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Gachapin is not a classic kaiju–for good reason. Him and his plump red sidekick, Mook, don’t go on Tokyo-smashing rampages. They don’t battle gigantic gorillas or moths from strange Pacific islands. Honestly, I don’t think they do much of anything harmful at all. Instead, they ride bicycles, do stunts (for fun, of course), speak in their own weird language (or at least that’s how I remember), go skiing, and try to make folks laugh.
It seems odd, then, that Gachapin was my mind’s first go-to kaiju when thinking about the visual element of Herzi, the kaiju that Alodia pukes up midway through the book. Herzi had to accomplish two things. One, I wanted him to be ruthless when necessary (especially during the battle outside the hotel). Two, he had to be a kaiju. I didn’t want Alodia to spit up Godzilla or Gamera. I wanted something different. Gachapin and Mook both came to mind and, yeah, they stuck.
You bought a Gachapin DVD in 2004, lost it somewhere in the shuffle of country-hopping from Japan to China to the USA. It doesn’t matter. You remember the goofy humor of that big green monster slipping, falling, tumbling, tripping, slipping, and prancing his way across the screen. It was weird. The DVD was at once a comedy show AND a monster show. It was monsters as the main characters, interacting with the normal human world. I liked that. I didn’t get it, but I liked it.
Otherwise, a certain part of me wishes I could go warp into an alternate dimension and watch all those old Ultraman shows where Ultraman (apparently to my knowledge) spends a little time each episode battling kaijus of one form or another. I’ve seen pictures, seen stills, and I know even those pictures have seeped into my mind like how The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are somewhere in there, too, though I’ve never watched a full episode.
And, yeah, as much as I liked Pacific Rim (I still haven’t finished watching it, though), its kaijus didn’t grab me like how Gachapin grabbed me. Maybe I need to give it more time. Maybe I need to read the novelization to be fully pulled in.
I grew up with kaijus, loved the popular trio of mighty beasts. I watched all the Godzilla movies, owned a handful on VHS, loved Gamera, and King Kong, too. Kaijus are inside me and I wanted one to be inside Alodia, too. It’s what she gives birth to.
And it sacrifices itself selflessly for her life.
And, in doing so, it becomes a legend.