Godzilla Countdown: Day 5

Five days in and I've successfully transitioned from giving up on everything to distracting myself with something else. As it usually goes, I'll make spreadsheets or read stuff on Something Awful or watch a let's play or something else that, for normal people, would an entertaining break from responsibility. When you don't have anything else, it isn't really "entertaining," it's more like finding something to stare at that's more interesting than a wall. This is the sort of thing kids who don't know any better dream of, just watching cartoons all day, a perceived paradise. The thing that those kids, including myself at that age, didn't understand is that doing something on your time off is inherently different from doing the same thing constantly forever. It doesn't matter what it is, it really doesn't, you can't just stare at the same thing without a break and stay sane for very long. For people with lives, even monotonous cubicle jobs are broken up with even the most menial of indulgences. A few friends and a day off every once in a while can keep people from going postal due to the soul-crushing tedium of a desk job.

I can't just sit here. I can't live like this. I need... something. To do something, to write something, to go somewhere, to meet new people and have new experiences. You CAN'T just sit around all day like this, it's not natural. Watching funny internet videos should be a fun experience, but now my eyes just glaze over at it. The lack of any sort of... life in me has made things that should be fun feel like a desk job. Except non of this requires any effort on my part. Simply being alive has become a never ending chore me. I still have the means to do so, but taking the minimum effort to remember to eat is a thing I actively have to do, and it isn't something I relish. At least if I was starving in a ditch somewhere I could die like I'm supposed to instead of... whatever the fuck this is.

The things I get lost in are recursive, there's nothing new here. Hauntology only really fed what was already there, I've always been "haunted by the ghosts of the past" as it were. I think it really goes back to high school, when I realized that the whole "finding myself" thing was a complete waste of what could have been the best years of my life, but I squandered it trying to be someone else like some kind of god damned moron. Alcohol didn't help either, there was a period from 2007~2008 when I pined for "the good old days," which sometimes would be as long ago as *gasp* a week! I called this "perpetual regret," the idea that you always remember the past with rose-colored glasses and regret that you didn't appreciate your experiences enough, and that attitude created a perpetual feedback loop where because you were always thinking of the past, you could never appreciate what you did have.

So here I am reliving every Godzilla movie in a row plus the cartoon and some other things, distracting myself from the fact that I'm never going to get any less ugly or any more employable by desperately clinging to the one thing I'm still passionate enough about that Hollywood destroying it matters. Today I'm going to watch Godzilla vs. Biollante, my favroite thing in the world, probably for the last time.

15.5.2. Godzilla Power Hour/Godzilla: Voyage Chronicles (Season 2) (1979)
The second season has a little less cohesion than the first, and the episodes are more varied and not really grouped together. Little substantial differences exist, although, as you can tell from the title screencap here, Godzilla is a lighter green. This isn't for every shot of every episode, and after the first few he actually goes back to the darker color most of the time. Actually, his color fluctuated during season 1, too, but I never really noticed until now. The name of the show, by the way, is really just "Godzilla." The "Godzilla Power Hour" is just what it was called for part of its original run, and "Godzilla: Voyage Chronicles" is what I've heard it was called in Japan, but the Japanese wikipedia page doesn't seem to mention it. Obviously calling it just "Godzilla" is going to be really confusing, so I've called it the other two proper names for organizational purposes.

Two of the first three episodes contain giant Cephalopods as the enemy monster, one of which is an octopus... so is it Oodako? We then get a "strange island" episode, followed by a series of unique encounters with bizarre monsters not really comparable to what we've seen before. Near the end is a trilogy of episodes where Godzilla doesn't actually fight an enemy monster, and fights against some other threat, although one of them does have other monsters in it. Throughout the series a trilogy of sorts is peppered in regarding regular animals that have grown to gigantic sizes through various means. Outside of there, there is a focus on "bad guys" this season that was only touched upon in the Watchuka episode of the last. Here we get all kinds of villainous forces composed of individuals with a distinct goal, usually conquering or destroying the world, that range from renegade scientists to really stupid ice aliens and even COBRA gets involved. Overall the season seems more experimental, ditching elementals and Grecoroman mythology for moon monsters, micro-Godzillas, and castles in the sky.

The later happens to be my favroite, not only this this season, but of the whole series, and it isn't just because the Power Dragon is a captain ersatz King Ghidorah. The Calico crew is caught in some kind of storm and is sucked up into the clouds, where they find an entire alien city, made itself of clouds. The leader of the cloud-men uses a golden headband to project his thoughts, which looks really damn cool, and the whole place kind of reminds me of the Ultraman homeworld as seen in the 1979 cartoon (coincidence? Maybe). They are refugees from "an alternate world" (oh, did I mention they look exactly like humans?) fleeing from the Power Dragon, who is awesome. So after Quinn steals the thought amplifying magic headband and recalls Godzilla from floating around in the middle of a hurricane, he battles the Power Dragon on top of the clouds in a city that's, you know, late 70's-tastic, and he lures the monster into the storm, short circuiting it and sending the whole damn thing back to their home world. It's pretty awesome.

So what is this "alternate world?" I used to think they just meant another planet, but leaving it open like that actually gives us a reason the aliens look human, because they are. They come from some kind of alternate universe with a design aesthetic that looks like futuristic ancient Greece. You know what other people are from another world with a similar looking city and are clearly human? The Atlanteans! "The City in the Clouds" seems to be a mirror episode to the Atlantis one. Atlantis is a place that physically traveled to our Earth and was under the sea, whose leader helps the Calico to destroy the Colossus that has turned evil and now controls the city. Here, we have a city in the clouds built by entering our world through a portal where the leader attempts to dick over the Calico crew out of the signaler to use Godzilla for world domination, but are being hunted by the Power Dragon. I think these are different groups of people from the same place that came at different times. The island where the Chimera lives might also be related, since the buildings are in a classical Greek style and its sole inhabitants are some weird monsters and three sisters in robes that have strange powers, and the entire island disappears for intervals of 1,000 years for no adequately explained reason. And we know it disappears TO somewhere.

I mentioned back in day 2 that I think there's something else going on with all the large animals in the south Pacific, and this is it. There are three (3) episodes in the second season about ordinary animals growing to kaiju sizes, and each one gives us a similar mechanism. Instead of episode order, I'm going to cover them in the order I believe the process works. We start with "The Macro-Beasts," an episode where the Calico investigates the birth of a new volcanic island, and discovers all manner of giant sea life. These giants are eating a purple liquid seeping from the active volcano, and it's referred to as a "super nutrient" rich substance that, when combined with the warm water, causes the creatures to grow. For the record, we see arthropods as well as vertebrates affected by the substance. The next step comes in the first of the episodes aired, "Mirco-Godzilla," where the Calico passes through a bank of mysterious pink fog. The crew are all down in the hull as Godzilla carries it through the unnavigable fog. Later, Godzilla begins shrinking, and a wayward fly who was also outside, begins growing, becoming as big as the Calico in a matter of hours. Quinn determines the fog has an energy flow that runs negative to positive, and that to reverse the effects you just reverse the flow, positive to negative. WHAT?! What the hell does that mean? Is she a real scientist? I'm not going to bother expending that much energy into deciphering her stupid kids show technobabble, and instead focus on the part where the gas has some kind of electric charge to it. I think this is a gaseous form of the "super nutrient" from the Macro-Beasts episode, and that it evaporates at a low temperature. This means that the giant sea-life we see in the Macro-Beasts would not only shrink once they entered cooler waters, but that shortly after the Calico left the island most of the purple liquid had disappeared into the air, which would explain why the world isn't totally overrun by giant fish. Then there's "Valley of the Giants" where a secluded valley blocked off by a circular rock enclosure is teeming with giant plants and arthropods. The source here is again in the sky, but indirectly, the area is covered by a thick red cloud that, when rays of sunlight filter through it, it enlarges the arthropods it touches. When the fly breathes the pink fog it grows, when sea animals drink the liquid in warm water they grow, and when plants or animals are exposed to sunlight under a cloud of the stuff they grow. However when sea animals enter cold water they shrink, when vertebrates breath the fog they shrink, and just a red cloud floating overhead won't enlarge anything on its own. So in each case the active enlarging agent needs to be "energized," and in the case of the fog bank, the different respiratory systems of the fly vs. the dinosaur produce opposite effects of the fog which is energized, but altering that charge (somehow :/) causes the effect to reverse. A substance like this could explain pretty much every overly large animal in the Toho multiverse, including Kumonga. How this "super nutrient" energy rich stuff helps them breath better I don't know, but the fact that there's even an attempt at putting a mechanism in place, regardless of how little sense it makes or much disbelief you have to suspend, is good enough for me when it comes to giant monsters. I mean, at least try, you know?

The Marvel comics never made normal animals grow, but they did make Godzilla shrink. In both the comics and the cartoon he fought a rat, but in the cartoon he also battles a black widow spider and three micro-organisms, two of which look sort of like orthocones with conical tests and pseudopods dangling out the open ends. Godzilla battles a black widow spider again in "Valley of the Giants," only this time the situation is reversed and he's normal sized and the spider has been enlarged. In the comics, Godzilla is shrunk with a gas containing "Pym Particles," and shrinks down to about a foot long. The gas wears off quickly, and he begins to return to his normal size gradually, passing through human sized to 20' tall, and it's here that he gets sent to dinosaur times and teams up with Devil Dinosaur.

Dr. Quinn Darien is probably my favroite character, as she gets some of the best lines. The whole show is rife with some pretty good stuff, though, stuck somewhere between the realms of bad kids show writing and 1970's colloquialisms. Quinn in particular, though, spends a lot of time and energy hoping. Hoping thing will happen, or they won't happen again, or won't happen too soon or will happen on time, that sort of thing. Barely an episode passes where she doesn't at least hope the monster doesn't come back. Will it be the last of this week's monster? Dr. Quinn certainly hopes so. Here's a few of her most memorable lines from the show:

"If you'll pardon an unscientific wow... WOW!"
"Some people just have no scientific curiosity."
"But this is a strong quake."
"Bye bye, big buddy."
"We've got real trouble over here."
"No, Godzilla! No lazor beams!"
"...and that's the way it would have remained if it hadn't become a pollution mutation."
"It's a... Diplodocus! And they weren't too choosy about what they ate!"
"Perhaps these discs also operate the time machine!"
"It's a footprint... or a giant hoofprint!"
"They name big storms after men too, Carl."
"My scientific training tells me... NOTHING!"
"...and dangerous besides!"

But it's not all the Dr. Quinn show, here's a few other lines that are worth of, uh... an... an award:

"That's the way, Godzilla, that's the way!"
"Well I guess the world isn't big enough for two Godzillas."
"Yeah, especially when one of them is the Energy Beast."
[unintelligible stupid noises]
"You can say that again, Godzooky."
[unintelligible stupid noises]
"I'm about to be unstable, too."
"So you are a plant after all... Well, gotta go."
"The time machine! We can escape through time! Follow me, Kara-El!"
"This place is a complete maze!"
"We better get off the 50 yard line"
"Hello! Hey, hello!"
"And not any too soon!"
"Godzooky, you need to take a bath! Oh yuck."
"Now who needs to take a bath?"
"Alright, I'll take a bath."
"I don't know... I just don't know."

15.9. Godzilla Meets Bambi & Dr. Pepper
I was born in 1987. Now, that's pretty late in the decade, as you may be aware, which would mean just based on the way humans age alone, it's pretty clear I'm a 90's kid. However, I wasn't born in a vacuum, and the world had already been occupied by Godzilla for 33 years before I showed up. What's more I was born in a time where home video existed, a situation that changed the nature of nostalgia forever.

I've talked before about my uncle Danny and his tape that I watched almost on a loop throughout most of my childhood. At the end of that tape was Godzilla 1985, the *new* Godzilla movie, something totally different and removed from all others. A modern Godzilla for the modern age. Why else would they put the damn year in the title? And that's the way it was for me: the 1980's are where the past ends and the present begins.

You could say that I "caught up" with the 80's. It was still new enough in the time of people being able to record things that for awhile most of the media I encountered was from the 80's. When you're that young you don't watch things of your own accord, adults show you things, and that's pretty much how it was. However, that being as it was, this makes my "memories of the 80's" fuzzy and indistinct. It is effectively as if I do have memories of 1987-1989, just really bad ones, but this is just a strange side-effect of having a recorded prehistory. In the internet age, it's not difficult find someone calling themselves a 90's kid when they were born in 1997. However, once you get older, it is easy to distinguish old tapes from current events, and even though you can be a part of the childhood of every generation thanks to technology, it will never be distinctly yours.

And so, the ur-decade is like me looking at my childhood through a murky glass. I have my nostalgia and my devotion to dumb ideas that make no sense when you're older like power rangers and the rest, but before that there's another dimension, that same kind of nostalgia but viewed through a foggy glass. If you don't understand what I'm talking about it's kind of difficult to explain, but what I'm talking about is the mechanism of how something almost 10 years old when I first saw it was the absolute most cutting edge, visually striking and completely modern and futuristic thing I had ever seen.

I went and watched Bambi Meets Godzilla as well as the two 1985 Dr. Pepper commercials because they immediately preceded Godzilla 1985 on the tape, and I saw those commercials more often than the regular running ads on tv. Also, the fact that the brand new Godzilla was advertising my favroite soda is awesome, and I can take a minute out of my busy schedule to watch them again in order to help set up what we're getting into. Specifically, that we have officially passed the threshold from the Godzilla of the past to the Godzilla of my time, the new Godzilla. From here on out we'll be talking about the films more or less as they happen, and I start to ride with Godzilla instead of looking back at him.

16. Return of Godzilla • ゴジラ (1984)
The Return of Godzilla is the intersection of a lot of powerful forces working in the right way at the right time. The only project that survived the late 70's (which just so happens to be the one that's not a new idea :/), made in the 1980's, during the cold war, in a time when the public was getting a better idea of what dinosaurs are, on the 30th anniversary of the original to which this film is a direct sequel, spiritual successor, and reboot. The fact that this story is a new one (as opposed to the original 1978 idea which would have been a straight remake) set the unspoken rule of no remakes, ever. As the new series progressed, previous ideas would be revisited but always in a new way. Here there are plenty of callbacks, including visually, to the original film, but Return of Godzilla is defined by this and paves its own path.

As a kid I tended to stay away from this one for similar reasons as the original, it was just too scary. The opening scenes with the Shokilas and the dead bodies all over the place were 2spooky4me and when I did muster up the courage to even fast-forward through it I still had to close my eyes. Past that, though, there wasn't much that kept me out of it. I never understood the cold war stuff, kids that age rarely have a real good grasp on tense sociopolitical negotiations, but the Godzilla sequences were far more exciting than the comparable original film or, hell, really any of the others up to this point. As timeless as the other Godzilla movies are, the fact that there was a modern one at all was so cool, and it set this one apart from all the others, it made it unique.

But how unique was it really? A lot of my perception of how big of a break it was from the past was and is based on the lost episodes of the late 70's, which I've been over already. There was also another thing, I couldn't tell the difference between the 60's and 70's back then, they looked the same to me. The fashion, the film stock, the colors, the music, the tone, all of these things easily mark the 70's Godzilla movies as an era unto themselves, but when I was that young everything before the 80's was just lumped into "old stuff," "the 50's and WWII," and "everything before that which is so old I can't even imagine." I hadn't aged myself yet so the passage of time was something I wasn't very familiar with yet. However as I got older the qualities of the 70's films stood out more from the others and I began to familiarize myself with the course popular culture had taken before I was born. This is all a precursor to today, where I can pinpoint an exact year any particular hauntology song sounds like, and I have a pretty strong grasp on what the aesthetics of each decade were. In addition, as I've gone through decade transitions myself, and I've seen what I've considered to be completely new and modern become kitsch and outdated (by other people, mind you, I'm not that stupid), I've become aware as well at how gradual the change from the ideas that define one decade become the next. And so as I've been watching these films in order, I have seen a more gradual change here as well, and what I once saw as a break from the old days is merely a continuation of them, an upgrade of the 70's aesthetics and designs, and when taking into account the lost episodes the space between ToMG and G84 is just one fluid line, a line strengthened by Teruyoshi Nakano, who, despite the use of modern techniques, keeps things in line as a modern Godzilla movie and not just a modern movie. *Ahem* What I'm saying is that gino 2 isn't going to be very good.

This is the cold war Godzilla movie, and so it's going to touch on the cold war. The grace at which it does so is debatable. Now, I just got through talking about how it was I experienced the 80's in a cultural way, but it still happened mostly after the fact, and in much the same way as I was born into a legacy culture so to was there a history of the cold war that loomed large overhead, a phantom of bygone days, as it were. It's comparable to my mom's, someone who was born in the early 1950's, exposure to WWII. It had just ended, and it was all the adults ever talked about. The US and USSR both have "star wars" nuclear satellites in the air, and when Godzilla appears each of them set aside their differences to demand that Japan allow them to use nuclear strikes on Japanese soil to kill Godzilla. The Japanese prime minister sits in solemn dignified silence as the two major world powers bicker like children around him. It seems, uuuhhh... very nationalist. Throughout this scene I kept thinking that had this movie been directed by Ishiro Hondo it would be very different. What Hashimoto seems to be saying is not that political disputes can be overcome with common goals, but that the cold war is stupid and fought by stupid people who are incredibly dumb and also really fucking stupid, not like Japan, which is a sturdy rock. It's kind of sickening, honestly, that nationalism could find its way into something as universal as a Godzilla movie in a time when nationalism was threatening the entire fucking planet. But that's not even my real problem with this scene, my issue is that the reason he refuses to allow nuclear weapons to be used is literally anything other than "how stupid can you morons be, it's GODZILLA, he's MADE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS you FUCKING DIPSHITS." Perhaps that may not be proper decorum, but it was definitely what I was screaming at my monitor the entire time.

But I'm not wrong, and I got the feeling pretty early that despite the name of "Godzilla" striking fear into the hearts of men all over the world, giving us a look into this world where Godzilla is very real and real people faced with Godzilla are genuinely terrified by his mere existence, even after he's dead, no one bothered... to read? If Godzilla really is such a threat, didn't any bother to pick up a fucking history book? Dr. Yamane demonstrated that Godzilla was created by nuclear weapons, and we know that everyone knows this, so... what?! I just want to be absolutely clear about this just in case anyone is confused about why I think a nuclear missile won't make an effective weapon: most things, when an H-Bomb is dropped on them, die. Godzilla had an H-Bomb dropped on his head, and didn't die. For those of you with half a brain, you can probably already figure out why it is that using another nuclear weapon on Godzilla is a bad idea.

The immunity to mankind's most powerful weapon, which wasn't directly brought up in the original films because no one was stupid enough to suggest making Godzilla even stronger, becomes the kernel of the elevation of an aspect of Godzilla's character, his status and an untouchable and omnipotent god. Now I use superlatives a lot. When I'm not doing it ironically or in jest I'm doing it because I feel really strongly about the subject. Sometimes I end up taking for granted that people have forgotten the difference between opinion and fact and seem to think that using words like "amazing" or "the best" are an indication of someone's opinion other than my own, which is weird. By now, for anyone that's been reading this whole thing, which I'm pretty sure is no one, you'll have figured out that Godzilla is the thing that I feel the most strongly about, and that's not a superlative, it's true. Because of that, my descriptions of things are going to be grandiose and pumped with a level of hyper-exaggeration that I don't use for other things. Now when it came to the films themselves Godzilla started as the biggest threat to mankind, a nuclear bomb that didn't stop after one blast but kept going and going and going. During the 60's and 70's he established himself as a powerful, capable, and intelligent monster even compared to other monsters. While he was sometimes outgunned physically, most notably by King Ghidorah, Hedorah, and Mechagodzilla, his constitution, raw power, cunning, and determination saw him through every conflict and come out, with only a few exceptions, on top. Now the two have been combined and the fact that he is a personification of the ultimate weapon has merged with his tenacity as an individual and created something new and even more imposing. My emotional superlatives are one thing, but starting now and continuing through the rest of the series, Godzilla, the character, IS a superlative. He is the best. The Super-X is covered with the most advanced armor known to man, impervious to the pressures of Godzilla's ray. Godzilla destroys it with his ray. The Super-X 2 has a fire mirror made of synthetic diamonds that reflects Godzilla's ray back at him 1000 times more powerful. Godzilla doesn't flinch, melts the mirror with the very ray it reflects. Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria is... well, anti-nuclear, the source of Godzilla's metabolism and is lethal to him. Godzilla is hit with three shells, including one to the mouth and... doesn't... it doesn't work. They speculate that Godzilla is cold blooded (he's not, he's a dinosaur) or that he's immune to it (he's not, there's a future where it does kill him), but what's really happening is that Godzilla... is untouchable. Scientists who engineered the bacteria tell us it should work withing 8 to 12 hours, but... Godzilla is beyond our technological capabilities. These new abilities are probably brought on by Godzilla being created with modern cold war nuclear weapons, and because of them his opponents in the Heisei series will be ramped up more and more and the battles between them will by akin to Zeus and Thor hurling thunderbolts at each other.

At the end, when the plan to deal with Godzilla is successful, the prime minister looks on and cries. Why? Why would the person who was under the most direct threat from Godzilla cry when the monster is finally sealed away? I'm going to attempt to explain it, but I will just say up front that if you didn't cry while watching the end of this movie yourself, it might be an uphill battle. The resurrection of Godzilla occurred because high school and college students got sick of the announced Godzilla movies during the late 70's never materializing and wanted Godzilla back already. Tomoyuki Tanaka never wanted the series to end with ToMG, he wanted Godzilla to live and never go away. After 15 movies Godzilla had become a fixture of international culture and a beloved icon, a generation of children had grown up on him, and he had become something more than just a monster. The notion that Godzilla was an isolated incident or a series from the past was not acceptable, because people from everywhere in the world now felt something, Godzilla is our monster. We created him and he belongs to us.

We are all, all of us, defined by our past. Nature vs. Nurture is a touchy subject for some, but there's no denying that our culture is so advanced that our personalities and personal identities are shaped mostly by what we see, and what we experience. We can't ever change the past, or who we become because of it, we can only learn from it. What we do, what we love, and where we're going is as much of a conscious decision as it is the result of circumstances beyond our control, and ignoring our history makes us hollow and meaningless. When Harry Truman made the decision to drop the bomb, he knew what he was doing, but there was no doubt in his mind. Imagine that responsibility. Imagine having the fate of the entire human race in your hands. Most of us, I think, would crack under that pressure, go insane or maybe at least regret it or wonder if we made the right choice, right? Not Truman. Truman wanted to end the war, and he did, and he never looked back. He pressed the button that started the doomsday clock, and we're all, all of us, paying for that decision. Was it worth it? Again, here's the thing, it really doesn't matter. Anything we do is going to change the entire history of the world, no matter how insignificant. Humans won't be around forever regardless of what happens in between, and if the ultimate weapon can be used in a way that promotes peace and ends the most brutal war in history, then it's hard to look back and see what, exactly, the downside is. And if we didn't push the button, than sure as eggs is eggs the Germans would have figured it out eventually. Every single living thing on this planet is the descendent of something that survived all five major mass extinctions, and every work of art we see today is the result of every horrible tragedy in recorded, and unrecorded human history. EVERYTHING that we do is a product of the absolute worst in mankind, of Dracula and Hitler and Pol Pot and 9/11. We're all the survivors and everything we do co-exists alongside them.

Godzilla is the product of a horrible event in our history, an event which has spelled out our ultimate doom, but he is who we are. Good or bad we live with those consequences and we have to work towards the future within those parameters. We can't pretend that Godzilla doesn't exist. What happened to the Lucky Dragon No.5 was an awful tragedy, but I won't say that I wish it didn't happen. Would it be nice to live in a world where nothing bad ever happened? Would it be nice to live in a world where you never have to go to school or work and can just watch cartoons and play video games all day? I have to tell you from experience that a life without living isn't much of anything. Godzilla is a super hero, a friend, a force of nature, and the end of WWII. The prime minister cries at the end because he loves Godzilla, because we all do, because the fact that the mushroom cloud planted a beautiful rose makes us all of that pain worth it.

17. Godzilla vs. Biollante • ゴジラ vs. ビオランテ (1989)
When I decided to watch every Godzilla movie in a row before gino 2, I did it for personal reasons. Godzilla is my monster and I'm not ready to let him go. I suppose that's the real reason I'm even still alive. It's scary, because I thought for sure Godzilla would bury me, not the other way around. Here is something that transcends the individual and lives on forever in the imagination of all people and yet it's being squashed by money in the interest of financial viability. Because what Godzilla is won't sell, he has to change, audiences of today won't except Godzilla vs. Biollante. They won't except the most pure and beautiful thing in the world, and I don't want to live in a world like that.

Godzilla 1985 was already here when I was born, I didn't have to wait for it. I was only two when Biollante was released, but I didn't get to see it for some time, as it only came out on vhs in 1992, and I didn't finally see it until the following year. "Biollante." What is that? What is a "Biollante?" It's not any monster I had heard of, nor is it anything like the name of anything else. Biollante is a rose, a clone of Godzilla, and the spirit of Dr. Shiragami's daughter all at the same time. Godzilla up until this point has always fought monsters, but now he's fighting himself as a rose with a soul filled with longing and compassion. Biollante is a creature of disparate origins in one beautiful and terrifying whole. There is nothing else like it in the world. It is wholly unique and special.

Miki Saegusa, I guess I should talk about her. I grew up with Miki, I followed her through an arc taking place from 1989-1995, although how much she is actually given to do in any individual film varies. It isn't mentioned in the film, but Miki was orphaned five years ago in Godzilla's assault on Tokyo. She develops psychic abilities, specifically ESP, the ability to sense things beyond your physical means, presumably at puberty, and Japan's desperate research into anything, no matter how ludicrous, to deal with Godzilla led to the establishment of a legitimate psychic research institute, and it is through this that Miki becomes drafted into using her abilities to deal with Godzilla. Godzilla vs. Biollante features the only time the two characters engage each other face to face, and Miki loses, but she escapes with her life. What exactly happens in this match isn't clear, but what we do know is that after this encounter Miki becomes attuned to Godzilla in a very personal way. She, essentially, gains a telepathic link with Godzilla, and later she'll demonstrate outright telepathy with humans. This connection is extremely important to the military efforts against Godzilla, and as she becomes a larger part of more direct attacks against him, she begins to feel uncomfortable with the whole thing. What is it like to have a telepathic link with the king of the monsters? I couldn't tell you, I don't have super powers myself, but it effects Miki tremendously and she becomes suspicious of the motives behind the UNGCC's efforts against Godzilla. Her arc comes full circle in Godzilla vs. Destroyah, where she basically hands the torch over and declares her mission is over. She developed a similar connection to Junior, one that became especially strong near the end, and we get the sense that at the end of her journey, Junior became her chance to use her connection to help make Godzilla a force for good from the beginning, to bring mankind and Godzilla together, and save everyone a lot of trouble. But she doesn't get that chance, and in the end Junior becomes every bit as much of a monster as his father... and I don't like it. Megumi Odaka once remarked that, like Akira Takarada, she would like to be a part of Godzilla's legacy, and that she hopes, 40 years from now, she too will still be a part of Godzilla movies. But that never happened. After Godzilla vs. Destroyah she about dropped off the face of the Earth. Maybe no one called her. I heard she retired, but there were complications. I also heard she got sick. You know what I haven't heard? Where the hell she is or what she's doing. And I don't like it. I don't like it at all. I don't know Megumi personally, but I know that she's part of something bigger and that losing her, either in or outside of the context of Godzilla, would be a tragic loss. It's no different from any of the other people who have made Godzilla possible over the years, your Ishiro Hondas or Eiji Tusburayas, and that the person who played a role so dear to simply disappeared is a hard pill to swallow.

Its been a while since the last time I watched this movie. To be perfectly honest, it's because of, well, depression. I don't have any sort of clinical diagnosis here, I barely even leave the house anymore, and I couldn't tell you if there's a chemical thing going on or not. But I stopped caring a long time ago regardless. About the time I realized I wasn't ever going to find work, I stopped trying to do a lot of things. When you realize that nothing you can do will change anything, that all of your efforts are pointless wastes of time, it's really difficult to continue the illusion that things are going to get better. You know... that thing that's the only argument people have to try and convince you to not do anything rash? It's going to get better, is it? When? How? Describe the mechanism for me and be specific. You present this theory of yours but offer no evidence to support it and I'm just supposed to believe you? Did you not notice that I'm a little fucking upset at the moment? If you have some sort of solution to, you know, saving my fucking life then please by all means speak up. I would very much like to get that machine in motion. But of course there are no answers, and once you realize your entire life is just a huge fucking joke, everything else stops being so funny.

The last time I did watch it wasn't when it came out on DVD. By then I was already long gone, and all I did was watch the making of documentary thing, put it back in the box and set it on a shelf until yesterday. The last time I watched it was when I burned a DVD of the original version of Return of Godzilla, which at that point I'd never seen, and put Biollante on it too since it, you know, wasn't on a disc yet. That was around 2012 or so, so it was well after I stopped going to school (yeah that costs money for white males, imagine that), and basically gave up on my dream of ever making anything I wanted to. It was watching it then that made me realize just how important this movie was to me, and it was the thing that made me want to go to film school in the first place. That sort of personal epiphany, when you realize your place in the world and what it is you're supposed to be doing, that kind of hallmark-esque first season of Heroes moment, would normally be a good thing, but given that it came for me at a point when I'd already given up, was just frustrating. Add this to the fact that things which I once felt passionately about I've grown tired of and ambivalent about, and ever since I've just kind of avoided it. I didn't want to be reminded of a time when I still had dreams at all.

I came upon the idea to "blog it out" based on an idea that came to me in my last flurry of desperation, to do a blog. I heard that you can make money off that sort of thing... that by ad revenue you can actually make a decent living. Maybe it isn't what I wanted but if I could do something to make my own way... I don't know, maybe I could... at least begin to change things. I may not be able to write like I used to, but I can still try. If I can do something formulaic, paint-by-numbers sort of brainless crap that people seem to eat up... if poopypie can make a fortune by screaming rape at bad video games, then I can do something right? On the surface, it sounds flawless. Easy money doing something I could learn to love, and all I had to do is put in the time to write a piece regularly. But I'm not that naive anymore, and I know that there's always going to be something. Maybe it's just as simple as nobody... heh, nobody reading it, but there's going to be something that goes wrong. There always is. That's just the way that things are. Going through all these Godzilla movies like this, keeping not just a running blog but also an enormously detailed one, and remembering what it was like to still be alive, and finally coming back to Biollante again...


My opinion hasn't changed. Fool me once, all the rest. Let's just get this over with. Then I can finally just fucking die.

18. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah • ゴジラ vs. キングギドラ (1991)
I guess because I got started earlier, I had a lot of spare time in the day, and I wasn't really tired or anything so I decided I'd watch this one too, I was planning on doing it the day after (I'm writing this on the day I was going to watch it), but now it's serving as a way to continue working on this blog post without having to focus on Godzilla vs. Biollante at the moment, because as I'm writing this I don't really know what to say, other than I'm going to watch it again, but dubbed. But enough about that, lets talk about Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

This movie features a reinvention of King Ghidorah, Godzilla's archnemesis, in a bid to avoid more experimental ideas on focus on strong, bankable subjects, which is going to be a recurring theme from now on. However, don't worry, because it's still Godzilla and it's still awesome. The plot of the movie goes back to Godzilla's origin and intertwines it with King Ghidorah, giving the two an intertwined relationship which is similar to the way Gyaos are treated in the Heisei Gamera movies. Its a clever idea to maximize the rivalry between the two, but the problem is they never meet, and Godzilla himself doesn't really care about King Ghidorah other than the part where it's attacking him. The original plan for the sequel to this film was for Godzilla to encounter a second King Ghidorah, this time in line with his Showa origins, a concept that will be revisited again and again, and will finally come to fruition with Keizer Ghidorah, and the conclusion the fandom reached before then was that the ramifications the addition of a space Ghidorah has is that it's the source of the Dorats, the designer pets from the future being engineered from the real King Ghidorah's DNA, which does neatly explain why they used three Dorats instead of one.

Oh, the fandom? Yeah, that exists now. As I said before we've already entered the era of current Godzilla from my p.o.v., and so we've also entered the time when I, along with others, are currently keeping up with what's happening at the time. This sort of thing started in the late 80's/early 90's with fanzines like G-Fan and other assorted short lived publications spreading the news to the western public of news when the mainstream gave up on it. The 90's were a weird time in that regard, with a lot of exciting stuff going on but me always being at arms length. The western fanbase became a solidified unit over time, with its own popular consensus and desires and head canons and all the rest. But despite the growing sense of a central group of like minded people communicating with each other via something that was important to us, we were certainly a minority, and mostly unknown. Godzilla wasn't a "thing" yet, with its cultural pervasiveness, on the scale of Mickey Mouse or Mario, being a "G-Fan" was sort of like declaring yourself a fan of cheese. I'm bringing it up now to establish it, as we go through the following movies I'll be talking not only about my personal feelings on it, but also the reaction from the fanbase, such as it was at the time. And yes, it changes... drastically.

Godzilla's origin is touched on again, this time specifically the second Godzilla. The Godzillasaurus is pretty cool, it looks just like him and it has the long neck and powerful tail that you'd expect from an animal with a marine lifestyle in his immediate ancestry, and one which is still going to be mostly marine. It also has a tough, armored hide, which could function as a way of withstanding deep water pressure as well as be a source of the mutant Godzilla's impenetrable hide. The time travel in this movie has caused headaches for many a complete moron, for reasons that I, for the life of me, can not fucking figure out. There are apparently people who think that the actions of the time travelers wiped the last two movies from the timeline... somehow. So let's go over the timelines here. The futurians leave from a 2204 where Japan has become not only the richest nation on Earth, but is fast approaching the only nation on Earth, by way of just outright buying everyone. In their timeline, ANEB killed Godzilla and Japan, probably using his cells for various means, prospered. The goal of the futurians is to travel back in time and replace Godzilla with King Ghidorah, a monster they can control, to destroy Japan and keep them from becoming that powerful in the future. They are successful, but when they travel to the future everyone remembers Godzilla, which none of these idiots (remember, the futurians were lying the whole time) think is suspicious or a sign that maybe the past hasn't actually changed. Also, the past doesn't "change," the past happens, and then you are in the present. No one in the timeline where Godzilla exists would be magically transferred over to one where he doesn't. That's not how time works. However, like the inept movie bad guys they are, what even the futurians haven't figured out is that by placing Godzilla in the Bering Sea they actually created their own timeline that they already existed in. However, this creates a timeline that is in line with the bogus future that Wilson and Glenchiko invented to scare the Japanese cabinet. It is to this future, where Japan as a nation no longer exists, that Emi travels to when she turns King Ghidorah into a cyborg.

Speaking of that, the method of using time travel in this movie actually is pretty dumb. Every time it happens it only makes things worse. Reviving Godzilla to destroy King Ghidorah... revived Godzilla. No problem is being solved here, you've just resolved the situation with itself. Mecha-King Ghidorah, too, is just an extremely round about way if ignoring the underlying issue and trying to solve the immediate with flashy nonsense. In the end the futurians are more or less successful in their plan, and Godzilla will continue to terrorize Japan for years to come. And this is a good thing, because despite their somewhat callous methods, a true unified world government can't come about just because one nation has more money than the other. That's not a brotherhood of man, that's a fucking monopoly. This movie made headlines in American news when it came out, even though it never got officially released here until nearly the end of the decade, because the bad guys are Americans, or so it was said. There's nothing to support that view, however, and if anything the movie is more of a nationalist Japan-is-the-best propaganda  piece, which kind of bothers me. Not because I'm some kind of a patriot, mind you, I'm just a person, but because it flies in the face of what Ishiro Honda had been using Godzilla to say for so long. That we are all the inhabitants of the Earth, all humans as well as Godzilla and the other creatures that live here, and that should transcend petty things like nationalism. Patriotism isn't wrong or anything, I don't understand why anyone would care about something so silly, but just because I don't understand doesn't mean people with pride in their countries are evil or anything. It's just that seeing a Godzilla movie where it's okay for Japan to rule the entire world with an iron fist by buying entire fucking continents is a little, well... disturbing.

Why did Godzilla kill Shindo? I've wondered this for years and I still don't have an answer. There's something interesting going on here with their relationship and I don't think I really understand it, even all these years later. Shindo regards Godzilla, although at first only the Godzillasaurus, as his savior. Why? Japan lost WWII, not just lost, it was a crushing defeat where their entire country was occupied and had their constitution rewritten after the firebombing of their capital and the nuclear attack on two major cities, the only offensive use of that weapon in the history of mankind. Shindo survived the war thanks to Godzilla, though, and became the head of a major corporation that helped rebuild the economy into the post-war giant that Japan is today. So, in a way, Godzilla did save Japan, saved it from himself. Also remember that the threat of Godzilla, and even the creature's cells itself, have pushed Japan into developing defense technologies that have the potential to end nuclear proliferation altogether. While Godzilla may continue to be a very real and pressing threat to the nation's continued existence, just as I mentioned at the end of my Return of Godzilla entry, they would not be who they are if it weren't for him. In later films this will become even more pronounced by the UNGCC and the various super weapons which, of course, do not exist in the real world.

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