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Can a Kaiju be a Superhero?

It used to be that the only people that knew the term “Kaiju” were either the extreme Japanophiles or the extreme B-movie geeks that watched all the old classic monster movies. Now it feels like many more people know the term, either because of the shrinking of the world through the ease of communication, or because of the anticipation of Pacific Rim helping draw attention to the term. In case you don’t know, Kaiju is a term used for a giant monster used in a monster movie, the most iconic being Godzilla. Now, I have to admit that I have seen very few Kaiju movies, most of those have been the MST3K versions, especially the Gamera series. It’s hard to forget “Gamera is really neat, Gamera is full of meat, we believe in Ga-me-ra. And one of those has been the 1998 Americanized, or should I say the Emmeriched version. But one thing I do know, or at least am pretty sure of, is that often Godzilla is the “good” Kaiju battling the “bad” Kaiju. So, does that make Godzilla a superhero?

Marvel Godzilla

The easy answer is to say no, that it’s a sci-fi movie monster. But I think aside from the fact that he’s a giant monster, he actually shares a lot of attributes with other superhero movies. I think one of the closest matches would be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, only on a much larger scale. It also takes place in the present day, or at very least the “near future” which is also a staple of the X-Men universe. There was even a series of Godzilla comic books published by Marvel in the late 70’s, Dark Horse in the 80’s and 90’s, and IDW since 2010. He also often has a group of kid sidekicks, unless I’m getting that confused with Gamera or Mothra. But like I said, it’s been years since I’ve seen any Kaiju movie. Nevertheless, I’m super excited about Pacific Rim

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About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 300 superhero and comic book movies in the past four years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on July 1, 2013, in Blogs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I would never think of Godzilla as a superhero, but he does share a lot of qualities and I could see him and others like him being classified as a sub-set of monster superheroes. He does battle evil monsters and things, as you said. And I’m sure the fan base crossover is pretty high too. I think ultimately it depends on the monster.

    Other tokusatsu stuff like the Shaw Bros movie Super Inframan or something like Ultraman would definitely qualify, and those, at least to me, share a lot of qualities with the kaiju movies.

    I do hope Pacific Rim is fun. I loved the initial trailer, but have been somewhat disappointed by the tone of what I’ve seen after that. Fingers crossed!

    • I feel like I’ve said this before, but I didn’t realize that Super Inframan was a Shaw bros film. I was thinking about watching that sooner, but maybe I’ll wait for Shawgust over at Your Face! to watch it. As for Pacific Rim, I’ve been avoiding most trailers after the first full one, the only thing that’s throwing me off is the cheesy line “we’re cancelling the apocalypse!”. Other than that, I’m hopeful.

  2. Can’t be a naked superhero, give him a cape and we’ll talk 😀

  3. Is that your issue of Marvel’s Godzilla comic? I had a few and only have issue #4 left in my (small) collection of comics.

    • No, not mine. Just pulled that one from Wikipedia. My comic collection consists of The Maxx, Angel after the fall, Buffy season 8 and only a couple others.

      • I remember The Maxx from the TV Show. I think it was on MTV around the same time as Aeon Flux.

      • As well as the Head and Liquid Television. That’s where I initially saw it, it wasn’t until years later before I started collecting the comics. The series is almost a direct translation of issues 1-14.

  4. Another good discussion point, Bubbawheat.

    Godzilla in particular has often been used on the side of good (often in a last-ditch “Well, we’ve tried everything else, might as well through a giant nuclear lizard at it” approach.) Marvel published comics based on Godzilla, and there have been two cartoon series based on him; I don’t know about the cartoon based on the 1998 film, but the original H-B cartoon had a group of people use him as a panic button. “We’re in trouble, call Godzilla!”

    So I would say that Godzilla can be used in a superheroic manner… but is not, himself a superhero. He’s too much of a mindless beast (from what little I’ve seen), lacking even the sapience of the Hulk, to be considered a hero in his own right. He’s a weapon you aim at a target and hope he doesn’t go astray, rather than a being that operates out of his own moral code.

    • I’ve seen a couple episodes of the cartoon, but not enough to remember much about them other than the presence of Godzookie. He’s like a secret weapon except you don’t know whether or not he’s going to destroy half of Metropolis, I mean Tokyo in the process. I think I’m about out of these kind of topics though. Maybe one for real life heroes sometime in the future.

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