Kaiju Girls is a Fall 2016 Web Anime series by Tsuburaya Productions, better known for their Ultra Series. In fact the show is all about cute girl versions of the most famous Giant Monsters from that franchise. In the show, all the monsters have already been defeated, but their spirits have been reborn as human girls, with the capacity to transform into super-hero like forms by using devices called "Soulrizers". Hilarity Ensues.
Basically a Gag Series, the show is made up of short (approx. 5 minutes long) episodes, focusing on the three main characters, who have just been recruited by an organization called GIRLS, and their school antic-like trials. As to be expected from such a series, there's a load of references to past Ultra series shows, subtle or otherwise.
The web anime was created as part of the Ultra Monsters Anthropomorphic Project by Tsuburaya and, like one of the manga in the project (Galaxy Days), it uses ASCII Media Works' designs rather than POP or PLEX's designs for the characters. A prequel novel series, recently titled Kaiju Girls: The Beginning Stories for the single-volume release, was published on Dengeki G magazine, telling the stories of different kaiju girls in the days prior to the web anime's story and is Darker and Edgier than the anime short itself.
The second season starts airing on Tokyo MX channel from January 9, 2018 and on Docomo Anime Store from January 10 of the same year. In addition to this, the site also announced that the second novel series will be serialized on the website, focusing on the daily life of the kaiju girls from the anime series. The second novel series can be viewed here (In Japanese).
The third entry in the series, an anime movie titled Kaiju Girls Black, revolving around GIRLS and a mysterious kaiju girl organization known as Blackstars. It will have limited theatrical release in Japan beginning on November 23, 2018.
Both season one and season two of Kaiju Girls are currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll.
Kaiju Girls includes examples of the following tropes:
- Art Shift: Most of the scenes are extremely cartoony (background characters are not even fully drawn) and Super-Deformed but the transformation sequences are very realistic (only to shift back to super deformed at the last second).
- Darker and Edgier: The Beginning Stories prequel novel. One chapter of the novel has the eco-terrorist, known as the Wild Field Wolf, hijack an airliner that Adelina Kaidou/Peguila was on and try to detonate the entire plane. Their plan was thwarted by Adelina and the other kaiju girls who arrived to help.
- Decon-Recon Switch: The early episodes are a deconstruction of the Magical Girl Warrior genre. The public is fully aware of them and GIRLS is an organization founded to help them. The Soulrizer is such a mundane (but expensive) device that it is possible to buy a replacement should they break it. Since the world is at peace, seniors in GIRLS have to play Professional Wrestling instead of beating up villains, and newbies get boring tasks like handing out flyers. The reconstruction kicks-in with a berserk kaiju girl, and episode 8 reveals the antagonists, Shadows.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The first season has the catchy opening theme song "Jyojyo Gao!!" and ending theme song "KAIJU Heart" that were performed by the Capsule Girls, consists of Riho Iida (Aki/Agira), Aina Suzuki (Miku/Miclas) and Yurika Endo (Reika/Windom). The second season has the new ending theme song "Soul-ride ON!" by Iida, Suzuko Mimori (Clala/King Joe) and Risae Matsuda (Miko/Alien Guts).
- Don't Think, Feel: Each kaiju girl must discover which emotion awakens her powers on her own.
- Fanservice: The kaiju girls' transformations show off skin to evoke this. The more detailed magical girl transformations in the anime are somewhat explained by this, but as the anime is a chibi gag series instead of ecchi, they don't go overboard. The anime even jokes about the designs in episode 9, where it's shown that a kaiju girl transformation doesn't mean you're automatically immune to the cold, especially with exposed skin!
- Fanservice Costumes: Many of the costumes are quite sexy or have erotic tropes, but due to the characters being permanently chibi-fied, it's completely G-rated.
- Henshin Hero: With a Transformation Sequence invoking the Magical Girl Warrior genre. The girls are only slightly stronger than ordinary humans and most of their powers (such as Super Strength) are only active after transformation.
- Hulking Out:
- Although a kaiju girl can transform into her kaiju girl form without the Soulrizer, doing so will put her at risk of being sent into a berserk state, as seen in episode 7 with Sachiko/Zandrias.note A kaiju girl who is emotionally unstable can go berserk even if she transform using the Soulrizer, as seen in episode 9 with Reika. Chapter 4 of the prequel novel reveals that there's an organization that tries to takes advantage of this to cause panic among normal people. The government founded GIRLS as a counter-measure after said organization was uncovered and the Soulrizer was made to prevent the kaiju girls from going berserk.
- Season two introduced the new kind of Shadow, the Shadow Mist (Had no relation to the terrifying ability from a certain evil god), that can possessing normal people (usually those who are heartbroken or feeling down in some ways.) and make them go berserk. Later episodes shows that even a kaiju girl is not immune to the Shadow Mist, as in the case of Miko/Alien Guts.
- Lighter and Softer: It is a Gag Series after all. In regards of this trope applying on entire Ultra franchise, the main Kaiju Girls web series would be on par with (if not surpasses) Ultraman Cosmos, which is already lighthearted. However, it's not as kid-friendly as Ultraman Kids anime which featured kiddified Ultramen.
- Mythology Gag: The fourth episode of season two sees Pigmon and Eleking paraphrase Ultraman Geed's catchphrase in a conversation.Pigmon: You never just sit around, do you?
Eleking: It wouldn't get me anywhere if I did.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Play straight for most kajiu girls saves for Aki, Miku, Reika and Mikazuki in season one, only to be subverted in season two for all but Zetton.
- Professional Wrestling: The show makes reference to "Big Kaiju Battles" (a Shout-Out to Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle) which appear to be a sport competition. Zetton is the ruling champion, despite Red King's best efforts.
- Punny Name: Since this is a Japanese work, some take a bit of explaining to get across in English.
- From the anime shorts:
- Aki Miyashita (kaiju Agira)
- Miku Ushimarunote (kaiju Miclas from Planet Buffalo)
- Reika Shiroganenote (Windom's homeworld is Planet Metal)
- Mikazukinote Kuroda (Gomora has crescent-shaped rear horns)
- From the prequel novel:
- Shiina Namerikawanote (Seabozu has bone-like features on the body)
- Yurika Hinonote (Birdon has flame stream attack)
- Nami Kuroyanaginote (kaiju Black King)
- From the anime shorts:
- Sempai/Kohai: The senior Kaiju Girls, much admired by the protagonists. They include Zetton, Ran/Eleking and (especially) Benio/Red King, whom Miku is obsessed with.
- Show Within a Show: ScoreYou, an obvious homage to Haikyuu!!
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The monsters whom the characters are based on only appear as silhouettes during the opening credits. And then there's a silhouette of Mio Amagi/Bemular from The Beginning Stories when Reika mentioned the Mishirushi river flood incident (The very same incident where Mio saved the young Jun Hiyoshi in chapter 2 of the novel) in episode 8.
- Stocking Filler: Ran/Eleking and Benio Utagawa/Red King wear stockings with garter belts.
- Super-Deformed: The art style of the show, except during the transformations.
- The Team: Reika as The Smart Guy, Miku as The Big Guy, Aki as The Chick, and Pigmon as The Mentor.
- Transformation Sequence: When the girls change into their super forms. Note the Art Shift.
- Transformation Trinket: Played with. It is possible to transform without the Soulrizer, but the girl will be overtaken by her kaiju soul and go berserk.
- The Voice: Aki was encouraged by the voice of Dan Moboroshi in episode 3.
- Zettai Ryouiki: All of the girls have some level of this, from Miclas's ankle-length grade Fs to Zetton's Grade A thigh-high stockings.