They are everywhere. Kaijus are no longer limited just to Japan, their stronghold is spreading all over the world. These giant beasts have found their ways to get into our daily lives. From television shows, movies and video games to merchandises like clothes and toys, Kaiju has invaded the Popular Culture.
Kaiju had its first big screen break way back in 1933 in the form of King Kong. However, World War II obscured King Kong’s rise to fame. Years after, in 1954, a movie was made depicting a prehistoric monster named Godzilla who was resurrected and started attacking Japan. This was followed by many adaptations of Godzilla, with new twists. Godzilla’s reputation spread to the western part of the globe and Americans started their own turbulent relationship with Kaiju. These monsters had their own share of Hollywood fame as Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures joined Daiei Film and Kadokawa Pictures in creating Kaiju films. Some of the Hollywood Kaiju films are Godzilla, Pacific Rim, King Kong, Cloverfield and Clash of the Titans.
Comics is one effective medium that helped spread the Kaiju craze with titles like Enormous and Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The world of television wasn’t able to escape the grip of Kaiju. Many TV channels joined the Kaiju craze and started showing Kaiju-themed programs. In these programs, gigantic robots assumed the role of heroes. The robots are driven or operated by humans as they battle the Kaijus. Ultraman, Super Sentai, Power Rangers and Godzilla: The Series are just a few of these TV shows. Kaijus also made gues appearances on popular TV shows like The Simpsons, Courage the Cowardly Dog and South Park where MechaStreisand, a giant and monstrous version of Barbara Streisand, attacked South Park.
Not surprisingly, the invasion extended to the addictive world of video games. Some of the most popular Kaiju-themed video games are Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Colossal Kaiju Combat, and Rampage. The players face these giant beasts and they have to prevent them from destroying the city and finally terminate them. As with any video game, the players are fueled by their desire to defeat such an impossible foe.
A kaiju would be the last thing to come to mind when you think of something child-friendly, but surprisingly Kaijus made it to the world of toys. Kaiju action figures comes in ultra-deluxe packaging and are usually expensive. These action figures became collectibles along with trading cards and board games which are highly valued by Kaiju aficionados. You wouldn’t think of them as cute but these kaijus became such an overload of cuteness as stuffed toys were made in their images. This seems to be the ultimate proof of just how crazy we are of Kaiju that we disregard their destructive nature and focus on their unlikely charm that appeals to children. The Kaiju craze is here to stay and there is nothing that suggests that it might end soon. These beasts may only exists in our imagination, which we have to be grateful for, but we have developed such fondness for the idea of Kaiju existence to the point that we can no longer deny its influence on our lifestyle.