Home Kaiju No. 8 Left off With an Epic Season Finale

Kaiju No. 8 Left off With an Epic Season Finale

The Kaiju No. 8 season finale aired on Saturday topping off what some would criticize as a solid adaptation while others…not so much. If you’re looking for a season finale review spewing criticism left and right after they butchered Natsumi’s entire character design then look elsewhere. Besides that minor setback, it was a great finale with solid production.

Walk the Walk

It’s no secret the constant theme in this episode was to prove yourself through actions rather than words. That everyone in the series is a byproduct of such beliefs all reigned down on Kafka in his most dire moment up until this point. He could scream he’s human all he wants, but he had to show he was human to Isao more than anyone else.

Backed by the series’ best soundtrack across all 12 episodes, the emotions ran high but Kakfa’s determination ran higher. After proving himself in one of the most messed up ways possible by being willing to die as a human rather than let the other members of the Defense Force be right in calling him a Kaiju, it’s now on the others to walk the walk as well.

There are times in Kaiju No. 8 where I can understand, to some fans, that the emotional moments just don’t necessarily hit as hard as other series airing this season would. But credit needs to be given where it’s due. This episode adapted the manga flawlessly and turned into something even better thanks to the amazing work of the animation team, voice cast, and soundtrack.

Usually, by this time in a main character’s life within a shonen series, he/she has already reached the peak of their respective character development and it’s the end of the story. I think that’s why I enjoy Kafka as a main character—because he’s a full-grown adult who still has to overcome major obstacles and has a lot of growing to do himself. Adults still have a lot more room to grow. And between Kafka and Isao in this episode, that message couldn’t be any clearer.

Kikoru’s Influence

She didn’t play a major role in this episode but it’s undeniable that Kikoru’s influence spread to both Kafka and Isao. Her own father was shown to have a strict history with her, almost treating Kikoru more like a soldier than a daughter. However, we clearly see now that Kikoru’s plea for Kafka to Isao in his office affected him from the moment she left the room.

The series did such a wonderful job of diverting attention away from that meeting with the two to focusing on his actions with Kafka to the point it’s easily believable he wanted Kafka dead. But now we realize it was never his intention to kill Kafka the moment he stepped into the room with him.

It’s easy to hate Isao at first since there’s not much we see of him other than being a stereotypical military brute of a father. But the episode turned back around into the overarching theme—Isao wanted to see who Kafka was for himself rather than hearing about it from everyone else before making the ultimate decision. There’s a level of respect to be had for Isao at this point, especially when we consider he went against the entire board’s decision to “dispose” of Kafka as well.

As for Kafka, who knows what might’ve transpired had Kikoru never taken a liking to Kafka as a friend or if the man he was fighting was her father? If Kafka was in there by his lonesome and fighting just regular Defense Force members, would he have given into the kaiju rage that was taking over and become what the other believed he was the entire time?

Of course, his memory of Mina at the last second in turn saved his own life, and Isao’s, thanks to that last push of motivation. However, there’s no denying that Kikoru’s influence on him is what heavily influenced him into bouncing back to himself at the last second. Even after waking up in the emergency room, his first two thoughts were 1. “I’m alive” and 2. Thank god Isao is alive because he “wouldn’t know how to face Kikoru” had he killed him, the latter having a personal impact on Isao even though he didn’t show it on his face.


One could argue that the production for the season finale of Kaiju No. 8 was its best yet. The impact frames during Kafka and Isao’s fight were beautiful, albeit with some obvious dimming (not the production’s fault). That being said, what made everything, the fight, Mina’s backstory moment with Kafka included, was the soundtrack by music composer Yuta Bando was perfect.

A lot of times we love hearing those hype, blood-pumping soundtracks during a big fight to amplify what’s happening. This episode took a different turn by doubling down on the emotional side of it all. With all the fighting sound effects dialed down to zero, there was almost this floating feeling of emotion behind the soft strings during a moment where Kafka could completely lose himself resulting in Isao’s death and more trauma for Kikoru.

That anxious feeling in your gut knowing that the worst possible outcome is on the brink of happening was because of the soundtrack in this episode. All the sadness, worry, doubt, and guilt, that Kafka, Mina, Kikoru, and (maybe) Isao felt in their own respective moments I felt as well to the core, goosebumps and all.

But that’s what a soundtrack does for a project. It can deter one or make it that much better. And for Kaiju No. 8‘s case, it proved to be the latter with interest. Animation and voice acting have been in the spotlight for the majority of this season, and rightfully so. But I’m giving the spotlight to Bando this week. Simply magnificent music composing for one of the biggest moments of the series.

Kaiju No. 8 Season Finale Wrap-Up

Just as Hoshina said at the end of the episode, things are about to get a lot more difficult, almost indirectly breaking the fourth wall in a way but not quite. The Defense Force teaming up with a kaiju to fight other kaiju. Then the predicament of Kaiju No. 9 still afloat and scheming its next move. Ichikawa and the others were motivated to become stronger. Isao dealing with pressure from the higher-ups in the defense force. And Kikoru is determined to make sure she is the one to take down Kafka if necessary.

After placing number one in the recent weekly poll, and with a new sequel project on the way, the hype behind one of the biggest names in new-gen anime will only continue to expand.

Episode 12 rating: 9/10 (would’ve been 10/10 but Narumi’s design was a big letdown)

If you enjoyed the Kaiju No. 8 season finale, vote for the series in our Anime of the Season polls! The entirety of the first season is currently available on Crunchyroll and Apple TV with English subtitles.

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

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