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Kaiju No. 8 is just My Hero Academia with more gore - and we're here for it

Sometimes we want to see a hero explode a monster in a rain of blood and entrails

Kaiju No. 8 screenshot
Image credit: Production I.G.

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The Spring 2024 anime season is remarkably stacked with great shonen offerings. Not only is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba returning for new episodes, but we’ve got the first season of Kaiju No. 8 to sink our monstrous teeth into. Just a few episodes in and the biggest new show of the season feels like a trip down memory lane for anime fans. That’s because Kaiju No. 8 seems to be borrowing more than a bit from another shonen hit, My Hero Academia.

It isn’t unusual for manga to borrow tropes from other popular series. It is why so many anime are littered with training arcs and tournaments. Still, there are some glaring similarities between Kaiju No. 8 and My Hero Academia, going right down to a thematic level. Kafka Hibino has failed multiple times to enter the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force and is seen as a washout with no talent for fighting the monsters. This isn’t far from how Izuku Midoriya is viewed at the beginning of My Hero Academia, being a quirkless human in a superhuman society. Both receive their gifts from an outside force and use them to protect people while also keeping their origins secret.

There are also some similarities between their plots – Kaiju No. 8 and My Hero Academia both start with an entrance exam in which the main character has to use their hidden powers to make a giant monster/robot explode with a single punch while protecting a young woman they just met that day. The story will develop in a different path relatively soon, but those first four episodes feel awfully familiar.

We don’t really mind the similarities, though, because there is still enough to separate the two manga. The characters of Kaiju No. 8 being over 18 and Kafka being in his 30s give Naoya Matsumoto plenty of scope to do more mature things with his story – and he’s taken advantage of it. There has already been plenty of gore on display, usually when Kafka punches a kaiju so hard they explode in a rain of blood and guts. The more adult tone helps differentiate Kaiju No. 8 from the flood of shonen anime that we see every season, even if we do slightly turn to dust every time someone calls Kafka an “old man” for being 32.

In its first few episodes, Kaiju No. 8 has felt like someone tossed My Hero Academia in a blender with Attack on Titan and Pacific Rim to see what comes out. So far, the combination has worked, though we hope the show will start giving us some more unique plotlines before the first season is over. If you’ve watched My Hero Academia and wished it had way more gore, Kaiju No. 8 is the show for you.

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