Subject: Godzilla (monster) Sun May 23, 2010 7:19 am
Height: 50–100 meters (164–328 feet)
Weight: 20,000–60,000 tons
Species Revived sea creature (Showa and Millennium)
Irradiated Godzillasaurus (Heisei)
Godzilla is the main character of all of the Godzilla films, though there are numerous different versions of the monster. The silver screen is not the only place Godzilla has appeared; there have been literary sources that have expanded the universe of Godzilla. The Godzilla universe, and the character itself have also starred in comic books, manga, Japanese television and many cartoons.
The Showa-era Godzilla films were the first of the film series. In total, there are 15 Showa-era films, making them amount to over half the total Godzilla movies currently in existence.
The first film was simply titled Godzilla (1954). In the original film, Godzilla was portrayed as a terrible and destructive monster. Following the success of Godzilla, Toho started filming a quickie sequel called Godzilla Raids Again.. In this film, a new Godzilla was set up to fight another revived dinosaur, called Anguirus. This second film started a trend for Godzilla films, where Godzilla would fight other giant monsters. In this film as well, Godzilla was portrayed as a villain. This portrayal would continue for two more films. In his fifth film, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla took the role of a hero. From that point onto the end of the Showa series, Godzilla stayed a hero, protecting Japan against attacks from other monsters, aliens, etc. At one point, Godzilla even adopted a son, Minilla, in Son of Godzilla, who would make appearances in later Showa-era films.
Godzilla's appearance has changed over the years, but many of his characteristics have remained constant. His roar has remained the same, only changing in pitch, as in the first two films of the Heisei films, it became deep and heavy, before returning to the more classic sound with only slight variations in the pitch and occasionally a kind of background roar inserted into the main sound. Godzilla's approximate appearance, regardless of the design of the suit utilized for the creature, remains the same general shape, which is instantly recognizable: a giant, mutant dinosaur with rough, bumpy charcoal gray scales, a long powerful tail, and jagged, bone colored dorsal fins. Godzilla's iconic character design is a blended chimera inspired by various prehistoric reptiles, gleaned from children's dinosaur books and illustrations from an issue of Life magazine: Godzilla has the head and lower body of a Tyrannosaurus, a triple row of dorsal plates reminiscent of a Stegosaurus, the neck and forearms of Iguanodon and the tail and skin texture of a crocodile. Godzilla's dorsal plates have themselves altered in size and appearance over the years, with the outer rows sometimes being almost dwarfed by the central row, and sometimes being only slightly lesser in size. In at least two of the films from the Showa era, the central plates looked almost as though they were made of soft, somewhat puffed up tissue, rather than bone. This was due to the design of the suits used for a pair of films; Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla.
Godzilla's body and facial structure changed often from film to film. The first films depicted the creature with a more feral head and facial structure, to indicate his status as a feared threat. As the character became more of a heroic figure- particularly to children, who became a large part of Godzilla's target audience from 1965 until 1978 in the Showa era, the creature's look was softened somewhat, and made to look more intelligent in order to reflect the change in Godzilla's role in the films from threat to hero. When the Heisei era of films was produced, Godzilla's appearance was generally uniform, and was meant to show Godzilla as an implacable force of nature and thus given a harder and more menacing appearance. In the Millennium era, Godzilla's appearance was uniform in four out of the six films of that era, looking more wild and yet depicting the creature as having human or near-human intelligence in all of the films, including the two films in which Godzilla appearance changed radically from the rest of the film series: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and Godzilla: Final Wars. Godzilla was originally believed by many to be green when the original black and white film was produced, and promotional artwork in America and other English speaking countries depicted him as such. The creature was also depicted as being green in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon and a number of toys in the United States prior to the Trendmasters toy line, which depicted Godzilla in his actual coloration. Godzilla actually has a greenish hue about him in Godzilla 2000 and again in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, but returns to his classic charcoal gray in subsequent films in the Millenium series starting with GMK.
Although his origins vary somewhat from film to film, he is always described as a prehistoric creature, who first appeared and attacked Japan at the beginning of the Atomic Age. In particular, mutation due to atomic radiation is presented as an explanation for his size and powers. The most notable of Godzilla's resulting abilities is a his atomic breath; a powerful heat ray of thermonuclear energy that he is able to fire from his mouth. Godzilla is also depicted as being resistant to damage thanks to a tough hide and an advanced healing factor, which itself became a focal point in Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla 2000. He is portrayed as being strong and dextrous, sometimes utilizing martial arts techniques in combat. Described as a transitional form between aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates in the original film, Godzilla is able to survive in the ocean for indefinite periods of time and is as adept a fighter underwater as he is on land.
These particular abilities are portrayed consistently among Godzilla's many incarnations, though he also possesses skills, often employed as weapons of last resort that are only seen on rare occasions, such as his nuclear pulse, an unnamed wave of nuclear energy that can be pumped directly into a foe (as seen in the climax of his battle with Orga in Godzilla 2000), magnetic powers, and even the ability to fly. Over the years the fictional mutant dinosaur Godzilla has possessed many powers and abilities to be used against his foes. Godzilla is generally considered to be the most powerful kaiju.
Atomic breath/Nuclear beam/Radioactive ray Godzilla's signature weapon is his distinctive atomic breath. Godzilla's dorsal spines glow ominously, and then he lets loose with a concentrated blast of radiation from his mouth. This power is commonly mistaken for breathing fire. Godzilla has been shown apparently being able to adjust the intensity of his ray, varying from a blast of superheated vapor (such as in the 1950s and 1960s) to a beam with explosive and concussive properties (in the 1970s and onward). In most of the films, his breath is neon-blue like in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, although in some films it is reddish-orange.
In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Godzilla's ray was shown as having incendiary properties and was strong enough to destroy an artificial miniature black hole, while in Godzilla: Final Wars it possessed incredible range, power and pin-point accuracy, able to hit a target in outer space and kill most kaiju with a single shot. In a memorable (and somewhat infamous) scene in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla even used his ray to fly by aiming it at the ground and lifting off like a rocket. His ray can also power electrodes, melt steel and rock and evaporate water instantly.
Another variation of the standard blue atomic breath in the Heisei series was the powerful Red Spiral Atomic Ray which he acquired as a result of absorbing Fire Rodan's life energy and only used under dire situations (in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah the spiral atomic breath completely replaced the normal atomic breath, due to the amounts of power his nuclear heart was giving off). It is so powerful that only one blast of it was sufficient to completely destroy Super Mechagodzilla and SpaceGodzilla, though Destoroyah was barely able to withstand several hits. The Red Spiral Atomic Breath was used in the Heisei films Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and the Millennium film Godzilla: Final Wars. It should be noted that the orange atomic ray seen in "Godzilla 2000" and "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus" is not the Red Spiral Atomic Ray, but a variation of the standard blue atomic breath Nuclear pulse, magnetic aura, and other powers In addition to his deadly atomic breath, Godzilla can also emit atomic energy in all directions from every inch of his body in a short-range pulse called the nuclear pulse. Godzilla utilises it by swallowing his breath  and can be used to shove opponents in close combat (such as in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah). The pulse was first seen in his fight against Biollante. Godzilla used the nuclear pulse in the Heisei series and in Godzilla 2000 the attack was used to kill the mutant alien Orga. In Godzilla: Final Wars, after being surged with Ozaki's energy, Godzilla uses something similar to a nuclear pulse to prevent Kaiser Ghidorah from draining any more of his energy.
In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla Godzilla found a way to generate powerful magnetic fields from his body after being struck several times by lightning, which proved devastating against his metallic foe. This is the only time Godzilla ever used this power. Regeneration Godzilla has displayed an uncanny ability to resist injury. Starting in the first Godzilla film, Godzilla displayed an immunity to conventional weaponry, virtually impervious to the JSDF's attacks and he is even shown to be resistant to technology from the future. He has demonstrated the ability to survive complete submersion in magma for an extended period of time. He has even survived being in ground zero of asteroid impacts and being buried under tons of ice for years at a time, seemingly cut off from any oxygen source. His hide has been breached only occasionally (usually only by other kaiju like Gigan, Biollante, King Ghidorah, Destoroyah and MechaGodzilla).
In addition, Godzilla possesses an extremely advanced and highly efficient regenerative ability. This power was a crucial plot point in Godzilla vs Biollante and Godzilla 2000. In Godzilla 2000 it is explained that Godzilla's regenerative abilities may have something to do with his radioactive properties. Regenerator G1 is the name given to a substance in his cells that is responsible for Godzilla's swift healing. Even neural tissue can be rebuilt by Godzilla's regeneration. This is remarkable since neural tissue does not heal in naturally occurring organisms. In Godzilla vs. Biollante Japanese scientists use samples of Godzilla cells (called G-cells throughout the Heisei series of Godzilla films) to help create the ANEB. This healing factor would be inherited by all creatures spawned from Godzilla's DNA, those being Biollante, SpaceGodzilla and Orga. At the very end of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, after Godzilla has been completely obliterated, or so they all think, his heart is seen beating on the ocean floor, suggesting Godzilla's Regenerator G1 would allow him to completely regenerate himself from just a heart and even a single amino acid, perhaps suggesting how he survived the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954. However, his healing abilities have not been entirely consistent through the series. In Godzilla: Tokyo SOS for example he was still recovering from injuries received in the previous film.
 Physical abilities Godzilla has displayed varied levels of physical strength. He has been depicted lifting and throwing monsters in excess of his own weight (such as King Ghidorah, Hedorah, Mechagodzilla and others) and in Godzilla: Final Wars was able to throw Kumonga clearly beyond the horizon. He is shown using various martial arts techniques in a comical fashion during the original Showa series and sprinting with astonishing velocity belying his size such as in Zone Fighter. In the Millennium series he has been able to leap high into the air. However, many of the films show Godzilla preferring to battle his opponents from a distance, particularly in the Heisei series. But it has been shown in virtually all the films that Godzilla is effective battling either at range or close combat.
Godzilla's long tail is also a formidable weapon. It has been shown to be flexible and powerful, able to lash out quickly and topple over buildings and enemy monsters. He is able to swing it both horizontally and vertically; an ability that normal reptiles, dinosaurs or otherwise, do not possess. In Godzilla vs. Megalon he was able to slide on his tail to deliver a kick, as well as kick himself up with his tail temporarily to kick down King Kong which was seen in King Kong vs. Godzilla. In Godzilla vs. Biollante Godzilla further damaged the Super X-2 with a quick tail swipe after crippling it with his atomic breath. In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II he used his powerful tail against Mechagodzilla delivering damage that rated level 8.
In all his incarnations he has been shown to have powerful jaws and sharp teeth and claws. Rarely, Godzilla has also used his dorsal fins as weapons, such as in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, when he uses their jagged tips to slice off Megaguirus' claw and in Godzilla vs. Hedorah where he used them to cut into Hedorah in mid-air Radiation Godzilla's body constantly emits its own radiation similar to that of nuclear fission. The exact nature of this radiation is unclear. It has been shown to contaminate water sources, raise ocean temperatures of a limited area and even create mutations (the giant sea louse in The Return of Godzilla). His footprints as well as objects and people he has had close contact with hold traces that register on a geiger counter, while Godzilla himself will register at a distance of several hundred feet. His radiation, however, doesn't appear to be profusely destructive. In Godzilla an underwater scene showed Godzilla with several fish swimming in his close proximity and they were not visibly affected. Also, wilderness areas where Godzilla has appeared suffer no visible signs of fallout from his presence and cities he attacks are never abandoned permanently.
In the Showa series Godzilla was carnivorous (it is assumed, though he is never seen to eat anything throughout the series) while in the Heisei series it is insinuated that Godzilla feeds on radiation and the more he absorbs, the larger and more powerful he gets. He is seen attacking nuclear powered submarines, reactor plants and was once revived by a radioactive storm. It has been speculated that his heart is the theoretical equivalent of a power reactor. This canon was somewhat carried over to the Millennium series though it was not again pursued as a significant plot point.
Amphibiousness Godzilla is described in the original film by Doctor Yamane as a transitional form between aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates. He spends most of his life at sea, coming ashore to wreak havoc and/or save the day. Capable of marching on the sea floor or swimming by undulating his tail like a crocodile, sometimes with his dorsal fins breaking the surface. Godzilla is almost certainly able to somehow extract oxygen from water, occasionally remaining in the ocean depths for periods of months or years, though there has been no official explanation or reference to this ability. Godzilla also seems to be able to control his own buoyancy, often staying on the surface of open water in an upright position and maintaining it under extreme duress, and sinking to the bottom without visible effort. Like his ability to breathe under water this has never been explained. He can also withstand the pressure of extreme depths without difficulty. Being submerged apparently does not impede his atomic breath. He is as excellent a fighter underwater as he is on land and engages opponents in the sea on multiple occasions, fighting monsters either beneath or on the surface of the waves.
Intelligence The extent of Godzilla's intelligence varies throughout the character's history, but Godzilla is generally depicted as a monster of some level of intelligence. In the original Godzilla film and its early sequels he is depicted with a simplistic animal cunning, but as the Showa series progressed he is seen as being as intelligent as a human, capable of abstract thought, relating cause and effect, and having a high level of self-awareness. Godzilla was shown to be able to figure out that his atomic breath could be used to power the electrodes needed to dry out Hedorah in Godzilla vs. Hedorah and able to communicate with other monsters. He can even be heard 'talking' to Anguirus in Godzilla vs. Gigan (in the American release they spoke in distorted English while in the Japanese version they communicated via word balloons). Godzilla has even been depicted as having a sense of humor, as shown when the atomic titan laughs at Rodan (and apparently using rude language) during Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
In the Heisei series Godzilla reacts on animal cunning and instinct more consecutively than in his Showa counterpart, as demonstrated by his conditioned response in The Return of Godzilla. He was still capable of independent thought, however and according to Miki Saegusa of human-like sentiments as well. This was corroborated by his mourning the death of Godzilla Junior in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Also in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II he seems to destroy Mechagodzilla out of rage at Rodan's death. It was insinuated in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah that he also remembers the distant past. The Heisei Godzilla was psychic on some level, possibly the most powerful in existence. His evasion of the JSDF in Godzilla vs. Biollante seemed to carry implications of precognition. Additionally, he had some manner of psychic link with Godzilla Junior and has several times demonstrated the ability to locate potential opponents from great distances.
In the Millennium series, Godzilla's behavior was again limited to a simplistic animal cunning. He was shown to be capable of abstract, even strategical thinking but displayed little to no anthropomorphism.
 Weaknesses Despite his incredible power, Godzilla has displayed a few weaknesses over the years. In King Kong vs. Godzilla and Mothra vs. Godzilla he is shown to be vulnerable to electricity, shying away from even the smallest source as shown in several of the films where he is assaulted by maser cannons and King Ghidorah's electrical gravity beams. However, the electrical barrier in the original Godzilla didn't appear to cause problems for Godzilla. Additionally, lightning (i.e., electricity found in nature) has been shown to have the opposite effect, at times serving to revitalize him. In The Return of Godzilla Godzilla was shown to be vulnerable to cadmium, though Godzilla's immune system was able to overcome it. Later on, Godzilla is revealed to have a second brain in his spine with Super Mechagodzilla being able to paralyze him by destroying it. Nevertheless, he was revived by Fire Rodan and further films seem to ignore this Achilles heel. It was also suggested in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla that Godzilla has a soft spot under each armpit. However, the validity of this claim was highly dubious and this alleged weak point was never successfully exploited. Godzilla's sheer bulk has also been depicted as a disadvantage, making it difficult for him to keep up with the more agile Megaguirus, who was able to outmaneuver him as well as forcing Godzilla to have to rely heavily on his endurance. Also, while he has an endurance level beyond measure, his enemies usually counter by trying to crush and batter him.
To date, the only weapons ever shown to be close to effective against Godzilla were Dr. Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer and Dr. Shiragami's ANEB (Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria). In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah the Oxygen Destroyer created the monster Destoroyah. The ANEB was a chemical compound developed from Godzilla's cells and designed to consume radioactivity. The bacteria managed to lower the radioactivity within Godzilla's body to the point of causing him to hibernate in the sea for three years. Godzilla was then resurrected in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah when travelers from the future tampered with the timeline, creating a larger, more powerful Godzilla. There were apparently no further attempts to use the ANEB against Godzilla.
Anti-Godzilla weapons Due to Godzilla's size, super-strength and regenerative abilities, he is invulnerable to most forms of conventional attack. However, over the years, there have been some weapons that were able to hurt or even damage Godzilla.
Note: This list is for man-made weapons. Other monsters and forces of nature don't count.
Oxygen destroyer - (first appeared in Godzilla (film)) The Oxygen Destroyer was a pod designed to split oxygen atoms into a fluid and then disintegrates the molecules, causing living creatures to die of asphyxiation as their remains are liquefied. The Oxygen Destroyer was the first weapon to ever defeat Godzilla. However, it did not kill him, as he can regenerate, even when turned to a skeleton. Examples: In the Heisei series, Godzilla survived the Oxegen Destroyer and falling into a volcano. In the Millennium series, in Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla has survived the Oxygen Destroyer. However, in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the original Godzilla was found dead and the bones were used to make Kiryu to destroy another Godzilla. Super X - (first appeared in The Return of Godzilla) The Super X was a hovercraft designed with cadmium missiles, radiation shields and high-intensity lasers to fight Godzilla. Its missiles were able to knock out Godzilla by slowing down the nuclear reactions in his body, but Godzilla was revitalized by a radiation cloud caused by a Russian missile. The Super X was ultimately destroyed when Godzilla dropped a building on it. Upgrades of the Super X appeared in the later films Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Mecha-King Ghidorah - (first appeared in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) This mecha was built over the corpse of Godzilla's archenemy, King Ghidorah, and was piloted by Futurian, Emmy Kano. Despite taking heavy damage from Godzilla, Mecha-King Ghidorah was able to hang onto him long enough until Godzilla unleashed his atomic breath on him, one more time killing him and sending them both plummeting into the ocean. Mechagodzilla - (first appeared Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) The first Mechagodzilla was created as a weapon of destruction by the Simians. It was originally covered with a pseudo-flesh covering. Mechagodzilla went on a rampage through Japan and even battled Godzilla's longtime ally, Anguirus. Godzilla eventually showed up and revealed the "evil Godzilla" as a robot imposter. Mechagodzilla's body was constructed of a nearly indestructible alloy known as "Space Titanium", was equipped with a staggering amount of firepower and had rockets for flight. Godzilla defeated it by pulling its head off. Mechagodzilla would later return, along with its new ally, Titanosaurus, in Terror of Mechagodzilla. A second version of Mechagodzilla appeared in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. This one was built by the JSDF, as a defensive weapon against Godzilla and other monsters like Rodan. It was designed from Futurian technology from the remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah. It still had a large assortment of weapons and was able to fly. It was even able to join with a shuttlecraft called Garuda to form Super-Mechagodzilla. It was successfully able to repel Godzilla and may have even been able to beat him if Rodan had not sacrificed his life to save Godzilla. Mechagodzilla was then destroyed by Godzilla. A third version of Mechagodzilla appeared in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. This time a manned mecha called Kiryu was built around the skeleton of the original Godzilla. However, DNA in the bones caused Mechagodzilla to remember that it was once Godzilla and it went on a rampage
The Showa-era movies played on a lot of fears and interests of people during the time period in which they were made. For instance, Godzilla was a movie designed to warn people about the use and testing of nuclear weapons. Likewise, Godzilla vs. Hedorah was designed to carry a message about the dangers of pollution. As space exploration and the Space Age were extremely popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many of Godzilla's films revolved around Godzilla fighting alien monsters, or involved an alien invasion in some shape or form. For instance, in the movie Destroy All Monsters, an alien race had managed to take control of all of Earth's monsters, who were eventually freed from their control, and destroyed the aliens who had put them under control.
The Heisei-era Godzilla films were the second of the film series. In total, there were 7 Heisei-era films, making them amount to one fourth the total Godzilla movies in existence.
The Heisei-era films differed drastically from the Showa-era films in a variety of ways. The most prominent difference is that the Godzilla outfit was changed to look much more intimidating than previous suits. Another significant difference is that Toho did away with Godzilla being the hero of the films. While occasionally Godzilla would take the role of an anti-hero, although he was still consistently portrayed as hazardous to humanity throughout the films. What else changed was that the series was given an overall plotline. Each movie happened in some sort of sequence, and generally referenced previous movies to further the plot of the series.
As in the Showa era, the first Godzilla movie of the Heisei era, The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla was the only monster to make an appearance. All succeeding Heisei-era movies would have Godzilla fight other giant monsters. Like the Showa series, Godzilla adopted a son, Baby Godzilla, as his own child. In the final Heisei-era movie, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla dies after undergoing a nuclear meltdown, and his son (by that point almost half as tall as his father and called Godzilla Junior) absorbs the radiation and quickly matures to become the new King of the Monsters.
In much the same way that the Showa-era played on fears and interests of people during the time period of production, Heisei-era Godzilla films made some attempts at making statements on popular topics for their time period. One good example would be Godzilla vs. Biollante made explicit warnings against research involving genetic engineering. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah touched very lightly on the subject of communism, implying a negative view on it, and introduced a time-travel plot. Other themes in the movies included commenting on research into hazardous material and environmental statements.
In 1998, TriStar Pictures produced a remake set in New York City, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Matthew Broderick; the film's name was simply Godzilla. Despite mixed to negative reviews and negative Godzilla fan reaction, the film was a financial success, taking in nearly $380 million worldwide and had an animated television series called Godzilla: The Series.
The Millennium series of Godzilla films are the third and currently final of the film series. There are 6 of these films, making them slightly under a fourth the total of the series.
The Millennium series attempts to bring Godzilla a little bit back to his roots by eliminating a few of the things that the Heisei-era films had done. The most notable of these changes are, with one exception, the lack of any real continuity in the movies. Godzilla is, however, still a hazard in the Millennium series, and is always a destructive force who will occasionally act as the anti-hero. The Millennium series, like the Heisei and Showa era films played a little bit on the interests and fears of people, although the themes were much less emphasized in the films. One such instance is in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, where the monster Megaguirus is created from an artificially-created black hole, touching on popular science-fiction plots.
The 2004 Godzilla: Final Wars, marked the supposed end to the Godzilla series. Final Wars yet again put evil aliens on Earth, and made Godzilla out to be the hero. Almost every major Godzilla antagonist was in Final Wars, including Anguirus, Rodan and even a monster named Zilla