The Weirdest Ultraman Kaiju
For over 55 years, the Ultraman franchise has given kaiju fans some of the most iconic monsters and aliens ever. There are so many to list: Red King, Gomora, Alien Baltan, and Eleking to name a few! Today, however, we’re not going to talk about the cool ones. Instead, we’re going to check out the weirdest Ultraman kaiju.
With the literal translation of kaiju being “strange beast”, the Ultra franchise is also known for some of the strangest monsters to grace the small screen. A lot of the perceived weirdness (especially for westerners) comes from different factors such as cultural differences or simply intentional humor, as the Ultra series (mostly) is targeted towards children. As such, let us showcase ten of the weirdest Ultraman kaiju ever!
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Debuting in the sixth episode of Ultraman Gaia, Gan-Q is almost the poster child of the weirdest Ultraman kaiju. Its subtitle is literally translated as “Strange Creature” so even Tsuburaya Productions knew he’s a weird one. He can even smile using his pupil, his pupil!
In Ultraman Gaia, Gan-Q is the manifestation of an ancient Japanese sorcerer who wanted to gain enough power to basically take over the world. Awakening in modern times, Gan-Q would take multiple forms, all taking on the motif of a giant eye. Gan-Q’s weirdness would make him one of the most popular Ultra kaiju, making several appearances ever since his debut in Ultraman Gaia.
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Debuting in the 46th episode of Ultraman Taro, Alien Piccola is every person who is afraid of killer dolls their worse nightmare: a kaiju-sized one! Ultraman Taro as a series targeted much younger children when compared to other Ultra series, so a lot of kaiju and aliens from that series are going to be on the silly side with Alien Piccola a big example of that.
Intentionally based on Pinnochio, Alien Piccola at first was an alien prince (yes really) who accidentally crashed landed on Earth, making friends with a young boy and his pet rabbit. But when the landlord of the boy’s family poisoned the rabbit out of his hatred for animals, Piccola would see humans as disgusting and become a giant rampaging monster, only to be stopped by Ultraman Taro. Despite the rather tragic episode, the weirdness stems from the fact that Piccola looks like a bootleg Disney’s Pinocchio toy that stayed in the sun for too long.
Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. This Ultra kaiju is in fact, a repainted Godzilla suit with a frill around his neck. Debuting in the tenth episode of the original Ultraman series, Jirahs is one of the weirdest Ultraman kaiju in a meta sense as we essentially have Godzilla fighting Ultraman. But if you know the history of Ultraman’s creator, Eiji Tsuburaya, it will all make sense.
Eiji Tsuburaya is best known as the man who helped in creating Godzilla, as he would be the special effects director for several classic entries of the Godzilla franchise. Because of his close connections with Toho, Tsuburaya asked permission to repurpose several Godzilla suit parts, as the original Ultraman series had several instances of budget constraints. Tsuburaya would seemingly take advantage of this compromise, as Jirahs would appear to be a tribute to Godzilla with similar abilities and even the suit actor being played by Godzilla’s then main suit actor Haruo Nakajima.
If there is one thing that is to be commended about Tsuburaya and his team in the early Ultra series is the clever workaround of the kaiju being men in suits and Pestar is certainly a major example of that. Making its first appearance in the 13th episode of the original Ultraman, Pestar is essentially a giant starfish with a bat head in the center.
It’s very clear that Pestar’s body are two suit actors as the different halves of each side and yet there is something enduring because of it. Many kaiju designs have to be designed with a suit actor in mind. While most are humanoid in the body plan, Tsuburaya and crew would find new ideas to create different creature designs while making them work as suits in some shape or form. As for Pestar itself, well look at it, it’s a starfish bat thing. That’s just weird.
No list about the weirdest Ultraman kaiju is complete without mentioning the current golden child among Ultra fans online: Dinosaur Tank! Making his debut in the 28th episode of Ultraseven, Dinosaur Tank is…well… a dinosaur riding a tank.
What else can we say really? Sometimes the weirdness just presents itself and doesn’t have to explain itself. May we repeat Dinosaur Tank is a dinosaur riding a tank!
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One of the first major story-driven Ultra series was Ultraman Ace as it featured an overarching villain named Yapool. Yapool is an interdimensional alien that can create a special type of kaiju known as “Terrible Monsters” from animals and objects from our world. Most Terrible Monsters would end up being some of the most dangerous kaiju of the Ultra franchise. And then there’s Geegon.
Geegon is literally a violin transformed into a kaiju via Yapool that has the power to steal the souls of those who listen to its music. We first see Geedon as a normal violin that grows for every soul it absorbs until it finally transforms into this monstrosity. Geegon may be a Terrible Monster, but he isn’t escaping this list, that’s for sure!
One of the newer kaiju on this list, Majappa is weird in terms of both his looks and his powers. Debuting in the third episode of Ultraman Orb, Majappa is can be described in one word: stinky. Yes, this kaiju’s biggest strength is his funky smell.
Majappa’s design was based on several sea animals such as sea horses, fish, and sea slugs, so him being stinky makes sense. In fact, that is the central plot of his debut appearance as when Majappa (then called Maga-Jappa) sat in a city’s local lake, the kaiju managed to contaminate the water to be so smelly it was essentially biohazardous. Yes, this kaiju smells so bad it can literally kill.
Most of the weirdest Ultraman kaiju are on the silly side of the spectrum, as said before. Most entries of this long-running franchise aim towards families and children. The same can’t be said about this entry as Galberos is from what is arguably the darkest Ultraman series: Ultraman Nexus. Ultraman Nexus was a much more mature soft reboot to the Ultra franchise and that reflected in the series kaiju known as ‘Space Beasts”.
Galberos is one of the most iconic kaiju of Nexus and it’s easy to see why, as he’s both one of the weirdest Ultraman kaiju and one of the creepiest. An almost eldritch play on the Greek monster Cerberus, Galberos center head has no eyes, while the two wolf-like heads on its shoulder only have half a face. If Galberos is meant to induce nightmares, then it certainly has succeeded!
While the idea of friendly kaiju is a concept that has been part of the Ultra series since its inception, they can still be weird as all hell. Debuting in Ultraman Taro, Orphy is a music-loving kaiju that just wants to grace the world with its singing, something a local village celebrates as its singing helps them predict a yearly harvest.
Sound innocent enough, right? The thing is, despite a pretty singing voice, beauty is in the eye of the beholder when you look at Orphy. What looks like a mix of a hippo and a horse, Ophy is just uncanny to look at. What makes it worse is that the episode that features Orphy uncomfortably focuses on his belly button, such as a zoom-in shot of Orphy pulling out sheet music (somehow) to conduct its year songs. This one is just gross.
Another classic kaiju from the original Ultraman series, Bulton proves looks can be very deceiving. Debuting in the 17th episode of Ultraman, Bulton is a “four-dimensional” kaiju that can basically warp space and time. Yes, this dog toy-looking thing basically has god-like powers at its “fingertips”. You really can’t judge a book by its cover.
Designed by Tohl Narita, who would design almost all the kaiju within the Ultra series along with Ultraman himself, Bulton was meant to look abstract as they meant it to not look like a being from our realm. This extends to its abilities, such as manipulating gravity and having objects simply “blink” away. Sure we have seen reality-warping beings in fiction, but the matter-of-fact way Bulton would alter space and time makes him a fine example of one of the weirdest Ultraman kaiju.
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Who Do You Think Is The Weirdest Ultraman Kaiju?
Which monster or alien do you think is the weirdest Ultraman kaiju? Let us know on social media!