Godzilla's roar is a famous sound effect. Originally created by composer Akira Ifukube, his assistant Sei Ikeno, and sound technician Ichiro Minawa in 1954, it has been reinterperted by various other sound designers over the decades.
When he first signed onto Godzilla, composer Akira Ifukube thought that the monster, being a reptile, shouldn't roar at all. Director Ishiro Honda explained it as another consequence of his mutation by nuclear testing. Sound technicians Ichiro Minawa and Hisashi Shimonaga tried modifying the cries of lions, tigers, and night herons recorded at the Ueno Zoo, but everything they produced still sounded too natural. It was Ifukube who came up with the idea of using a musical instrument: the contrabass. He unwound the E string and recorded his assistant, Sei Ikeno, drawing his hands across it with gloves covered in pine tar. Minawa then manipulated the speed of the recordings, added echoes, and overlaid some of the animal sounds he had previously gathered. This roar would later be altered for use as the roar of other Toho monsters, including Varan, Baragon, and Gorosaurus. Godzilla's roar was increased in speed and given new variants starting in King Kong vs. Godzilla, and would remain mostly unchanged for the rest of the Showa series. Manda's grunts were repurposed for Godzilla from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster onward, largely replacing the guttural grunts made using the contrabass and pine tar method, which disappeared in usage after Invasion of Astro-Monster.
Actor Ted Cassidy voiced Godzilla in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
Starting in The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla's roar reverted to the slower speed variants used throughout the the original film and Godzilla Raids Again, and concluded with a guttural sound. In Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla's roar was changed again to use the higher speed variants used throughout the Showa era, with the guttural sounds at the end removed and additional processing applied.
In the 1998 American film produced by TriStar Pictures, sound designer Scott Martin Gershin combined the Showa Godzilla's roars with metal slides, trumpet sounds and various pre-recorded animal sounds, such as those of elephants and leopards. Gary A. Hecker, Frank Welker, and Gershin himself provided additional vocals. A cougar’s roar is sampled when Godzilla uses his power breath. These roars were used throughout the film's animated sequel Godzilla: The Series and were mixed in with Godzilla's other roars in the American version of Godzilla 2000: Millennium. Since then, the TriStar Godzilla's roars have been used for Godzilla in commercials and other media and were also used by the monster Zilla in Godzilla Final Wars.
Throughout the Millennium series, Godzilla uttered lower-pitched and slowed-down versions of his roars from the Showa series, along with new variants of the guttural grunts from the early Showa series. Slowed-down animal sounds, such as elephant trumpetings and tiger growls, were sampled and mixed into some of Godzilla's vocals, starting in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. These roars were reused with added growling effects for Godzilla Filius and Godzilla Earth in the GODZILLA anime trilogy.
Sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn created a new Godzilla roar from scratch for Legendary Pictures' 2014 reboot. They first tried the same glove-on-a-contrabass technique pioneered by Akira Ifukube, but found the results weren't quite right for the era of 12-channel IMAX theaters. Their breakthrough was metal friction. According to Aadahl, "Dried ice supercools certains types of metal, and it starts contracting and vibrating and produces this shrieking and bellowing." For the rumble at the end of the roar, they manipulated recordings of a potted plant raked across concrete. To capture how the roars would resonate in a city, they blasted them from the Rolling Stones' tour speakers in a Warner Bros. backlot, which could be heard from about three miles away. This roar returned in subsequent MonsterVerse films; in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it was mixed with many of Godzilla's roars from the Showa series. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla's roar from the 2012 Godzilla Comic-Con teaser and a recycled variation of his extended roar from the main trailer of the 2014 film are used. Godzilla's roar from The Return of Godzilla can be faintly heard when he is ambushed by Kong during their fight in Hong Kong. In a trailer for the PUBG Mobile and Godzilla vs. Kong collaboration event, Godzilla possesses the TriStar Godzilla's roar.
Godzilla's first and second forms never roar in Shin Godzilla, but the third and fourth forms do. The third form utilizes Godzilla's roars from the original 1954 film, while his fourth form primarily uses Godzilla's roars from King Kong vs. Godzilla through Terror of Mechagodzilla. Just before being frozen at the film's climax, Godzilla's fourth form emits a roar from The Return of Godzilla. Though the filmmakers experimented with new sounds, they found they couldn't surpass the older ones.
Godzilla Filius mostly utters deep growls and snarls, while his roars are primarily taken from the Millennium series and slightly modified. Godzilla Earth reuses the roars and growls from the Millennium series, especially those from Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, similar to Godzilla Filius. In GODZILLA: The Planet Eater, he also uses some lower-pitched Showa Godzilla roars.
Godzilla Amphibia utilizes Varan's roars, which have also been reused for numerous other kaiju, such as Baragon and Gorosaurus, in the past. When using his flammable ice vapor, he reuses the 1954 Godzilla's roar. After evolving into Godzilla Terrestris, he uses Godzilla's roar from The Return of Godzilla, occasionally mixed with roars from the Millennium series. Godzilla Ultima's roars, just like Godzilla Terrestris', are a combination of the roars used by Godzilla in the early Heisei series and the Millennium series, sometimes mixed with his roars from the Showa series. The Showa Godzilla's roar is used when he fires his atomic breath rings.
Comics[edit | edit source]
Godzilla's roar has been written out in comic books on numerous occasions, and not only as a simple "roar." In Marvel Comics' Godzilla series, Godzilla's roar was spelled "Mrawww." In Dark Horse's Godzilla publications and IDW Publishing's Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Godzilla's roar was spelled "Skreeongk." In most of the other IDW comics, Godzilla's roar is spelled "Skreeonk." In Japanese, the official onomatopoeia for Godzilla's roar is "Gyaoon" (ギャオーン — additional "o"s can be added to extend the roar. Another onomatopoeia is "Gaooo" Gyaōn) (ガオオオ).
"Gaooo" used in Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works, page 175
Use by other characters[edit | edit source]
While Toho is fiercely protective of Godzilla's likeness, his roar has been repeatedly used as a stock sound effect in film, television, and video games, as well as sampled in music. These lists are meant to be comprehensive, but given the broad subject matter, they may be incomplete.
Film[edit | edit source]
- 1958/02/20: A dragon in Hercules (1954 roar)
- 1986/03/10: The Rockasaurs in Challenge of the Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords (Hanna-Barbera roar)
- 1998/04/10: An alien in Species 2
- 2001/06/08: Ape-like humanoids in Evolution (Baby Godzilla roar)
- 2005/09/03: A Godzilla-like kaiju suit in Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry (Showa roar)
- 2006/07/21: An unknown character in Monster House
- 2008/02/01: Stock footage of Gorgo in Over Her Dead Body
- 2011/12/03: An animatronic kaiju in K-On! The Movie
- 2014/06/13: A Bewilderbeast in How To Train Your Dragon 2
- 2017/12/20: An elephant in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Baby Godzilla roar)
- 2018/06/24: A T-rex in Motu Patlu Dino Invasion (MonsterVerse roar)
- 2021/04/30: A mutated Gila monster in Ape vs. Monster (MonsterVerse roar)
- 2021/09/14: A cicada monster in Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog (Showa roar)
Television[edit | edit source]
- If a character using Godzilla's roar appears in multiple shows or episodes, only their first appearance is listed.
- 1972/10/01: Various mechas in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
- 1985/11/19: Zod in the Challenge of the Gobots episode "Destroy All Guardians" (Hanna-Barbera roar)
- 1994/04/01: Yakko in the Akazukin Chacha episode "Do Your Best, House-sitter!"
- 1994/06/17: Dorothy in the Akazukin Chacha episode "I'm the Legendary Princess?"
- 1995/10/29: Lard Lad in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror VI"
- 1999/08/30: An unknown character in the Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles episode "Freefall" (TriStar roar)
- 2005/07/08: Snake in the Camp Lazlo episode "Snake Eyes" (TriStar roar)
- 2006/06/27: Kaz in the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode "Small Stuff"
- 2007/03/25: A Stegosaurus/Lisa Simpson hybrid in The Simpsons episode "Homerazzi"
- 2008/03/01: A Tyrannosaurus rex in the Phineas and Ferb episode "It's About Time!" (TriStar roar)
- 2008/04/27: The Dino-Robo-Bots in The Simpsons episode "Apocalypse Cow"
- 2009/11/20: Fin Fang Foom in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode "Tales of Suspense" (TriStar roar)
- 2010/01/29: Chemo in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Clash of the Metal Men!"
- 2010/08/12: A robot Plesiosaurus in the Futurama episode "A Clockwork Origin"
- 2011/03/05: Gustavo in the Big Time Rush episode "Big Time Songwriters"
- 2011/06/08: Dinolizard in the Transformers: Prime episode "Operation: Breakdown" (TriStar roar)
- 2011/11/18: Miss Martian in the Young Justice episode "Secrets"
- 2012: An unnamed monster in the Shaktimaan: The Animated Series episode "The Taj Kilvish" (TriStar roar)
- 2013/03/23: Giant Ant in the Monsters vs. Aliens episode "Welcome to Area Fifty-Something" (TriStar roar)
- 2015/11/26: A giant squid in the Mickey Mouse episode "Wonders of the Deep"
- 2016/07/15: Rory in the Stranger Things episode "The Weirdo on Maple Street"
- 2017/10/27: Rory in the Stranger Things episode "Chapter One: MADMAX"
- 2018/01/13: DeeDee in the Oggy and the Cockroaches episode "Super DeeDee" (TriStar roar)
- 2018/03/12: Bunnicula in the Bunnicula episode "Bunzilla" (TriStar roar)
- 2018/07/14: Mickey Mouse in the Mickey Mouse episode "Roll 'Em" (TriStar roar)
- 2019/10/08: Alpha Tyrannosaurus and Fang's hatchlings in the Primal episode "Spear and Fang" (TriStar and Baby Godzilla roars, respectively)
- 2019/10/09: Snake in the Primal episode "River of Snakes" (Baby Godzilla roar)
- 2019/11/04: Entrapta's robot in the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power episode "Destiny Part 1"
- 2020/04/01: Fang and the infected Argentinosaurus in the Primal episode "Plague of Madness" (TriStar and Godzilla Filius roars, respectively)
- 2022/08/09: A Death Knight in the Overlord IV episode "The Impending Crisis" (TriStar roar)
- 2022-2023: Dragon in Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun Season 3 (TriStar roar)
Unknown date[edit | edit source]
- Dragon in the Shaktimaan: The Animated Series episode "Kite Fright" (TriStar roar)
- Zaraka in SuperCops vs Supervillians (MonsterVerse roar)
Video games[edit | edit source]
- 1999/07/25: Cassandra from Pico’s School
- 1999/11/22: Dogadon from Donkey Kong 64 (Hanna Barbera roar)
- 2008/01/31: The Legendary Pokémon Palkia in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Millennium roar)
- 2014/11/11: An animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex and Plastic Man in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
- 2019/05/28: Circus Baby from Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted (MonsterVerse roar)
Music[edit | edit source]
- 1988/09/25: "Posse on Broadway" by Sir Mix-a-Lot
- 2006/02/21: "Woman from a Hell" by Acid Mothers (Heisei roar)
Trailers[edit | edit source]
- 2006/11/09: Sandman in Spider-Man 3 (TriStar roar)
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Godzilla's roar. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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