Best launch for a manga in France, Kaiju n ° 8 does not reinvent the genre, but handles the codes of shōnen to perfection. Just what it takes to woo fans of Japanese comics.
Carefully disseminated humor, profiled monsters, endearing characters, varied and neat designs, well-balanced suspense… Nothing to say, the first volume of Kaiju n ° 8 is well made. And yet, the shōnen is nothing new. Whether at the level of the characters: the hero both left and endearing is a classic. Whether at the level of evil monsters: somewhere between Godzilla, Shenron and Leviator. Or even at the scenario level: Kaiju n ° 8 has something the attack of the Titans (a tenacious hero who possesses the power of enemies) andUltraman (a Japanese series in which a patrol must fight monsters). Originality is definitely not the main quality of the manga.
It must be said that the Kaiju, a common word for monsters in Japan, have been present in the Japanese visual landscape for many years and that the public is fond of them. Kaijū eiga (monster cinema in French) is a genre apart in the land of the rising sun. Since the late 1950s, cardboard city models and latex monster costumes have very often filled Japanese movie theaters. Ditto for manga. Of Full Metal Alchemist To Demon Slayer, Passing by One Punch Man, kaiju often stand in the way of heroes. But that doesn’t mean that Kaiju n ° 8 is not effective or singular. On the contrary: it is often in old jars that the best jams are made.
Earthquake, dissonant duet and hyper realistic action scenes
Fortitude 6 Kaiju has just crashed in Yokohama. No risk of tsunami, and as with earthquakes, the appearance of these monsters is highest in Japan. Fortunately, Mina and the Third Division of the Anti-Kaiju Defense Forces (JAKDF) quickly deal with it. The monster dies in the city center. Now we have to clean up the crime scene. This is the work of 32-year-old Kafka (quite old and rare for a shōnen, teenage audiences usually identify with characters his own age) who have been slightly disillusioned since he failed at the JAKDF. He is accompanied by Reno, 18, fiery, lively, ambitious. The dissonant duo works quite well. This is also the humorous guarantee of this first volume.
But not everything goes as planned. After an unfortunate encounter, Kafka also becomes a kaiju. He can transform (more or less) as he pleases and risks being chased away by the JAKDF. The chase and fight scenes are impressive. Those at night in particular. The line is precise, the protagonists, although a little caricatured, are charismatic and the variety of points of view perfectly sets the pace for the story. These first seven chapters leave us on a cliffhanger that is difficult to sustain. No doubt: this first volume of Kaiju n ° 8 does the job and more.
The second volume to be published on December 8, 2021
It is not for nothing that with 22,041 copies sold the first week, Kaiju n ° 8 had the best start of a manga in France. He thus dethroned a monument such as Dragon Ball Z (17,299 copies). In Japan, there is talk of at least four million sales for the first four volumes released since the end of 2020. It’s huge. The Kazé editions had therefore put the package for its release in France on October 6, including a giant display on the National Library of France. The appointment is made on December 8 for the release of the second volume.