Ultraman Geed (Right) and Skull Gomora. Many Kaiju, appear in the Ultra Series TV drama. ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS (C) Ultraman Geed Production Partnership, TV Tokyo
Ultraman appears in one of Japan’s TV programs as a hero who fights with giant Kaiju and keeps the peace for Earth and space. While the name and appearance of the hero has changed since the program’s beginnings in 1966, he still fights Kaiju. Ultraman is extremely popular with kids, but the villain Kaiju are occasionally more popular than the hero himself. Another famous Kaiju outside of the Ultraman series, Godzilla, is among these. Here we’ll give a taste of the appeal that these Kaiju have.
How Were the Kaiju Born?
Godzilla, the most famous Kaiju in Japan, first appeared in the 1954 movie Godzilla. He’s a giant Kaiju that breathes heat rays from his mouth and destroys the city. A great number of Godzilla movies have been made in Japan up to the present time and Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) was a major hit in 2016. Godzilla movies have also been made by Hollywood in the U.S.
The Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) blockbuster movie is being sold as a two DVD set for 3,800 yen (tax excluded), or around 34 USD (as of June 2017). Toho is the supplier and distributor for the film.©2016 TOHO.CO.LTD
However, the Kaiju that are popular among viewers of TV dramas were those of the Ultra Series, which began broadcasting in 1966 and has continued up to the present. Ultraman, who comes from the imaginary “Nebula M78,” fights a great number of Kaiju to protect peace in the universe. There is a unique Ultraman, as well as unique Kaiju, for each era and in Japan there are many fathers and mothers who were absorbed by the series as kids.
Alien Baltan is one of the popular Kaiju that Ultraman (right) fights with. He resembles a cicada in appearance and has pincer hands. His special ability is being able to teleport. ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS
Japan’s Kaiju come in unique forms that resemble fantastic animals, insects, fish, and machines. They attack their opponents using their sharp claws and large tusks and by emitting beams and fire from their mouths and eyes. They come from all over. Some originate in stars somewhere out in space while others come from the sea or the depths of the Earth. Just how did people come up with these sorts of Kaiju?
Supernatural monsters, or yokai, have often appeared in Japanese legends since olden times. Even hundreds of years ago people were so drawn to the strange and mysterious things hidden in the everyday that these supernatural monsters gained in popularity. The scientific and modern characters that were born out of this desire to seek the frightening and fantastic are today’s Kaiju.
Frightening and Cool Kaiju
The Kaiju that appear in movies and dramas are created by professionals using special effects. There are even some people working this job because they have loved Kaiju since they were kids. One of the people in charge of this work explained things for us.
For instance, while wild beasts such as lions and tigers might be frightening seen from close up, their powerful form is beautiful to behold. Like these beasts, Kaiju are frightening, but they are also big, strong, and cool. Kaiju are the embodiment of the fear and longings held inside people’s hearts.
There are hundreds of types of Kaiju, each with different appearances, personalities, and backgrounds. There is a story for each one of them. The bodies of the Kaiju may take any forms, and are rich in creativity. For instance, Garamon is a robotic Kaiju that comes from a meteorite and his body wrapped in scraggly gills so that he looks like he could either be a mineral or an animal. Gomora looks like a combination of a cow and a reptile. There are many other Kaiju besides these with features that are a cross between different species, often begging the question of just what they are. It is exciting to think about what kind of Kaiju these are, what their special characteristics are, and what their signature moves are.
A special effects professional who talked with us. He’s holding figurines of Red King and Garamon
Garamon. A robotic Kaiju who leaves a strong impression with his large mouth and the scraggly gills that cover his body.
Gomora. He has the features of a cow and a reptile and is characterized by his long tail and crescent shaped horns. He also has a horn on the tip of his nose.
Red King. A large and powerful Kaiju. He is characterized by rough skin and a small head.
Look around you! Kaiju are close at hand
Godzilla looks down over the buildings in Tokyo’s Shinjuku shopping district.
Recently, Kaiju have been expanding their range of appearances, from movies, dramas, and figurines to animation, games, novels, commercials, and city streets. There are even shops where Kaiju gather and places where you can meet Kaiju. Unlike the heroes who always act correctly and keep the peace for everyone, these Kaiju do what they like. People secretly love their rampage, mischief, and elusiveness. This is why Kaiju have been popular for such a long time.
Kaiju Sakaba (Kaiju Bar) in Minato-ku, Tokyo is a Kaiju themed bar with lots of Kaiju related decorations. There are also many Kaiju, but unfortunately since their active period differs from humans it’s probably difficult to meet the real Kaiju.©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS
Kaiju Sakaba also has many Kaiju related items for sale that will likely excite those of your father’s generation and entice them into making a purchase.©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS
Over the years, many people have worked together to create appealing Kaiju filled with their affection and racked their brains over the question of how to make cool and realistic Kaiju. And these Kaiju evolve with the times. In the future, there will probably be shocking Kaiju that are impossible with today’s environment, information, and common sense. Why not have a go at creating your own original Kaiju?