Giant Creatures in Our World: Essays on Kaiju and American Popular Culture

Giant Creatures in Our World: Essays on Kaiju and American Popular Culture


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Dismissed as camp by critics but revered by fans, the kaiju or "strange creature" film has become an iconic element of both Japanese and American pop culture. From homage to parody to advertising, references to Godzilla—and to a lesser extent Gamera, Rodan, Ultraman and others—abound in entertainment media. Godzilla in particular is so ubiquitous, his name is synonymous with immensity and destruction.
In this collection of new essays, contributors examine kaiju representations in a range of contexts and attempt to define this at times ambiguous genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476668369
Publisher: McFarland Publishing
Publication date: 11/01/2017
Pages: 212
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Camille D.G. Mustachio is an assistant professor of English at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is a specialist in medieval and Renaissance literature with research interests in cultural studies, popular culture, and higher education pedagogy. She lives in Richmond, Virginia. Jason Barr is an associate professor at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. His work has appeared in African American Review, Explicator, The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, and The Journal of Caribbean Literatures, among others. He lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Kamen Rider vs. ­Spider-Man and Batman: American Superheroes as Kaiju Villains (Se Young Kim) 17

Notes from the Land of Light: Observations on Religious Elements Seen in Ultraman (Justin Mullis) 35

Monsters of the Rift: Kaiju as Ciphers of Unbalance (Jase Short) 59

Archetypes at War: Kaiju as Cult Icons in Pacific Rim (Nicholas Bollinger) 77

“Was it me? Did I kill them?”: The Monsters and the Women

in King Kong (1933), Gojira (1954), Monster Zero (1965), Destroy All Monsters (1968) and Gamera III: Revenge of Iris (1999) (Sigmund C. Shen) 92

Soft Power: Narrative of Neutrality in King Kong Escapes and Frankenstein Conquers the World (Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and Emiliano Aguilar) 109

The Confused Nation: Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Big Man Japan (Kenta McGrath) 123

Japan’s ­Anti-Kaiju Fighting Force: Normalizing Japan’s ­Self-Defense Forces Through Postwar Monster Films (Jeffrey J. Hall) 138

The Ideology of Disaster: Godzilla, Gorillas and Geopolitics

in the Global 21st Century (Jamie Macdonald) 161

“We are eating Gamera”: Mystery Science Theater 3000 Consumes the Kaiju (Karen Joan Kohoutek) 178

Collecting Kaiju: How Nostalgia Influences Adult Toy Collecting

(Jason Barr) 193

About the Contributors 203

Index 205

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