Death Kappa: Another Gojira Contender

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Yōkai are a form of traditional Japanese monster spirits, best known to cinephiles from a trilogy of fantasy films from the 1960s: Yokai daisenso [aka Big Ghost War; Spook Warfare] (Japan-1968, dir. Yoshiyuki Kuroda); Yokai Hyaku Monogatari [aka The Hundred Monsters] (Japan-1968, dir. Kimiyoshi Yasuda) and Tôkaidô obake dôchû [aka Along with Ghosts] (Japan-1969; dir. Yoshiyuki Kuroda and Kimiyoshi Yasuda) — and the recent big-budget remake Yokai daisenso (2005; dir. Takashi Miike) [aka The Great Yokai War].

Yōkai are weird and, in folklore, omnipresent, having a wide range of bizarre and hybrid forms. They can be friendly, mischievous, spooky or outright nasty. Check out Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt’s book Yokai Attack: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide (Kodansha International) and you’ll see what I mean. Or go here for a more academic treatment. According to Komatsu Kazuhiko, a scholar of yōkai, the term means “an abnormal phenomenon, or a related thing or entity.” Think hobgoblins, ogres, gremlins and the like… but much weirder in a typically Japanese fashion.

One of the most well-known of the Yōkai is the Kappa, pictured here from the Yoda and Alt’s book:

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The Kappa is a sort of river sprite. To quote the Wikipedia entry:

Kappa are usually seen as mischievous troublemakers. Their pranks range from the relatively innocent, such as loudly passing gas or looking up women’s kimonos, to the more troublesome, such as stealing crops or kidnapping children. In fact, small children are one of the gluttonous kappa’s favorite meals, though they will eat adults as well. Even today, signs warning about kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages. Kappa are also said to be afraid of fire, and some villages hold fireworks festivals each year to scare the spirits away.

(See Gallery below for lots of images of Kappa, traditional and otherwise — courtesy of Kaiju Search-Engine Avery)

Tomoo Haraguchi — who worked on SFX for such films as Uzumaki (2000) and two of the 1990s Gamera trilogy by Shusuke Kaneko, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe and Gamera 2: Advent of Legion, and directed the traditional monster epic Sakuya: Slayer of Demons (2000) as well as the more recent Werewolf Warrior (2004) — has announced the production of a new daikaiju eiga, Death Kappa, where the main giant monster is an oversized Kappa. Kappa are typically human-sized, but Haraguchi’s is intended to rival Godzilla.

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Though it is currently early in production, Haragushi has made a promotional teaser in which he expresses his intention to create the film in a “traditional” way — with suitmation and model cities. Coming as it is from production company Fever Dreams, who were behind the analog gore of The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police, the prospects for Death Kappa are looking good.

Source: Twitch Film via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery

Addendum: Gallery of Kappa images

This entry was posted in Daikaiju, Film, Giant Monsters, Japanese, Monsters in general, News. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Death Kappa: Another Gojira Contender

  1. Tim says:

    Didn’t another bad monster movie smash Godzilla and Gamera in its trailer? I believe it was “Nezulla: the Rat Monster”, which from the trailer I decided I had know interest in seeing.

    Also, Kong’s not dead (just) yet!

  2. Avery says:

    ^”Nezulla: The Rat Monster” wasn’t all that bad. I enjoyed it. The story was pretty cool with the virus and all and the creature was pretty neat. My only problem was with it’s pacing and lack of a decent score. It definitely felt very independent. This one however looks freakin’ awesome!!

  3. Nick says:

    The set looks crude, the monster looks like a suit, and the premise is campy: it has all the makings of a great kaiju film! I’d definitely watch it.
    btw, the kappa mythos made a brief appearance in Hollywood with the third TMNT live action film (1993).

  4. Backbrain says:

    I haven’t seen the TMNT films. I have wondered if Sandy from “Monkey” was meant to be a kappa of some kind. He wore that skull cap and was often associated with water… from memory (and it goes back a ways) he was referred to as a water spirit. Of course I saw only the dubbed version so the actual word “kappa” was never going to be heard.

  5. Tim says:

    The kappa is indeed one of the most famous yokai. I first came across this creature in a book about mythology. It simply described the kappa as a creature resembling a monkey within a turtle’s shell. It also stated that the kappa’s head was hallow, and open-topped. It said that if a kappa is bothering you, all one must do is bow to the creature. It, being an oddly polite creature, will bow in return, spilling the water in its opened skull. It would then need to return to the river to replenish itself. You could take advantage of this oppurtunity to escape.

  6. Tim says:

    I just checked the wikipedia entry. Yeah, all that is covered. Sorry.

  7. sfxgojo says:

    Thank you Haragushi for keeping Kaiju films going 🙂 Looking forward to it.

  8. Pingback: Kappa | Trends Pics

  9. fannar says:

    i no getting it a movie called death kappa if watch this movie i shall mok it=)

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