Kaiju No 8
Image via Shueisha and Crunchyroll

How Kaiju No. 8 Explores Maturity, Regret, and Giant Monsters

Naoya Matsumoto’s ongoing Shonen Jump manga Kaiju No. 8 captured the hearts of readers with its adult themes and comedic charm. Now, with its anime adaptation produced by Production I.G and studio Khara, the series soared to new heights, aiming to be a real contender this Anime season. And again, it’s using those same mature elements to set itself apart.

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From its thrilling first episode, Kaiju No. 8 establishes itself as a standout in the anime landscape. The story follows Kafka Hibino, a sanitation worker harboring dreams of joining the Defense Force to battle Kaiju, towering monsters wreaking havoc on humanity. Despite his childhood promise and aspirations, Kafka finds himself stuck in a mundane job, haunted by a sense of failure and regret.

This adaptation perfectly portrays the world of the manga with a grounded familiarity rarely found in anime adaptations. The entire main cast are designed with realistic proportions and simple silhouettes that exude individuality and charm, whilst still giving the sense that these characters could be people you see in everyday life. This choice visually and narratively enhances Kafka’s journey of maturity and self-discovery, by making these characters that much easier for the audience to connect with on an emotional level.

Speaking of Kafka, His longing to prove himself, coupled with reflections on past decisions, adds layers of depth to his character. The weight of failed promises and the feeling of not measuring up to one’s own ambitions resonated profoundly with me, echoing the universal experience of the battle to make personal progress and learning to navigate life’s challenges.

Beyond Kafka’s personal journey, Kaiju No. 8 examines the complexities of a world plagued by monsters. Kafka’s own background as Monster Cleaner, pokes fun at the often occurring trope concerning the damage left behind by Kaiju. However, the Monsters in this story are far from mere adversaries. These Kaiju can easily symbolize power, destruction, and even ambition. Through these beasts and characters like Kikoru Shinomiya, the series offers a nuanced exploration of the dual nature of strength and vulnerability.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving up…But it’s not good to lie to yourself.” This powerful quote from the first episode encapsulates the struggle to find closure with unfulfilled expectations and the harsh realities of adulthood.

In a genre often defined by spectacle and action, Kaiju No. 8 provides a look at maturity, regret, and the endless struggle to chase dreams. It’s a testament to the power of anime to inspire, entertain, and explore the vastness of the human experience.

The Kaiju No 8 anime is currently airing on Crunchyroll, and the manga is handled outside Japan by Viz Media.

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Daniel Hudson
Daniel is a staff writer and translator. With a BA in Digital Media and a passion for Game design, he got his start writing for fiction inspired by the art and entertainment he loves. His favorite genres are JRPGs, survival horrors, and multiplayer games.