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Picture of three important characters  Every time and again I feel nostalgic about anime and manga. There are so many of those that I loved as I was growing up and later, so I periodically come back to it, hoping to get that feeling at amazement for a great story told well through drawing and/or animation. Yet if the Japanese are good at anything it's churning consistently decent product efficiently at scale. While their characters always seem to want nothing more than to grow in level, they keep doing the same things over, and over, and over again, nicely tucked in bento boxes for easy consumption.

  In Kaijuu No. 8, a guy who always wanted to join the force defending humanity from kaiju (giant monsters) is infected with a kaiju like thing and thus gets his wish. It's the typical shonen manga/anime thing where people protect their comrades, gain levels of power that are nicely quantified and monitored and overcome obstacles through the power of their feelings. It reminds me a little bit of Bleach, which was also about a guy who was fighting in a force dedicated to killing monsters, while being part monster himself.

  The problem I have with this is not that it's bad, but that it has been done before, almost identically. The comrades are the same, they have the same motivations, the psychopathic villains are the same, the levelling up is the same, the fights are the same, the feelings are the same. At no point does the story stop to look at the people in all of those destroyed buildings in Japan, on the political complexities of having a military force that is not the country's main military force gain so much power and influence. There is no attempt to communicate with the kaiju, once the intelligent and articulate ones appear, no attempt to find out where they are coming from, either. Just a mindless grind of ever increasing power in both sides. There is no explanation on what powers the monsters or the weapons, no real reason why individual people fight monsters without support, no attempt to understand how a human became a kaiju and so on and so on.

  The biggest issue in this story is not "how is it possible a human turned into a kaiju?" but "if he uses this more he will may not be able to turn back into a human". Like the most important part is not the safety of the country or its people, but the fascistic obsession to racial purity.

  Bottom line: after watching the first 10 episodes of the anime I read the manga up to chapter 108. There is nothing there. Nothing new. Just more characters with levels, people emoting on mindless battles and people surviving by the power of their shared feelings. If you like that kind of stuff, perhaps you should join the army. They kind of think the same way.


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