Kafka hopes to one day keep his pact with his childhood friend Mina to join the Japan Defense Force and fight by her side. But while she’s out neutralizing kaiju as Third Division captain, Kafka is stuck cleaning up the aftermath of her battles. When a sudden rule change makes Kafka eligible for the Defense Force, he decides to try out for the squad once more. There’s just one problem—he’s made the Defense Force’s neutralization list under the code name Kaiju No. 8.
This was a recommendation from Ola over at Re-enchantment of the World. I’m really glad I ordered a copy because this manga was so much fun to read. Remember fun? Well, this book is filled with it. It also has some great kaiju art and some kinetic action scenes.
I like the fact that the main character Kafka Hibino is a guy in his early thirties, not the usual teenage protagonist. He has a very unpleasant job cleaning up the disgusting mess of splattered kaiju body parts after they have been defeated by the “Defense Force”. Like Tony Soprano always answered, he works in “waste management.” But Kafka still dreams of getting accepted into the Defense Force and teaming up with his childhood friend Mina.
Joining Kafka on his journey is Reno Ichikawa, who is also determined to work for the Defense Force. The banter that develops between Kafka and Reno is one of the highlights of this book. Their back-and-forth is really funny at times and had me laughing out loud. A third character is Kikoru Shinomiya, a young woman with a lot of confidence in her abilities who comes over as pretty arrogant in this first volume. It will be interesting to see how she develops.
“No casualties or dropouts allowed. At least, not on any battlefield where I set foot!”-Kikoru Shinomiya
I had a great time reading this first volume. It was fun, funny, exciting, with some great art and well-written characters. Yeah, I know it’s manga, but I had a better time reading this than most of the recent DC or Marvel output. I only buy indie comics or manga now. I never thought I’d be saying this five years ago! I’m looking forward to the English translation of Volume 2 which is scheduled for April 2022. Why so late?