"Daimajin, please come punish our abusers with wrath! / OH NO, RUN, THERE'S WRATH EVERYWHERE!!!
November 24, 2012 7:19 PM   Subscribe

He is the spirit of vengeance and the wrath of God given form. But when Daimajin's rage was unleashed, it could be directed at both the wicked and the innocent alike.

"Daimajin","Return of Daimajin (Daimajin Ikaru)", and "Wrath of Daimajin (Daimajin Gyakushu)" were a trio of kaiju eiga (“giant monster movies”) all produced and released in 1966 by the Daiei Motion Picture Company (producers of the Gamera movies). Unlike most kaiju eiga (e.g., Godzilla, Mothra, War of the Gargantuas, etc.) which were set post-WWII and were famous for high-tech anti-kaiju weapons, the Daimajin movies are set during the feudal Sengoku Jidai (“Warring States Period”) and are in many ways as much chanbara (“samurai sword-fight”) period pieces (Jidaigeki) as they are kaiju movies. Daiei was already known for making Jidageki movies, so they had sets, costumes, actors, and the abundant Japanese countryside as backdrop already lined up

The common theme among the three films involves the local peasantry being abused by their local evil Samurai overlords and praying to the angry spirit that is trapped within the buried statue to wreak vengeance on their abusers. Inspired by the Jewish legend of the Golem, Daimajin was crafted to bring a Japanese flavor to the idea. While Japanese mythology has no direct mythological analog to the Golem, the producers dipped into Shinto, the indigenous Japanese animist tradition, and the Japanese historical practice of burying figurative statues.

The first Daimajin movie has the titular statue at his most wrathful, a force of nature that once summoned is unstoppable and poses a threat to the very mortals who summoned him. The 2nd & 3rd movies depict the monster as more focussed in his punishment of evildoers. In 2010, the Daimajin story was updated to modern Tokyo and made into a TV series, Daimajin Kanon.

An in-depth (spoilery!) article on the Daimajin movies.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey (14 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I had never heard of this - awesome!
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on November 24, 2012

It's true that these films are hampered by the lack of tiny tanks, but they are fun nevertheless.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:52 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh yes. As a fervent Gamera fan, this is verrrry interesting to me. I always thought that Gamera was more about human relationships in society, whereas Godzilla was clearly more post war environment/NWO stuff, so seeing even greater diversity in the GIANT MONSTER ATTACK genre is really cool.
posted by zinful at 7:57 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Allow me to direct you to the greatest giant monster film of all time: Big Man Japan.

You are most welcome.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:36 PM on November 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

I've always wondered what the source of those giant stone warriors (most recently for me in Sucker Punch) was but never bothered to do the research. Thanks for an informative post.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:56 PM on November 24, 2012

Big Man Japan deserves another, very strange, FPP, as does Kaiju Big Battle. Daimajin is its own thing, revered by a separate but related fetish nerd subculture. Giant Monster meets Asian Horror - your fate is sealed from the beginning, but how you meet it is where the story truly lies. Only with rubber costumes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:52 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm reminded of some of the giant statue "aliens" from Gantz. Which deserves a FPP on Mefi of it's own, it was a manga then an anime series and eventually two movies...
posted by Catblack at 10:50 PM on November 24, 2012

Daiei also made the Gamera movies.

posted by JHarris at 10:58 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd like to suggest the wicked get the first attention.
posted by el puppeto del socko at 12:13 AM on November 25, 2012

Thank you for this post - I loved the first movie as a kid. Don't know if the Creature Double Feature ever showed the other two (though it seems natural they would've paired the second with the first, I'm pretty sure they showed something else, maybe Gamera).
posted by kokaku at 4:34 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I saw the first two movies, the second one is like a less interesting remake of the first.
The first one is glorious, one of the best Kaiju movie of all time in my humble opinion.
posted by SageLeVoid at 8:49 AM on November 25, 2012

Trailer for the recent triple-feature Blu-Ray DVD, which I have to say, looks amazing.
posted by SomaSoda at 9:29 AM on November 25, 2012

Sweet. I just recently picked up the Gamera trilogy blu-ray set by the same company, and they did a bang-up job.

Looking forward to this.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:25 PM on November 25, 2012

As a kid, the character was broadcast in English as the Majin, iirc. I recall being quite fond of the first movie, because it was so unusual for a Japanese monster flick. As a adult, I tracked down the first two Eng dubbed movies on VHS, which went over well with my kids. Only recently did I find a subbed DVD of the third. Thanks for the post.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:11 PM on November 25, 2012

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