- This article covers the Giant Octopus featured in three Toho films from the Showa era. For the creature of the same name from Hanna-Barbera's Godzilla cartoon, see Giant Octopus (Hanna-Barbera). For the giant cephalopod who partially serves as a homage to this creature in Kong: Skull Island, see Mire Squid.
The Giant Octopus (
In its debut, the Giant Octopus came ashore on Faro Island and menaced the native villagers before their god, the huge ape kaiju King Kong, broke through the wall surrounding the village and challenged it. After a brief battle, Kong triumphed and the Octopus retreated back to the sea. In the alternate ending of Frankenstein vs. Baragon, the Giant Octopus emerged from a lake in the mountains after Frankenstein defeated Baragon and dragged the artificial human into the watery depths from whence it came. In The War of the Gargantuas, the Giant Octopus attacked a fishing boat but was repelled by Gaira, who proceeded to sink the boat himself. Compared to most other kaiju from the Godzilla franchise, the Giant Octopus has made very few appearances in other media since its three film roles in the Showa series. The monster was featured in Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! for the Sega Pico and the first prequel novel to the GODZILLA anime trilogy, GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse, and most recently was voted into the mobile game Godzilla Battle Line through a fan poll.
Name[edit | edit source]
The creature's official name in both Japanese and English is simply "Giant Octopus," read as Ōdako (alternatively spelled Oodako) in Japanese. While officially its English name is a translation of its Japanese name, English-speaking fans have often referred to it by the romaji rendering of its Japanese name, or the misreading "Daidako" using the alternate pronunciation dai of the kanji 大. Concept art of the Giant Octopus for its unrealized role in Godzilla Final Wars includes the name Dagora (ダゴラ), derived from the Japanese word for octopus, dako (ダコ), and -ra (ラ), a common suffix in kaiju names. Coincidentally, this name is shared by the title of American International Television's U.S. localized version of Dogora, Dagora, the Space Monster.
Development[edit | edit source]
Several live octopi were used to portray the monster onscreen. Assistant special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano recalled that getting them to move was difficult, saying: "We threw the octopus on the table and poked him with a stick, threw water on him, and blew air on him, but it wouldn't move. No matter how hard we did it, it wouldn't move. We even tried to use cigarettes!" Finally, someone came up with the idea of using lighting equipment and a pin filter to shoot the octopus with a beam of light. Once the shots were finished, the crew released some of the animals and ate the rest.
For the scenes where King Kong suit actor Shoichi Hirose was required to tussle with the octopus, a rubber puppet was instead used. Several full-sized tentacle props also flail around during the battle with the Faro Islanders. All of the molded objects were created by Eizo Kaimai, who used latex casts of real octopi. Finally, a stop-motion tentacle appears during the Giant Octopus' siege, picking up a Faro Island warrior and throwing him.
Keizo Murase and brothers Kanju and Yasuei Yagi built a larger Giant Octopus puppet for the would-be American ending to Frankenstein vs. Baragon. According to Murase, the prop consisted of a wire-mesh frame covered in foam (the frame later removed), which was then coated with sawdust and latex. The film was a co-production with UPA, led by Henry G. Saperstein. During post-production, he requested that Ishiro Honda and Tsuburaya shoot a new ending involving a giant octopus, impressed by the creature's portrayal in King Kong vs. Godzilla. Of the scene, Honda thought that "putting the octopus in a lake in the mountains was very awkward." Famous Monsters of Filmland initially reported the title of the film as "Frankenstein vs. the Giant Devilfish" and published photos of Frankenstein dueling the giant cephalopod. However, when American International Pictures distributed the film as Frankenstein Conquers the World, they used the original ending where Frankenstein plummets into a fissure. Saperstein said the new octopus "wasn't that good," and the ending remained unreleased until it accidentally aired on Japanese television on April 8, 1971. Both Toho and Tokyo Shock have since made this ending available on home video.
Saperstein managed to get the same octopus prop in the next Toho-UPA co-production, The War of the Gargantuas, with its scene remaining in both the Japanese and American versions this time. The prop had lights installed in its eyes, which were controlled using a variable autotransformer. More full-sized tentacles allowed it to menace the sailors. Around the same time, Tsuburaya Productions used the prop to depict Sudar in episode 23 of Ultra Q, accompanied by stock footage from King Kong vs. Godzilla Tsuburaya brought it back again two years later to realize a giant octopus in episode 14 of Fight! Mighty Jack.
History[edit | edit source]
The Giant Octopus crawled ashore on Faro Island and attacked a village hut in an attempt to retrieve the Farolacton juice the natives stored there. The natives, along with Osamu Sakurai and Kinsaburo Furue, attempted to defeat the Giant Octopus with spears and shotguns, but to no avail. King Kong then appeared behind a giant wooden wall, crumbling it with his bare hands and throwing the pieces at the Giant Octopus. Kong grabbed the creature, but the octopus held tightly onto Kong's head. After a short struggle, Kong pulled the monster off and threw it to the ground. He then threw two boulders at the Giant Octopus' head, causing it to flee back to the beach and return to the sea
After Frankenstein defeated Baragon, the Giant Octopus came out of a lake and attacked Frankenstein. Frankenstein fought back fiercely, but could not compete with the Giant Octopus' numerous and powerful tentacles. It dragged Frankenstein into the water, never to be seen again.
The Giant Octopus suddenly attacked a fishing trawler, menacing its crew with its tentacles. However, Gaira soon appeared and attacked the Giant Octopus, defeating it by lifting and throwing it into the sea. Gaira then destroyed the fishing boat himself.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965) [alternate ending]
- The War of the Gargantuas (1966)
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Tentacles[edit | edit source]
Amphibiousness[edit | edit source]
Ink[edit | edit source]
In the game Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!!, the Giant Octopus can shoot out ink.
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico
- Godzilla Battle Line (2021; added in 2022) - Android and iOS
The Giant Octopus made its first video game appearance in the 1995 game Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! for the Sega Pico. In this game, the Giant Octopus appears on the second page, and will spit ink at Godzilla if the player causes a battleship to fire a cannon at a tree, which drops a coconut on the Octopus' head. The Giant Octopus can also initiate a minigame, where the player must solve different puzzles based on the tentacles the Giant Octopus is holding up.
Books[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Giant Octopus/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Befitting its species, the Giant Octopus's "roars" are breathing sounds recorded from live octopi.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The inclusion of the Giant Octopus in Toho's vast slate of monsters may be the fulfillment of a dream of special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, who had always wished to make a monster film with a giant octopus.
- A map of Monster Island made as promotional material for All Monsters Attack and included in its tie-in theater program features a giant octopus.
- In a 1994 interview with David Milner, Teruyoshi Nakano recalled that the villain monster in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep was originally planned to be a giant octopus. Since no other known source corroborates this, it is possible that Nakano may have been thinking of Shinichi Sekizawa's original plans for All Monsters Attack.
- The Giant Octopus was considered for inclusion in Godzilla Final Wars, as indicated by a piece of concept art, which gave the creature the new name Dagora (ダゴラ).
- According to Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong's battle with the Mire Squid in the film is meant to be a nod to his battle with the Giant Octopus in King Kong vs. Godzilla.
- When animators working on Davy Jones' tentacles in the 2006 film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest were having trouble finding footage of octopi on land, animation supervisor Hal Hickel hit upon the idea of using the Giant Octopus scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla as a reference.
- Toho Games introduced the Giant Octopus to Godzilla Battle Line on August 8, 2022, coinciding with World Octopus Day.
Video[edit | edit source]
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Notes[edit | edit source]
- Some sources state that the 1962 Giant Octopus weighs 2,000 metric tons, rather than 600.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Giant Octopus. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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