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The Godzilla character and franchise have a global and cultural impact in popular culture, however, it is not uncommon for general audiences to make and/or perpetrate misconceptions about Godzilla. The following is a list of Godzilla-related misconceptions, stereotypes, errors, and fallacies.

Note that this list is meant to contextualize and address common misunderstandings on the subject with appropriate clarification, and is not intended to be a platform for discourse.

Characters

Godzilla

Coloration

The MireGoji suit is the only green Godzilla in the films

Beginning in the original 1954 version and throughout the films of the Showa and Heisei era, Godzilla's primary color scheme is usually either charcoal gray or black. However, Godzilla has been depicted as green in films when he is not, a stereotype that started as early as the American poster for the 1956 Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Godzilla has been represented green in media in Japan and even made by Toho, mostly in video games and promotional stills. Some examples include Gojira-Kun, Godzilla vs. 3 Giant Monsters, and Godzilland.

A green Godzilla first appeared in American media, beginning with the Hanna Barbera incarnation in The Godzilla Power Hour, Marvel's Godzilla, King of the Monsters and Dark Horse's Godzilla, King of the Monsters comics. In Japan, Godzilla would not be green until the Millennium series films introduced MireGoji and GiraGoji designs for 1999's Godzilla 2000: Millennium and 2000's Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, as well as the AniGoji design for the AniGoji anime trilogy.

Godzilla Junior, the juvenile Godzillasaurus featured in the films Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is depicted as green in the final two films of the trilogy. However, in Godzilla Island, Godzilla Junior is shown to be soil-brown-colored.

Species

On a broad basis, Godzilla is related to, resembling, or even designated as a type of reptile, but is not an existing species of reptile himself, i.e. calling Godzilla a lizard is inaccurate. The species of Godzilla depends on which incarnation of Godzilla one is speaking of, due to the various origins depicting him as anything ranging from a prehistoric monster who has always been gigantic, a dinosaur mutated by nuclear testing, a mutated sea animal, to even a plant-based creature.

One case in which Godzilla being a lizard is accurate is the monster and its successor from the 1998 American Godzilla film, who are a species of mutated marine iguana.

Atomic breath vs. Fire breath

Godzilla fires his Atomic Breath

Godzilla's atomic breath, sometimes called a heat ray or heat beam, is much more powerful than fire and is typically blue in color, and is usually regarded as stronger when red or orange. While Godzilla's combustive breath weapon is atomic, it often has a flame-like aesthetic, which is prone to be taken as "fire breath". Stronger versions like Nuclear Godzilla and Fire Godzilla do possess atomic breath that mimics the properties of flame, however, this is simply a much more powerful blaze of his atomic breath which he gained because of an incident that grants him higher levels of radiation.

Some versions of Godzilla such as the Marvel Godzilla and the Hanna-Barbera Godzilla however, do depict him as having a normal fire breath, like a dragon would.

Godzilla 1998 blows on two cars with his flammable power breath

Godzilla from the 1998 American Godzilla film is a unique case, lacking neither atomic nor flame breath. A scene in the film that shows the titular monster blowing at a few cars and creating a wall of flame gives the impression of breathing fire. However, this is actually the creature unleashing something that is known as a "Power Breath", a flammable blast of air that, whenever hits something that easily catches on fire, can cause an explosion. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin revealed that they never intended for their Godzilla to have any type of atomic breath whatsoever, but the power breath was put in the film to please the fans that wanted an atomic breath, albeit only as an attempt at making Godzilla "realistic".

However, Godzilla, the 1998 film's monster's son from Godzilla: The Series, does have green atomic breath. His parent also was resurrected in the animated series as Cyber-Godzilla, and had a blue variant, like the Japanese Godzilla does. Originally, though, the 1998 monster's son was not going to possess an atomic heat ray in the 1998 film's sequel, Godzilla 2.

Indestructibility

Godzilla's bones

Each incarnation of the character has different physical stats, strengths and weaknesses, but each version of Godzilla is not indestructible, a fact that is often overlooked by fans and the public. Two consistent weaknesses in the Godzilla franchise are the Oxygen Destroyer and excess radiation. The Oxygen Destroyer reduced Godzilla to nothing (or to bones in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), at a molecular level, and nearly killed Godzilla in Godzilla: King of the Monsters had it not been for his internal radiation keeping him barely alive. A device like the Oxygen Destroyer, the Orthogonal Diagonalizer, was also utilized as an asset in Godzilla Singular Point.

Radiation has been portrayed as both a strength and a burden within the character's history. In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, high radiation triggered a meltdown that completely killed Godzilla and could have been catastrophic to the whole planet had it not been for G-Force freezing him as he melted down and Godzilla Junior absorbing the excess radiation. The meltdown was breaking down his molecules and destroying them at an atomic level. A similar incident occurred after absorbing the energy of a bomb in King of the Monsters, leaving him with a five-minute countdown before his state became critical. Conversely, Shin Godzilla had limited radiation reserves, and as such, could only use his atomic breath so much before he has to go dormant to recharge.

Gender

Godzilla is traditionally identified as male and/or given masculine pronouns in Japanese films. However, the loose portrayal of this aspect tends to lead to ambiguity. One source of confusion is the 1998 American Godzilla film, where the titular monster laid eggs asexually. While it too is officially classified as male despite this ability, this trait suggests it is most likely asexual or hermaphroditic. Nonetheless, there are incarnations with no clear sex or have an inexplicable gender; for example, Shin Godzilla, at one point, was given a feminine design, and a preliminary design for its fifth form featured prominent male genitalia, as well as a design with female elements such as breasts.

However, in various non-film media, such as the Godzilla Gameboy game, Godzilland, the story for the unmade film A Space Godzilla, and other media, female Godzillas or members of Godzilla's species have been present, examples being Bijira and Gojirin.

1962 Godzilla and 1955 Godzilla

The Godzilla in King Kong vs. Godzilla is the same monster which attacked Osaka in 1955

Even though the design is different, the Godzilla from Godzilla Raids Again and from King Kong vs. Godzilla are the same creature.

This is a minor misconception which stems from Universal's American dub of King Kong vs. Godzilla, which states that Godzilla appeared from the iceberg, having slept in it since the Jurassic Period. In reality, this Godzilla is the same Godzilla which fought Anguirus in 1955. This misconception is based on American dub's retcon of the events of the previous two films.

Godzilla 1998/Zilla controversy

Toho's official Zilla™ copyright icon, used for all incarnations of the TriStar Godzilla from 2004 onward

In 1998, the TriStar Pictures film Godzilla depicted an incarnation of the monster who was stated to be a more realistic version of Godzilla. This version sparked large controversy, with accusations of the creature not being a "true Godzilla" due to its portrayal. Because of fan outrage, Toho trademarked the design of the 1998 creature as Zilla™, claiming it "took the 'God' out of 'Godzilla.'" This legal action stipulated all future incarnations of the 1998 monster would be known as Zilla, while the 1998 version could and would retain the name and copyright of Godzilla (Godzilla®) in all media specifically related to and featuring it before 2004.

Thus, officially, there are two versions of the same character based on the 1998 film's monster: the monster from the 1998 film specifically is still Godzilla, while the current (2004-present) version of the monster used by Toho is Zilla.[1]

The reason the two creatures are named differently is merely a case of Toho being unable to rebrand a product they do not legally own full rights to. However, the Godzilla trademark that TriStar had registered has been defunct since about 2001, after the end of the animated series and the subsequent re-absorption of the trademark by Toho.

Following 2001, the 1998 design is now under the Zilla trademark (as the two bear too much resemblance to require two separate trademarks), as are its characteristics and abilities (as demonstrated by Zilla's portrayal in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth).

Both "Godzilla 1998" and "Zilla" can be used to describe the same character by design and in different pieces of fiction, but in legal terms, "Zilla" is the character's current term (due to the aforementioned expiration of the 1998 trademark, and Zilla having been its seeming replacement since 2004). This is supported by the fact that Toho's original agreement with Sony in 1992 to produce an American Godzilla film allowed Toho to use the American version of Godzilla in their own films and licensed media after Sony's rights to the character expired.[2] Zilla would appear in 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, but from Toho exercising this option. When Ryuhei Kitamura and Shogo Tomiyama discovered that they would be able to use TriStar's Godzilla in Godzilla: Final Wars, they decided to trademark it as "Zilla" and feature it in the film.[1]

The Godzilla from Godzilla: The Series is unofficially called "Godzilla Junior", although it is not endorsed by Toho.

King Ghidorah

Keizer Ghidorah

Due to sharing parts of their name, Keizer Ghidorah is sometimes believed to be another version of King Ghidorah. However, they are not the same character nor being another version of King Ghidorah, and is instead another monster in the Ghidorah species. This is supported by the fact that both King Ghidorah and Keizer Ghidorah have two different copyright icons and trademarks each.

Grand King Ghidorah

King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra III

It was suggested that "Grand King Ghidorah" was a separate monster from King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra III. It is unknown exactly where the name "Grand King Ghidorah" originated, however it is not an official name, and is never used to refer to the monster in the film. The monster from the film is actually an incarnation of King Ghidorah, as evidenced by the film's Japanese title, Mothra 3: King Ghidorah Attacks!, and the use of King Ghidorah's copyright icon in DVD releases of the film.

Mothra

Mothra from Rebirth of Mothra and Godzilla vs. Mothra

Mothra in Rebirth of Mothra

The Rebirth of Mothra trilogy and Godzilla Heisei series do not share continuity, and as such, the Mothra in both films are not the same version despite being versions of the same character, as evidenced by their different statistics and origins.

Gender of Mothra Leo

Mothra Leo, Mothra's son, in Rebirth of Mothra

Mothra's son from the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Mothra Leo, is sometimes labeled as female. This is due to Omni Productions' English dubs of the films, which refer to Leo as female in the first and third entries of the trilogy. Leo is intended to be a male character, evidenced by his name, his deeper and more masculine roar and his physical features, especially his larger and fan-shaped antennae, which are made to resemble male moths. Official artwork showing ancient members of Mothra's species during the Cretaceous period supports this, as the Mothras all either resemble Mothra herself (the females) or Mothra Leo (the males).[3]

Gamera

The case of a German bootleg VHS of Gamera vs. Barugon with the title "Gamera vs. Godzilla", featuring altered concept artwork of the TriStar Godzilla on the front, and pictures of Godzilla 1991 on the back

A page from TV Magazine's June 1979 "Godzilla vs. Gamera" feature

Gamera was thought to have encountered Godzilla in a Godzilla film. In short, Gamera and Godzilla have never officially met in a film, due to their intellectual properties always having been owned by rival companies. However, both monsters have had figures released in the same toy lines and are both featured in some official artwork and encyclopedic books together. The two even clashed in a live stage show in 1970.

Gamera is occassionally to be assumed a Toho character himself. One source of the confusion was the assumption that Gamera was acquired by Toho after his original creators, Daiei Motion Picture Company, went bankrupt. Furthermore, Gamera's toy rights are held by Bandai, who also owns the toy rights to Godzilla, and several toy lines have included both Godzilla and Gamera figures. However, in the 2000s, all of Daiei's remaining assets were acquired by the Kadokawa Corporation, who retains ownership of Gamera and all of his films to this day. Toho themselves do not hold any ownership over Gamera, and the distribution rights to the Heisei trilogy along with all other Gamera films are now held by the Kadokawa Corporation.

For this same reason, the Millennium series only applies to the Godzilla series, and Gamera: The Brave is still considered part of the Heisei series despite not sharing continuity with Shusuke Kaneko's Gamera trilogy. This is evidenced by the inclusion of Gamera: The Brave in a book entitled Heisei Gamera Perfection.[4] In Japan, fans often refer to it as the "Shinsei version" (新生版,   Shinsei-ban?) to distinguish it from the trilogy.

Kadokawa reportedly did approach Toho with a proposal for a Godzilla vs. Gamera film in the 2000s, but Toho declined.[citation needed]

Film

Godzilla vs. The Devil

Godzilla vs. The Devil, also known as Godzilla vs. Satan, was supposedly an unmade Godzilla film proposed by Tomoyuki Tanaka in 1978 as an attempt to revive him after the poor box office performance of 1975's Terror of Mechagodzilla that never got past the planning stages. It supposedly was known that Godzilla would have been pitted against several demon monsters and finally would have squared off against Satan himself in a climactic final battle.

A page explaining the 'Devil' was meant to be Bagan

"Godzilla vs. The Devil" was a misconception which got well-known due to Toho Kingdom hosting it for several years.[5] Anthony Romero of Toho Kingdom apologized for hosting this content in the "Toho Busters" article, saying "Toho Kingdom itself is guilty of this as well, as the concept was listed on the site for years. Regardless, the project was not something that Toho had officially considered."

The whole idea came from a misreading of an early script for a Godzilla film in the 80s before The Return of Godzilla. Bagan was originally meant to be in the film, and the codename for the script was 'Godzilla vs the Devil' [5]

Japanese ending of King Kong vs. Godzilla

Prior to the invention of the internet to disprove this, a statement circulated that the ending of the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla portrayed Godzilla being victorious in the end. According to this misconception, there were two endings for the 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla, one that played in the United States where King Kong surfaces from the water at the end of the film and another that played in Japan where Godzilla is the one who surfaces. However, it is King Kong who triumphs at the end of both versions, the only difference being that in the Japanese version the characters speculate that Godzilla may still be alive, while in the American version they merely state they hope they have seen the last of Godzilla.

Godzilla vs. Megalon German dub

In the German release of the film, Jet Jaguar was erroneously marketed under the name "King Kong" for marquee value.

Heisei timeline

A newspaper article detailing the nuclear submarine crash that created the Heisei Godzilla

A common misconception comes from the film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, in which time travelers from the future travel back to 1944 and remove a Godzillasaurus from Lagos Island and place it in the Bering Sea, believing it will prevent Godzilla's creation by the H-bomb test at Bikini Atoll and remove him from history. Because the script is somewhat vague about what really happened, many fans believe that the Futurians' actions erased the events of Godzilla (1954), The Return of Godzilla, and Godzilla vs. Biollante from the timeline, and a new Godzilla was created instead and appeared in the remaining films in the Heisei series.

This is however, not the case, as this film and the ones after it point out. The Futurians' actions did not affect the creation of the first Godzilla that attacked Tokyo in 1954, because this Godzilla was a separate individual from the Godzillasaurus on Lagos Island, and was still killed by the Oxygen Destroyer. The Godzillasaurus in the Bering Sea was exposed to radiation from a nuclear submarine crash and transformed into a new Godzilla, which attacked Japan in 1984, meaning the events of The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante still happened normally, and the Futurians' actions actually created the Heisei Godzilla in the first place, therefore incurring a predestination paradox and ensuring that the timeline did not actually change in any large way. This is demonstrated by the fact that the human characters still remember the events of the previous films, and the events of said films are referenced in later entries, which also explicitly point out that the 1954 and Heisei Godzillas were separate individuals.[6] Logically, this explanation also makes sense when applied to current knowledge of temporal events - Had the events of 1984 and 1989 been made non-existent, any human beings who were directly involved in those events would have ceased to exist.

Furthermore, by confusion of the ending of the Heisei era and the Millennium series' retcons, is was believed that the first Godzilla in the Millennium series was Godzilla Junior continuing from the Heisei continuity. However, these are two different continuities: Godzilla Junior was present only for the Heisei timeline, whereas the Millennium Godzilla was in the aptly named, but largely unrelated Millennium series. This is also confirmed by Godzilla.jp, that the Godzilla in Godzilla 2000 is the second Godzilla in that film's continuity after the original Godzilla that attacked in 1954, while Godzilla Junior was the third Godzilla in the Heisei continuity.

Shin Godzilla and 2014 Godzilla

When Toho announced production of a new Japanese Godzilla film for 2016 after the release of Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, many interpreted this to be a sort of negative retaliation for Legendary's take on the franchise. Some also saw it as an attempt by Toho to outdo Legendary and bring back the "real Godzilla", similar to Toho's production of Godzilla 2000: Millennium in the wake of the backlash to the 1998 Godzilla. This thinking was only strengthened by the announcement that the new Godzilla would stand taller than Legendary's version and the film's official Japanese title, Shin Gojira, which literally translated means True Godzilla.

However, Toho confirmed from the start that it approved of Legendary's film and decided to produce Shin Godzilla to actually celebrate the new interest the film had generated in the franchise. Toho demonstrated its support for Legendary's Godzilla when it sold the rights to Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah to Legendary and approved the production of sequels to the film, including a crossover with King Kong. These rights would become integral to Legendary's subsequent MonsterVerse film series, with the characters making their appearances in the 2019 film Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the 2021 film Godzilla vs. Kong.

The film's co-director and special effects director, Shinji Higuchi, later called the 2014 Godzilla a "masterpiece" in an interview.[7] The film's title was chosen because chief director and screenwriter Hideaki Anno saw it as a revival to the franchise and felt that the title could represent various different meanings: other translations for Shin could be New or God.[8]

Miscellaneous

Kaiju suit construction

Many people around the world may think the Godzilla suits are only made out of rubber, but this is not entirely true; While latex and rubber-based derivatives are frequently used in the construction of Kaiju suits, numerous other materials are also used.

Most suits are made from a method called "foam fabrication." They start as patterns and plans of the creature based on the suit actor and the design. Then, the patterns are converted into sheets of upholstery foam that were are cut, glued and sculpted into the creature's shape.

After the foam structure is done, the outside is covered with contact adhesive (a flexible glue used in the industry and used to glue the foam) and then the skin texture in pushed-in with wooden tools. Finally, the suit is sealed with a few coats of liquid latex (natural rubber derived from the latex tree) and a good coat of paint.

In the Showa era, the heads were made from baking clay. In conclusion, rubber is used in the construction of most kaiju suits, but it is only one component in a complex process in which several other materials are used as well.

References

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