Choujin X: Is Azuma Going to Come to Tokio’s Rescue?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Choujin X, Chapter 18 by Sui Ishida, Jan Cash and Snir Aharon, available in English from Viz Media and Manga Plus.

Choujin X introduced Tokio and Azuma as best friends slash vigilantes who went around saving the day when the authorities couldn't. In fact, for all intents and purposes, Azuma looked more like the protagonist than Tokio because he had all of the traits of being the hero: he was brave to the point of being reckless, he didn't hesitate to save those in trouble and he was wickedly powerful. Compared to Tokio, Azuma was by far the more suitable character for the story to focus on. Except it didn't turn out that way.

When the two of them injected themselves with the serum, only one of them turned into an ultra-powerful being, and it wasn't Azuma. Suddenly, all of the attention was on Tokio, while Azuma, who had always been in the spotlight, was now shunted off to the side. Gradually, Azuma began fading into the background, making many fans wonder if his role had truly ended. However, this chapter may shift the tides.

choujin x ely reassures azuma

Tokio and Azuma had a bit of a falling out back in Chapter 3 shortly after Tokio turned into a choujin. Tokio was understandably frightened about his new body and sought advice from the only person he could count on, and Azuma was also understandably distraught about his situation. Even though he apologized and made up with Tokio, Azuma realized that Tokio had become part of a world that he could never hope to. Although Azuma denounced choujin, saying that choujin got away with making trouble, after seeing what Tokio could do, a small part of him wanted to be like Tokio and was jealous that he couldn't.

The two of them drifted apart, with Tokio spending most of his time with Ely and the other choujin and Azuma trying to find a place among the non-choujin, but there's a sense that he's lost his footing a little, especially without Tokio by his side. It's not only because Tokio is his friend but because Azuma has a bit of a superiority complex; when he was with Tokio, he was the one being looked up to, but he couldn't be that anymore now that Tokio was a lot more powerful. For someone who had always been the 'lion' in their friendship, this role reversal was unsettling to say the least.

However, the latest foe in Chapter 18 easily bests Ely and Tokio, taking the latter captive. Ely immediately calls for aid and Azuma interrupts, insisting that he wants to help. Sato immediately quashes his offer, saying that a normal person like Azuma would only slow them down. It's a sore spot for Azuma, who had been anything but ordinary previously. It's even worse when Ely tells him that Tokio would feel horrible if anything were to happen to Azuma. Although Azuma obviously cares about Tokio, he has never really cared about his well-being, unlike Ely. He never reached out to Tokio and chose to distance himself from him. Being near Tokio would only remind Azuma of how much has changed between them.

Yet, despite how different they have become, the core of their friendship has never changed for Tokio, who continues to look up to Azuma. When he's stuck in the room with Ricardo and isn't too sure whether the choujin can be trusted or not, he recalls a memory in his past of when he and Azuma used to play hero on the playground. The words, "They're bad guys. Aren't they?" coupled with this image seem to cast a shadow of doubt for Tokio, who had always relied on his friend to have all the advice.

This rescue mission is a huge opportunity for Azuma to finally prove his worth. He has a thirst to show that even though he may not be a choujin, that doesn't mean he's weak. And wouldn't it be something if an ordinary human like him were to save a choujin? Saving Tokio seems secondary to Azuma -- he's much more concerned about satisfying his own selfish need to be a hero. This may not be true -- maybe all Azuma really wants is to save his friend, while getting recognition is just the cherry on top -- but it's hard to believe it when so far, Azuma hasn't shown much concern for his best friend until this golden opportunity presented itself.

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