WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Choujin X, Chapter #1 by Sui Ishida, Jan Cash, and Snir Aharon, available in English now from Viz Media and Manga Plus.
The surprise drop of Sui Ishida's newest series Choujin X took the manga world by storm, drawing huge excitement from fans about the Tokyo Ghoul creator's return. The story follows two friends, Tokio and Azuma, as they're thrown into a life-or-death battle against a superhuman choujin. At the end of Chapter #1, the pair make the decision to become choujin themselves.
Azuma and Tokio fancy themselves as superheroes of a sort, making it easy to compare Choujin X and My Hero Academia's approaches to the concept. Where MHA takes a more straightforward look at the trials of doing the most good, Choujin X seems prepared to take a markedly different route through the traditional superhero story.
The first chapter of Choujin X introduces the concept of choujin and our two protagonists. The superhuman choujin are reviled because, instead of using their powers for good, most choose to destroy. In the manga's opening, not only does a choujin take down a plane, but it's also revealed that choujin destroyed a huge portion of Azuma and Tokio's hometown. Azuma himself doesn't think highly of them, remarking that they should be doing good with their powers, rather than destroying everything they touch.
Azuma acts as a sort of local hero himself but takes his role too far when he jumps in to save a young woman from getting harassed by a group of thugs. With a powerful kick, Azuma breaks one of the thug's arms. While this does the job of sending the thugs running, it backfires on him when Johnny, the thug, becomes a choujin and returns to beat Azuma within an inch of his life. Out of options to stop Johnny, Azuma and Tokio have no choice but to become monsters themselves.
Being a hero can mean many different things. The My Hero Academia outlook is that a hero is meant to help all people. Following in the legendary hero All Might's footsteps, Midoriya wants to save as many people as possible -- including villains. When Midoriya faced off against Shigaraki, almost every hero told him that Shigaraki beyond redemption and that his only option was to kill the villain, though Midoriya only saw him as someone who was begging to be saved. Midoriya's compassion is what lets him to the person behind the villain and reach out to help them, realizing that heroes and villains are only two sides of the same coin.
However, the type of heroism Choujin X seems focused on is the meting out of justice -- even if it has to be done through violent means. While Azuma did save the woman from Johnny, he was more focused on punishing the thug than making sure the girl was safe. Beyond that, breaking both of Johnny's arms was definitely overkill. Where Midoriya works to make sure everyone gets the help they need, Azuma prioritizes punishing those who deserve it, while Tokio watches.
The irony here is that Azuma looks down on choujin, who have this wealth of power but refuse to use them for good, but Azuma isn't doing much good either with his brutal pursuit of justice. He has no qualms about hurting people as long as he gets the job done, which only barely makes him better than the choujin. But, now that he actually is choujin, will he follow his own advice? Or will he become the very thing he once scorned?
We don't know much about the nature of choujin other than Johnny and the man from earlier in the chapter, who destroyed a plane but oddly didn't kill anyone. But what's obvious is that becoming choujin isn't a gift -- it's a curse. Their destructive impulses might possibly be intrinsic, which could definitely spell trouble for our main pair of wannabe do-gooders. However, the cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 1 doesn't reveal much about how the transformation has affected Azuma and Tokio physically and mentally.
Choujin is noted as an "affliction" -- an illness that seems to foreshadow Tokio and Azuma's choices in becoming choujin will not only bring them pain and suffering, but will also lead to corruption. While Chapter 1 leaves a lot of room to guess where the story will go, if the manga sticks with a hero storyline, Choujin X may have an even darker vigilante role for our two protagonists than when they were human.