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?
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