Nippon Manga Rebyu: Cloverfield/Kishin

Hello again everybody! This week I take a look at another tie-in manga. This time it is Yoshiki Togawa’s Cloverfield/Kishin, created to expand the story of J. J. Abrams’ 2008 film Cloverfield. Much like how the Metroid manga I looked at last week showed the backstory to that series, Cloverfield/Kishin looks at events that take place before the events of the film.

We begin with watching one of the main characters of Cloverfield/Kishin, Kishin Aiba, being bullied in the restroom at school. After beating Kishin up, the bullies decide to humiliate him by removing his pants and playing keep away with them, but one of the bullies accidentally overthrows another causing the pants to fly out of the restroom where our other main character, Aiko Sasahara, catches them. Aiko helps untie Kishin and tells him that they should head to class. The head bully tries to attack Aiko, but is interrupted by the school’s emergency bell. After it is announced on the PA system to have been a false alarm, Aiko heads off to class, and the bullies surround Kishin again.

This is how most yaoi manga start out . . .

We then cut to a fleet of ships belonging to the Tagruato Corporation hauling in something from beneath the waves of the ocean. When we next see Kishin, he is locked in a dark room by the bullies. Kishin passes the time by taking a picture of his mom out from his wallet and we are treated to a flashback of his childhood where we see his mother that culminates in his mother dying.

All in all, I'd say he's taking her death really well.

Back in the present, the bullies begin badgering Kishin about his mother, causing Kishin great duress. At the same time we see the fleet heading to harbor with something beginning to emerge from the water at the same time as Kishin is being bullied. Suddenly, the ships in the fleet begin to break in half and sink into the water. In response to the sudden attack, the fleet goes into attack mode, firing missiles into the water, and soldiers aboard the ships arming themselves. It is a futile effort as all but one of the soldiers is killed. The last soldier was a young man whose wife was pregnant, he suffers the usual fate of such characters.

Don't weep for him, he was dead the moment he mentioned his wife.

We return to Kishin to find that he is once again saved by Aiko. Kishin decides to repay Aiko by helping move some boxes in the room he was trapped in. Aiko sees the picture of Kishin’s mom and deduces that she died, in response, Aiko tells Kishin how her father died and that her mother only sees Aiko as a nuisance. She says that because of her mother’s attitude, she doesn’t want to lose herself or fall into depression. Kishin tells Aiko he’s envious of her because he thinks he’s not as strong as her and that no one needs him because he’s useless. This causes Aiko to berate Kishin.

No, seriously, what are you useful for?

Aiko then tries to cheer Kishin up when she suddenly hugs Kishin out of fear. It turns out that Aiko isn’t as fearless as we’ve been led to believe, as she fears mice, and a mouse just happened to have crossed her path. She makes Kishin scare away the mouse and tells him that he did have a purpose after all.

Huzzah, your purpose in life is to be an exterminator.

While helping Aiko take some boxes back to class the school’s emergency bell goes off again, only this time it isn’t a false alarm. As the all of the students gather into the gym, Kishin has another flashback, this time of his father, who is revealed to be a director at Tagruato that was seen earlier in the story. When Kishin snaps out of his flashback he is yet again pulled aside by the bullies, and this time they try to force him into stripping and running around the gym naked.

Ok, seriously, why do these guys have an obsession of seeing Kishin sans clothing?

However, Kishin finally stands up for himself. The biggest one of the bullies doesn’t like this and prepares to attack Kishin, but he manages to run outside, where he sees several jet fighters flying towards the ocean. Kishin and Aiko leave the school and head for Kishin’s house, as he promised Aiko he’d give her some of the extra autographs he has from a male pop idol that Aiko likes. When they got to his house, Kishin went off looking for the autographs and when he returned to the living room, Aiko was being held hostage by a man in a ski mask.

Just your friendly neighborhood serial killer, is all.

Kishin tries to save Aiko, but another man in a ski mask knocks him out from behind while Aiko manages to escape. Eventually Kishin wakes up to find himself in a dark room surrounded by cult members.


Outside, Clover, the monster, reaches the shoreline and begins stomping on the tanks that are firing at it from the shore. When we return to Kishin, the cult is about to begin a ritual to their god in an effort to purge the Earth of humans. Interestingly enough, the altar to their god resembles Clover’s head. The leader of the cult reveals to Kishin that his mother was a devout member of the cult and that she was actually assassinated to disrupt the cult’s activities.

The rest of the story deals with the connection between Kishin and Clover, delves further into the true nature of Kishin’s mother, and has Aiko and other civilians trying to survive Clover’s assault on Tokyo.

Cloverfield/Kishin is a short read at only 4 chapters long. Unlike last week’s Metroid manga, which despite some inconsistencies with the main series was still a good read, Cloverfield/Kishin is a bloody mess. The story is just too far out there and I think it was a blown opportunity to look into some of the more intriguing parts of Cloverfield’s viral marketing campaign. I do not recommend that anyone should read Cloverfield/Kishin, even if you were a fan of the film or it’s marketing campaign. And that isn’t even taking into account that it is near impossible to find a fully translated and fully in order version of it. This is a horrible manga and it should be erased from existence.