Top 5 Lamest Kaiju -

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Top 5 Lamest Kaiju

An appetizer, a flying squirrel, and the Kaiju version of Jar-Jar Binks walk into a bar...

By Chuck Francisco     July 09, 2013

It had to happen, Japanese monster fans! After drinking from the waters cast off from the most excellent of Kaiju (Gamera water tastes of strawberries and is coming to a supermarket near you), a catalogue of those monsters basted in weak sauce became inevitable. Consider these the Kaiju picked last in monster gym class; for one or many reasons they fail the awesome beastie litmus test. As with all lists, disagreements will break out. Believe me when I tell you that I didn't set out to crush anyone's childhood recollections, but we're making Kaiju omelets, so let's crack a bunch of McMansion sized eggs and let the tears fly!
5. Varan
Varan the Unbelievable might have sold better under a more accurately descriptive name like "Varan the Flying Lizard Squirrel". Indeed this leathery skinned reptile sports skin flaps like a wing suit, allowing him to glide menacingly through the air. Featured in only one film (with cameos in two others) Varan is unbelievably undone in its own 1958 self titled film when the military tricks it into swallow not one, not two, but three bombs. Without any distinguishing characteristics or armaments, Varan has been relegated to the C list of Kaiju.

4. Manda
For powerhouses such as Godzilla, fighting Manda would be akin to a professional wrestler taking on a full sized man with midget sized appendages. Have you seen Manda? He's like carny folk: small hands (don't know if he smells of cabbage though). As a massive snake (with four tiny little legs) practically his only mode of attack consists of wrapping himself around things and constricting them to death. Consider how ineffective this is in a world where the other monsters can bathe themselves in electricity, or are covered in sharp spines or impenetrable shells. Manda couldn't even destroy the submarine warship it tried to constrict in its own movie! His other abilities include swimming fast and breathing underwater. So he's Kaiju Aquaman. At least he's not the Guy Gardner of Kaiju? I guess? The movie it's first featured in, Atrigon, is pretty awesome though. Check out the AIP trailer:

3. Ebirah
Ebirah is the main opponent of Godzilla in Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, one of my all time favorite Kaiju films. The story succeeds, despite Ebirah being incredibly lame-o, thanks in large part to a better than average human story. As for the the monster itself, would you believe it's a giant mutated shrimp? An angry, ship smashing, human gulping, appetizer (full of sound and fury, signifying delicious). I'd be cheesed off too if my distant cousins were served up cold, on the rim of a glass full of cocktail sauce (I don't even rate BBQ sauce?). But would I be crazed enough to take on Godzilla with my wimpy claws and ability to swim at a brisk pace? Yeah no, not at all. Ebirah is totally trounced by Big G twice, and during the second battle Godzilla rips out his claws. He probably deveined him as well since he only shows up in stock footage appearances thereafter.

2. Moguera
Ah Moguera! For a last minute addition to a film (The Mysterians) which had no Kaiju, you weren't terrible. But when considered against the width and breadth of Japanese monsterdom, you kinda suck. With its enduring, transformer-esk design, Mogura is visually interesting (much more so in later incarnations), but the performance doesn't live up to the luster. This unstoppable reptilian shaped mecha appears to signal the downfall of Tokyo until a bridge is destroyed below it. That's right, this Kaiju is undone by surprise and gravity. Mechagodzilla is so ashamed that he crosses the street to avoid being seen socializing with Moguera. At least Starscream still invites him over to play Pitfall on his Atari 2600 every Sunday morning (they're BFF's).

1. Minilla
Minilla is a miniature Godzilla. Get it? He's a tubby, childlike version of the big G, who appears in the dreams of kids to teach them how to deal with trouble at school. That's right, Minilla is like the after school special of Kaiju monsters and proof positive that any successful formulas can be broken when filmmakers forcefully insert a character designed only to appeal to children. He emits donkey noises and resembles a stunted E.T., while boasting the staggeringly useless ability to shrink down to human size. Woo. Minilla is the Jar-Jar Binks of Kaiju monsters and we are right to shame.

There, the dust is settled. Did I trample on one of your childhood favorites? Be honest. 
Who didn't make the list that you think should have?

Come back tomorrow as we take a look at the most influential Kaiju films!


Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous  Colonial Theatre  in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.


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marcd30319 7/9/2013 4:19:40 AM

  Minilla is the Jar-Jar Binks of Kaiju monsters and we are right to shame.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

goirish83 7/9/2013 5:54:12 AM

Agreed, LOL !!

karas1 7/9/2013 6:02:59 AM

The ability to shrink has long been considered an important superpower.  If Minilla could fly and shoot lasers or something he could buzz around the other monsters and be too small to hit.  But he can't do those other things so he is pretty useless.

DarthBob 7/9/2013 6:10:14 AM

I know there's only room for 5 but Gabara and Jet Jaguar rank rather high in suck factor too.

monkeyfoot 7/9/2013 6:35:44 AM

I remember seeing the movie Atragon as a little kid. I thought that flying, drilling, rolling submarine was the coolest thing ever!

mike10 7/9/2013 6:37:29 AM

Should have had King Kong on this list. Still can't believe you had King Kong on your "Best of" list. If Godzilla vs. King Kong would have been done right Godzilla would have fried Kong's monkey butt in the first 5 minutes of the fight. 

Wyldstaar 7/9/2013 7:18:18 AM

I knew Moguera from Godzilla vs Space Godzilla, having never heard of The Mysterions.  My local UHF stations were never big on variety when it came to kaiju movies.  They had about a dozen in rotation during the 80's that they played regularly, and ignored the rest.  I knew there were lots of others by reading of them in books, but never saw them as a child.  A few of them I found later as an adult.

momitchell7 7/9/2013 10:17:06 AM

King Kong... Are you kidding, MIke? Because of King Kong, made back in 1933, you're able to enjoy all of these other "Kaiju"!

thezillaman 7/9/2013 1:00:38 PM

 jet jaguar looked cool but only had super bright lights from his eyes and can go from normal size to giant but that's it.. gabera, i would say megallon, kinda lame.  But not king kong hellll no also Kamakuras kumonga titanisorus lame..

metalpause 7/9/2013 1:20:28 PM

 Minya (sic) and Ebirah, although both are pretty lame, were actually pretty cool in GFW. 

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