|“||Godzilla is the son of the atomic bomb. He is a nightmare created out of the darkness of the human soul. He is the sacred beast of the apocalypse.||„|
|~ Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|“||You have your fear which might become a reality; and you have Godzilla, which is Reality.||„|
|~ Ogata to Serizawa|
|“||We call him... Gojira.||„|
|~ Dr. Ishiro Serizawa in Godzilla (2014).|
Godzilla, also known in Japanese as Gojira, is a fictional character and the main anti-hero protagonist of the Godzilla franchise, including the movie series, comics, cartoons and video games. He is a famous daikaijū, or a Giant movie monster, who first appeared as the titular primary antagonist of Ishirō Honda's 1954 classic giant monster film, Godzilla. Since then, Godzilla has gone on to become a worldwide pop culture icon starring in over 28 Japanese films produced by Toho Co., Ltd., and 2 American films; 1 film released in 1998, produced by TriStar Pictures and featuring Zilla and another film released in 2014 by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. with a future trilogy in production. The 1998 version is widely disfavored and is not considered a Godzilla film whilst the 2014 version was generally positively received and is considered to be a Godzilla film.
With the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still fresh in the Japanese consciousness, Godzilla was conceived as a monster created by nuclear detonations and a metaphor for nuclear weapons in general. As the film series expanded, the stories took on less serious undertones portraying Godzilla in the role of a hero or an ally of humans, but only when facing a common foe or to protect planet Earth. Sometimes he is admired by children, but even in these depictions, most humans still fear Godzilla. In some films, Godzilla has even teamed up with fellow monsters to save the world or themselves, usually teaming with Rodan and Mothra. Godzilla's most famous enemies are known to be King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla.
Despite being the main protagonist of the series, Godzilla has committed numerous villainous acts of destroying cities, attacking humanity and wreck havoc on the world. These actions are also known to have caused Godzilla to cross the Moral Event Horizon.
Godzilla's appearance has changed between films over the years, but many defining details have endured. In the Japanese films, Godzilla is depicted as a gigantic dinosaur with rough, bumpy, usually charcoal gray scales, a long powerful tail, and generally bone-white dorsal plates, generally shaped like maple leaves, though there are some designs whose traits may differ. His origins vary somewhat from film to film, but he is almost always described as a prehistoric creature (be it an intermediate reptile that scarred by nuclear radiation, an ancient reptillian lifeform that feed on natural atomic radiation as food whom interested with mankind's usage on atomic power or superorganism evolved from nuclear wastes), and his first attacks on Japan are linked to the beginning of the Atomic Age. In particular, mutation due to atomic radiation is presented as an explanation for his great size and strange powers. Godzilla's iconic design is composed of a mixture of various species of dinosaurs; specifically, he has the body and overall shape of an old model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the long arms of an Iguanodon, and the dorsal plates of a Stegosaurus.
In response of failed Hollywood incarnation that Toho denounced as separate kaiju called Zilla, Hollywood filmmakers, whom later worked on ongoing MonsterVerse series, eventually recreated the Hollywood version of the character that more faithful with Toho's Godzillas where this Godzilla designed to be resembled his original counterparts. Even so, this Godzilla was given more natural physiology than the rest of his incarnations because in MonsterVerse series, he was the last known member of ancient reptillian kaiju of the same name who naturally evolved to gained their nuclear-based powers due to in prehistoric times where his kind roamed the planet, radiation at that time was higher than in present day, and thus not gained his powers from humans' nuclear tests and therefore, lacked keloid scars other incarnations usually possessed.
For MonsterVerse's incarnation of the character, his face is shaped very squarely, with a broad neck and possesses gills that enable him to stay underwater indefinitely. His eyes are a yellow color, and his teeth are small and not nearly as straightly lined up as many previous Godzilla incarnations. His nostrils are more separate than previous incarnations, with them being in opposite sides of the snout. Godzilla's head and neck seem to lean forward more so than any previous design. His dorsal plates are smaller than the previous designs, but they still retain the core maple-leaf shape, although straighter and very sharp, somewhat like the Godzilla from Godzilla 2000: Millennium. His claws are a black color, and his feet are wider and resemble an elephant's foot more than the other Godzillas' feet do. His skin is more reptile-like and crocodile-like as opposed of resembling keloid scars and rougher than the other incarnations, and is a blackish color. His body and tail are very wide as well, making him look somewhat bulkier than other Godzilla designs.
Legendary Pictures has confirmed that their Godzilla's tail is 550 feet and 4 inches long, his height is 355 feet, there are exactly 89 dorsal plates running down his back, the palm of his hands are 34 feet and 4 inches each, and that his roar can be heard from three miles away.
While Godzilla still portrayed as colossal prehistoric reptilian kaiju as before, this version of Godzilla depicted with more advanced physiology than his predecessors' due to possessing eight times the genetic information of human beings in spite of originally member of an unspecified prehistoric sea creature whom species closely related to prehistoric marine reptiles that first emerged in the Paleozoic Era (which explained this Godzilla's course of evolution where he took more and more reptillian appearance). As result Godzilla had five forms:
Aside comfirmed to have a long tail and is mentioned by Ogashira that he had gills and fin-like legs, what Godzilla's first form looked like is unclear. However, those informations suggested that Godzilla's first form looked similar with his second form albeit more tadpole-like given that in his second form, he still possesses large gills and newly developed legs.
Soon after made his presence known, Godzilla make his way for Tokyo where he now have a pair of fully-functional digitigrade legs that suit for better locomotion on land. Because the legs were newly developed for land movement at that time, Godzilla only able to stands horizontally, with his body held parallel to the ground. He now began to grow arms that developed in slower rate compared to his legs as they were just in form of small, developing stubs. He also has a pair of huge eyes with small black pupils. His skin is a beige color, and has large pulsating gills on the sides of his neck, which leak a red, blood-like fluid as he moves. He also sports several rows of small tan dorsal plates on his back.
Upon developed into third form, Godzilla began to change his posture into more like either Godzillasaurus' from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah or several older theropod reconstructions thanks to further development of his legs. Aside his more upright posture, his skin now turned reddish in color, which also glows due to cooling system for nuclear energy in his body is yet to fully developed for adaptation on land. His arms also developed further as well, where the arm now sprouts still-developing fingers. Since the course of his evolution now intended to have better physiology for adapting land environments, Godzilla's gills now closed and reduced in prominence albeit still functions when he need to go to ocean to cool off his body until biological cooling system for nuclear energy in his body fully developed.
After further evolution to the point his body now suit for adapting land environment as well as completed the development of his nuclear energy's natural cooling system, Godzilla now no longer need to retreat to ocean to cooling his body. While his appearance now more like the rest of his incarnations (particulary the one that featured in 1954 film), the result of his evolution for fully adapted on land made him completely hideous and looked like a skeletal, undead being: He had numerous gaps on his hide that resulting his muscles over several parts of its body exposed. Godzilla's rib cage protrudes from the rest of his body, coming to a pointed and pronounced sternum, far more pronounced than the Godzilla designs from the Heisei series. This design also appears to possess a longer neck than previous versions. He also possesses countless uneven rows of jagged, shark-like teeth inside his mouth and a pronounced nose with large round nostrils, and his mouth extends partially into his cheeks, some teeth protruding from the skin above and underneath his mouth. Not only that, he also possesses red scales resembling keloid scars to give of impression that he seemingly the victim of Hydrogen bomb, where many of them running into structures in his black dorsal plates which are reminiscent of blood vessels. His arms now more developed albeit looked emaciated and still short compared to the rest of his incarnations'. Godzilla's tail is noticeably longer than his own body, where the tip of it red and bloody, and is covered in twisted, mangled bones. The very end of his tail appears to have a small, mostly skeletal face/skull that had prominent jaw that later can be opened like actual jaw. Godzilla used this face/skull to fire his second atomic beam to simultaneously beamed his atomic breath to two targets at once.
In spite of drastic changes on his body due to evolution progress, there are still some traits that still remained. First of all, Godzilla still retained his digitigrade-style posture in spite of the extreme developement on his legs. Godzilla also retained his gills, though smaller than in his previous forms and may useless due to his current physiology. Even after his eyes shrunk, Godzilla still lacked eyelids, and only had protective membrane in place of it instead that both protected them from intense light from his atomic breath and functioned like typical eyelid do that he closed when entering coma-like state.
Whenever Godzilla released atomic breath, his skull unhinges upwards, while the bone of his lower jaw splits apart so he can have more room for his atomic beam.
While this may not count, when Godzilla forced to freeze himself due to blood coagulant, he also attempted to broke into smaller Godzillas that having more skeletal, humanoid appearance where his said progenies are sprouted from fleshy tip of his tail.
Over the years Godzilla's origin has been rewritten at least four times, but the only thing that remained consistent was his eventual development into nuclear-enhanced reptillian kaiju.
In Showa Era films, Dr. Yamane stated that Godzilla is the member of a species of prehistoric intermediate reptiles that having it's habitat at Pacific Ocean destroyed by American's H-bomb that not only killed its family, but also left him scarred and mutated into 50 foot enhanced kaiju. Consumed by grief and rage over the death of his companions as well as driven from his now uninhabitable home, Godzilla ultimately uses his newfound powers to destroyed humanity to avenge the death of his family until being killed with Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer. Though this Godzilla indeed died by the weapon's effect, Dr. Yamane feared that nuclear tests that humanity still worked on at that moment would've been inevitably mutate another member of prehistoric intermediate reptile into another Godzilla, which turned out come true a year later, where second Godzilla emerged.
In Millennium Series, Godzilla whom killed with Oxygen Destroyer had greater impact as posthumous antagonist than in Heisei and Showa Era as:
- In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack, the remains of the Godzilla that killed with Oxygen Destroyer was reanimated into monstrous revenant through possession by restless souls of those whom killed or left to die at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Pacific War.
- In Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, the first Godzilla's remains is revealed to be reduced into skeleton that later become basis of a MechaGodzilla named Kiryu that created to combat Godzilla. Due to it's creation also involved in using the said Godzilla's DNA to enhance its movements (including the tail movement), the said Godzilla's memories within the DNA was unexpectedly integrated to it's programming, which explained why it it went out of control everytime the second Godzilla it meant to fought against roared in pain.
In Heisei Era, what species of prehistoric intermediate reptiles that Godzilla originally was prior to his mutation is identified/re-established as Godzillasaurus, huge dinosaur that mutated by nuclear tests performed on a nearby island called Rongerik in the 1950s. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the Futurians tried to prevent this by take the said Godzillasaurus away from Lagos Island and place him frozen in the Bering Sea, only for him to actually become Godzilla in the first place by being mutated by a nuclear sub crash. Later, it's revealed that the Godzilla whom Futurians tried to erase from history and the one that killed with Oxygen Destroyer in 1954 was separate individuals, true to Dr. Yamane's fear that other Godzillasauruses may have survived to the present day and could be awakened and transformed into nuclear-enhanced kaiju by future nuclear tests.
Comic prequels of Legendary Godzilla Film series explained that Godzilla is an ancient life form from the Permian period, having survived various extinction events by consuming geothermal radiation in a hibernation-like state at the bottom of the sea until being awakened in 1954 by a nuclear submarine.
Contrary to his previous incarnations that said to be a Godzillasaurus whom mutated and irradiated into nuclear-enhanced kaiju as result of nuclear tests by humanity, Legendary incarnation of Godzilla came from a species of prehistoric reptiles that naturally evolved by nuclear radiation on Earth during Permian period as during that time, Earth had ten times more radiation than it has today. Because of it, their very physiology enhanced to the point that they can manipulate nuclear energy in their body where one of notable feats that they can do with such tremendous energy is to fire a beam of fiery atomic blasts as weapon. As the Earth's surface radiation levels declined, the Godzillas resorted to feeding on the planet's natural geothermal radiation, and went further underground in doing so for hundreds of millions of years, appearing occasionally at various points in human history, inspiring the mythologies of several cultures. In 1954, one of them was awakened by a human's nuclear submarine and out of curiousity, causing it to crash and try the nuclear energy within the vessel. This provoke humanity to study and research him, including find the way kill him by using nuclear weapons under the guise of Bravo Test. Though that Godzilla was not killed by the tests, this caused him aware with humanity's presence and went to hiding until M.U.T.O.s emergence.
In Godzilla: Resurgence, Godzilla's origin is greatly altered in spite of the only thing that remained consistent is his nature as nuclear-enhanced prehistoric creature. Here, instead of nuclear-enhanced prehistoric dinosaur-like reptilian creature, Godzilla now proposed as advanced reptillian superorganism evolved from a prehistoric marine animal that surrounded by nuclear waste on the sea floor in the 1950's and rapidly adapted to withstand it. As the creature evolved and began feeding on radioactive material, it gradually grew over a period of 60 years before taking on a form able to come onto land (which the form looked like a hybrid of typical Godzilla form and moray eel with unusually large gills that bleeds crimson liquid and shrunk as he evolved further). After coming ashore, the creature evolved itself further as means to adjust his physiology for land environment until he sprouted arms and began standing upright.
An essay written by Goro Maki that is included in The Art of Shin Godzilla further discusses Godzilla's possible origin: The essay states that Godzilla's base form (which either his first form or a form he had prior to evolution to gain that form) must have possessed large claws and fangs to be able to feed on the canisters of radioactive waste. This supported by a picture of damaged nuclear canisters at the bottom of the sea Kayoko showed to Rando Yaguchi and co., and most of those canisters have been partially chewed and bitten by creature bigger than a shark. The essay also suggest that the creature must have spent its entire life underwater and its species closely related to prehistoric marine reptiles which first emerged in the Paleozoic Era.
Over the course of the franchise to the day, Godzilla usually portrayed as an anti-heroic kaiju or force of nature with no true malicious intent, and well known for causing destruction mostly unintentionally and largely ignoring human beings as he developed into character that we know and love today. The first film of the franchise, Gojira portrayed the original Godzilla as a tragic kaiju whom intentionally harmed humans and reduced Tokyo into ruins in retaliation of nuclear testing that both mutates him and killed his entire family. But the second Godzilla, particulary both Showa Godzilla and Heisei Godzilla incarnations, began to undergo character developement that made both incarnations become lesser of two evils, with Godzilla began to defend Earth from threats that even worse than himself such as Hedorah, King Ghidorah, and Destoroyah. Even so, Godzilla's motivation in dealing those threats are merely for territorial purposes as he makes no special effort to protect human life or property and will turn against his human allies on a whim. For instance, in Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla crashed Gotengo down soon after Xiliens and their brainwashed monsters defeated due to him still believed the said ship and her crew as a threat until persuaded by Minilla to spare them. His attacks were not motivated by predatory instinct: He doesn't eat people, and instead sustains himself on radiation and an omnivorous diet.
Godzilla's allegiance and motivations have changed from film to film to suit the needs of the story. When inquired if Godzilla was "good or bad", producer Shogo Tomiyama likened it to a Shinto "God of Destruction" which lacks moral agency and cannot be held to human standards of good and evil. "He totally destroys everything and then there is a rebirth. Something new and fresh can begin."
In comics, Godzilla's personality remained consistent, as he can be either neutral protagonist or antagonist depend of the comic's storyline. As with his film counterparts, he displayed persistent and strong determination to survive. For instance, in Godzilla in Hell miniseries storyline, after suffer an untimely demise during a ferocious and destructive battle and arrived in Limbo, Godzilla, having no interest to join either force of Heaven or Hell that wage war against each other during his arrival, decided to returned for the land of the living and succeed to returned to his dying body on Earth in spite of horrors he gone through in the said journey: In order to return for for land of living, Godzilla had to take the route straight through hell while facing various demonic creatures such as demonic versions of King Ghidorah and Destoroyah, The Thing-esque demonic imitation of himself, demonic bats, and finally Cthulhu-esque Hellgate Guardian, the only one whom stood between him and land of living. His determination not to give up went to ridiculous levels as when he was devoured alive to the bone by swarms of demonic bat-like creatures, Godzilla unexpectedly possessed the whole swarm, forced them to fused with his skeleton and reformed his body that allowed him to defeat Hellgate Guardian.
In 1954 film, Godzilla is portrayed as a tragic monster whom lashed out on humanity by destroying any boats that he encountered and later laying waste to the city of Tokyo in retaliation of destruction of his home and family due to American's H-bomb test. The kaiju was traumatized so much that mere sight of bright light made him angrier than ever. Dr. Yamane, whom knew that the bright light would provoke Godzilla tried to warn military, but is ignored that as he feared, this resulting Godzilla enraged so much that the whole Tokyo is destroyed.
Second Showa Godzilla
For later Showa films, the second Godzilla undergo character developement. He started of as destructive villains whom indiscriminately attack other monsters and caused destruction. Starting in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla begins a transition into a heroic character as he joins forces with Mothra and Rodan to fight off the evil space monster King Ghidorah. In subsequent films in the 1960's, Godzilla is often depicted as the lesser of two evils, doing battle with much more malicious and dangerous creatures such as King Ghidorah, Ebirah and Kumonga. In the film Son of Godzilla, Godzilla discovers an infant member of his species named Minilla, which he decides to raise as a son and train to take up his mantle. Godzilla's loyalty and love for Minilla eventually leads to him becoming a primarily heroic, charming, and sympathetic character.
According to Mothra's Shobijin's translation of Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla's conversation in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla only "hates humans because they hate him", suggesting that this Godzilla never had any true malicious intent but was only reacting to constantly being attacked by humans that explained odds between him and mankind. Rodan later agrees with Godzilla's statement.
Godzilla in Heisei film portrayed as a villainous monster whom found himself lost in human civilazation and tried to find his place on Earth but is very difficult due to constant odds with mankind. However, he is extremely compassionate and merciful, as he later adopted Godzilla jr. and revealed to have human-like emotions. He expresses sadness and anguish when Destoroyah seemingly killed Godzilla Jr., showed that he also capable in loving.
Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
In Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla retains the destructive anti-hero persona of the Heisei Godzilla, menacing Japan and battling the J.S.D.F. before fending off a much greater threat, in this case Orga and Megaguirus. He is more hesitant to retaliate against the military than the Heisei Godzilla, as he withstands an entire assault from the J.S.D.F. without ever fighting back, only beginning to charge his atomic breath after being injured by Full Metal Missile Launchers.
However, Godzilla had strategic thinking in dealing his enemies: Upon discovered that Orga can recovered from everything he thrown on it, Godzilla decided to outsmart Orga by allowing the mutated alien devoured him alive means access the mutated alien's innards. Once Orga is occupied on assimilating the kaiju alive, Godzilla used the opportunity to blasted upper half of Orga'a body through combined Nuclear Pulse and atomic breath. Godzilla also used similar strategy in dealing Megaguirus: By memorizing Megaguirus' flying pattern, he successfully regained energy that she stole from him, allowed him to blasted her with his atomic breath.
Godzillas whom featured in Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus are actually separated incarnations, but both discussed in this section due to both share similar personality.
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack
The only incarnation of Godzilla that portrayed as a truly malevolent and acrimonious being was Godzilla in in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack. Unlike the rest of his incarnation, this Godzilla was extremely wrathful, vituperative, cold, brutal, violent, destructive, heartless, cruel, perilous, obstreperous, and ruthless. Godzilla also almost never showed any facial expression beyond a cold and terrifying glare. On top of that, he cannot be reasoned with and will not stop until the whole Japan reduced into ashes. Isayama, the prophet whom have the vision of Guardian Monsters whom would rose to stop the kaiju, explained that reason why Godzilla become malevolent being was due to him not truly Godzilla, but rather the amalgam of restless souls of those whom killed or left to die in Pacific War that possessed his remains not long after his demise at hands of Serizawa in 1954, reanimating kaiju into a colossal revenant (which explained his survivability even after reduced into disembodied beating heart and his zombie-like eye).
Kiryu Saga Godzilla (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Tokyo S.O.S.
In Kiryu Saga film, Godzilla does not display much of a defined personality unlike previous incarnations due to depicted more like a destructive force of nature whom acting primarily on instinct. It is suggested that a primary reason for this Godzilla's rampages is the fact that he is attracted by Kiryu, who contains the remains of another Godzilla that desecrated by Japanese Government as the part of Kiryu project. This Godzilla does not appear to become violent or attack unless he is attacked first, after which he will lash out and brutally attack his enemies.
Godzilla: Final Wars
In Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla is anti-heroic monster whom harbor deep resentment toward humanity. Reason why he declare war on humanity was not just for responsible for his mutation, as Godzilla has seen too much destruction on Earth environment by mankind. Like his Showa and Heisei incarnations, he protected Earth from threats that worse than himself for territorial purpose: While he managed to defeated Xiliens' horde of brainwashed monsters, he immediately turned against Gotengo crews due to still considered them as a threat for Earth's environment.
He does however, have capacity in mercy and forgiving. Out of all monsters that he neutralized over the course of film, Godzilla only spared Rodan, Anguirus, and King Caesar(which a nod to his previous incarnations whom befriends with those monsters). Though still considered mankind on the list of those whom threatened Earth's environment, Godzilla eventually decided to spare them after convinced to do so by Minilla.
Perhaps due to the film's plot or his experience in various battles against humans prior to being sealed inside a glacier, Godzilla in this film was surprisingly smart and cunning, as he know how to outsmart most of Xilliens' brainwashed monsters as means to defeat them while saving his energy for finished his battle against Gotengo crew. The only opponent whom he can only defeated with help of someone else was Monster X, where in the said battle, Ozaki recharged his energy with his powers that allowed Godzilla to quickly destroyed two of Monster X's head to gave the alien kaiju disadvantages before finished him. Even so, Godzilla still turned against Gotengo crew because he unaware with Ozaki's intervention due to focused on resisting Monster X instead of being ungrateful.
MonsterVerse Godzilla series
For Legendary Films, Godzilla also portrayed as a territorial animal like the previous incarnation. He now portrayed as an antihero whom come to restore balance on entire planet. Perhaps after learned consequences of his past actions in attacking American and Soviet submarines out of its curiosity with their usage with nuclear power that resulting mankind retaliates by using atomic bombs against him under nuclear tests, Godzilla actively avoid another conflict with humanity, which is apparent as he tried his best not to provoke military forces to attack him: When having himself surrounded by navy ships in close proximity during his pursuit for M.U.T.O.s, he carefully (and cautiously) swim near them and even chooses to dive below the said ships to escape instead of ramming them. Even when splitting Golden Gate Bridge into half, the destruction was purely accidental due to him reacted by artillery shots on the gills that made him panic and flee in confusion. After killed both M.U.T.O.s, he even peacefully left humanity without any conflict.
In Godzilla: Resurgence, Godzilla was passive and unaware with humans' presence due to his enormous size and clumsiness in his second form. Like Hedorah, Godzilla appeared to primarily driven by instinct and the will to survive: At first, he had no interest to retaliate J.S.D.F. when they attack him and seems to barely notice their assault, at least until he revealed his agression and awareness once American B-2 Stealth Bombers drop Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) that injure his back and blasted one of his dorsal fins. By the climax of the film, Godzilla has perceived humanity as threat to his existence, and not hestitate to using his atomic breath and various beam attacks against them. Unfortunately, he was quite reckless, as he waste too much energy when released his powers for the first time, something that humans later exploited to weakened him so they can freeze him with blood coagulant.
Powers and Abilities
Atomic BreathGodzilla's signature weapon is his distinctive atomic breath. Godzilla's dorsal plates glow ominously, and then he lets loose with a concentrated blast of radiation from his mouth. This power is commonly mistaken for breathing literal fire, one of the most common misconceptions of the entire series.
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 (in the earliest films, the atomic breath was nothing more than baby powder shot out with a hose), to a beam with explosive and kinetic properties, in the 1970s and onward. The ray is usually portrayed as being neon blue, though in Godzilla 2000: Millennium and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, it is a reddish orange to signify an increased level of power.
In Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla's atomic breath was shown as having incendiary properties and was strong enough to destroy a miniature black hole, while in Godzilla: Final Wars, it possessed incredible range, amazing power and pin-point accuracy, able to hit a target in outer space and kill most kaiju with a single shot. Also in Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla also demonstrated his ability to actually change the intensity of his atomic breath when fighting Keizer Ghidorah. With a quick turn, Godzilla's breath went from the iconic blue beam to the intensity of reddish orange which literally caused the monster Keizer Ghidorah to explode in the upper atmosphere.A variation of the standard atomic ray in the Heisei series was the red "spiral ray" which he acquired as a result of absorbing the Rodan's life energy. This ray was so powerful that only a few blasts of it were sufficient to completely destroy MechaGodzilla and SpaceGodzilla, though Destoroyah was able to withstand several hits. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, a variant of his spiral ray was seen when King Ghidorah used his golden gravity beams on Godzilla. Godzilla was somehow able to draw strength from the gravity beams and used the absorbed energy to fire a blast of blue energy wrapped in a golden spiral that completely destroyed King Ghidorah. The spiral ray returned in Godzilla: Final Wars, where it was strong enough to push Keizer Ghidorah to the edge of space, destroying him in an explosion visible from the surface of the Earth. In the MonsterVerse, Godzilla's atomic breath was more of a focused, fiery shaped energy beam that Godzilla spews out. Godzilla only used it against the M.U.T.O.s after he had taken a severe beating and was already growing weaker, showing that Godzilla only uses it as a last resort against opponents he can't physically overpower on his own. This version's atomic breath is obviously not as destructive as it's predecessors', but still incredibly deadly in its own right as it can be used to simultaneously both burns and push the female M.U.T.O. and also explodes her neck that resulting in fiery decapitation. It is, however, entirely possible that Godzilla never used his atomic breath at its full power (given that this Godzilla not using the atomic breath as it's trump card), seeing as how Godzilla was already extremely weak when he began using it, so whether or not it's capable of more is unknown at this point. In the film's official novelization and in an earlier screenplay, it is mentioned that the M.U.T.O.s' EMP evolved to interfere with Godzilla's atomic breath, meaning it is possible that the atomic breath is not shown at its full strength in the film. Other possible reason why Godzilla choose to use his atomic breath as last resort weapon may due to usage of the breath would exhausted his energy reserves as after using it thrice against female M.U.T.O.s, Godzilla eventually passed out and recovers on the next day(though this may due to previously battered by both M.U.T.O.s). The neon-blue glow on Godzilla's dorsal plates begins at the tail and goes all the way to the top of his neck in this film.
In Godzilla: Resurgence, Godzilla's atomic breath starts out as a thick black smoke that comes from Godzilla's mouth and spreads around the surrounding area. The smoke coming from Godzilla's mouth eventually ignites into a stream of flame, producing a huge destructive fireball that sweeps through the area. The fire condenses further into a thin highly-destructive purple beam capable of slicing through buildings. Not only from his mouth, Godzilla can also determine where he can release his atomic blast, as he can fire multiple atomic lasers from his back for dispatching a horde of enemies that dare to approach him from behind and fire a beam of atomic laser from the tip of his tail should he need to blast two enemies simultaneously.
On an interesting fact, whilst Godzilla's signature atomic breath can easily set entire city blocks ablaze and obliterate most military weaponry on a whim, many of Godzilla's opponents have shown the ability to withstand it, at least in its standard intensity. For example, in the Showa series, both Rodan and King Ghidorah were able to withstand direct hits from Godzilla's atomic breath with little visible harm. In the Heisei series, Rodan was vulnerable to the beam at close range, though King Ghidorah remained immune until Godzilla utilized his more powerful spiral heat ray. The Heisei version of MechaGodzilla possessed a special diamond-plated armor that allowed it to absorb Godzilla's atomic breath and reflect it through the plasma grenade port on its abdomen. Many of Godzilla's more powerful opponents, including King Ghidorah, MechaGodzilla, SpaceGodzilla, Destoroyah and Monster X, have proven to be resistant to Godzilla's atomic breath until he was forced to utilize a more powerful variation of it. The only exception of this is in his fight against Zilla, where Godzilla only need a single atomic blast to defeat it.
In addition to his very deadly atomic breath, Godzilla can also emit atomic energy in all directions from every inch of his body in a short-range pulse. The pulse was first seen in his fight against Biollante. Godzilla only used the nuclear pulse in the Heisei series, although many consider the climactic scene in Godzilla 2000 in which Orga is destroyed while attempting to swallow Godzilla like a snake to be a use of Godzilla's nuclear pulse; and also, Godzilla uses something similar to a nuclear pulse to prevent Keizer Ghidorah from draining any more of his energy from him after being surged with Ozaki's energy.
Godzilla's ability to fire a salvo of atomic lasers from his dorsal plates in Godzilla: Resurgence may inspired by/a variant of nuclear pulse ability. When he fires atomic laserd from his dorsal plates, the plates also emit tremendous amouts of radiation on the same direction where he fired the lasers.
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.
Godzilla has displayed an uncanny ability to sustain damage throughout his films. Starting in the first Godzilla film, Godzilla displayed an immunity to conventional weaponry, virtually impervious to everything the JSDF threw at him. He has demonstrated the ability to survive complete submersion in magma for an extended period of time, sometimes while under extreme pressure from tectonic plates (as seen in Godzilla vs. Mothra). He has even survived being in ground zero of asteroid impacts. The only times his flesh has been visibly pierced were in battle with the Super X, Showa Gigan, Biollante, King Ghidorah, Destoroyah, MechaGodzilla's weapons in the Showa, Heisei and Millennium series, and in lesser extent, by M.O.P. bombs in Godzilla: Resurgence.
In addition to being extremely resistant to damage, Godzilla possesses an extremely advanced and highly efficient regenerative ability. This power was a crucial plot point of Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla 2000: Millennium. In Godzilla 2000, it is explained that Godzilla's regenerative abilities may have something to do with his radioactive properties, and Regenerator G-1 ("Organizer G-1" in the Japanese version) is the name given to a substance in his cells that is responsible for Godzilla's swift healing. In Godzilla vs. Biollante, Japanese scientists use samples of the Godzilla cells (called G-cells throughout the Heisei series of Godzilla films) to help create the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria (ANEB). This healing factor would be inherited by all creatures spawned from Godzilla's DNA, those being Biollante, SpaceGodzilla and Orga. While the M.U.T.O.s are shown to face Godzilla to the point of exhaustion, he manages to get back to his feet and return to the ocean in a matter of hours which could either be a testament to his incredible durability and he was simply exhausted, or he healed off the damage by sunrise.
In Godzilla: Resurgence, Godzilla's healing factor is so potent that pieces of his flesh that are broken off from his body can continue to live on their own and evolve and regenerate into entire creatures in the same manner with starfishes.
Super-StrengthAs attributed to his size, weight and mass, Godzilla has displayed varied levels of physical strength sufficient to lift weights exceeding 20,000 tons and smash skyscrapers. He has been depicted lifting and throwing monsters in excess of his own weight, such as King Ghidorah, Hedorah, MechaGodzilla and others including Biollante, and in Godzilla: Final Wars was even able to throw Kumonga clear over the horizon.
Energy Absorption and Manipulation
Ever since the original film, Godzilla has been capable of absorbing huge amounts of energy, often nuclear in nature. This also explained various feats that he can do such as Atomic Breath, Nuclear Pulse, Ferrokinesis, and energize his blows for more destructive effect.
In the Showa series, as result of being irradiated by a hydrogen bomb explosion, Godzilla's body absorbed tremendous amount of nuclear energy so much that his physiology enhanced to the point that he become walking nuclear reactor, gaining the ability to emit high levels of radiation and fire his trademark atomic breath. The same thing occured on other Godzilla in the Heisei series, where in this case, the said Godzilla was exposed to the detonation of a Soviet nuclear submarine, which irradiate and mutate him into an 80 meter-tall atomic-powered monster. Since his physiology enhanced to the point of his heart become a biological nuclear reactor, the Heisei Godzilla relies on nuclear power to sustain his metabolism, and derives his sustenance from absorbing energy from active man-made nuclear reactors.
Godzilla was also able to absorb the energy that generated from nuclear submarines or other man-made nuclear reactors as well; in one case the energy absorbed from a nuclear sub was enough to allow Godzilla's immune system to purge the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria from his body and cause him to grow 20 meters in height. When nuclear reactions in his heart caused uranium deposits under Birth Island to ignite and vaporize the island, Godzilla absorbed the radiation given off by the explosion. While this influx of radiation did eventually cause Godzilla's heart to undergo a catastrophic meltdown and kill him, it made Godzilla substantially more powerful for a period of time. According to Kenichi Yamane, Godzilla's heart contained enough nuclear power to create "a burst of energy unseen since time began" which would cause the Earth's atmosphere to ignite if it exploded. If Godzilla's meltdown was not kept under control by G-Force's freezer weapons, his heart would have melted down into the Earth's core and caused the planet to implode.
In Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, Godzilla still portrayed with ability to feed on nuclear radiation as sustenance. While at first he can absorb natural geothermal radiation on Earth when radiation was ten times more than today prior to resort to consume the same energy on Earth's core, Godzilla later discovered that he can do the same on man-made nuclear reactor from nuclear submarines. It was thanks to his natural abilities in absorbing geothermal radiation from the Earth's core that enable him to survive extinction era.
In Godzilla: Resurgence, Godzilla's ability to manipulate energy was proved more potent than his predecessors. It fact, this version of Godzilla now able to perform feats that never displayed by any of his predecessors as he can fire atomic beams from the tip of his tail and dorsal fins. How Godzilla came to being in the said film was explained to be a prehistoric marine animal that evolved due to surrounded by nuclear waste in his habitat, and with him developed ability to withstand the radioactive material, he began to feed on the said material. As result, he evolved to the point of possessing eight times the genetic information of human beings, becoming a superorganism kaiju he is now. Godzilla derives his energy from nuclear fission occurring within his body, which fueled by air and water that his body synthetized into radioactive substances that filled his power reserves.
Godzilla can also absorb other form of energy, such as electricity that now not only revitalize him like nuclear energy, but also enable him to performed Ferrokinesis. The revenant Godzilla in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack can also absorb Ghidorah's gravity beam and combines them with his atomic breath, forming a more powerful atomic beam that obliterates King Ghidorah in a single hit. Godzilla can also absorb plasma energy or Keizer energy from Ozaki's that save his life from Keizer Ghidorah's clutches.
Though not an amphibian, Godzilla has an amphibious lifestyle. He spends half of his life in water and the other on land. He is as adept a fighter underwater as he is on land. Capable of marching on the sea floor or swimming by undulating his tail like a crocodile, Godzilla is displayed as being able to breathe underwater, occasionally hibernating in the ocean depths between movies, and being submerged apparently does not impede his atomic ray, as seen in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. He engages opponents in the sea on multiple occasions, fighting King Ghidorah, Ebirah, Battra, Biollante and Mothra either beneath or on the surface of the waves. In Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, Godzilla now possesses gills so he can stay underwater indefinitely, but he closes them when he's on land and uses his lungs. Godzilla's incarnation in Godzilla: Resurgence also portrayed with unusually large gills in his earlier developed form that eventually shrunks when he evolved to better form that enable him to adapted on land.
In a memorable, and somewhat infamous scene in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla used his atomic breath to fly by aiming it at the ground and lifting off like a rocket. How this ability works by manipulating nuclear energy within his body so his atomic breath projected in form of jet propulsion that strong enough to send him flying and catch up with the flying Hedorah.
Godzilla has used this ability two times outside of the said film; in the comic series Godzilla: Ongoing and in Godzilla: The Game, where it is called "Back Charge".
In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla whom killed by Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer eventually reanimated and possessed by restless souls of those whom killed or left to die at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Pacific War. Though his body appeared to be restored by the said restless souls back to the condition prior to disintegrated by the said chemical weapon upon possession, Godzilla has become undead version of his former self: The proof that Godzilla has become the undead is having white and cloudy eyes, as if they suffer decomposion in spite of not affect the vision. Not only his physiology that supernaturally enhanced tenfold, as he now possesses unusual reflexes where when he pinned prematurely awakened Ghidorah, he reflexively swatted Mothra when the latter tried to approach him. Also, since he now become an undead, Godzilla is capable to remain alive even when in a state of being where death should be unavoidable: By the end of the film, Godzilla is revealed to still alive even after reduced into disembodied beating heart, a state where it's unlikely that the rest of his incarnations able to survive in the same way (with exceptional of his Godzilla: Resurgence counterpart though in the latter's case, due to being composite creature that can regrow from pieces that broke off from his body).
This power is exclusively possessed by incarnation of Godzilla in Godzilla, Mothra, & King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack.
According to an American scientist, Godzilla in Godzilla: Resurgence possesses a "phased-array radar" which allows him to detect threats without even needing to see them. Godzilla utilized this to sense his enemies' presence either when hibernating or in combat. This explained how he can destroy drones that went too close in observing him when hibernating and direct his dorsal plate beams' direction straight to oncoming foes behind him so he won't waste too much energy just to attack them. The same ability also allowed him to fire small bolts of atomic energy to shot down drones sent to study him within range.
In Godzilla: Resurgence, one of Godzilla's most unique abilities is his capacity to self-mutate. While all other organisms mutate and evolve gradually over countless generations, Godzilla has the ability to mutate his DNA at will as means to adapt to any situation. According to characters in the film, Godzilla is the most evolved creature on the planet, and currently possessing eight times the genetic information of human beings. It explained how Godzilla adjust his own physiology that progressively more to land environtment in his last three forms. The same thing also apply for his combat abilities, as not long after release his atomic breath, Godzilla immediately developed advanced techniques of energy manipulation includes dorsal beams to combat foes that approach him from behind and ESP ability to detect oncoming threat without need to directly seeing them. During Operation Yashiori, Godzilla developed new ability to use mouth on the tip of his tail to fire second atomic breath to sweep multiple foes and conserve his energy reserves. When his body began to burn itself due to blood coagulant, he developed ability to freeze himself solid to prevent meltdown, something which predicted by Yaguchi's team.
The last scene of the film shows that on the tip of his tail, several small Godzillas in more humanoid form has sprouted from it, suggested that Godzilla attempted to break himself into multiple smaller progenies of himself to combat humans better.
Self-mutation is arguably Godzilla's core ability in the film as it was through the said power he can evolve to better form and gained new abilities.
Dorsal Plate Beams
In Godzilla: Resurgence, upon sensing multiple American bomber aircrafts began to approach him, Godzilla redirected his atomic beam onto his dorsal fins, and project it in form of a salvo of atomic beams to dispatch them. He would later used it again in conjunction of his extrasensory perception ability to shot down drones that approach his comatose body and multiple drones that attacked him in Operation Yashiori.
In spite of the beam's effectiveness in dispatching multiple advesaries that attacked him from behind and above, Dorsal Plates beam technique depleted his atomic reserve more than his atomic breath, so he developed atomic tail beam to conserve his energy better.
Atomic Tail Beam
In Godzilla: Resurgence, upon realizing his dorsal beam attack spent much of his energy reserves, Godzilla redirected some portion of atomic energy to his tail and projected it in form of atomic laser that fired from the mouth on the tip of his tail. This, when used alongside atomic breath, enable him to cut and slice through multiple advesaries from every directions at once. Godzilla used it to conserved his energy better to taking down drones that approach him during Operation Yashiori before collapsed and in helpless state as blood coagulant will be pumped into his mouth.
In spite of being very powerful, Godzilla still has some weaknesses:
Early films showed in King Kong vs. Godzilla and Mothra vs. Godzilla, he is shown to be vulnerable to strong voltages of electricity. As the series progressed, lightning (i.e., electricity found in nature) has been shown to have the opposite effect, at times serving to revitalize him as later films portrayed him have ability to absorb energy.
A.N.E.B. and Cadmium
Both Cadmium shells and A.N.E.B. (Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria) can slow down his metabolism and potentially able to killed him.
In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2, Godzilla is revealed to have a second brain in his spine, with Super Mechagodzilla being able to paralyze him from the waist down by destroying it. Nevertheless, his secondary brain was restored by Fire Rodan and further films seem to ignore this gigantic weak spot.
Godzilla's sheer bulk proved to be disadvantageous for him to combat more agile and faster enemies such as Megaguirus, forcing him to perform counterattacks as he rely on his endurance. Also, while he has an endurance level beyond measure, his enemies usually counter by trying to crush and batter him. Mechagodzilla managed to overpower Godzilla by firing more weaponry than he could defend against, althugh this became useless after Godzilla became magnetised.
- Starring in 30 films, Godzilla has appeared in more films than any other kaiju to date.
- Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide.
- Although Godzilla's first film appearance was in Gojira, released in November third of 1954, he made his first official debut four months earlier, in July, when an earlier version of the film's script was read on a radio as an 11-part radio drama.
- In 2004, as a part of the celebration of the release of Godzilla: Final Wars and the 50th anniversary of the franchise, Godzilla was given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
- Godzilla's appearance has changed many times over the years. Some changes were subtle differences such as changes in the size of his dorsal plates and others which were much more dramatic, including Godzilla's overall size and appearance.
- The 2014 Godzilla reboot marked the 60th anniversary of Godzilla.
- Godzilla's size is inconsistent, changing from film to film and even from scene to scene for the sake of artistic license. To date, the largest Godzilla incarnation will be ShinGoji from the 2016 Godzilla film, Godzilla: Resurgence, coming in at 118.5 meters tall.
- WatchMojo.com listed Godzilla as #1 on their "Top 10 Giant Movie Monsters" list.
- They also listed the original 1954 Godzilla movie, Gojira, as #7 on their "Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s" list.
- Among fights that Godzilla had over the course of history of the franchise, his most famous and shortest battle was against Zilla in Godzilla: Final Wars. In the said fight, Godzilla simply defeated Zilla by outsmarting it: He tricked Zilla to pounce on him with low-caliber atomic breath as distraction and once Zilla did, he send Zilla flying into the Sydney Opera House and finishes him off with his atomic breath. The most surprising fact in the said battle is, the battle only lasts 13 seconds.
- Critics say that this short battle was meant to show Toho's displeasure towards Sony and TriStar with their handling of the Godzilla franchise. Others say the significant difference in size, speed, and abilities between the two showed it truly played out the way it should have.
- Godzilla's characteristics in Godzilla: Resurgence draws parallel from Hedorah and Destoroyah as both theorized to be superorganisms kaiju that had multiple forms and empowered by hazardous material to the point of capable in using them as weapons (Hedorah empowered and utilizes sludge full of pollutants, whereas Destoroyah mutated and empowered by Oxygen Destroyer in the same way Godzilla empowered himself by radioactive materials). This is quite interesting, as Hedorah and Destoroyah are Godzilla' most dangerous advesaries in previous film.
- Among buildings that Godzilla destroyed in the 1954 film, one of the destroyed building is the Toho Theater. In fact, some fans who were watching the film in that theater actually thought the theater was being attacked and tried to run out of the theater.
- This was reminiscent with the airing of the episode of The Mercury Theatre on the Air titled The War of the Worlds about Martians' invasion on earth which infamously caused mass hysteria out of belief where Martians really invade Earth.
- Godzilla's famous roar were not based on any kind of real-life animals as during the production of the 1954 film, as at that time, sound department unable to find which animal sound that fit for the kaiju. Akira Ifukube came up with Godzilla's roars by rubbing a coarse, resin-coated leather glove up and down the strings of a contrabass (double bass), and reverberated the recorded sound. Also, Godzilla's thunderous footsteps were made by beating a kettle drum with a knotted rope.
- Godzilla fought his long-time box office rival Gamera in DEATH BATTLE and won.
- For Godzilla: Resurgence, the early concept of Godzilla's regenerative ability and procreate through fission like starfish shown more disturbing than in final film, as some concept art of him undergo fission process depicted him morphed into a mountain of radioactive fleshy biomass with several of Godzilla's head proturding for them as it split into several new progenies of himself.
- A deleted scene showed JSDF soldiers found the torn pieces of his severed dorsal fin due to M.O.P. bombs already melt into bloody biomass with a number of eyes growing from them. Due to the scene deemed disturbing, this replaced with JSDF soldiers found the severed dorsal fin still intact albeit began to coated with blood and a small piece of it fall near them, alerted its location above them. The scene then shifts to protagonists discovered that the fin has began undergo fission into new Godzilla.