Kaiju No. 8, Vol 1. – Manga Review – Monster Mondays

Kaiju No. 8, Vol. 1 | Book by Naoya Matsumoto | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster UK

I’m a big fan of Kaiju stories, especially Godzilla, so I was very interested when I heard about Kaiju No. 8. Now that I’ve read volume 1, I’m hooked and instantly want to continue. It follows Kafka, who is in his early 30s, having missed his opportunity to fight in the Japanese Defence Force against the never ending attack from the giant monsters known as Kaiju. Instead he works as part of the clean-up crew who removes the bodies after they’ve been killed by the Defence Force. When Reno Ichikawa, the new recruit joins, Kafka takes him under his wing. Ichikawa wants to join the Defence Force, and informs Kafka that they have raised the maximum age limit so Kafka may still have one more chance left.

While on duty, there’s another attack and a small monster flies into Kafka’s mouth, turning him into a Kaiju. He uses his new powers to take on the other Kaiju, and take his entry exam into the Japanese Defence Force.

At first I thought this was going to be a comedy about people cleaning up the mess after a big battle, and to be honest I would have been completely fine with that. The opening chapter showing the clean up was funny. Kafka is a pretty great character and I enjoyed just reading about his day to day life. When it does pick up it’s still good, and the new characters that are introduced throughout are good, but they do feel a little bit cliched. You have people like the overachiever who was pushed by her dad to be perfect at everything, and the overconfident loner who realises that they can’t do everything alone. It’s not like they are bad characters, it just feels very similar to other things.

The saving grace is the mystery at the middle. Why does Kafka turn into a Kaiju, it seems like there’s a reason that we haven’t been told about just yet. Has it happened before? Some of the Kaiju can talk, but others can’t, why? It’s really interesting and I’m looking forward to finding out more.

The art style is really nice. It’s clear what’s going on at all times, and I can keep on track of who is who, because the character designs all look unique and different. There’s nothing worse than reading a manga or comic where the characters look similar. I really liked the art style, especially the silly little joke panels intersected in the main story. It’s one of my favourite tropes of Manga when they do that. And speaking of jokes, while it’s not an all out comedy, there are still plenty of funny moments.

Kaiju No. 8 volume 1 is a decent opening to a series. I’m definitely interested in what’s going to happen next, and while it’s not as hard hitting as something like the first volume of Attack on Titan, it’s still has me hooked.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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