Even though the Kaiju number 8 manga was just released in english, it has been a popular topic in the manga community for quite some time. The general consensus being that this is one of the best first volumes to come out in a long while. Of course this gets my attention and as I am not a huge shounen fan I love me some Kaiju’s and world destruction stories so I needed to buy this volume. Luckily I found it at barnes and nobles the day it was released! So lets get into it.
Kaiju no.8 is a story about a 30-year-old man named Kafka Hibino who’s daily job is cleaning up and dissecting dead Kaiju body parts off the streets of Japan. After him and a new young recruit Reno run into a loose Kaiju Kafka has to make the decision, run or fight. The pair, lucky to escape with their lives, end up in the hospital where certain circumstances turn Kafka into a Kaiju himslef! He seems to be completely himself aside from him looking like and having the insane strength of a Kaiju.
Although the story never mentions how, after a few months pass Kafka can pretty much control when he looks like himself and when he changes into a Kaiju. Using the Kaiju powers as a human is still difficult for him however. So now Kafka and Reno have to hide this secret while a Japan and the highly acclaimed Japanese defense force hunt for Kaiju No.8. On top of all of this, Kakfa and Reno decide to follow their dreams and try out for the defense force! The leader and most badass Kaiju killer being Mina who happens to be Kafka’s childhood friend.
Although most of this story is typical shounen, for some reason I really enjoyed this volume and am very excited to see where it goes. I enjoy the fact that Kafka is in his 30’s and not exactly enjoying his life where it is at and deciding on a possible career change to follow his dreams. This is much more relatable to me than the usual 16 year old shounen protagonists we usually see. Kafka and 18-year-old Reno balance each other out very nicely as someone with a still fresh and maybe naive outlook on life and someone who has been through more struggles.
Their friendship is very cute and almost childlike but they are willing to do anything for each other. The comedy is done very well in this manga. It has very serious tones as well as comedy mixed in that does not take away from the seriousness. I am also enjoying the secondary characters we meet like Kikoru who I am very intrigued in after seeing some of her background. She seems to have a hard shell but deep inside really cares about people and I am excited to see how her character develops. I also love the amount of badass women in this manga!
To me, this art is really good. Not the best I have ever seen but definitely better than average. The characters are all very cool and unique with different hairstyles and outfits. The Kaiju’s are extremely cool and creepy looking especially the main character’s Kaiju form. The backgrounds seem pretty simplistic but that does not bother me or take away from the story. I mean look at the cover alone, its amazing! I am very excited to display this series on my shelf.
In conclusion, going back to my question in the title. I do not believe this manga is overrated. At least based off of this volume alone. I get the hype and I am not somebody who likes things just because it is popular. I tend to judge things more harshly actually if it is highly rated by the community. Is it the best and most creative story ever? No. However it was a very enjoyable read and has a lot of potential. We can understand the characters past more and see this reunion of Kafka and Mina. We can see how Kafka grows to learn more about himself and his new powers and how he can use them to possibly help the defense force fight Kaiju as he is as powerful as one. Maybe he will change some humans opinions on Kaiju in general. These are all things I am looking forward too as well as the amazing fights that are certain to happen. With that being said thank you for reading and let me know your opinions on Kaiju No.8!