Kraken video to be released

Still from video of giant squid, courtesy NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel.

Discovery Channel and Japan's NHK teamed up to capture video of one of the most elusive and fascinating deep ocean creatures: the giant squid. The joint press release announcing the air date of this long-coveted footage contains the sort of prose I wish we were also seeing in this week's round of CES announcements:

With razor-toothed suckers and eyes the size of dinner plates, tales of the creature have been around since ancient times. The Norse legend of the sea monster the Kraken and the Scylla from Greek mythology might have derived from the giant squid. This massive predator has always been shrouded in secrecy, and every attempt to capture a live giant squid on camera in its natural habitat, considered by many to be the Holy Grail of natural history filmmaking, has failed. Until now.

Discovery Channel’s Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real will premiere in the US on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10/9c as the season finale of Curiosity. In Japan, NHK airs their special also this month.

Above and below in this blog post, still images taken from their video of the "glittering," 10-foot-long cephalopod. The team encountered it last July about one kilometer below the surface of the sea near Japan's Ogasawara Islands, about 620 miles south of Tokyo.

According to the announcement, the Discovery/NHK joint production team spent more than 285 hours in the abyss, with 55 sub dives, some at depths of over 3,000 feet. The crew included scientists such as oceanographer and marine biologist Dr. Edie Widder, marine biologist Steve O'Shea and zoologist Dr. Tsunemi Kobodera of the National Science Museum of Japan, in addition to engineers, technicians and sub pilots.

They used "two deep sea submersibles with panoramic views, ultra-sensitive camera systems with light invisible to squid, bio luminescent lures and secret squid attractants." I hope we'll hear more about the camera rig and cinematography.

In an interview with AFP, Kubodera said the giant squid would have measured eight meters long if its two longest arms weren't missing.

"He gave no explanation for its missing arms."

Still from video of giant squid, courtesy NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel.


  1. I remember reading about giant squids when I was in kindergarten. Or rather having a teacher read to me from the World Book Encyclopedia. This was before there was an internet, at least as we know it. And that phrase “eyes the size of dinner plates” was used then too. It’s interesting to me that it’s still in use, but I guess nothing comparable has been found to replace it. Why not basketballs?

    1. A dinner plate is an intimate object which everyone in the western world can immediately relate to. There is the comfort of food and a filled belly associated with the dinner plate.  I basketball is something we beat up and toss around.   What better contrast is there to make than a dinner plate with the enormous cold eyes of a mysterious deep sea beast?

      1. A dinner plate is an intimate object which everyone in the western world can immediately relate to.

        But why are so many things in stories “as large as a goose egg”?

    1. I think the issue is that they really haven’t filmed one alive — this one is 10 feet minus the two long tentacles that for some reason it doesn’t have; that’s where the impression usually comes in; if this one still had those two tentacles it’d be nearly 35 feet long. 

    2. It’s the breed. It’s a smaller giant. But it is still the right species, and would act exactly as it’s larger kin would.

  2. I remember checking out the preserved giant squid in the Smithsonian’s Natural History museum, when I was very young.  After getting hyped up by my grade school librarian, I can still taste the mild disappointment I felt at seeing a puffy grey something floating in a yellow tank, and basically smelling like a funeral parlor.

  3. Maybe all those shitty movies with poor special effects, weren’t so terrible?

    Giant Squids look like crappy renders in real life.

  4. To actually catch one on footage alive is awesome, can’t wait! In another life, I think deep sea marine biologist would have been something I’d have loved to pursue… some of the stuff they find down there is absolutely wondrously freakin’ amazing and downright weird. 

  5. i feel like his arms are missing because they ripped them off the last time they were looking for him. i’ve seen the video.

    1. I’m with you.  2010 COTT did it wrong.  Pirates of the Caribbean should have earned the reference.  That movie did the Krakken right–along with a bunch of other maritime myths and hokum.  

    1. Um… they knew about this one. Giant squid turn up on beaches or caught in nets every now and then. The exciting part about this news was that they had caught one on camera while living in it’s natural habitat.

      1. Um… Did you even bother to read what I posted??????

        Scientists suspected that this creature existed but could never prove it. Now they can.

  6. It’s both very pretty, and very chilling. This is what all those sailors saw in their tales of giant sea monsters attacking their boats. Imagine this one, much larger, coming up right under you in the middle of the night.

  7. “He gave no explanation for the missing arms” … but last time he tried to capture a kraken, the squid ripped it’s tentacles off trying to escape the hooked trap. Not sure I agree with Dr Kubodera’s research methods…

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