Definitions

Kaiju

Kaiju

is a Japanese word that means "strange beast," but often translated in English as "monster." Specifically, it is used to refer to a genre of tokusatsu entertainment.

Related terms include , a film featuring kaiju, kaijin (referring to roughly humanoid monsters) and , specifically meaning the larger variety of monsters.

The most famous kaiju is Godzilla. Other well-known kaiju include Mothra, Anguirus, Rodan, Gamera, and King Ghidorah. The term ultra-kaiju is short-hand for monsters in the Ultra Series.

Concept

Kaiju are typically modeled after conventional animals, insects or mythological creatures; however, there are more exotic examples. Choujin Sentai Jetman features monsters based on traffic lights, faucets and tomatoes; Kamen Rider Super-1 includes a whole army of monsters based on household objects such as umbrellas and utility ladders.

While the term kaiju is used in the West to describe monsters from tokusatsu and Japanese folklore, monsters like vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein's Monster, mummies and zombies would fall into this category. But Frankenstein's Monster was once a kaiju in the film Frankenstein Conquers the World, which was created by Toho.

Kaiju ar depicted as cannon fodder serving a greater evil. Some kaiju are elite warriors which serve as the right-hand man to the greater villain and are destroyed by the heroic forces. Others have a neutral alignment, only seeking to destroy buildings and other structures. During the early eras of tokusatsu, "heroic" monsters were seen in Daikaiju Eiga films, and it wasn't until later when television tokusatsu productions began using kaiju which aided the hero, saved civilians, or demonstrated some kind of complex personality. These kaiju adopted many classic monster traits, appearing as the "Misunderstood Creature." Some kaiju hung out with the heroes and provided comedy relief, in contrast to the darker approach to these characters from more mature franchises, like Kamen Rider.

See also

Kaiju Film Creators

Major Kaiju Films

References

External links

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