Tokyo Ghoul Creator’s New Manga Completely Changes Shonen Transformations


It had never been so effective in battle to be as weak as Tokyo.

If Sui Ishida is known among the best creators for something, it was for the Tokyo Ghoul manga series that was very successful from its first publication in September 2011 to December 2014. Thanks to a somber atmosphere, surrounded by the mysterious deaths of Tokyo, in the hands of the creatures called “Ghouls” and the course of Kaneki’s story and his conversion, we can hardly overcome all the dark discoveries that this manga brought with it.

Of course, Sui Ishida’s career did not end after the closure of this iconic series, as he focused his efforts on a new manga called “Choujin X”, which has been published in Shueisha since May 2021 and in Weekly Young Jump, since October of the same year. In it, she deals with the life of Azuma Higashi, who has a great sense of justice and, of course, quite developed fighting skills. In contrast, Tokio Kurohara tends to be just a bystander when it comes to combat, and despite their differences, they will both have to face a Choujin who poses a threat to their lives. With no other choice, they decide to become Choujins in order to survive.

But the latest chapter of Choujin X has just showcased an interesting, albeit annoying, shonen trope. Namely, a weak hero is able to defeat the most powerful villain in the series. This scene has drawn a lot of attention, since it could be considered that Dragon Ball greatly influenced the creator of Toyko Ghoul in terms of the characteristics of the Saiyans that he has attached to his characters.


Choujin X’s New Phenomenon

On the other hand, the manga series has already become popular for very specific reasons. And it is that it has very solidly built the feeling of tension beforehand during the most decisive confrontations to, immediately afterwards, introduce a visually attractive resolution that shows the hero at the top, in addition to the time he invests in the creation of the battle systems and the lore of their universes. Initially, some mangaka had criticized this stance because the fight sequences would be boring for the reader if the hero succeeded almost effortlessly. And in view of a predictable scenario, villains were created who were indestructible. This would force the heroes to push their own limits to effectively attack their rivals, unlocking some powers for them. Reader response to the narrative was very positive, but at some point it became an overused device.

To fix this obvious problem, in Choujin X chapter 23, Sui Ishida found a great solution. In the same way as all the heroes of the series, Tokio (the protagonist) was scandalously losing a fight against his rival, who was actually his friend, the choujin Azuma (the Choujin X version of Hide from Tokyo Ghoul, to be accurate). However, the title showed a new phenomenon, known as Raise, which causes the choujin to lose their humanity, resulting in an entire choujin on the verge of death. Although acquiring this condition would mean gaining more power, ironically it has the opposite effect when put into practice. In other words, when Azuma is about to deal the final blow to Tokyo, Tokyo undergoes a transformation that allows him to survive and also defeat his opponent.


Immediately, this new resource became a success. And it is not for less, since shonen readers are used to seeing an infinity of transformations in any manga. The peculiarity of this phenomenon is that Tokio does not unlock power thanks to his strength or discipline, but because he never distinguished himself for his fighting skills. Thus, Tokio can be rescued from the most difficult enemies or win randomly, as when he defeated the Sinking Choujin playing baseball. In this way, Sui Ishida has broken with the conventional formulas of the shonen series. Something similar was that he raised Dragon Ball a long time ago, when the Saiyans experienced power surges on the verge of death to survive. But now, anyone can get this kind of power.

In short, it is interesting that the narrative of the conventional characters in the manga series is modified by something as simple as being saved thanks to their own weakness. Contrary to the traditional style of shonen heroes, who boast extraordinary strength and abilities, Tokio might have found one of the best freaks in his universe to save him even though he is not a fated hero.

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