Godzilla (First Generation)

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Godzilla incarnations
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Godzilla (First Generation)
Godzilla (Second Generation)
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Godzilla®
Godzilla in Godzilla (1954)
Alternate names Gojira, Gojilla,[1] Goji, ShodaiGoji, Original Godzilla, Godzilla 1954,
First Generation Godzilla, Godzilla-1st.GG
Subtitle(s) Giant Hydrogen Bomb Monster
(水爆大怪獣,   Suibaku Daikaijū)[2]
King of the Monsters (怪獣王,   Kaijūō)[3]
Species Irradiated prehistoric amphibious reptile
Height 50 meters[2][4]
Weight 20,000 metric tons[2][4]
Forms KiryuGXMG-GMMG
Place(s) of emergence Undersea cavern off Odo Island[5][note 1]
Controlled by JSDFGXMG-GMMG
Relations Deceased family[6]
Allies JSDFGXMG-GMMG
Enemies Humans, Second GodzillaGXMG-GMMG
Conceived by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Eiji Tsuburaya
Written by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shigeru Kayama,
Takeo Murata, Ishiro Honda
Designed by Wasuke Abe, Teizo Toshimitsu,
Akira Watanabe, Shinichi WakasaGXMG
Modeled by Teizo Toshimitsu, Eizo Kaimai,
Kanju Yagi, Yasuei Yagi,
Shinichi WakasaGXMG, Noriyoshi HondaGXMG
Played by Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka,
Tsutomu KitagawaGXMG
First appearance Latest appearance
Godzilla (1954) Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
Design(s) ShodaiGoji
Roar(s)
This creature, according to the folklore of Odo Island, is called Godzilla.
„ 

Kyohei Yamane (Godzilla)

Godzilla (ゴジラ,   Gojira) is a kaiju who first appeared in the 1954 film Godzilla.

The original Godzilla is a prehistoric amphibious sea creature that was disturbed and burned when an American hydrogen bomb test conducted in the Pacific Ocean destroyed his habitat and drew him to the surface. Godzilla unleashed his rage upon humanity, destroying any ships in his vicinity and eventually laying waste to Odo Island and the city of Tokyo. Daisuke Serizawa eventually used his invention, the Oxygen Destroyer, to kill Godzilla, while taking his own life to ensure the weapon could never be used again. Typically, in the various continuities of the Godzilla franchise, a second Godzilla appears sometime after this Godzilla's death. Despite only being the focus of one film, the First Generation Godzilla has been referenced to some degree in several entries in the series since. In the film Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the remains of this Godzilla were salvaged by the Japanese government and converted into a bio-robot dubbed Kiryu in order to battle against a second Godzilla. However, the original Godzilla's spirit remained attached to the machine, and at some points even took possession of Kiryu and rebelled against its human masters.

Name[edit | edit source]

Godzilla's Japanese name, Gojira (ゴジラ), comes from a combination of the Japanese approximation of "gorilla" (ゴリラ,   gorira), and kujira (クジラ), the Japanese word for "whale." The name is said to have been chosen to represent the size and strength of both animals.[7] Since Godzilla is neither a gorilla nor a whale, the name had to be devised in a different way for the original film's story. Godzilla's name was originally spelled in kanji as 呉爾羅 by the Odo Island natives. However, Toho chose these characters for sound only. In Shigeru Kayama's initial story draft for the film, Godzilla's name was instead spelled as Godzira (ゴヂラ). This specific incarnation of Godzilla is typically designated as the First Generation Godzilla (初代ゴジラ,   Shodai Gojira), in reference to his status as the first iteration of the character and in order to distinguish him from subsequent incarnations. He is sometimes referred to as just ShodaiGoji (初代ゴジ) for short, which is also the name typically used to refer to his design specifically.

Contrary to popular belief, the English name "Godzilla" was not invented by the American distributors of the original film. Before Toho sold the film to U.S. distributors, the company's international division had originally marketed English-subtitled prints of the film under the title of Godzilla, which were shown briefly in Japanese-American theaters. Toho themselves had decided on "Godzilla" as the English transliteration of Gojira. According to the 2002 book Since Godzilla, the English name "Godzilla" produces connotations such as the words "God," "lizard," and "gorilla." The word "God" is applicable to Godzilla because of his immense size and destructive power, which causes him to be seen as a god by some, "lizard" is applicable due to his reptilian appearance and ties to the time of the dinosaurs, and "gorilla" is applicable due to his strength and his creation having been inspired by the famous gorilla-like giant monster King Kong.[7] "Godzilla" may be approximated into Japanese as ガッズィラ (Gazzira)[2] or ガッズィーラ (Gazzīra).

Design[edit | edit source]

Main article: ShodaiGoji#Design.

Personality[edit | edit source]

The First Generation Godzilla is a creature whose underwater habitat was completely destroyed by a hydrogen bomb test which also killed his family and burned and scarred him. Enraged and driven from his home, Godzilla took out his anger upon humanity, destroying any boats that he encountered and later laying waste to the city of Tokyo.[6]

Origins[edit | edit source]

In the original Godzilla, it is proposed that Godzilla was a type of prehistoric intermediary reptile related to both land and sea reptiles that slept deep underwater for millions of years feeding on deep sea organisms before being disturbed and enhanced by an American hydrogen bomb test. Dr. Yamane proposes that the original Godzilla might have been living among others of his kind prior to the detonation, but the H-bomb completely destroyed his home and drew him out. This idea is supported by official artwork of the 1954 Godzilla living with other Godzillas underwater before a huge explosion destroys his habitat, killing his companions and burning and enraging Godzilla and drawing him to the surface.[6] After the original Godzilla is killed, Yamane proposes that other Godzillas may have survived to the present day and could be awakened by future nuclear tests. This explains how in the various continuities that encompass the series, multiple individual Godzillas have appeared.

History[edit | edit source]

Showa era[edit | edit source]

Godzilla (1954)[edit | edit source]

Following an American hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, a giant prehistoric reptile was disturbed from its underwater slumber and heavily irradiated. The monster began attacking various ships in the waters off Japan, prompting a search party to be sent to Odo Island, where some of the survivors had washed ashore. The islanders believed the shipwrecks were caused by Godzilla, a giant sea monster from their folklore which they believed would come ashore to feed on humanity. One night, a typhoon struck the island, leaving it devastated. However, it was apparent most of the damage was caused by something other than a typhoon, as houses in the village appeared to have been crushed from above. A research team headed by Kyohei Yamane was sent to the island, and discovered a giant radioactive footprint on the island, with a Trilobite embedded in it. Suddenly, the monster that was responsible for the shipwrecks and the damage on the island appeared over a hill on the island. The people fled upon realizing the enormous presence of the 50-meter creature. Back in Japan, Yamane named the creature "Godzilla" after the monster from Odo Island folklore, and proposed it was a transitional organism from the Jurassic Period, related to both land-living and sea-dwelling reptiles. Yamane believed that Godzilla was exposed to a recent American H-bomb test, hence the radiation found in his footprint, and stressed the monster should be studied to see how he survived to this point. The JSDF sent battleships to destroy Godzilla with depth charges, declaring him dead. However, Godzilla soon surfaced in Tokyo Bay completely unharmed, plunging Japan and the international community into a state of emergency. One night, Godzilla came ashore in Tokyo, destroying the outskirts of the city before returning to the bay. In response, the JSDF erected a barrier of power lines around the heart of Tokyo, with 50,000 volts of electricity passing through them, in the hopes they would halt Godzilla. When Godzilla came ashore again another night, he tore through the power lines and melted them with a beam of radioactive heat fired from his mouth. The JSDF fired on Godzilla with artillery and tanks, but their weapons had no effect. Godzilla proceeded into downtown Tokyo, transforming the Japanese capital into a sea of flame overnight. With his rampage concluded, Godzilla returned to the bay, where he was attacked by F-86F Sabre fighter jets before finally disappearing beneath the waves.

In the aftermath of Godzilla's raid, Tokyo was an uninhabitable wasteland, burned to a crater and contaminated with deadly radiation. The Japanese government was at a loss in combating the monster and preventing future attacks. Scientist Daisuke Serizawa was approached by his former fiance Emiko Yamane and her boyfriend Hideto Ogata, who asked for him to use his experimental chemical weapon, the Oxygen Destroyer, against Godzilla. Serizawa was horrified by the idea of revealing his invention to the world and refused at first, but was convinced after watching a television program showing Japanese schoolchildren singing a song praying for peace. Serizawa burned his notes on the Oxygen Destroyer and handed it over to the JSDF. A boat was sent to Tokyo Bay, using a Geiger counter to locate Godzilla underwater. Serizawa and Ogata donned diving suits to go underwater and detonate the device. Once they reached Godzilla, who was sitting on the ocean floor, Ogata was pulled to the surface while Serizawa severed his line and activated the device, sacrificing his own life to stop Godzilla and prevent his weapon from ever falling into the wrong hands. After a few moments, Godzilla rose to the surface and roared defiantly at the boat before sinking under the waves to his death. While the people on the boat both celebrated Godzilla's demise and mourned Serizawa's sacrifice, Dr. Yamane solemnly warned that it was unlikely Godzilla was the last member of his species, and that if mankind continued nuclear testing, another Godzilla would almost certainly appear.

Godzilla Raids Again[edit | edit source]

After pilots Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi witnessed a second Godzilla battling another monster called Anguirus on Iwato Island, Dr. Yamane was brought to Osaka to meet with city officials to discuss countermeasures. Yamane showed footage of the first Godzilla's Tokyo rampage from a year prior, and expressed his regret in saying there was no reliable way to combat Godzilla with Dr. Serizawa and the Oxygen Destroyer both gone forever. He did however remark that the first Godzilla had a peculiar instinct toward lights and was enraged by and drawn to them, likely because they reminded him of the hydrogen bomb explosion. Assuming this second Godzilla possessed the same instinct, Yamane proposed instituting a citywide blackout in Osaka, while using flares to lure Godzilla away from the city.

Heisei era[edit | edit source]

The Return of Godzilla[edit | edit source]

When interviewing Hiroshi Okumura about the giant monster that supposedly attacked the fishing boat he was on, Doctor Hayashida showed him photographs taken of the original Godzilla's attack in 1954. After viewing the photographs, Okumura confirmed that the creature he saw was Godzilla.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah[edit | edit source]

When Godzilla's heart became unstable after absorbing an excessive amount of radiation from a uranium explosion on Baas Island, G-Force determined that he would eventually explode, setting off a chain reaction that would cause the planet's atmosphere to ignite and wipe out all life on Earth. G-Force sought out the expertise of Dr. Yamane's grandson Kenkichi, who had written a thesis paper on Godzilla's biology. Kenkichi proposed that the only way to prevent this cataclysm was to kill Godzilla before he exploded. He stated that they had to kill this Godzilla the same way they killed the first Godzilla, using the Oxygen Destroyer. Kenkichi's aunt Emiko had warned his sister Yukari that Dr. Kensaku Ijuin's recently-unveiled invention, Micro-Oxygen, was dangerously similar to the weapon her friend Daisuke Serizawa had given his own life to ensure would never be used again. Kenkichi convinced Yukari to go against their aunt's wishes and try to get Ijuin to recreate the weapon. However, Ijuin had recently performed analysis on the soil from the part of Tokyo Bay where the Oxygen Destroyer was detonated to kill the first Godzilla in 1954, and found that it had caused microbes trapped in the strata since the Precambrian Era to revive and begin evolving abnormally.

Millennium era[edit | edit source]

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus[edit | edit source]

Disclaimer: While the Godzilla featured in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is stated to be the same Godzilla that attacked in 1954, it is treated as a separate incarnation of the character.
Main article: Godzilla (Godzilla vs. Megaguirus).

In 1954, Godzilla was awakened by nuclear testing, and immediately vented his rage against Tokyo, annihilating the entire city in one night. After leaving Tokyo in ruins, Godzilla slipped into Tokyo Bay and vanished. The damage was so great that the Japanese government was forced to move its capital to Osaka. Over the next decade, Japan began rebuilding and recovering from Godzilla's attack, embracing nuclear power in the process. However, in 1966, Godzilla returned to feed on the nuclear plant in Tokai, leading Japan to realize that the monster was attracted to nuclear power. Japan's nuclear program was shelved, but the nation struggled to find alternate energy sources over the next several decades. A breakthrough was made in the 1990's in the form of plasma energy, a renewable, efficient and non-nuclear energy source that had the potential to power Japan well into the future. However, Godzilla would choose to feed on this plasma energy in the absence of nuclear energy, and attacked a plasma reactor in Osaka in 1996.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack[edit | edit source]

In 1954, Japan suffered an attack from Godzilla. The monster laid waste to Tokyo, transforming the once-proud capital of Japan into ground zero of a nuclear disaster overnight. Godzilla was finally killed with an experimental chemical weapon, while the weapon's inventor took his own life to ensure it could never be used again. In order to avoid facing ridicule for failing to stop Godzilla and ensure the citizens of Japan they were safe from future attacks, the JSDF claimed credit for killing Godzilla. Over the next several decades, humanity gradually began to forget about Godzilla, with many assuming the creature never existed and was simply a legend. However, a second Godzilla emerged to seek horrible vengeance against Japan in 2002.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla[edit | edit source]

Main article: Kiryu.

In 1954, Godzilla appeared and laid waste to Tokyo before being killed by Daisuke Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer. In the decades that followed, Japan was frequently attacked by giant monsters, including Mothra and Gaira. The Anti-Megalosaurus Force (AMF) was formed to combat these creatures, armed with advanced space-age weapons known as Maser Cannons. In 1999, a second Godzilla suddenly came ashore at Tateyama during a typhoon. The AMF was deployed, with their new Type 90 Maser Cannons, to stop Godzilla's rampage. To the AMF's shock, Maser Cannons had no effect on Godzilla, and only served to further enrage him. Godzilla destroyed most of the Maser Cannons attacking him and roared victoriously into the air, with lightning striking his dorsal fins. In the aftermath of the attack, the Japanese government was scrambling to find a new way to fight Godzilla. When the first Godzilla's intact skeleton was discovered off Boso Peninsula, it was decided to use it to construct a mechanical Godzilla to fight the new one. By 2003, the anti-Godzilla weapon built around the first Godzilla's skeleton, codenamed Kiryu, was completed. However, the original Godzilla's restless spirit remained attached to the skeleton, and during Kiryu's first battle against the new Godzilla, it was reawakened upon hearing his roar. Kiryu then went berserk, believing itself to be Godzilla once again, and destroyed much of the surrounding area before powering down. Kiryu was repaired and reprogrammed afterward to prevent it from going berserk again, and was launched into battle against Godzilla once more. This time, Kiryu and Godzilla fought to a draw, with an injured Godzilla wading out to sea and Kiryu being left badly damaged.

Godzilla: Tokyo SOS[edit | edit source]

Kiryu, built around the bones of the original Godzilla, in
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS

Just one year after Godzilla and Kiryu's epic battle, Mothra's Shobijin appeared to Shinichi Chujo and warned him that the first Godzilla's bones must be returned to their resting place in the sea, and that it was blasphemous to use them as a weapon. The Shobijin stated that Mothra would have to declare war on humanity if the bones were not returned, and that she did not want to do that. Chujo spoke to the Japanese Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi, who stated that too many resources had been sunk into the Kiryu project for it to be scrapped now. He expressed his hope that Kiryu would one day kill the current Godzilla, after which the project could finally be scrapped. Meanwhile, Kiryu's former operator Akane Yashiro told one of the mecha's mechanics that she could sense that Kiryu no longer wanted to fight Godzilla. When Godzilla and Mothra both appeared in Tokyo, Kiryu was launched into battle once again. After Godzilla was subdued by the combined efforts of Kiryu and Mothra's larvae, Kiryu was ordered to finish Godzilla once and for all. However, the original Godzilla's spirit was awakened yet again and took control of Kiryu. Rather than kill Godzilla, Kiryu simply restrained him and flew out to sea, sinking itself along with Godzilla in the Japanese trench. As Kiryu sank into the trench, the first Godzilla's spirit was finally put at rest and Kiryu deactivated.


Abilities[edit | edit source]

Incandescent light[edit | edit source]

Godzilla sets Tokyo ablaze with his incandescent light

Godzilla can exhale a powerful radioactive incandescent light (白熱光,   hakunekkō, lit. white-hot light), or atomic breath (放射熱線,   hōsha nessen, lit. radioactive heat ray),[8] which takes the form of a white vapor that is hot enough to melt metal and also causes raging fires that can spread across entire city blocks.

Durability[edit | edit source]

The original Godzilla displayed an immunity to conventional weaponry, being virtually impervious to everything the JSDF threw at him. Dr. Yamane states that the very fact Godzilla survived exposure to a hydrogen bomb explosion is a testament to his durability.

Amphibiousness[edit | edit source]

Godzilla walks on the bottom of Tokyo Bay

Though technically a reptile and not an amphibian, Godzilla has an amphibious lifestyle. He spends half of his life in water and the other on land. Godzilla is capable of remaining completely submerged underwater for long periods of time, and it is suggested by Kyohei Yamane that he survived for millions of years living inside a deep underwater cavern. Godzilla's atomic breath is not impeded while underwater, shown when he obliterates boats with it while completely submerged underwater. While underwater, Godzilla can swim or simply march across the sea floor.

Physical abilities[edit | edit source]

Godzilla employed his tail, his fangs, and his sheer brute force while tearing through Tokyo.

Weaknesses[edit | edit source]

Oxygen Destroyer[edit | edit source]

Godzilla is killed and his remains are disintegrated by the Oxygen Destroyer

The 1954 Godzilla was eventually killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, a weapon that contained a chemical compound designed to remove all oxygen from water when put into contact with it, causing living creatures to die of asphyxiation as their remains are liquefied by the now-highly corrosive surrounding water. The Oxygen Destroyer was the first, and in many ways the only, weapon to defeat Godzilla, completely disintegrating him in the original film. In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the original film's ending is altered so that Godzilla's skeleton remained intact, with the monster's spirit still attached to it.

Filmography[edit | edit source]

Video games[edit | edit source]

Godzilla: Unleashed[edit | edit source]

Godzilla 1954 bio[edit | edit source]

"The original king of the monsters, this towering behemoth was the first post-war radioactive monster unleashed upon the world. Godzilla '54's atomic-powered body was so powerful that each footprint he left was a crater seeping with lethal radiation. The infamous day that Godzilla rose from the sea to conquer Tokyo will be remembered as the beginning of the humanity's epic struggle against the reign of giant monsters."

In the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed, all three Godzilla incarnations are playable, each with a few differences between them, but all are fairly alike. Godzilla is simple to control, and with many different fearsome attacks, he is able to easily floor multiple monsters at once. Although his combat ability might be lacking in some regards, he still retains the deadly atomic breath ray which is an easy attack to execute and deals a lot of damage.

In the Wii version of the game, Godzilla 2000 is the only incarnation that can be played in Story mode. Godzilla 1954 and Godzilla 1990's are only playable in Brawl mode, although Godzilla 1990's is playable in Story mode in the PlayStation 2 version of the game.

Godzilla (PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4)[edit | edit source]

Kaiju Guide[edit | edit source]

Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju_Guide#Godzilla (Showa Series).

Godzilla Battle Line[edit | edit source]

Added in Season 7, Godzilla 1954 is a four-star land unit requiring 6 energy to summon to the battlefield. Godzilla utilizes the Incandescent Light to hit ground and/or aerial enemy units. Godzilla 1954 is one of the units that can be distracted by buildings. If Godzilla is defeated, he will randomly add Godzilla 1989, Burning Godzilla, Kiryu, Godzilla 2004, or Godzilla Terrestris to your next draw with a -2 energy discount to them. He has a base movement speed of 8, a long reach, a wide search range, and attacks every 2.8 seconds.[9]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: ShodaiGoji#Gallery.

Sightings[edit | edit source]

Main article: Godzilla in popular culture.

Roar[edit | edit source]

When he first signed onto Godzilla, composer Akira Ifukube thought that the monster, being a reptile, shouldn't roar at all.[10] 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 Ueno Zoo, but everything they produced was still too natural. It was Ifukube who hit upon the idea of using a musical instrument: the contrabass. He unwound the E string and recorded his assistant, Sei Ikano, 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 can be written in readable characters and has been done so in comics, and not only by a simple "roar." In Japanese, the official onomatopoeia for Godzilla's roar is "Gyaoon" (ギャオーン,   Gyaōn)--additional "o"s can be added to extend the roar.

Godzilla's roars in the 1954 film

Videos[edit | edit source]

Wikizilla: YouTube Kaiju Profile: Godzilla 1954

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Undersea cavern in the coastal waters of Odo Island / 大戸島近海の海底洞窟

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for Godzilla (First Generation). 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: [1]

  1. Richie, Donald (4 November 1954). "Gojilla Wreaks Havoc On Miniature Tokyo". Nippon Times.
    Gojilla Wreaks Havoc On Miniature Tokyo - Nippon Times.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works. Shogakukan. 1 January 2000. p. 69. ISBN 978-4091014702.
  3. Iwabatake, Toshiaki; Ono, Koichiro (5 December 1991). Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah Monster Complete Works. Kodansha. p. 66. ISBN 978-4061777200.
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.D. Lees, Marc Cerasini (24 March 1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House. p. 124. ISBN 0279888225 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help).
    Compendium32.png
  5. Toho Special Effects All Monster Encyclopedia. Shogakukan. 23 July 2014. p. 8. ISBN 4-096-82090-3.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Definitive Edition Godzilla Introduction (14th Edition). Shogakukan. 20 November 1996. p. 54. ISBN 4-09-220142-7.
    10689853 398606200295214 8421095972625706709 n.jpg
  7. 7.0 7.1 Since Godzilla. Rikuyosha Co. Ltd. 20 April 2002. p. 4. ISBN 4897374472.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. villagebooks. 28 September 2012. p. 6. ISBN 9784864910132.
  9. Godzilla Battle Line - Units and Monster Leaders [Android/iOS/PC]. Toho Kingdom. Retrieved on 19 October 2022.
  10. Homenick, Erik. Part VII - Godzilla. AkiraIfukube.org.
  11. Definitive Edition Godzilla Introduction (14th Edition). Shogakukan. 20 November 1996. p. 18, 117. ISBN 4-09-220142-7.

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