Shonen Jump’s Kaiju No.8: Plot, Characters & How to Get Started

Kaiju No.8 is one of Shonen Jump's newest hits. Featuring giant monsters and a struggling young man who can become one of them, the series' horror-tinged approach to kaiju has made it an instant hit. Having only begun in 2020 now's the perfect time for those who haven't read it to finally get on board.

Available for free and lauded by critics, Kaiju No. 8 is a rare treat for fans of both kaiju and manga. Here's what readers should know about Kaiju No. 8 and where they can read it.

Kaiju No. 8's Story

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In the series, kaiju, massive prehistoric monsters, regularly attack Japan, with the Japanese Defense Force the only thing stopping them from totally destroying the country. Two childhood friends have their lives dramatically changed by kaiju, and it inspires them to try to fight against them as adults.

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While one of them, Mina Ashino, becomes part of the Japanese Defense Force, the other, Kafka Hibino, doesn't make the cut; instead, settling for a career in cleaning up kaiju corpses. But his life changes forever when a small kaiju flies into his mouth. This mutates him and gives him the power to transform into one himself. Though he's still essentially himself in this form, this doesn't save him from becoming a target of the Japanese Defense Force.

Kaiju. No 8's Main Characters

The main character is Kafka Hibino, who later becomes the eponymous Kaiju No. 8. Kafka's JDF dreams were crushed to the point where he decided to settle for monster clean-up, but he eventually finds the determination to try the exams once more before he ages out, when a kaiju attack forces him into action. Unfortunately, his plans are thrown for a loop when, in the hospital, a tiny kaiju flies into his mouth, making him one of the JDF's prime targets. Kafka's name is an homage to Franz Kafka and his book The Metamorphosis.

Mina Ashiro, Kafka's friend, passed her exams and rose to the rank of Captain in the Japanese Defense Force. Fittingly, she's a much more serious character. She's a proficient marksman who's determined to fulfill her promise of slaughtering all of the kaiju, no matter what. Despite her rough exterior, she does have high hopes that Kafka will eventually join her in the JDF. Other characters include Kikoru Shinomiya, the Defense Force rookie whose natural kaiju-hunting talents outrank everyone, and Leno Ichikawa, a young intern at Kafka's cleaning company who comes to admire him and keep his transformation secret.

Where You Can Read Kaiju No. 8

Kaiju No. 8 is created by Naoya Matsumoto, and starting in July of last year, it was published online through Shueisha's Shonen Jump+ website and through its app. It's also available on the Manga Plus website and app, which is also through Shueisha. Currently having fewer than 30 chapters, the series has released two print volumes so far.

The series, along with another recent manga, Spy X Family, are both doing well on the app, and mark new points in the continued evolution of shonen manga. It also continues the trend of horror elements in popular manga, as seen with series like Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen. Interested readers can download Shonen Jump+ today to sink their teeth into Kaiju No. 8.

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