Kaijuu 8-gou

Title:Kaijuu 8-gou
Kaiju No. 8
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Production I.G.
KATOU Wataru
After their town was devastated by a Kaiju, a gigantic reptilian monster, the children Kafka Hibino and his female friend Mina Ashiro vowed to join the Defense Force and fight against such creatures. They challenged each other to become the 'coolest Defense Force officer'. Years later it is clear who won their bet: Ashiro is the cool and dashing leader of the elite 3rd Division, and the heroine of the people. Hibino, on the other hand, is part of the team that cleans up the mess after Kaiju are killed. One day a new worker, Reno Ichikawa, joins the cleanup crew. At first he annoys Hibino, but after a harrowing encounter with a Yoju (a lesser Kaiju) they become fast friends. Things get serious when Hibino is infected by a small Kaiju and transforms into one himself. Ichikawa is now his only friend and Ashiro (who is unaware of just what has happened) vows to destroy him.

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OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:4806#628]
(Four episodes watched):

I had already decided that this was a pretty neat show that I would be watching even before the rug was yanked out from underneath us with the revelation that Kafka has become a Kaiju with a human mind. Indeed, I wasn't completely certain that cliffhanger had been a good idea, since I had been liking the show so much up to that point and didn't know what to think afterwards. But one thing I could be sure of was that this was a show with a plan behind it, not just another hastily written rehash of conventional tropes. A sure sign of that are the developed (and developing) characters. Kafka had pretty well accepted his fate after failing to pass the test to enter the anti-Kaiju force, but then decided to give it another try--and now has a mind-blowing problem on his hands which he will have to deal with in episode two. Reno and Kafka have saved each others' lives (before being saved, in turn, by Ashiro). Ashiro hasn't forgotten about Kafka and may even harbor romantic feelings for him (it seems that she will not be one of the three principal characters, however--the third has yet to be revealed). Judging from the illustration above Kafka's shocking appearance as a Kaijuu is not permanent and he (and ichikawa) will make it into the DF at some point. Perhaps what we'll get will be an 'it takes a Kaiju to catch a Kaiju' theme. One thing that annoyed me was the almost superdeformed character designs, in contrast to the nice background artwork, which at first made it hard to take these people seriously. I also didn't get why rockets fired from helicopters had no significant effect on the Kaiju yet a hand-held weapon wielded by Ashiro easily despatched it. I had thought early on that this show might be entirely a dark comedy about the cleanup crew, which would definitely be unusual, but it seems that it will be more conventional than that. But I'm enjoying it nevertheless, and if it continues to be as surprising and richly detailed as it has so far, it might just be my favorite show of the season.

Yes, despite the savage battles with Kaiju, this show definitely has a strong comic element to it. And ordinary people are often apathetic about the struggle with the monsters, as if they are nothing but an inconvenience. In episode two Kafka and Ishikawa flee from the hospital to hide what has happened to the former. I wonder if anyone has noticed that while Kaiju usually just go on a rampage, this one ran away from a fight with the DF. As expected, Kafka can transform from Kaiju mode to human as he pleases. Why did the small one that infected him say 'found you' before plunging into his mouth? It sounds like they had singled him out, but apparently all they've done is give him a super powerful new body which he will use to fight them. Kafka and Ishikawa learn that they have passed the first of several tests to join the Defense Force Anti-Kaiju branch. They meet an obnoxious blond-haired rich girl who is taking the tests as well, and will surely pass since she is featured in the illustration above. I delayed watching this episode for a while because I considered it so precious that I wanted to be in just the right mood, and it did not disappoint me.

In episode three Kafka and Ishikawa take the demanding test to be admitted to the anti-Kaiju Defense Force. The physical test would be a breeze for Kafka if he could use his Kaiju powers, but those must be kept secret, and he comes perilously close to failing. Plus, he's repeatedly humiliated by that blond girl. It was a little hard to believe that applicants would be sent on an actual hunt for real-live Kaiju, with expensive cutting edge technology that will be of only minimal use for most of them, but whatever. The episode went quickly and I was frustrated that it ends with the test still incomplete--frustrated because I was enjoying it and wished it could continue for a few minutes longer. The test seems like a disaster for Kafka until something unexpected happens and the Kaiju being hunted turn out to be much stronger and more resilient than expected. Plus, they have an intelligent and diabolical leader. Kafka has no choice but to transform and let rip, which he does; but somehow his secret is revealed to just one new person. We get another major surprise when it is revealed that the Kaiju leader can transform into human appearance himself and is posing as a member of the cleanup team. Each season there are countless shows which have just enough quality to get by, and a handful that have enough to be truly good.

Last updated Sunday, May 19 2024. Created Wednesday, April 24 2024.

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