Kaiju with a Thousand Faces

Gamera, Gappa, Gorgo, Gigan—they’re all daikaiju A-listers. If you weren’t paying close attention, you might think they were all the same. They’re not, of course. According to author Eric S. Brown, “Each creature was unique with different powers and tendencies.” Like snowflakes, no two giant monsters were the same.

To prove his point, Brown wrote a short novel back in 2016 with a long list of rampaging kaiju (for laughs, he even threw in a giant robot). As promised, none of these monsters were alike. There were black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones—every kind of gargouille

The first daikaiju to appear in Tokyo Bay was large and scaly and sported a crown of horns. The next threat came from a giant bird-lizard with a wingspan over 50 feet across. In quick order, Japan was battling all sorts of creatures that resembled mutant garden moles, jellyfish, spiders, beetles, ants, snakes, pigs and flies. One monstrosity even looked like something from an old H.P. Lovecraft story. Truly, there was no end to the number of abominations contained in the kaiju ranks. 

Needing help badly, the Japanese enlisted the U.S. Navy for backup. “Some kaiju are like the kind of monsters you see in movies. They are giant, lizard-like creatures that shake the earth itself with their steps,” explained Commander Hiroto to his American counterpart. “Others have wings and come from the skies. Still others live solely in the water like the Krakens of myth. All of them are deadly. All of them are massive in scale compared to whatever animal or animals they share the characteristics of. There are even kaiju who defy all logical explanation.”

Message received. Not all giant monsters looked like Godzilla. On that matter, Kaiju Rampage was a raging success. Unfortunately, Brown failed to give his creatures any sort of distinct charm. They’re all rather trite; they may have looked different, but they essentially shared the same temperament and monotonous agenda. 

On the other hand, there’s one non-kaiju character in the novel who possessed personality plus. Charismatic (and possibly crazy) Heather Karza was the 22-year-old aide to a top Japanese official. She was pretty, of course (“the kind of beauty that poets of old wrote about”), but she was no angel. “If she had a soul,” wrote Brown, “it was certainly far more demonic in nature than angelic.” No kaiju, big or small, was her equal.

[Kaiju Rampage / By Eric S. Brown / First Printing: July 2016 / ISBN: 9781925493511]