REVIEW: ‘The Gay Who Turned Kaiju’

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When it comes to queer stories in manga, many are centered around romance. But in the last few years, we’ve seen more queer stories pop up that go beyond just romantic connection, particularly when it comes to finding safety or just figuring out your own identity, something particularly true in Boys Run The Riot or even in the stories of side characters like in Blue PeriodNow, with The Gay Who Turned Kaiju, readers get the chance to explore the thorny path of acceptance, not just from the people who love you, but rather, from yourself.

The Gay Who Turned Kaiju is created, written, and illustrated by Kazuki Minamoto. This one-shot is published and localized in English by Yen Press with translation by Leighann Harvey and lettering by Carolina Hernandez. The story focuses on Takashi Arashiro, a new student in Tokyo. Bullied for being gay and for having darker skin, Takashi’s life is shattered when the one person he leaned on for hope, his teacher, reveals bigoted views. At his lowest point, he wishes to be anything or anyone else, a thought that transforms him into a giant-headed sci-fi creature. Takashi’s tumultuous emotions become the catalyst for a personal and social exploration of the queer experience and how it differs for everyone.

As a one-shot, there is a limited amount of space to tell the story, but Minamoto makes use of every single panel to ensure that the story has teeth. While Takashi is at the bottom of the power dynamic in his high school, with his bully making life unbearable day after day, when he becomes a kaiju all of that changes. Instead of having his outwardly alien qualities further contribute to his othering, Takashi is finally okay with being unlike other people because he has power. Because he can make people feel small the same way he did every time he was tormented. By exploring taking the path of causing others harm in order to make yourself feel better, Minamoto manages to travel even the negative paths toward self-acceptance. That said, Minamoto rights Takashi’s moral ship in a correction based on empathy.

Additionally, the choice to make it so that Takashi isn’t alone in his struggle to become human again and ultimately accept himself was a fantastic choice. Sure, the one-shot format requires a balancing of characters to ensure that dynamic backgrounds and futures can be crafted, but Minamoto succeeds. Takashi, his bully, and even his teacher are all explored in their different emotions, faults, and more.

I am a fan of romance and as such a very big fan of queer romance in the BL and GL genres. In fact, Minamoto has written amazing BL stories as well. That said, I want to see more stories like The Gay Who Turned Kaiju. Stories that focus on loving yourself, accepting yourself, and how the path to do both of those things is often thorny. I can’t wait to see what Minamoto does next, and I hope that we see queer stories expand in manga as we have here.

The Gay Who Turned Kaiju is available now wherever books are sold both digitally an


The Gay Who Turned Kaiju
5

TL;DR

I am a fan of romance and as such a very big fan of queer romance in the BL and GL genres. In fact, Minamoto has written amazing BL stories as well. That said, I want to see more stories like The Gay Who Turned Kaiju. Stories that focus on loving yourself, accepting yourself, and how the path to do both of those things is often thorny. I can’t wait to see what Minamoto does next, and I hope that we see queer stories expand in manga as we have here.

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