Kaiju No. 8 – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Man Who Became A Kaiju

Episode 1 of Kaiju No. 8 begins with a kaiju running amok in Yokohama’s several wards. The city’s Emergency Kaiju Alert System activates and we see several officials guide citizens to safe locations to escape the kaiju’s wrath. Meanwhile, we receive some back-and-forth conversations from the military officials. They discuss the kaiju’s projected routes and body proportions.

Several helicopters arrive and try to get the kaiju’s attention by shooting it with weaponry. Through a discussion between locals, we learn the Defense Corp’s Third Division will exterminate the kaiju. We cut away to several Third Division members arriving on the scene. The Third Division troops and their leader Mina Ashiro defeat the kaiju.

Then, we spot a man (Kafka Hibino) and his allies observing the kaiju’s remains from afar. One of Kafka’s allies tells him it’s time to head to that kaiju’s area to clean things up. After that, we see Mina and her allies walk down a pathway as many citizens praise them for their heroism. Kafka bumps into a news reporter who pays him no attention.

Eventually, Kafka arrives at the kaiju’s location and performs his clean-up duties. While doing so, he informs the audience that clean-up workers don’t receive much praise, if not any acknowledgment, unlike the Third Division troops. After Kafka gives someone a kaiju sample, he notices someone’s lifting a specific kaiju organ off the ground.

Kafka tells his ally to stop but it’s too late. The organ bursts and its acidic blood drops on Kafka’s ally, causing him pain. Kafka heads to his ally and helps him recover from his flesh wound. He’s unsure if he and his allies will finish things within a week. Then, someone informs Kafka that he must tackle intestine duty and he isn’t thrilled about it.

Later, we see Kafka lying in bed, unhappy that he had to perform intestine duty that day. Then, the news broadcast on television catches his attention. The newscaster highlights Mina’s achievements. While it’s doing that, we receive a flashback sequence involving a young Kafka and Mina. In it, Kafka tells Mina that he wants her and him to exterminate all the kaiju. Kafka shuts his television off. He reflects on his current job and its value to himself and society. 

Kafka regroups with his coworkers in the morning. They introduce him to Reno Ichikawa, a recruit who wants to join the Defense Force. Toku, the ally who introduced Reno to Kafka, tells Reno that Kafka had similar goals but quit. Reno confronts Kafka about it and Kafka shares why he gave up on that dream. Reno says he doesn’t plan to give up and departs to the changing room.

Later, everyone arrives at the kaiju cleaning site. Their leader assigns them different duties. As for Kafka and Reno, the leader says they must handle the intestine duty. Although Kafka complains to the leader, he leaves to handle the task. The leader feels Kafka would’ve been great on the Defense Force if he’d passed its test. Later, Kafka and Reno head to a park to relax. Kafka hands Reno some tools to help him cope with their job’s nasty after-effects.

Later, Kafka’s co-workers bid farewell to him and head home. Kafka is happy that he completed his intestine-centric duty. After that, Reno arrives and thanks Kafka for his assistance. Before Reno departs, he tells Kafka that someone raised the Defense Force applications’ age requirements. He says many young people aren’t interested in the job nowadays. Kafka thanks Reno for informing him. Before Reno leaves, a yoju appears and attempts to eat him. 

Fortunately, Kafka saves Reno from becoming yoju chowder. Kafka tells Reno to head home because he doesn’t want Reno to perish and not fulfill his dream. He calls out to the yoju and a thrilling chase occurs between him and the beast. After Kafka jumps through a window, we enter a flashback. In it, we see a young Kafka and Mina.

Kafka says a kaiju ruined their homes and their school. Also, he’s upset that he didn’t complete a video game called Guramon. Mina’s baffled by Kafka’s Guramon response and tells him she’s upset that her calico cat Miiko perished. The two vow to exterminate the kaiju and join the Defense Force. Then, we return to the present. Kafka tries fighting the yoju but the yoju overpowers him.

Before the beast eats Kafka, Reno arrives and saves Kafka. Reno tells Kafka he called in for the weapon he’s using. Kafka wonders why Reno didn’t flee home. Reno says a Defense Corp member would never abandon someone in peril. Kafka reflects on his failures and screams. Before the yoju hurts Reno, a white tiger arrives and attacks the yoju.

Suddenly, several gunshots go off, resulting in the yoju’s demise. Kafka turns to the side and notices Mina nearby with her comrades. Mina orders two allies named Igarashi and Takaragi to look after Kafka and Reno. Meanwhile, she and the others plan to scout the area for more yoju. Later, we see Kafka reflecting on his encounter with Mina. He and Reno are currently at a hospital.

Reno thanks Kafka for saving him and says he looked “cool” during their scuffle with the yoju. He insists Kafka apply to the Defense Corps. Kafka thanks Reno for his encouraging words. He plans to submit another application soon. Suddenly, a bug-like kaiju appears before Kafka and enters his mouth. Kafka experiences something strange and Reno checks on him. Reno is startled by Kafka’s kaiju-like appearance.

Kafka reassures Reno that it’s him and not a random kaiju. Suddenly, an old man stumbles upon Reno and Kafka. He plans to call the Defense Corps. Reno tells Kafka they should leave the hospital immediately. Then, we enter a flashback involving Mina and Kafka. Kafka explains why it’s integral to tackle a kaiju’s legs first. Simultaneously, Mina tells Kafka that she’s afraid of the thought of fighting a beast that’s bigger than her. 

Kafka promises Mina he’ll be by her side whenever she’s afraid. Mina exits her bath and someone informs her that a kaiju arrived at the hospital. The episode closes with Mina planning to investigate the incident with her team. 

The Episode Review

With every new anime season, comes a new shonen contender that’ll leave audiences in awe or disappointment. Based on Kaiju No.8’s first chapter, fans shouldn’t worry about this one churning out a boring experience. Although the first chapter leaves much to be desired on a few things, this episode offers some enjoyable action and character-oriented content. 

From the distinct monster designs to the exhilarating chase sequence between Kafka and the yoju, Production I.G. Studios exceptionally brings Naoya Matsumoto’s manga to life from a production standpoint. Alongside the visuals, the characters seem interesting (so far). While Kafka’s goals are simplistic and unimaginative, many will find his personality and responses to matters (amusing or serious) endearing. 

Moreover, his character brings forth several mysteries that will leave audiences engaged. From his Defense Corps application failures to his relationship with the pristine operative Mina, we’re hopeful the series will explore these plot points authentically. Besides that, Reno and Kafka’s buddy-buddy companionship feels semi-rushed as the story should’ve developed their relationship gradually.

Nevertheless, seeing these two interact with each other during the episode’s intense and heartfelt instances was nice to see. Overall, this was a fun start for Kaiju No. 8. Hopefully, kaiju and anime fans will find this one to their liking. 


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