When I did the page on leech monsters, I intended it to be 100% complete...but it turns out, I still missed a couple of leech guys, and have now gone back to add them in! But in my thorough research of tokuvillainy, I've discovered that I always grossly underestimated the presence of another slimy, squishy invertebrate family in the genre. Leeches and other annelids are somewhat few and far between, but gastropoda, such as slugs and snails, are featured in a ton of series. Enough that I ultimately chose to feature every single one I could find, but split it all between two different posts. So first, we'll be looking at the more common, more calcerously privileged snail monsters:
TOKUSATSU MONSTER DESIGN:
21(!) SNAIL KAIJIN
We start with this one because I'm fairly certain it's the very, very first, having graced Japanese television in 1972! Kikaider is themed around androids, so its "monsters" are actually machines, the Destructoids, covered in synthetic flesh. The wicked Orange Snail (Daidai Katatsumuri) has a whole arsenal of powers including the ability to retract into a flying ball, explosive energy flashes from his eyes, an adhesive glue spray, and even the power to hypnotize people with his swirly face!
Design: his humanoid body is simple, with fleshy folds and veiny ridges for that molluscoid look, while his head is the snail shell, spiral facing straight forward, with the eyes sticking directly out of the shell head. Very pleasing eyes, too: long, thin orange stalks topped with knobby eyes that feel just the right size. The silhouette is almost exactly like a guy in a space helmet with two comical antennae on top, and it just works! You can't see from this angle, but he does also have a shell on his back, which actually feels a little redundant. I'd have left the head-shell as the only one, personally.
Kamen Rider Zero-One:
With the single oldest (but not our only Kikaider example!) out of the way, the rest of these will be in more or less random order until we hit my favorites. Sorry, Chronology fans! So anyway the "Magia" of Kamen Rider Zero-One are androids with a complicated background, but the gist of it is that normal human-style androids or Humagears can install an abnormal activation key that uses animal data to corrupt them into a murderous monster - another unfair privilege machines get to lord over us organics. Some Magia are also based on prehistoric organisms, in this case the fossil sea snail Vicarya.
There are actually three different humanoid androids across the series who become instances of Vicarya Magia, including a Mangaka, a Comedian and a Lawyer, so you can only imagine the frustration and madness they must have acted out once their brains turned into human-robot-snail-data mush. There's not much to Vicarya in terms of special powers, though; it just uses its shells as drills.
Design: not so bad for an overtly mechanical one. The basic humanoid android body is outfitted with large, seashell-like spiny drills for arms and a third for a head, while a chestplate bears a shape similar to a sea snail's face emerging from the head-shell, complete with a cute little pair of jointed mechanical stalks ending in pretty, purple lenses. The bare androids in this series are black and silver, while any additional color comes from their animal-monster modifications. The Vicarya components are a pleasing copper color, appropriate for both a snail and a fossil creature. Mechanoids aren't my thing, but this is a pretty nice one!
A member of SHOCKER in an alternate timeline (it's complicated) Cheetahkatatsumeri possessess all the terrifying might of a snail man and the speed of a cheetah man! The lethal combination of running extremely fast and generating very sticky mucus.
Design: so you start with a humanoid cheetah, but then you replace the entire right arm with the back end of a giant snail, its massive orange shell hanging off the shoulder while the foot dangles down in place of a limb. Strips of snail flesh also spread from the shell to run down the legs, wrap around the chest and fuse into the left arm; a long, flat tentacle with snail flesh on one side, cheetah fur on the back. The head is mostly a cheetah's, and I might have preferred more of a strange middle ground, but I do appreciate that its eyes look fused shut, giving priority to the stalked snail eyes growing from the top of the head!
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid:
Okay, this one's a bit complicated, but all you need to know is that the Y2K Bug actually triggered the evolution of a computer virus that can infect human beings and eventually transform them into video game characters. Salty is based on Count Salty, apparently the final boss of a Megaman-like game called Mighty Action X. Salty manifests more than once in the series from different human hosts, but he isn't especially powerful. He mostly just uses some electrical attacks and works some food-based puns into his dialog.
Design: he's a humanoid robot in a top hat and a cap, covered in a colorful but mostly blue chassis with a thick, chunky plastic look that makes me think of a Gamecube controller. Most notably he's got this round-edged, roughly hexagonal thing encircling his humanoid android looking head, with two metal bars sticking up that reference a snail's eyes, little yellow eye-like knobs on top. The hexagonal thing also has straight sides with three visible layers, like a cake, with a red layer between two white layers that ends up looking, at a distance, like an big broad open smile. It's all fairly whimsical, for a robot, but it only very loosely evokes a gastropod. Together with the fact that his real face is the more human-shaped one and that I'm more biased to organic designs, this one just doesn't really do it for me. Sorry, Salty!
Kamen Rider Hibiki:
This series pits toku heroes against reimagined yokai with a darker, more serious visual style. As you know from some of my other reviews, Dorotabou are "mud ghost" yokai typically portrayed as one-eyed muddy corpses associated with rice fields, usually with three fingered hands and no legs. In Hibiki, the Dorotabou is a more human-shaped mud spirit combining rice plants and apple snails. It's not a zany supervillain, either, but a mindless ghoul that drowns people, eats their corpses, and multiplies rapidly into a whole zombie-like horde!
Design: pretty much just a blackened human body, limbs caked with mud, face completely hidden by thick green grass growing over the head and shoulders. The only snail element is that, from behind, there are usually one to three dark snail shells growing like lumps from the creature's back. Not as exciting or strange looking as the concept sets you up for, really, but it's subtle and unsettling for sure, and this same series actually offers another, unrelated but much snailier antagonist we'll get to later.
Kamen Rider 555:
The Orphnocs are supposed to be "the next stage in human evolution" and seek to transform all other humans into Orphnochs, or kill them, or sometimes both, since they're sometimes born from dead people. Unfortunately, Orphnochs are genetically unstable and eventually dissolve unless one of their "kings" can repair their DNA for them. With only the power to be very sticky and cling to walls, the Snail Orphnoch actually doesn't want to hurt humans at first, and only sneaks around stealing food. Unfortunately, he's threatened with termination if he doesn't contribute to the Orphnoch war on humanity, and as soon as he kills, he apparently finds it thrilling.
Design: despite being "hyper evolved" human-animal monsters, every Orphnoch looks very much like a suit of armor carved from grey marble, with a sort of greco-roman feel to their finer details. Snail Orphnoch at least changes things up by also being draped in shreds of pale, dirty cloth, which is a clever way to give the impression of a blobby, slimy surface on something that would otherwise be rigid and stony. I'm kind of impartial to the Orphnoch style overall, but I'm glad the snail has an original twist on it.
Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger:
Zenkaiger's robotic monsters are known as "worlds" because each one can generate a field that alters physical rules, like their own personal pocket dimension. Snail World's Snail World only forces everyone to move in slow motion at first, but when he later upgrades to GREAT Snail World, his field even causes an assortment of giant snail shells to grow out of buildings, and of course, he can generate rain! His first line in the whole show is "And now, a taste of the world of snails!" An introduction I can only pray I'll ever have reason to use myself.
Design: though this is another fully metallic robot guy with nary a hint of slime, there's some interesting things going on here. His body, integrated with thematic clock gears, is done entirely in subdued shades of grey and copper, yet his head, shaped like an entire snail, has a sky blue face and neck emerging from an intensely blue shell, really drawing your attention to this being not a humanoid snail robot, but a humanoid robot with a snail "on top." The gastropod's details are even much finer and more hi-tech looking than the chunkier body and its clockwork elements, further referencing his time distortion abilities.
I'd like it more if the snail's face was the actual face, I think, but the slightly more humanoid robot face emerging from it is still nicely done, especially the way his single red visor lines up to look like the inside of the snail's mouth bordered by blue metal that wraps around his face and forms the snail's "lower lip." And finally, the eyestalks of the snail are just a couple of red and white missiles. Cute!
Kamen Rider Amazon:
The beastmen are the agents of Gedon, an evil organization from the Amazon rainforesy and ruled by a multi-faced demonic monster. Snail Beastman's powers are pretty simple: paralyzing, poisonous foam that will also blind you if it happens to get in your eyes, a shell "harder than iron" and the ability to hide in the form of a normal, tiny snail.
Design: the simplest and most straightforward of any snail kaijin I've found, very little more than a brown and grey garden snail whose body branches into a humanoid shape. The only details not seen on an actual snail are five thin tentacles ringing the circular mouth, like a little fleshy star, and those two vertical slits below the mouth that I think only exist for the suit actor to have decent enough eye holes. If however those are meant to be the character's eyes, in addition to the tiny red ones on the antennae, that's adorable! This is also one of the only snail kaijin to sometimes creep around slowly on all fours.
Kamen Rider Den-O:
The Imagin have an interesting and quite menacing background: they're beings from the distant future who lost their physical forms when their timeline was erased, saving themselves by traveling backwards in time. To live again, an Imagin offers a human one wish in exchange for their body, usually grants the wish in an evil monkey's paw kind of way, and distorts their body into a new human-animal form based on the host's imagination. There end up being two snail-based Imagin, one male and one female, though the nature of their relationship to one another isn't quite clear, and sadly, they have no special powers at all; the lady one just fights with a whip, and the guy with a pistol. Kind of hilarious, though. A disembodied entity bartered for a human's soul to warp their flesh into a snail monster and you better watch out because it's got a gun.
Design: the Imagin were designed by the late and truly incredible Yasushi Nirasawa, but are in my opinion a little more conservative than his often outrageously edgy designs. The two of them are identical, each covered in armor that alternates between swirly black shell armor (such as the shoulders and chests) and bright orange flesh with "xenomorph-like" rows of grooves and tubes. Fringes of orange tentacles hang down from the waist and knees, and the hardened, orange head has spirals on its sides to resemble an entire snail shell, with dark ridges where human eyes should be and a shell opening resembling a human mouth. The most interesting aspect is that four orange, knobby tentacles sprout from the mouth, so you can interpret the whole head as a shell with the tentacles as its actual eyes, if you want to, which I do. Fairly beautiful costumes, but definitely not as captivating to me as either other gastropoids or other Nirasawa creations.
Kamen Rider ZX:
This is our second turban-shell monster, and it's actually an alternate combat form taken by the series main villain, Ambassador Darkness. He usually just looks like a human in a goofy pharaoh-like suit of armor, and his first combat form is more like a human with the spiky red body surface of a "sea pineapple" tunicate, an animal some of you might also recognize from Animal Crossing. The fact that he can also morph into a turbanshell monster seems to just be incidental, and his only powers in this form are the various cannons he has both for his arms and various spikes.
Design: it may only be one morph of a non-snail bad guy, but I really love this look! Just a giant, spiny, warty seashell from the waist up, shell-encrusted metal gun barrels sticking out at random angles, and a nasty little face on the front consisting of round, bulging red eyes and a blue tentacle-fringed mouth with long, knifelike teeth. Intriguingly weird and adorably pugnacious, a truly maniacal looking mollusk, and he even appears in a more recent manga with an even bigger, more terrifying upgrade to this form, now resembling a gigantic spiny seashell with no guns and no humanoid limbs, the same ghoulish eyes and mouth glowing in the dark recesses of the shell!
Ninpu Sentai Hurricaneger:
The villains in this series are "space ninjas" with various animal motifs, their physical forms resembling ornate suits of antique armor. Kirikirimaishi is the "Mist-Spitting Ninja," able to generate and transform into blinding fog, who seeks to gather enough energy in his shell to bring about a second ice age. His defeat isn't the end of it, either, since it transports the heroes to an island created and controlled by his father, who we'll talk about next.
Design: he looks like a man completely obscured in a heavy suit of armor, but it's very snaily armor! A very big, white shell on his back, possibly carved from wood, is lined with what resemble pupil-less violet eyes gazing from cracks in the surface, and his helmet really looks like a white, armor plated snail head emerging from the shell! The eye stalks of this snail are pretty menacing, broad and flat with segmented undersides and narrow, yellow eyes, but beneath these are a thin, red-rimmed visor, like the snail has a grinning mouth, showing only a hint of the sorrowful-looking, glowing pink eyes of its wearer. From the visor to the upper chest is a face shield, giving him a neckless look, and I like the bony ridge down the front of the shield; this actually looks like the interior spinal column of a turtle's shell, so that's probably what this part of the helmet is made from! It's also very snaily that his torso is mostly protected by a chestplate modeled after a rotten leaf! The rest of him is all intricate armor pieces, except for his baggy red pants, and chunky seashell-like trident weapon. Really cool actually! I would usually prefer some hint of organic monster, but for a fully armored design this has a personality and aesthetic that definitely appeals to me.
Ninpu Sentai Hurricaneger:
So this is Kirikiri's dad, who also wants to start an ice age, though he actually has flame-based attacks, and can indude insanity! His most signature power however is "Mortal Combat Island Creation," generating an island where he can pit his foes against one another.
ISLAND NINJA GIRIGIRIGAISHI
Design: while Kirikirimaishi appears to be based on an ordinary round-shelled land snail, Girigirigaishi is based on a sazae or "turban shell" snail, a popular seafood in Japan that also inspired a type of mythical oni and a ton of pop-culture monsters, including the shell of Slowbro and the Digimon, Shellmon! It says a lot about his son's design that I still like it a bit more, despite the fact that the old man has more biological elements. The giant, sun-bleached spiny shell appears to be the real thing, he has an entire purple scallop for a mouth, like a big duck bill, he has a bit of a beard of whispy red tendrils and he has fish fins coming out from behind his helmet, which has a similar visor to his kiddo but with two thick, bony tubes instead of eye stalks and a ominous, shiny black spike on top. Both designs have a lot of merits, and I like that this one, tied to a sea snail, has more barnacle and shell motifs all throughout.
Our second one from the original Kikaider, Violet Turban is a sadistic Destructoid who can disguise herself as a beautiful woman and almost fools Kikaider into thinking she's on his side, a reference to the mythical Sazae-oni that can morph between monstrous snail and alluring sea siren! Her powers include firing thorns from her body and "branding" her opponent with the acidic tip of her swirly shell face, which can fire on a long, rubbery tentacle! I felt you needed to see a clip of this because it's funny and because I want you to hear her lovable, screeching little voice:
Direct Video Link
Design: this one is more "seashell themed" than actually mollusk themed, the entire character covered in a calcerous looking chassis with lots of thick, sharp spikes and a coiling, spiny turbanshell for a face. The opening of the shell is actually on the back of her head, but there's nothing inside but a flat panel, which would represent an actual sea snail's operculum, the little "door" that they can use to really seal themselves up. Despite being all shell, I do really like this design; it's ominously surreal, the surprise acid-tentacle attack is very cool, and her maniacal personality in seashell-robot mode is just infectious!
Dai Sentai Goggle V:
The Mozoo are agents of the beautifully named Dark Science Empire Deathdark, which has operated in secret since the iron age to carefully limit human progress and maintain its own superiority over the rest of civilization. This hoarding and monopolization of knowledge feels like the clearest definition of "evil science" I've ever heard, but I guess here in real life we just call that "proprietary technology" and pretend it's just the normal way business is supposed to work. Doesn't Deathdark know that it's already completely legal to patent exclusive tech for yourself, sell meager crumbs of it to the masses for billions of dollars a day, undersell potential competitors until you can just buy them out, outsource to slave labor as long as it's somewhere culturally alien enough for your consumer base to sympathize with and just plain pay for the government to legislate the structure of society in your favor? Silly!!!! Ha ha! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA H
Design: seashell Mozoo is a robot looking monster guy made of seashells! He's got swirly seashell pecs, a seashell staff, and a sort of trumpet-like head with a big flaring opening on top, two more pipe-like tubes instead of a mouth, slanted red eyes and a couple of wavy antennas. The antennas are why I'm interpreting him as a snail guy instead of possibly an ammonite guy. The tubes on his head are also guns. I'd really like to see the TED talk shilling the consumer model Seashell Mozoo and how they justify designing it to explode as soon as next year's upgrade comes out.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
Hey, it's the tokusatsu *I* watched as a kid! Back when there wasn't any internet and us children somehow had no idea that we were getting this invested in what was 50% recut from Japan's Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, let alone that the classy lady we knew as "Rita Repulsa" and her "Evil Aliens" were really Witch Bandora leading a demonic army in service to the cosmic Great Satan.
And then, a funny thing happened: demand for more "Power Rangers" only continued to climb as they began to run out of Zyuranger footage, so they struck a deal with Toei to create brand new monsters, mecha and battle footage exclusively for more seasons of their Americanized franken-show. Among the first of these? Another turban-shell kaijin to review! It's powers are only beam attacks, so nothing remarkable there, but it's got a pretty great look!
Design: Turbanshell has a nicely fleshly, wrinkly humanoid torso and arms with a big, crescent shaped smile in its upper chest, full of long needle-like teeth, and above this its flesh tapers into an almost grub-like head with black, insectoid eyes and a little cluster of thin, dangling tendrils where a mouth would "normally" go. Its spiky turban shell is relatively huge, and worn around its waist like ridiculously oversized pants, or like when a poor guy in an old cartoon has to wear an old barrel. It's got a goofy fun to it, but it's also a threatening and grotesquely sinister looking sea monster, quite worthy of the Sazae-oni legend. It's very cool that the monsters commissioned exclusively for the Western series were still made with the same Japanese sensibilities by the same studio, and I'm glad to see that Tokusatsu fandom seems to have no issue embracing these monsters as an authentic part of the genre.
Mashin Sentai Kiramager:
I explain Kiramager's Jamen Beasts in a late addition to the leech monster post, but to sum it up, each monster in this series can be summoned by one of its object-headed villains with a different object head of its own! There's an implication that the monsters are entire species in whatever dimension they hail from, and they officially have fully organic anatomy back home, but they get dragged into our world with things like giant footballs and cars for faces which I gotta say has GOT to violate some sort of environmental legislation somewhere out there in the cosmos. SHELLGA is one such species with a gastropod-based form, and its power differ for each of the six heads it appears with in the series. This is such an unusual one to review, we'll have to cover design and powers one form at a time:
General Design: Shellga is a big, stocky humanoid mollusk whose multiple, globose shells appear to be our second case of freshwater apple snail influence. One shell serves as Shellga's bulging potbelly and two more as its thights, with slimy, fleshy arms and legs that also appear to be draped in fuzzy green algae! A fun and whimsical snail kaiju, for sure!
Vise Head: a red vice gives this Shellga a silhouette more like a gigantic stag beetle than anything else, with the addition of a tusked oni-like grimace under the giant clamps. The rotating T-shaped knobs on the sides have funny, lidless eyeballs on their ends, for four eyes in total that peer simultaneously forward and backward. Creative! This type of vice wouldn't normally be perfectly symmetrical, however; it would really only have a knob like that on one side, I believe! This one's unique power has little to do with its head, however: it generates sticky, purple slime that explodes.
Stage Head: yes, a stage, as in a concert or theater stage, complete with a supersonic blast attack! The roof forms an "upper jaw" with triangular scaffolds for teeth, and the stage floor forms the "lower jaw" with its fence of sharp, white posts. A pair of huge, towering spotlights house its deranged beady-pupiled eyeballs and the whole stage is still attached to a massive chunk of blackish soil and concrete, complete with tree roots! Really inventive use of the object's elements to still look like not just a monster head, but *specifically* like a stalk-eyed snail monster head!
Fly Trap Head: AWESOME! By being fully organic, this doesn't even read as an "object head" but just a full blown plant and snail hybrid beast! The head looks more like a pitcher plant, but with massive interlocking fly-trap teeth around its rim, and on top of its lid is a dense bushy cluster of little fly trap mouths on stalks! Interestingly, no counterpart humanoid is ever seen for this one when it suddenly emerges from beneath the ground, rather than the usual dimensional portal; a Jaden Beast presumably prepared ahead of time and hidden away. Besides being able to burrow, it has the expected plant monster ability to lash out with thorny vines.
Glue Head: especially appropriate to a snail creature! A giant tube of glue rests horizontally atop a dripping, white face formed entirely of leaked and hardened adhesive. Dark holes between dribbles of glue give the face a very unsettling "melted skull" appearance. No prize for guessing what it shoots at its opponents.
Shield Head: this one's face is a giant South African shield with a ferocious red face painted on it, like you might see stolen and held hostage by a museum. Thorny intercultural ramifications aside, this ends up being the least interesting Jaden Beast simply because its object already naturally looks like a face. It has the absurd power to form an "unbreakable train" with other monsters, in other words a conga line that can't be forcibly separated. I do not know why, but that power as a concept in itself would be hilarious on anything.
Brain Shellga: another mostly organic one, the fleshy, yellow head has no mouth or nose, but it does have narrow, red eyes and a lumpy, pinkish top that looks suitably brainy, but also a lot like a mushroom monster, almost exactly like Toho's Matango. More bizarrely, it has a gaming controller and multiple giant pages of manga lodged in it, because this Shellga was created from a lonely artist by the demented Wire Jamen, who is also the guy comically standing on top of Brain Shellga in the official photo. This is my favorite head design in itself, but not necessarily my favorite for shellga, which would have to go to Fly Trap or Glue!
Kamen Rider Blade:
The undead are another line of kaijin by Yasushi Nirasawa, and maybe you can see what I mean about his unique edge, even when limited to a human shaped design! The Undead are so named not because they ever died and came back, but because they can never die or be destroyed at all, which is kind of misleading. Their wild backstory holds that the true god of the universe created 52 of these beings to represent 52 different animals, then let them loose in an all-out brawl to determine which species deserved to rule the world until, presumably, the end of the current world and creation of the next. Released from their slumber too early, the Undead are obviously none to pleased to see the planet still overrun with the spawn of that jackass, Human Undead! Turban Undead is our last tasty sea snail, but I don't really know what, if any, special sea snaily powers he has. I do believe that Turban and most of the Undead are pretty much just very fashionable brawlers.
Design: pretty badass! A slimy green humanoid with various tubes sprouting off his body, resembling the oral proboscis of many actual sea snails! His own face, however, is more like a black gas mask with two vertically oblong respiratory orifices and large eye sockets mostly shaded by the hood-like turban shell on his head. His bulging right shoulder is covered in a cluster of spiny shell plates and a long, sharp, heavily spiny and ribbed shell encircles the right forearm as a weapon. His left shoulder on the other hand has several of those proboscises curving off it, and both hands have long, noodly fingers. The rest of him is mostly wrapped in straps of black leather, belt buckles and spikes bands because that's what Nirasawa thought clothes were in general. Easily the most threatening and serious looking monster in this whole review, but it still has a dash of fun personality to it; I just love how gloomy he looks. All of the undead are psyched by the thought of supplanting mankind, but it's hard to look at this guy's face and really believe his heart is in it.
Kamen Rider Hibiki:
This is from the same series as the apple snail dorotabou zombies we looked at early on in this, but the Nurikabe is a very, very different yokai whose entire claim to fame is simply blocking people's paths to redirect or halt their travels, and is therefore commonly interpreted as some sort of living wall or barrier. This one rather creatively imitates an old tree, but it actually just straight-up eats people. You can't argue that you this doesn't technically fulfill the definitions of stopping someone's journey, but you CAN argue that by this definition a Nurikabe can just be a perfectly normal polar bear, a crocodile or a large enough number of ants.
Design: it's basically a thick, dark tree with a ring of short, squirmy finger-like roots and a bushy canopy that looks like a bunch of wooden shards fused together instead of leaves. A rather adorable gastropod head can pop out of a hole in the top of this false canopy, a simple smooth, white snail face with a round, sucker-like mouth opening and two tubular eyestalks. It's a very strange looking design, but makes perfect sense when you know that it's also intended to evoke a bagworm! So the true body is a snail that stands upright on its tubular, stalk-like foot, and like a bagworm caterpillar, imitates dead foliage with its protective casing! Whether this casing is the shape of its shell or something it glues together with slime is the only remaining question; it does look like it's formed of one seamless albeit rugged piece, with a decidedly more shell-like symmetry to it. Superb either way.
Kamen Rider Kabuto:
The "worms" are a group we MAY get around to reviewing on their own, like several of the other villain teams represented here, and if you can't tell, they're more of Nirasawa's work. These alien creatures arrived to Earth in a meteor and begin their lives as beautifully unsettling, humanoid chrysalis creatures before molting into more powerful forms that borrow traits from Earthly species. Like all of these complete worms, Cochlea worm can speed herself up in space-time, imitate humans and even copy their memories, but she also has the ability to suck blood through her proboscis!
Design: She's another of Nirasawa's technorganic looking humanoids, finely armored with a shiny, olive green and brown-mottled exoskeleton that feels more it's made out of beetle carapaces, but each shoulder has a very cool, rugged black snail shell with a slimy, keeled snail body twisting out of it, wrapping around her arms and terminating in her tentacles; one dangling off her otherwise humanoid left arm and the other splitting into three large snail-flesh whips that comprise her entire right hand. Her head has a flaring bell shape, with two cute little snail tentacle eyes sprouting from its wrinkled green flesh and a chitinous black rim above an eerily gaping, round hole of a mouth, from which protrudes a long fleshy proboscis with a pincer-like tip and two of its own knobby tentacles! I think it might honestly be the face and proboscis that makes the entire design for me, it definitely looks like the kind of snail person who would also suck blood. Fun fact: there are quite a few marine snails that do just that, using their own long proboscises to feed on unsuspecting, slow moving prey or sleeping fish!
Kamen Rider V3:
Our next to last one comes to us from the 80's! Katatsubler is a creation of Deathtron, a successor to the original series villainous "Shocker" organization, and he's probably the most sadistic escargot we'll have seen here. Besides his protective shell, immobilizing mucus spray and ability to climb surfaces, Katatsubler is a rare if not unique case of a parasitoid snail monster! Apparently self-fertilizing, he can implant eggs into living human hosts that drive victims that allow him to control their minds, at least until countless tiny snail larvae consume them from the inside! We never get to see these larvae or the completion of this process, but he's understandably proud to brag about his kids.
Design: appropriately disturbing! Katatsubler snail flesh fades from white to blue throughout, a rather corpsey color if you ask me, with two thick tentacles for arms. A "drippy" fringe of pale flesh hangs over his legs, and another fringes the huge egg-shaped patch of skin missing from most of his torso, exposing a bulging lump of hideously meaty red tissue! His pale snaily head has the expected eye stalks on top, but it also has sagging, mournful looking human eye sockets and a grimacing, empty black mouth to match, with a pair of little tentacles sprouting from a knob that might kind of be a nose. On his back is a snail shell, of course, and the opening continues up into a sort of rigid hood framing the back of his head. The whole design looks miserable, tortured and diseased to exist, which definitely suits a guy who shoots you full of his flesh-eating babies. Between his ghoulish looks and morbid powers, he's a contender for my top favorite, but our next monster's visual design alone somehow called out to me just a little more...
Battle Fever J:
There really isn't much to this one's background or abilities. It kind of says it all that this snail monster is only named Snail Monster, though he's entertaingly armed with giant-sized cutlery, like a visual joke about escargot, and his snail mouth can shoot...tornadoes? That's all?!
Design: I said this design alone puts Snail Monster at the top of my list, and we'll start with the fact that the aforementioned snail mouth, the tornado-spitting one, is his arm. His whole left arm is fat snail neck and head with an almost lizardlike mouth and its own wavy little feelers, its blobby, pale yellow flesh billowing up the monster's shoulder, over its chest, and stretching upward into grotesque, vertical wrinkles and flaps to form a lopsided, unnatural face with big, sad, glowing red eyes nestled in its blubbery folds, a face that almost reminds me of Man Thing from the comicy books, if he was made of candle wax and partially melting into a ghost, and of course it's this globby, pathetic head that sports a warped looking snail shell o top, like a helmet. His look is completed as the rest of the mutant snail tapers into a long tail that wraps around his torso and down his leg, visibly blending smoothly into the surrounding red spandex, because the rest of him is a guy in red spandex. It's an overall design that only can indicate a retro toku monster, and it integrates its animal half in a very strange, very spooky, very unnatural way that speaks to me on a deeply personal level.
If I was a bad guy who could change into a snail guy, this is the one I would pick, even if his powers are a little underwhelming. Sorry, I know you could frame a whirlwind-making snail as Junji Ito spiral power, or something, but I've never liked "moving air really hard" (sorry Avatar fans) as much as I like powers that are made of things, like energy or chemicals, and owning big knives isn't a power either! You'd have to get creative if you were stuck as this guy, like at LEAST carry around some poisonous dust you could dump into the whirlwind stream.
Optional Bonus Questions!
As many or as none as you like!
-What do you like most or least about any of these designs?
-If you're stuck with one of these as a transformation powerup, which one would it be and why?
-Which is the creepiest or most threatening, powers aside?
-If you've actually watched any of these series, how did you feel about any of these as characters?
-Is it actually any harder to take a villain seriously when they're also a big snail?
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