KAIJU No.8 – Episode 1

By: ThatNerdyBoliviane April 15, 20240 Comments
Kafka turning into a Kaiju

Content Warning: blood and gore

What’s it about? Kafka and Mina were childhood friends who made a pact to join the Japan Anti-Kaiju Defense Force together someday.  Unfortunately, life didn’t go the way Kafka expected and ended up working for the cleaning division to remove the remains of dead Kaiju.  Even though he tried to resign himself to his job, his need to save the life of a colleague reignites his passion to try out for the Defense Force one more time.  

I’ll admit this was a good premiere. Monster shows are a well-worn genre, especially now with the resurgence of Godzilla movies in Japan and the US.  That’s why it’s crucial to have a unique and interesting cast of characters because otherwise, this genre will quickly grow stale again.  As much as I liked this premiere, I’m worried it’ll end up becoming another power fantasy story with an overpowered protagonist.  I think the major problem with shounen titles is that in the beginning the protagonists are people we can root for, but unfortunately, after a certain point in the narrative, they stop developing as characters.  That’s honestly a shame because I think there are ways to keep these protagonists interesting without minimizing their efforts to improve themselves.  

an aerial view of a dead kaiju
How are the cleaners supposed to clean this up in a week?!?!?

While it’s certainly refreshing to have a protagonist who’s in his 30s and clearly worn down by the trajectory of his life choices, I can’t help but worry the series will follow the usual route often seen in this genre.  Nevertheless, for a brief moment it was nice to see a story about a protagonist trying to figure out what to do with his life after he failed to accomplish his dreams.  Kafka has his regrets, but that doesn’t stop him from seeing his work as valuable and earnestly trying to move forward in his life.  After Kafka inevitably joins the Japan Defense Force, I hope he remembers to honor the invisible labor done by the cleaners.  

The animation highlights how huge the Kaiju are and it doesn’t downplay the enormous task of cleaning up sections of the city covered in Kaiju guts.  It’s truly thankless work and I’m glad the series depicted that aspect of Kaiju attacks.  Despite the chaos there’s an obvious mainstream adoration of “heroes” that is similar to the vibes in My Hero Academia, and it’ll be interesting to see how the series handles those concepts while also trying to do its own thing.  

kaiju taking over Kafka's body
I have several questions as to why this kaiju took over Kafka’s body. Is he the chosen one??

As expected the action sequences were also top tier and not a single moment was wasted in order to show the strength of the beasts that Kafka eventually has to defeat.  It’s easy to understand why Crunchyroll was excited for this series and even hosted a live viewing party for the premiere.  The excitement in the anime community is palatable and I’m happy Production I.G knocked it out of the park.  For now, Kafka seems like a character worth rooting for and it’s cool that he seems to genuinely admire his childhood friend, Mina’s accomplishments.  Hopefully, Mina’s importance isn’t diminished for the sake of his development since she’s evidently a capable leader with a famous team.  

It’s worth following a few more episodes just to see what the hype is about. 

About the Author : ThatNerdyBoliviane

ThatNerdyBoliviane was originally born in New York City and essentially lived there until the age of 17 when they had to move to Toronto for reasons. They are currently struggling to survive in this weird-ass world that does not celebrate awesomeness enough. They self identify as Queer Quechua (Mestize) Bolivian-American and are involved with social justice work of all kinds. Aside from that, they are an avid lover of anime, manga, cartoons, (on rare occasion live-action TV shows if it’s good), and having amazing discussions with other folks about nerdy things. You can visit their blog Home to my Bitter Thoughts or follow them on Twitter @LizzieVisitante.

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