Kaiju No. 8 Inspired By Shin Godzilla?! Author Reveals The TRUTH Behind The Manga’s Creation

The author created the MC based on his own frustration with not making a successful manga, despite seeing his mangaka friends succeeding.

© JAKDF 3rd Division © Naoya Matsumoto/SHUEISHA

Kaiju No. 8 has been trending lately, with the anime currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Twitter (believe it or not) worldwide and it’s rounding up to be a pretty decent success. On this occasion, the author of the manga series, Naoya Matsumoto, reveals his inspiration and drive behind its creation in a recent interview with Bunshun Japan on June 1, 2024.

Regarding the background and main plot setting for Kaiju No. 8, Mastsumoto-sensei based it on Shin Godzilla movie, directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, after observing the movie’s direction of linking monsters with natural disasters.

Godzilla, who is always known as the monster causing the biggest disasters in Japan, is an inspiration for so many media and manga alike that it’s hard to find stuff that wasn’t inspired by Godzilla in one way or another.

“Q: How did you come up with the idea of linking monsters to disasters (such as earthquakes and typhoons)?

A: I saw the film Shin Godzilla and was struck anew by how interesting the ‘disaster aspect’ of monsters is. From there, I expanded the setting to make it more interesting in the world of manga.”

One of his senior colleagues suggested he use the code “No.” to identify monsters, just like how Typhoons are catalogued.

The code names for the identifying monsters (written as “No.”) came about because a senior colleague looked at the prototype names and gave me advice: “If you want to compare it to a disaster, wouldn’t it be interesting to call the monsters ‘No.~’ like typhoons?”

At that time, his editor did not think this whole concept for the manga wouldn’t sell well and even Mastsumoto-sensei agreed.

“I remember my editor telling me, “It’s interesting, but it might not be a work that sells,” and I replied, “I think so too.” (laughs) At the time, elements like “monsters” and “special effects” had almost no success as genres of boys’ manga, and it was a field that no one had yet explored.”

Another striking aspect of Kaiju No. 8 is its main character, Kafka Hibino who is older than most MCs in Weekly Shonen Jump series. And that’s worth pondering because, you want a character to be relatable to your audience so one may ask, “How would a 32-year-old’s thoughts and problems be relatable for young boys?”

Mastsumoto-sensei says he created Kafka based on himself and his own frustration of not making a successful manga, despite seeing many of his mangaka friends around him doing well. And he projected that frustration on Kafka for not being able to achieve his dreams of being a natural-born leader and enlisting in the Japan Defense Force, despite seeing his close friend succeed.

This sort of emotion is, in fact, quite relatable to young boys and girls because they can think to themselves, “Why am I not being popular at school, despite my peers doing so well in tests and PE? I’m just a failure in life.”

“There is a large part where I project myself into the story. At the time, I couldn’t make a living from my own manga either, so I was earning my living in a place close to but far away from my dream. Whenever I saw my manga artist friends working in magazines, I had mixed feelings about why I was on this side of the world. I think Kafka Hibino was naturally born out of me like that.”

How Strong is Kafka Hibino in Kaiju no 8 explained

(Kafka Hibino)

Mastsumoto-sensei was quite surprised after seeing Kaiju No. 8 become quite successful and getting an anime adaptation within a year of serialization was quite an achievement. He once joked with a friend who loves anime, saying, “If Production I.G. or Studio Khara were to animate my manga, I’d accept it even if I had to commit seppuku after watching the preview of the first episode!!”

That’s how much he admired the studio, and he was really happy when he found out.

About Kaiju No. 8:

Kaiju No. 8 is a manga series written and illustrated by Naoya Matsumoto. It has been serialized for free on Shueisha’s Shōnen Jump+ application and website since July 2020, with its chapters collected in 12 tankōbon volumes as of April 2024.

An anime television series adaptation produced by Production I.G premiered in April 2024.

Crunchyroll describes the overall plot of Kaiju No. 8 as follows:

In a world plagued by threatening creatures known as Kaiju, Kafka Hibino aspired to enlist in the Japan Defense Force to defeat them.

“Let’s wipe out the Kaiju together.”

Kafka pledged to his childhood friend, Mina Ashiro. Over time, life circumstances forced them to go their separate ways and caused him to abandon his lifelong ambition. He found himself employed by Monster Sweeper, Inc., a professional cleaning company that specializes in cleaning up the aftermath of Kaiju battles. Meanwhile, Mina Ashiro is now the Captain of the Defense Force’s 3rd Division. As it stands, he is currently unworthy of fighting Kaiju alongside her. At work, Kafka crosses paths with the highly motivated Reno Ichikawa. Reno’s undying determination to join the Defense Force leaves no room for failure. His perseverance reawakens Kafka’s ambition of standing next to Mina as they protect humanity from Kaiju together.

A dream frozen by time, thawed by a burning promise.
Source: Bunshun Japan