Warner Brothers is set to release Godzilla vs Kong on the 24th of March, and I’m getting ready to see some city sized battles. Now I love seeing King Kong punching things with that mighty gorilla strength as much as the next person, but I have an undeniable professional bias for Godzilla. The King of Monsters totally has Kong outmatched, and the best we can hope is that that the hairy guy can put up a good fight. Whoever you’re supporting, it should be Godzilla.
Upcoming film aside, I thought this would be a great time to take a look at Godzilla’s long and illustrious career, because this iconic legend has been an ambassador for Japan before Pikachu ever popped out of a Poké Ball.
Creating a legend
Godzilla first appeared way back in 1954 in his own feature film, his terrible power inspired by Japan’s surrender in the Second World War. His (her? its?) Japanese name, Gojira, was created from the combination of the words gorira (gorilla) and kujira (whale). During the design stage art director Akira Watanabe took inspiration from the bodies of Tyrannosaurus, Iguanodon, Stegosaurus and alligators. Today the rampaging reptile is considered the first in a line of gigantic monsters known as Kaiju.
Aside from incredible strength and size, Godzilla possess atomic heat breath, and in certain movies has demonstrated the ability to move at incredible speed, shoot laser beams from its eyes and fly.
A Japanese Icon
The King of Monsters has become so internationally famous that it has somehow received MTV Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We’re previously talked about the new Godzilla attractions at the Nijigen no Mori theme park, complete with a zip line that leads directly into a huge glowing mouth.
Godzilla has even been recognised as a special resident and official tourism ambassador of Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, and has a statue in the area. This is despite Godzilla having been personally responsible for the destruction of Shinjuku at least three times.
Enemies and an unexpected friendship
King Kong is definitely not the first opponent Godzilla has gone toe to toe with. It has fought plenty of other Kaiju, but also faced off against Marvel’s Avengers, S.H.E.I.L.D, a giant lobster, SuperMechaGodzilla, and even took on Bambi, in a short animation which made it onto an industry list of 50 greatest cartoons.
One of Godzilla’s strangest encounters is much more recent than I expected for a 67 year giant dinosaur monster, and happened just last year in October. Thirteen year old Seira Watanabe wrote to ‘Tantei! Knight Scoop’, a television show which takes generally odd requests from viewers and does it’s best to make those dreams come true. Watanabe’s request was to finally meet and marry her ideal guy… Godzilla, King of Monsters.
Clips from the programme show Watanabe being absolutely delighted when Godzilla arrives at her door, who then took her out for the day. The pair visited the Godzilla Museum on Awaji Island, which is definitely a great day out. Watanabe brought homemade bento and tea to share with Godzilla as they walked through the park, although Godzilla didn’t actually manage to eat any and also declined any offers of marriage.
Things should be back to simple giant monster fights in Godzilla vs Kong this month, unless there’s a really unexpected romantic twist.
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