Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Kaiju No. 8, Vols. 1 & 2 by Naoya Matsumoto

Kaiju No. 8, Vols. 1 & 2 by Naoya Matsumoto
Publication Date: Vol. 1: December 7, 2022, Vol. 2: April 5, 2022
ISBN: Vol. 1: 9781974725984, Vol 2: 9781974727148

When Kafka was a kid, he made a pact with his childhood friend, Mina, to one day join the military organization Japan Defense Force and kill as many Kaiju as possible to keep Japan safe from monsters. In the present, Mina is leading a division of the JDF and Kafka is a member of Kaiju Corpse Cleanup, having failed multiple military entry tests. However, a new rule means he has one more chance to join… the only thing stopping him now is that he also happens to be part Kaiju!

This manga jumps straight into the action where we meet Kafka and learn about his job, the Kaiju, and how Japan functions under the constant threat of these monsters. The characters are unique and interesting and the story moves at a quick pace with plenty of action and an interesting plot. The writing ensures the reader is invested in Kafka’s situation right away. Readers will wonder what turns his life has taken to be a part of the dead-end cleanup crew and no longer talking to Mina. The twist of him bonding with a Kaiju and having to handle it, along with the help of some friends, is also extremely humorous.

Kaiju No. 8 will appeal to readers who enjoy sci-fi, action, and humor as well as any stories that have relatable characters who don’t always succeed in their goals. Read and view-alikes could include Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama, where humanity is attacked by huge creatures, the Pacific Rim movie series, where they are dealing with kaiju from the sea, and Mashle by Hajime Komoto for the humor that comes with great, quirky characters.

—Mariela Siegert

Other Nominated Titles:

  • Heaven’s Design Team, vol. 7 by Tsuta Suzuki, Hebi-zou and Tarako (July 19, 2022)
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, vol. 6 by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe (October 18, 2022)
  • Lore Olympus, vol. 3 by Rachel Smythe (October 11, 2022)
  • Something Is Killing the Children, vol. 5 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera (October 18, 2022)
  • Sakamoto Days, vol. 4 by Yuto Suzuki (October 11, 2022)
  • You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth (April 12, 2022)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.