Greetings G&Gs! Today I’m curious to see if anyone here has heard of or read a fairly recent manga on Viz called Kaiju No. 8. Written by mangaka Naoya Matsumoto, this series has a decent start with the potential to be the next big thing, especially if you’re the sort who’s into giant monsters and destruction and all that. But it’s also about the struggles of a man trying to achieve his dream despite some intense roadblocks. I’m going to give an overview of chapter 1 which will include some spoilers only because it’s pretty much the premise of the series.
Kaiju No.8 takes place in an alternate world were giant kaiju emerge all around the world and wreck havoc, Japan being one of the countries hit the hardest. To combat this threat is the Defense Force, a military organization armed with powerful weapons and armor that put down kaiju as soon as they appear. Enter Habino Kafka who is the best…kaiju janitor. That’s right folks, our main character is a thirty-two year old nobody who works a full time job cleaning up the mess the Defense Force leaves behind. Oh he might complain which duties he performs but he’s the best at cleaning kaiju viscera off the Japanese streets.
When he was a child Kafka and his childhood friend Mina Ashiro were among the survivors of a kaiju attack that claimed their hometown. Right then and there the pair swore to join the Defense Force as a badass monster killing duo. While Mina eventually rose to prominence with an officer rank Kafka never got past the entrance exam. As of now the details aren’t specific but based on what the series presented so far Kafka eventually gave up after reaching the age limit for recruitment and had a falling out with Mina.
One day at his job Kafka meets Reno Ichikawa, an eighteen year old new part timer with determined aspirations of joining the Defense Force. While they didn’t get off on the right foot Kafka does help Reno out on his first day and the two start to become friends. After Reno informs his superior that the Defense Force increased their age limit to 33 to give him hope, they are attacked by a yoju (small kaiju known for following the bigger honju). During this frightful encounter they save each others lives but aren’t able to damage the kaiju until the Defense Force arrives and puts the beast down.
At the end of the chapter, the pair are recovering at the hospital where Reno thanks Kafka for saving his life and Kafka vows to at least take the entrance exam one last time. Then a tiny kaiju comes out of nowhere and burrows it’s way inside Kafka. When Reno pulls back the curtain to check on him, sitting in the bed is Kafka but now he’s this badass, demon looking kaiju. Hilarity ensues as the two realize they need to get out of dodge before the Defense Force rolls up and caps Kafka.
Personally, I like this series and I plan on following it to see what direction it’s going to go. As I’m writing this the series only has eight chapters and the English translation for new chapters are released on Thursdays on Viz Media. One of the big reasons why I’m interested in this series because I kind of relate to Kafka. This dude is a single thirty-two year old man with I assume a full time job who never achieved his life’s ambition. I’m a single twenty-six soon to be twenty-seven year old working a full time job that wanted to be a writer (I haven’t fully given up I just lack conviction). This series partially identifies with an older audience while still entertaining a younger demographic. Or at least, that’s what I got out of it.
Let me know in the comments if this series interests you or if you’re already caught up, let’s discuss what we know about the story so far. I have high hopes for Kaiju No. 8, just another great manga to kick American comics in the ass. Have a good day everyone!
Sounds like you’re really enjoying it. It sounds something like something between Evangelion and Attack on Titan. I’ve been weary of gloomy monster invasion stories since I was probably 20 or something although I used to enjoy gloomy, dark, dystopian stuff a lot. Now I can’t even pick up 1984 anymore. There’s too much horribleness in the world that I look for puppies and kittens now.
Thanks for the comment, but rest assured this isn’t a dystopian story. If anything the kaiju serve as a metaphor to natural disasters going as far as the large honju being numbered in a manner akin to Japan’s Typhoon numbering system (hence the title of the manga). Plus there’s plenty of comic relief. But if you’re really down in the dumps may I recommend listening to “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham. I discovered the song this morning and it brings me hope even for a bit.
Crazy right? There are plenty of incredible games, movies, songs etc. that I’ve never seen, heard or played before simply because I haven’t sought them out. You from Australia? Hopefully things are better there than here in the U.S.A if you are.
It’s a matter of perspective. At least we don’t have riots. Even peaceful protests are not allowed here during COVID. I wish prison sentences were longer though especially for child rapists/killers. I feel that people in the US have too much freedom and so they go crazy with all that freedom, but at least you guys put your worst criminals away for a long time or execute them which is how it needs to be.