Title: Kaiju No.8 Vol. 3
Author: Naoya Matumoto
Release Date: July 11, 2021
Publisher: Viz Media
Volume 3 of Kaiju No. 8 continues the entire frontal battle between Kaiju No. 9 and the Anti-Kaiju defense force, with Kafka joining the fight in his Kaiju form. Climatic moments where the hero storms in to save his allies are as cliche as it gets, but that’s one of the unconventional strong points that Kaiju No. 8 possesses. The execution of these cliche clashes and hero moments are always emotionally charged for the characters and the audience due to the build-up established through character introspection and relationships.
Kafka inserts himself into the battle with Kaiju No.9 with anger at the forefront of his drive. Of course, as an anti-kaiju defense member, he is hiding his Kaiju side, but this moment foreshadows that change for him. After saving Leno, Kafka goes straight for Kaiju No. 9 and obliterates him. It’s such an impressive moment, seeing “Kaiju No. 8” diving deeper into the kaiju nature, allowing him to outclass Kaiju No. 9 but not kill him.
Kaiju No. 9 escapes, but only due to Soshiro catching “Kaiju No. 8” after his clash and putting extreme pressure on him. I have to admit that I did not expect Kafka to be so outclassed in their match-up, but based on the wording of Soshiro’s skills and rank among the defense force squadron, how could anyone be surprised? As I said, these cliche battle moments and well-written character introspection and monologue narration make the least shocking moments of Kaiju No. 8 feel overwhelmingly incredible.
After narrowly escaping the clash with Soshiro, Kafka covers his tracks before returning to base with the others. Almost like a purposeful parallel, the now physically injured and pride wounded Kaiju No. 9 realizes his current disguise as a human has been compromised and takes a new man’s body to cover his tracks. These subtle comparisons and similarities between Kafka and Kaiju No. 9 feel intentional, almost as if Matsumoto (the author) wants us to be wary of our hero’s “true nature.”
Aside from the omens shown in Kaiju No. 9’s wit and now new desire to “kill Kaiju No. 8”, Kafka unexpectedly receives a promotion, making the story pacing feel almost sped up; or it’s just another omen to how serious the story is going to become. I feel Kaiju No. 8’s story has yet to reach a level of “uniqueness” with its first 3 volumes, but its execution of specific story elements still impresses me. However, the end of volume 3 is where the story may begin to show its way of standing out among the other monster vs. humans manga ongoing today. Depending on the contents of the next volume, it could bring out compelling writing in this Kaiju slaying story.
I enjoyed volume 3 of Kaiju No. 8 and looked forward to what else the story will bring!
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