Kaiju No. 8 Anime Delivers a Solid Premiere

One of the most anticipated titles of Spring 2024, Kaiju No. 8 is finally here. With a never-before-seen release schedule for fans overseas, this adaptation promised a lot of hype with high production values. As someone who never read the manga and only knew the basic synopsis, I went into the first episode without knowing what to expect but hoping for the best. Here are a few things that stood out to me in the Kaiju No. 8 premiere.

Welcome to Japan which has been overrun with giant monsters – kaiju. Kafka is a cleaner, tasked with sorting out the aftermath of Defense Force and kaiju battles; a gruesome yet necessary work. Yet, this is not his dream. In the past, he tried to become a member of the Defense Force to uphold a childhood promise, but he unfortunately failed many times. He has seemingly accepted his fate but a new member of his cleaning crew reminds him of what he has given up.

I have to say that I was surprised with slightly older protagonists. Surprised and appreciative as it’s not that common, especially in WSJ titles. Kafka had a chance to do something in life, he couldn’t so he settled for a dead-end job, but he is still not fully ready to let go of his dream. It’s the late 20s crisis or “what am I doing with my life,” just amplified. It was relatable and I quite enjoyed watching the variety of emotions wash over him. I can’t say the supporting cast had much depth. We only got to meet Reno, who honestly felt like a typical shonen protagonist. Mina is also out there and I’m quite curious to see where her story goes.

kaiju no 8 episode 1

Story-wise, Kaiju No.8 is not too original but it does have a certain dose of freshness in how it treats the world it’s set in. I can’t wait to learn more about the monsters, especially the one that “possessed” Kafka. Another thing I’d like to know more about is Mina’s pet tiger, it just gives a 90s warlord vibe and I’m here to find out why this is a thing.

Before Kaiju No. 8 anime premiered there were quite a few complaints regarding the character design. It’s not as “traditional” as one might expect but it works really well with the overall atmosphere and style. One thing I’m not sure I like is the color design – everything looks washed out at times. At first, I figured it was an effect to highlight the amount of dust that kaiju raised but it continued to be present throughout the episode. That aside, we got some visually interesting angles that perfectly matched the scenes they were a part of:

I’m also not sure I’m a fan of the ending theme song: I know it’s One Republic and this is the type of sound they are known for but it somehow feels both too cheerful and too autotuned. The opening (which was not a part of the episode) is quite different so it will be interesting to see how the two complement each other once the sequences are done.

Overall, the Kaiju No. 8 premiere was a solid episode that set a good foundation for what is to come. The characters, action, and somewhat whimsical setting will definitely keep me coming for more.

kaiju no. 8 premiere

The anime is streaming on Crunchyroll.
© JAKDF 3rd Division © Naoya Matsumoto/SHUEISHA