Attack on Titan

No Manga Makes Kaiju Into More Terrifying Weapons than Kaiju No. 8

No Manga Makes Kaiju Into More Terrifying Weapons than Kaiju No. 8
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In chapter 59 of Kaiju No. 8, mangaka Naoya Matsumoto explores the concept of humans wielding monsters as weapons in a terrifying way.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Kaiju No.8 chapter 59!

Few manga create instances where humans can transform into or leverage kaiju powers and, of those that do, none capture these moments as terrifyingly or effectively as Kaiju No.8.

attack on titan undoubtedly popularized the trope where humans can transform into their world’s massive monsters, and quite effectively, too. Kaiju No.8 not only follows attack on titan in this regard but adds another level where regular humans can leverage the power of monsters without transforming in them, and Kaiju No.8 just introduced this phenomenon in probably the best way imaginable in chapter 59 by mangaka Naoya Matsumoto.

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In the world of Kaiju No.8, an arm of the government that battles these monsters known as the Defense Force utilizes the bodies of powerful kaiju by transforming them into physical weapons. But pairing them with humans can have a detrimental effect, and, ironically, the best candidate for Kaiju No. 6 – the King of Kaijus no less – is a young, new recruit who just so happens to be the main character Kafka’s closest friend, Reno. The fact that Reno is so young raises the stakes and creates tension, and he is repeatedly told that he should decline the procedure. The combination of how terrifyingly Kaiju No. 6 manifests in Reno’s mind when he undergoes a test run and how he almost dies afterward despite not experiencing the full brunt of the process ups the ante considerably.


Reno confronts Kaiju No. 6 in Kaiju No. 8 chapter 59.

The ways in which Naoya has been revealing this type of weaponry is masterful, especially in how events culminated in chapter 59. Naoya first set the stage by introducing the concept as a threat to Kafka, not as a power-up. When contemplating whether he would be a good idea to reveal himself as Kaiju No. 8, his two confidantes, including Reno, immediately shot down the suggestion as it would result in him getting turned into a weapon, seeing as he’s a numbered kaiju. Next, Naoya thrust readers into the fray by showing one in action, wielded by the most powerful Defense Force member, no less. Naoya’s next choice is what’s truly interesting. Before starting Reno’s story, he introduced a whole new concept: A human wielding a living numbered kaiju as a weapon upgrade. But instead of seeing that scenario play out first, Reno’s experience in chapter 59 transpires.


It makes sense that Reno’s pairing with Kaiju No. 6 took place first. Although no one has ever wielded a living kaiju before as a weapon, the future wielder will be Soshiro Hoshina, an experienced vice-captain. The tension is much higher in Reno’s case, not due to Reno’s connection with Kafka. Readers are highly invested in Reno’s relationship with Kafka, and the motivation that’s driving him to wield Kaiju No. 6 is convincing as a result. That’s what makes Naoya’s execution so innovative. It would have made sense for him to just introduce and conclude these instances in order. Instead, Naoya is complicating the natural progression of his story by throwing in random elements as teasers to empower each other in ways that separating them would have never achieved, a narrative style few mangaka practices successfully except Eiichiro Oda of One Piece. And this isn’t just a one-off, either. Kaiju No.8 accomplished this earlier by the kaiju weapon he thing to introduce first. Regardless, Kaiju No.8 doesn’t just make monsters into more terrifying weapons than other manga.


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