Kaiju No. 8 Volume Three sees the stakes going up for Kafka, as well as for the Defense Force.

Kaiju No. 8 Volume Three
Written by: Naoya Matsumoto
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 12, 2022

Volume Three continues Kafka (as Kaiju No. 8)’s fight with the humanoid kaiju. While he’s able to weaken this kaiju, it still manages to get away. Unfortunately, when Kafka finds a spot to transform back into his normal self, he’s spotted by Hoshina, who starts fighting him. Poor Kafka is in a position where he needs to defend himself, yet not harm Hoshino. But Hoshino is incredibly talented, so it’s taking everything Kafka has to try to avoid Hoshino’s attacks. Kafka manages to get away, but this encounter causes issues for both Kafka and Hoshino.

For Hoshino, he realizes that something’s off about Kaiju No. 8, because it fights more like a human than it does a kaiju. Because of this, he thinks Kaiju No. 8 is a daikaiju. And for Kafka, he has to try to act normally around Hoshino and not give away that he is actually Kaiju No. 8. It also turns out that thanks to the information that Kafka provided in Volume Two to help defeat a kaiju (which is something he knew from his previous job at Monster Sweeper Inc.), Hoshino recommends Kafka for promotion to a general officer. I think these elements add an interesting dynamic to Kaiju No. 8, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Matsumoto handles this new dynamic between Hoshino and Kafka going forward in the series. It should also be mentioned that the promotion is good for Kafka, though, since it gets him closer to the promise he made to Mina about fighting kaiju by her side.

But things get crazy when a group of kaiju perform an aerial raid on the Defense Force base. But these wyvern-type kaiju aren’t acting normally, because they usually act alone but have come together as a group. Hoshino figures there must be a super-powerful leader pulling the strings, and Hoshino ends up facing off against the leader, since Mina is currently away.

Meanwhile, Kafka is able to provide information to the others that should help them defeat the wyvern-type kaiju. Unfortunately, these kaiju are making sure to keep this strategy from working, but Shinomiya was recently provided with a special prototype weapon, and this weapon helps her take down the wyvern-type kaiju that the others are having a hard time fighting. It wasn’t surprising to learn that Shinomiya is number three in combat power at the base, and that she is being included as part of the main force even though she’s still a cadet. The series had made it pretty clear up to this point that even though she’s a teenager, she has a lot of natural combat abilities that are effective against the kaiju.

Unfortunately, this fight isn’t concluded at the end of Volume Three. The volume ends with Hoshino unleashing more of his combat power and preparing to face off against the leader of the invading kaiju. I thought this was a great spot to end the volume on, because it makes the reader want to read the next volume in order to find out what’s going to happen next.

Kaiju No. 8 Volume Three has a good mix of action, story progression, and character progression to make it a riveting read. But with that being said, though, the action is focused on more at the beginning and at the end of the volume, with the development aspects being focused on more in the middle of the volume. Right at first, Volume Three comes across as if it’s going to be a quick read, and then once the action is over, the middle portion of the volume feels like it slows down quite a bit. With this sudden change in pacing, it almost feels like being a passenger in a car and the driver has to suddenly hit the brakes. However, the pace of the volume picks back up again when the kaiju attack the base, so at least the reader isn’t feeling nearly as bogged down by the end of the volume. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can potentially distract a reader if they pick up on this shift.

When it comes to the art, I was really getting the impression that Matsumoto really likes Hoshino’s character. Of the characters that appear in this volume, he was consistently getting some impressive close-up panels or being the main focus in many of the panels that he appeared in. It would almost make one think that the focus of the series is on Hoshino, not Kafka.

This volume realistically continues the story that’s been presented up to this point, and I think that readers who enjoyed the previous two volumes of Kaiju No. 8 will be able to appreciate Volume Three.

The reader was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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