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Kaiju No. 8
Episode 5

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Kaiju No. 8 ?
Community score: 4.1

kaiju5.png

Episode 5 is a great character-focused break between battle scenes that rounds out the supporting cast at the JAKDF.

This episode is the perfect example of a boot camp interlude. This style of narrative device is very common in war movies and the like, often depicting a young soldier learning the ropes while coming to understand more about the troopers they will be serving alongside. The latter is certainly the case in this episode but we also get a pretty unique twist on the former too.

The classic element of the boot camp sequence is captured here about learning about the other defense force troopers. What's interesting is how even writing about this sequence illustrates both the obvious successes of what is done in episode 5 and the clear pitfalls that the team has fallen into. On the positive side, we have a much better understanding of who is serving in the JAKDF, why they do what they do, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and the bonds that unite them. These are more than just expendable mooks to make the enemies seem tough when the fighting starts, these are characters we can care about and root for while also worrying about their safety when things get dangerous.

The problem of course is that it is hard to find the mental space to attach to all of them when they are introduced all at once. I just watched the episode and, as I'm writing, the only names I can conjure are “shark tooth guy”, “green hair guy”, and “muscle guy” which is… not great! The benefit of introducing all of them at once is that you can get right back into the action, but a natural consequence is that it is harder for them to stake out individual identities in the audience's mind. Unlike the other supporting cast members who get their own spotlights (Leno is always with Kafka, Mina is a constant focus, Kikoru has had multiple episodes dedicated to her, etc.), these lads all get lumped together.

That said, the final emotional beat of the alarms going off works well. You know the danger they're facing and it's hard not to worry that one or more of them might not be coming back at the end of the sortie. In that sense, I think it's mission accomplished even if a few details get left behind.

Rating:


Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

Kaiju No. 8 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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