If you are a shounen manga loving freak like me, you should or are probably already reading Kaiju No. 8 written by Matsumoto Naoya. This series has been a smash hit for Shounen Jump as it breathes fresh air into the world of shounen manga. It’s art is beautiful, it’s character designs are one of a kind, and the protagonist is hella endearing. Personally, I do agree that their are certain parts of the series that are a little generic but the main character Kafka Hibino is not. In a world where shounen battle manga are dedicated to teenaged male protagonists with lofty potential, instead we have Kafka who starts out as an untalented 32-year-old glorified street cleaner with nothing but a goal and some alien life form inside him. Sound enticing?
This series may be aimed at young boys, I for one am really attracted to this series as a grown man. If you recall, a little while ago I wrote about being stuck in life and feeling lonely. I am a bit of a late bloomer in life, as I took a fifth year of high school, a fifth year of undergrad, and a year of postgraduate school, followed by a job I spent a year at during the pandemic – which I was clearly overqualified for. I know it doesn’t matter but in terms of my career, in relation to my peers who graduated with me, I have always felt a little behind. Like Kafka, I would always look at those around me and think that the places that I wanted to be in my career are already filled with younger people who may be more talented “why can’t I get there?”. And as I start my new entry level position next week, I’m reminded that I’m a 26-year-old starting at a position probably meant for someone younger than me.
However like Kafka, I also realize that just because I’m a little older it doesn’t mean that the opportunity doesn’t exist, rather it is a time for me to relish and take advantage of this opportunity. There are people who are younger than me who are more qualified for the job, that already work for this company, however there is something that I bring to the table and that is DRIVE. I am driven to make up for lost time and I am going to be the best gosh darn new hire at this job. Ironically, this company I don’t think they hired me because of my credentials, they hired me for my personality. This became apparent when during my second and third interviews – I told the managers that I didn’t think that I would want the position, yet they kept me in the loop for 7 more meetings before they sent me an offer sheet as to find a position for me at their company.
I know that I’m not that old but still, reading Kafka’s journey about being the oldest yet most junior person on his team reminded me that these things happen all the time. I don’t intend to peak in my 20’s and I don’t intend to be the best right now. I do intend though to bring my strengths as a mature adult to these young bucks and to help inspire them with my resilience and life experience. Just like Kafka, I’m not the youngest, not the most talented, or the one who shows the most potential – BUT I WILL BE THE ONE WHO WILL BE THE MOST DISCIPLINED.