Title: Kaiju No. 8 Vol. 2
Author: Naoya Matsumoto
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Viz Media
Kaiju No. 8 has a really cool concept. An average guy accidentally swallows a bit of kaiju and becomes able to turn into a kaiju himself. He hides this power from most of the people he works with to avoid persecution while using it to aid humanity. It’s pretty simple, but it rules and allows for some really fun action and comedy. Volume Two of the series is a strong follow-up that further develops the world while continuing to endear us to Kafka Hibino and his pals.
Volume Two picks up right where Volume One left off, with Kafka saving Shinomiya from a deadly humanoid Kaiju, and going on to reveal his monstrous secret to her.
This brings another character into the fold of those who know what Kafka can do, and that he is indeed the titular Kaiju No. 8. A sudden kaiju attack derails an otherwise productive period of training, leading to the rookies having to battle their biggest threat yet.
The story continues to be intriguing, with Kafka’s journey feeling personal and his progress feeling earned. When he gets 1% in his battle suit, you feel good because of how hard you see him work. Then, when he needs to go ham on a villain by turning into a kaiju, you’re even more thrilled.
His power is used sparsely enough in Volume Two for it to still feel like a big and important event whenever Kafka uses it, which I quite like. I’m also fond of Kafka using his knowledge outside of being a kaiju, from his viscera cleaning days, to be useful without his powers. Kafka’s origin is still relevant to the choices he makes, which keeps him and the series consistent.
Hoshina slowly suspects Kafka of being a kaiju is a great plot point as well, and I’m excited to see him eventually find out the truth, especially as the kaiju battles begin to ramp up.
The stakes are laid out quite clearly for Kafka in this volume, with Shinomiya stating that if others find out about his secret, Kafka could be tortured, dissected, and weaponized. This makes the suspicions feel way heavier, and tenser all around.
There are a lot of great character moments throughout Volume Two as well, from the classic “bonding in the hot springs” situation to everyone’s reaction to Kafka’s late arrival at the induction ceremony. Seeing Kafka declare his intentions to Mina in front of everyone was pretty great too, and completely in line with his character.
The art style of Kaiju No. 8 is pleasant and not overly complicated outside of some of the kaiju designs. Action has impact and weight to it, as every kaiju punch that Kafka throws or energy blast that decimates a kaiju is shown doing all sorts of damage in a clean and clear way. It might be a tad bit simple for some people, but I don’t mind the simplicity.
Volume Two of Kaiju No. 8 is a strong continuation of the series that lays down some interesting ideas for the future of the series. The likable characters and awesome action sequences continue to impress, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes as it progresses.
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