Home Kaiju No. 8 Episode 3 Review - Questionable Script Decisions

Kaiju No. 8 Episode 3 Review - Questionable Script Decisions

Kaiju No. 8 episode 3 aired on Saturday, giving fans a lot of anime original scriptwriting while maintaining its faithfulness to the manga. Though I agree that a 1:1 adaptation of a manga is usually rough and leaves no room for creativity, there are just some things you shouldn’t change. In this review, I’ll talk about how the episode uplifted Kafka’s character even more than the manga did but downgraded Kikoru, who I consider one of the best characters in the series, if not the best.

Initial Reaction

Looking at this episode from a broad viewpoint the second time around, it’s still a good episode in the grand scheme of things. The first two episodes were undeniably better on all fronts but that’s not to take away much from this week either — Kaiju No. 8 is still one of the best anime currently anime.

That being said, a lot of things about this episode rubbed me the wrong way more than it did to excite me. The action was thrilling, to a degree, but the animation wasn’t as over the top as the previous two weeks, and that’s something to be said.

I would have come away from this episode if it had not been for the many changes, big and small. For anime-only fans, I understand that nothing may seem out of place and everything was directed well in the order and course that it was on. So to that, the episode may have been incredible to watch. And with every adaptation nowadays, or so it seems like, there comes some pain when watching the anime adaptation of one of your favorite new manga, just as much as there is awe.

Kafka’s Character

Kafka is already a likable character from the jump in the manga. The good thing is, the anime makes him even more admirable. Adding original internal monologue in two scenes — when he’s about to enter the facility and when he’s getting back up from being knocked down by the kaiju — helped elevate his character to a new level that he wasn’t necessarily at during this time in the story.

This, in turn, shows that good direction and scriptwriting can, indeed, uplift the original source material. It shows that the staff handling the adaptation understands Kafka more on a deeper level, and they want to show it. Sure the double-speech about not giving up and making Mina proud is very shonen-esque but it’s a trope/cliche that only adds to a main character’s likeliness, never belittling it.

The anime-original inner monologue and the flashback that was planted during Kafka’s moment of getting back up was beautifully executed and it even gave me goosebumps both times I watched the episode. Kafka’s moment with Ichikawa after the physical exams were over and Ichikawa saying “Let’s bet it all on the next part” was a perfect little addition that wasn’t in the manga to showcase how close the two really are. It did a great job of helping to set up what was to come later in the episode as well (pictured below).

While originality can be to an anime’s benefit, it can also lead to some things that turn fans of the original source material away from the story entirely. I wouldn’t say I’m at that point with Kaiju No. 8 and probably never will be. That being said, I can’t help but feel like a parent when they say “I’m not mad, just disappointed.”

Kaiju No. 8 Episode 3 Woes – Character Designs and Kikoru’s Blunder

Right off the bat, one of the original things that irked me the most while watching this episode was Hoshina’s character design. Sure, fans got upset when the original character design sheets were released ahead of the anime — it’s understandable. But this time, it’s not even so much about the face or the body proportions, no. It’s the fact they gave Hoshina noticeable fangs every time he talks.

This is not in the manga whatsoever and it’s just a simple matter of one thing — why? I understand simplifying character designs for the sake of improving animation. It’s a situation that has many times in anime proven to be a more useful method. But why go as far as to make one of the most badass characters and someone in a position of power look like someone he’s not? Now every time Hoshina pops up on the screen I feel like he just wants to suck kaiju blood and has a disdain for garlic.

The character design woes continued with Haruichi Izumo as well. In the manga, he has his hair down and his tips are colored sort of like Byakuya (Senku’s dad) in the series Dr. Stone. But in the anime, he has a man bun with facial expressions that are almost completely different from those in the manga.

But that isn’t even the worst of anime original content in this episode — that comes along with Kikoru, who I thought had a perfect series debut just as she did in the manga. In the anime, Kikoru is portrayed as the snobby rich girl who is a prodigy and thinks she’s better than everyone else — this can’t be further from the truth in the manga and it’s extremely disappointing to see.

In the anime, Kikoru called Kafka a loser (at least, with the subtitles she did) after saving him. But in the manga, she never says anything like that. Then, when she’s giving her short speech to Kafka, the script completely changes what she says from “No casualties or dropouts are allowed. At least, not on any battlefield where I set foot!” to “When I’m on the battlefield, nobody gets to quit!”

It may not seem like that big of a deal, but the manga’s dialogue has very impactful meaning later down the line and also gives Kikoru this sense of leadership that was completely absent from the anime. They also added an original scene to the anime when Hoshina opens the gate and the kaiju runs at everyone, Kafka falls and is scared to which Kikoru proceeds to laugh at him.

Again, it’s almost as if the staff wants Kikoru to be this easy-to-hate character when she’s far from anything like it. Sure, she teases Kafka but Kikoru never stoops to belittling him or anyone else, for that matter. Downgrading one of the series’ badass female characters to a snobby rich girl looking down on her colleagues when she’s partially the opposite is a bold move.

More Anime Original Content

Some of the original anime content was also mixed in with canon material. For example, I think the episode did a great job announcing Kikoru’s power level last instead of second since hers was at 46%. It established just how much more of a prodigy she is compared to everyone else there. Hoshina going a little more in-depth on the suits, also an anime original scene, was a nice little touch that I appreciated as a sci-fi fanatic — also necessary to the story.

Other original content included Kikoru running along the building wall and taking out the two kaiju in the blink of an eye. Again, it was a nice touch to give the viewers a firm grasp on how legit she actually is on the battlefield and isn’t all talk. However, her dialogue was changed from “Keep your eyes peeled at all times!” to “Better pay attention!” Again, it could be a lazy subtitle mishap, but Kikoru sounds more like a squad leader during the exam in the manga compared to her self-righteous demeanor in the anime.

Another original scene was Kafka’s power level rising to 0.01%. There are things wrong with this and I also understand why they may have done it. But with Kafka now being a kaiju himself, he shouldn’t have risen any percentage in the first place considering the suits are made to adapt to human anatomy. So for shock value sure, but it didn’t make much sense here after Hoshina literally explained how the suits work.

And while they weren’t necessarily scenes, the added background work before the next exam began was a nice touch that I greatly appreciate from the production staff that worked on them, because those shots definitely weren’t in the manga at all. If anyone knows me by now, they know I love background artwork.

Kaju No. 8 Episode 3 Wrap-Up

Kaiju No. 8 episode 3 left me with a sour taste in my mouth in some ways and sweet in others. I appreciate what is being done with Kafka’s character and the pacing that the original scenes are helping to mold for the anime’s sake. But when they take the source’s wonderful character personalities and designs and turn them into something completely unnecessary, it just affects an already great story in the first place no matter how little or big they are.

Episode 3 rating: 6/10

If you enjoyed Kaiju No. 8 episode 3, vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 4 of Kaiju No. 8 will be released on Saturday, May 4. The series is streaming weekly on Crunchyroll and X.

Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© JAKDF 3rd Division © Naoya Matsumoto/SHUEISHA

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