Great Big Lizards

Who among fans of giant monsters doesn’t love Godzilla?

Oh, sure, there’s bound to be some die-hard Gamera supporters out there, touting the superiority of Toei’s rocket-turtle over Toho’s legendary lizard. But, it’s probably safe to say that most kaiju fans prefer the latter to the former, even though, truthfully, they are able to reconcile their love for both like the rest of us normal human beings.

I just realized I used the word “normal” inside a sentence that debates the qualities of a fire-breathing turtle and radiation-eating lizard. Huh.

Anyway, it’s hard to express just how much of an impact Godzilla has had on my world view. Even now, my work desk boasts a grand total of six Godzilla-affiliated figurines, several of which battle it out on a daily basis, causing all kinds of havok.

“Why are you on the floor,” a coworker might ask as they spot me face down, rump up in the air beneath my desk.

“Stupid Godzilla 2000 knocked all my stupid pens to the stupid floor when he threw Showa Series Godzilla into my organizer causing him to slide across my desk into Heisei era Mechagodzilla whose dumbass then tipped the stupid tape dispenser off the back of the desk and behind the file cabinet. This is the kind of shit I have to deal with daily. I tell you, GMK Godzilla is the only one who minds himself around here.”

He or she would then say something like, “oh,” meekly and walk or run away…likely the latter.

Not to brag, since it’s probably not something about which to brag, but I’ve seen every single Godzilla movie multiple times. That’s right, and I’m married, too. Who says it’s not possible? You? Did you say that? Shows you.

For a brief period, I was watching Godzilla movies and providing my own dubs for the films, primarily for the monsters themselves. Now, this wasn’t something I recorded or anything like that; instead, I would sit and watch to movie and ramble on and on to myself, voicing each of the silent monsters as they did battle. Consider it akin to playing with toys, only lazier since I just had to sit there.

Yes, I have always been a loser.

Anyway, it wouldn’t make sense to be writing a tribute to the kaiju movies which I love without having an homage to the big G himself. Knowing that, and because I lack the ability to form creative ideas of my own, I created Taisokage (or “Sailspine” as he’s called by Americans), a large, violent, finned, flame-spouting lizard who was the first to begin attack cities after the monsters decided to leave their island home.

Here’s a brief introduction taken from the rough draft of the book:

As his clawed fingers ripped through the tower’s steel supports, shattering the glass that still glowed red in the sun and fell like a shower of sparks onto the blossomed trees and concrete streets below, Taisokage felt good. Really good. Better than he’d felt in ages, in fact, and he dwelled happily upon the fact that few things in this world are more satisfying than tearing down a good, tall building. That feeling of steel, brick, mortar and glass disintegrating beneath his claws, tumbling to the ground and hopefully, with a little luck, burying a few thousand stupid humans in the process. It was a blissfully cathartic experience each and every time. If he could have smiled, he would have, jagged teeth interlocking in a wicked grin of pure pleasure.

With his massive jaw, covered in a beard of spiky scales that flashed red and blue in the sunlight and ran the length of his torso, he bit into the side of the structure, hoping that inside there might be a few straggling humans. Instead, he got office furniture — a collection of flavorless chairs, pressed wood desks and computer equipment that he immediately spit out in disgust. He pressed one of his orb-like eyes into the building, and it flicked around in search of a businessman, or perhaps a secretary…heck, even a maintenance worker…that he could consume. Taisokage loved the Japanese since they always tasted of the oceans on which they thrived.

An ocean-lover himself, Tokyo was Taisokage’s town. There was something about the place, the blur of neon lights and hectic energy of the people screaming a few hundred feet below him, that just made the monstrous lizard tingle. When he had risen from the Pacific that evening and seen that city spread before him, still struggling to be rebuilt from his last visit, but waiting nonetheless, he was flooded with nostalgia. Despite being born and raised on Daikaiju Island, Tokyo felt like home. Despite having visited and destroyed several of the world’s major cities over the past ten years, Taisokage always felt a call to return to Japan, to Tokyo, where it had all begun.

Nothing; nobody around. After pulling his face away, then shoving a fist through an unbroken set of windows, he considered the pleasant atmosphere of the city. In Tokyo, everything just seemed right. It felt good to be back, destroying what he destroyed best — beautiful Japanese architecture.

It was the Japanese’s penchant for very modern, cutting-edge architecture that Taisokage enjoyed, though for different reasons than most.

Also, since I’m a terrible artist, here are some pictures of the reptiles from which I derived Taisokage’s design, which exists solely in my head. He’s mostly sailfin dragon with large, reddish sails rolling down his back. I really like the look of this lizard, which I’m also pretty sure was the inspiration for Titanosaurus from “Terror of Mechagodzilla.”

sailfin dragon

Taisokage also features the titular beard of the bearded dragon, large and shiny beneath his chin.

bearded dragon

Slap ’em together, picture the creature you just created smashing through some buildings and there you go. Taisokage!

I’m planning on creating a page which will list some of the characters from Strange Beasts, including the many monsters. Please, keep checking back.

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2 thoughts on “Great Big Lizards

  1. Now that it is interesting- most people wouldn’t think of Kaiju as having the ability of rational thought- just mindless destruction. I myself have thought of how the senses might perceive an attack by Godzilla. You might smell him before you see him- kinda like the smell of the ocean at low tide. The hairs on your arm might stand on end as the air crackles with electricity as he powers-up to blast you with his atomic breath. I’d write more, but the cat just knocked bio-goji to the floor!

    • The personalities of these monsters is especially important to the story, especially that of one beast in particular. I originally had them as fairly mindless, but then thought it would likely be more entertaining if they weren’t so beastly, especially since the point isn’t necessarily to find them frightening or, strangely enough, monsterous. Also, this is a world which has grown up knowing about these things, albeit in a superficial way. Society has placed on them certain personalities, most of which are completely inaccurate. It’s important to know how these things feel, to a degree. I always liked the fact that Godzilla seemed to have a personality, would make little arm motions and whatnot. I know the degree to which he did this fluctuated based on the series, but he usually maintained some semblance of rational thought. Plus, it’s a little goofier this way, which I like.

      I like the idea of “sensing” the monsters coming. I may have to steal it. Theft is the secret behind any great writer, after all.

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