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Daimajin's name literally means "giant devil" or "giant demon god" in Japanese. He is seldom referred to as "Daimajin" in the films themselves, having only been referred to by this name once by Priestess Shinobu. His name in-universe is rarely used, and it is possible that few people know it. The natives of the Hanabusa kingdom in the first film referred to him as the Giant Devil Arakatsuma (大魔神アラカツマ?), but he is otherwise generically called "God," "Demon," or "Devil." Daimajin is also often referred to, primarily outside of Japan, as Majin Daimajin Arakatsuma (魔神?, lit. Demon God). In the television series Daimajin Kanon, he is instead referred to as Bujin-Sama (ブジンサマ?).
Daimajin is a huge stone statue that comes to life. He has an angry scowl on his face, green skin, red eyeballs with yellow irises and wears Samurai armor. He also carries a massive dagger, which hangs around his waist in a sheath. When Daimajin isn't active, he resembles a massive statue which is either embedded in a rock face or the ground, and has a smoother face which is either stone-coloured or bright red. In Daimajin Kanon, Daimajin's inactive form looked more like a rock formation than a statue. His active form was far more muscular, and had no upper body armour. His face was also drastically different. His overall expression was more neutral, and his eyes had no irises or pupils, instead being a solid red colour. His mouth was also covered by ornate carvings fashioned into a 'scarf.'
A kind warrior named Shino fought Daimajin some years ago and won. He trapped the spirit of Daimajin inside a stone statue. From that day forward, Daimajin could be summoned by people who needed his help, but only by waking the spirit from its slumber within the statue.
The movie opens with a household of peasants cowering during a series of earth tremors that are interpreted as the escape attempts of Daimajin, a spirit trapped within a nearby geological formation. The entire village gathers at their shrine to pray that Majin's spirit will remain imprisoned. This torchlit parade is observed by local Feudal Lord Hanabasa, a good and just ruler. Also observing is his chamberlain, Samanosuke (Yutaro Gomi), who harbors ill intentions and has been waiting for just such a diversion to stage a coup d'état.
As the villagers pray, Samanosuke and his henchmen strike, slaughtering Hanabasa and his wife, but their son and daughter, aided by the heroic samurai Kogenta (Jun Fujimaki) escape. Concurrently, at the shrine, more of Samanosuke's men break up the prayer meeting and forbid any such gatherings by the town's people in the future. The priestess Priestess Shinobu issues a dire warning against forbidding the prayers, but the men ignore her. Discouraged, Shinobu, goes home.
Upon arriving, Shinobu discovers that she has unwittingly become the last hope of survival for Hanabasa's orphans, and their protector, Kogenta. She takes them up the side of the mountain, into forbidden territory, where the stone idol Daimajin, stands half-buried. Near this idol is an ancient temple - the only safe place for the children, as only Shinobu knows of its existence.
Ten years pass, and the children grow to adulthood. The son, Tadafumi (Yoshihiko Aoyama) reaches his 18th birthday, and high time to reclaim his throne, to his thinking. In fact, the last ten years have been pretty hard on the villagers: Samanosuke is the ideal tyrant, and is currently using every man in the starving village as slave labor to build his fortress. The place is ripe for revolution, and surviving Hanabasa retainers are starting to filter in on the tenth anniversary of the coup.
Kogenta journeys to the village to try to gather the old retainers, but gets himself captured. A boy gets word to Tadafumi and his sister, Kozasa (Miwa Takada) that their friend is a prisoner. Tadafumi, being a brave young samurai, tries to rescue him, only to discover it's all a trap laid by Samanosuke. With both the men under arrest and awaiting execution, Shinobu tries to talk some sense into the tyrant, who is drinking way too much and becomes incensed at all this talk of the god of the mountain; he murders the priestess and orders the idol demolished, to all the more thoroughly demoralize the villagers.
The crew that travels up the mountain to smash Daimajin accidentally discovers Kozasa, and forces her to take them to the idol. When repeated beatings with sledgehammers do no good, the soldiers break out an enormous chisel and proceed to hammer it into Majin's head; they are soon forced to stop when blood begins dripping from around the chisel. Horrified, the men flee, but to no avail - the ground cracks open and swallows them.
Seeing the god suddenly get so proactive, Kozasa falls to her knees before it, begging Daimajin to save her brother and punish the wicked Samanosuke. Meanwhile, at the fortress, Tadafumi and Kogenta are tied to large crosses, awaiting their fates. Kozasa, sensing no reaction from the idol, offers her life to Daimajin and attempts to throw herself over the nearby waterfall, stopped only by the Boy. This is apparently good enough, as the rock and earth covering the lower half of the idol fall away, and the fifty-foot statue walks out into the clearing. Kozasa prostrates herself before it, and the idol gestures before its face: the stone mask disappears, revealing the true face of the Daimajin, a vengeful spirit resembling that of a grotesque shogun.
The Daimajin makes its way to Samonosuke's stronghold, which it proceeds to destroy. The idol now turns its wrath upon the villagers. Only Kozasa, once more offering her life and letting her teardrops fall on his stone feet, stops Daimajin's rampage. The Daimajin spirit leaves the statue, flying away in a ball of fire. Without the spirit to animate the statue, it collapses into a heap of rubble.
In the second film in the original Daimajin trilogy, Daimajin has taken residence on the island in the middle of a lake, which is surrounded by three villages. The third village is home to an evil warlord who frequently threatens the other villages. Villagers from the first village, Chigusa, try to get Daimajin's help, but the statue is detonated with explosives. Nevertheless, Daimajin is successfully summoned, and destroys the warlord's forces, and kills the warlord himself. Afterwards, Daimajin reverts back into his spirit form and departs.
In the third and final film, the same statue from the first two movies is on top of a mountain rather than on the side. The fathers of some of the local children have been captured by an evil warlord and forced to work in their labor camps. When the four sons decide to go out and save their fathers, they have to cross the Majin Mountain, where the stone god lays sleeping, a notoriously dangerous area full of treacherous terrain, evil samurai, and the angry Daimajin. The four boys are smart enough to pay their respects to the statue when they pass it so that they don't incur the monster's wrath.
Eventually, the warlord's men anger the statue, who once again comes to life and destroys all those who haven't been paying respect to him. The children and their fathers are spared while the work camp is destroyed.
This film is different, politically, from the first two in that Majin is awakened by the pleas of a poor, rural boy rather than by someone of rank, and fights to rescue and avenge common people. None of the heroes in this film are of noble rank, unlike the first two, in which the main protagonists were members of deposed noble families. That Majin is on the side of the common man in this film is made clear when he kills castle retainers who, though unaffiliated with the villains, are indifferent to the commoners' peril.
Daimajin later went on to have his own television show taking place in modern Japan. The series premiered on April 2, 2010.
Daimajin's stone body cannot be hurt by any kind of human weapon. He can put fear into his enemy by filling their head with visions of ghosts and demons. Daimajin can turn into a fireball and cover a huge amount of ground very quickly. His footsteps can cause Earthquakes.
Although he never engaged in combat with any other kaiju, Daimajin is almost invincible. He attacks mercilessly and punishes the evildoer with a violent and horrible death. He cannot be stopped unless there is a kind act. Then he will leave. Daimajin, when attacking buildings, tends to simply walk through them, but if enemies are in the buildings, he actively destroys them by punching or kicking. Daimajin also appears to be able to calculate and take advantage of any situation he is placed into. For example, a group of soldiers attempted to slow him down by using grappling hooks on his arms, and Daimajin simply continued forward, tearing the building that the soldiers were in down by the ropes' strength. He also appears to have telekinetic abilities, as shown when he parted the lake in Return of Daimajin to reach the warlord's village.
In order to transform, Daimajin must first be awakened, either by driving an object into his head when in statue form, or by the pleas for help from someone in need. When Daimajin transforms, he crosses his forearms over his face, and then moves them apart, revealing his true form. After he has accomplished his task, and witnesses a kind act, Daimajin can revert back into his spirit form by repeating the same arm motions, causing his statue body to crumble into dust.
- Main article: Daimajin/Gallery.
- Art depicting Daimajin's anatomy reveals that while his active form is almost entirely made of rock, it has a complex system of nerves which allow for movement.
- Daimajin is the nickname of Kazuhiro Sasaki, a former pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.
- The activation of Daimajin--namely, driving an object into its forehead--may be a reference to the golem, a creature in Jewish mysticism. The golem is a clay creature that requires the word "Emet" (truth) to be written on its forehead to be activated.
- Daimajin is the name of one of the Jovian robots on Martian Successor Nadesico.
- All three of Daimajin's original trilogy of films were released in the same year, 1966. It is possible that they were all in production at the same time, then given a staggered release into cinemas.
- All of Daimajin's films used the same suit for Daimajin. However, due to the fact that the suit was used over a short period of time, it generally didn't degrade over the course of the trilogy's releases.
- Daimajin was one of the inspirations for the kaiju Take-Majin from the 2008 Shochiku film, The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit.
- Daimajin is also partially a basis for the famous super robot Mazinger Z, who in turn was a possible inspiration for Jet Jaguar.
- Two statues of Daimajin are located outside of the entrance of Kadokawa Daiei Studio in Tokyo.
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