The 13 Awesomely Designed Kaiju from the Original Ultraman Series


?Old-school Ultraman fans know that Red King is his archest nemesis and the most popular of them all, the big mean jock that everybody pretends is so great. And, yes, he is pretty great. He crushes things. He’s merciless. He even killed the grotesquely cute and defenseless Pigmon, a kiddie kaiju who was friendly to humans and was also about a hundred times smaller than Red King. It takes some kind of strength of character to be that much of a smirking, unrepentant bully.

But the truth about Red King is that he’s just Godzilla painted red. And he’s got a tiny peanut head. And occasionally he’s barely red. The kaiju imagineers of Ultraman, Inc. crapped him out and made up for their lack of imagination by allowing him super badass crushing-stuff powers. It’s okay to say it out loud. He’s the boss, after all, one with a thick, armored skin.
Red King’s more generic qualities are just one reason it’s important to give style its due. Because style turns heads. It makes you say, “What the hell is that thing, exactly, and why does it have missile-launching feathers on its head?” So here are the 13 most awesome kaiju from the original Ultraman series that required more design inspiration than “Hey, let’s spray paint that busted Godzilla costume.”

13) Zetton

Zetton shows up in the last episode of the original series, with good reason: he’s such a badass that he cripples Ultraman and looks bizarre as shit doing it. Zetton is a huge beetle with elaborate antler-like horns, multiple eyes in weird places and two sensor nodules where eyes would be if he were a normal monster. He can blast powerful darts and trillion-degree orbs of death-fire from his face and hands. He can teleport, create a protective force field around himself that not only absorbs energy attacks from his opponents but bounces it right back at them. He’s the ultimate rubber to Ultraman’s glue. By the time he’s done with the giant space hero, Ultraman is like, “Okay, I need a break from all this shit.”

12) Gubira

Wedge-shaped quadruped with an enormous drill-nose who’s also a pretty good swimmer. He’s handsome in the same way that a military tank is because it’s so good at what it does. Its form is its function. There are Belgian fashion designers who spent their entire lives trying to make that happen. They wish they were Gubira.

11) Keronia

His armor made of super-durable kudzu-like leaves gives him a jaunty asymmetrical look and a cocky attitude because Ultraman’s Specium Ray just bounces off of him. He’s the date-rapist of the monsters because he’s also got laser eyes that paralyze his victims and the ability to release vampire plants that will suck the energy out of them. You wake up alone, bruised and smelling like freshly cut lawn when he’s done with you.

10) Antlar

It’s been said that the key to dressing is to take one thing off before you leave the house. Nobody told Antlar that. He’s the more-is-more monster: a crab-like upper self — complete with pincers — on top of a cockroach/beetle-esque body. He’s also got a Darth Vader-ish helmet-head with antenna-eyes. His body armor resembles a yellow-striped tuxedo. He’s also made of magnets. This is the kind of dressing up that gets you labled a “dandy” or a “fancy man.”

9) Dada

This monster is the 1960s. He’s sleek and eerie and kind of hilarious all at once, appearing to be the humanoid embodiment of an Op Art maze. His main power is pretty creepy — he can possess you — but beyond that he’s sort of run-of-the-mill dangerous. As groovy looking as he is with his black-and-whiteness and his big red lips, he’d be better off as a dinner guest of the Addams Family than fighting Ultraman.

8) Gomora, a.k.a. Gohora

It’s all swagger with this guy. He’s bull-shaped and his horns are part of his skull. AND he’s got a tusk, just in case he doesn’t ruin you with the horns first. And his name evokes anal sex, which is also pretty brutal (even if that name was taken from words that mean “Go mole.”) He’s like one of those powerlifter showoffs who compete in pull-trucks-with-your-teeth contests and when he catches you staring he’s like, “What are you looking at?” And then you’re ashamed.


7) Seabozu

In terms of abilities, this giant skeleton of a ghost-monster might outsize Pigmon but is just as useless. He’s sad and he’s lost and he just wants to go back to the Monster Graveyard he came from and be left alone. Now, if he were small and homely this might be easier for everybody on Earth to figure out. But check out how terrifyingly beautiful his giant monster bones are. And that’s his problem. He freaks everyone out, they yell, “You wanna go?!” and he sighs something mournful and unintelligible and they think he’s being a smart-ass so they beat him to a pulp.

6) Pigmon

Look at this pretty little ugly dude. Pigmon is a child-sized kaiju with elaborate pinkish coral scales. It’s like your grandmother decorated him for Easter. And in keeping with his similarity to an innocent Yo Gabba Gabba creature, he’s nice and gives assistance to the injured. Does this keep Red King from murdering him? No, because Red King is a dick.

5) Barutan. a.k.a. Baltan

A walking blue guy with lobster claw arms that shoot doom rays. He doesn’t even need to use them to clamp down on you, he just opens them up and blasts you to a crisp. Then he makes himself into a hologram so you don’t know which one is even the real him. If that weren’t enough, there are 60 billion others like him, all the size of bacteria and they live on an invisible spaceship, so when he says — with an awesome villain laugh — that they’re going to turn all the humans into slaves, he means it.

4) Pestar

He’s a starfish or a butterfly or a four-legged cape Lady Gaga would wear to the supermarket. Also like Lady Gaga, he drinks crude oil for breakfas

3) Bullton

This amorphous non-shape creature has randomly placed appendages all over its red, blue and gray body. It is all at once stumpy, swoopy and swirly, like an abstracted Bumble Ball. Appropriately, its biggest power is to create warps in time and space dimensions, confusing everyone. In other words, this guy is where Frank Gehry got all his architectural ideas

2) Geronimon

The Vegas showgirl with something extra! First of all, if you’re supposed to be a big cruel monster, it’s the definition of planet-sized balls to walk around with feathers on your head. But then he stuns you when it turns out that the feathers are really razor-like missiles, and, as if that weren’t enough, he’s usually enveloped in a self-created fog of anti-gravity mist. That’s what’s called being generous with spectacle

1) Gyango, a.k.a. Gango

If monsters mated with good old-fashioned lovemaking, Gyango would be the ladykiller-est of them all. He’s like one of those crazy jungle birds that puffs out its insanely colorful plumage to attract one of the many gray-feathered females moping around the rainforest. And he lives to please whomever’s closest to him, re-inventing himself physically based on their fondest wishes. So he starts life as a meteorite, turns into a toy race track, then a birthday cake, then a piano, then some random dude’s bridal fantasy, all before settling, finally, on life as a gigantic, multicolored totem pole with C-clamp hands and rotating metal-ears. That Ultraman can even think of trying to rid the world of this magnificent specimen of monsterhood just shows you how blind he is to pure raw beauty.