however, are another matter.
Ume looked quite dead when Azuma kicked her off the roof, yet Azuma also looked dead and he was just resurrected.
Also, Ricardo was decapitated but in one panel it looks like he is groaning, so he may make it out.
Honestly, I hope the both of them do survive, along with our main characters because I quite like them as antagonists.
As for how the fight between Tokio and Azuma will go, I honestly don’t see Tokio winning.
Azuma just straight up massacred dozens of other Choujins who are stronger than Tokio at this point.
The fight might be interrupted by the Noh Mask Choujin, though, who may see Azuma as a better candidate than Tokio for what the monster in the tower has planned.
Either way, the future chapters of Choujin X will be quite interesting, since Azuma has apparently emerged as an antagonist, like many of us predicted.
Overall, “A Cloaker” is one of the best chapters of the manga so far, and I am extremely interested to see where Sui Ishida takes his story next.

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