We did a big feature on Ultraman monsters in 2020 and a review of Barom-1 monsters, while in 2015 I went over the wonderful Yuumajuu. This still feels like only a pitiful fraction of the Kaiju and Kaijin content I should have had by now, and to further make up for it, I've tried to gather every single example I could find that has any overt ties to our website's mascot animal!
First up, a returning guest from the 2015 post...
Their dedicated review will catch you up to speed, but the Yuumajuu are a villain team with an absolutely bonkers formula: each one combines the motifs of an invertebrate animal, a yokai, and a horror movie! Pesaranza combines leeches with the obscure Kesaran-pesaran, yokai resembling fluffy balls of fur. The result is a slimy, segmented humanoid with entire leeches sprouting all over its body, rows of leeches where a ribcage should be, leeches for curled "horns" on its head and shoulders, leeches for fingers and toes, leeches coiled around its little pink eyes and a large leech for a proboscis-like mouth...but cottony white fluffballs also encrust patches of its form, and many of the leechy growths have fuzz sprouting from their mouths, too. I guess what the design means to communicate is that the fluffballs are formed by or stored within the leech bodies, allowing the monster to switch between having a fluffy or slimy surface?
Tensou Sentai Goseiger: PESARANZA
But we said that each Yuumajuu also homages a horror movie, and that's generally through their abilities. If you thought leeches and the kesaran had nothing obviously in common, enjoy knowing that this monster's power is to intensify human love until it's toxic, stalking obsession, and its movie homage is Phantom of the Opera!
This might be the most obscure entry we'll have here. This disturbing being resembles several gigantic, green and blue leeches draped over a leech-skinned humanoid body, each arm ending in one large, gaping sucker. The creaure's head is like a green, fleshy humanoid skull, but its cranium tapers into another gigantic leech that curls over its shoulder, and the skull's jaws, most bizarrely, are sort of stretched and melted into...what is that, honestly?! It's a huge, bright pink fleshy bulb, like a punching bag, dangling off the creature's face and over its chest. I can think of no precedent at all for this design feature in any other creature, real or fictitious, that I've ever seen, and it really turns a guy made out of leeches into something, I daresay, abnormal looking.
Kidou Keiji Jiban: SUITORUNOID
It's not just for show, either; Suitorunoid is a mind-sucking leech, and that awful giant testicle thing is where he stores the pilfered knowledge. They show us with a "computerized diagram" and everything. Cute drawing!
Okay, the official spelling is "Hirudoriru," but it's just a combination of "Hirudo" (leech) and "drill." English wikis just say "leech drill," but that's a lot more awkward to pronounce and loses the portmanteau!
Choujin Sentai Jetman: HIRUDRILL
The monsters of Jetman or "Dimensional Beasts" are created by fusing a living organism and an inanimate object with a lovely parasitic creature known as a Bio-Dimensional Bug, so you know there's some real gems in there. This example is fairly straightforward; a large leech with a pair of legs and a pair of metal drill arms. The leech itself is quite decent; a broad, flattened, pale yellow specimen with many tiny papillae and dozens of sharp teeth lining its sucking maw, as well as additional mouths on its upper thighs, for whatever reason.
Hirudrill's power is to shrink down, invade a host body and take control of their mind, so that's our second mind-attack leech monster, and as you might have guessed, a "fantastic voyage" plotline.
This one belongs to a series of fiends called the Trinoids, each combining a living creature, a gem, and a flower! In this case it's a leech, a lapis lazuli, and a blue, four-petaled flower called a Gentian. The on-screen monster suit was mostly darker and more grey, but the original concept art is magnificently gaudy! His humanoid body is covered in complex, organic looking purple armor with many overlapping plates, bony ridges and pale frills or fins, encrusted througout with rows of menacingly sharp blue gems. Flower petals erupt from his upper torso to frame his more ferocious and grisly head, an entire black leech with a ring of thin, white fangs, ten lapis lazuli eyes in two long rows, six scaly horns and a tail end that tapers almost comically up into the air.
Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger: HIRURINDOU
Hirurindou can steal "energy" from people, then transform that energy into more lapis lazulis, which he eats. I guess that's interesting, but man, whatever happened to just slurping blood???
This one has a pretty fun design, even if I never would have guessed it was a leech guy at first glance. Hirubiran is a humanoid whose leafy looking green skin is sort of wrapped around him like a suit, exposing underlying red flesh with a brain-like texture. His face is just kind of generically monstrous, with menacing red eyes, no nose and a large mouth with a lot of sharp teeth. Leechiness only comes into play through the two tubes on his shoulders, and the fact that tiny, pale leeches are scattered all over his surface. I do like the fact that this "leech monster" is a guy with leeches, but I think he would have looked better if the green skin covered up his eyes!
Kamen Rider Skyrider: HIRUBIRAN
Hirubiran can actually transform into one of those little tiny-size leeches whenever he needs to, and can pluck the other leeches from his body to throw like bombs! In all forms, his leeches also secrete a deadly flesh-melting acid, which is great.
The Hades Beasts are often based on mythological creatures, such as an Ogre and a Cockatrice, but others include a slime, a mushroom and a spider; basically all things you might expect in a fantasy RPG dungeon! I was almost going to say that Leech is the odd one out, but then it occured to me that 99% of Dungeons and Dragons knockoffs in Japan do in fact include a giant leech as one of the go-to underdark hazards.
Mahou Sentai Magiranger:
HADES BEAST LEECH
The design is a tough one to describe clearly. Mostly a pale silvery color, its legs end in curled, dark purple, leechlike tails instead of feet. Its entire body is split open down the center into a pair of tooth-lined jaws, like a Venus Fly Trap. Each arm resembles an additional head with similarly styled jaws that peel open into three "petals" each, and have multiple leech-like tongues. Inside the massive central fly-trap mouth is the rest of its veiny, purple humanoid body, which has a head tapering backwards into a wormy tail, a large gaping mouth with a brilliant red interior, and an X-shaped mouth beneath that, filled with many tiny fangs.
Finally, the giant torso-mouth, the arm-mouths, and the tapering head are all lined with bright orange, roughly diamond-shaped eyespots with purple borders. Again, I try to describe things in detail these days both so we don't "miss anything" and for readers with visual difficulties, but this was a tricky one.
Hades Beast Leech is finally a good old fashioned bloodsucker, and its victims become blood-craving vampires! That's still not the best thing about this monster, however. The best thing about this monster is that, in illusory human form, it participated in a plot by two evil goth girls to hypnotize people with a cursed rock band called Bloody Friday Nightmare. The song isn't nearly as hardcore as you would expect it to be, and you can't really see Hades Beast Leech, but rest assured: he was on drums.
This is one of the most human-shaoed, but it has a very snazzy style! A technorganic looking being with an intensely chartreuse, segmented body showing beneath deep blue armor with many interconnecting blue hoses and many bright green warts. Most of the hoses are connected to the armor at both ends, but two protruding from his shoulder pads display their accurately three-fanged mouths! He also has a humanoid hand on one arm, but the other extends into an elongated, flat appendage that he uses to draw blood. His head design might be the only thing that underwhelms me; just kind of a humanoid blue face with sharp teeth, a black blindfold, and a few more hoses.
Kamen Rider Den-O: BLOODSUCKER IMAGIN
In addition to draining blood however, this Imagin can launch the green warts from his armor with the force of bulets, which is a pretty weird thing to do in general.
The monsters of Kamen Rider X combine animals with famous figures from history, legend and literature in sometimes such bizarre ways that the series will forever be known as the one with Starfish Hitler.
Kamen Rider X: LEECH DRACULA
Leech Dracula almost makes too much sense to have gone down in such infamy, except perhaps the fact that this she's a lady Leech Dracula, despite supposedly representing the original Count Dracula. I guess the gender difference technically isn't as weird as the species difference, I mean, I know lots of people who have switched up their gender. If you could turn into a big worm person that easily I'd already be typing this with no bones.
Like Hades Beast Leech, Leech Dracula can turn people into vampires when she sucks their blood, but like Hirubiran, she can even generate normal-sized leeches as well. Her design is decent, a segmented humanoid whose face tapers into a fanged trunk like some ghoulish aardvark. I like her cartoonish orange eyes, just a couple of angry slanted semicircles with big dark cross-eyed pupils, and I love the bright purple and red, fluffy hair that continues down her upper arms. She also has an extra leech mouth on one shoulder, like she's got a little pet riding around with her.
This one comes from the original Kamen Rider series! And what an odd looking design. It's basically a big leech with humanoid limbs, but the leech's mouth is just a big, gaping, toothless red hole that sticks straight up, looking more like a humanoid whose brains have been scooped out! Two tentacles dangle like antennae from either side of this grisly sucker, and then below that sucker is a dark, oval hole of uncertain function to the creature. We know its function to the guy in the costume who needed to see, but as part of the character design, it's hard to judge whether we're supposed to read this featureless black opening as an additional mouth or an eye.
Kamen Rider: HILGUERRILLA
Hilguerrilla also has a tubular left arm, which can drain blood or launch small leeches like a gun! After draining a victim of blood, the monster interestingly replaces it with a compound that keeps the victim alive, but devoid of free will.
The villains of Shinkenger are an army of evil beings known as the "Gedoshu" or Heretic Party, which is cool enough, but Azemidoro here is the last survivor of an ancient, elite Gedoshu tribe called the Kusare Gedoshu: the ROTTEN Heretic Party! All Gedoshu are inspired by youkai, and this one is based on the Dorotabou; a one-eyed, three-fingered ghoul that manifests from the mud of neglected rice fields.
Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: AZEMIDORO
Azemidoro consists mostly of a gooey, blobby grey humanoid with little rice-plant tufts sprouting from rows of cup-like orifices that spiral around his limbs and torso, but the left half of his face and torso and left arm are comprised of huge, dark leeches tangled together, a couple of which wrap around his single small, spherical red eye. He's got a more human-like grinning mouth, but only the half made of leech-flesh has clusters of sharp, tiny fangs, and perhaps most strangely, one large leech wraps across his chest and splits into the giant, segmented fingers on his right shoulder. A subtle but worthy homage to the original yokai! It feels as if the Dorotabou is the leeches, and they animate the rest of the mud into their humanlike body.
This is also one of two leech Kaijin I only caught quite some time after posting this article! There's just not a lot more to say about him as a monster: he's got deadly, purple spit, and apparently he smells AWFUL.
This is the other one I had to add in later to this article, which is a crime, because it's definitely the most coo-coo bananas of the bunch. Hildon's "true" or "original" form isn't all that strange at first glance; kind of a dinosaur-like humanoid with segmented leech skin, including large, broad leeches for shoulder pads and multiple longer leeches as tentacle arms. This form, however, is known only from conceptual art, because the giant monsters of Kiramager only appear on-screen with an assortment of interchangeable object heads! Here's how it works:
Mashin Sentai Kiramager: HILDON
The rotating villains-of-the-week are the Jamenshi, or "Evil Masked Masters," object-headed humanoids who serve a villain named Carantula. Before you ask, no, Carantula is unfortunately a demon guy and not a car-tarantula hybrid, but that's beside the point. Each Jamenshi has a contract with the villain to generate Dark Energy by spreading some kind of thematic misery, and once enough energy is generated, Carantula unleashes one of six possible Jamen Beasts with a custom head design.
For instance, Mannequin Jamen is an evil man with the entire upper body, head and arms of a department store Mannequin instead of a head, and whose face is delightfully "printed" on the Mannequin's shirt I might add. His power is to freeze humans in place, and once enough people are suffering as conscious, human mannequins, "Torso Hildon" is released to wreak havoc on the city, a Hildon whose head is one of those fancier, armless mannequins with the little golden knob for a neck. He also has menacing, crescent-shaped eyes wrapping under the mannequin's breasts and a row of interlocking teeth all the way around its waist! He doesn't really get any thematic powers, unfortunately, except that his usual breath attack becomes a volley of pins.
Hildon appears five other times in the series, sporting heads based on a ring-toss game, jukebox, a cloud-themed mask, faucet, and a busted golf cart. Of these other five, I think the faucet is my favorite; it's the only one with no obvious eyes, and a faucet actually suits an object-headed leech monster, though the mannequin torso is my favorite overall.
Finally, Hildon also has a "flight form," changing into a jellyfish-like shape with a "bell" of four broadened, flattened leeches and a bunch of leech tentacles dangling beneath! If it always had this novel configuration, it might be a close contender to my top favorite, but even Hildon's multiple preposterous flavors couldn't dethrone my #1:
So the original Kamen Rider continuity has two leech monsters! This one spent much of the series in human form, the sadistic military tactician General Black, before revealing his true nature as a hybrid between both leech and chameleon!
Kamen Rider: HILCHAMELEON
The result of this hybridization may in fact be my favorite design for a leech based creature in just about anything, though the clearest image I could find for you was of an action figure. Covered in bumpy chemeleon skin, his left arm ends in a large leech with fat, maggotlike segmentation, similar to other large blood-sucking tubes that sprout asymmetrically throughout his body. His roundish, neckless head has no mouth of its own or any other features besides to huge, saucer-shaped, gold colored chameleon eyes, and his left arm ends in a soft, fleshy pincer, a logical middle ground between the mittenlike paws of a chameleon and squishy invertebrate anatomy!
He's got it all, too: he can drain blood from his tubes, he can throw little leeches with a mind-control effect, and the chameleon aspect allows him to turn invisible.
Hilchameleon is just SO uniquely charming, cool and creepy and adorable all at once, it's difficult to even take him seriously as a Russian war criminal, which is what he was before he became this sweet baby boy. No wonder he's popular enough to have reappeared in more recent Rider media, and have one of the most precious little chibi figures I've ever seen:
You can do it, little guy!! We believe in you!!!! Torture those P.O.W's!!!
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