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What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla' • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan

What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Discuss items of general interests about all the Godzilla films--actors, favorite G suits. etc.

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What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby tbeasley » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:49 pm

Without getting into spoilers reactions to Shin Godzilla had me thinking about this. While most would agree it's a very different take on Godzilla, some are able to put the film into perspective while others are treating it as GINO 2.0: You Can (Not) Skreeonk.

If it's not too boring I'd like to discuss what makes Godzilla unique as a character in regards to his appearance, personality, powers and abilities, etc. What makes the character special to you and what makes you go 'this is Godzilla and this isn't.'

I'd like to cover basic traits of the character first, my thoughts hodge-podged together with observations from posts here and elsewhere -
- An origin involving radioactivity
- Between 50 to 100 meters in height (give or take)
- Thick, upright ‘retrosaur’ silhouette (as opposed to a modern T. rex or G98)
- Long, segmented tail (with either a pointed or rounded end)
- 3 rows of bony multi-pointed dorsal plates (which glow before using breath weapon)
- Atomic breath weapon among other possible powers/abilities (metabolizing radiation and other forms of energy, nuclear pulse attack, etc.)
- 4 claws on his hands and feet
- Immunity to conventional weaponry (near-impenetrable hide, regenerative healing factor, etc.)

I don't know if this will go anywhere but you can add to or tweak how you feel to this list. This can go beyond Godzilla to the overall look and feel these films have in general and why you might enjoy some and not others.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby kiryugoji04 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:05 pm

Don't all the 60s and 70s Godzilla suits have three toes?
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby lhb412 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:36 pm

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby lhb412 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:47 pm

... characterization-wise Godzilla has a lot of wiggle room: blank and ghostly; animalistic; or practically human in intelligence. All have worked. I have a problem, however, with making Godzilla actively malevolent.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby klen7 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:29 pm

My personal credential is primarily that Godzilla is bigger than humanity. It doesn't matter if he's a destroyer, savior, or force of nature, as long as he is something beyond humanity's reach. Visually i'm looking for something bipedal with dorsal fins, two arms, two legs and a tail.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby KaijuZoo » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:33 am

Audibly, what makes Godzilla unique as a character is his famous ROAR. Skreeeeeeoooonk!
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:35 pm

I'm gonna give this some more thought and maybe come back to it, but I really don't think there are many qualifications for what makes Godzilla Godzilla.

There's definitely things I LIKE or DISLIKE and things I LOVE or HATE, but I very VERY rarely have said "That's not Godzilla" when watching a Godzilla movie or seeing a Godzilla design (fan art or otherwise).

Often, my objections (or praises) of certain things stem from my personal tastes. For example, I'm not a huge fan of the nuclear pulse. I think it's a cop-out because the Godzilla suits of the 90s were so immobile, he couldn't shake off/punch/kick/pull/etc, so they had to invent this "grenade" for situations where the 60s/70s incarnations would probably have done some tooth-and-nail type stuff. I'm not huge on Shin Gojira because it seems "Hot Topic" to me, like what an angsty teen would think was "cool." I like Legendary Godzilla because it pushes the boundaries while still managing to keep the spirit.

Really, I think I look more for mobility from my Godzilla designs than possibly anything else. I think motion gives a sense of believability to me, and especially a wide range of motion and occasional quick bursts. People say stuff like "Real Godzilla wouldn't be able to move fast, he'd just be a slow, lumbering behemoth" but (a) there's no such thing as "real Godzilla" and (b) remember when people thought that about dinosaurs? I've always loved the idea of a creature that could move at a speed (in short bursts) that belied its great size. I think a lot of why Godzilla is slow and lumbering in many of the Toho films is a side-effect of the suits' bulkiness and the filming techniques designed to make him appear to have real weight, and I think in the 21st Century we can (and should) do better.

The Heisei Godzilla, unfortunately doesn't really tick that mark and is why I tend to be the lone outlier who doesn't have a particular fondness for that incarnation.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Psycho Soldier » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:47 pm

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby canofhumdingers » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:26 am

He has to have thumbs.

It seems trivial at first but EVERY official Godzilla has had thumbs. Even GINO.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:39 pm

This is a pretty cool topic, especially considering I don't know exactly what I consider Shin Godzilla at this point.

I guess I will break it down by appearance, and then behavior.

Appearance:
Two arms
Two legs
A tail
Dorsal plates, usually 3 rows (varying degrees of size and shapes). A typical look for these would be a "maple leaf" look, but can be a bit more complex.
Has a heat beam, and prior to use the dorsal fins will illuminate. I prefer blue, but at this point the color has varied quite a bit.

Within the above construct, I'd like to see a design that doesn't overly deviate from tradition too much. This means that Godzilla has had 3 or 4 toes, he doesn't need 7. Godzilla has always had 4 fingers - don't give him 12. Godzilla should maintain the classic Godzilla silhouette we are all accustomed to, but I would expect several tweaks to his appearance from eye color, dorsal fin rows, size, etc., but nothing insane like giving him 2 heads or wings.

Behavior:
Has the typical Godzilla roar
Impervious to conventional weapons
Does not run from the military

New Abilities:
Yes, it's true that over a period of 60 years, Godzilla has gained or showcased a few new "powers." With the exception of the nuclear pulse and red beam from the Heisei era, the rest of the "abilities" were really one offs from movies made in the 70's for films that appealed to kids and at a time when Japanese cinema was in the toilet. I really consider things like the tail slide, Godzilla flying, and his magneto power to be the exceptions rather than the rule. He doesn't use those outside the specific movie they appeared in and they happen ONCE in the franchise.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Moonlight SY-3 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:12 am

As far as I can tell reading this thread, Shin-Godzilla seems to perfectly check all the boxes for what people consider to be "Godzilla"...myself included.

I wasn't too thrilled with the new design, but having seen the movie three times now, I'm fine with it. I hated the wild googly eyes, emaciated arms, and that boogered-up, skeleton-packed tail tip...not to mention the crazy jaw geometry...but no, it all actually works. I'm a fan now.

All the new "powers?" They all work for me too, and all perfectly fit into my concept of "Godzilla."

Although I actually like G98, the main things that made it "not Godzilla" for me were the fact that it did not check these two boxes:

Impervious to conventional weapons
Does not run from the military

G98 ran from the military at every turn (well, he did chase the Apaches for a minute...and a taxi). He was then killed by missiles fired from an aircraft. Just good ol', regular, garden variety missiles.

I don't want to get yelled at for possible spoilers, so I'll put this in a spoiler tag:

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby lhb412 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:44 pm

Post-Shin I'll take a shot at a Godzilla checklist. Things like number of toes and skin texture that vary so much between movies I ruled out right away. I wanted to pare it down to the bare essentials and I got it down to five points.

- Godzilla is a giant, reptilian monster with two arms and two legs and a tail, almost always depicted as standing upright, though sometimes hunched forward.
- Godzilla has rows of multi-pointed dorsal plates on his back.
- Godzilla emits an energy weapon from his mouth, and his dorsal plates glow when he uses it.
- Godzilla's origin is tied to radiation: nuclear bombs, radioactive waste, nuclear power, etc.
- Godzilla is extraordinarily strong, sometimes depicted as nigh invulnerable, sometimes depicted as more vulnerable - but only because he faces other powerful monsters, natural disasters, or specialized non-traditional weapons created by humans.

I was gonna add: "Godzilla's face usually has mammilian or otherwise non-reptilian features," but I'm not sure even that is an essential element.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:41 pm

Therapod-ish Dinosaur more or less
Dorsal fins more or less maple leaf shaped (exaggeration is fine like GINO's/Mire-Goji's)
Doesn't back away from confrontation
Atomic breath
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby lhb412 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:40 pm

^Yes! I forgot the roar. The only versions of Godzilla I know of to drop the classic roar are the Hannah-Barbera and Marvel Comics ("MRAW!") versions.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:25 pm

Shin Godzilla would fail my check list on the account that
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby lhb412 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:00 pm

^
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby angilas » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:59 pm

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Gman2887 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:34 pm

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Rody » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:41 pm

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby lhb412 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:53 pm

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby tbeasley » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:23 pm

~ Tyler

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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:34 pm

^ It looks like Godzilla has always had gills according to Tomoyuki Tanaka. In fact, Godzilla has never been without gills! They're basically one of his defining physical features.
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Re: What makes Godzilla 'Godzilla'

Postby tbeasley » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:12 pm

~ Tyler

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