As of December 3rd, 2022, Ishida has released more chapters than Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia and even Chainsaw Man in the past one and half months. And each of these chapters have come with some amazing art and intriguing developments!
Tokio came face to face with his captives and surprisingly, they lacked the villainy I thought they’d have. But, it will be too early to chalk them off as the bad guys, considering the brutality that Noh Mask is capable of.
In a previous chapter, we saw what his group did to Kagomura’s ancestors. Well, he did something equally nasty in order to construct his portal and he has revealed that in Choujin X chapter 32.2.
The tower of mourning:
To start off, I was right about there being a head on top of the archway/portal. However, that was the only thing I was right about. The identity of the character in question was revealed and it was not Queen Nue or Sora Siruha.
I might have been way off with my assumptions, but I shall shamelessly persevere in continuing to theorize!
Coming back to the lady who is now a portal; her name is Kate Neether, a street performer and a choujin who had the power to teleport things. A person can enter a hole in her body and exit through a hole in another body.
Seeing that she was wasting away her powers, Noh Mask decides to make use of her and her “genesis hole”. Is it what I think it is?
The name Tower of Mourning is apt for the Omega Tower. Not just because of the people who come there to commit suicide, it also serves as a reminder for the suffering that numerous choujin like Kate might have gone through in it.
Well, the details aside, this hints at how choujins are under the risk of being exploited and weaponized; adding yet another grim stroke to their already bleak world.
It also points out the importance of agencies like Yamato Mori, who along with keeping peace, are giving choujins who enlist with them a sense of security.
Imagine what would happen if someone as strong as Azuma had fallen into the wrong hands. Noh Mask would have gladly welcomed the opportunity to exploit the youngsters’ powers for his selfish needs.
It’s a harsh world out there, and choujins who aren’t strong enough to survive on their own, stand the risk of being the means to someone else’s end goals, that too in a brutal way!
Motives & underlying personas:
When the Noh Mask kidnapped Azuma, Ely and Tokio, a part of me had assumed that he might run some sort of experiments on them, or at least put them through a hard time. But come Choujin x chapter 32.2, he has done no such things to our main trio.
If anything, the Noh Mask comments on Tokio’s pedigree and is keen on figuring out what kind of a personality he has.
At this point, Tokio is an open book. He selflessly puts others in front of him. And I believe it didn’t take long for the Noh Mask to see this part of him. He even tried to save his captor as he jumped off the tower. A false alarm, surely, but it spoke volumes about Tokio’s character!
But what does he gain by figuring out Tokio’s persona?
Honestly, it’s quite hard to figure out what the Noh Mask’s motives are. True, he might be working on delivering the beast choujin to Mother. But there’s more to him than just that.
And seeing him act all nonchalant is making me feel all uneasy for some reason. His monologues give off nothing. His mask certainly does not help either. Let us say that it’s doing a good job of hiding whatever is underneath.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I want to see him put Tokio, Ely and the others through a hard time. It makes me happy to see that they are fine. Especially Ely.
The chances of him harming Tokio are remote, considering they have been running helter-skelter in search of him. Mother sees potential in him, I guess.
So, it leaves the other two with no real value to him and in unknown waters. Noh Mask surely is quite curious about Ely’s ability. But he is also equally wary of her, even going to the extent of wondering whether he should let another depriver, meaning a choujin who has the ability to steal, like Nue to exist.
Interestingly, in this particular monologue, he mentions the Nue Chimera in third person. Makes me wonder if Noh Mask and this character are two different people. We did see an old man with similar features in chapter 8.
I might read up a bit more on the Nue Chimera to see if it has any symbolic innuendos as far as character arcs are concerned.
Azuma too, like Ely, has piqued the Noh Mask’s interest. And considering how Mother is only after the beast, these two are at Noh Mask’s mercy entirely. Unless it’s Azuma that Mother really needs. I’ll touch upon that in a later section of this review/analysis.
Coming back to Ely, we get a glimpse of what her inner personality is like. Deep down, she is a stealer just like her Mother. But the fact that she is consciously averting herself from going down that path speaks volumes about her moral compass and also her conviction.
However, this underlying personality is bound to rear its head when she is cornered, or if she goes haywire and enters a chaos state in the future. We already saw her do it against Chandra, albeit involuntarily. Ely MIGHT be walking on thin ice for all we know; and we might see it break under her if Ishida wants the character to have darker shades.
But right now, she is more of a comic relief. A tiny poot that eases the tension! And someone who helps Tokio keep his head about him.
And Tokio will need to keep a calm head, because the Noh Mask finally leads them to meet the creature of the Tower, Mother!
A rendezvous with faith:
When Tokio and Ely finally enter the space where Mother is, it was a sight to behold for them. A hundred monks lined up beside the stairs praying to their object of faith! They chanted for the ‘holy mother’ to save the wretched souls. Are they referring to themselves here?
As they moved further up, Tokio’s eyes fell upon statues, which had a touch of erotica to it, dancing in the light of the candles that were lit along the way. A fellow Choujin X reader pointed out that the statue is reference to the Rape of Persephone. Need to see how this plays into Mother’s character!
Everything about this scene screams FANATIC CULT!
Hats off to Ishida for getting the atmosphere spot on with the art. Instead of excessive detailing, he chose to highlight just enough and divert our attention accordingly, leaving the rest out in the shadows.
All this religious tone only strengthens my previous assumption about Mother being Sora Siruha. You can read more about it in the article linked below!
One thing that caught my attention in the group of monks is the symbol that they sported on their masks.
It looks like the letter x on the bottom half of the cross. It could be a modified version of Yamato Mori’s symbol which we see in chapter 7, suggesting both these organizations are not on the same page.
However, digging a bit deeper, I read that the letter X is often used to symbolize death, the unknown and the end of something. But often, it has also been used to represent a crossing over or a transformation.
This symbolism of ‘X’ sits well with the Monks chanting for the wretched souls to be saved. Maybe this saving involves making these people cross over to the other side.
It could also be Ishida’s own version of the Christogram. Since Mother is regarded as a savior and God per se, her cult could have created their own version of the christogram, with the symbol spelling out her name.
Speaking of symbols, there is one more person in the Choujin verse who is seen flaunting one at times. He is none other than Yamato Mori’s no.2 – Ichiro Sato, who incidentally acted very suspicious in the previous chapter.
He usually wears this pendant around his neck and if you look closely, you’ll realize that the symbol is actually very famous. He’s just not wearing it right.
No points for guessing. It’s the symbol of peace, just upside down. Does that mean anything? Or is he just doing it for the kicks?
Going by how symbols are worn by members of a cult, Sato too might be from one. The rest? I’ll let you figure it out! I’m eager to hear what your thoughts are on this too!
You can read more about the meaning of these symbols that we see in Choujin X chapter 32.2 in this reddit post. The comments really are interesting!
Now, the Noh Mask does wonder what happened to Chandra in Choujin x Chapter 32.2. While we might have to wait a bit longer to get some concrete answer for that. I am more inclined to speculate about where Azuma is and make some connections from previous chapters!
Where is Azuma?
The appearance of Mother certainly diverts our attention from a key matter. Noh Mask was actually Tokio and Ely to Azuma. So the fact that he took them to Mother means that Azuma is there?
A small detail from the final panel might suggest that!
If whatever I have highlighted above is indeed a person, or rather Azuma, then it raises a couple of questions more.
Why is he here? We know that Mother is looking for the beast. So shouldn’t Tokio be the one in Mother’s presence?
Well, allow me to come up with an assumption, which Ishida might very well denounce in the next chapter!
The first we see the creature of the tower in Choujin X is in chapter 14, where she forewarns Chandra about the birth of her beast. Since she mentioned ‘beast’, all fingers naturally pointed to Tokio. However, Tokio was already a choujin at that point.
So, that begs the question, who could Mother be talking about? The only major character who became a choujin after that point is Azuma.
Chapter 14 signaled the end of the Sinker Choujin arc, and immediately in the next arc, Azuma awakened his choujin abilities. So there is a very high possibility that Azuma could be the one that she wants.
Mother is said to want the beast of foresight/beast of salvation. I guess Chandra and Noh Mask muddled up the meaning and actually went for a beast choujin, instead of going for a choujin with the power of foresight.
But then, Tokio seems to be very perceptive about whatever is happening around him. If this ability evolved, he might fit the bill too.
I know. We are back to square one. But still, this is fodder for thought. Atleast till the next chapter drops.
Tokio is making up all these possibilities of how all three of them can escape the tower together. However, I feel that one of Ely, Tokio or Azuma is going to stay back, splitting the group and making their character arcs go on different tangents.
Narratively speaking, bringing the main characters face to face with Mother can only be justified with an even better twist and split. This would also give more space for Ishida to explore each character in depth, rather than each riding on the coattails of the other.
I don’t feel Mother’s faction is outright evil. They and Yamato Mori might ultimately have the same end goal. Both of them just go about it in very different ways.
Also, let’s not forget that Yamato Mori is a private choujin organization. I wonder who actually pulls the strings from the shadows.
Ishida, till now, is just feeding us bits and crumbs. The choujin verse has the potential to be vast, diverse and varied – the possibilities are limitless!! However, we have seen manga with a lot of potential whittle away as it hurtles towards the end. Let’s hope Choujin X does not ever grace that list!