The result of native giant praying mantises being mutated by United Nations weather-controlling experiments on Sollgel Island, three Kamacuras unearthed Minilla's egg and forced the infant to hatch prematurely, attracting the attention of Godzilla. Godzilla killed two of the Kamacuras, while the surviving one continued to stalk the island's human inhabitants. Eventually, the last Kamacuras was captured and killed by an even more deadly predator, the giant spider Kumonga. The Kamacuras reappeared in All Monsters Attack, where they inhabited Monster Island within the dreams of Ichiro Miki. Kamacuras' next appearance would come 35 years later in Godzilla: Final Wars, where a single individual was under the control of the Xiliens and sent to attack Paris. Kamacuras would later battle Godzilla in Kanto, Japan, only to be easily defeated. Kamacuras also exists in the world of the GODZILLA anime trilogy, in which it was the first kaiju to menace humanity, attacking New York City in 1999.
Name[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras's name comes from kamakiri (蟷螂), the Japanese word for "mantis." In-universe, they are given this name by reporter Goro Maki. Kamacuras' unmutated state is simply referred to as the Giant Praying Mantis (大カマキリ. Ōkamakiri)
In both Frontier Enterprises' international English dub and Titan Productions' U.S. English dub for Son of Godzilla, the Kamacuras are called Gimantis, a portmanteau of "giant" and "mantis." Toho eventually trademarked "Kamacuras" as the monsters' official English name, and this name has since replaced "Gimantis" in English-language media. "Kamacuras" was used in the English dub for All Monsters Attack and has been used ever since. The Kamacuras featured in Godzilla: Final Wars has been denoted Kamacuras (2nd Generation).
Despite Kamacuras being the trademarked spelling of the monsters' name, it has ocassionally been misspelled "Kamacurus" in recent years, such as on the official Godzilla website godzilla.com, and in the mobile game Godzilla Battle Line.
Development[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras was modeled by Nobuyuki Yasumaru. Unlike the majority of Toho's kaiju, the creature was operated as a marionette with piano wires rather than an actor in a suit. The Kamacuras maquettes were primarily constructed with wood. Resin was also used for the eyes, while the front claws were made with iron. Nine Kamacuras props were made in total: three large, three medium-sized, and three small. This was done in order to provide a more varied perspective of the monsters in different shots. Two of the medium and small Kamacuras props were actually burned during filming to depict the two Kamacuras being incinerated by Godzilla's atomic breath. Electronic lights were installed in the Kamacuras props' eyes which allowed them to glow during night scenes. A full-scale model of Kamacuras' foreleg was constructed for scenes of the monster menacing the film's human characters. The puppeteers controlling Kamacuras operated the piano wire manipulating the props from the ceiling beams above the set. It is said that the intense heat of the studio lights caused the puppeteers to sweat so profusely that their sweat rained down onto the set. The puppetry for Kamacuras has been highly regarded, along with that for Kumonga in the same film.
A Kamacuras prop is suspended in the air during filming of Son of Godzilla.
Two years later, Kamacuras was the only kaiju in All Monsters Attack besides Godzilla, Minilla, and Gabara to appear in newly-filmed footage. One of the Kamacuras props from Son of Godzilla that was not burned during filming was utilized for a new shot depicting a Kamacuras passing over a hole that Ichiro Miki had fallen into. All other scenes featuring Kamacuras in the film consisted of stock footage from Son of Godzilla.
The Kamacuras prop in its single new shot from All Monsters Attack
Kamacuras was initially considered as Godzilla's foe in the third entry of the Millennium series. However, as the previous film Godzilla vs. Megaguirus featured the insect kaiju Megaguirus as Godzilla's enemy, director Shusuke Kaneko abandoned this idea and ultimately ended up directing Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
Kamacuras was one of several kaiju not seen since the Showa series included as part of the ensemble monster cast of Godzilla's 50th anniversary film, Godzilla: Final Wars, in 2004. In a draft of the film's screenplay, Kamacuras was to battle against Godzilla alongside the brainwashed Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar at Mount Fuji. Shinji Nishikawa, who was responsible for designing most of the monsters in the film, decided to redesign both of Kamacuras' claws to be sickle shaped rather than give it one sickle arm and one spear arm. This was done so that the monster would be able to strike Anguirus while in his "Anguirus Ball" mode during the battle. However, the finished film opted to give Kamacuras its own separate battle with Godzilla at Manazuru and omit it from Godzilla's battle with the other three monsters at Mt. Fuji. Nishikawa has stated that had he known Kamacuras was going to fight alone in the film, he would have kept one of its arms as a spear like in the Showa series. The new Kamacuras prop was modeled under Shinichi Wakasa's company MONSTERS. The mantis kaiju was also depicted extensively through computer-generated imagery, particularly in shots demonstrating its impressive flight speed.
The new Kamacuras prop created for Godzilla: Final Wars
Design[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras is a gigantic praying mantis, characterized by its large sickle-shaped claws and round orange eyes. In the Showa series, Kamacuras' body is reddish-brown and its skin has a rough, bumpy texture. Kamacuras has antennae protruding from its forehead and a row of spikes running from the top of its head down its back. Kamacuras' mouth consists of upper and lower jaws flanked by moving mandibles which are covered in large reddish-orange bristles. Kamacuras wings extend from the top of its abdomen and move up and down like a bellows, enabling it to fly. The top side of its wings are brown like the rest of its body, while the interior membranes are a lighter orange color. The monster's underbelly is covered in dark brown hair, while the bottom of its abdomen is hairless and orange, with a ridged texture. Kamacuras' right arm is sharp and pointed like a spear, while its left claw is larger and shaped like a sickle. The Showa Kamacuras is 50 meters tall, the same height as Godzilla at the time.
In Godzilla: Final Wars, Kamacuras retains the Showa incarnation's large, round, orange eyes and the row of spikes running down its back. However, its skin is now light green with a smooth texture, while the insides of its claws and the bottom of its feet are light reddish-brown. The segments in its body are more visible and its body has a clearly-defined exoskeleton. Rather than jutting forth from its forehead like in the Showa series, Kamacuras' antennae point upward from the top of its head. The spikes on its head are not centered, but rather are located in a row above each eye. The creature's mouth is completely redesigned, with the mandibles flanking its upper and lower jaws reduced to small but sharp tooth-like spikes. It also has a set of approximately four fangs protruding downward from its upper jaw. Kamacuras has four separate wings rather than two individual wings. The larger pair of wings which conceals the other while Kamacuras is not in flight is green like the rest of the monster's body, while the secondary pair is clear. The most noteworthy distinction between the Millennium and Showa Kamacuras is the former's claws, which are both sickle shaped rather than one being a sickle and the other a spear. This stems from a decision by designer Shinji Nishikawa, who designed Kamacuras with two sickles to enable it to strike Anguirus in his "Anguirus Ball" state during a scene that was cut from the finished film. The Millennium Kamacuras is shorter and lighter than its Showa counterpart, and is not even half the height of Godzilla in the film.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras has been consistently portrayed as a villain throughout all of its media appearances.
In the Showa series, Kamacuras is extremely aggressive and hostile to other creatures. Even before being mutated, the giant mantises tended to wander near the scientists' outpost on Sollgel Island and were implied to be dangerous to humans. Almost immediately after their mutation, the Kamacuras forcibly unearth and break open Minilla's egg, then proceed to toy with and beat the infant rather than simply eat him. When Godzilla arrives to save Minilla, the Kamacuras refuse to back down and attack him, with the last one retreating only after both of its comrades are killed. This lone Kamacuras continues to stalk and harass the scientists, and even goes out of its way to attack Saeko Matsumiya as she is gathering herbs. When Minilla tries to save her, Kamacuras seems to mock and taunt the weaker monster before ruthlessly attacking him. It also demonstrates cowardice when it immediately retreats once Godzilla arrives. The Kamacuras that appear in Ichiro Miki's dream in All Monsters Attack display the same behavior, with one Kamacuras pursuing Ichiro through the jungle. According to Godzilla vs. Gigan, at least one Kamacuras is living in harmony with the other monsters of Monster Island by 1972.
Kamacuras retains its villainous persona in the Godzilla comics from IDW Publishing. In Godzilla: Cataclysm, a pack of Kamacuras attacks and kills members of a scavenger team in the ruins of Tokyo who accidentally stumble upon them. In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Kamacuras caused the death of Minette and Mallory's mother during a battle with Mothra, inspiring the twins' intense misplaced hatred for Mothra. Kamacuras eventually finds itself captured alongside most of Earth's other kaiju by the alien Trilopods. While it fights alongside them to escape the hive, Kamacuras does not assist in the final battle against the Trilopods in Los Angeles, while all of the other escaped kaiju do.
Origins[edit | edit source]
In Son of Godzilla, Kamacuras originated as a species of two-meter-long praying mantises native to Sollgel Island. When a United Nations-sanctioned weather experiment conducted on the island went awry, the resulting heatwave and radiation storm mutated the monsters into the 50 meter kaiju known as Kamacuras. Only three Kamacuras are seen on the island and all three are eventually killed, but at least one other Kamacuras was captured and relocated to Monster Island by 1972.
In Godzilla: Final Wars, Kamacuras is one of the monsters controlled by the Xiliens. Only one Kamacuras is ever seen, and no details about its origin are ever discussed in the film. However, the film's theater program states that Kamacuras is a mutated Japanese giant mantis.
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Kamacuras is seemingly part of the Earth's ancient natural order as are most of the planet's other kaiju. A mural on Infant Island classifies Kamacuras among the "Air Monsters."
History[edit | edit source]
A group of scientists working for the United Nations established a research outpost on the remote Sollgel Island to carry out "Operation Sherbet," an experiment to try and artificially alter the climate and thus allow for crops to be grown in once-infertile lands and potentially solve world hunger. The members of the operation soon learned that the forests of the island were inhabited by huge human-sized praying mantises which were active at night. The men learned to stay out of the jungle at night lest they risk being attacked by one of the mantises. One night after reporter Goro Maki arrived on the island to cover the story, he heard the hiss of one of the mantises from outside the camp and tried to approach. The other men immediately warned him of the danger and opened fire on the mantis with their rifles before it made its way back into the jungle. The next day, the team members carried out the first trial run of their climate-altering experiment. However, they received radio interference from somewhere on the island, delaying the detonation of the Radioactivity Sonde, producing the opposite intended effect and triggering a massive heatwave on the island. This man-made heatwave included storms of boiling radioactive rain that ravaged the island. The rain had a different effect on the mantises though, mutating them into 50 meter kaiju that Maki dubbed "Kamacuras." Three Kamacuras gathered around a large mound on the island and began to dig it up with their claws, eventually unearthing a colossal egg. The Kamacuras wasted no time in breaking open the egg with their claws, forcibly hatching Minilla, an infant member of Godzilla's species whose brainwave patterns had produced the earlier radio interference. The Kamacuras toyed with the helpless infant, smacking him around with their claws and stomping on him. Fortunately, Minilla's distress calls drew Godzilla to the island, who promptly confronted the Kamacuras to rescue Minilla. The three insect kaiju attacked Godzilla in tandem, but their combined might was not enough to overcome Godzilla's raw strength. Godzilla burned one of the Kamacuras alive with his atomic breath, and dismembered another by repeatedly slamming it on the ground before incinerating the carcass with his atomic breath. Realizing it was outmatched, the surviving Kamacuras took flight and escaped. While no match for Godzilla, the Kamacuras continued to menace the humans, stalking them as they tried to repair one of the telecommunication towers on the island and at one point attacking their camp. The team members took refuge in a cave inhabited by Saeko Matsumiya, the daughter of an archaeologist who once lived on the island. When Saeko went outside one day to gather herbs, Kamacuras appeared and threatened her. As she tried to flee, Saeko lost her footing and collapsed, after which Kamacuras approached. However, Saeko had managed to summon Minilla with her call, who arrived to save her. Unintimidated by the infant, Kamacuras taunted Minilla. Minilla fired an atomic smoke ring at Kamacuras' head, which only seemed to provoke it. Kamacuras approached Minilla and began savagely beating him with its claws until Godzilla arrived to back up his adopted son. Godzilla scared off the giant mantis with a blast of atomic breath, while Maki helped Saeko back to safety.
During his clash with Kamacuras, Minilla unwittingly kicked a boulder into the Valley of Kumonga, awakening the giant spider from his subterranean slumber. Kumonga initially menaced the humans before trapping Minilla in its webbing. Kamacuras flew overhead as Kumonga closed in on his prey, only to be pulled from the sky by Kumonga's web. Kumonga turned his attention to Kamacuras and stabbed it with his venomous stinger, killing it almost instantly.
A small pack of Kamacuras appeared on Monster Island in the dreams of Ichiro Miki, where they attacked and were defeated by Godzilla. A single Kamacuras escaped the battle and chased Ichiro through the jungle, causing him to fall into a pit, where he was rescued by Minilla.
Kamacuras arrived on Godzilla Island under false pretenses, claiming to have escaped from an ever-growing monster army being assembled by the Xiliens. However, Kamacuras was already a part of that army and had arrived to set a trap for Godzilla. Ultimately, Kamacuras was defeated and fled from the island.
In the year 20XX, Kamacuras appeared suddenly in Paris as other kaiju simultaneously attacked the world's major cities. The Earth Defense Force deployed the flying battleship Eclair to combat the monster, only for Kamacuras to be suddenly teleported away by an unidentified flying object. A huge mothership soon appeared over EDF headquarters in Tokyo, and its inhabitants revealed themselves to the people of the world. Calling themselves Xiliens, the extraterrestrials claimed to have saved humanity from the rampaging monsters, and warned that an asteroid called Gorath would soon impact and destroy the Earth. The EDF and the rest of mankind readily accepted the aliens and their story, but a group inside the EDF learned that the Xiliens had actually infiltrated the EDF and replaced many of Earth's leaders with duplicates. When they exposed the Xiliens' deception on live television, the Xilien staff officer assassinated the Xilien Commander and assumed the role of the Controller of Planet X, unleashing all of the kaiju, whom the Xiliens had controlled the whole time, back upon the Earth. Kamacuras was redeployed in Paris, where it succeeded in bringing down the Eclair with the help of Xilien Fighters.
The remnants of the EDF mounted a desperate resistance against the invasion, commandeering the Gotengo and using it to free Godzilla from Area G in Antarctica so he could defeat the Xiliens' monsters. After defeating Gigan in Antarctica, Zilla in Sydney, and Kumonga in New Guinea, Godzilla reached Japan and landed at Manazuru. The Xiliens deployed Kamacuras to intercept him, and the mantis kaiju perched itself on a bridge overlooking the sea. As Godzilla arrived and brought with him a massive tidal wave, Kamacuras flew to safety before the bridge was washed away. Kamacuras hid in a nearby hillside, camouflaging itself among the trees, before flying at Godzilla in an attempted surprise attack. Godzilla grabbed Kamacuras by the claw and threw him into a power pylon, which impaled the kaiju through the chest and killed it.
A trio of Kamacuras marched around the island, followed by Godzilla-kun, Little, and Minilla. After the three Godzilla Brothers left the single-file march, the Kamacuras discovered Young Serizawa's growth fumes. Now towering over the Godzilla Brothers, the trio tormented them until Kamachi joined the fight. However, the underdeveloped kaiju was swatted aside easily. As the Kamacuras cornered the Godzilla Brothers, Shin Oji appeared. Using his absorbing skill, he and Kamachi sucked out the energy that grew the mantids, with both growing accordingly. As Shin Oji rested, the massive Kamachi, the trio of Godzillas, and the Kamacuras continued to march and play on his tail.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Claws[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras primarily fights with its claws. In the Showa series, Kamacuras' right claw is shaped like a spear, while its left claw is larger and shaped like a scythe. Thus, Kamacuras can use its spear claw in conjunction with its scythe claw to both stab and grab or slash at enemies. Kamacuras' claws were sufficient to tear apart Minilla's egg and were used by the monsters to torment the infant as they repeatedly stabbed and clawed at him. A Kamacuras tried to grab Godzilla by the neck with its scythe claw, but Godzilla used his superior strength to lift the Kamacuras into the air and slam it to the ground.
In Godzilla: Final Wars, both of Kamacuras' claws are sickle-shaped, though it still uses them to fight. Kamacuras' ability to attack with its claws in this film is referred to as the Hook Crush (ハーケン・クラッシュ. Kamacuras repeatedly stabs the Hāken Kurasshu)Eclair with its claws, which successfully damaged the craft. Kamacuras later tried to use its claws in combat with Godzilla, though it was unable to land a hit. Both of Kamacuras' claws are scythes in this film because originally the kaiju was supposed to aid Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar against Godzilla at Mount Fuji, and would have used its claws to strike Anguirus while in his "Anguirus Ball" state.
Flight[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras is equipped with a set of wings that allow it to take flight. It used this ability twice in Son of Godzilla in order to escape from Godzilla. Kamacuras also appears to use flight as a faster mode of locomotion across Sollgel Island, as it was seen flying before Kumonga snagged it with his webbing. In Godzilla: Final Wars, Kamacuras can fly incredibly fast, almost rendering it invisible as it darts through the air. In the Showa series, Kamacuras' maximum flight speed is only Mach 0.5, while its flight speed in Final Wars is unspecified.
Camouflage[edit | edit source]
The Millennium version of Kamacuras is capable of changing the color of its entire body to blend in with its surroundings. It used this ability as it attempted to ambush Godzilla by hiding amidst the trees on a hillside, though Godzilla anticipated its attack.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras is quite frail for a kaiju. While it could withstand direct hits from Minilla's smoke rings or rifle fire from the humans, both physical attacks and blasts of atomic breath from Godzilla were capable of instantly killing the Kamacuras in the Showa series. Kamacuras was unable to free itself from Kumonga's super strong webbing, and was completely vulnerable to Kumonga's venom, as it died moments after being injected by his stinger. In the Millennium series, Kamacuras did not fare much better against Godzilla, as it was caught in the middle of its attack and promptly killed once Godzilla impaled it on a nearby power pylon. In Godzilla: Cataclysm, Biollante was able to effortlessly dismember scores of Kamacuras with her tendrils.
Kamacuras is dismembered by Biollante's tendrils.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968) [stock footage; erroneous]
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) [stock footage]
- Godzilla Island (TV 1997-1998) [episodes 104-105, 110-114, 119-120]
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
- GODZILLA: Planet of the Monsters (2017)
- Godziban (Web 2019-) [episode 43]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1993) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico
- Godzilla Movie Studio Tour (1998) - PC and Mac
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Collect Godzilla: Giant Monster Assembly (1998) - Sega Dreamcast VMU
- Godzilla (2014) - PlayStation 3 and 4 [Kaiju Guide]
- Godzilla: Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Battle Line (2021) - Android and iOS
- Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Kamacuras.
Kamacuras in Godzilla: Kaiju Collection
Books[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla on Monster Island (1996)
- Godzilla Invades America (1997)
- Godzilla 2000 (1997)
- Godzilla: Journey to Monster Island (1998)
- Godzilla vs. the Space Monster (1998)
- GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse (2017)
- GODZILLA: Project Mechagodzilla (2018)
When a Cryo-Chemical lab near the town of Blackstone caused an explosion that affected the molecules of various desert animals, a mantis was mutated and became Kamacuras. Allying with fellow mutation Kumonga, it tended to the younger mutations in a large nest and foraged food for them while attacking all that came close. This lead to the giant mantis downing the investigation plane the military dispatched to figure out the cause behind the Cryo-Chemical explosion. Kamacuras and Kumonga later attacked Las Vegas together in other to secure more food for the other mutations, coming into conflict with the giant scorpion Sasori and Godzilla. The mantis and spider were fended off, but escaped destruction by fleeing into the desert, eventually leaving into the wilderness with the younger mutations.
Kamacuras appeared on the island of Manhattan on May 4, 1999, and proceeded to destroy the World Trade Center and devastate much of the city. Kamacuras continued moving northeast over 330 kilometers. At the same time, Kamacuras larvae appeared in the subway system under New York and preyed on people. Because Kamacuras appeared in a densely populated area, the military response was delayed, resulting in an estimated 2.5 million casualties. Kamacuras was finally destroyed by United States Air Force bunker buster bombs in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 72 hours after making landfall. After Godzilla raided the United States in the 2030's, the presence of multiple Kamacuras living in the U.S. was reported.
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9, 23, 25 (2014-2015)
- Godzilla: Cataclysm #1, 3 (2014)
- Godzilla: Rage Across Time #5 (2016)
Before making an actual appearance in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Kamacuras was present on the massive cave mural on Infant Island, as part of the monsters of the sky. Kamacuras made its first appearance in the series in issue #23, appearing in a flashback where it was attacked by Mothra, who unintentionally caused the death of Minette and Mallory's mother. After a brief skirmish, Kamacuras flew away with Mothra giving chase. Kamacuras was at some point captured by the Trilopods and held in the creatures' massive hive, along with many other Earth monsters. King Caesar managed to free Kamacuras and the other monsters, who all broke out of the hive into Los Angeles and joined the vastly outnumbered Godzilla in the battle against the Trilopods. After being freed, Kamacuras strangely disappeared and was not seen taking part in the battle against the Trilopods and Magita, nor was it seen along with the other Earth monsters after the battle.
Kamacuras in the Infant Island cave mural
A group of scavengers were attacked by several Kamacuras while searching the ruins of Tokyo for useful items. The Kamacuras managed to kill several members of the party before Biollante appeared and tore many of the Kamacuras apart with her vines.
Kamacuras was one of the many kaiju that appeared in the 21st century, along with several others such as Dogora, Rodan, Anguirus, Baragon, and Biollante. However, all of these terrifying beasts paled in comparison to Godzilla, who killed many of the other kaiju himself and eventually drove humanity from the Earth.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Kamacuras/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Kamacuras' roar is actually the screech of Ebirah, only sped up. Kamacuras's roar was originally used by the iconic Ultra Series kaiju Eleking. Toho reused it decades later for Riseross in The Justirisers.
In other languages[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Kamacuras, Kumonga, Destoroyah and Manda were meant to be part of the Trendmasters Godzilla toy line, but the company went bankrupt beforehand. Prototypes of Kamacuras' toy exist.
- A vaguely humanoid race of mantis creatures who heavily resemble the Kamacuras appear in the 1998 novel Godzilla at World's End, serving as guards and soldiers to the Ancient Ones and their mutated human agent Zoe Kemmering. Because of the similarities between these smaller insects and the much larger Kamacuras, these beings are referred to as "Kamakites" by the book's protagonists.
- Due to a stock footage mistake, Kamacuras makes a brief appearance in Destroy All Monsters when Kumonga is arriving at Mount Fuji.
- Kamacuras is featured in concept art included in The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, along with other established kaiju such as Anguirus and Gamera. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, director Michael Dougherty said, "We had thought about using some additional Toho creatures to give them some cameos but every Toho creature comes with a price tag. It was a choice to either shell out more money simply for the rights for these creatures to show up on screen for a few seconds, or embrace the opportunity and the challenge to create new creatures."
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References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Kamacuras. 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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