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Gamera is the second most popular example of a kaiju

Kaiju (怪獣,   kaijū?) is a Japanese word that literally means "strange beast" and is usually translated as "monster" in English. Traditionally, kaiju can refer to any sort of strange creature, but in recent times the word has become associated with a genre of tokusatsu entertainment, specifically Japanese cinema that involved giant monsters. The most powerful kaiju are at times deliberately referred to as Daikaiju (大怪獣,   daikaijū?), the prefix dai- emphasizing great power or status, and is usually translated as "giant monster."

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Kaiju are typically modeled after conventional animals, mythological creatures, and sometimes even plants; though, there are more exotic examples. Chōjin Sentai Jetman features monsters based on traffic lights, faucets, and tomatoes; Kamen Rider Super-1 includes a whole army of monsters based on household objects such as umbrellas and utility ladders. While the term kaiju is used in the West to describe monsters from tokusatsu and Japanese folklore, monsters like vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein's Monster, mummies and zombies could fall into this category (Frankenstein's Monster was once a daikaiju in the film Frankenstein vs. Baragon, which was produced by Toho). Kaiju are sometimes depicted as minions serving a greater evil. Some kaiju are elite warriors which serve as the right-hand man to the greater villain and are destroyed by the heroic forces. Others have a neutral alignment, only seeking to destroy buildings and other structures. During the early eras of tokusatsu, "heroic" monsters were seen in daikaiju eiga films, and it wasn't until later when television tokusatsu productions began using kaiju which aided the hero, saved civilians, or demonstrated some kind of complex personality. These kaiju adopted many classic monster traits, appearing as the "misunderstood creature."

Kaiju


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