I'm feeling okay today. Doing a lot of watching, thinking about, and writing about Godzilla puts me in a pretty good place. I'm gonna try and calm down and enjoy this day as much as I can. Sure, I don't have a future anymore, but I have a present, and right now that's really all I want.
22 now where I am and I've watched the "Honda era" or "Golden era" films, being from King Kong to Monster Zero. There is still coffee in the pot from this morning, something like 10 hours ago. So I'm definitely going to get through the south seas eras too, but first let's look at those aforementioned golden era Godzilla films.
3. King Kong vs. Godzilla • キングコング 対 ゴジラ (1962)
This is the first Godzilla movie I remember being new to me. I found it on vhs in a store, didn't know it existed prior to this, brought it home, and was confused and disappointed. THIS was King Kong vs. Godzilla? What?! See, the American version of King Kong vs. Godzilla is awful. Gut wrenchingly terrible. I could elaborate but let's keep things moving. It seems, though, that the American distributors over at Universal were confused, and didn't understand why this blockbuster action movie had a Japanese Groucho acting like a goof troop and making bets on the monsters like it's some wrestling match. But even that doesn't explain it because the changes don't axe comedy from the film altogether, it just makes it an unwatchable pile of trash. So for a long time, up until I discovered Godzilla's Revenge, this was my least favroite of the bunch.
When I was little I fucking HATED King Kong. He was the rival team I couldn't stand for it. Confusingly, I totally dug Gamera. This position reversed later. Part of my Kong hate, and why I thought of him as the competition, was because my biological father held this view. He thought the original Kong movie was better that the original Godzilla. He's also a sexist. But I do love Kong, and the '33 movie is absolutely brilliant of course. I actually enjoy all of the Kong movies in their own way, although I do mean "enjoy" in a pretty loose sense, and Kong as a franchise, and by extension the various lost worlds of Willis O'Brien, aren't immune to my affection. Stop motion of course is a beautiful art form, and as a kid, back when I still put up with Harryhausen's bullshit, it was second only to Godzilla. It wasn't long until I turned around on Kong because of this, and one thing I remember clearly is it seemed like every time I saw King Kong I was surprised to see a new creature that I had forgotten about the last time I watched it. Kong's measly 7 movies don't hold a candle to Godzilla, but he's cool enough in his own right, and intrumental to Godzilla ever having existed.
The Kong in this movie, of course, isn't the same as the original or Kiko. He hails from "Faro" Island, which my subbed version of the movie calls "Pharoah Island," which sounds way better, but I doubt that's the intention since it doesn't sound very polynesian. Faro Island is on the other side of Malaysia from Skull Island, specifically in the sunken continent Zealandia. Den Valdron, a guy who cares about world building this sort of stuff almost as much as me, has a convincing thesis that Zealandia is both synonymous with Mu and is where most of the Pacific monster fauna evolved. His theories about the origins of the people of Skull Island relate to this as well, and if one combined the two Kongs then it's not unreasonable to think that Faro Islands residents are directly related to those of Skull Island. He also has a theory about why Kong got so damn big, and it has to do with the nature of the Soma Berries that King Kong seems to be addicted to. Also, King Kong shoots electricity. So that's neat.
Let's talk about Oodako, the giant octopus. In addition to being the third wheel of the biggest crossover of all time, he also features in both Toho Frankenstein films, and he actually kills the boy Frankenstein. Well, "kills." He also appeared as "Sudar," a monster revered as a god of south sea island, in Ultra Q, and also showed up in Fight! Mighty Jack for some reason. Also, Godzilla fought a giant octopus in the Ghost Ship episode of the cartoon, which we may or may not get to. There is also a giant octopus, called the kraken, in the King Kong cartoon. A giant octopus isn't a new idea nor is he otherwise remarkable as a monster, but it's interesting that giant octopi, probably the same one feature among four high profile franchises, a canon fodder monster that doesn't even have a proper name being shared between the big names who typically won't even touch another monster that doesn't require a license. He's also interesting because it's probably not even a monster in this world. If eating berries can turn you into a giant, and Godzilla and Anguirus can reach Mesozoic sizes while barely clinging on to a chain of islands, then these sorts of things are probably common. Oodako seems addicted to the Soma Berries as well, but I have my own theories about giant sea life in the Tohoverse, and it has to do with those undersea trenches and caves we've heard so much about, and if we get to the cartoon I'll elaborate.
Godzilla this time out seems pretty livid with humans, but he's not a total monster. There's actually a specific point during the fight with King Kong where Kong accidentally bashes his head in and goes unconscious, and Godzilla seems upset, he was enjoying sparring with this, the second living thing he's ever encountered (that we know of) that he can actually interact with. It even seems like he feels remorse, and didn't intend or want Kong to die. We see in this film that Godzilla can be deterred with electricity, which is the exact opposite of what we see in the original movie. Although we could probably explain this as it being a different individual, I think the real continuity problem it causes is why anyone would bother trying electricity as a weapon again, since thinking it was just THAT Godzilla who was immune is pretty bizarre. I think we're either not supposed to notice or just ignore it.
4. Mothra vs. Godzilla • モスラ 対 ゴジラ (1964)
I'm almost positive that this movie was on Danny's tape, and I'll get to who Danny is when we get to Monster Zero, but right you just need to know that this means it's in a batch of 5 movies that I had as a "set" on one tape that I'd watch over and over and over and over and over and over and you get the idea. It was recorded from a TNT marathon and as such some of the interstitials are there between the films. Actually, I am positive this was the first movie on the tape. The tape formed the center of what at the time for me was the entire Godzilla series and, by extension, pretty much my entire world.
Mothra's fine. My attitude towards her has cycled through everything possible at one point or another. I even had "Mothraism," which apparently to some people is a real thing, under my umbrella of fake/parody/pseudo religions as recently as 2007. As a franchise to herself, two thirds of which are Godzilla crossovers, Mothra is surprisingly consistent despite being broken down to essentially a supporting character in another series. Probably because she always seems to play the same role, the result of this is that the Mothra series, even though most of it is also the Godzilla series, actually feels like an entity unto its own. The character's ambiguous fantasy and spiritual origins are re-stated in slightly different new-agey ways with each new continuity and the real background of just exactly what Mothra is and how she came to be are kind of a grey area. That said, she's clearly some sort of arm of the will of Gaia, either directly or indirectly, and even if the Mothras were ordinary animals at one point the fact that she's a moth isn't actually part of who Mothra is, it's kind of just a hippie goddess monster who also happens to be a moth for reasons we don't get to learn. The original Showa Mothra's story treatment, which was serialized before the film came out, featured a bit about the mythology of the Infant Island natives.
According to their creation myth, the world was created by Ajima and Ajiko, one of which is the male god of night and the other the female goddess of light, I don't remember which. The two mated and produced mankind, one giant egg, and a cluster of small eggs. The small eggs hatched into tiny butterflies that flew away, and this angered the gods who brought death and misery into the world. The night god killed himself and his mate, out of grief, tore herself into four pieces, and these became the four fairies of the island, because in the original story there were four fairies. The giant egg is Mothra, of course, but what we learn in this movie is that the egg from which the twins hatched was buried underground for a long time, from listening to the Shobijin in the film the implication is longer than three years, which would mean the original Mothra isn't... you know, the original, and this egg isn't actually hers. Maybe. We'll talk more about Mothra as it becomes relevant.
The Godzilla suit this time is an absolute classic, stunningly gorgeous creature that 9 times out of 10 is going to be any given fan's favroite of the bunch. Last time we saw the "just trying to get by" Godzilla take some frustration out on humanity, but this time he's just fucking pissed. Last film he didn't really do that much damage, and mostly just screwed around with King Kong, but after yet another stupidly elaborate scheme to electrocute/burn/bury/explode him, Godzilla's getting pretty sick of this shit. But while the second Godzilla has started to emulate the first in his thirst for destruction, we STILL see some conflict here, because parts of his rampage are just accidents. Also, the military try to electrocute him, again, which goes alright until the voltage gets so high that the generators actually melt. So that happened.
The climactic battle between the twin larva and Godzilla is another step in the ever more complicated monster politics of the series. The original Godzilla just destroyed. The second and Anguirus were still behaving as if they were normal animals. The second Godzilla develops a familiarity with humanity as well as growing contempt, while King Kong seems to put up with them alright since they worship him, and the antagonism between the two is motivated mostly by "because you're there" and bragging rights. Now Godzilla is getting annoyed and lashing out at anything that looks at him twice, and we've got self-sacrificing Mothra who does everything she can for everyone even when the evil in humanity turns their back on here, plus the twins, who are clever girls that use a cooperative strategy to neutralize Godzilla as best they can... but not out of revenge, because even when it's their own mother(?) they refuse to give into the dark side.
5. Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster • 三 大怪獣: 地球 最大 の 決戦 (1964)
The king of terror has arrived. Five movies in we finally meet Godzilla's archnemesis, King Ghidorah. The Lex Luthor to Batman's Moriarity, or whatever. King Ghidorah is the first space monster we meet in the Godzilla series, though not the first in the Tohoverse. He arrives in meteor form, and Hiroshi Koizumi's character, whose name has been slightly changed from the last film but is otherwise the same guy, goes to investigate, giving us our mandatory hiking scene. He says he's not sure if the meteors odd effect of drawing objects towards it are electromagnetic or gravitational, and while at first it only seems to effect metal objects, as it grows in power ordinary rocks are drawn towards it, which is kinda weird. Kinda weird because we all know for a fact that it's gravitational in nature because it's King Ghidorah, who emerges from what we now might understand to be an egg in an enormous fireball.
A Venusian appears in what we later learn is some kind of latent genetic memory, even though at first it seems more like the alien is a being of light that possesses Princess Salno, and probably the actual mechanics of the situation (as at the end we don't really understand) is some kind of combination of the two. Venus was rendered the lifeless wasteland that it is today by KG 5,000 years ago, and a few survivors made it to Earth and Salno is their descendent... which doesn't make sense if Salno is supposed to be human, leading me to believe the Venusian survivors escaped via the mind transference method of the Yithians/great race rather than actually physically traveling to Earth. This makes the genetic memory thing fall into place nicely. King Ghidorah's ultimate origin, however, remains unknown for the time being, we just know that he exists, can travel through space, destroys everything he touches, and that whole egg-birthing thing isn't as straight forward as it seems.
Godzilla and Rodan return, although this is a new Rodan, as both of the others were killed. Whether this is a third egg that hatched or the offspring of the mating pair is unknown and not overly important, although I tend to believe it's the offspring based on the behavior of the Rodans in the original film. Godzilla is straight up ticked off at humanity, whom he refers to as being bullies in this film, which is consistent to his experiences so far. Humans just treat him like the first Godzilla, he didn't actually start out malicious. Godzilla spies Rodan and pursues him, Godzilla picking a fight because that's just what he does now. The two don't seem to be enemies, the fight seems to be based on rather petty or nebulous circumstances. They aren't really friends either, but the two are of the same mind and at least aren't out to kill each other or anything.
One of the Mothras die. So that happens. Why? I don't know. I've heard it theorized before that one of them ate the other after mating, but... Mothra doesn't need to mate. The Shobijin in this movie are especially cheery, and it seems like the message of brotherhood by the human cast of the last film really resonated with them, and the relationship between Infant Island and the rest of the world is pretty solid. I found myself wondering about the possibility of external aid from other countries to help Infant Island's agriculture recover. I'm wondering the same thing now watching Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster as I write this, seeing the way the Japanese crew of the Yahlen and the Infant Islander Dayo flawlessly interact without any tension.
G3HM is a real event movie, a turning point for the series. It's also the biggest story, with the largest cast of monsters, and most far-reaching consequences up to this point. I remember when it was new to me, but not exactly when that was. It was probably before I saw GRA, though. Even though I'd seen other movies with four monsters in it before, the combination of these four in the same movie blew me away. The importance of it resonated for me even back when I was only aware of ~9 movies. It has, since then, been a consistent go-to for me, since it pretty much delivers everything I want from a Godzilla movie. Well, not everything but you know what I'm getting at.
6. Godzilla vs. Monster Zero • 怪獣 大戦争 (1965)
Set in the future year of 196X (I guess it could be 1965, but I don't think it's likely), Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is a really damn cool movie with a monster battle on an alien planet, a revolt against the technocracy, an alien invasion plan that's more complicated than it needs to be, and some sweet sweet Nick Adams/Kumi Mizuno shipping. Oh hell yeah it's Nick Adams time, bitches.
One thing I noticed while watching this again was that this is the third time in six films that we have as part of our ensemble main cast an overprotective older brother disapproving of his sister's boyfriend. That's 50% of the series in 1965. It happens in KKvsG, where the brother comes around because of the usefulness of the boyfriends wire. It happens in G3HM when the brother is suspicious of Yuriko Hoshi spending time with Hiroshi Koizumi's scientist character that slightly changes names between films, but this time it turns out not to be the case. And now we get Akira Takarada thinking the inventor of the lady guard is a useless sack of shit, until he ends up saving the world with his invention. The first two movies also feature one-sided love triangles, but this has more to do with GRA consciously emulating the original as much as possible.
So Planet X is the 13th moon of Jupiter. It doesn't say that in the dubbed version, no siree, we're actually told that it's an independent planet, probably something like a centaur, that was hiding behind Jupiter. But it turns out I'm not wrong for thinking that was a little odd, and it was a large, rocky moon of bizarre, colorful composition the whole time. The 13th discovered, Planet X was found when investigating the 5th moon of Jupiter, which in the 60's was Callisto, and strange radio waves were picked up which indicated its presence. This is interesting because the 13th moon discovered in real life, Leda, found in 1974, actually is between Callisto and Himalia, the next furthest known moon out. Leda is, or seems to be I didn't do much research, your average tiny rock, though, so I'm guessing that the Yuggoth-like serendipity here means that either Leda of the Showa Tohoverse is totally different, but and alternate explanation could easily be that it is just a completely fictional moon that happens to be in the same place.
What are the Xiliens? Liars, to start with. They are a ruthless race of possibly cyborg technocratic emotional abolitionist probably communist aliens that look for all the world like humans. It raises the question of if they actually are human, since it isn't unreasonable at this point in the Tohoverse to assume ancient super-advanced civilizations had space travel technology (in later continuities we're actually told so directly) and of course most alien races we meet are truly alien and use a human disguise. However in GFW Xiliens actually are using a disguise, and that complicates things when you realize that the only difference between the two is that the second Godzilla was teleported to the Bering Sea and didn't actually become Godzilla until much later. I'll explain more when we get there but I'm say right now that I'm of the mind that the world is consistent throughout all timelines, and there is plenty of evidence to support this, and the various versions of each monster are actually more closely related than it seems. If this is the case, then Xiliens clearly can not be humans, but are clearly cyborg creatures that evolved on a different planet, reached a "singularity," but although their culture became singular in the drive to run everything by the perfect predictive outcomes of their computer calculations, we see time and time again that they do have emotions and are every bit as fallible and multi-faceted as humans. There is no technocracy resistance, but there are a few individuals who go against the grain ever so slightly. Whether they evolved on this moon or weren't lying in GFW and actually came from some other star system (I'm betting it's the same as the Nebulans) and the moon is just a colony, isn't terribly important for story purposes, but I'd like to think they did evolve on the moon and the lie about an extra-solar origin is told because they want to hide the location of their homeworld.
Monster Zero is the second movie on my uncle Danny's tape, so I've seen it quite a few times. Danny was a kind of a hippie type of guy who got drafted into the Navy. He was also a bit of an addict. Danny was like a gateway drug, a really cool guy who was into Frank Zappa and monster movies that came on TNT and whatever other stations back in the day, if there was anything cool to be seen or heard Danny had it. I loved the guy to death, all I ever wanted to do was spend time with him but he was kind of elusive for reasons everyone deemed necessary to hide from me at the time. I realize now that I only ever really got to know the 10% of him on the surface, even though I loved him he was a hard guy to pin down or talk to or spend time with. Maybe my recollections are colored by how obsessed I was with him and we actually did spend quite a lot of time together, but either way there was a long string of revelations about who he really was that continued well into the aughts.
Danny overdosed when I was five and I fucking couldn't handle that. I don't really know for sure if it was a suicide. This was the first time in my life I stared death in the face and the first I lost something so important to me it made me physically nauseous. The thing is Danny wasn't just some guy that I adored, he infected me with his tapes and music and personality and the things I loved as a child are actually the lasting remnants of his influence on the world, and this thing, this Godzilla thing, is all his fault. When I was five Godzilla stopped being entertainment or a past time and became the inheritance from my uncle. When I "brag" about being the biggest G-fan or that no one cares more about Godzilla than me this isn't idle boasting and it's not a lie, Godzilla isn't just some fucking THING to me, he's the legacy that my uncle left me and I can't let go of it or else he'll cease to exist. I mean, okay, he was a damn junkie. I know that. I accept that just some kid isn't going to change everything and bring him around or help him recover. My clearest memory of him was one of the times I stayed over at his place, and he was... doing something, and stopped talking to me or doing anything. I don't know what it was, anything between weed and heroin, but it was confusing and scary to me because I didn't want to just watch some damn movie, but I couldn't reach him and I didn't know what was happening.
My family was afraid because I emulated him too much, they thought I was going to end up the same way. Some were more alarmist about it than others but my immediate family seemed to have faith in that I would learn from this I got older and be and do all the things that Danny couldn't. And I wish that was true, but it's not. It turns out I really am Danny after all, I've even got a nephew who caught something from me, in this case Mario, and has a hard time getting to spend time with me, and it's getting progressively rockier when it does happen. He's seven, so I've given him two more years that Danny gave me, but I know when I'm gone that I'm going to do the same thing to him. It's funny because seven years ago I promised him and his mother that I wasn't going to let that happen. Well, I didn't, but what happens to me isn't my decision and hasn't been since 2009. I wonder, though, if Danny felt the same sort of contempt for me as I do for my nephew. I used to really like the little guy, but he's become kind of a selfish snot-nosed brat. Maybe that's all my sister's programming, though, and as he gets older he'll even out. But if he ends up being cis then fuck the little bastard.
7. Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster • ゴジラ • エビラ • モスラ: 南海 の 大決闘 (1966)
This was supposed to be a King Kong movie, and it shows. Godzilla was actually planned to go up against Adam West this year, but unfortunately that didn't pan out. While a real super hero with actual powers up against Godzilla would have made way more sense, the idea was to have Batman tackle Godzilla with various vehicles, and the notion of a Bat-Gotengo designed by the Old Man's crew and piloted by Adam West sounds pretty awesome.
Instead we get a King Kong movie with Godzilla in it for no good reason. The reason they dropped King Kong is because the idea was to make a film tie-in to the then current cartoon series, but Rankin-Bass didn't feel like King Kong vs. Ebirah was in line with the series and a new script was put together which became King Kong Escapes. Meanwhile, Godzilla winds up in a funky south seas adventure fighting conventional giant animals and picking on some girl. It's a marked departure from the golden era, with a new director, special effects director, and composer. The Honda-Tsuburaya-Ifukube outfit is still making monster movies, at this time the second Toho Frankenstein film War of the Gargantuas, but the studio heads decided to put some fresh eyes on Godzilla and do something new and different, and it worked. Sea Monster isn't really comparable to the golden era as it supposed to be, the quality of these productions is still there, and the film itself is gorgeous and the human drama with it's ensemble cast and all that is just as loveable as any of the previous entries. It feels more lighthearted and adventurey this time. We're not following politicians or the military or scientists or reporters, what's at stake isn't a city or a country or the world, we're just following a guy who wants to find his brother. There's some more Infant Island and Mothra stuff here as well, and the transition from distrust to integration is complete, it seems. Mothra herself, that is the surviving twin, is now an adult, but her screen time is pretty brief, and most of her role in the film is to have people pray to her.
The new monsters are interesting for a couple of reasons. First, there is still only one monster truly unique to the Godzilla series, and that's Anguirus. Ebirah and Ookondoru are also part of the Mothra series, but they're new. After Anguirus Godzilla crossed over with King Kong, Mothra, and Rodan, and King Ghidorah was a threat to the entire Tohoverse, but as Godzilla's archnemesis is the only truly new addition to the bestiary during the golden era... well, except for Oodako. Now with the south seas films Godzilla is being pitted against all kinds of giant animals, here a lobster and an old-world vulture, in SoG a spider and some mantises. The presence of kaiju sized animals in secluded south seas islands ties back to the origins of Godzilla, and suggests that it is not an isolated incident. Ebirah's origins aren't enumerated in the film, we just know that Infant Islanders know and fear it, and that the Red Bamboo have, due to their abduction of Infant Islanders, found a way to "control" it. It seems a little unlikely that they created it on purpose, but the possibility of it being mutated by waste products from the Red Bamboo's nuclear operations on Devil's Island makes a lot of sense. It's probably also where Ookondoru came from. Perhaps, but again I'm going to allude to the second season of the cartoon, which it now looks like we will have time for.
Godzilla is by now well understood to be a very powerful monster, capable of dealing with any threat, and is also beginning to be seen as an individual, distinct from the first Godzilla, who just wants to be left alone. He also saved the world. But the history of Godzilla's battles have been, with only two exceptions, when the battle with Anguirus was a genuine territorial dispute and against King Ghidorah were the stakes were high and he HAD to win. Because of the relative un-seriousness of most of his battles, Godzilla spends more time doing actual fighting than trying to end the conflict. This is illustrated really well in the two south seas movies, since we see that when Godzilla wants one of these overgrown animal dead, he'll make them dead. The initial battle between Godzilla and Ebirah is not much more than splashing around and playing volleyball, and the second ends abruptly when Godzilla says it does by ripping Ebirah's fucking arms off. Ookondoru doesn't last maybe 10 seconds, and when he sees Mothra he follows her spoiling for a fight just because it's, again, something he does. The result of this is that the fights Godzilla gets into are fun to watch and really cool, Godzilla isn't thinking like a feral beast as in the first movie but is engaging in a game of kaiju martial arts with various creatures. This is a battle style that becomes progressively more campy as the series progresses, even more so than the volleyball scene in this movie, and is mostly lost when the Showa era ends.
I can't remember when I first saw this movie, I really can't, but its been familiar to me for a long time. I do remember one aspect of my initial reaction being disappointed when I found out that the ambiguous "sea monster" was just a lobster and not something awesome like Nessie or a sea serpent, and I remember being really confused and intrigued by Ookondoru, who wasn't a named monster and showed up out of nowhere then died immediately. Nowhere on the vhs box did it say what the name of this monster was, or even that it existed at all. Even as late as the internet age Ookondoru and Oodako would only show up on geocities fan sites some of the times. It's like the monsters are black listed or not important or something. And unlike Oodako, Ookondoru really is kind of unimportant, and we never see him again except in stock footage, where he's called "Oowashi" meaning giant eagle. That's not a contradiction, though, since old-world vultures are part of the eagle clade. Nevertheless, his underdog nature and my initial sense of wonder about who or what Ookondoru is and why I can't find any more info on him (the answer is because there isn't more info to be had) made him a fixation of mine as a kid and one of my "favroite" monsters. By the way, Ookondoru is the third true dinosaur kaiju in the the series.
That button scene with the guy reaching around the pipe always confused and aggravated me. You don't get a clear sense of continuity of where the rubble falls and so when the guy is reaching to press the button I don't really have a clear idea in my head of where this is in the room or why it's so hard and it goes on so long it's annoying. And the tense music doesn't help. One last thing, I was wondering about the ultimate fate of the two brothers. Mothra flies her basket of people back to their home, but it ends there. Does she fly the Japanese people back home? They don't have a boat, you know. What if they decided to stay and live with the Islanders? What if a romance blossomed between Dayo and one of the shipwreck crew? It wasn't alluded to in the film, but if this were hollywood you know it would have happened. Then Yata's brother would have been, to their mother, lost at sea as well, and she would have to assume that both of them are dead now. Think about that for a second.
8. Son of Godzilla • ゴジラ の 息子 (1967)
Godzilla has a son. Yes, Minilla is actually supposed to be Godzilla's son. No, he's not adopted. Godzilla is the biological father. Yes, that DOES mean there has to be a mother. These are just a few of the problems people have with Minilla, and I haven't even gotten to how much of a stupid irritating annoying little twat the stupid fucker is. Everyone hates Minilla because he's fucking trash, and the new Godzilla design for this movie also happens to look like a chainsaw sculpture. And yet, Son of Godzilla is a damn good movie despite this.
Some impressions I got from re-watching the film: this is the first time a film doesn't immediately start with the title card. The plane at the beginning cite the interference as "electromagnetic brain waves" which echoes the same psuedo-science thesis of the way in which Xiliens are able to telepathically control machinery and mechanically control the actions of the monsters. Why the fuck is Tadao Takashima playing the professor? I don't want to be "that guy" who says comedic actors can't play dramatic parts, but why the hell did you give him grey hair? How the fuck am I supposed to take Tadao Takashima seriously with fake grey hair? He does his part well enough but it's such a weird casting choice. Was Hiroshi Koizumi too busy? Minilla is brown at birth, but grey as a youngster, that's interesting. Boys don't wear red shirts? Fuck you you stupid sexist bitch, who don't even know what the fuck a city is how in the hell do you get to act like an authority on shirts?! Yoshio Tsuchiya's character is the most interesting and I think has the best arc out of all the humans.
Is Minilla a Godzilla, or a Godzillasaurus? Was his egg laid as by mutated Godzillas or by the animals that Godzilla mutated from? Having only the knowledge of the films up to this point it seems like the egg was laid before and out of range of the mutation that struck Godzilla, and that the accident with the first test of the weather control system transformed him. But in a later movie we see an unhatched Godzillasaurus egg on an island where nuclear waste has mutated a Pterosaur into Rodan, yet when the egg hatches it's not a Godzilla. So it's a Godzilla egg, not a Godzillasaurus egg. Actually, this would be supported by the size of the thing alone. When was it laid? In the film the only backstory we get has to do with Saeko's father Dr. Matsumiya, who stayed on the island after WWII ended and lived with his daughter, who was born there. He died seven years ago (1960) and left a journal from 1955 which indicates that Kumonga was present by then. That journal should probably contain some backstory on how Minilla's egg got here, but it doesn't. We just have to guess. My guess is that at one point the journal DID contain more exposition, but it was cut, and the 1955 date is also when the egg was laid, which fits in perfectly with the behavior of Godzilla at this time, who was, if you remember, doing other things at the time other than destroying cities. It might also explain why Kumonga and the mantises are so huge even before the radioactive storm, but Kumonga is still pretty mysterious. And what the hell is that red water about?
Minilla is never called by that name in the movie, he's only called "Godzilla." No, seriously, they refer to both individuals as Godzilla interchangeably. Minilla is such an... odd, weird little piece of garbage that it's hard for most people to reconcile the "Son of Godzilla" moniker with his role and character in the films. And yet here, just as in Son of Kong, he is treated as a successor to and spawn of Godzilla, even as a Godzilla himself. The humans are completely cognizant of this. Junior was so well received for exactly this reason, because he wasn't "Minilla" he was a legitimate third Godzilla, which was a breath of fresh air in the 90's, but Minilla was always supposed to be the same thing, he just... he's just really fucking terrible.
The relationship between father and son is interesting. It's heavily anthropomorphised, which isn't surprising given the comedic and child-centric slant the series is gradually falling into. But he comes off as kind of an asshole who forgets Minilla even exists most of the time. He does care, there is affection happening here, but he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who's particularly interested in doing this sort of thing at this point in his life. Even if Monster Zero occurs before SoG, he still leaves Minilla at home during the 70's. What's going on here? The humans are shocked at how large Minilla has grown in such a short amount of time, so it's likely that he's capable of fighting along side his father by 1971, right? DAM wants you to believe that he actually stopped aging for 32 years, but that's bullshit. Minilla IS Godzilla by 1999, so during the 70's Minilla just... stays home. Perhaps Minilla's growth slows down after this, and Godzilla doesn't want to bring him into the more serious engagements that will happen after this. That's the only explanation that makes sense to me, at least.
When this movie was new to me it blew me away. I expected "Godzilla vs. bugs" to not be a very long movie, but Kumonga was intimidating and mysterious. It didn't take much to beat him in the end, but he put up a hell of a fight against a Godzilla who was actively trying to murder him. Also, he's old as shit, and he's waaaay too big for an arthropod. Everything about Kumonga is awesome and cool and after this movie is never touched on again, he's simply just another monster that exists, which I hate. Even IDW, which featured him prominently in their short list of their original 13 monsters, used him for a grand total of one fucking panel during 2011's ongoing series, and has been enthusiastically ignored as much as possible. He got some attention, but not as much as fucking Mechagodzilla who, as part of IDW's contract, has to be in every panel of every issue of every comic they ever release, Godzilla or otherwise. Of course the notion of a baby Godzilla was also novel and cool at the time as well, and I really found myself getting into the movie in a way that continues to baffle me as it is contrary to the, again, pathetic individual elements.