Kaiju No. 8 by Naoya Matsumoto

With the highest kaiju-emergence rates in the world, Japan is no stranger to attack by deadly monsters. Enter the Japan Defense Force, a military organization tasked with the neutralization of kaiju. Kafka Hibino, a kaiju-corpse cleanup man, has always dreamed of joining the force. But when he gets another shot at achieving his childhood dream, he undergoes an unexpected transformation. How can he fight kaiju now that he’s become one himself?!

Kafka hopes to one day keep his pact with his childhood friend Mina to join the Japan Defense Force and fight by her side. But while she’s out neutralizing kaiju as Third Division captain, Kafka is stuck cleaning up the aftermath of her battles. When a sudden rule change makes Kafka eligible for the Defense Force, he decides to try out for the squad once more. There’s just one problem—he’s made the Defense Force’s neutralization list under the code name Kaiju No. 8.

I recently caught up on Kaiju No. 8 by Naoya Matsumoto. This series is available on the Shonen Jump app. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I think it’s about $1.99/month and you can read up to 100 chapters of manga a day. As someone who rarely has time to read more than a few a day, it’s a great deal! The first seventy-five chapters are available as the series is still ongoing!

Kafka Hibino is part of a clean-up crew living in Tokyo. He cleans up after kaiju that have been killed by the Japan Defense Force. It’s not a glamorous job, but he enjoys the work. He always wanted to be a part of the Defense Force but gave up a long time ago. Now, in his 30s, he helps clean up kaiju that the Defense Force has killed. One day, Leno Ichikawa joins the clean-up crew and calls Kafka out on the fact that he has given up going any further. Kafka had promised his childhood friend, Mina, that they would join the Defense Force together, but while she is making a name for herself in the force, he isn’t. Leno Ichikawa’s words hit him hard, and suddenly, Kafka doesn’t want to give up on his dreams anymore.

But there’s just one problem. Not long after he joins the Defense Force, Kafka realizes he can shift into a kaiju, making him a dangerous member of the team. If anyone finds out, he knows he will be put down on the spot, but he also thinks he can use his powers to help stop other kaiju from destroying Japan.

This series is so addicting and fun! I love Kafka’s character so much. He is determined and driven to get better and be stronger, but he’s also up against other recruits that are much stronger than him. This includes Kikoru Shinomiya, who is the daughter of the Defense Force’s Director General. Kafka suddenly finds himself in exactly the place he wants to be, but the question remains- will he be able to prove he’s a valuable member of the team before someone finds out who he really is?

I think this series is so well done. The characters are all progressing in an exciting way. The story arcs so far have been amazing to read. I caught up right in the middle of a really intense one, and I’m dying for the next chapter which isn’t out for another 13 days! I think fans of Fire Force would like this one. (And I’m almost caught up on what’s available in the US on that series too, so I might be comparing them because I happen to be reading them at the same time).

I think the world of kaiju seems a terrifying one to live in. There’s no safety for the citizens of Japan, and since a kaiju can appear at any time, there’s an intensity to living that is mind-blowing to think about. Then again, we live in a world where natural disasters can strike at any time, but this is so much more intense than that! I’m excited to see where the series goes next. I hope it runs for a long time because I’d love to really get to know these characters, and I also would love to see it adapted in an anime.

I also just wanted to share these two pages because this is the kind of nail-biting grip the series will put you in, but at the same time, you want to read more:

I hope if you check out this series that you love it! It’s definitely quickly becoming a favorite series of mine, and I’m so excited to see what happens next.

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