In chapter 32.2 of his new manga series Choujin X, renowned mangaka Sui Ishida takes the concept of capturing characters to new heights by revisiting a pivotal moment from his previous work, Tokyo Ghoul, where Ken Kaneki is captured. In this latest chapter, Ishida introduces three new protagonists who are kidnapped, drawing parallels to the trio of Kaneki, Hide, and Touka in Tokyo Ghoul.
One of the most memorable events in Tokyo Ghoul is when Kaneki is captured by the fearsome ghoul organization Aogiri. Initially cooperating with them, Kaneki soon finds himself trapped against his will and subjected to relentless torture by the ruthless Yamori. This period of captivity brings about a drastic change in Kaneki’s character as he adopts the mannerisms of his tormentor and embraces the darker aspects of his ghoul nature.
Now, in Choujin X’s chapter 32.2, Sui Ishida explores what would have happened if Aogiri had also captured Hide and Touka alongside Kaneki. The story unfolds with Tokio, Choujin X’s counterpart to Ken Kaneki, witnessing the kidnapping of his comrade Ely and childhood friend Azuma by the enigmatic antagonist named Noh Mask. Determined not to lose them, Tokio jumps into the portal created by Noh, finding himself in a place known as the Tower of Mourning.
Although no torture has occurred yet, the Tower of Mourning shares unsettling similarities with Aogiri’s hideout. Like Yamori, Noh Mask appears strangely hospitable towards his prisoners. Drawing comparisons, Azuma represents Choujin X’s version of Hide, as he and Tokio share a childhood friendship. While Ely is more amicable towards Tokio compared to Touka’s initial stance towards Kaneki, Tokio only became friends with Ely after acquiring superhuman abilities. In Tokyo Ghoul, readers primarily focused on Kaneki’s captivity, wondering how it would impact Touka and Hide, with Touka being part of the rescue mission. Choujin X approaches this scenario more dynamically, placing all three main characters in their own perilous situation, rather than just one. Although Tokio and Ely may seem safer than Azuma at the moment, all three are in jeopardy and require rescue from their more powerful and experienced superiors, who are secondary characters in the series.
In addition to raising the stakes from Tokyo Ghoul, Ishida subverts the trope where either the protagonist or deuteragonist must save the other from captivity. While the captive character experiences the consequences of capture, the spared hero grapples with intense worry, often plagued by survivor’s guilt or the fear for their friend’s life. Ishida once again challenges the status quo by introducing well-executed plot twists, adding irony as he previously misled fans into expecting torture for Tokio when, in reality, it never transpired.