Mangaka: Naoya Matsumoto
As Japan continues to fight against the large-scale Kaiju assault, platoon leader Shinonome makes a desperate stand against the overwhelming threat.
The last few chapters we’ve gotten of Kaiju No. 8 have been action-packed and emotionally trying. With several specially-designed daikaiju targeting division captains, the Defense Force is up against a threat they’ve never faced before. And while the last few chapters focused on Shinomiya struggling against Kaiju No. 15, chapter 82 follows First Division Platoon Leader Rin Shinonome.
Watching helplessly as her fellow platoon leader Tachibana is choked out by Kaiju No. 13, Shinonome flashed back to her experiences in the First Division. It is shown that she harbors a deep admiration for First Division Captain Narumi, and wishes to be noticed by him. To this end, she trained extensively as well as worked on her physical appearance so that one day her captain would finally see her. Whether she loves her captain romantically remains to be seen, but it’s very clear that she desires to be admired by her captain (or at least valued by him) to some degree.
After her flashback, Shinonome is resolved to fight, desperate as it may be. As she makes her last (and apparently futile) stand against No. 13, our hero Kafka saves the day at the last moment. In the next chapter, we can almost certainly expect a battle between the two numbered kaiju.
Kaiju No. 8 consistently balances intense action with satisfying narrative and character development, a feat that some series find hard to do as frequently. Seeing how the protagonists grow through their trials keeps you engaged with their stories, and watching the looming threat of Kaiju No. 9 as its machinations unfold across Japan makes you want to pick up the next chapter whenever it drops.
One of the series’ greatest strengths throughout its run has been how relatable main character Kafka Hibino has been. He started the series as someone who felt like a failure but has grown into a decisive figure in the war against kaiju. And even though he still has room to grow, his drive and desire to stand equal to his childhood friend is something that most of us can sympathize with.
Chapter 82’s biggest drawback is that it focuses on a character we don’t have much of an attachment to yet. The best way to learn more about a character and emotionally connect with them can be through trials and tense situations. But in the scenario where all divisions across Japan are under siege and we know people are struggling all over, it is a little hard to care about someone we barely know. On top of this, Shinonome’s reasons for wanting to be noticed by her captain seem a bit shallow at first glance, so I found it hard to connect with someone who has the desperate “senpai, please notice me” mentality in the middle of the battlefield.
Even so, the last panel of the chapter reignited my hype instantly, and I can’t wait to read the next chapter. The situation seems dire now, but watching our protagonists struggle and persevere is the best part about Kaiju No. 8.
Kaiju No. 8
- The fast-paced action looks great as ever
- The last panel has us excited for the next chapter
- Shinonome is a very minor character that we don't have much emotional attachment to yet