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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 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.


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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 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lianne Burwell

    My first experience with what could be called Kaiju was the Godzilla cartoon (and Godzuuuuuuki... ignore the cries of horror) when I was a kid. My second was the Power Rangers series when I was in my twenties. The most recent was the latest Godzilla movie and Pacific Rim. I always thought they were fun, but not much more than that. Giant Creatures in the World takes a long look at the Kaiju genre, and uses it as a reflection of the culture of the various times. While I doubt that producers were q My first experience with what could be called Kaiju was the Godzilla cartoon (and Godzuuuuuuki... ignore the cries of horror) when I was a kid. My second was the Power Rangers series when I was in my twenties. The most recent was the latest Godzilla movie and Pacific Rim. I always thought they were fun, but not much more than that. Giant Creatures in the World takes a long look at the Kaiju genre, and uses it as a reflection of the culture of the various times. While I doubt that producers were quite as deliberate as the essays might make it seem, they do make a good argument for a reflection between the movies and attitudes of the various times towards women, foreigners, the military, government and other subjects. The essays in the collection were intriguing, covering from the era of the first Godzilla movie (and before by bringing in movies like King Kong as a predecesor) through to the far more recent Pacific Rim. Unfortunately, there were a few quirks that brought down my enjoyment of the book. First of all, I think there was only one essay that didn't include a variation on 'this essay will discuss', which made it feel a little like they all were written based on the college instructions on how to write an essay. The author bios make it clear that these aren't college students, so couldn't they have let the essays communicate on their own, without telling me explicitely what they intend to do? There are also a few bad word choices scattered around. For example, an object does not revision something. Revision is a nown, not a verb. It might reinvision something, though. As well, there was one of my pet peeve homonym issues in that you 'rein' something in, not 'reign'. A little more editing (and certainly copy-editing) would have helped a lot.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jase Short

    As a contributor, perhaps it is unfair for me to review the book. But I receive no royalties and I did not have access to the other essays before the anthology was published. Let me say: it exceeded my expectations. There’s wonderful material here that truly takes the subject of kaiju in popular culture seriously. But beyond that, it is well written and thoughtful. Pick it up! It’s worth your time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    Oh, I am a huge fan! Never knew there was a name for there monsters until this book! This book was so informative; a joy to read! I learned quite a bit about the Japanese side of these movies I didn't know; And I've bee a fan since my first Godzilla flick back in the really early 60's! The only thing I need to explore in more detail, which I only heard of in this book were Kamen Rider. I have no clue...but much of the end of the book, which is really pretty short, dealt with it. Old and new fans Oh, I am a huge fan! Never knew there was a name for there monsters until this book! This book was so informative; a joy to read! I learned quite a bit about the Japanese side of these movies I didn't know; And I've bee a fan since my first Godzilla flick back in the really early 60's! The only thing I need to explore in more detail, which I only heard of in this book were Kamen Rider. I have no clue...but much of the end of the book, which is really pretty short, dealt with it. Old and new fans are going to enjoy this book! I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Joseph

  5. 5 out of 5

    McFarland

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emiliano Aguilar

  7. 4 out of 5

    Madameraziel

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chad

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jo Middlesworth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dani Buckley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Shirley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fleet Sparrow

  16. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  17. 4 out of 5

    Douglass Abramson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bill Armstrong

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paula Mullis

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  26. 5 out of 5

    Poppy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wanda C

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin. McKernan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

  31. 5 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  32. 5 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  33. 4 out of 5

    Tressa

  34. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  36. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Bingham

  37. 5 out of 5

    Dayna

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