Kaiju No. 8 by Naoya Matsumoto is one of the most fascinating premises in Shonen Jump manga, and Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju” is the very first episode of the anime adaptation of that manga. At its heart, it’s basically a military science fantasy story about the JSDF fighting off invading kaiju straight out of a Godzilla film. But alas, every journey begins with humble origins. For our hero Kafka Hibino, those origins are humble indeed. A right messy start, you can say.

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju”: Details

Kaiju No. 8 NA key visual.
I’m not kidding by the mess, as evidenced by this key visual.

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju” is the very first episode of this first (and hopefully not the only) season of this anime series. Said anime is the anime adaptation of the military science fantasy adventure manga of the same name by Naoya Matsumoto. Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell, Psycho-Pass, Haikyu!!) is the studio behind this anime. Crunchyroll is licensing this anime for its NA debut.

Tomomi Kamiya is the director behind Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju”, with Ichirō Ōkouchi as the writer, and the team of Tomomi Kamiya, Takahito Katayama, and Ryuuta Yanagi responsible for the storyboard. As for the Kaiju No. 8 anime as a whole, Shigeyuki Miya and Tomomi Kamiya are co-directing this anime. Ichirō Ōkouchi is the overall writer of the anime, while Yuta Bando composed the music for the same.

Speaking of music: the opening theme music of this anime is “Abyss” by Yungblud (AKA. Dominic Richard Harrison). Meanwhile, “Nobody” by OneRepublic is the ending theme music for the same.

Voice Cast

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju” features the voices of Masaya Fukunishi (Nazeeh Tarsha in English dub) as Kafka Hibino, Asami Seto (Katelyn Barr in English dub) as Mina Ashiro, and Wataru Kato (Adam McArthur in English dub) as Reno Ichikawa.

When and Where to Watch

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju” made its airing and streaming debut on April 13, 2024. You can watch this episode only on Crunchyroll. In fact, you can watch this anime as a whole only on Crunchyroll at the moment.

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju”: Synopsis

You can tell that they’re going all out on the animation even in this thumb.

Alas, Kaiju No. 8 is an ongoing anime series. In fact, Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju” only just premiered two days ago as of this writing. Thus, you will all get the official synopsis of this episode from Crunchyroll instead of a spoiler-filled plot summary. You can check that out below:

Kafka Hibino has almost abandoned his dream of joining the anti-Kaiju “Defense Force.” He now works in Kaiju clean-up, disposing of the bodies of slain Kaiju and thinking back with regret to the days he spent with his childhood friend Mina Ashiro, captain of Defense Force’s Third Division.

Overall Synopsis

That’s not all though. Because this is the very first episode of the anime, you’re all going to get the official synopsis from Crunchyroll for the anime as a whole. And wow, is it a doozy. You can check it out in its entirety below:

Kaiju No. 8 is one of the most popular serialized manga published on Shonen Jump+ in recent years—a refreshing blend of action, comedy, and adventure. While readers initially drew connections between Kaiju No. 8 and series like Attack on Titan, Chainsaw Man, and One-Punch Man, fans soon fell in love with its unique elements, art style, and protagonist. The manga quickly became a global sensation. In the first six months, over 550,000 copies were in circulation. By March 2023, over 11 million copies were in circulation. When the Production I.G animation studio announced they were developing an anime series under the supervision of Studio khara, fans anxiously awaited to see the series adapted for the screen.

The story revolves around Kafka Hibino, a 32-year-old longing to join The Defense Force and make good on his promise to a childhood friend, Mina Ashiro. He befriends Reno Ichikawa, a new coworker, while cleaning up Kaiju remains. Reno’s determination to join The Defense Force inspires Kafka to fulfill his childhood promise to pass the entrance exam and join Mina to protect humanity. When a small Kaiju burrows itself inside Kafka, he gains superhuman strength and powers fit for fighting Kaiju. He works to earn the trust of his human teammates, defeat increasingly powerful Kaiju, and keep the world safe. Part human and part Kaiju, Kafka recognizes the creature beginning to take over more frequently, and he must fight to hold on to what makes him human.

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju”: The Good

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 "The Man Who Became a Kaiju" screenshot showing kaiju disposal workers cutting off a chunk of kaiju.
Is it just me, or does that meat look weirdly yummy?

In my opinion, a big part of why Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju” is great is the story. Specifically, the aspects of it involving kaiju disposal because it’s such a fascinating subject. I mean, everyone agrees that attacking kaiju need to die, right? But has anyone ever thought about what to do with the corpse after the battle is over? That’s precisely the question that Ep. 1 answers. The answer turns out to be: kaiju corpse cleanup teams. They basically butcher the kaiju’s corpse on the spot, and clear it from where it had fallen in order to allow reconstruction to happen. It’s a simple, but logical way to deal with the corpse. Honestly, if this anime was all about how to properly dispose of kaiju corpses, I would be all for it.

And then there’s the military science fantasy aspect of the story. It is basically a story about an alternate JSDF fighting kaiju, so it feels like a military story. To me, it makes it a rather unique anime, especially for a Shonen Jump anime.

It’s not just the story of this anime though. The animation of Ep. 1 is pretty good, as you can see in the screenshots in this review. Production I.G did a marvelous job with that animation quality, which is quite fitting for the studio behind Ghost in the Shell. You can see that even the flesh of the dead kaiju have a marbled quality to them like real meat does, making it look weirdly delicious. Seriously, I would eat dishes made from that kaiju meat, it looks that good. I would call that a mark of just how high quality that art looks.

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 “The Man Who Became a Kaiju”: The Bad

Kaiju No. 8 Ep. 1 "The Man Who Became a Kaiju" screenshot showing Kafka in his new kaiju form and a shocked Reno.
I know this looks bad.

Honestly, my only complaint is that the story doesn’t seem to be quite sticking to the kaiju disposal plot. This is probably unique to me though. As I mentioned before, I found that aspect of the story to be fascinating, and am disappointed that this isn’t what’s going to be the main focus of the plot. Oh, well. At least what we’re getting is just as interesting.