MANGA REVIEW | "Kaiju No. 8" - Volume Five
You know you have an enthralling manga volume on your hands when it takes less than half an hour to read through all 200 pages of it. That’s what happened with me when going through the fifth volume of Naoya Matsumoto’s Kaiju No. 8. Not only did it deliver what I was hoping this manga would be from the start, but it also managed to introduce us to the best character in the entire series. His name is Gen Narumi, and he’s a delight to watch in action!
However, before we get to all of that, there’s still the matter of Kafka’s fight to keep on living. Now that he’s been outed as a kaiju, the military aims to make use of him as a weapon. But Director General Shinomiya wants to see what sort of strength Kafka’s got, as he faces off with him one-on-one. What he discovers deep within Kafka is the beating heart of a warrior for justice. It just takes Kafka having to literally punch a hole in his chest to prove it!
Turns out Kafka can’t quite control his kaiju powers yet, resulting in a fight that almost gets Shinomiya killed. The twin-tailed badass Kikoru watches and worries, hoping that Kafka won’t break his promise to ever kill another human being. Fortunately, once Kafka goes to the extreme to prove his humanity, Kikoru finds herself breathing a sigh of relief. That’s when she’s brought to the First Division, where she’s introduced to one Gen Narumi.
At first, it would appear Kaiju No. 8 was just bringing in yet another hikkikomori character, with his quarters completely trashed and his gaze only wanting his video games. But once he’s literally kicked out from his covers, the real side of Gen Narumi appears. And it leads to him kicking all sorts of kaiju ass for pure, unadulterated glory! However, the credit goes elsewhere, with his true ego-stroking self hilariously leaving Kikoru staring blankly at her new partner.
There’s no time for laughs, as Kaiju No. 9 is making the rounds again. The next big battle commences, with all eyes now on Kafka. Things seem to go okay at first, only for Kafka to have a major setback. And then, another Kaiju No. 9 appears. And then another. Suddenly, it all starts looking grim not just for Kafka, but for the entirety of Japan, with the look on everyone’s faces in pure horror at the sight.
Does Kaiju No. 8’s fifth volume end on any sign of hope? Perhaps, but the threat of Kaiju No. 9 keeps on growing as time passes by. Even worse is the possibility that a much stronger kaiju is just lurking in the darkness, waiting to strike. Thankfully, Kaiju No. 8 has a unique set of heroes that might make it all right in the end, especially with what readers got to see the sort of power they have. Just don’t bust video game consoles or toy models to make a point; it’ll simply make one of the soldiers madder than one can handle!
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt and Mandy Earles of VIZ Media.