Kaiju #8 goes from zero to 100 with a killer cliffhanger in the first episode

Kaiju #8the new sci-fi action anime based on Naoya Matsumoto’s ongoing Shōnen Jump Plus manga premiered its first episode last Saturday.

Produced by Production IG (Heavenly illusion, Ghost in the shell) in collaboration with studio Khara (Rebuilding of Evangelion), the new series is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated anime to premiere this spring, and for good reason: the first episode alone definitely reflects the irreverent tone, personal drama, and thrilling action that made the series so special. one of the best-selling manga in Japan since its debut in 2020. Even with just one episode, it already feels like a strong contender to be one of the best anime of 2024.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the premise of Kaiju #8 can be aptly described as “My Hero Academia meets Pacific Rim.” Both the manga and anime are set in a world that is regularly besieged by giant monsters known as kaiju, who cause havoc and destruction in their wake. To combat the kaiju, Japan has created the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force: an elite battalion of super-powered soldiers armed with weapons and armored suits reverse-engineered from the remains of particularly powerful kaiju. Members of the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force are championed as the first (and often last) line of defense against the Kaiju, earning them praise and notoriety throughout Japan.

Image: Production IG/Crunchyroll

Kafka Hibano, the main character of Kaiju #8, does not belong to this elite. Instead, the 32-year-old works as a member of a Kaiju cleanup company tasked with clearing the remains of Kaiju and rebuilding neighborhoods in the wake of the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force skirmishes. Until one day, inspired by both the courage of his new colleague Reno and the strength of the members of the Defense Force who come to their aid, Kafka gains the courage to reenlist and enlist in the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force – and then a mysterious little kaiju. flies into his mouth, causing a bizarre metamorphosis that turns Kafka into a humanoid kaiju.

Audiences who haven’t read the manga yet will no doubt be wondering: How exactly does a man who has just become a kaiju go about joining an elite group of soldiers who specialize in killing Kaiju? I can assure you that the manga series answers this question perfectly, and I’m curious to see how the anime follows suit.

Two small children cross the railroad tracks with the remains of a larger monster visible in the distance in Kaiju #8.

Image: Production IG/Crunchyroll

The anime’s direction already emphasizes the extent to which the regular occurrence of kaiju attacks has been assimilated into this world’s infrastructure and society. From tailor-made traffic lights and emergency sirens to “strength” measurements and live news reporting in small moments during the premiere, Kaiju #8 successfully sells the idea of ​​a world that has adapted – to some extent – ​​to an ever-present existential threat, in the same way we have to hurricanes, floods and other types of natural disasters. It’s an interesting concept, especially considering how the episode briefly touches on how the kaiju remains are divided between weapons companies and researchers who compete to come up with new commercial and defensive applications based on their unique physiology. The episode’s moody color palette and background designs add a lot to the series, anchoring the universe in a way that feels both intimately believable and visually extraordinary.

The action – especially the opening scene of the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force sliding down the side of a building while firing at a kaiju – is breathtaking and inspired, which makes me all the more excited for future battles in the series involving Kafka in his kaiju is involved. form. That’s not to mention the eclectic cast of supporting characters who haven’t yet been formally introduced, like Third Division captain (and Kafka’s childhood friend) Mina Ashiro, her affable sword-wielding subordinate Soshiro Hoshina, and the series’ main antagonist : Kaiju No. 9.

A man in a white hazmat suit is chased by a large purple monster through the destroyed streets of a city block in Kaiju #8.

Image: Production IG/Crunchyroll

Best of all, when the season is over (or you’re just impatient for more), the Kaiju #8 manga is there and perfect to pick up. In the manga’s ninth and current arc, “The Last Wave,” the series goes from strength to strength as the members of the Anti-Kaiju Defense Force are pushed beyond their limits by an unprecedented threat in the war between humanity and the Kaiju. The Kaiju #8 anime started the series on a strong footing. It’s still early days, but if the anime can continue to build on the foundation laid in this first episode – and all signs point to it doing so – Kaiju #8 could very well turn into a colossal hit comparable in scale and scope to the King of the Kaiju himself.

Kaiju #8 is available to stream on Crunchyroll.