Cover Image: Kaiju No. 8, Vol. 1

Kaiju No. 8, Vol. 1

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and publishers for this ARC

This series is phenomenal! I loved it so much and keep pre ordering the next in the series!
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Childhood friends Kafka and Mina make a promise to each other to join the Japan Defense Force when they grow up, and fight kaiju together. When the time comes, however, Mina has the talent and skill for it, but Kafka...does not. Instead, he ends up on the clean-up crew, removing the kaiju corpses after battles. During a particularly troublesome clean-up, Kafka undergoes a surprising transformation that leaves him able to transform into a kaiju. He decides to try to make the Defense Force one last time, along with his clean-up crew partner and the only person who knows his secret, Ichikawa. Will they be able to pass their final exam and keep Kafka's secret?
This was fun, and a good set-up for the series. Kafka and Ichikawa make a good team, and their personalities play well with each other. The story is pacey, with a good balance of action/battles and more mundane goings-on, and plenty of hints to keep us wondering about future happenings. And, of course, a cliffhanger ending, because duh.

#KaijuNo8Vol1 #NetGalley
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I was intrigued by the synopsis for this one and curious as to how it would play out. The art is quite detailed and realistic to match the tone of the manga and there’s a decent amount of time showing the background to the main character and how he teams up with his partner to push each other through the exams. 

Gotta admire his resolve to keep going after his dream and I really felt for Kikoro too. There’s plenty of action in the volume and enough background and world building to make sure you get to grips with everything and how this world operates without being overwhelming. 

It was funnier than expected, I wasn’t expecting to find myself chuckling along and it kind of reminded me a little bit of Venom? Or perhaps Ghost Rider or something but it’s action packed and highly entertaining. 

I can also see the beginning of a really intriguing team of characters coming together, and I’m curious about how they’ll work together in coming volumes as well as curious about his relationship with one of the examiners.
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Kaiju are great. Defense units set on protecting humanity from kaiju are also entertaining. Oh, and then, of course, there are the people who clean up the streets after the heroism; they need some love too. And to be honest, those are some of the reasons to pick up Kaiju No 8 from mangaka Naoya Matsumoto. This volume is published and localized in English by VIZ Media through its Shonen Jump imprint, translated by David Evelyn, and lettered by Brandon Bovia.

In Kaiju No. 8, Japan has the highest kaiju-emergence rates in the world. The Japan Defense Force, a military organization, tasked with neutralizing kaiju, exists to help keep the kaiju threat managed. But this story isn’t about the defense force, not really. It’s about Kafka Hibino, a kaiju-corpse cleanup man, who’s childhood dream of joining the force was put on the backburner after multiple failed entry exams. With memories of his childhood friend Mina and their pact to join the Japan Defense Force and fight by her side surface again when a young man joins the cleanup crew, Kafka decides to try one more time. There is a catch though, the joy of hearing about an age-raise is marred by one development: Kafka is part kaiju.

On the surface, Kaiju No 8 is like the vast majority of shonen series. Male protagonist develops a power he has to learn to make his own while adjusting to his new life and saving people. While that’s essentially what Kafka does, there is a significant difference, Kafka is 32-years old. Because of his age, his life is nearly set in stone, and ultimately the achievement of his dream is more bitter than a young protagonist with the world at his feet. In fact, Kafka is just an adult working his job that puts him just short of his dream, and it’s relatable. As he reminisces about the promise her made to Mina, knowing she’s actually succeeding, he asks, “How’d I wind up on this side of things?” It’s one moment that captures a longing that comes with adulthood in. away that we don’t often see in shonen manga.

But Kafka isn’t the only great character in Kaiju No. 8. Sure, the fact that he can turn into a kaiju makes him irresistibly complex, given that his dream is to join the task force that kills kaiju. But the supporting cast of the manga is just as amazing, including some fantastic women like Mina, Third Division captain, and Kikoru Shinomiya, the kaiju-killing prodigy. While these two characters are visually interesting when it comes to character design, their strength jumps off of the page in a way that makes them more than just the set dressings like other female characters in shonen.

And if characters aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, Kaiju No 8 brings copious amounts of action of stellar kaiju design. Whether it’s Kafka punching a kaiju in the face or a gun ripping through one, there is a lot of beauty packed into every page. Dynamic fighting and moments that pack in action with emotion at the same time, Kaiju No 8 has a little bit of everything for everyone in the best ways.

Overall, Kaiju No 8 Volume 1 is the best of shonen right now and a volume you need to rush to pick up. If you fall in love and want to read ahead, you can also check out the individual chapters on the Shonen Jump app.
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I received an eARC of this title through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This was a decent and intriguing start to a manga series. It mixes horror elements with comedy which creates a Blue Exorcist vibe. Kafka is an interesting character since he is older than most of those in the story. I like how he's older and it touches on how after 30 your body starts betraying you. Adding to this, Kafka accidentally swallows some sort of kaiju that gives him the ability to become a kaiju himself. When he is in kaiju form, he has full control of himself, but also runs the chance of being killed by the Japan Defense Force. 

I think the idea is cool and well executed. All the characters have motivations and backstories that create interest in learning more about them and this world. I recommend this if you like Shonen manga like Blue Exorcist or My Hero Academia.
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A fun, action-packed manga with a relatable protagonist. Loved the examination of one giving up their dreams for something more stable and realistic. The manga has great pacing, wonderful art and beautiful artwork.
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A strong start to what seems like it will be a fun, action-packed series! Kafka Hibino is a fun, relatable protagonist, especially for "older" readers who may identify with him feeling on the cusp of leaving behind a life-long dream and settling for a safer, easier lifestyle. Filled with strong women, over-the-top action, and humor, this first volume of Kaiju No. 8 is an enjoyable read from start to finish.
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Absolutely a 10! This was a refreshing take on something that almost felt over done. Very original and very entertaining. I caught myself laughing out loud to several parts. What a great manga, can't wait to order these for our library...although they probably won't go on the shelf unread.
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Second chances are great motifs for any story and this one is nothing short of it. Kafka Hibino makes for a charming shounen lead to follow - determined in the midst of disappointment especially for one in his thirties, a quality that is career-damning in this world. While he cannot pass the highly-coveted Defense Force exam, his newfound Kaiju powers gives him the necessary tools to make him a hero while making him into the very creature he vows to vanquish. Naoya Matsumoto combines the sheer devastation of Kafka's powers with the slapstick comedy of a children's cartoon with our lead in utter shock and awe. 

I think this work can resonate for a slightly older fanbase, particularly those in their mid-20's as most of this retains the disappointment that comes with getting older and  the refreshing optimism of shounen. Personally I am not a fan of shounen and this title oozes a lot of the story beats I have come to expect - lots of determination, shouting, "WHAT?!?!" moments, braggadocious rivals to name a few. Yet I am willing to acknowledge its potential in resonating with a crowd still attached to the sentimentality of shounen titles like One Piece or My Hero Academia. Overall, there is a special quality in this title, and I look forward to what it can bring in the next installment..
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It starts as a manga about the clean up crew that comes in after the defense team kills any kaiju in Japan. A man who failed at joining the defense team feels washed up and when a young 18-year-old joins the group in preparation to try out for the defense team, they kind of butt heads. Then a kaiju attacks while they're the only ones on site. That brings the two together and things get weird from there.

I was not expecting this manga to be so hilarious. The expressions themselves are perfect more often than not, and that's before the bizarre situations the two main characters get themself into. The only real issue I had is that some of the illustrations were muddy, though that could be because I was reading it off a digital Advanced Review Copy. It's a fun start to a series, but with most manga, it's only just getting started by the time this volume finishes.
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This was unexpectedly funny. The premise is entertaining and this is definitely going to find some intense fans.

For Libraries: Suitable for both YA or adult collections.
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So far this is a pretty standard start to a shonen - we have a hero who is somehow simultaneously the underdog and overpowered. Interested to see where it goes.
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I'm a huge fan of Pacific Rim and kaiju films in general, so I'm definitely the target audience for this manga and I'm pleased to say I had a great time! I liked that the lead was in his 30s, which is a novelty for shounen manga, and his exhausted apathy was quite relatable to an older reader like me. His genuine desire to do good and help people is every inch the 'proper' shounen protagonist though, which made for a fun juxtaposition. The artstyle is dynamic and interesting, and I look forward uncovering more of the kaiju secrets and expanding on the so-far limited worldbuilding this volume has given us. I'm not surprised Kaiju No 8 has won awards in Japan, it's a thrilling and surprisingly heartfelt beginning to what I can only hope is a fantastic new series.
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Before we begin the review, I would like to thank Viz Media and Net Galley for the opportunity to review this Manga.

This story has a great premise, it does an excellent job of introducing the world of Kaiju to the reader, as a fan of Tokusatsu and Kaiju this was an interesting twist to have a Shonen Main Character in his mid-thirties when most Shonen Protagonists are either kids or in their teens. Kafka might be an “Old Guy” but it is great to see him having dreams and aspirations, and can be childish at times. The Mangaka put a lot of thought into these characters, not being one-dimensional in a sense and providing character arcs early on makes me curious to see how far this series will go. His banter with Ichikawa is GOLD, humor done right, these two are exact opposites of each other but they share a common interest. But, strangely, their roles are reversed in some ways because Ichikawa always gets onto Kafka.

Kaiju No.8 introduces something you wouldn’t usually expect to find in a book about fighting monsters, and that is the Cleaning Service in charge of taking care of the Kaiju dead bodies “Monster Sweeper Inc.” With Kafka being put to the test in the Task Force Exams early on, along with his newfound powers, not to mention if he plays his cards right the detail in Kaiju anatomy from his work in disposing of kaiju. This volume contains Chapters One Through Seven, it is clear to see why people have been raving about this series and surely find its way on your Pick-Up List soon.
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Interesting start to what looks like a bloody fish out of water redemption action dramedy.  With monsters!  Crisp art, an engaging main character, side characters who look like they at least have the potential to be a little more than archetypes, and some interesting world building around Kaijus.  Looks like it will be fun if a little tropey in plot.
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Kaiju No. 8 Volume One introduces the reader to the two main characters, Kafka Hibino and Reno Ichikawa, and the world that they inhabit.

Kaiju No. 8 Volume One
Written by: Naoya Matsumoto
Publisher: Shueisha, Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 7, 2021

The series is set in a world where kaiju attacks are a regular event, and the Japanese Defense Force is given the task to kill them. Kafka Hibino works for a professional kaiju cleaning company called Monster Sweeper Inc., which is tasked with cleaning up the kaiju that the Japanese Defense Force take down. When he was younger, he and his friend, Mina Ashiro vowed to become members of the Defense Force after their town was destroyed by a kaiju. Mina went on to become famous as the commander of the Defense Force’s Third Unit, but Kafka failed the examination several times and ended up as part of a clean-up company. At 32 years old, Kafka thinks he has no chance of ever being able to join the Defense Force.

18-year-old Reno Ichikawa joins Monster Sweeper Inc. as a part-timer, but he has plans to join the Defense Force. Unlike Kafka, who has given up on ever achieving his dream, Reno is a determined young man who claims he’s not the type to ever give up. Right at first, Kafka is a little put off by the new part-timer, but the two develop a friendship. Reno informs Kafka that the maximum age for new Defense Force recruits has been raised to 33 due to the declining birth rate and tries to encourage Kafka to take the Defense Force examination. But before any more can be said, the two of them are attacked by a yoju. With help from Reno, as well as the arrival of Mina and her division, Kafka is saved.

Kafka and Reno, who have both sustained injuries in the yoju attack, are taken to the hospital. Thanks to a pep talk from Reno, Kafka decides to take the Defense Force exam… but then something unexpected happens. A small talking monster enters Kafka’s mouth and turns him into a kaiju. Kafka discovers that he stays fully cognizant in his kaiju form but has gained super strength. Unfortunately, Kafka’s transformation garners the attention of the Defense Force, so this forces both he and Reno to flee from the hospital. Kafka becomes the first monster to escape the Defense Force and is dubbed “Kaiju No. 8.” But even with this unforeseen event, Kafka is determined to take the Defense Force examination.

There is a three month timeskip, and it’s revealed that Kafka has been learning how to control his kaiju transformation in order to avoid being caught by the Japanese Defense Force. It’s also revealed that the first part of the two-part examination for the Defense Force has taken place, and that both Kafka and Reno have passed it. But Kafka’s problems always arose in the second examination, and the focus of the rest of the volume is on the second exam.

During the examination, the reader is introduced to Kikoru Shinomiya, a young woman who is a kaiju hunter prodigy and is the daughter of a high-ranking official in the Defense Force. She’s a very proud young woman, and we see through a flashback that she has been pushed by her father to be the best and that this has been her driving force. Prior to this flashback, Kikoru just came across as obnoxious. But after the flashback, I came to sympathize with her and understand the motivations behind her behavior. There are also a few other elite candidates at the exam as well, but Kikoru got the most focus. Not surprisingly, Kafka isn’t doing well, especially since he’s trying not to use his kaiju power. But right at the end of the volume, something unexpected happens, which forces Kafka to go into his kaiju form.

I really like how the world of this series was established. Matsumoto made a world being attacked by kaiju feel like it could really happen and wasn’t simply a contrivance. The type of interactions that Kafka and Reno have reminded me of Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks, Jr. in Tiger & Bunny, and it’s not just the fact that you have the older character paired with a young, new recruit that made me think this. I saw the similarities to that relationship in some of the interactions that these two characters were having with each other.

While it’s established that Kafka and Mina are childhood friends, we haven’t actually seen these two characters interact with one another outside of flashbacks. Mina only shows up when the yoju attacks, she shows up when Kafka’s transformed state is reported to the Defense Force, and she’s also watching the second Defense Force examination. This volume doesn’t delve into Mina’s psyche to show the audience her thoughts in regards to Kafka, but I’m hoping that this will happen in a future volume. I’d like to see what she thinks of Kafka.

I’m enjoying the art style that Matsumoto is using for Kaiju No. 8. Some of the exaggerated expressions on the characters’ faces are rather amusing to see. Another thing that grabbed my attention is that each character in this volume has a very distinct look and design to them, which makes it easy to learn who’s who in the story. I also found the designs for the kaiju to be striking, which helps to add a sense of realism to them and to the story itself.

Kaiju No. 8 Volume One was a very enjoyable read, and I think the series is off to a great start. I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to read Volume Two so I can see what happens next to Kafka and the others.
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Thank you to VizMedia and NetGalley for providing an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't know what to expect when I read the first volume but WOW. I was blown away. This manga is still pretty new as it was released in Japan last December. I'm super excited this will be getting a US release. 

Majority of shounen manga protagonists are in their pre-teens to early twenties. In this manga, it breaks new ground where the protagonist is in their thirties. Kafka decides upon himself, with the help of a new rookie by his side, to cultivate the energy and determination to reach their dreams. Shounen manga fans in this age group will be thrilled to follow a relatable lead MC like Kafka as it is never too late to work on achieving one's dreams. 

Kafka is part of the clean up crew until an incident causes him to turn into a kaiju himself, creating more high stakes on the get go. The volume follows him keeping his new powers on the down low and moving forward with the testing to join the Defense Force. For the first volume, it does a great job introducing the characters, gives readers a taste about the state of Tokyo, their relationships, and their motivations to get rid of the kaiju. The plot is unique, especially when we don't often think about what happens to the monsters' corpses left in a hometown/city. Illustrations are action-packed and humorous too. 

After finishing the first volume, I'm in dire need to read more. I have a feeling this will be the next big thing.
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Off the bat Kaiju No. 8 feels familiar. Adventure shounen series about a protagonist who's mistakenly fused with some sort of monster have been around for a while of course, but with Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man being current hits this felt very in line with current trends.

Here, we're introduced to a Japan that has been overrun by kaiju (monsters). Our protagonist Kafka (ha) works clean up after failing to make it into the anti-kaiju Defense Force and aging out of the requirements. Unfortunately that also means he's failed to live up to a childhood promise with a friend he's watched rise up the ranks and become something of a star. That is, until one day, a kaiju overtakes his body and he becomes something the Defense Force has yet to see before. 

Things I liked: adult protagonist! Humour! Cool monster design! I'll be ordering this in to my store and recommending it to fans of the series mentioned above. I'm sure this'll be one that goes over very well with shounen fans.
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This was a fantastic manga!! I really enjoyed having an older protagonist. The artwork was very nicely done and the story flowed really well. I can't wait to read volume 2!
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This is a fun Manga! For the first time I’ve seen a 30 something year old protagonist trying to figure his life out, and encountering a life altering power. I can’t wait to see the rest of this Manga. The action is amazing, characters are interesting. And the art is great.
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