The daimyo of a peaceful village is slain in a coup d'etat, with his children being forced to flee. Years later, the usurper has proven to be a brutal and cruel ruler, prompting the people to rally around the returning children for salvation. However, with the daimyo's forces being far better armed than the people, they must awaken the statue of vengeful god Daimajin to save the day. However, Daimajin's wrath is not easily sated...
The film received two sequels the same year, Return of Daimajin and Wrath of Daimajin, a television remake, Daimajin Kanon, and is set to make an appearance in Takashi Miike's 2021 film The Great Yokai War: Guardians. It has received a Blu-ray release via Mill Creek Entertainment and Arrow Video.
This film contains examples of:
- Antagonist Title: Averted. Despite his fearsome presence and rampage at the climax of the film, Daimajin isn't the antagonist of the story. That would be Odate Samanosuke, the usurper responsible for the plot.
- Anti-Hero: Daimajin is the one who saves the people from those who would do them harm, but that doesn't necessarily make him a hero. In fact, Daimajin has actually taken out his anger on both the villain and heroes alike, only stopping until his wrath is sated by witnessing an act of kindness from someone with a pure heart. Downplayed in the sequels, as Daimajin ceases his rampage after killing the Big Bad.
- Big Bad: Odate Samanosuke, The Usurper of the village's lordship.
- The Coup: The first fifteen minutes of the film depict Odate's coup against his lord and the ensuing massacre of the loyalists.
- Dramatic Thunder; Daimajin's awakening causes a thunderstorm to start out of nowhere.
- Evil Versus Evil: A wrathful Knight Templar of a god vs. A ruthless usurper.
- Friend to All Children: Daimajin is shown in the third film to have a soft spot for children in particular. He goes out of his way to have his hawk save the boys multiple times and after being awoken takes time to rescue them in a rare moment of kindness.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Odate Samonosuke started off as a poor vagrant, and ends up as a cruel daimyo.
- Game Face: Daimajin's face is usually covered by a gray, expressionless mask, but when he awakens for some vengeance, with a wave of his hand his true face appears instead, green and scowling.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: Shino, the God of Good who kept Daimajin trapped in the mountains for centuries before the film.
- Improbable Infant Survival: Subverted in Strikes Again, where Kinta is swept away by rapids and drowns.
- The Juggernaut: Once Daimajin is awakened, nothing can stop him and he'll pursue the main antagonist of the film until he's killed them.
- Kaiju: Daimajin, the giant animated statue of a vengeful god.
- Karmic Death: Any main antagonist of the film usually ends up dying the way he intended to kill the heroes.
- Knight Templar: Daimajin awakens when there's great strife and cruelty to destroy whomever causes it. However, he sees any kind of discord as a killing offense, and typically ends up attacking everybody around. He can be sated by an altruistic sacrifice. Justified, as Daimajin is a God of Vengeance, not Justice. Downplayed in the sequels, where while still destructive and violent, he tends to limit his rampages to the villains.
- Living Statue: Daimajin's earthly form is a giant samurai statue. Despite its stony exterior, it appears to be biological, since chiseling it makes it bleed.
- Noble Demon: Daimajin is by no means a benevolent figure. He's a violent and vengeful demon who could easily kill everyone around him. However, he mostly seems to target those who bring great suffering onto others, and seems to show some level of pity to the villagers.
- Physical God: Daimajin is a god. While alluded to in the first film, the sequels really play it up more, with Daimajin No Selling everything thrown his way and doing things like splitting an entire lake, summoning storms, and pyrokinesis.
- Rightful King Returns: The two children of a deposed lord summon a vengeful god to get their throne back.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A god is summoned to slaughter the usurpers of a daimyo's throne. This is one reason Daimajin is kept sealed by Shino most of the time. Daimajin has two states of being: sleeping, and this trope.
- The Usurper: The main antagonists are a group of samurai who overthrew their daimyo and now have a cruel reign.