WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Choujin X, Chapter #6 by Sui Ishida, Jan Cash and Snir Aharon, available in English now from Viz Media and Manga Plus.
After a few chapters of feeling sorry for himself and constantly running away, protagonist Tokio may have hit a turning point in Chapter #6 of Sui Ishida's Choujin X. Up against a powerful foe, Tokio is still coming to terms with his powers as a newly-born choujin. His new ally, Ely, is in a similar position but has progressed much more quickly due to having a mentor. But with Ely down for the count, will Tokio be able to save them both from the snake choujin Nari?
In the last chapter of Choujin X, the snake choujin Nari incapacitated Tokio by having one of her snakes bite him. In Chapter #6, he tries to escape but with his limbs weakening from the toxins with every passing second, he doesn't get too far. Just when it looks like it might be the end for him, a blast of smoke sends a savior his way: Ely.
It's unfortunate that Ely and Tokio's first time meeting has to be this way -- with a choujin dead set on killing them both. But perhaps it's serendipitous, in a way. Ely had been near the zoo when she felt things "get higgledy-piggledy," alerting her of Tokio's presence. In the latest chapter, Ely manages to get the two of them far away enough from Nari by use of her smoke powers. Although powerful, it's clear that Ely hasn't had much time to really train herself with how much she struggles with controlling her powers. But next blast shoots out a huge column of fire that burns Nari's head.
It does little to deter the snake choujin, though. In fact, it just makes her mad and she turns on full 'beastification' mode, transforming herself into an enormous snake. And her first target is Ely. Luckily for Ely, although Nari is much stronger, full beastification has its drawbacks, appearing to lower a choujin's intelligence.
There's something to be said about Ely's bravery, too. She charges in headfirst, without any regard for her safety, in order to save a stranger. And even though she's gravely injured, all she does is ask Tokio to run.
What's interesting here is that just a few moments ago, when Tokio had seen Ely hurt, he had asked himself the same question he has always does: what would Azuma do? Seeing Ely asking him to run, his first thought isn't of Azuma. He starts asking himself what he can do, showing agency for the first time in Choujin X. Catching sight of a vulture flying through the flame-lit sky --the same vulture that he had once visited on a school trip all those years ago -- his hands slowly change into claws, going full beastification mode too.
This moment is paramount for a number of reasons. Not only is this the first time we see Tokio actively make the choice to stay and fight rather than running away, but it's also the first time he's taken control of his choujin powers, hinting at a possible connection between his choujin powers and his personal growth. But considering how little time Tokio has had to develop his proficiency in using his powers compared to Ely, it's unclear whether his full beastification mode will be successful.
The chapter is called "First Apostasy." Apostasy means a refusal to follow or recognize a religious faith, which is an interesting naming choice. The opening panel features Tokio sitting, rather small, in front of two separate panels of Ely and Nari, looking very much like two deities who are asking Tokio to make a decision between the two.
We also know that Tokio admires and idolizes Azuma and has been, by all accounts, a loyal follower of theirs. So as well as a possible link to Tokio's character development -- how he has finally made his own choice -- the fact that Chapter #6 of Choujin X is called the first apostasy implies that there will probably be more of this to come.