Choujin X, Vol. 1

Viz. (Choujin X). Feb. 2023. 256p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781974736690.
Gr 9 Up–It’s been decades since the rise of the Choujin (humans with dangerous supernatural abilities), which saw world nations collapse. Now in present-day 1998, 16-year-olds Tokio and Azuma, friends despite Azuma’s being more popular and outgoing, lament the fact that they live in a world where Choujin always seem to get their way due to the powers they possess. One night, after the two friends bite off more than they can chew trying to save a woman being harassed by a Choujin, they decide to do something they never thought they’d consider: become Choujin themselves! Created by the mangaka behind “Tokyo Ghoul,” this new series features a similarly dark tone, including scenes of body horror and gore, peppered with comedic zingers. While readers may feel they’re still in the information-gathering stage by the end of this first volume, there’s a lot to be excited about in the setup of the premise. It’s a fast-paced plot, and the artwork for the Choujin and their supernatural battles is striking. The art features a dark, shady ambiance, which fits well. While there’s enough happening in this volume that some readers may feel overwhelmed, and some of the character designs (notably scantily clad Nari) veer toward objectification, it works as a solid foundation, establishing a lot of the main players in the game, what they stand for, and what their vulnerabilities may be.
VERDICT While this first volume is more setup than payoff, the suspense is undeniable, and readers of series like “Attack on Titan” will have a good time embracing this manga’s eccentricities.

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