Over the years, Anime has become synonymous with Japan. If you’d like to know more about Kaiju anime and the best series to look out for, read on!
Kaiju (怪獣) is a Japanese word that literally translates to ‘strange beast’. With reference to Japanese anime, Kaiju is a genre of anime that features giant monsters. It is a subgenre of the ‘tokusatsu’ entertainment genre which refers to movies or series with special effects filming.
Below is the curated list of 21 Kaiju-themed Anime.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shinseiki Evangerion)
- Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
- Pokemon (Poketto Monsuta)
- Bleach (Burichi)
- Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale (Sengoku Otogizoshi Inuyasha)
- Digimon (Dejitaru Monsuta)
- Sword Art Online (Sodo Aro Onrain)
- Dragon Ball Z (Doragon Boru Zetto)
- SSSS. Gridman
- Dai-Guard (Chikyu Boei Kigyo Dai Gado)
- Darling in the Franxx (Darin In Za Furankisu)
- Rage of Bahamut (Shingeki no Bahamut)
- Ultimate Girls (Arutimetto Garu)
- Bokurano: Ours (Bokura no)
- Blood-C (Buraddo-C)
- God Eater (Goddo Ita)
- Nobunagun (Nobunagan)
- Godzilla: The Series
Anime Series with a Kaiju Theme
Japanese anime often features strange monstrous characters as antagonists. Anime with Kaiju themes always make for an interesting watch for fans of the Action genre. Most animes of this theme have a monster antagonist who poses a threat to humans. The protagonists use technology to fight them and save humanity. The animes are popular due to the action sequences that they feature. Below is a list of 21 Anime Series with a Kaiju theme.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shinseiki Evangerion)
This is one of the most famous kaiju-themed anime. It is considered as one of the classics. The kaiju in Neon Genesis Evangelion are Angels. They are giant monsters who are out to destroy the human race. To fight them, Evangelion, giant machines that are mapped with the nervous systems of their human ‘pilots’ are created. The result is fight sequences between the Angels and the Evangelions.
Kaiju – Angels: Alien beings with a genetic code very similar to humans Directed by – Hideaki Anno Original run – October 4, 1995 to March 27, 1996 Number of episodes - 26 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Netflix (https://www.netflix.com)
Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
The plot premise in this series is that humans live in walled cities due to the threat of Titans. Titans are giants who eat humans. When a Titan enters their city, three friends decide to fight the Titans and reclaim their city. They join a special force known as the Scout Regiment that is dedicated to fight the Titans.
Kaiju – Titans: Giant human-like creatures who are cruel and sinister Directed by – Tetsuro Araki, Masashi Koizuka, Jun Shishido, Yuichiro Hayashi Original run – April 7, 2013 to Present Number of Seasons – 3 Number of episodes till date – 58 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Direct TV (https://www.directv.com/)
Pokemon (Poketto Monsuta)
Pokemon is a well-known anime series enjoyed by kids as well as adults. It features pocket monsters that live inside a ball carried by the owner. The owner, also known as a Pokemon Trainer, trains the Pokemons to fight in tournaments. There are several strange beasts or kaijus in the Pokemon series. While some are quite small in size, a few are big enough to move mountains!
Kaiju – Several Directed by – Kunihiko Yuyama Original run – April 1, 1997 to Present Number of episodes till date – 1,113 Language – Japanese, English. Also available in several other languages. Watch on - Direct TV (https://www.directv.com/)
Naruto is a well-known manga series adapted to anime. It follows the adventures of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja. The anime series features tailed beasts. They can have from 1 to 9 tails. These fearsome monsters have supernatural abilities and can burn down cities and destroy mountains quite easily. And when these beasts attack, it is mass destruction everywhere…
Kaiju – Nine powerful Tailed Beasts Directed by – Hayato Date Original run – October 3, 2002 to February 8, 2007 Number of episodes – 220 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (https://www.funimation.com/)
This anime series is an adaptation of the manga series by the same name. The series has several ghost antagonists known as Hollows. They feed on human souls. They need to be killed and purified. The series follows the adventures of 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki who has a few run-ins with the Hollows.
Kaiju – Hollow, ghosts that feed on souls Directed by - Noriyuki Abe Original run - October 5, 2004 to March 27, 2012 Number of episodes – 366 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Here
One more anime series adapted from manga. However, Yu-Gi-Oh! has many differences in the storyline compared to the original manga. Several chapters have been deleted in the anime adaptation.
Its theme is that of ‘duel cards’. Participants use monster cards to duel with each other. The monster spirits duel with each other. They come out of the cards through magic or technology. Several of these monsters are big enough to be called kaijus. They are quite powerful and can destroy large buildings and structures in seconds.
Kaiju – Monster cards/Duel spirits Directed by – Hiroyuki Kakudo Original run – April 4, 1998 to October 10, 1998 Number of episodes – 27 Language – Japanese, English, and some other languages Watch on - Hoopla Digital (https://www.hoopladigital.com)
Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale (Sengoku Otogizoshi Inuyasha)
The premise of the series is that a schoolgirl called Kagome Higurashi and half dog-demon Inuyasha are on a quest to recover a jewel. It blends modern-day Tokyo and a parallel universe of the Sengoku period.
The antagonists in the series are called Demons. Demons are huge, fearsome beasts that can easily swallow a human whole. Demons have magical properties. They can shrink themselves in size and also take on the appearance of humans. This way, they get near their victims before coming into their actual form.
Kaiju - Demons Directed by – Masashi Ikeda, Yasunao Aoki Original run – October 16, 2000 to September 13, 2004 and October 3, 2009 to March 29, 2010 Number of seasons – 2 Number of episodes – 193 New run scheduled – October 2020 (Season 3) Language – Japanese, English Watch on - The Roku Channel (https://therokuchannel.roku.com/)
Digimon (Dejitaru Monsuta)
Digimon is short for Digital Monsters. In this anime series, a group of seven children are transported to a digital world where they come face-to-face with several Digital Monsters. Some Digimons are friendly and cute but the others can certainly qualify to be kaijus. The huge, scary Digimons can have several superpowers. They can even breathe fire and shoot missiles from their limbs! The evil Digimons want to destroy humanity!
Kaiju – Some of the Digimons Directed by – Hiroyuki Kakudo Original run – March 1999, April 2000, April 2001, April 2002, April 2006, July 2010, October 2016. Current run – April 5, 2020 to Present Number of seasons - 8 Number of episodes till date – 385 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Hulu (https://www.hulu.com/)
Sword Art Online (Sodo Aro Onrain)
This futuristic series shows a period in 2022 where several people are playing an online virtual reality game. But on one occasion, the find out that they cannot log out of the game! The game involves wearing special gear that stimulates the five senses and the players can control the game characters with their minds.
The antagonists in these series are Boss Monsters. They are not very big in size. But their claim to being dubbed kaijus is their fierceness. They are warrior monsters and use weapons with great skill and can kill dozens of humans in seconds.
Kaiju – Boss Monsters Directed by – Tomohiko Ito Original run – July 8, 2012 to December 23, 2012 Number of episodes – 25 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
Dragon Ball Z (Doragon Boru Zetto)
Dragon Ball Z was inspired by a manga comic book series. It features huge ape-like monsters called Oozarus. An Oozaru has immense strength and the power to destroy anything that is in its way. This monster looks like a huge monkey with brown fur and red eyes. There are trained Oozarus who have complete control over their powers. However, there are also evil ones who cause destruction and can be labeled as kaijus.
Kaiju – Great Apes a.k.a. Oozarus Directed by – Daisuke Nishio, Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Season 1) and Yasuhiro Nowatari, Naohiro Terazaki (Season 2) Original run – April 26, 1989 to January 31, 1996 (Season 1) and April 5, 2009 to June 28, 2015 (Season 2) Number of episodes – 291 for Season 1, 159 for Season 2 in Japan and 167 for Season 2 internationally Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
This anime series is adapted from the 1993 Japanese anime series known as Denkou Choujin Gridman. It is a mech genre series with giant robots fighting giant kaiju monsters. In the plot, Yuta Hibiki is a young student who has lost his memory. The series traces his journey as he finds out secrets about himself and how his memory was wiped out as he deals with giant kaijus.
Kaiju – Monsters identified as kaijus Directed by – Akira Amemiya Original run – October 7, 2018 to December 27, 2018 Number of episodes – 12 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
Dai-Guard (Chikyu Boei Kigyo Dai Gado)
Dai-Guard is based on a giant monster rising from the Sea of Japan and terrorizing the people on land. The kaiju is called a Heterodyne and goes on a killing spree even as it destroys a major city. A robot is created to fight and defeat the kaiju. But when over a decade later the kaiju strikes again, the ill-maintained robot has to step in again, run by its amateur pilot Akagi Shunsuke.
Kaiju – Heterodyne, a powerful sea monster Directed by – Seiji Mizushima Original run – October 5, 1999 to March 28, 2000 Number of episodes – 26 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Here
Darling in the Franxx (Darin In Za Furankisu)
This futuristic anime series depicts a dystopian world where the human species is on the verge of extinction. Humans no longer reproduce and artificially created ‘children’ are raised to pilot mechas known as Franxx. Giant kaijus known by the name klaxosaurs are a threat to humanity and must be fought with. It follows the story of Hiro and Zero who partner together to pilot a Franxx and fight a Klaxosaurs attack.
Kaiju - Klaxosaurs Directed by – Atsushi Nishigori Original run – January 13, 2018 to July 7, 2018 Number of episodes – 24 Language – Japanese, English, and some other South East Asian languages Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
Kagewani literally means ‘Shadow Crocodile’. This is a horror anime series centered around a scientist and how he deals with various unidentified mysterious animals (UMA). Scientist Sosuke Banba is on a mission to find out everything about the giant UMAs.
Kaiju – Giant Unidentified Mysterious Animals Directed by – Tomoya Takashima Original run – October 2, 2015 to December 25 and April 1, 2016 to June 23, 2016. Number of seasons - 2 Number of episodes – 26 Language – Japanese Watch on - Crunchyroll (https://www.crunchyroll.com/)
Rage of Bahamut (Shingeki no Bahamut)
A popular anime series, Rage of Bahamut is based on a video game by the same name. It is set in Mistacia, a magical world where humans, gods, and demons live together. The world is threatened by a kaiju known as Bahamut. It is a giant beast with silver and black wings. The series is about how the humans, gods, and demons combine their powers to fight the kaiju.
Kaiju – Bahamut, a giant winged beast Directed by – Keiichi Sato Original run – October 6, 2014 to December 29, 2014 (Season 1) and April 7, 2017 to September 29, 2017 (Season 2) Number of seasons – 2 Number of episodes – 36 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
Ultimate Girls (Arutimetto Garu)
UG, also known as Ultimate Girls, is a slightly comic take on the tokusatsu and kaiju genres of anime. The kaijus in the series are born from a green slime. The story follows the adventure of three friends – Silk, Vivienne, and Moroboshi. They are killed in an accident when they come too close to watch a kaiju. They can be brought back to life on one condition – they must become protectors of the world and help fight the kaijus.
Kaiju – Various monsters Directed by – Yuji Mutoh Original run – January 10, 2005 to March 28, 2005 Number of episodes – 12 Language – Japanese
Bokurano: Ours (Bokura no)
The antagonists in this series are not exactly ‘beasts’. Instead, they are robots in a parallel world. But these robots are very large with each being over 1500 feet tall. They also come with superpowers such as being able to discharge electricity, flying, shape-shifting, etc. And all of these robots are out to destroy humanity, just like in other kaiju plots.
The protagonists of the series are middle-school students who find themselves in the midst of the humans vs robots crisis. They take it upon themselves to pilot the giant robot Zearth to fight against the evil robots.
Kaiju – Diamensional robots Directed by – Hiroyuki Morita Original run – April 8, 2007 to September 25, 2007 Number of episodes – 24 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Here
Blood-C follows the adventure of a young girl named Saya Kisaragi, a shrine maiden. But secretly, she is a skilled swordswoman. She has been given the task to defend people against monsters known as Elder Bairns. Elder Bairns survive by feeding on humans. With great strength, they are difficult to fight against. As Saya fights these monsters, she discovers the truth about herself and the people around her.
Kaiju – Elder Bairns, monsters who eat humans Directed by – Tsutomu Mizushima Original run – July 8, 2011 to September 30, 2011 Number of episodes – 24 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
God Eater (Goddo Ita)
This anime series is adapted from a video game by the same name. It has a futuristic plot set in 2071. It is the post-apocalypse period and the remaining humans are threatened by monsters known as Aragami. They can be fought using special weapons known as God Arcs. A special team of soldiers known as God Eaters use these weapons against the Aragami.
Kaiju – Aragami, an assassin with superhuman abilities Directed by – Takayuki Hirao Original run – July 12, 2015 to March 26, 2016 Number of episodes – 13 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Netflix (https://www.netflix.com/)
The series follows the adventures of DOGOO (Defense Organization aGainst Outer Objects) as they go about defending humanity against alien invasions. In this hi-tech series, warriors are created through DNA manipulation to fight against alien monsters. These warriors known as E-Gene Holders are modeled after historical figures. This series is often criticized for its weak plot. However, most agree that even though ridiculous, the series is fun and entertaining!
Kaiju – Alien invadors Directed by – Nobuhiro Kondo Original run – January 5, 2014 to March 30, 2014 Number of episodes – 13 Language – Japanese, English Watch on - Funimation (http://www.funimation.com/)
Godzilla: The Series
This is an American-Japanese anime series based on the very famous kaiju Godzilla. The Godzilla is a huge iguana kaiju and this mutant monster creates havoc in the lives of humans. The series shows how the HEAT (Humanitarian Environmental Analysis Team) deal with these monsters. It draws from the popular themes used in Godzilla anime movies. According to anime fans, the series is better executed than the movie itself.
Kaiju – Godzilla, the giant mutant lizard Directed by – David Hartman and others Original run – September 12, 1998 to April 22, 2000 Number of seasons - 2 Number of episodes – 40 (Only 38 were aired) Language – English, also dubbed in Japanese Watch on - Here
Action anime is one of the most popular genres and Kaijus seem to be favorite themes in anime. But fans feel that there are not enough Kaiju animes out there.
However, till the anime makers decide to make more Kaiju anime, the list of the series shared is your best bet to see some Kaijus in action.
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