15

What are the in-universe reasons for the initial faith in the Anti-Kaiju Wall?

This question has bothered me ever since I saw the film many months ago. I realise that it's a spectacle / monster-mecha slash, and I am usually very quick to gloss over holes, but this one really stuck with me for my complete inability to comprehend it.

If I understand correctly, support for the wall rested on these items:

  1. No Kaiju would attack a wall bordering the coastline.[1] The film doesn't seem to give an explanation for why this is considered a viable assumption. While there may be some merit in observing that wild creatures don't attack walls, it feels too flimsy to build a population's survival on.
  2. Building and maintaining the wall would cost less than maintaining a fleet of Jaeger. Building a Jaeger is costly, in the order of a hundred billion dollars[2], but I hesitate to think of the cost of a wall that shields off, at a minimum, every mile of populated coast bordering the Pacific.
  3. The Jaegers wouldn't last forever.[3] Recent setbacks/losses among the Jaeger led people to think of an alternative for the long term.

However, the drawbacks seem grave enough to sink the plan immediately:

  • What happens when the wall is breached? Is there a contingency plan?
  • It's hard to overstate just how much coast borders the Pacific; tens of thousands of kilometers.
  • Seeing the wall in the film left me intensely skeptical that it would stop creatures of the size mentioned. Kaiju could probably have just climbed over.[4]
  • I recall turrets being mounted on the wall, but pre-Jaeger history taught that kaiju required up to several nuclear strikes to kill. What are we going to load into those turrets?

Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, it didn't work out. What I'm curious about is what made the Pacific Alliance sign off on the idea as a replacement for the Jaeger? What did they realistically expect the wall to accomplish? Are there in-universe reasons or benefits that I have overlooked or am unaware of?

Note: I've only seen the film, not read any novels, but any canon, in-universe reasons will do.


  1. Anti-Kaiju Wall — Wiki Pacific Rim: "The assumption that no Kaiju would attack a wall bordering the coastline was the primary backing for the idea behind supporting the wall over the Jaeger Program."

  2. Jaeger — Wiki Pacific Rim: "Unfortunately, the development of the Jaeger program has not come cheaply. The cost of building the Mark-5 Jaeger Striker Eureka, for example, was reputed to be over a hundred billion dollars, more than ten times the cost of a nuclear aircraft carrier."

  3. Anti-Kaiju Wall — Wiki Pacific Rim: "The belief that the Jaeger Program would benefit the world in the long run was thought to be a hypothesis without a strong basis."

  4. Film snippet: "Breaking News: [...] Alliance in support of the Wall of Life program clearly stated that the constructions would withstand [...] highest category [...]"

    Mutavore breaks through the Wall at Sydney.

  • 5
    Point 4 answers your own question. The wall should have easily withstood the highest (until then) seen category of Kaiju, allowing conventional forces to actually kill them. – Valorum Nov 1 '14 at 21:45
  • @Richard It's very likely that you're right and that that's all there is to it. But seeing the wall made it seem so... unlikely to stop anything like the first creature we saw in the film, so I'm still hoping there's something I missed. – JvR Nov 1 '14 at 22:08
  • I think it comes down to "we can't have Jaegers anymore, so build the wall (the next best thing)"... – Möoz Nov 2 '14 at 21:29
  • I'm with @Richard - up until that point they had only seen the smaller categories, which were dwarfed by the wall. – Omegacron Nov 3 '14 at 19:00
  • Couldn't the smallest kaiju still be able to dig into the outermost layer to climb up it like a bear cub with a tee? How would you protect the Panama Canal? And couldn't they swim around S. America and launch a sneak attack on the other side? – Kings Adviser Mar 19 '15 at 4:47
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The logic behind seems to be pure propaganda, as it fails to meet the most basic of examinations.

Based on the novelization, the idea that the Kaiju would not attack the walls seems to hinge solely on the fact that until the events of the movie, they have not. It seems, however, that the real driving force behind the propaganda for the wall are financial.

From a press release in the novelization:

17 April 2020

For Immediate Release

United Nations to Sunset Jaeger Program; Pan-Pacific Defense Priorities Shift To Coastal Defense, Resettlement

Effective immediately, the United Nations Subcommittee on Kaiju Defense and Security, Pan-Pacific Breach Working Group, is reassigning funding from the Jaeger Program.

The costs of the Jaeger Program have proven unsustainable in view of the limited returns the program offers. In the last three years we have spent trillions on Jaegers. A number of those Jaegers have been destroyed and losses to life and property are devastating.

It could be argued, and has ably been argued by Marshal Pentecost, that our situation would be much worse were it not for the Jaegers. Perhaps so. Yet this is a hypothetical argument, and we are faced with the real-world problem of bankrupting the economies of the developed nations to continue a program whose successes -- however notable -- no longer justify an outlay.

We will sunset the Jaeger program in an manner that continues to prioritize the safety and security of the people of the Pacific Rim nations. While we do this, we will redirect funding toward the following initiatives:

Coastal Barriers

  • No kaiju has attacked a currently standing Wall. The building of these fortifications is the simplest and most cost-effective tool humanity to combat the kaiju threat.

Evacuation and Resettlement Programs

  • Citizens of Pacific coastal cities will be receiving further information as new housing is constructed farther inland, prioritized according to progress on the Wall.

Completion of Undersea Barriers In The South Pacific

  • The kaiju must be contained at all costs, and under no circumstances will they be allowed to break out of the Pacific and threaten Europe, India, or the East Coast of the Americas.

  • The working Group's members wish to thank Marshal Pentecost, his rangers, and the entire staff of the Jaeger program for their courageous service.

  • It's also worth noting that they did manage to kill several of the monsters before their giant mech-warrior program was even started. – Valorum Nov 1 '14 at 22:25
  • @Richard Yeah, but with nuclear weaponry, and they were having environmental issues with that. On the other hand, nuclear fallout >> total wipe-out. – JvR Nov 1 '14 at 22:27
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    @JvR - Huh. You ruin the environment one time and all of a sudden everyone's in favour of giant robots. – Valorum Nov 1 '14 at 22:31
  • 4
    @Richard Are people not already in favour of giant robots? I sure am. – KSmarts Jan 23 '15 at 16:57
  • Put ME down for 1 Daigunzan, a Lazengan on the side please. – Kings Adviser Mar 19 '15 at 4:51

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