MTG meets Toho: Part 2
MTG meets Toho: Part 1
Big dumb vent-rant incoming. Who wants to hear some feelings about Godzilla? Here we go
This is entirely from my limited point of view as a dumb American, so feel free to weigh in if I’m missing something… but it baffles me to see the mentality some people have that “Godzilla is only a dark politically charged tragedy about the horrors of nuclear war and Hollywood missed the point my make it a Fun Action Flick™”
…That just makes it sound like y’all never seen any Godzilla movie besides Shin and have only absorbed ideas of what Godzilla “is” through pop culture osmosis.
Like… you know the Japanese made All Monsters Attack, right? The goofy flick about Godzilla’s son teaching some bratty kid to stand up to bullies?
Or Godzilland, where cute plush versions of the kaiju hang out and do silly cartoon things?
Heck, I can think of maybe… 4ish Japanese movies that really carried the “tragedies of WW2” theme. The other dozens of them are “big monster fight flick” or when they have a ~tragic~ theme, its a more generic “pollution and environmentalism” or “humans suck because they think Godzilla (or other Kaiju) is bad but he doesn’t mean any harm :(“
It was by Goji’s 3rd (I think) flick when he started getting portrayed as more heroic — that’s the whole reason Ghidorah, the second (or third after Mothra) most prominent kaiju, was introduced: to play heel so Godzilla would look better by comparison. The 4th or so started giving him goofy fun elements.
Zone Fighter, an old Japanese TV show, outright called Godzilla “a monster who fights for justice”
Plenty of Japanese movies have portrayed Godzilla as a protector of nature/Earth or as a force that maintains balance. Those are not American inventions, so arguing that they’re “tone-deaf” or “missing the point” seems wild to me
Final Wars, the big pseudo-finale meant to celebrate all of Gojira’s history, basically boiled down to “isn’t it cool to see this big lizard fight other monsters and evil aliens.” And it confusingly homaged/ripped off a bunch of American movies, but that’s a story for another day…
Ironically enough, the first American-made Godzilla movie (the TriStar one) did use the whole “tragic monster” shtick that the animated series and Legendary ‘verse generally lack. And then that got retconned (by Japanese continuity) to be a different character, who’s mainly been used as a joke since then (although that has changed with more recent portrayals of Zilla being more thought-out)
There is almost certainly some interesting and telling analysis to be had of how Americans and the Japanese view Godzilla, his origins, etc. and how that is reflected in American adaptations vs. Japanese originals. That is not something I’m trying to deny at all
But boiling it down to “Japanese Goji is deep and political and Americans just don’t get it” seems more like an Edgy Hot Take™ than anything else
Idk, this ain’t supposed to be an essay. I’m just trying to put my feelings on this into words
Okay, so there’s this movie that’s REALLY hard to find, partly because it was banned in its home country. The film, Prophecies of Nostradamus/Catastrophe 1999 is an apocalyptic Toho film from 1974.
Just that part alone should grab your attention just a bit.
It is psychedelic, and overall pretty effective.
But there’s a sequence where it shows irradiated mutant humans as cannibal monsters, and, well, survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a might bit sensitive to negative portrayals of the irradiated. So, the film was banned.
But overall, it is a movie worth at least knowing about if you are into Sci-Fi or Tokusatsu. Some very effective parts are in it too, as well as some odd parts.
It was the 70s.
But the song that plays while these motorcycle riding Japanese Hippies ride off cliffs into the sea… is just… haunting.
And here’s a review of the movie itself.
Playing a game with family-in-law via email where we replace a word in a movie title with Godzilla and the Wife came up with Some Like Godzilla Hot and I couldn’t resist.
Godzilla (wearing fake wings and antenna): Mothra, I’m gonna level with you. We can’t get married at all.
Mothra: Why not?
Godzilla: Well, in the first place, these aren’t real wings.
Mothra: Doesn’t matter.
Godzilla: I have radioactive breath.
Mothra: I don’t care.
Godzilla: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I’ve been living with Rodan on Monster Island.
Mothra: I forgive you.
Godzilla: I can never have children.
Mothra: We can adopt some.
Godzilla: But you don’t understand, Mothra. [Pulls off his fake antenna] Uh, I’m Godzilla.
Mothra: Well, nobody’s perfect.
Matango: Attack Of The Mushroom People (1963)