Last week, we covered the new slate of Jump Plus series coming to Shueisha’s digital manga platform over the coming month. At the time, we figured that GHOST GIRL by Rosario+Vampire creator Akihisa Ikeda would make the biggest splash – he had prior success and name recognition, after all – but, instead, Kaiju No. 8 chapter 1 by Naoya Matsumoto has garnered immediate attention; top trending on Twitter for several hours and ranking above such series as SPY x FAMILY on the Jump Plus website in terms of popularity.
Naoya Matsumoto is not exactly an inexperienced author. He made his debut in Weekly Shonen Jump with Neko Wappa! in 2009, before moving to Jump Plus in 2014 to publish his Pochi Kuro for four volumes. He has a full decade of experience, then, along with a fairly long-running series. Even so, nothing could have prepared him for the waves that Kaiju No. 8 chapter 1 was about to cause.
Starting at around 1 PM JST on Friday 3 July, the phrase “Kaiju No. 8 (怪獣8号)” appeared in Japan’s Twitter top trending at number four. It stayed around there, dropping down to number six over the course of a couple of hours, before returning to the top five at 4 PM. It eventually dropped out two hours later, but still remains the most popular series on Jump Plus as of the time of writing. The golden question is: why?
Navigating to some of the comments left below Kaiju No. 8 chapter 1 on the official Jump Plus website, we can find some indication of why Japanese fans are so enthused. One user wrote “It’s definitely quite an easy read. Hasn’t it been quite a long time since Pochi Kuro? I can’t wait to read more.” Another user said “It’s so good… I want more!”
“Good” and “interesting” (omoshiroi) seem to be the phrases of the day. Reading Kaiju No. 8 chapter 1, I can certainly see why: not only does Matsumoto manage to set up the basic premise of the series quite well (a man turned into a kaiju in a world of kaiju), he also manages to inject a fair bit of heart in the form of his downtrodden protagonist and irritable coworker. There’s even a bit of a love story, as if there wasn’t already enough. The art is also solid.
Regardless of why Kaiju No. 8 chapter 1 was such a big hit, Shueisha is no doubt eyeing at the numbers with glee. Could this be the next Jump Plus hit? Only time will tell, but fans are certainly paying attention.
Thanks to @RainSpectre for the news tip.