The Daimajin Trilogy saw Daiei’s Kyoto studios bringing its own iconic movie monster to life in a unique but short-lived series that transplants the Golem legend to Japan’s Warring States period of the late-16th century. In Daimajin, directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda (Yokai Monsters, Zatoichi on the Road), the young son and daughter of the benevolent feudal lord Hanabusa flee to the mountains when their parents are slain by the treacherous usurper Odate. Ten years later, when the elderly priestess who has harbored them is also murdered, the rage of the slumbering ancient god that lies beneath the crumbling giant stone idol hidden deep in the forests in the mountains is invoked. In Return of Daimajin, Kenji Misumi (Tale of Zatoichi, Lone Wolf and Cub) brings his usual stylistic flourish, as the wrathful deity is roused from his new home on an island in the middle of a lake by the violent incursions of a vicious warlord. In the final film, Wrath of Daimajin, by veteran jidaigeki director Kazuo Mori, four young boys make a perilous trip to elicit the help of the ancient mountain god in freeing their family members who have been enslaved by a tyrannical lord. Remarkably overlooked in the West, these three thrilling tales of feudal oppression and divine retribution meted out by the iconic stone warrior of the title combine lavish period detail with jaw-dropping special effects.

What We Thought:

The Daimajin Trilogy is a series of films from Japan that came out in 1966. All three films were released the same year with different directors, but all three have a similar plot with villagers needing help from bad guys and praying to their god statue for his help. The statue comes alive and saves the day!

The first film is Daimajin. This sees a young brother and sister pair escaping the overthrow of their father and hiding out for ten years. Their village has been badly treated for those ten years and the brother, now a grown man, wants to help his people. Henchmen go and destroy the Damaijin statue, but this awakens the god and he is able to stop the bad men and return peace to the area.

Return of Daimajin sees the Daimajin statue on its own island. Two local villages are peaceful, but a third starts trying to take over. People are locked up and the bad guys go to the island and blow up the statue sending pieces of it into the ocean. Of course this awakens the god and he is able to stop the bad men and return peace to the area.

The third film is Wrath of Daimajin which finds locals enslaved by the bad guys and 4 young boys climbing a mountain to help rescue their fathers. They see the Daimajin statue and pay respects to it hoping it would help their fathers. The god awakens and he is able to stop the bad men and return peace to the area.

As you can see all three films have very similar plots and even the statue god makes the exact same movements with his arms to change his face from statue to living being, swings his hands to crush buildings and other ways. The Daimajin Trilogy will find fans in people who like Kaiju flicks and the like. I wasn’t familiar with the movies, but I liked them. They aren’t great or anything, but if you know what to expect they are fun.

Bonus Materials: 

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the three Daimajin films
  • Lossless original Japanese and dubbed English mono audio for all films
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Illustrated collector’s 100 page book featuring new essays by Jonathan Clements, Keith Aiken, Ed Godziszewski, Raffael Coronelli, Erik Homenick, Robin Gatto and Kevin Derendorf
  • Postcards featuring the original Japanese artwork for all three films
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank
  • Brand new audio commentary by Japanese film expert Stuart Galbraith IV
  • Newly filmed introduction by critic Kim Newman
  • Bringing the Avenging God to Life, a brand new exclusive video essay about the special effects of the Daimajin films by Japanese film historian Ed Godziszewski
  • Alternate opening credits for the US release as Majin – The Monster of Terror
  • Trailers for the original Japanese and US releases
  • Image gallery
  • Brand new audio commentary by Japanese film experts Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp
  • My Summer Holidays with Daimajin, a newly filmed interview with Professor Yoneo Ota, director of the Toy Film Museum, Kyoto Film Art Culture Research Institute, about the production of the Daimajin films at Daiei Kyoto
  • From Storyboard to Screen: Bringing Return of Daimajin to Life, a comparison of several key scenes in Return of Daimajin with the original storyboards
  • Alternate opening credits for the US release as Return of the Giant Majin
  • Trailers for the original Japanese and US releases
  • Image gallery
  • Brand new audio commentary by Asian historian Jonathan Clements
  • Interview with cinematographer Fujio Morita discussing his career at Daiei and his work on the Daimajin Trilogy
  • Trailers for the original Japanese release
  • Image Gallery

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