Unlike Tokio Kurohara, everything surrounding Azuma Higashi, the deuteragonist of Choujin X manga has a tinge of ambiguity to it.
While Tokio’s transformation into a choujin and the subsequent realization of his powers were pretty straightforward, the same cannot be said for Azuma. The fandom was initially rife with speculations regarding whether Azuma will be a choujin or not.
Well, Azuma did indeed become a choujin in chapter 20 of the manga. He donned a cape over his head and was alluded to be the Moon Beast.
Following this development, the wheels of speculation shifted to what kind of powers the newly awakened choujin possessed. And going by what has happened so far in the manga, we still don’t have an answer.
However, let’s try to break down whatever we know one by one!
Azuma’s choujin abilities and powers:
When he first transformed, Azuma was termed to be the morph choujin. This meant he could morph or transform his body into anything he wanted, depending on his affinity.
This affinity that I talk about, was defined by Azuma’s worldview. Allow me to elaborate further.
A peculiar worldview:
In chapter 21, we get an insight into the kind of things that Azuma admired, which included fighter planes, a knight in armor, knives, guns and even tanks.
All these fall under the category of weapons. Check out the panel below:
To add to it, Azuma was also someone who excelled at fighting. He leaned to the side of combat!
Everytime we have seen him, Azuma was never one to back down from a fight. Be it with Johnny Kageyama in chapter 1 or with Yubiko and Batista later in the series, the boy impulsively landed a punch.
Azuma’s choujin abilities also underline this worldview and personality trait of his. So it should be no surprise that Azuma turned out to be a morph choujin who can transform his body into weapons!
Once again, this was not easy to figure out, as at the beginning, he lacked any sort of defining traits. I mean the cape and the shackles did stand out. But all he could manifest were knives and he seemed to possess super speed and strength!
But as he trained and understood his powers more in the subsequent arcs, both Azuma and the readers got a better understanding of what he was capable of doing!
Azuma was actually shown to be able to create weapons out of his body. And by the end of chapter 35 of Choujin X, we see him training to make guns!
Also, being a fighter meant Azuma had heightened physical composition, which in turn suited him being a morph type choujin.
Azuma did not have the ability of an emitter, like Chandra Hume, neither did he have abilities which bordered on being a psychic, say like Hoshi Sandek. So basically, Azuma’s strength as a choujin was dictated by his physical abilities, and that is something he excelled at.
Worldview aside, we don’t know if he became a morph choujin precisely because of him being a fighter, but it was a match made in heaven!
Now this is also tied to one other ability of Azuma’s, which is…
The affinity for Iron:
In Choujin X chapter 33.2, Sora refers to Azuma as being the iron piece, which basically pointed to his affinity for iron, literally.
Meaning, Azuma’s body transformed into iron when he activated his choujin abilities? I guess so.
He doesn’t seem all metallic to me in his choujin form. Maybe the iron content in his body increases, or the inner composition somehow changes. Morphing his body into iron and then creating weapons?
While we’ll have to wait for more details on that, this affinity towards iron was hinted from the moment he first awakened.
For instance in chapter 20, Tokio says that he could smell iron. He probably smelled Azuma’s blood, and blood does contain iron. But, this could also be a subtle foreshadowing on Ishida’s part regarding Azuma being the iron piece.
However, the next two instances are more hints and less foreshadowing. And both involve him drowning.
This was first shown in chapter 23, when Azuma was plunged into the water after his fight with Tokio, but he was not able to swim, despite having been able to do so before.
And then in chapter 27, Azuma noticed that the one thing that had definitely changed after he awakened his powers was the fact that he could no longer swim.
The density of iron is more than density of water, which is why Azuma always kept sinking, which once again explained his powers to a certain extent. Does this mean that Azuma would only be able to manifest weapons that have a tinge of iron.
Do all weapons have iron content in them? I am not sure about this.
On the brighter side, iron symbolizes the tenacity and the confidence a person has in themselves, which also goes well with Azuma’s personality. He is pretty confident when it comes to his powers, and is someone who is determined to see things through.
That said, let’s move on to the next section of the article.
Beast choujin traits:
Now this is my favorite bit about Azuma’s choujin powers! It is also an aspect of his which makes me consider him to be the beast of prophecy, along with Tokio.
Read More: Who is the Beast of Prophecy in Choujin X?
In what seems to be a forgotten detail from chapter 19, Azuma can be seen conversing with a hyena and pointing it in the direction of the ocean.
The big question? How was Azuma able to talk to the hyena and why is this panel so important.
From what we have seen before in Choujin X, beast choujins have the ability to converse with animals.
Nari, who was the snake choujin, was able to talk to snakes, while Tokio, the vulture choujin, is able to talk to birds.
Going by this logic, Azuma too has some beast choujin powers lying dormant in him, which explains why he was able to talk to the hyena.
Then again, in chapter 21, which is mainly focused on Azuma’s transformation into a choujin and his subsequent psyche, we get a small panel where someone is seen standing before a beast.
Our POV is from inside a cage (or a weird window), which once again might suggest that his beast choujin abilities have been shackled or locked up for now.
Other than this, he also possesses other standard choujin abilities, including raise, and probably has a chaos state.
Now, when we take a proper look at Azuma’s choujin powers, an important question pops up in our minds!
Is Azuma the War Choujin?
Well, based on what we have seen so far, it indeed seems that Azuma has inherited the powers of War Choujin Queem.
But how? Didn’t he gain his choujin abilities by injecting Xember, which was made from Zora.
Well, if you have read my article on Zora, you’ll know that I theorized that she, like Ely, had her own innate choujin ability. On top of that, she was also infected by Queem after she was exposed to his attack. Read the following blog to know more.
Here’s one thing we know about Queem’s powers; he could personally design all manner of weapons and ammunition, including tanks and bombers. He alone was responsible for the advancement of weaponry by 70 years.
And going by the designs and the lore, he himself turned into weapons and launched attacks on others.
Now take a look at what Azuma was doing in Chapter 35 of Choujin X. He was learning to design guns, which is basically a weapon.
In the panel which I mentioned above (talking about Azuma’s worldview), we see guns, bombers, and even tanks. So once he graduates from making guns, tanks and fighter jets will soon follow.
These parallels more than confirm that Azuma could be this generation’s War Choujin, and more than puts him in contention to be a Choujin X.
However, there is a doubt that always comes to mind when you compare their powers and abilities. It seemed as if Queem actually transformed himself into weapons, especially the jet which attacked Zora’s memorial procession. Does Azuma fall under the same category?
Morph vs Creation ability:
Now, I mentioned that Azuma is a morph choujin. Even the manga said so. But looking at him making weapons from his body, as shown in chapters 35 and 36, makes you wonder if he has powers that are similar to Creati from My Hero Academia.
So doesn’t that make Azuma However, there is a fundamental difference between how Azuma creates and how someone like I.C Ice the freeze choujin creates.
The freeze choujin is able to manifest ice structures outside of his body. However, in case of Azuma, you’ll notice that everything that he makes is linked to his handcuffs -even the shield used to protect him from Jing’s onslaught and the iron cage used to trap him later.
So essentially, I see it as Azuma changing the composition of the iron in the body, or basically morphing into these things. This puts him closer to the War Choujin, in my opinion. If it’s only iron in his body, what about the cloth mask and the cape? Where do they come from?
This type of morphing is also fundamentally different from how Ely’s whole body gets turned into smoke. But as I mentioned above, there are still aspects of Azuma’s powers that need to be explored more, and this would be a more apt discussion for that time!
Appearances, themes & analysis:
While we have discussed in depth about Azuma choujin abilities, there are certain things about his choujin appearance which call for an interesting analysis.
Azuma’s choujin form is very peculiar, with his cape and the handcuffs giving us hints to his personality, both human and choujin.
The hanged man reference:
His overall appearance gives him the look of a prisoner. And not just any prisoner, it’s the image of a prisoner who’s about to be hanged.
It’s common for them to have their faces covered in a cloth mask, similar to Azuma’s and also the cape that goes around his next could be a metaphor for the hangman’s rope.
Do you see where I am going with this? The famed hanged man tarot card reference!
Now, fans have pointed out that Ishida loves to include tarot card symbolisms in his works. Be it Tokyo Ghoul or Choujin X. While the hanged man reference was often connected to Batista, I think it might apply to Azuma too here, though overreaching.
Consider the following image:
Okay, maybe I am overreaching.
But there is an interesting thing about the Hanged Man I noticed. In one of the older depictions, the hanged man looks very much like Judas, who is believed to have betrayed Jesus Christ. Also, the upside down hanging was supposed to signify that Judas and Christ were opposites of each other
Going by this, we could say that Azuma would in some way be the opposite of Tokio and worst case, betray Tokio in the future for some reason.
Another interpretation of Azuma looking like a prisoner could be that he is somehow being repressed and shackled. Rather, his more impulsive and chaotic side is being held back.
Hoshi Sandek noted in chapter 24 that Azuma lacked self control as a choujin. However, as a human he had a strong self of justice, thanks to how he was raised by his dad, a strict police officer.
It is possible that the handcuffs/shackles are a symbolism of how he is restricting his lack of self control, it’s his own way maintaining law and order.
Here’s a post that conveys a similar thought.
Then there’s also the symbolism surrounding his conversation with the hyena, which suggests that he would either, not adapt to his new surroundings well and end up dying like the hyena, or it would involve him having some tough time deciding what path to take.
Finally, let’s come to his cloth mask.
The Cloth mask and what it says about him:
Here’s a small tidbit about masks that will make sense here: they are usually worn to hide one’s identity or to create a new personality.
And going by how Azuma’s choujin personality is different, the mask could be a way of conveying the same. It is possible that he is not very accepting of his choujin self. His aversion to it could be why he ends up getting a cloth mask on his face.
The incidents of chapter 36 add more weight to this.
In this chapter, we no longer see Azuma having the cape or the mask, which could suggest that he has come to terms with this choujin personality. He no longer needs to hide that part of himself behind a mask.
What are your thoughts on Azuma’s choujin powers? Do you think there is any aspect of his that I missed out, or you would like to add? Let me know them in the comments below!