Kaiju No. 8 Season 1 Review – A fun love letter to kaiju fans!

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1: The Man Who Became a Kaiju -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2: The Kaiju Who Defeats Kaiju -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3: Revenge Match -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4: Fortitude 9.8 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5: Joining Up -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6: Sagamihara Neutralization Operation At Daybreak  -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7: Kaiju No. 9 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8: Welcome to the Defense Force -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9: Raid on Tachikawa Base -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10: Secret Revealed -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11: Kaiju No. 8 Captured -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12: Kafka Hibino -|Review Score – 3.5/5


Godzilla and King Kong paved the way for giant monsters (kaijus) to run wild in the film industry. Although the named kaijus aren’t the only ones who left an impact on audiences, folks today still get a kick out of seeing these beasts do their thing on the big screen. Therefore, it was only a matter of time until we saw someone from the manga and anime industry give audiences a Shonen series centered around kaiju. 

While it’s not the first kaiju-centric animated series, Kaiju No. 8’s anime adaptation was released around the time Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire was released in cinemas. While many anticipated that the film’s excitement would carry over to Kaiju No. 8’s release, this anime aired with less fanfare than some expected. Although Kaiju No. 8 doesn’t offer the most spectacular tale from the Shonen spectrum, it’s a Shonen series everyone should try. 

Kaiju No. 8 is based on a manga created by Naoya Matsumoto, with its anime adaptation being handled by Production I.G. Studios. This story is set in a fictitious variant of Japan, where large kaijus roam its cityscapes causing havoc. Fortunately, Japan is equipped with an elite military brigade called the Japan Defence Force whose sole purpose is to protect humanity by exterminating these chaotic beasts. 

At the center of this travesty is Kafka, a kaiju corpse cleaner, who desperately wants to join the Japan Defence Force. After Kafka meets a small kaiju in the hospital, he gains a significant power boost that’ll steer him closer toward accomplishing his goals.

Like its Shonen brethren, Kaiju No. 8’s storyline features wonderful action and comedy. The tale features Kafka and his Defence Force allies utilizing militaristic weapons, human might, and intricate strategies to outwit and overwhelm their kaiju enemies. While some battles appear one-sided, most brawls contain the tense back-and-forth antics one would want from a Shonen during its early beginnings.

Additionally, the comedy is well-varied. Shonen fans can expect Kaiju No. 8 to contain the same exaggerated body humor, amusing arguments, and one-off jabs. The comedy is well-timed and never interferes with the series’s critical and emotionally charged segments. Next to its colorful brawls and satisfying comedy, Kaiju No. 8 tackles usual Shonen ideas like friendship and determination to a compelling degree. 

From Kafka’s connections with Reno, Kikoru, and others to Hoshina’s desire to exterminate Kaiju No. 8, some fans will enjoy how this series tackles these core concepts. Moreover, Kaiju No. 8 provides audiences with decent world-building. Kaiju No. 8 offers a fine examination of the Defence Force’s living conditions, training regimens, weapons, and “combat power” abilities.

The kaiju also receive minor love via their differing designs, sentience levels, abilities, and names. Lastly, Kaiju No. 8 delivers respectably tense and heartfelt scenarios. Some notable examples include Hoshina and Kaiju No. 8’s unexpected one-on-one duel and Mina and Kafka’s touching discussion inside a shipment vehicle.

While all this is well and good, Kaiju No. 8’s plot has shortcomings. Firstly, the storyline doesn’t explore certain plot points to incredible effect. One example includes Kafka’s kaiju powers. The story doesn’t give fans a deep dive into how Kafka learned to grasp what he can do as Kaiju No. 8. Moreover, the distinct powers he displays in episode 2, during his and Reno’s escape sequence, don’t appear often, if not, at all in the narrative. 

The mini-kaiju who affected our hero doesn’t get any depth until the eleventh episode, which is unfortunate too. Although future seasons can expand upon this mini-kaiju’s origins and Kafka’s range of abilities, it would’ve been amazing if Season 1 had devoted time to those ideas. Speaking of kaiju, the kaijus in this series aren’t explored to a rich degree.

Unlike this year’s Delicious In Dungeon, the monsters in Kaiju No. 8 lack depth and richness. The narrative doesn’t offer fans any significant data about the monsters’ habitats, origins, and other things. Many fans aren’t expecting a Prehistoric Planetlevel documentary for every monster present in Kaiju No. 8. However, three or four sentences of dialogue or a scene or two featuring them in their natural surroundings wouldn’t hurt.

At least the self-aware beasts like Kaiju No. 9 and 10 receive some love. While their origins remain undisclosed, their personalities, goals, and abilities make them more favorable to watch than the show’s mindless creatures. It’s safe to predict these monsters might be to Kaiju No. 8, what Kong is to Hollywood’s Monsterverse, in that sense. 

Next, the storyline contains composition issues. Hoshina’s moments in episode 10 come to mind. While his solo-turned-team battle with Kaiju No. 10 was a spectacle for the eye, some won’t admire how they presented Hoshina’s past conflicts with his family and others. Drawing those scenes out in one go would’ve been preferable. That way, it wouldn’t interfere with the audience’s viewing experience of his and his team’s battle with one of the named individuals above.

On top of having a smidge of plot convenience, various missed opportunities, and minor cliches, Kaiju No. 8’s tale is fun but is far from magnificent (so far). Story aside, the characters are interesting. Having a 32-year-old lead in a shonen work is a rarity nowadays. 

Although Matsumoto’s interpretation of 32-year-old males won’t vibe with everyone, Kafka’s childish and caring nature will resonate with certain fans. Moreover, kaiju fans will love Kafka’s knowledge of monsters and will adore seeing him use his knowledge to overcome difficult obstacles. Despite his simplistic goals and divisive personality, some will find Kafka’s character relatable, charming, and fun to follow. 

The same can be said for the supporting cast. Reno, Hoshina, Kikoru, and Mina are the notable ones. This is due to Matsumoto giving these characters as much screen time as Kafka and because of their connection with Kafka. Much like Kafka, their backgrounds lack complexity or originality, so not everyone will be amazed by them. Yet, their personalities are fine and the abilities they showcase in Season 1 will cause audiences to shout to the rooftops. The antagonists though wrapped in mystery, will evoke similar feelings in audiences.

All in all, this cast serves their roles respectably. While not all shine the same, we predict a few will make their way on fans’ favorite character lists in time.

Visually, Kaiju No. 8 provides fans with a pleasing viewing experience. While Season 1’s calm segments and character designs looked choppy in certain episodes, the battle sequences never failed to impress. From Hoshina’s admirable brawl with Kaiju No. 10 to Kafka’s rage state and roar scene in episode 11, fans will cherish Production I.G. Studios’s efforts during Kaiju No. 8’s most climatic story segments. The series’s occasional use of CGI while jarring in certain intervals, won’t hamper viewers’ overall experience with this one either.

For the most part, the soundtrack os fine. From its tense music to its pleasing ones, nothing about the soundtrack negatively impacts the show’s storytelling or atmosphere. Occasionally, it enhances certain scenarios, making matters feel more memorable and grandiose than one had anticipated. The voice acting produces similar results. All in all, the production team deserves praise for bringing Matsumoto’s world to life. 

Kaiju No. 8 is a fun Shonen series to observe during the Spring of 2024 anime season. But despite its enjoyable take on kaiju and the humans that combat them, it’s another by-the-books Shonen series that fans will admire, despise, or ignore. Although this monster-bashing anime won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it has the potential to be on par with its scaly cousin. 

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  • Verdict - - 7/10