Kaiju No. 8 episode 3 review: the woes of being outclassed by a bloody child

Our Kaiju No. 8 episode 3 review delves into the troubles Kafka has with becoming a Defense Force soldier and how things go for him in this latest episode.

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The Kaiju No. 8 episode 3 review

kaiju no. 8 kafka and ichikawa

The third episode looks at Kafka and Ichikawa going up against several other candidates to join the Japanese Anti-Kaiju Defense Force so they can be directly involved with killing kaiju. However, the presence of Kikoru Shonimiya, a very young and skilled candidate, along with a few other candidates that outclass Kafka, makes things difficult for the duo.

The first half of this episode illustrates just how poorly the kaiju/human hybrid is at the physical portion of the test, having one of the worst scores among the candidates. This portion also shows us a few of the other characters that Kafka will be working with and explains how capable these guys are, Kikoru included. The second half of the episode explains how the Defense Force fights the kaiju: suits made from kaiju bodies that enhance the user’s physical abilities by bonding to their bodies like a sort of second skin.

The rest of the runtime is dedicated to showing that Kafka is also outclassed in the kaiju extermination department by nearly everyone else, with the episode ending with the leading man suffering injuries in a surprise kaiju attack before proclaiming he won’t give up on becoming a Defense Force member.

The lack of wack(iness)

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This episode mostly focuses on setting things up for future episodes with the introduction of certain characters. It also uses the common trope of a protagonist who isn’t as skilled as his peers to hammer home the point that Kafka has slim odds of passing this exam (but we all know he’ll become a Defense Force member). There’s no WTF factor in this episode since nothing wacky, weird, or outrageous occurs, which is quite unfortunate since it helped make the previous two episodes more enjoyable and memorable.

Instead of that, we get a bit of lore regarding the Defense Force: the aforementioned scene where they mention using materials ripped from kaiju bodies to fabricate their combat uniforms. I thought this was a cool nugget of information and a good explanation for how these soldiers quickly moved around in the very first scene from episode 1.

The humor here has Kafka lamenting his inability to measure up to the other applicants as well as his rage over Kikoru rubbing in the fact that she’s doing much better than he is. Like before, Kafka’s exaggerated reactions are a treat for viewers. The best bit is Ichikawa becoming angry at the hybrid for using his kaiju strength out in public and in broad daylight to flip his car over onto four wheels after Kikoru tossed it aside in the previous chapter. They outright acknowledge that he’s being a dolt in this scene and it’s great.

Knowledge and uniforms

Is Kaiju No. 8 like AOT?

The standout moment here is when Kafka uses his knowledge of kaiju bodies to help a couple of other candidates take down a monster they’re failing to kill and realize he needs to adapt to whatever the test throws at him. It shows that there’s more to him than his new powers and his ability to freak out at regular intervals for our amusement.

The part where Ichikawa suits up and feels his uniform bonding to him is also a neat moment since we get to see it adjust itself to his body, with the zippers and other openings sealing themselves up as we see his heart and blood vessels, the suit bonding itself to him.

The blood and gore shown in the episode’s latter half looks pretty good, with the monsters having parts of their bodies shot off by rifles, but it’s not exactly memorable compared to Kafka’s first kaiju takedown in episode 2. The music during the kaiju killing section and when Kafka gets injured sounds a little weird, but also fits in well, with the electronic beats helping to reinforce the fast-paced and bloody tone of the scene.

Episode 3 also focuses on Kikoru in some scenes to show that she’s a smug, overconfident brat who enjoys being superior to Kafka and others, though she’s also curious and angry as to why Kafka isn’t unleashing the strength he showed in the earlier parking lot scene. For the most part, she comes off as very unlikable in her first full appearance.

Kaiju No. 8 episode 3 isn’t as eventful as the last two chapters, with the absence of the WTF factor hindering it. Though nothing much happens in comparison to the last two episodes, it leaves off with the protagonist in a desperate situation and it’s a good hook to reel viewers into next week’s episode. Hopefully, things will be more interesting, fast-paced, and action-packed in episode 4.

Final score: 7/10

Kaiju No. 8 can be streamed through Crunchyroll.

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