We here at The Revolution have not been shy in professing our love for the new manga Kaiju No. 8. Naoya Matsumoto has an absolute hit on his hands with this manga. Readers who love action mangas with strong character work and good comedy are sure to enjoy Kaiju No. 8. I am confident that Matsumoto has another strong read in store for us with Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Naoya Matsumoto
Art: Naoya Matsumoto
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Cast: Kafka Hibino aka Kaiju No. 8: A 32-year-old member of the Professional Kaiju Cleanup Corp. His job as a Monster Sweeper is to chop up and dispose of Kaiju killed by the Defense Force. Kafka was childhood friends with Mina Ashiro. The two made a vow to join the Defense Force and protect Japan from Kaiju. However, Kafka failed the entrance exam and then quit on his dreams of being a member of the Defense Force.
Kafka was then merged with a Kaiju who had been “looking for him.” The result is that Kafka can now transform into Kaiju No.8 and possesses superpowers.
Mina Ashiro: The 27-year-old star of the Defense Force’s 3rd Division. Many see Mina as the eventual Commander of the Defense Force. Mina was childhood friend of Kafka. The two made a promise to join the Defense Force and protect Japan from Kaiju. Mina has not spoken with Kafka since he quit on his dream of being a member of the Defense Force.
Reno Ichikawa: An 18-year-old member of the Professional Kaiju Cleanup Corp. Ichikawa is assigned to work with Kafka. Ichikawa has plans to take the exam to become a member of the Defense Force.
Kikoru Shinomiya: Kikoru is the daughter of Defense Force Commander Shinomiya. Kikoru’s Combat Power is greater than any of the other applicants. Kirkoru is viewed as the hope for Japan and the future leader of the Defense Force.
Hoshina: The Defense Force Captain who is running the entrance exam.
Kaiju: This the general term for a creature. Kaiju can be either Honju and Yoju.
Honju: This is a Kaiju that are the main beasts. They emerge more prominently and consistently.
Yoju: These are the Kaiju that accompany the Honju when they emerge. The Yoju are the residual beasts. Yoju come in many varieties. Some appear by traveling routes made by Honju or but leeching onto Honju. Some Yoju are created by Honju.
Synopsis: We begin with Kafka and Ichikawa lying on the ground exhausted from the test. Kafka says that Kikoru made a fool of him at every turn. The two friends sit up and are shocked to see the dead Honju standing up and reforming themselves.
We cut to Kikoru managing to focusing her power suit’s shield to keep the shot from reaching her heart. We see a Kaiju reviving one of the dead Honju. The Kaiju tells the Honju to attack Kikoru. Kikoru is stunned that the Kaiju spoke. The Honju then fires a bunch of shots into Kikoru’s body.
We cut to the command tower where Hoshina yells that the dead Honju are all reviving. Hoshina is told that the resurrected Honju’s fortitude is a 6.4. Hoshina thinks how the Honju has increased its strength. Hoshina thinks that the only people here who could handle a Kaiju of that strength by themselves would be Hoshina and Mina.
Hoshina orders the drones to go back into the testing area and orders all the examinees’ remote shields to be activated. Hoshina orders all examinees to evacuate the area.
We slide back to Kikoru facing the revived Yoju. Kikrou says start if they do not stop this thing now then many people will lose their lives. Kikoru uses the Kaiju muscle fibers in her power suit to bind her wound. Kikoru flashes back to her father telling her that she must be perfect for the sake of the nation’s future.
Kikoru grabs her rifle and stands up. The Honju then smacks Kikoru into a wall. Kikoru thinks about how she refuses to lose.
We flashback to Kikoru in middle school. Kikoru gets the highest exam score and earns the adulation of all of her classmates. We then see the parents of the other students arriving at school to pick up their kids. The other parents praise their children for their test efforts even though they weren’t perfect like Kikoru.
Kikoru stands there alone until her butler arrives to pick her up. We cut back at Kikoru’s house with her father telling her that it is expected for her to be the top exam student. Her father tells Kikoru to not fixate on a single success. Her father tells her to waste no time and begin working on her next goal. Kikoru’s father tells her to be perfect for the sake of the nation’s future and for her late mother as well.
We hop back to the present and Kikoru stands up and says that she refuses to lose. The Honju smacks Kikoru again. Kikoru thinks how she must not be outdone and must dominate. Kikoru tries to continue to fight with just one arm working. The Honju powers up and is about to fire a massive energy blast. Kikoru kneels on the ground and thinks that she was not able to be perfect. Kikoru apologizes to her father.
Suddenly, Kafka appears in front of Kikoru and tells her that she did a fine job. Kafka stands in front of Kikoru. The Honju releases its massive energy blast. We see that Kafka has transformed into his Kaiju No. 8 form and blocked the Honju’s blast. Kaiju No. 8 tells Kikoru that thanks to her hard work they were able to evacuate everyone. Kaiju No. 8 tells Kikoru to leave the rest to him. End of chapter.
The Good: Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7 is another action-packed and fun read. It is early in this new manga, but you can already tell that Naoya Matsumoto has something special with Kaju No. 8. This is a manga that slaps a big smile on the reader’s face with each chapter.
Matsumoto delivers a well-plotted and paced read in Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7. The story begins with a surprise that Kikoru is still alive. Matsumoto then steps on the gas and cranks up the impending sense of doom and hopelessness as Kikoru is methodically beaten to a pulp. The complete defeat of Kikoru leaves the reader feeling that there is little hope in stopping the revived Kaiju. And with the reader at their lowest, Matsumoto ends Chapter 7 with a surprise twist of having Kafka revealing his Kaiju No. 8 form. That is a brilliant story construction.
The story moves at a quick pace, but never feels rushed. The plotting moves forward with a purpose and the story unfolds in an organic fashion.The plotting and pacing are designed to make Chapter 7 an intense read that pulls the reader to the edge of their seat. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride that leaves the reader unsure of what surprise is about to come next. The amount of action is just right and serves as a good balance to the flashback scene giving a closer look at Kikoru’s character. The result is an entertaining and unpredictable story that offers a balance of action and character work.
Matsumoto continues to do more world-building with Chapter 7. The reader gets a better sense of the power suits that the Defense Force members wear into combat. We learn that these power suits are constructed from Kaiju muscle tissue. That this allows the wearer to seal up wounds in addition to increasing their strength. We also learn that the shields for these power suits are impressive and can be adjusted in scope and strength. I dig that the power suits are based on Kaiju biology. There is something fittingly human in taking the biology of a threat like Kaiju and repurpose it into a weapon to fight the very same threat. All in all, these power suits make the Defense Force members pretty imposing in battle.
I am curious to learn more about how the Kaiju who resurrects the various Honju can talk. Kikoru’s shock over the Kaiju speaking serves to indicate that this a real rarity. Matsumoto is creating a cool mystery surrounding this Kaiju. This puzzling Kaiju is definitely shaping up to be a great first major adversary for Kaiju No. 8.
Matsumoto delivers more quality character work in Chapter 8. Matsumoto focuses the lens squarely on Kikoru in Chapter 7. The reader gets a good look into Kikoru’s childhood and what motivates her to be the best of the best. Kikoru has been a rather unlikeable character from the start. However, Matsumoto attempts to explain away some of Kikoru’s obnoxious behavior by showing the reader that Kikoru had a tough childhood.
We knew that Kikoru’s father was the former Commander of the Defense Force. Now, in Chapter 7, we learn that Kikoru’s father was a complete hardass who expected nothing short of perfection from Kikoru. Her father’s cold nature and demanding expectations is what formed Kikoru’s obnoxious and cold personality. While I still dislike Kikoru, at least I understand why she acts the way she does.
Matsumoto wisely emphasizes Kikoru’s massive ego and unparalleled skills to show how strong the Honju is who takes her down. This helps to build up the Honju as a seemingly unstoppable force if even Kikoru cannot take it down. This will allow Matsumoto to then get Kaiju No. 8 over with the reader by having him defeat a powerful Kaiju capable of defeating Kikoru. This is a good use of proper psychology in building up a character like Kikoru before feeding her to a bad guy like the Honju. This then allows Kaiju No. 8’s victory over the Honju to be seen by the reader as a huge accomplishment.
While I would have preferred the shock of Kikoru being killed off, Matsumoto is still using Kikoru’s character in a wise fashion. Matsumoto is constructing the story so that Kafka can step in and fill the role of the hero in the place of the ordained savior in Kikoru. This will allow Matsumoto to continue the everyman hero story that is going to be central to this manga.
Unfortunately, since Matsumoto focuses completely on Kikoru that means that Kafka gets practically no panel time. In fact, Kafka is only in five of the pages of Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7. Luckily, Matsumoto can deliver some impressive character work on Kafka even in such a limited amount of panel time. Matsumoto continues to have Kafka display a kind heart. We see this as Kafka is supportive of Kikoru and praises her despite that she has been a complete bitch to Kafka from the very start. This is important because it emphasizes to the reader what type of hero Kafka is going to be on this manga. Again, Kafka has that Peter Parker personality.
Matsumoto also gives us a tiny bit more insight into both Mina and Hoshina. We learn that Mina and Hoshina are far more powerful than the other members of the Defense Force. This is evident in Hoshino stating that only Mina and he are powerful enough to take on the Honju by themselves. Again, it is important to show the reader the power levels and skills of the various characters, so we know where they slot into this world that Matsumoto is constructing.
Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7 ends with a fantastic hook ending. Until this point, Kafka has been keeping his Kaiju No. 8 form a secret. We know that Kafka unveiling his Kaiju No. 8 form will subject him to being hunted down by the Defense Force and either being killed for jailed. Matsumoto having Kafka revealing his Kaiju No. 8 form publicly in front of high ranking Defense Force members shows his heroic heart. Kafka understands that he is putting himself at risk of being killed or arrested and detained. However, Kafka is the kind of hero that will not hesitate to save someone else even if it is to his detriment. This is a nice job by Matsumoto letting readers know what kind of hero Kafka is going to be on this manga.
Of course, Matsumoto delivers tons of excellent artwork. Matsumoto can do it all. Great facial expressions? Check. Kick-ass action? Check. Cool character and kaiju designs? Check. Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7 is a wonderful looking chapter. Matsumoto brings to live this world in an exciting fashion.
The Bad: I mentioned earlier in the review that I would have rather Matsumoto kill off Kikoru. Killing off a character like Kikoru would have sent the message to the reader that they should expect the unexpected. Also, Kikoru is such a manga trope that she is more effective dead than alive. Plus, we already have Mina’s character which essentially fills the same role as Kikoru’s character on this manga.
I appreciate how Matsumoto tried to make Kikoru more sympathetic by giving the reader a look into her cold and demanding childhood. But, in the end, Kikoru is simply too perfect. This makes it hard for the reader to establish a genuine connection with Kikoru’s character.
Overall: Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 7 is another fun read. Naoya Matsumoto continues to do a wonderful job balancing world-building, character work, and action. There is no doubt that Kaiju No. 8 is rapidly becoming my favorite current manga. That is pretty impressive for a manga that is only in its seventh chapter!
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