WHEN MIKE CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING, THANK JAKE!
It has been crazy for me the past couple of weeks so I could not think of what I wanted to write. I put it out to the other managers and employees that see our Slack channel. Of course Robinson came up with 6 ideas in less than 5 minutes (he’s good like that). Yet Jake from Lakeview came with only one and it seemed the most interesting to me. He wanted to know my top 10 Kaiju. I really don’t have a top 10 of them but I have a bunch that I think are really neat or that are underutilized. So here we go:
If you know me even a little bit, you know that I love movies and TV shows with guys in rubber suits beating the poop out of each other. To my wife’s dismay I am always ordering the shows that are now becoming readily available. At least it makes it so much easier and cheaper to buy me gifts. I grew up with these movies and shows. You name it, Spectreman, Ultraman, Space Giants, or Johnny Socko and Giant Robot, I would watch it. It was tough when I was a kid because if you missed when something was on you had to wait. There was no streaming and nothing was on video back then (Yes Jake, the dark ages). Yet when I started going to conventions with Jamie I found the dealers with “fan subbed” videos (essentially bootlegs). I got to see Kaiju shows and movies that I never knew existed. It was a glorious time for me (Yes, I was actually happy at one time). Plus I met people who told me the best stuff to watch and that direction helped greatly. Also, while working in the St. Charles store, I met a gentleman named Roy and that opened a whole new floodgate. Now with streaming services and properties being bought for video release, It is a golden age for me. The list that I am going to give you is not exactly a list of my absolute favorites. It will be a list of Kaiju that I think are cool or have had some influence on my love of the genre.
I will begin with a couple of Kaiju from Ultraman. The one from the original show I liked the most is Seabozu. He is a skeleton looking monster that lives in the Monster Graveyard. That is a place where the kaiju go when they are destroyed by the Ultra Warriors. While the Science Patrol was inspecting it they carried Seabozu with back to Earth. As A giant monster, he knocked buildings over because of his size. Ultraman came onto the scene and beat the crap out of him. Seabozu started crying. He also climbed a building and was trying to get back into the sky. They finally realized all he wanted was to go home. They jerry rigged some rockets and finally got him to his home where he can be happy. Seabozu showed me that all kaiju are not bad. Sometimes they are misunderstood. Also that the heroes are not always right. Ultraman looked like the biggest ass in this one and that made me chuckle.
The second kaiju comes from the Ultraseven show. When you get the chance you should ask me why Ultraseven is my Lord and Savior. It doesn’t relate to what I am talking about. Yet Eleking is one of the kaiju that interested e in this series. In later incarnations he is a little crazy. I just like him for his design. He has moving horns on the side of his head. It does not look like he has eyes either. He has a long whip-like tail which he uses to tie up his opponent. While tied up with the tail, Eleking uses an electric shock. Just a neat little fighter. In a show called Ultra Fight, they give him an automatic rifle. Look it up it worth a chuckle or two.
The next three kaiju are from the Godzilla universe. The third kaiju is one that does get enough love is Anguirus. He has been around since the second Godzilla movie. He is a mix between an Ankylosaurus and a Styracosaurus. I always liked his design. I always equated him as Godzilla’s little buddy who works hard but is never recognized for his merits. Heck, he was the one who knew Mecha-Godzilla wasn’t the real one. He is the reason why I did not like Godzilla VS Kong as much. He needed to be in that movie.
The fourth kaiju from the Godzilla universe is Gorosaurus. He originally in the movie King Kong Escapes where King Kong defeats him by breaking his jaw. Yet his break out was in Destroy All Monsters. Under the control of the Kilaaks, he destroyed the Arc de Triomph in Paris. When the control was broken, he was second to Godzilla in defeating Ghidorah. Another underutilized character.
The fifth is kind of a goofy one. It is Megalon. I know he is the goofiest looking kaiju but I have a soft spot for him. I got to see Godzilla vs Megalon in the theaters as a second run movie when I was a kid. It is not the best Godzilla movie but it is the most fun and I will die on this hill. Drill bit hands are not the best look for a kaiju but hey they help with burrowing. The MST3K version of this movie is worth the watch.
The sixth kaiju is from a series called Spectreman. Most people who do not know the show will realize the Mojo Jojo from Powerpuff Girls is based off the villain Dr. Gori. Yet the kaiju from this show I liked is called Dust Man. He was a truck driver that was transformed into a garbage eating monster. While Spectreman was battling him, he told him the he was a human. After a prolonged battle, Dust Man even begged to end his suffering. That was kind of heavy for a kid to take in.
The seventh kaiju is from Johnny Socko and Giant Robot. While Emperor Guillotine. He was the major villain in the whole series. Yet in the last episode, he grew giant to battle the Giant Robot. Giant Robot could not fight him because he was made of atomic energy so any hits could potentially blow him and the Earth up. So Giant Robot takes him up to space where the two blow up. Again heavy material for a kid. He is important to me because he succeeded in destroying the Giant Robot but at his own cost.
The eighth kaiju is from three movies that I discovered at conventions. The Daimajin series was three movies made in the mid 60s. Basically they were good samurai movies with a kaiju at the end. The Daimajin is in a sense a spirit of vengeance. People are wronged are avenged by the giant stone samurai, Daimajin. Like I said before you get a really cool samurai movie mixed with a kaiju movie. Plus the desin is really neat. I think they might be on the TCM hub of HBO MAX. If you get the chance check them out.
The last two Kaiju are both from the Gamera universe. The ninth kaiju is Gamera himself. He is the forgotten one. He had great older movies and a trio of remakes in the 90s. The 90s movie Gamera 2: The Attack of the Legion has one of favorite scene in any kaiju movies. Yet everyone forgets about him. He is one of the only ones not getting son kind of reboot. Just show some love for the giant turtle that is the friend of children.
The tenth and last kaiju is Guiron from the movie if you haven’t guessed is Gamera vs Guiron. He is a kaiju with a giant knife for a head. As a kid I thought that was super cool. Watching the movie now is kind of painful but watch the MST3K version. It is great (chef’s kiss).
Thank you again for reading my blathering. I know it is not a top ten list but at least it is a list of interesting kaiju. A lot of the movies and TV show had a hand in creating the collage of Mike Wall. If you ever want to talk Kaiju please feel free to get in contact me. Like I have told many people in the store, I probably can out-nerd anyone. Remember this is only a piece of me. Maybe next time I will do a list of ten TV detectives (spoiler Cannon and Columbo will be on that list). I hope this is good enough for Jake.
I bid thee toodles,