Kaiju No. 8 Theory: [SPOILER] Isn’t Dead – Kaiju No. 9 Failed to Kill Him

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter 54 of Kaiju No. 8, "Chapter Fifty-Four," by Naoya Matsumoto, now available in English from Viz Media.

Shonen Jump's newest hit series, Kaiju No. 8, has taken its darkest turn, blowing everyone away and destroying any sense of safety for Defense Force heroes, Gen Narumi and Kafka Hibino. With the tragic defeat of Director-General Isao Shinomiya at the forefront of Kaiju No. 8's narrative, mangaka Naoya Matsumoto is now presenting readers with a critical mystery: did the Director-General survive his encounter with Kaiju No. 9?

As of Chapter 54 of the monstrous battle-shonen, Matsumoto had capitalized on the weight of Gen. Shinomiya's defeat at the hands of No. 9, even going so far as to illustrate the General's funeral. Matsumoto focused on each of Shinomiya's grief-stricken loved ones, sharing enough information in these moments to hint at a more awful possibility, the General may be alive within Kaiju No. 9's twisted bowels.

Director-General Shinomiya Was Defeated Off-Panel


The early portions of Gen Narumi and Kikoru's shared conversation in Chapter 54 established the first premise for this theory.  As the two JAKDF soldiers mourned their loss, Kikoru and, implicitly Gen, remarked that they were too slow to aid the Director-General in his epic battle, which raised an important note. No one was actually present to witness the supposed killing of Shinomiya, meaning no one knows how No. 9 went about absorbing the General into his being.

Shinomiya could have been incorporated into No. 9' s being while he was still living, which would make sense as Shinomiya had maintained a clear upper hand up until the ambiguous point at which he was defeated. If this is the case, it would not be a large leap in logic to imagine that Shinomiya's consciousness could somehow still be intact within the new Daikaiju, No. 9. The fact that Matsumoto has revealed so little about the nature of No. 9's abilities also keeps this theory well within the realm of possibilities.

Kaiju No. 9's Uncharacteristic Sadism

Kaiju No. 9 uses the passed General's face.

Looking back into Chapter 53, No. 9 indulged in uncharacteristic sadism by revealing a new ability it gained after absorbing Shinomiya, an ability that keys on the next premise for this theory. As it repeatedly attempted to conclude his battle against Captain Narumi and a full-powered Kafka, No. 9 assumed the General's facial appearance as he addressed the soldiers. He repeated this action, this time aimed at the General's own daughter, Kikoru. Although No. 9's ploy may on the surface seem like the typical sadistic actions of a villain, the world of Kaiju No. 8 is rarely so simple. Matsumoto has gone to great lengths to characterize No. 9 as more than a typical villain.

As a Kaiju, No. 9 is only motivated by logic and survival instinct, not human emotion and desire. This unique feature of No. 9's character makes it unlikely that he would intentionally reveal the General's face to Kikoru after his escape was already ensured, as the animalistic Daikaiju would not have any sadistic desires to provoke the JAKDF soldiers beyond what was necessary. No. 9's illogical actions could mean that perhaps he was not revealing the General's face to the soldiers as a provocation. Perhaps No. 9 was compelled to don the General's appearance to share a final glance with Kikoru by the Director-General himself. This would make complete sense if Isao Shinomiya was actually still alive within Kaiju No. 9's being.

Kikoru Will Not Mourn

Kikoru weilds her weapon as she looks on.

Returning to Chapter 54, Kikoru's final word's to Cpt. Gen Narumi and an eavesdropping Kafka established the strongest premise for this theory. As she requested for Gen to personally train her in hopes of amping her power levels, the grieving soldier explained that she is sure that her father is still alive within Kaiju No. 9's being. She went on to state that she will not be able to mourn her father until the Defense Force neutralized No. 9.

In fairness, Kikoru should have no way of knowing of or feeling her father's presence within Kaiju No. 9, but her statement is too explicit to ignore. Although no telepathic abilities have been revealed as of yet, in a world where Gen wields Sharingan-like kaiju eyes and Kafka controls the powers of a Daikaiju, readers should not discount the possibility that Kikoru's statement is more than a metaphor. She may actually be able to "feel" her father's presence. Kikoru's statement bears more even importance when looking at the narrative from a meta-perspective. Per Chekov's Gun, it is highly unlikely that Matsumoto would include this line without having any intention of capitalizing on the possibility of Shinomiya returning in some capacity.

Shinomiya's return has not been officially confirmed, but the latest chapters of Kaiju No. 8 make it clear that the General being alive within No. 9 is a definite possibility. Regardless of what path Matsumoto decides to take, he has certainly distinguished his young series early on from the shonen pack with the gruesome defeat and "death" of the Director-General, which marked a distinct tonal shift in Kaiju No. 8, in the vein of gritty series like Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man.

Ash and Pikachu JPG
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