"...When you're in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win."
"Today, at the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other. Today there's not a man or woman in here who shall stand alone. Today, we face the monsters that are at our door and bring the fight to them! Today, we are cancellin' the apocalypse!"
— Marshal Stacker Pentecost
Pacific Rim is a 2013 Kaiju/Humongous Mecha film directed by Guillermo Del Toro.Twenty Minutes into the Future, giant alien monsters known as "Kaiju" arise from a dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Humanity eventually holds its own against the gargantuan threats by creating Humongous Mecha known as Jaegers, but over the years, the Kaiju grow stronger and turn the tide of battle back to their side.When the growing losses of the Jaegers cause the world's governments to cut the program's funding, Marshal Stacker Pentecost designs one final counterattack against the Kaiju threat: a Jaeger assault on the dimensional rift itself in the hopes that they can close the rift for good. To put his plan into motion, he recruits Raleigh Becket, a washed-up veteran Jaeger pilot who ended up traumatized by the death of his brother (who was also his co-pilot) during a Kaiju battle five years prior. Alongside Mako Mori, a talented rookie with a dangerous grudge against the Kaiju, Raleigh suits up to pilot a Jaeger once more in order to take the fight to the Kaiju before they overrun the world.The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Burn Gorman, Ellen McLain (as the voice of the Jaeger AI), and Clifton Collins Jr.The film barely grossed $100 million in the US, but worldwide sales totaled more than $400 million. Del Toro has confirmed both a sequel and a spin-off animated series.
Pacific Rim contains examples of the following tropes:
This was probably the idea behind the over-the-top characterization, including a hot blooded rival.
Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: In a scaled up (and serious) version: the Wall, the "viable alternative" the Jaeger program was scrapped in favor of. It breaks in less than an hour under the assault of a single Kaiju, and later on, we're introduced to a Kaiju that can FLY and spit acid. At the end class 5 Kaiju start coming through that are twice as tall as the class 4s, making the wall literally waist high.
Action Dad: Both Stacker Pentecost and Hercules Hansen definitely count. The latter even pilots Striker Eureka alongside his son, Chuck. And then the former does as well.
Alien Blood: The Kaiju have toxic blue acidic blood. The art book Man, Machines and Monsters implies that the colour was a deliberate choice to make the film more kid-friendly.
All There in the Manual: The Graphic Novel Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero is a series of flashbacks about some of the characters from the movie and how they came to be part of the Jaeger program. The official artbook also includes descriptions of several unseen Jaegers and several other bits of in-universe information, fleshing things out further. And the official novelization also shows dossier information for the Shatterdome crew, giving details the movie left out.
Always Identical Twins: The Wei Brothers, pilots of Crimson Typhoon, are played by real-life identical triplets the Luu Brothers. As well, the American pilots of Romeo Blue, Bruce and Trevin Gage, were identical twins.
And Mission Control Rejoiced: Much celebration occurs in the Shatterdome after the battle of Hong Kong and after the closing of the Breach, although it's marred in both cases by the deaths of half of the Jaeger pilots deployed, including the new Marshal's son.
Armored Coffins: Very prominent with the Mark I Jaegers. The ways that Mark I Jaegers stop working are basically "pilots dead", "lost reactor containment, which also killed the pilots", and "something important blew up, which also killed the pilots". Newer models of Jaegers have an escape mechanism, while Mark I Jaeger have none.
Guillermo Del Toro and the effects artists admit that huge beings, robots or monsters alike, would move slowly (or simply collapse under their own weight altogether), but the Kaiju and Jaegers move quickly to make for fun scenes. Although to be fair, they are quite slow compared to the giant robots featured in most other anime and movies.
Tendo touts the construction of Gipsy Danger by stating that the hull is made out of solid iron, no alloys. There´s a good reason why tanks, rifles, skyscrapers, etcetera use steel, not iron...
As it turns out eight CH-47s can't quite lift a Jaeger. You would need around 600, high temperature or wind conditions would render them useless, the failure of any one would bring down the whole net, and coordinating the flight would be a little tricky, especially in dark rainy conditions.
The idea of a winged creature of that size flying by flapping its wings pushes the limits a little. Flying up to 50,000 feet where there isn't as much air to flap on pushes that even further.
Least of all: when Gipsy Danger's fist was crashing through the building and lightly tapped a Newton's Cradle resting on someone's desk, a single ball started swinging when in reality all of them would have swayed. A Newton's Cradle is started by picking up one ball on the end and dropping it, not by pushing the entire object.
Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: Gipsy Danger's nuclear reactor is repurposed as a nuclear bomb to destroy the portal, complete with huge explosion. Usually, that can't happen. It's all but stated, however, that the reactor was deliberately tuned to be used for a nuclear self-destruct, since setting it off can be done fairly easily from the cockpit. Gipsy Danger's "heart" (as Mako calls it) is referred to as a "Nuclear Vortex Turbine", which has the functionality of a fission rocket hooked up to a turbine and generator. As a rocket is just a slowed down and directed explosion, so it not to much of a stretch for it to be suddenly less controlled. This would also explain numerous other functions of the chest piece such as a deceleration rocket or a short range wave motion gun.
Astronomic Zoom: Starts out with this at the very beginning of the film... and then subverts it because they're actually underwater particulates around the opening Rift at the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
Audible Gleam: Hannibal Chau's shoes when we're first introduced to him as well as after Chau gets eaten by Otachi Jr., leaving behind one shoe. When Newton picks it up, it goes ting!. Justified in that the metal jingles like spurs because overlapping metal plates make noise when moved.
Whenever Gipsy Danger deploys her a sword. Justified in that the swords start disjointed and attach together, making a sound.
Awesome Aussie: The Australian Striker Eureka is the most advanced and powerful Jaeger made and has the highest confirmed Kaiju kills (11). The Striker Eureka pilots encompass this better than their Jaeger. They have the broadest (terrible) Australian accent imaginable, and when their Jaeger is disabled they climb outside and take potshots at a Kaiju with flare guns to keep it distracted and away from civilians. Basically, it's surprising they don't challenge Kaiju to games of knifey spooney.
Herc: [grabbing the flare guns] Now, we have a choice here: either we sit and wait, or we take these flare guns and do something really stupid.
All the Humans: Idris Elba plays Marshal Stacker Pentecost. Charlie Day is Newton Geizler. Charlie Hunnam is Raleigh Becket. The older Australian pilot is Hercules Hansen. Ron Perlman is Hannibal Chau (justified in story that he picked the name himself).
Badass in Distress: Striker Eureka and its pilots were temporarily down due to an EMP from Leatherback.
Badass Family: In order to drift, pilots usually have to know one another quite well. Being related helps:
Yancy and Raleigh Becket are brothers. The Wei Triplets are brothers. The Kaidanovskys are married. The Hansens are father and son. They all pilot kickass Jaegers.
In an example from the graphic novel, Dr. Lightcap married the first successful Jaeger test pilot. They became the husband and wife team piloting Brawler Yukon.
The pilots of Romeo Blue, Bruce and Trevin Gage, were identical twins. The pilots of Chrome Brutus, Ilisapie Flint and Zeke Amarok, were cousins. The new pilots of Coyote Tango, Gunnar and Vic Tunari, were brothers. And the pilots of Tacit Ronin, Duc Jessop and Kaori Koyamada, were also married.
Bash Brothers: Jaeger pilots (sometimes literally). As Raleigh posits at the beginning of the film: "The deeper the bond, the better you fight."
Batman Gambit: Attempted by the Kaiju, surprisingly. During the final battle, they deliberately leave an opening for Stryker to nuke the Breach. If Striker had done it, the humans would be down a nuke and the remaining two Jaegers would probably be severely damaged by the blast, leaving them easy prey and humanity more or less defenseless. Stacker is Genre Savvy enough to catch on, though, so they end up sending a third Kaiju to finish the battle conventionally.
Battle Couple: One of the possible configurations to operate a Jaeger.
The Russian pilots of Cherno Alpha, Aleksis and Sasha Kaidonovsky, are a married couple.
As were the Japanese pilots of Tacit Ronin, Duc Jessop and Kaori Koyamada.
Raleigh and Mako spend a great deal of the movie flirting and having quiet moments together, and there's an Almost Kiss after the final battle that leaves a viewer to think if they hadn't cut to black quite so soon... Word of God says that there were takes of the scene with a kiss filmed, but del Toro decided to leave it open to audience interpretation during post production. (The Big Damn Kiss is left intact in the novelization.)
Be Careful What You Wish For: Newt expressed a desire to see a Kaiju up close. He got his wish when Otachi (and by extension, Otachi Jr.) specifically came to Hong Kong to kill him. Raleigh even lampshaded this.
Because I Said So: The initial reason Stacker Pentecost gives for not allowing Mako to try out to be Raleigh's partner.
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy/Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: It's implied that either the Kaiju were the dinosaurs, or that the dinosaurs' extinction was the Kaijus' first attempt at invasionnote Word of God is that it was deliberately left unclear as to which of these is correct., but the atmosphere was too inhospitable for them to colonize back then. Now, millions of years later, human life has so polluted the world that it's just perfect for the invaders, and they're back.
"To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own."
Better Than New: The repaired and upgraded Gipsy Danger. This trope's exact name is also the title of a song in the soundtrack.
Beware the Nice Ones: Raleigh is usually a very friendly guy who takes any insult or offense quietly but when Chuck insulted Mako, he threw the first punch and thrashed Chuck.
Bigger Bad: The Masters that created the Kaiju. They never appear alongside the humans and aren't revealed until the halfway point, yet the Kaiju attacks are their doing.
Bilingual Dialogue: Downplayed in the sense that there are bits of this in the movie, such as Mako talking to Pentecost in English and Pentecost replying to her in Japanese, or Raleigh talking to Mako in English and Mako replying in Japanese, but these are few and far between.
Big Damn Heroes: Leatherback and Otachi have near-casually dispatched Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon, Striker Eureka is immobilized, her pilots are facing down a Kaiju with their flare guns... and then Gipsy Danger arrives.
The Big Damn Kiss: Averted; Raleigh and Mako have a Headbutt of Love at the end, and Raleigh does talk about "never thinking about the future until now" while looking at Mako, but nothing else. According to Charlie Hunnam, he thought that it was much more appropriate since it kept Mako's character as a strong female lead in her own right rather than turning her into just another Damsel in Distress. In the novelization, however, this was played straight.
Bilingual Backfire: Raleigh is fluent in Japanese, much to Mako's surprise. Luckily, all she said was that he was different than she expected.
Bilingual Bonus: Mako's final line of dialogue to Stacker, "sensei, aishitemasu" goes unsubtitled. It translates to "I love you, teacher".
Bittersweet Ending: Humans won the war against the Kaiju and Raleigh, Mako and Herc live to see it but Pentecost, Chuck, the Wei triplets and the Kaidanovskys are dead and all the Jaegers are destroyed.
Body Horror: Knifehead and Scunner each have a pair of arms that look as if the bones in them are splitting apart.
Mutavore's head design. His eyes are on his lower jaw, he has blade like growths pretty much everywhere on his body, and his mouth, located on his forehead, makes him appear mouthless when it's closed.
Raiju has a notably crocodile-like head. Except that that's actually just a hood for his real head — it's the toothy tongue-like appendage inside his triple-hinged "jaws" that is his genuine mug.
Gipsy Danger's fighting style boils down to a combination of Combat Pragmatist and Improvised Weapon from anything it can grab from the surroundings. Less flashy than the synchronized styles that the other Jaegers use, but it turns out to be the most effective. Its weaponry is also relatively tame compared to the others but its Blade Below the Shoulder and Plasma Caster turn out to be quite versatile.
The three Kaiju defending the Rift. Unlike the movie's two middle Kaiju, Slattern and the others don't have acid spitting or fancy EMP weapons. They do have toughness, their claws and tails and bodies that make it very easy for them to swim.
Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The portal is keyed to open only to Kaiju, so in order to get past that restriction, Gipsy Danger tackles the final one and dives through the portal with it, killing it on the way down.
Break Out the Museum Piece: Gipsy Danger and Cherno Alpha are the oldest Jaegers and really should have been retired. Considering the entire Jaeger program has been scrapped, all the existing Jaegers technically fall under this trope, even Striker Eureka, the newest Jaeger. This becomes plot-relevant when a Kaiju with an EMP shows up and shuts down all the remaining Jaegers — except Gipsy, whose older-model systems are resistant..
In a sense. Gipsy Danger loses an arm twice, and both times, it's on Raleigh's hemisphere of Gipsy.
Hannibal Chau's golden shoes are prominently displayed in his Feet-First Introduction, but he loses one when he gets eaten by the baby Kaiju. When Chau cuts his way out during The Stinger, the first thing he does is demand to know where his shoe went.
Broken Ace: Chuck is an excellent ranger, being the youngest pilot with the highest Kaiju kill count. But as noted by others, he has issues with his father, difficulty communicating with others, and in the novelization, it's heavily implied that he suffers from Survivors Guilt in regards to Herc saving him over his mother. He's almost a textbook example of an emotionally stunted Child Soldier who believes his only purpose in life is to live and die fighting the Kaiju.
Chuck: After Mum died, I spent more time with these machines than I ever did with you.
Broken Faceplate: At the end of the Action Prologue, Raleigh stumbles out of a collapsed Gipsy Danger with the faceplate over his helmet reduced to a few broken pieces around the edges and the right shoulder of his suit torn off, showing what he just went through.
Broken Pedestal: A mutual one between Newt and Hermann. According to the supplementary materials, the two got to know one another via long distance correspondence and felt an immense kinship due to their shared interest in the Kaiju threat. After years of exchanging letters, they finally arranged to meet in person and within minutes of meeting face-to-face, gained an almost instantaneous dislike of one another.
Brother-Sister Team: Although none have been revealed yet (over half of the known Jaegers have unnamed pilots so far), this is one of the possible configurations to operate a Jaeger. The pilots of Chrome Brutus, Zeke Amarok and Ilisapie Flint, were male-female cousins, so they probably counts as well.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: It's difficult to imagine people putting up with Newt (and to a lesser extent Gottlieb) if they weren't so darned useful to the war effort as Kaiju scientists.
Butterfly Knife: Hannibal Chau uses one to intimidate Newt (and poke him in the nose) and taunt a dead Kaiju with. And to cut himself free from the belly of a dead Kaiju.
Calling Your Attacks: Gipsy's Elbow Rocket and the Typhoon's Thundercloud Formation. The former is justified as Raleigh telling Mako to activate it; the latter is more of an example of the triplets' coordination. But mostly it's just Rule of Cool and a Shout-Out to the film's inspirations.
Canada, Eh?: Downplayed. Karlov, the first Kaiju killed by a Jaeger was destroyed by the Mark 1 Prototype, Brawler Yukon, in Vancouver. Also, one of the "Suits" talking to Pentecost in the beginning was representing Canada.
Chrome Brutus, which was piloted by Inuit cousins Ilisapie Flint and Zeke Amarok, was Canadian and patrolled the country's western coastlines.
Celibate Hero: According to the production notes, Chuck never had a girlfriend. Instead, he focuses on being the best Jaeger pilot there is.
The Centerpiece Spectacular: The Hong Kong fight in the middle of the movie is the longest and most spectacular action scene, though the climax is close behind it.
Family. All of the regular Jaeger pilot teams we see, barring Raleigh and Mako, are related in one way or another, and there's a recurring theme of surrogate family members. Even the Kaiju, in an odd sort of way, are related to each other, despite being genetically-engineered bioweapons. One is even pregnant.
Unity. All of the family teams are defeated. The final victory requires everyone to work together; people of different races and nationalities, people who love and hate each other, fighters, scientists, and even criminals have to contribute something to achieve the win.
Hope. The hero of the movie refuses to trade ten lives in favor of improved odds for saving two million more, and instead resolves to save two million and ten lives. The entire Jaeger outfit at the end is still unhesitatingly going out to fight even when the war is visibly beyond the point of no return. The politicians who try to cut their losses and be pragmatic and play lifeboat are shown as taking the road of good intentions straight down to Hell. It's only the people who refuse to acknowledge 'hopeless' odds and instead persist in believing that they can score a clean victory rather than a mediated loss who end up achieving anything.
Chainsaw Good: Crimson Typhoon's hands can turn into giant buzzsaws.
The close-up on Crimson Typhoon and its lightly-armored head, which Otachi ends up crushing and tearing off with relative ease.
Gipsy Danger is nuclear powered.
Chau uses his knife three times: once to intimidate Geiszler, once to check whether Otachi Jr. is dead, and once more to cut his way out of its stomach.
Though it's not explicitly noted, the fact that the Kaiju can tell Newt linked up with one of their brains from the far side of the rift indicates that it's possible for signals to pass through it. This comes in useful when mission control needs to keep monitoring Gipsy Danger's progress.
The PSA about the start of the Jaeger programe mentions how much danger solo pilots faced.
Raleigh's ability to pilot a Jaeger solo. In fact, Herc tells Chuck to show Raleigh some respect because he managed to bring a Jaeger in safely solo. Herc mentions he's only ever heard of one other pilot doing it. Turns out it was Pentecost, whose partner was knocked out during the battle from Mako's memory.
Gipsy Danger's chest-mounted nuclear vortex turbine vents the contents of its dual core nuclear reactor. This may or may not be intended as a weapon, but there's no doubting its effectiveness as one. Also doubles as an emergency thruster, useful for, say, slowing suborbital re-entry.
Cherno Alpha's nuclear tower looking head has two turbines under it, on CA's shoulders, that can spray incendiary fuel to roast enemies.
Striker Eureka has six missile launchers built into its chest and is activated by both her pilots flexing their pecs forward.
Gipsy Danger vents coolant from the side of its chest, and uses it as an improvised weapon to flash-freeze Otachi's tail.
Child Soldier: Chuck Hansen can be viewed as both a precocious and tragic example of this. He was enlisted in the Jaeger Academy at age 12 in 2015, was first deployed in Striker Eureka at 16 in 2019, and has the highest Kaiju kill count in history at 21 in 2025. However, it's also shown that Chuck has a Hair-Trigger Temper, terrible communication skills, and a double dose of Daddy Issues and Survivors Guilt with regards to his father choosing to save him over his mother. Herc even admits that Chuck was "raised in the cockpit", which couldn't have been healthy for a young, traumatized boy.
Rob Kazinsky: From a very, very young age, Chuck grew up trained to be a Jaeger pilot. Herc was never a father to him.
It's very likely that several other Jaeger pilots were reared from adolescence to fight the Kaiju as well. Sadly, if there were any other teenage or young pilots during the Golden Age of the Jaegers, they were almost certainly killed prior to the film in Kaiju battles.
The Kaiju are equally pragmatic. Leatherback and Otachi coordinate to take down Cherno Alpha,the former uses a crane in its fight with Gipsy Danger and Slattern and Scunner work together to badly damage Striker Eureka after realising it is the stronger opponent.
Combat Tentacles: Slattern's lower body consists of a mass of tentacles, three most pronounced and tipped with bladed spears.
Comicbook Adaptation: Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero which was written by the film's screenwriter Travis Beacham. The comic acts as a prequel to the film covering the events of the first Kaiju attack, how the Jaegers were created and goes into details about the backstories of characters such as Stacker Pentecost and Mako Mori.
Convection Schmonvection: On Striker Eureka's blueprints there's mention of the "Sting-Blades" channeling thermal energy, but it's unknown if it's this or outright case of Kill It with Fire.note Kaiju blood is established as being toxic, so blade weapons on the Jaegers can't be used in populated areas — unless they automatically cauterise the wounds they inflict. This is averted in the Final Battle, where Gipsy Danger shoves a Kaiju's head into a volcanic vent and roasts its face in an attempt to kill it.
Cool Car: Briefly, there is a beauty shot of a silver Mazda RX-7 sports car during Mako's flashback. Del Toro has admitted to being a car nerd, so there's a good chance it was intentionally placed.
Guillermo Del Toro: It is my duty to commit to film the finest fucking monsters ever committed to screen and it is my duty to create the greatest fucking robots ever committed to screen.
Cosmic Horror Story: Were it not for the Jaegers, man would be less significant than mere bugs before the apocalyptic tsunami of mountainous bone and muscle that are the Kaiju.
Covert Pervert: Mako seems to really like looking at Becket shirtless through the peephole in her door.
Crapsack World: In addition to the giant monster attacks that are happening with alarming regularity, there are clues that society has slowly broken down. Simple things like bread are seen as a luxury, people are working dangerous jobs for food rations, and there is an implied social divide between the wealthy and the rest of society with the rich getting special treatment in wake of the monster attacks.
Similiar to Mutavore case above — according to official data Nova Hyperion and Mammoth Apostle were both active around 20th December 2024 and already destroyed in 2025 — considering only one Kaiju attack occurred in that time both Jaegers were destroyed by one Kaiju.
Inverted horrifically with Crimson Typhoon going down to Otachi in about 30 seconds. Cherno Alpha didn't do much better, but had the excuse of being an outdated model with a very dangerous design for the pilots while additionally being attacked by two Kaiju.
Striker Eureka had Otachi dead to rights only for Leatherback to use his EMP weapon in the nick of time.
Raleigh beats the shit out of Chuck when he insults Mako and most likely would have continued it if Herc and Pentecost hadn't intervened. Chuck only landed hits a few times and even then was almost immediately put back on the defensive.
Cut the Juice: Leatherback can specifically do this. Also the desperate resort needed during a certain trial run for two Jaeger pilots.
Pentecost's sister, Luna, was one of the fighter jet pilots who lost her life during the first Kaiju attack. Her death was what caused her brother to work with the military to find the best way to combat the Kaiju.
Being drifted with his brother Yancy as he was killed is this for Raleigh.
Tendo Choi lost his grandfather to Kaiju blood in the prequel comic.
Herc's wife and Chuck's mother, Angela Hansen, was killed during Scissure's attack on downtown Sydney. As were Herc's parents and the rest of their family except for his younger brother, Scott.
Dad the Veteran: Both Stacker Pentecost and Hercules Hansen have served in the military for nearly two decades. Prior to K-Day and the Kaiju invasion, Stacker had served in the British Royal Air Force with his sister, Luna, while Herc was already enlisted in the Australian Royal Air Force. After that, they joined the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and eventually became the longest serving (and surviving) Jaeger pilots. By the time of the film, Stacker is the Marshal of the PPDC and Hong Kong Shatterdome; Herc still pilots Striker Eureka alongside his young son, Chuck.
The Kaiju appear to be becoming more deliberate in their attacks and abilities that would defeat the Jaegers.
Leatherback has an EMP ability that is able to disable Striker Eureka and leave the Jaeger helpless to an attack.
Leatherback and Otachi take out Cherno Alpha by having Leatherback jump Cherno from behind while Cherno is occupied fighting Otachi, after it moves in to support Crimson Typhoon. When Otachi pins Cherno down, Striker Eureka tries to move in to help, but Leatherback blasts it with an EMP.
Otachi and, by extension, the rest of the Kaiju, know Newton got a glimpse into their heads, and specifically comes after Newt to cease any more attempts by him to understand Kaiju plans.
Knifehead directly attacks the pilots of Gipsy Danger. Otachi also targets Crimson Typhoon's head.
The Kaiju seem all too aware of the common "throw a nuke through the portal!" strategy; their portal can't be entered from Earthside without scanning a Kaiju's DNA.
Dare to Be Badass: Played with when Pentecost dares Raleigh to become a Jaeger pilot again after his retirement.
Pentecost: Where would you rather die? Here? Or in a Jaeger?
Part of Newt's justification when he says he wants to drift with a Kaiju.
"Fortune favors the brave, dude."
Darkest Hour: The Kaiju have been increasing in strength and regularity. The Jaeger program, which was really the only effective way of dealing with the Kaiju, has been shut down in light of diminishing success. The Pacific Wall — the "viable alternative" — is quickly shown to be totally ineffective against the stronger Kaiju, in part because one of them can shoot acid and fly. And there are only four operational Jaegers left in existence. Also, the Rift is building; multiple and bigger Kaiju are able to cross over in increasing numbers with increasing frequency the more time passes.
Newt: I can't believe what you did to me. I mean, I could have been eaten! Hannibal Chau: Well, that was definitely the plan...
Death by Adaptation: Getting eaten by Otachi Jr. is fatal to Hannibal in the novelization. Less so in The Stinger, though it's possible said stinger hadn't yet been filmed/scripted by the time the novelization was written.
Death by Cameo: Hannibal Chau's underling ("Wizened Man" according to the script) is the prolific Spanish actor/director Santiago Segura (see Trivia for more details). He appears in most movies by Guillermo Del Toro and he dies messily in most of them. This one is no exception.
When Striker Eureka is disabled by Leatherback, the two pilots stand on the shoulders of the Jaeger, one of them yelling at the circling Kaiju to bring it on while carrying a flare gun in each hand. They made one shot, which caused the Kaiju to reel slightly in pain but otherwise had no effect.
Likewise the pilots of Cherno Alpha continued to land punches on the attaching Kaiju, even as the Jaeger was being destroyed.
Raleigh. He's able to handle his mech's neural load solo (it normally takes two people) long enough to kill the Kaiju attacking his mech after it had killed his brother (while they were still connected) and walk it to shore without guidance from mission control.
The Kaidanovskis. Cherno's being held underwater and they're drowning. Do they try to escape through the big hole in the hull? No, they keep on fighting.
Derelict Graveyard: Oblivion Bay, the Jaeger graveyard, located in Oakland, California, the exact location where Trespasser, the first Kaiju, was killed. The remains of all the destroyed Jaegers are taken here.
Deus Ex Nukina: The finale, both subverted and played straight. The initial planned Deus Ex Nukina is a no-go and has to be detonated to deliver the real one, in the form of the overloading reactor of Gipsy Danger. As is often the case, the nuke must also be delivered by hand.
Development Gag: "Tales From Year Zero" is full of references to earlier versions of the script before Guillermo Del Toro became involved with the project; for example, the comic's main character Naomi Sokolov was the film's deuteragonist, traveling the world to find out the reasons behind the Kaiju, and the simulated death of Yancy Becket by Kaiju tongue was how he actually died.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: After Striker Eureka is disabled, the Hansens weigh up their options, then continue the engagement with flare-guns. They do manage to torch one of Leatherback's eyes... even though that doesn't do much but piss him off.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Giant aliens come from beneath the depths to destroy us all, and yet humanity actually manages to push them back. Then they go through the rift and blow the ones who made them to kingdom come.
Disposable Woman: Angela Hansen. Died to cause her husband and son to both angst.
Raleigh: We're compatible! You felt it too, right?
The Kaiju are ranked by category, from Category 1 (easily trounced by Jaegers) to Category 5 (virtually unstoppable). This is the same way that Real Life hurricanes and tornadoes are rated, playing up how Kaiju assaults are more like natural disasters than creature-attacks. This is lampshaded by Raleigh at the beginning of the movie:
Raleigh: Some things you can't fight. Acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you're in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.
The Kaiju or their creators were not expecting humanity to fight back as hard as they do against extinction.
Special mention goes to the Hansens who, when they have a disabled Jaeger and no other options, start telling Leatherback to basically "come get some" and fire flares that are about as effective as Spiteful Spit instead of giving up.
Double Tap: Becket blasts a dead Kaiju a few times just to make sure. Justified, considering that the last Kaiju he thought was dead got back up and killed his brother before it was put down.
Downer Beginning: The movie starts with Raleigh losing his brother, and Gipsy Danger being severely damaged in the fight with Knifehead, signifying a turn for the worse for all of mankind.
Dubbing: This is used as a meta joke. When Mako and Raliegh first meet, she speaks Japanese and her voice is done in the tradition of old Asian flicks. Raleigh responds the same way, indicating that he knows Japanese as well.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Pentecost and Chuck sacrifice themselves to give Raleigh and Mako enough time to detonate Gipsy Danger to destroy the Breach.
Eating the Eye Candy: Mako spends a good amount of time staring out her door as Raleigh takes his shirt off. Once Raleigh notices, she immediately shuts the door... and goes on trying to watching through the peephole, at which point, he shuts the door.
Empathic Environment: The weather is grey and nasty through the entire film and gets worse as things look worse for mankind, but once the good guys score a decisive victory, the next time we get a look up, the sky is blue.
End of an Age: Several, actually. 1) The prologue covers the end of the Kaiju-free Earth history. 2) After the title screen, it becomes the end of the Golden Age of Jaeger development; hence, only four left. Lastly... the film seemingly ends with the end of the Kaiju age.
The End... Or Is It?: Spoofed with The Stinger when the flesh of the dead baby monster twitches ominously...only for Hannibal Chau to cut his way out, complaining about his missing shoe.
One of the first things we see of Stacker is him ordering Gipsy Danger to guard Anchorage and ignore a fishing boat in the Kaiju's path. When the Beckets go to save the boat anyway, and he realizes the crap's about to hit the fan, he tells them to take the boat and leave. He's ostensibly concerned with the bigger picture, but clearly doesn't like anyone being sacrificed or hurt if he can help it.
We first see Chuck Hansen giving an interview after helping curbstomp a Kaiju, in which he quickly establishes himself as a cocky hotshot. Though it's not obvious until later, there's hints that he also really cares about protecting people. But mostly that he's a cocky hotshot.
Every Scar Has A Story: Hannibal Chau has one on the left side of his face shaped like the letter C. The only part of the story we (and Newton) get is that it happened in a public Kaiju shelter.
The Kaiju to the Jaegers. They are split into categories from one to five and are so large that they need two brains to fully operate. Whereas the Jaegers are created to defend humanity and its cities, the Kaiju are created to destroy everything in their path.
Each Jaeger is destroyed fighting the Kaiju it resembles the most:
Gipsy Danger and Knifehead wield sharp blades in combat, and use surprise and unorthodox fight styles.
Otachi and Crimson Typhoon are both versatile, agile, and have an extra limb (Otachi's tail has a grasping claw.)
Cherno Alpha and Leatherback are big bulky bruisers, a bit on the slow side, but immensely strong and tough.
Slattern and Striker Eureka are both the latest "class five's" of their respective teams (Slattern is the first Category 5 kaiju and Striker is the first Mark V jaeger.)
Exact Time to Failure: The AI knows exactly when Gipsy's meltdown would occur, and it's most likely designed that way.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The reporting name of the first Kaiju is the pretty direct "Trespasser." There's also another Kaiju called Knifehead. Yeah, try to figure out why it's called that.
Expy: Leatherback (and the Kaiju designs in general) looks a lot like Sammael the hellhound. Not surprising since Hellboy was also a del Toro film.
Eye Scream: Hannibal Chau has a scar directly through his eye, the result of an incident in a Anti-Kaiju Defense Shelter. Leatherback also takes a flare to the eye, though since he's a Kaiju it doesn't do much more than annoy him.
When Slattern drops down in front of Gipsy after taking a nuke to the face, we see half her face blown off and one of her left eyes missing.
Failsafe Failure: Multiple occurrences. The most prominent, Mako's first drift, where she gets lost in a memory and nearly blows a hole in the facility, is actually a subversion — a lot of failsafes fail, but Tendo and Herc do eventually manage to unplug the right socket and power the weapon down.
Fee Fi Faux Pas: When Newt is introducing himself and his work, he shows off his Kaiju tattoos and goes on about how cool Kaiju are. In front of Raleigh. Who lost his brother to one.
Newt: You know [Yamarashi] was one of the biggest Category 3s ever? It's 2,500 tons of awesome. [awkward silence from everyone else] Or awful, you know, whatever you wanna call it.
Fire-Forged Friends: Dr. Newt Geiszler and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb initially have a none-too-friendly professional rivalry that borders on outright hatred. After being forced to work together instead of on parallel projects and sharing a Drift with a Kaiju brain, they shift into Vitriolic Best Buds.
Final Battle: The battle of the breach, with Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka vs Scunner, Raiju, and Slattern.
Finishing Move: While not called as such, the Jaegers seem to have weapons that are normally used to finish off a Kaiju and end the fight, such as Gipsy Danger's Plasma Caster or Striker Eureka's Anti-Kaiju Missiles. A straighter example is Gipsy Danger's Nuclear Vortex Turbine, which sees one use in an actual fight and that's to kill Slattern. Considering the film is a gigantic homage to Tokusatsu and Super Robot anime, this is no surprise.
First Name Basis: Herc always addresses Pentecost as "Stacker", given that they were contemporaries.
Flawed Prototype: A double dose: first, the earliest Jaeger experimentation proved untenable with single pilots, necessitating the development of the neural bridge. Second, as a result of their rushed production, the Mark I Jaegers did not have proper radiation shielding; the complications from radiation poisoning forced Pentecost to stop piloting.
Mako and Chuck's characterization are interestingly aligned with each other. Both are young and exceptionally talented pilots and have varying father issues. When first introduced to Raleigh, Mako made a rude comment about him, not meant for him to know. Chuck was initially friendly (or as friendly Chuck could be) with Raleigh until he found out that Raleigh was building the Kaiju Wall, to which then his attitude towards him became rude. But whereas Mako quickly learned from her mistake and was much friendlier and open to Raleigh afterwards, it takes Chuck longer plus being saved by Gipsy Danger before he changed his attitude about Raleigh.
Chuck is also a foil for the Raleigh that we saw in the beginning. Raleigh was previously very eager to fight Kaiju and had a cocky attitude, similar to Chuck. If it wasn't for Yancy's death, Raleigh could have become who Chuck is.
Raleigh's fight against Chuck. Why? Because it displays Raleigh's no-holds-barred method of fighting. Not only does he take Chuck apart with only minor injuries, he does so in a brutally efficient manner. What's the next fight we see him in? In a Jaeger, taking apart the Kaiju he fights by removing their most effective attacks, before slugging it out with them, and winning.
Pentecost asks Raleigh whether he would want to die here (referring to the so-called "Life Wall") or in a Jaeger. Pentecost pilots Striker Eureka, knowing the radiation would kill him and sacrificed himself to give Gipsy Danger a chance to destroy the portal.
Four-Fingered Hands: Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoonnote who also has a three-fingered left hand and a few of the Kaiju.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: The news ticker during the news report of Striker Eureka's victory notes that Herc has piloted every single generation of Jaeger and is one of the most successful Jaeger pilots.
Freudian Trio: The Kaiju are the id; they come from the depths of our understanding, to wreak havoc by indulging basic desires, like aggression, anger and hunger. The Jaegers are the superego, a human construct built to contain the id. The Jaeger pilot represents the ego, the active agent choosing the correct way to fight the id. Some choose cynicism, selfishness or hubris as motivations and fail, others make selfless choices, and lead to our ultimate redemption.
Friendship Moment: Gottlieb helping Geiszler drift is the first time the two aren't acting like young brothers or an old married couple. At the end Geiszler puts his arm around Gottlieb's shoulders and both smile.
Fun with Foreign Languages: A played-down version — When Mako is first introduced to Raleigh, she says to Pentecost that he looks different from what she expected. Turns out Raleigh speaks the language.
Funny Background Event: As Gottlieb was rattling off his prediction to Pentecost and Herc, Geiszler can be seen making "blah blah blah" motions with his hand.
Genetic Memory: Newt's experiments reveal that Kaiju have extensive genetic memory passed down from generation-to-generation to prepare further invading forces for Earth's defenses.
Genre Throwback: It's basically a two-hour-long love letter to classic monster movies like the Godzilla franchise and Toku series involving giant Mecha.
He also makes sure to rip out Leatherback's EMP generator and Otachi's acid sac the moment he knows how dangerous they are.
Experience is a harsh teacher. He lost his brother and Gipsy during his last action because he wasn't genre-savvy enough to realize that Knifehead wasn't dead.
Gigantic Adults Tiny Babies: Bus-sized Otachi Jr. rips its way out of the building sized carcass of its downed mother. Justfied as Otachi Jr. is premature, so it's not definite how big a full-term Kaiju newborn should be.
Giant Flyer: Otachi turns out to sport this, and uses them in one final attempt to destroy Gipsy, by taking it up into the stratosphere and planning on dropping it to its doom. It would have worked, if not for the fact Gipsy has a sword.
Glass Cannon: The Japanese Jaeger, Coyote Tango, has huge retractable cannons mounted on its shoulders, but is apparently the most lightly armored of the Jaegers.
Godzilla Threshold: Fighting in the city is usually a last resort. Most of the Jaeger battles actually take place in the water, well away from the city that is under attack. The 10 miles out line is referred to as the "miracle mile" and mostly they try to intercept the Kaiju before it crosses the line. However, if a Kaiju makes it to the city, the Jaeger will go ahead and fight them there. The Jaegers smash up a good chunk of public property while trying to kill the Kaiju, but considering the alternative it's unlikely that people will complain. The eventual fight in the city that does occur is a Homage to these kinds of battles.
Go for the Eye: After Striker Eureka is knocked out by an EMP blast, Chuck and Hercules Hansen climb outside and take potshots at Leatherback's eyes with Flare Guns because frankly that's the only option they've got left. The Kaiju has six eyes though, and getting hit in one only pisses the creature off.
Going Critical: Gipsy Danger, the only nuclear-powered Jaeger, does this as a replacement nuke in the climax.
Going for the Big Scoop: After Mutavore's attack on Sydney, a reporter tries to interview Chuck about the future of the Jaeger Program. He takes a few seconds to brag about Striker Eureka's kill count before shoving the camera away from his face and telling the reporter to get the hell out of his way.
Stacker Pentecost can be quite intimidating and harsh at times. In the beginning, he told the Becket brothers to ignore the fishing boat in distress to focus on the bigger problem. Though when he realized things were going to get worse, he told them to take the ship and clear out.
Chuck Hansen is a cocky hotshot, but he wants to protect humanity and underneath all his arrogance, he does care for his father and is quick to help his fellow Jaeger pilots. Not to mention the way he dotes on his dog, Max.
Good News, Bad News: Bad news? Three people died on the top of the wall. Good news? Three new job openings on the top of the wall. Lampshaded when a worker specifically asks for the bad news first.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Raleigh has numerous neat scars over his chest and arms from his fight with Knifehead. Hannibal Chau has a horrible scar directly across one eye from an incident at an Anti-Kaiju shelter.
Gory Discretion Shot: Giant Robot style, as Cherno Alpha's destruction and, by extension, the Kaidanovsky's demise is hidden beneath several dozen feet of shadowy water.
Green Aesop/Space Whale Aesop: Passed over rather quickly; Geizler mentions that the Kaiju creators's initial attempt to take over the planet failed owing to a lack of compatibility with the atmosphere, but now that humans have sufficiently polluted our planet, it's ripe for a batshit insane monster takeover. Go figure.
Heroes Love Dogs: Chuck and Herc Hansen own an English bulldog named Max who they bring with them to the Hong Kong Shatterdome. The dog is also familiar with Mako, who is quite affectionate with him. The Striker Eureka tech team also wears a decal of Max on their uniforms, making him the Jaeger's official mascot.
Hero of Another Story: The Wei Tang triplets and the Kaidanovskys have impressive records but are sadly not the biggest heroes of this story.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Gipsy Danger's "Sword" (no fancy names, just "Sword") is remarkably effective against a Category 4 Kaiju compared to other complicated weaponry. In the novelization, it's explained that Mako's biological father was a village swordsmith (they were visiting Tokyo) and that she herself designed Gipsy Danger's sword. Raleigh even notes how impossible some of the things it can do; making it a variant of Katanas Are Just Better and Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age.
"Chasing the RABITnote Random Access Brain Impulse Triggers", as it is called, where a pilot gets distracted by a memory and loses focus with reality. Mako almost vaporizes the entire facility when she gets attached to a traumatic childhood memory.
After his brother's death, Raleigh stumbled out of Gipsy Danger, only able to look around dazedly and say Yancy's name.
Heroic Sacrifice: As a last ditch effort to clear a path for the Gipsy Danger, Pentecost and Chuck detonate the nuke strapped to the Striker Eureka just as two Kaiju collide into it.
Hollywood Acid: Otachi can spit a corrosive blue acid that quickly dissolves whatever it hits. Cherno Alpha is disabled by this attack, which melted through its armour and breached the reactor. While fighting Gipsy, a missed shot by Otachi ends up melting a huge chunk of a skyscraper.
The so-called Wall of Life. Fortifications are not necessarily a bad idea: a wall would be very useful for keeping Kaiju away from cities as long as possible, and can serve as a force multiplier for Jaegers as well. The problem is that the wall is essentially replacing the Jaeger program and is intended to become the sole line of defence against Kaiju once it is completed. Keep in mind that Kaiju have proven themselves able to eventually smash through any obstacle presented to them thus far, the sheer difficulty of defending a wall that is thousands of kilometres long, and the fact that Kaiju numbers will only grow over time.
F-22 Raptors are seen using their cannons to strafe Kaiju at suicidally close range... and get smashed against the Kaiju for their trouble. Even assuming the Raptors had expended all their other armament, their cannons have a range of about three miles.
Holy Backlight: Mako's first memory of Pentecost. The memory may be subjective, as memories often are.
del Toro: It is a beautiful poem to giant monsters and robots.
Hopeless War: What the war with the Kaiju was becoming. The Kaiju getting bigger, and were learning to adapt against fighting the Jaegers and destroying more Jaegers until only four remain active. Not to mention the Pan Pacific Defense Corps was pulling funds away from creating and maintaining the Jaegers to focus on building the Kaiju Wall that claims to protect the surrounding countries from the Kaiju.
Hostile Terraforming: Inverted. The Kaiju never did this, instead colonizing other worlds in the 65 million years since their first attempt with the dinosaurs, when they found they were incompatible with Earth's environment. Humanity itself did it in 200 years of industrialization. A twist on this is the fact that the Kaiju, even when killed, are able to continue their job of 'exterminating the vermin'. Between the 'Kaiju Blue' phenomenon and the fact that, prior to the Jaeger program, nukes were the only viable way to kill them, they did even more damage to the environment, and likely killed thousands more humans because of it.
Humans Are Warriors: The Kaiju sure picked the wrong planet to fuck with, even before we had Jaegers.
Humiliation Conga: First Newt's theory gets rejected in favor of his rival's, then he's denied permission to try his Kaiju drifting experiment, then he does it anyways, which ends up going both ways and alerting the Kaiju to him, causing two class 4's to attack Hong Kong, and then Hannibal Chau kicks him out of his private shelter, and then Otachi attacks him in the public shelter, and then he almost gets eaten by her baby. Fortunately, he ends up befriending his rival and helping to save the day.
Humongous Mecha: The Jaegers, skyscraper sized humanoid machines built to fight giant monsters.
Husky Russkie: The Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha is the biggest, bulkiest, and most heavily armored Jaeger, with a head that bears a vague resemblance to a nuclear reactor's cooling tower. (This is no accident — it actually is a reactor, intended to put out all the juice such a massive machine needs, while also incidentally resembling a head and possibly diverting attacks from the pilots, who were in the more-protected chest cavity. In the end, it doesn't work.) This also applies also to the its pilots, the Kaidanovsky couple. Sasha is portrayed by the rather tall 5'10 Heather Doerksen, and Aleksis by humongous 6'11 professional wrestler Robert Maillet.
I Am Not Left-Handed: So you thought that Gipsy Danger was all out of tricks, didn't you, Otachi? Cue reveal of arm-mounted swords.
Naturally, the next set of Kaiju targets [[the sword]] as soon as it's drawn. Turns out Gipsy is ambidextrous.
Ice Breaker: When Otachi grapples Gipsy Danger's arm with her tail, Gipsy vents coolant all over it to freeze it, then shatters the frozen appendage.
The world council shuts down the only defense against Kaiju in favor of a giant brick-and-steel wall that took five years to complete and is heavily implied to have had a lot of fatalities in building... and fails with its first Kaiju attack. Furthermore, Kaiju don't go away, and by that point, everyone was aware that they were arriving steadily stronger and more frequently, meaning that in a best-case scenario, the walls would end up with tons of Kaiju beating on them from the outside. And that's before we find out that some Kaiju can fly and spit acid. People actually protest this decision in-story, and it's a reaction that's well-deserved.
The world council gets more idiots points for just building a wall. Had they been installed with gigantic Anti-Kaiju weapon emplacements with overlapping crossfire for redundancy, then they could have killed the attacking monsters as they tried busting through. As it stood, political leadership believed the Kaiju would just give up trying to pass through after a few seconds of wall smashing. Of course the flying and nuke proof Kaiju makes that all moot.
Though it can be somewhat justified by the fact that he was freaking out, it wasn't really smart of Newton to say, out loud, to someone, that the Kaiju stomping around above the shelter was looking for him, which nearly gets him killed when everyone shoves him to the center of the room and backs away to let Otachi eat him.
Team Gipsy Danger seems to have a preference for these, using a freighter as a club and smashing a pair of freight containers into the sides of a Kaiju's head. Foreshadowed by Mako's mention of Raleigh's unconventional way of fighting in an earlier scene.
Leatherback briefly uses a crane as a club against Gipsy Danger during their fight in Hong Kong, in yet another demonstration that Kaiju aren't just dumb animals.
Impossibly Graceful Giant: Guillermo Del Toro avoided the use of motion capture because it would make the Jaegers look less like machines and more like this trope. Still played somewhat straight, especially by Striker Eureka.
Ironic Echo: There's a single red shoe in the wreckage of Tokyo. It turns out to be Mako's. The next time we see a single distinctive shoe, it's one of Hannibal Chau's gold-plated wing tips in the wreckage of Hong Kong. The Stinger reveals Hannibal survived and is quite pissed off at having lost one of his fancy shoes.
Irony: The Kaiju Otachi is translated into "great sword". It gets slain by the debut of Gipsy Danger's sword.
It Can Think: After Newt links with the Kaiju brain, he witnesses the creatures receiving instructions from aliens on the other side of the portal, and realises these aren't blind animal attacks but planned genocide and colonization. This is further reinforced in the Battle of Hong Kong, where Otachi and Leatherback make intelligent use of teamwork, the environment, and their enemies' weaknesses (e.g. EMP's and armor-corroding acid). The last Kaiju encountered are intelligent enough to quickly figure out that Striker Eureka is the greater threat and swarms it two-on-one while sending two to keep Gipsy Danger away from the main fight.
Jerk Ass: Hannibal Chau — crime boss, low-life, tosses Newt out to get eaten, all-around asshole who gets eaten by the baby Kaiju... though, The Stinger reveals he survived.
Chuck Hansen comes dangerously close to this trope in light of his belligerent treatment of Raleigh, Mako, and in general just not being a particularly nice person, even if his criticisms about Raleigh (burned out) and Mako (too inexperienced) had some validity. However, he ultimately subverts it by ignoring orders to help his fellow pilots when they're in need of assistance, openly doting on his beloved dog, and then pulling a Heroic Sacrifice at the movie's climax to save humanity.
Jerkass Has a Point: Despite his egotism, Chuck criticized Raleigh and Mako, not out of malice, but because he was concerned about their ability to do their jobs and not end up hurting the other Jaegers. Only a short time prior to his and Raleigh's fight, the inability of Raleigh and Mako to maintain the Drift had nearly blown up the Shatterdome and required Gipsy to be shut down manually, which Chuck and the others had done from right beside Gipsy's plasma cannon. So, although he didn't handle or express it in the best way, Chuck did have every reason to bluntly question and criticize their competence in the field.
Kaiju: The main enemies are giant monsters, and are even called "Kaiju" by humans. Hell, the very first thing you see when the movie starts is a dictionary entry for the word "Kaiju".
Kraken and Leviathan: While the monsters are called Kaiju and the movie is a giant homage to Kaiju fiction, a lot of the creatures are closer thematically with this trope. For example: the first one we see is confused with an island while the last one has Combat Tentacles, both characteristics common in the Kraken mythos.
The Jaeger program has been officially scrapped by all the world's leaders; anyone still in the program is there for only as long as the funding lasts — eight months — and willing to fight till the last Jaeger stops functioning and the last human is dead.
Pentecost is dying of radiation-induced cancer, so him piloting Striker Eureka is his last hurrah since the strain would be too much.
Last Stand: On full display. With everything on the line, humans unite to create the ultimate defense plan that gives us a fighting chance against a threat unlike anything we've ever faced before.
Lightning Bruiser: The Australian Jaeger, Striker Eureka. Despite being the fastest of any of the unveiled Jaegers, it's easily a match in strength and durability to the Mighty Glacier Russian Jaeger that out masses it by 560 tons. That said, considering size and scale of the Jaegers, 560 isn't a massive difference in weight.
Hermann panics when he finds Newt unconscious after having drifted with a Kaiju.
Later, he offers to share the neural load with Newt when he drifts with Otachi's baby. Newt's response? (not a direct quote, but close) "You'd do that for me? I—I mean, you'd do that with me?" Hermann coyly responds that the world is hanging in the balance, so he doesn't have much choice.
And finally, when the Breach has been closed and everyone is celebrating, Hermann sidles close to Newt, who throws an enthusiastic arm over his shoulder in a hug.
Literally Shattered Lives: Gipsy Danger deals with Otachi's tail by venting reactor coolant to flash-freeze it then shattering it.
Living Ship: It is subtly implied in the novelization that the Jaeger might be this due in part to the drift technology.
A Load of Bull: The triple event has Scunner, a rather bull-like Kaiju with gouging horns. One shot of Gipsy even evokes a bullfight/rodeo.
In Mako's flashback to her childhood, she remembers being a little girl alone in the ruins of Tokyo. One of her shoes isn't being worn; young Mako is carrying it instead. Either it's too crushed to be worn or Mako had hurt her foot too badly to wear it.
In the present, Hannibal Chau leaves only a shoe behind when he's eaten by a Kaiju. In the mid-credits scene, he cuts his way out of its dead body. His first words when out are "Where is my goddamn shoe?!"
Lovecraft Lite: Horrible monstrous abominations emerging from an interdimensional crack under the sea? Just throw a giant robot at them. Then nuke their bosses.
Jaeger is the German word for hunter (which is pointed out at the start of the film).
"Scunner" is a Scottish word that basically means "scumbag".
"Pentecost" is the feast celebrating the Holy Spirit coming to man.
"Cherno" as in "Chernobyl". As a Mark I, it's nuclear powered. Alternatively, "Chernabog" is a Slavic deity, meaning something along the lines of "Black God". Bonus points since the Russian dub refers to Cherno Alpha as Cherniy Alfa (Black Alpha), basically because "Cherno" isn't a word in Russian.
'Mori' is a common Japanese surname (森) meaning 'forest,' but written with a different character (守り), it also means 'guardian' or 'to protect.'
A sievert is a measurement of radiation exposure, which is what killed Tamsin Siever.
Part of the name Gipsy Danger appears to be a reference to the 1920's de Havilland engine and the 'Gipsy Moth' planes that housed it.
The prequel comic also gives us Dr. Caitlin Lightcap, inventor of the Jaegers' neural interface system.
Mental Fusion: Of a fashion. The dual pilot system used by most of the Jaegers has both pilots neurally linked in order to heighten synchrony (also, as said by Guillermo himself, because the neural strain of directly controlling a body twenty five stories tall would be too much for a single human). One pilot controls the left side, the other the right. The Chinese Jaeger Crimson Typhoon bucks the trend by using three pilots to control its three arms. Only two pilots in the world have ever managed to run one solo for any real amount of time and not be horribly brain-damaged.
Mr. Fanservice: Raleigh is REALLY well built and often shirtless. The other men generally apply too. C'mon, Idris Elba, Rob Kazinsky, hell, even Charlie Day.
Mildly Military: Stacker's "last hurrah", by del Toro's design (he's a pacifist). Noticeably, he stops wearing a uniform and switches to a civilian suit, albeit one that looks a lot like his uniform. The closest thing they have to a command structure is him as "Marshal", then Mako and Herc in unranked secondary roles, and that's about it.
Stacker: We're not an army anymore. We're the Resistance.
Military Maverick: Deconstructed. Most action films portray disobeying or contesting orders as a positive trait, but the opposite happens early on in the storyline when Raleigh and Yancy ignore Stacker's orders for them to stay in the Miracle Mile outside of Anchorage. Instead, they venture 10 miles out to sea in order to save a small fishing boat, which gave Knifehead the advantage of deeper water. Coupled with their cocky attitudes, this ultimately leads to Yancy's death and Gipsy Danger's destruction.
Missing Mom: Chuck Hansen's mother. A point of contention between father and son because Hercules had one hour to get in and out of Sydney. He chose to save his son, and his wife, Angela, died. The official report says she died in the Kaiju attack rather than the nuclear explosion.
Mission Control: The Shatterdomes. During the glory days, several of these massive home base/factories operated along the Pacific coastline — Gipsy Danger, for instance, was based off Anchorage. With the cancellation of the project, the surviving Jaegers have been moved under a single roof in Hong Kong.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Quite a few Kaiju have a combination of different animal traits. Considering the Precursors assembled them, it's not entirely surprising.
The Mockbuster: Atlantic Rim by The Asylum, released on DVD in June 2013. The monsters attack New York. Its page on amazon.co.uk has a note saying "Were you looking for Pacific Rim? Click here to be notified when the real thing is released." But in rather more official language.
Monochrome Casting: Averted, to the delight of many viewers. The main characters are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The three leads are a white American man, a black Englishman, and a Japanese woman.
Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha, the two least humanoid Jaegers in the Hong Kong Shatterdome, are destroyed in their first on-screen outing.
Monumental Damage: Almost totally subverted, believe it or not. We see brief destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge during the prologue, but that's about it. In fact, when the Mutavore shows up in Sydney, it walks right past the Opera House to go destroy some other thing. In fact, despite being a homage to Japanese monster movies, which (in)famously utilize so much miniature destruction, there is very little emphasis placed on destruction here. Rather, the emphasis is on the battles between the Jaegers and the Kaiju.
When the Marshal is giving a congratulatory speech to the Jaeger pilots, his radiation sickness kicks into overdrive.
Motion Capture Mecha: See Synchronization below. Also has the unique bonus of the later mecha having to be piloted in this fashion, but by two people working together at once. An interesting real-life production subversion, as the actual Jaegers were not motion captured at all, as del Toro felt straight human motion wouldn't scale up to something the size of a Jaeger. The animators did take some inspiration from the movements of the actors on the physical cockpit set to characterize the Jaegers movements.
Mugging the Monster: Theorized by the humans. The Kaiju and their creators expected to crush humanity under foot with ease. Humanity responded by creating Humongous Mecha capable of killing Kaiju in combat. Best shown by Brawler Yukon (the first deployed Jaeger) in the prequel comic, who utterly demolishes Karloff, showing the first Kaiju likely weren't intended to fight something on their level.
Multiarmed And Dangerous: Three of the Kaiju (Scunner, Trespasser, and Knifehead) and the Chinese Jaeger, Crimson Typhoon.
Really subverted with the three aforementioned Kaiju, as they rarely use their smaller extra arms. Otachi, however, has a claw on her tail that she uses more than her actual arms.
Multinational Team: With the fate of the planet at stake, the nations of the Pacific rim formed the Pan Pacific Defence Corps to fight the Kaiju.note The United States, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, Canada, Russia, Mexico, Panama, Chile, and Peru all provide Jaegers or Shatterdomes. The PPDC commands Jaegers from all over the Pacific. France also provided some of the science and Great Britain provided pilots. Several of the top scientists are German or Chinese.
Mundane Utility: After Kaiju attacks have become a fact of life, enterprising scavengers have adapted accordingly, learning to harvest Kaiju parts for public use. Just for starters, Kaiju excrement is said to possess enough phosphorous in one cubic meter to fertilize an entire field.
Natural Spotlight: Though not sunlight, del Toro was determined to keep the light sources diegetic in nature. Hence, the large number of helicopters flying around during battle scenes, and large lights on the Jaeger themselves. Raleigh even asks a nearby chopper if it has a visual on the nearby Kaiju at one point, which neatly explains what they're there for.
Nerves of Steel: This is probably a requirement for any Jaeger pilot, given with what they have to face. One notable example was Aleksis and Sasha Kaidanovsky who calmly and unhurriedly walked away when Gipsy Danger's plasma caster activates while everyone else panicked and ran. When they were right in front of it point blank.
Nested Mouths: Raiju's head can split open to reveal his real mouth.
The initial impression left by some of the earlier trailers was that there was only one monster.
Del Toro stated that, despite sounding exactly like GLaDOS in the trailer, Ellen McLain would provide a toned-down version for the final product and the trailer voice was simply done for fun, because he is a fan of Portal, and because he wanted people to know she was in the movie. But, no, her voice in the actual movie is basically GLaDOS' voice without her catty sociopathy. Except for one little hint of it, when Raleigh and Mako's first drift went wrong:
AI: Would you like to try again?
Some posters outright lie. Like this Japanese poster of Coyote Tango vs Otachi◊. Coyote is seen only in a flashback, and it fights Onibaba, not Otachi.
Next Sunday A.D.: Up to Eleven: The film itself is set Twenty Minutes into the Future, but the early timeline information indicates that the Kaiju first attacked in 2013. The Tales From Year Zero graphic novel specifically places this as August 11th, just over a month from the film's premiere. Likely a deliberately playful gesture, in the same spirit as Destroy All Monsters' depiction of the futuristic world that is 1999.
Nice Guy: Raleigh was usually friendly to people he interacts with, even if he had reason not to be. When they first met, Mako made a rude comment about him in another language while he was standing there. But he only appeared amused and later was Mako's biggest supporter for her to be his co-pilot. When Newt cheerfully talked about the Kaiju that killed his brother, Raleigh only cautioned Newt about his desire to see a Kaiju up close.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Newton drifts with a partial Kaiju brain, and learns that the Kaiju operate on a hive mind and are being engineered. Unfortunately, due to his rivalry with Hermann and his dismay at his project being denied, he forgot that the drift works both ways, meaning the Kaiju hivemind now know at least some of what he knows. Such as exactly where he is.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Otachi Junior gave Newt and Hermann a chance to drift and learn how to pass the breach. In the novel, The Precursors knew they were being spied on again, but didn't care due to thinking the 'Insects' would soon be extinct, new piece of intel or not.
No Endor Holocaust: Averted. Although we never actually see any of the dead/mangled bodies from when the Kaiju make land, (It's a PG-13 movie, after all) the death count is talked about and they don't shy away from the destruction of the cities in the slightest.
No One Could Survive That: Hannibal Chau says this when Otachi Jr. reaches the limit of its possible endurance, stating several ways that he knows it has to be dead. He should be right, but he isn't. Then he himself becomes an instance of this, surviving being eaten.
Non-Standard Character Design: Most of the Jaegers are fairly humanoid, except Crimson Typhoon has three arms and digitgrade legs and Cherno Alpha has, in place of a normal head, something that looks like a nuclear cooling tower (which it more or less is; Cherno's reactor is mounted in the head and its cockpit is mounted in the chest, where most Jaegers are set up with the reverse).
Not So Stoic: Marshal Pentecost raises his voice three times: first to shut up Hermann after Newt drifts, then a short moment while chewing out Raleigh (before going back to his calm), and finally, raising his voice for the Rousing Speech.
Nuclear Option: What attempts to seal the Rift have employed; strategic and judicious use of nuclear weapons. It's never worked before because the portal wasn't allowing anything that wasn't a Kaiju to pass through it. Without that crucial piece of data, they assumed that the weapons weren't getting through because the rift was unstable and closed up after Kaiju came through.
Nuke 'em: How the first few Kaiju were defeated. Jaegers were developed specifically because no one liked the idea of having to do this repeatedly. In the end, it's their creator's turn.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: The world council shelves the Jaeger project after the Kaiju start adapting, instead choosing to focus on the coastal wall project. When a Kaiju effortlessly destroys one such wall, riots ensue, and one bureaucrat still clings to the notion that the Wall will work in the flurry of news reports in the aftermath.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Coyote Tango's battle against Onibaba is heard entirely from Mako's perspective as she hides in an alleyway. In a flashback, no less.
Old Soldier: Both Pentecost and Herc Hansen are the most experienced pilots, having piloted the early Mark-1 Jaegers. Not to mention they both were in the military before joining the Jaeger Program.
Older Is Better/Super Prototype: Gipsy Danger's systems are shielded against its old-style nuclear reactor and less sophisticated than the top-of-the-line Striker Eureka, but this also makes it immune to an EMP burst that disables Striker.
Pentecost's accent goes on and off depending on his tone of voice, indicating that his heroic front is, to some degree, a facade. He drops it entirely when he tells Raleigh about the radiation poisoning. The novelization clarifies that he is from a working-class part of England, and thus the more posh accent is an affectation. He drops it entirely in favor of his native one when he gives the rousing speech to the Shatterdome before the Battle of the Breach.
Herc and Chuck Hansen's accents were particularly cringe-worthy for Australian audiences.
Raleigh's is pretty bad to American ears.
Oh Crap: Happens frequently throughout the film, on the part of the humans whenever a new Kaiju appears and on the part of the Kaiju's creators just as Gipsy Danger goes nuclear, complete with a close up of one of their faces as it blows. It's almost like Guillermo del Toro really likes making characters say "Oh crap" or something.
Outliving One's Offspring: Herc Hansen. After saving Chuck from Scissure's attack on Sydney as a young child, Herc later loses his 21-year-old son by Heroic Sacrifice and nuclear explosion in order to close the Breach. At that point, the Kaiju have officially taken Herc's entire family from him. And there was nothing he could do to stop it. His last words and facial expressions right before and after Chuck's death are downright painful to watch, especially for viewers with children and Adult Fears of their own.
Parental Abandonment: Mako loses both her parents in the attack by Onibaba, a monster whose name ("ogress grandmother") overtly ties it to the fiendish replacement-parents of folktales.
Parents as People: Herc Hansen is a good man and is trying hard to be a good father, but him and Chuck suffer from poor communication and various other issues caused when Herc chose to save Chuck over his wife, which led to Chuck resenting his father.
Pastiche: The whole film is one giant love letter to classic Kaiju and mecha films and shows.
The Perfectionist: Both Chuck and Mako, who don't tolerate failure from anyone, including themselves.
Literally. Chuck was generally shown as a cocky and rude Jerkass, even to his own father. But he dotes on his beloved dog Max and eventually does show that he cares for his father and fellow pilots.
Gipsy Danger during the first Kaiju vs. Jaeger fight. Both the mecha and the monster are equally terrifying to the sailors in the boat, but you know who is the good guy when the mecha reaches down to move the fishing boat out of the way.
Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Raleigh Becket has scars from the battle of Anchorage on his body, and scars in his mind from having his brother Yancy torn out of the Drift.
Pietà Plagiarism: There is a scene where Raleigh helps lower Mako to the floor while cradling her.
Plasma Cannon: Gipsy Danger is armed with a Plasma Caster. So is Crimson Typhoon, with an updated version of Gipsy's, at the cost of charging time.
Platonic Life Partners: Raleigh and Mako's relationship seems to go in this direction, though there are some undertones of a budding romantic relationship.
Product Placement: Gipsy Danger's control panels sport a big QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON legend towards the bottom. It's a mobile processor, sure...
Psychic Nosebleed: Using the mental link without a partner or on a Kaiju brain causes aneurysms, shown as this.
Pyrrhic Victory: Otachi and Leatherback are slain before they can destroy Hong Kong and make it further inland, but at ruinous cost to the humans. Two of the four remaining (and irreplaceable) Jaegers are destroyed along with their veteran pilots, not to mentioned another veteran, Herc Hansen, is sidelined from breaking his arm. The losses render humanity effectively incapable of holding off further Kaiju attacks, which will be coming more frequently and with escalating deadliness, unless they do something desperate to stop the problem at its source.
Rasputinian Death: Slattern. Cut open numerous times (including having its throat slashed and arms nearly sliced off), repeatedly stabbed, took a nuclear bomb to its face. It finally went down for good when cooked alive by Gipsy Danger's nuclear turbine point blank until the blast started coming out of its back.
Reconstruction: While Cloverfield isn't 100% Deconstruction, this film definitely moves things back in the opposite direction, focusing on the heroes combating the Kaiju, not civilians trying to escape. It also makes Kaiju cool again, rather than just terrifying — with the exception of the downright horrific Tokyo scene.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Raleigh relies more on his intuition and excels at improvisation during a fight. Mako is cited as a perfectionist and is highly strategic (she can match Raleigh in a fight despite being smaller and younger). When they mind meld together, they combine their tactical sense and strategic thinking to outfight two Category 4 Kaiju, on their first sortie as a team.
Back when they were still a team, Raleigh was the more excitable and energetic one, while Yancy could barely get out of bed during a Kaiju invasion.
Regularly Scheduled Evil: A rare version with short (months-long) intervals. Kaiju attacks happen at a very reliable rate to the point that a countdown clock can predict it to the second. However, they are also happening more and more frequently and eventually occur with stronger and more numerous Kaiju. It's explained by Gottlieb that this is due limitations of the portal; it was only able to transport relatively small Kaiju before but its strength has been increasing to allow it to transport greater masses.
Stacker Pentecost was previously the co-pilot for Coyote Tango, before he quit after his cancer worsened and was pulled from flight status by his doctors. And he resumed piloting after one pilot from Striker Eureka is injured and Striker is needed for the final battle.
Raleigh retired after the death of his brother, only to be called back to duty by Pentecost when they are in desperate need for pilots.
Rock Beats Laser: When the Kaiju learn to generate EMP blasts, they disable Striker Eureka, which is the latest and most advanced Jaeger. However, Gipsy Danger, an older model Jaeger with better-shielded systems because of its own older-model reactor, is completely unaffected.
Gipsy Danger literally has a giant thruster in its elbow, and it gives one hell of a sucker punch. Scientific American did a blog post in which the force behind Gipsy's rocket punch was estimated at roughly equivalent to being hit with a Boeing 747 at 60 MPH.
Cherno Alpha has Tesla-coil infused fists that give it electro-punches.
Rousing Speech: Pentecost gives the one quoted at the top of the page before the final attempt to close the Breach. In fact, he's rarely onscreen for any sequence without inspiring folks in some way or another.
Scenery Gorn: We see the destruction of several cities left by the invading Kaiju, as well as several destroyed Jaegers.
Scenery Porn: There are some really lovely shots of Hong Kong during the nighttime.
Science Hero: Gottlieb and Newton make up the Kaiju research team and make extremely important discoveries about the Kaiju that humanity takes advantage of.
Scrapbook Story: The novelization combines prose with news articles, memos, blog posts, Jaeger/Ranger stat sheets, and other "non-fiction" snippets that add flavor to the story and expand a bit on the world outside the film proper.
The Becket brothers decide to save a fishing trawler rather than guard a coast line from a Kaiju attack, defying orders. It didn't end well.
Similarly, the Hansens deciding to preemptively intervene and assist Cherno Alpha during the Battle of Hong Kong, against Pentecost's orders. This gets them nearly killed, as it was a feint by the Kaiju to lure them into an EMP blast.
For that matter, Pentecost is using the last of his Jaeger funding to close the Rift, which is not technically what it's been authorized for.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Raleigh did this after Yancy's death against Knifehead five years prior to the film's main storyline. However, based on film and supplemental data, it's revealed that Raleigh is the only pilot to flat-out quit the Jaeger program. All other pilots have either been killed or reassigned (like Pentecost). It's the main reason why Chuck is so disgusted and hostile towards him.
Send in the Clones: After Newt's first experiment, it is revealed that Kaiju are actually genetically-engineered bio weapons, all made from the same template and modified to suit their needs, sent by a higher intelligence.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Raleigh showed some traits after his brother's death, which is why he quit the Jaeger program and why he was initially hesitant to resume piloting.
Shock and Awe: As mentioned above, Cherno Alpha apparently has Tesla-powered punches! Also, the Kaiju Leatherback has the ability to unleash electromagnetic pulses.
Shoulder Cannon: Coyote Tango has two. Cherno Alpha's head-mounted nuclear reactor also has a pair of shoulder-mounted exhaust ports which supposedly can spray enemies with flaming fuel, but we never get to see it used.
Detonating a nuclear bomb underwater results in a void being created by all the water being pushed away. The void bubble swiftly collapses and the water comes rushing back in a few seconds later. Scientific American mathed this out as part of a mini-series of Pacific Rim-themed blog posts.
Del Toro and Visual effects supervisor John Knoll spent several weeks discussing the physics of the giant characters, and details such as how the air displacement from a Jaeger moving between skyscrapers would shake the building's windows.
Sibling Team: Sibling relationships are one possible foundation for co-pilots who work together well enough to operate the Jaegers. Sibling teams who appear in the film include Raleigh and Yancy Becket (the original pilots for Gipsy Danger) and the Wei Tang Triplets (who pilot Crimson Typhoon). In the opening montage, there's a brief shot of two of the first ever Jaeger pilots, who appear to be identical twins.
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Cherno Alpha and Scunner are mysteriously absent from the end credits animation, which features all the other Jaegers and Kaiju that had a prominent role.
The Smurfette Principle: The film has roughly 9 major characters, only one of which—Mako—is female. She's more assertive and plot-relevant than most examples, has her own story arc, and isn't presented as a Love Interest despite some Ship Tease with Raleigh. Sasha could have made the movie an aversion if she'd had more screen time and if she hadn't been swiftly killed off via The Worf Effect.
Solid Gold Poop: A black market emerges around the harvesting the dead Kaiju bodies, since each part seems to have various purposes. A shifty salesman sells Kaiju bone powder as an male potency drug, and his boss claims that one cubic meter of Kaiju poop contains enough phosphorus to fertilize an entire field.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The first Kaiju were essentially hunting dogs sent to scout out Earth and disorganize its inhabitants. As humanity fought back successfully, the aliens responded by sending more advanced and larger Kaiju to deal with the Jaegers. After them, the second wave of even more deadly Kaiju would have come to exterminate humanity once and for all in massive (and more frequent) intervals. Justified due to the limits of the portal; it had to grow and expand, and simply wasn't stable enough to send the biggest and baddest monsters first.
Contrasts Cloverfield, with the monsters being visible from the beginning, being cool villains instead of a horrific force of nature, and taking a tone of Cool Versus Awesome with the destruction being enjoyable instead of the 9/11-esque presentation of Clover's attack.
Stay in the Kitchen: Averted in regards to Pentecost and Mako, especially after the reveal that he is her adopted father. He didn't think she was weak or needed to be coddled, but since she was the last living member of his family, he didn't want to lose her like he had before. But early on in the movie, he recognized Mako is no longer a child and allowed her to step into a Jaeger.
The Stinger: Hannibal Chau cuts his way out of the baby Kaiju.
Marshal Pentecost is so calm and controlled he can Drift with Chuck Hansen on the first try, having figured out Chuck's mindset within minutes of meeting him (Chuck isn't exactly deep), and is completely capable of just not letting Chuck have to deal with any of his own memories.
When Gipsy Danger's Plasma Caster activates, the Russian pilots, who are standing right in front of it, calmly and unhurriedly walk away.
Subverted. Hannibal Chau tempts fate by giving a long description of how the newborn Kaiju was doomed from the first, only to get swallowed mid-rant. See The Stinger to learn how that went.
Yancy Becket, however, is killed halfway through his final words to his brother in the prologue.
Super-Persistent Predator: Onibaba wouldn't have gotten enough nutrition from Young Mako to justify crouching down and snapping her up, yet deliberately chases her down the street. It's shown multiple times that the Kaiju are on a mission to exterminate all humans, proving that their drive in killing even the most inconsequential of human targets is not because they're mindless creatures, it's because they're intelligent killing machines acting on orders.
When the Kaiju decompose on death, they release an agent called "Kaiju Blue" which emits toxic vapors capable of leaving an entire city uninhabitable. This appears to be Alien Blood mixed with an aversion of No Biochemical Barriers instead of a deliberate attack. Of course, given that the Kaiju are engineered bioweapons...
With Striker Eureka disabled and the bomb release damaged, Pentecost and Chuck Hansen bait two Kaiju towards them and then detonate their nuke.
While its pilots escape, Gipsy Danger is sacrificed to blow up the rift and the Kaiju's creators.
Team Pet: The Australian father-son pilots of Striker Eureka have an adorable English bulldog named Max. He's well loved by almost everyone in the Shatterdome, absolutely adored by Chuck, and serves as the official mascot of Striker Eureka. A decal of Max with a bomb in his mouth can be found on the uniforms of Striker's tech team, the Hansens' drive suits, and the Jaeger itself.
One of the videos on the Pan Pacific Defense Corps page is a news report on a Kaiju attack ending with the reporter saying, "I can only pray that this is the end of it". And this applies to all of humanity, really, when the PPDC seemed to be winning easily and Kaiju became the subject of toy lines and late-night talk show gags.
Hannibal Chau jams his Butterfly Knife into the baby Kaiju and boasts of how he knew it wouldn't live long outside of the womb. Next moment, he's swallowed into its gullet.
That Poor Car: It seems like the grand majority of cars in Hong Kong have car alarms.
Theme Music Power-Up: The majority of fight scenes have no background music at all...up until Gipsy Danger's Big Damn Heroes moment in Hong Kong, where the theme music plays through most of the fight as it beats the hell out of two Kaiju that were handing the rest of the Jaegers their collective asses.
Throat Light: Most Kaiju have this. It signals an EMP in Leatherback's case.
Title In: The first give you the definitions of "Kaiju" and "Jaeger" respectively, but the rest are used for times and locations.
Too Dumb to Live: Newton announcing to a crowded shelter full of superstitious, frightened people that the Kaiju is specifically hunting him. Cue everyone backing away from him, making it very clear that they are fully prepared to sacrifice him to it to save their own skins.
The "Suits" decide to scrap the Jaeger program in favor of building "Kaiju proof walls". 5 minutes later, a Kaiju crashes through the wall in less than an hour. The Kaiju is only stopped by, surprise, surprise, a Jaeger.
And with that incident, you'd think that the "Suits" would go back to thinking that Jaegers are a better option. NOPE. They say that the walls STILL show promise. Which leads to riots along the areas of the coastal walls.
And when another Kaiju is shown to have a very corrosive acid, and WINGS, it's essentially proven that the walls are not only useless, but also a complete waste of time. Consider how many Jaegers could have been built with the resources and labour taken to wall the entire coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Then consider that even if they couldn't go through it, they could go around, being shown to be entirely capable of moving on land even early on. And the complete lack of any active defences allowed Mutavore to break through in less than two hours, with nary a scratch.
For some reason, everybody decides that Mako's first Drift with Raleigh should occur in a fully functional and armed Jaeger, despite knowing perfectly well that one's first Drift can be very rough. The result? Mako goes into a delusional state, activates one of Gipsy Danger's plasma cannons, and very nearly vaporizes a chunk of the facility. This one may be explained the same way the failsafes didn't work. One of the control room techs mentions that they don't seem to be working because Mako's connection is too strong. The neural link could've allowed her to bypass whatever safety locks were on Gipsy's weapons.
Though Raleigh is given a brief overview of how Gipsy Danger was refurbished, it's quite clear no one told him about the wrist-mounted swords added to the new version. Its first major fight would have gone a lot faster had Raleigh known about the additional armament, instead of saving it for a dramatic reveal by Mako later on. This is particularly astounding, given that his Drift with Mako should have made him aware of its existence without having to ask.
The poor and downtrodden live along the coast, with the rich and wealthy moving inland, so that they can be protected from the Kaiju attacks. The massive defensive walls that were being built to protect the poor remain unfinished, complete with a hand-scrawled correction on a completion sign reading "Never!" Australia's wall is one of the few complete ones (or was, until a Kaiju broke it).
Whenever the Kaiju do make landfall, the poor all huddle together inside of cramped Anti-Kaiju Defense Shelters, whereas the rich are secure behind the walls of the gated communities they live in. In the case of Hannibal Chau, he has his own private Anti-Kaiju Defense Shelter, because of an incident that happened inside of a public shelter that resulted in a messed up eye. The public shelters are hardly foolproof; just like the wall, they won't stop a determined Kaiju.
Used Future: The future will have bad ass robots and neat holographic programs. The robots will always be beat up and shaggy while the holographic disks will be the bigger than VHS cases.
In the DVD extras, Guillermonotes that this was a very deliberate aesthetic choice. They call it 'Goth-Tech' (Gothic+Tech).
Vertical Mecha Fins: Striker Eureka has them on its back, and Gipsy Danger has smaller projections that serve a similar purpose.
Visual Pun: When Raleigh sees the newly rebuilt Gipsy Danger with Mako, there was construction work causing sparks just behind them. You could say that sparks are literally flying between them.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Newt and Hermann were very vitriolic against each other for most of the film. It wasn't until Hermann offered to share the Drift with the baby Kaiju to take the neural strain off Newt that they become friendlier.
Wake-Up Call Boss: By the time the film starts, the Jaeger pilots had grown complacent with how decisively they won battles. Then, the Kaiju start adapting and manage to destroy or heavily damage them in return, starting with Gipsy Danger, showing how they are escalating the threat.
Walk, Don't Swim: All the Jaegers, on account of being way too heavy to swim even with humanoid design. In the final battle, they walk on the ocean floor to get to the Breach.
Weaponized Exhaust: We're introduced to Gipsy Danger's chest mounted nuclear vortex turbine by it being used to slow an orbital descent. It's later used as a point blank range weapon. Cherno Alpha can also vent fuel from its reactor via the ports on its shoulders for a flame attack, though it never gets to use it in the film.
We Have Become Complacent: By 2020, the Jaegers have such an impressive track record fighting Kaiju that most of the pilots treat an attack as simply another chance to increase their kill count. Cue the Mass "Oh, Crap!" from everyone involved when they realise the Kaiju have begun to adapt to their defenses and strategies. A mere five years later, the program is on the verge of being shut down due to the Jaegers being destroyed faster than they can replace them.
Who Needs Their Whole Body?: The kaiju battle fiercely on even as the Jaegers tear pieces of them off. Taken to extremes with Slattern, who even after having her throat slit, her upper pair of arms sliced off by Striker, and getting half her face blown off, still aggressively engages Gipsy.
The Worf Effect: When Crimson Typhoon is introduced, its impressive combat record is listed along with a description of its ace pilots. When Cherno Alpha is introduced, it's revealed that not only is it a Mark 1 Jaeger, making it the oldest still functioning, but it's the largest and heaviest Jaeger around. It's also stated that the perimeter it was assigned to went six years without being breached by a Kaiju attack. During the Hong Kong attack, both Alpha and Crimson get to show off some of their skills, but are completely destroyed by the two attacking Kaiju, effectively spelling out just how dangerous they must be to eliminate such powerful Jaegers with so little effort. Gipsy Danger's ability to defeat both by itself (albeit one at a time, after they had split up) illustrates just how powerful it is and how skilled the pilots are.
World of Badass: In a world where badass Rangers pilot a bunch of badass robots to fight a bunch of badass Kaiju whose corpses either are used by a badass black market man or studied by badass scientists.
The World's Expert on Getting Killed: The Kaidanovsky couple and the Wei triplets are experts in kicking Kaiju asses but are quickly killed when Otachi and Leatherback show up. Both Kaiju are much stronger than anything they've previously faced, fight as a team, and have weapons neither set of pilots has ever encountered.
Wrestler in All of Us: For all their advanced technology, many of the Jaegers' combat styles are based on grappling, holds, and throws. Gipsy holds Leatherback under its arms, and Crimson Typhoon uses the fact Otachi grabbed her hands to flip, turn and throw her at Cherno.
Wrong Genre Savvy: While the world believes the Kaiju are mindless monsters attacking at random, a more sinister purpose becomes evident as the film unfolds.
X Days Since: The time between Kaiju attacks is kept on a big clock at the Shatterdome to keep everyone focused.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mako has blue tips, befitting an Anime-inspired character. It calls back to the blue coat she was wearing as a child in her flashback. Partially justified that it may be due to kaiju blue.
A villainous example with Slattern, who guards the Breach.
This tends to be the main strategy of the heroes. If a Kaiju is heading towards a coastal city, they fly a Jaeger out into the water and drop it in the Kaiju's path. They even have the "miracle mile", the ten mile line where they NEED to hold the kaiju at.