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Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 2 - Kafka defeats a Kaiju

Kaiju No. 8 (Manga)

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Kaiju No.8 chapter 2 - Kafka's dream

In a world tormented by destructive Kaiju; terror, ruin and the fear of death permeate the fibers of reality. Against such infernal beasts, humanity has consolidated their hope in a heroic few who act to defend the world from such a hopeless state of actuality. But beyond the focus of the world, there exist an uncelebrated role overlooked by the society that relies of their efforts in order to function after the devastation left by a Kaiju incident. Whether it is procuring parts for research purposes, surveying the scene to prevent further damage, or clearing up the aftermath so that society can return, what is critical after the “heroes” arrive to defeat a Kaiju is precisely, cleanly, efficiently and within a specified deadline dismantling the corpse of the Kaiju. The very structure, process, and danger present in the task is one invisible to the world. But fortunately for the readers looking into such a horrific and despairing setting, hope has been born in the form of a passionate Kaiju dismantler who seeks to expand his skill-set by becoming a defender of the people. Unfortunately the road to dreams is paved by forest of uncertainty and rivers of detours. Our hero finds himself caught in a scenario against the very direction he wishes to travel but when the future remains unknown, the freedom to choose exist all the while stumbling towards the end.

The seamless application of comedy within the bleak reality does not feel out of place. Rather it adds to the anxiety present within our main character (Kafka Hibino) who wrestles between his current situation and the path he wishes to be journeying on. It is a reflection of life where things don’t work out as planned but also a reminder that planning what you want and realising what you need can be completely different. Very rapidly you associate with the main character and become attached to the decisions he makes and their actions. You begin to root for them. You become amused at their failings. And find strength in their perseverance in continuing to be who they are despite the shortcomings. And a main character like that is one I can get behind.

The revelation at the end of chapter 1 twists the nature of the story and unlocks a path seeped in possibility and potential while hinting at a deeper relevance and meaning behind the attacks the Kaiju are making on the society of humanity. It also allows for the relevance of a Kaiju dismantler to become paramount in battling a Kaiju and identifying the weaknesses in their abilities, attack patterns and nature. The experiences one attains in a completely unrelated position can with adaptation become critical in carrying out the role of fighting the Kaiju.

Turning to Kikoru Shinomiya, she is definitely inspired by Asuka Langley Soryu’s (Neon Genesis Evangelion) character and I love that. Such elitism conveyed through her introduction yet a subtle hint of something sorrowful residing deeper within. The weight of expectation both driving and crushing her. Kikoru’s interactions with Kafka are hilarious yet heartening at the same time because those moments of levity are likely helping Kikoru recognise herself within the responsibility demanded of her. With their bond as frenemies blossoming, I look forward to seeing them interact and develop more.

The artwork is solid with dynamic action sequences and wonderfully conveyed comical scenes. That moment from chapter 2 when Kafka got out of his hospital bed…ah, the power of a smile. I lost. What a glorious and powerful misunderstanding and string of proceeding events. The creature designs so far are monstrous in their construction but aside from a few, they have not been very memorable. Further logic could be abandoned in favour of conceptualising even more unhinged and outlandish creatures. Hopefully with the Kaiju now introduced and their story becoming more prominent, we get to see designs similar to the monster in chapter 6/7.

As as the present chapter (chapter 7), the latest developments have caused my intrigue and excitement for the story and characters to overflow. What is up with the Kaiju and where exactly is the story going concerning their intent and purpose? Can’t wait to learn more.

Enjoyment Level: 8.5/10

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