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Kaiju No. 8: “Revenge Match” (S1E3) Proves That Kafka Isn’t Just Brainless Kaiju Brawn

© JAKDF 3rd Division © Naoya Matsumoto/SHUEISHA

How do you follow up two amazing episodes of a new TV show? It’s pretty easy, actually. You make an amazing third episode, and if you don’t believe me, just ask the people behind Kaiju No. 8. They faced that same dilemma, and wouldn’t you know, they did exactly what I suggested. I’m kidding of course, but there is a kernel of truth in that farcical bit of mansplaining. This latest installment of Kaiju No. 8 is just as good as the first two, so the series is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

Once again, “Revenge Match” picks up right where the previous episode left off, and it follows Kafka and his fellow Anti-Kaiju Defense Force hopefuls as they undergo the department’s rigorous entrance exam. More specifically, it details the physical part of the test, and in a lesser show, Kafka would probably pass it with flying colors.

But this isn’t a lesser show. This is Kaiju No. 8, and in this series, Kafka doesn’t magically gain the skills needed to join the Defense Force. Actually, let me rephrase that. As a kaiju/human hybrid, he does have the requisite chops, but he doesn’t use them. He’s trying to keep his newfound powers a secret, so he decides to limit himself to his normal human abilities.

I don’t want to spoil the outcome if you haven’t seen “Revenge Match,” but suffice it to say that things don’t exactly turn out the way Kafka thought they would. The poor guy went into the test expecting his Defense Force overseers to regard him as the eighth wonder of the world, but instead, he shows himself to be much more human than he was in the previous episode.

A girl stifling a laugh
© JAKDF 3rd Division © Naoya Matsumoto/SHUEISHA

In fact, the real star of this exam class is the new character, Kikoru Shinomiya. I said in my review of “The Kaiju Who Defeats Kaiju” that her brief introduction was intriguing as hell, and this episode simply amplifies her mystique. The woman doesn’t just have a somewhat Iron Man-esque suit that gives her superhuman strength. Her natural abilities are also through the roof, so I can’t help but wonder what her deal is. Is she just that special, or has she been enhanced in some way? We don’t know yet, but I sure as hell can’t wait to find out.

But getting back to Kafka, even though this installment of Kaiju No. 8 doesn’t exactly paint him in the best light, it still gives him plenty of time to shine. For instance, part of the Defense Force exam involves pitting the potential recruits against actual monsters in a real-life combat setting, and when things start to go south for Kafka, he exhibits an uncommon ingenuity that just might make him a real asset should the Force choose to bring him on.

His years of experience on the kaiju cleanup crew have given him a unique understanding of these creatures’ strengths and weaknesses (he literally knows them inside and out!), and he uses those insights to help the team take one of them down. It’s a really cool scene, and it lets us know that this guy isn’t just a schmuck who happened to get a monster stuck inside him.

On top of that, this episode of Kaiju No. 8 also highlights Kafka’s indomitable spirit. Again, I don’t want to give away too much if you haven’t seen “Revenge Match” yet, but let’s just say that the guy finds himself in a bit of a pickle. He comes to a point where he should probably call it quits, but instead, he wills himself to keep going. It’s a pretty impressive feat, and it shows once again that there’s more to Kafka than just some unexpected kaiju superpowers.

People in front of keyboards and monitors
© JAKDF 3rd Division © Naoya Matsumoto/SHUEISHA

Then, when “Revenge Match” ends, it heavily implies that these qualities, especially Kafka’s refusal to give up, are going to play a huge role in the next installment of Kaiju No. 8. I don’t know exactly how, but I suspect that our hero is finally going to wow some very important people, possibly including his childhood friend Mina, and he might even worm his way onto the Defense Force without having to use his powers.

Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say at least a little something about the humor in this episode of Kaiju No. 8. As expected, the show continues to be comedic gold, and there’s one moment I found particularly hilarious. It’s a joke Kafka unintentionally makes about his age, and as a 30-something myself, I was just about rolling on the floor when he said it.

Of course, that’s only one example, and the rest of “Revenge Match” is chock-full of similarly knee-slapping gags. In fact, the entire episode is a nearly perfect blend of top-tier humor and intriguing plot developments, so I absolutely can’t wait for next Saturday. Seeing Kafka prove that he’s more than just brainless kaiju brawn has me super intrigued, so I’m counting down the days until I finally get to see where the story goes from here.

Kaiju No. 8 premiered its first episode on Crunchyroll on April 13, and the streaming service is set to roll out new episodes every Saturday.

Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong movie fan, and his favorite genres are horror, superheroes, and giant monsters.

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