Another month has passed and its time again for a new edition of Kaiju One Hit Wonders! The list of Asia’s high profile mon-stars is starting to grow thin, so I’ve dug deep and uncovered a few lesser known beasties that most of you reading this article probably have never heard of. Even some of you die-hard kaiju fans might be at a loss to remember any of the following strange and widely unknown giant monsters.
DOGORA (A.K.A. DAGORA)
Weapons/Ablities: This odd, tentacled creature can float in the sky above Earth and pluck sources of carbon from the surface of the planet using its many tentacles. Dogora releases a chemical from its body that is corrosive to some metals and minerals, which is probably part of its digestive process. Dogora’s most frightening aspect is its regenerative powers. Even the smallest piece of Dogora can survive and grow into similar creatures!
First and Last Appearance: Dogora (a.k.a. Space Monster Dogora)
Origin: Dogora’s origin is a hotly debated topic amongst Japan’s scientists. One theory suggests that the creature started out as a single-celled organism that somehow survived in the vacuum of space and at some point, absorbed pockets of radiation. Due to the radiation, the cell began to grow, mutate, and multiply, resulting in various Dogoras. Sounds sort of contrived, but since I myself am not a scientist, I have no room to argue.
Dogora is probably one of, if not the strangest monster in the Toho universe. This silent, jellyfish-like kaiju merely hovers above Earth and uses its tentacles to grab its food. What does this massive creature eat you may be wondering? Sources of Carbon of course! Once the first creatures descend to Earth from space, they begin raiding jewelry stores for diamonds, stockpiles of coal, and of course carbon steel from various bridges and buildings. (Though the film would’ve been more horrific if the creatures were ravenous man-eaters and plucked unsuspecting humans off of the surface and devoured them. And one has to wonder… would the Dogoras start eating people if the main sources of carbon on Earth were depleted. Because after all, we are carbon-based life forms!) Dogora’s reign of terror was fairly short however after its main (and only) weakness was discovered.
After a swarm of bees attack and wound a Dogora, Japan’s military prepares a variety of weapons to deliver lethal doses of bee and wasp venom to the thieving daikaiju. The eventual attack on the multiple Dogoras is a huge success and the giant carbon-thieving monstrosities begin to crystalize and fall to Earth. Once again, mankind was powerless to stop an invading monster, so Mother Nature had to lend a hand and save us all. Since 1964, there have been no more sightings of Dogora whatsoever, however another cellular creature from space would land in Pacific in 1970 and cause some minor trouble on a small island, in Yog, the Space Amoeba. While this cellular invader was more dangerous and intelligent, it ultimately was defeated by nature’s fury rather than humanity’s weaponry and ingenuity.
GUILALA (A.K.A. GIRARA)
Weapons/Ablities: Guilala absorbs all forms of energy (including nuclear) and is impervious to every weapon known to man!
First and Last Appearance: Uchu daikaiju Girara (a.k.a. The X From Outer Space)
Origin: As a spaceship from the F.A.F.C. (Fuji Astro Flying Center) flies toward Mars to investigate recent U.F.O. sightings, their ship is sprayed with glowing spores. One spore makes it to Earth and soon Guilala is born and begins devouring all the energy sources it can!
In 1967, members of the F.A.F.C. staged a flight to Mars after viewing frequent U.F.O. activity from Earth. Upon reaching the red planet, their ship was sprayed by a U.F.O. with some sort of strange glowing spores. The scientists managed to bring one spore back to Earth to study it, only to allow the birth of Guilala, an energy eating monster that quickly began rampaging across Japan. The usual assortment of weaponry was used against the monster, but proved useless, so scientists scrambled to discover a way to defeat the chicken-like kaiju. Just as the monster discovered the joys of nuclear energy, a solution was found! An element called "Guilalanium" has the same energy absorbing properties as Guilala itself, so it becomes the only weapon to defeat the goofy-looking creature. Missiles are loaded with Guilalanium and fired at the monster, which soaks up all the energy that Guilala had eaten, returning the monster to its harmless spore state. Said spore was then jettisoned back into space on a rocket, in order to make sure that Guilala wouldn’t rear its ugly head again.
MAGMA (A.K.A. MAGUMA)
Height: 50 meters (164 feet)
Mass: 25,000 metric tons (27,500 tons)
Weapons/Ablities: Magma is an aquatic mammal from the arctic and can survive in the ice cold climate it calls home. Being a giant walrus, Magma is armed to the teeth quite literally, with two giant tusks jutting out from its mouth.
First and Last Appearance: Gorath.
Origin: Scientists speculate that Magma was a giant ancestor of the modern day walrus. The giant creature was frozen in suspended animation until thawed by the intense heat from the rockets placed at the Earth’s South Pole.
Magma is one of many unsung giant monsters whose career lasted a mere five minutes. In 1962, a giant comet/rogue planet named Gorath was hurtling toward Earth, destroying and absorbing everything in its path. Though Earth seemed doomed, scientists and governments the world over, worked together to come up with a plan to save the planet. The main plan was to build hundreds upon hundreds of giant nuclear powered jets at the South Pole. When all of them are turned on, the Earth will slowly leave its original orbit and escape certain destruction… well… theoretically. The time does eventually come to use the jets when Gorath continues its path toward planet Earth. The intense heat from the jets begins thawing the ice in the Antarctic region causing floods and other natural disasters across the globe. It’s during this moment that Magma bursts from its icy prison and began a short-lived assault on a nearby military base. At first, an attempt is made to bury the creature under an avalanche of ice. When that fails, the military puts the mighty walrus kaiju down with a powerful laser blast, thus ending Magma’s film career in a heartbeat.
Well that’s it for this installment of Kaiju One Hit Wonders. As I said, the list of monsters is getting a little thin, but there’s still plenty of crazy creatures to write about I can assure you. While Toho’s collection of kaiju has nearly been exhausted, I can still turn to Gamera and his foes, as well as the giant monsters of American cinema. Check back next month for more giant monster fun here at Rogue Cinema, and feel free to e-mail me with any comments about this article or any kaiju questions at firstname.lastname@example.org! See you next month!
Photos courtesy of Toho Kingdom and Badmovies.Org.