Kaiju No. 8, Episode 1 recap – Kafka meets Ichikawa then becomes a kaiju

Recap of Kaiju No. 8, Episode 1 where we learn about Kafka’s job on the kaiju clean-up crew and meet his new co-worker Ichikawa

The first episode of Kaiju No. 8 opens in Yokohama, where a kaiju is causing chaos.

The city’s Emergency Kaiju Alert System is activated, and citizens are swiftly guided to safety. Military officials discuss the kaiju’s size and path while helicopters engage it with gunfire.

The Defense Corp’s Third Division, led by Mina Ashiro, then arrive and successfully defeat the kaiju.

We then meet Kafka Hibino, a man who, along with his team, is tasked with cleaning up the aftermath of the kaiju attack.

Despite the lack of recognition compared to the Third Division, Kafka and his team diligently perform their duties.

An accident occurs, though, when a kaiju organ bursts, injuring one of Kafka’s teammates with its acidic blood.

Kafka assists in the recovery, but the incident highlights the dangers and thanklessness of their job.

Things get even worse when he is assigned to “intestine clean up”.

Kaiju clean-up accident

Kafka later reflects on his past dream of joining the Defense Force alongside Mina, which he has since abandoned.

The next day, Kafka meets new recruit, Reno Ichikawa, a man who aspires to join the Defense Force. Because of that, Kafka is reminded of his own abandoned aspirations.

Especially when Ichikawa asks him why he quit trying to be accepted by the Defense Force.

The next scenes show Ichikawa’s first day at work, and Kafka showing him the ropes. And yep, they both get put on intestine duty.

At the end of the day, Ichikawa thanks Kafka for helping him get through it. He then tells him “They’re raising the age for the Defense Force to 32. You looked sad when you said you didn’t make it before. You should try out now”.

But, as he turns to walk away, a kaiju appears from nowhere and, if Kafka hadn’t dived to save him, Ichikawa would be dead.

Kafka then tells Ichikawa to run before the kaiju kills them both. When he argues, Kafka tells him “You want to join the Defense Force, don’t you? Don’t die here”.

Ichikawa then runs away as Kafka heads in the opposite direction, with the kaiju chasing him.

We then get a flashback to when Kafka and Mina were children, and a kaiju has destroyed their homes and killed Mina’s cat.

The two children then promise each other they’ll join the Defense Force, and see who ends up the coolest.

Back in the present, Kafka is still fleeing from the kaiju when he gets grabbed and thrown. With a broken leg, he lies there helpless and is just about to be eaten when someone smacks the kaiju in the head.

It’s Ichikawa who has come back after calling in the kaiju, and just saved Kafka’s life.

After a battle with the kaiju, the pair are about to be killed when, out of nowhere, the kaiju is killed. The killer turns out to be Mina, the Defense Force’s strongest officer, and the tiger that works with her.

Not long after, both Kafka and Ichikawa are in the hospital, and Ichikawa tells Kafka he was “cool today” for saving his life, and that he should definitely try out again for the Defense Force.

That makes Kafka remember how he and Mina promised each other they would both be in the Defense Force and be the “coolest” officers.

Kafka turns into a kaiju

But, just as he is thanking Ichikawa and telling him he’s going to give the Force another try, he looks up to see a small flying kaiju above his head, which then tells him “Found you” and flies down his throat.

The next thing we know, Kafka has turned into a kaiju himself.

What Kaiju No. 8, Episode 1 does well

  • The episode does an excellent job of establishing the world where kaiju attacks are a norm, and the societal structures built around them.
  • The character development of Kafka Hibino is well-executed, showing his internal struggle and the contrast between his current role and his past ambitions.
  • The animation quality, especially during the action sequences, is impressive, effectively conveying the scale and impact of kaiju attacks.
  • The art style is stylistically beautiful.

What Kaiju No. 8, Episode 1 could have improved

  • The pacing of the episode might feel rushed to some viewers, as it tries to cover a lot of ground in terms of world-building and character introduction in just 23 minutes.
  • Some viewers might find the job of the cleanup crew less thrilling compared to the action-packed scenes of the Defense Force battling kaiju.

Overall, though,Kaiju No. 8, Episode 1 sets up the anime for a strong future as it superbly introduces the main characters, and their backstories, while it also gives us a solid look into what it’s like living in a world where kaiju constantly appear and then destroy everything.

You’ll find more Kaiju No. 8 recaps here on Anime Powered

About Michelle Topham

I'm a Brit-American journalist who spent a decade covering the anime and manga industries while living in Asia. Now based in Vienna, Austria and currently obsessed with Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, KONOSUBA, The Archdemon's Dilemma, Kaiju No. 8, and the Boys' Love danmei Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation.