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Topic Started: Feb 12 2013, 01:30 AM (5,665 Views)
The madness has come back...
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First appearance: Godzilla (1954) (1954)
Latest appearance: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)

Created by: Tomoyuki Tanaka

Height: 50–100 meters (164–328 feet)
Mass: 100–60,000 tonnes

Portrayed by:

Shōwa Series
Haruo Nakajima
Katsumi Tezuka
Yū Sekida
Ryosaku Takasugi
Seiji Onaka
Shinji Takagi
Isao Zushi
Toru Kawai

Heisei Series
Kenpachiro Satsuma

Millennium Series
Tsutomu Kitagawa
Mizuho Yoshida

Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira?) (pron.: /ɡɒdˈzɪlə/; [ɡodʑiɽa] ( listen)) is a Kaiju (Giant monster), first appearing in Ishirō Honda's 1954 film Godzilla. Since then, Godzilla has gone on to become a worldwide pop culture icon starring in 28 films produced by Toho Co., Ltd. The monster has appeared in numerous other media incarnations including video games, novels, comic books, and television series. A 1998 American remake was produced and a second American version is in development.

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With the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Daigo Fukuryū Maru incident 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, some stories took on less serious undertones portraying Godzilla as a hero while other plots still portrayed him as a destructive monster; sometimes the lesser of two threats who plays the defender by default but is still a danger to humanity.


Gojira (ゴジラ?) is a portmanteau of the Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ?, "gorilla"), and kujira (鯨(クジラ)?, "whale"), which is fitting because in one planning stage, Godzilla was described as "a cross between a gorilla and a whale", alluding to his size, power and aquatic origin. A popular story is that "Gojira" was actually the nickname of a corpulent stagehand at Toho Studio. The story has not been verified, however, and in the nearly sixty years since the film's original release, no one claiming to be the rumored employee has ever stepped forward and no photographs have ever surfaced. Kimi Honda (the widow of Ishiro Honda) always suspected that the man never existed as she mentioned in a 1998 interview that "the backstage boys at Toho loved to joke around with tall stories".

Godzilla's name was written in man'yōgana as Gojira (呉爾羅?), where the kanji are used for phonetic value and not for meaning. Many Japanese books on Godzilla have referenced this curious fact, including B Media Books Special: Gojira Gahô, published by Take-Shobo in three different editions (1993, 1998, and 1999).

The Japanese pronunciation of the name is [ɡodʑiɽa] ( listen); the Anglicized form is pron.: /ɡɒdˈzɪlə/, with the first syllable pronounced like the word "god", and the rest rhyming with "gorilla". When Godzilla was created (and Japanese-to-English transliteration was less familiar), it is likely that the kana representing the second syllable was misinterpreted[citation needed] as [dzi]; in the Hepburn romanization system, Godzilla's name would have been rendered as "Gojira", whereas in the Kunrei romanization system it would have been rendered as "Gozira".


Godzilla's appearance has changed over the years, however many of his characteristics have remained constant. His roar has remained the same, only changing in pitch. 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, bipedal mutant dinosaur with rough, bumpy scales that change color throughout the movies, usually dark gray or black scales, a long powerful tail, and jagged, blue or dark purple 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 an alligator, and crocodile. Godzilla's dorsal plates have themselves altered in size and appearance over the years.

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 shown as having human or near-human intelligence in most films. 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 in Godzilla 2000 and again in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, but returns to his classic charcoal gray in subsequent films in the Millennium series starting with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.

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Although his origins vary somewhat from film to film, he is always described as some manner of prehistoric survivor of the order of dinosaurs, who was mutated into his latter form via nuclear radiation, most likely from an atomic weapons test. Non-canonical sources (such as the Universal version of King Kong vs. Godzilla) suggest that Japan is the ancestral home of Godzilla's kind.

The most notable of Godzilla's abilities gained by his mutation is his atomic breath: a powerful heat ray of 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 dexterous, 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 to beat certain enemies.

Over the years the fictional mutant dinosaur Godzilla has possessed many powers and abilities to be used against his foes. Godzilla is not necessarily the single most powerful kaiju but is certainly one of the most successful in terms of his fighting history, both against other kaiju and human efforts to destroy him.


The Godzilla roar is the sound that Godzilla makes in most of his movies. What typifies the roar is that it sounds very mechanical and does not resemble any known animal’s sound as such.

The roar was present in the first Godzilla (1954) and was created by composer Akira Ifukube who produced the sound by rubbing a resin-covered leather glove along the loosened strings of a double bass and then slowing down the playback. Over the years the roar has become a trademark sound of the Godzilla films and is now instantly recognizable worldwide. Its fame can be compared with the Tarzan yell from the Tarzan films. It is often used in comedy when monsters or dinosaurs are featured or when a character gets extremely angry. The distinctive roar, or a parody of it, has been used in numerous non-Godzilla movies and TV shows.

Godzilla usually lets his roar be heard when he makes his first appearance in a film. During destruction and fighting sequences he roars multiple times. Film directors always use the same sound recording, but in more recent years variations on the sound have been made to express Godzilla’s emotions.

In the 1970s animated series The Godzilla Power Hour by the American animation studio Hanna-Barbera Godzilla’s roar was recreated by Ted Cassidy. The American remake Godzilla also created a different, yet similar sounding, roar for their Godzilla monster.

There were several roars recorded by composer Akira Ifukube but one in particular was used in most of the movies from its 1955 sequel through to the 1975 Terror of Mechagodzilla. It was a rather higher pitched, squeakier variant to the ones heard over the opening few seconds of the 1954 film's credits. A remixed variant, slower and far deeper, was then used for 1984's The Return of Godzilla and in all the films until 1992's Godzilla vs. Mothra where the sound editor went back to using the squeakier variant from the 60's. Sound mixing being the complex art it is today, many different sounds are used to make Godzilla vocalise in the movies made in the 2000s, but they're mostly based on, or include, the squeaky roar of the 1960s.

Atomic breath/Nuclear beam/Radioactive ray/Atomic ray/Radioactive Fire

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. The color of the atomic breath corresponds to the color of Godzilla's dorsal plates. Godzilla has been shown apparently being able to adjust the intensity of his breath, 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.

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In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Godzilla's breath 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 breath to fly by aiming it at the ground and lifting off like a rocket. His breath 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 Breath which he acquired as a result of absorbing Fire Rodan's life energy. Godzilla's red spiral atomic breath appeared in times when Godzilla was under extreme duress. However 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. When Godzilla's dorsal plates began to melt and his heart was nearing the meltdown stage, the radiation increased his blast's power to the point that buildings that were near its path blew up. This new red breath was used on Destroyah who took fatal damage. 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. The orange atomic breath seen in Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus which was as powerful as its blue counterpart is not the Red Spiral Atomic Breath, but a recoloring of the standard blue atomic breath. In the 1998 Tri-Star "Godzilla", many fans worldwide were disappointed, when director Roland Emmerich eliminated Godzilla's radiation breath altogether.

Nuclear pulse, magnetic aura and other powers

In addition to his signature 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 used this ability in the Heisei series. He used a more powerful version of it in Godzilla 2000 to kill Orga. In Godzilla: Final Wars, after being surged with Ozaki's energy, Godzilla uses 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.

In the Godzilla cartoon of the late 1970s by Hanna-Barbera, Godzilla was also given the ability to emit high-powered laser beams from his eyes.

Injury resistance and healing

Godzilla has displayed an uncanny ability to resist injury. Not even the pressure and cold of deep sea trenches can kill him. Starting in the first Godzilla film, Godzilla displayed an immunity to conventional weaponry, virtually impervious to the military attack 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 at 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. Organizer G1 (Regenerator G1 in the English version) 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. 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 Organizer G1 would allow him to completely regenerate himself from just a heart or even a single amino acid, perhaps indicating how he survived the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954.

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. However, the wound that was not healing was caused by Mechagodzilla's highly powerful Absolute Zero cannon.

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. He has also been known to be able to do a flying kick as it was shown in Godzilla vs. Megalon.

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. 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-flight. In Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs Megaguirus his dorsal fins creates tremendous heat while his atomic breath and fire is being prepared.


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. 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 was insinuated that Godzilla feeds on radiation and the more he absorbs, the larger and more powerful he gets. It has been speculated that his heart is the theoretical equivalent of a power reactor. He is seen attacking submarines and power plants for their reactors and was once revived by a radioactive storm. While nuclear radiation is his preferred sustenance, he can also gain strength from other forms of raw energy. This canon was somewhat carried over to the Millennium series though it was not again pursued as a significant plot point.


Godzilla is described in the original film by Doctor Yamane as a transitional form between aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates. He spends most of his time at sea, coming ashore to wreak havoc and/or save the day. He is capable of marching on the sea floor or swimming by undulating his tail like a crocodile or an alligator, sometimes with his dorsal fins breaking the surface. He possesses a biological equivalent of active sonar allowing him to navigate underwater without visual aide. 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 underwater this has never been explained. 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.


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 simple 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 he laughs at Rodan (and apparently using rude language) during Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. In addition Godzilla appears to converse with Jet Jaguar in Godzilla vs. Megalon.

In the Heisei series Godzilla reacts on animal cunning and instinct more consistently 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. In Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II he seems to destroy Mechagodzilla out of rage at Rodan's death. In Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla he was the first to figure out that Space Godzilla was using a tower at the central of a field of crystals to draw power, prior to the JSDF. 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.


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 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. Godzilla has been shown to be vulnerable to freezing conditions, which can force him into suspended animation. 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 to a lesser degree, Dr. Shiragami's ANEB (Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria).
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Reptile King
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My favorite movie monster!
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Pelagic Killer
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Biollante is better.
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Heterotrophic Organism
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Best Kaiju ever. One of my favourite fictional characters ever.
Sep 2 2014, 07:23 PM
HAIL THE KING!!!<br />Biollante is better.
You gotta be kidding me.
Edited by Darker, Apr 26 2015, 03:19 PM.
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Pelagic Killer
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Apr 26 2015, 03:18 PM
Best Kaiju ever. One of my favourite fictional characters ever.
Sep 2 2014, 07:23 PM
HAIL THE KING!!!<br />Biollante is better.
You gotta be kidding me.
OK. Not better but she is among my favorite daikaiju!
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Best Kaiju ever. One of my favourite fictional characters ever.

I definitely agree. He's one of mine as well.
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