Kyushu J7W Shinden

From Wikizilla, the kaiju encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
Kyushu J7W Shinden
The Shinden in Godzilla Minus One
Subtitle(s) Short-Range Interceptor (局地戦闘機,   Kyokuchi Sentōki, lit. "Local Fighter")
Wingspan 11.11 meters[1]
Weight 5.288 metric tons[1]
Maximum speed 466 mph[1]
Targets Godzilla
Piloted by Koichi Shikishima
First appearance Godzilla Minus One
It was developed at the end of the war. Local Fighter Shinden. Designed to shoot down bombers, and hit speeds over 400 knots, it's got a tail wing, four 30-millimeter guns, and it's nimble as hell. It's a plane full of innovations.
„ 

— Tsuruno (Godzilla Minus One)

The Kyushu J7W Shinden (震電,   Shinden, lit. "Magnificent Lightning") is a World War II Japanese propeller-driven prototype canard fighter plane that was intended for use as a land-based interceptor, specifically designed to confront and target bombing raids by American Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. It is featured in the 2023 Godzilla film Godzilla Minus One.

Name

In Japanese, the Shinden's name is composed of the kanji (shin; "quake" or "tremble") and (den; "lightning" or "electricity"), which have traditionally been translated as "Magnificent Lightning." In Godzilla Minus One, the plane is twice referred to with the epithet Kyokuchi Sentōki (局地戦闘機), one of several Japanese terms for interceptor aircraft which literally translates to "local fighter." Though this translation of "local fighter" was used in the film's theatrical English subtitles, the subtitles on Netflix instead translate it as "short-range interceptor."

Production

The completed Shinden full-scale model being prepared for filming on the set of Godzilla Minus One; for scenes set on the ground, the model was fully assembled.

Takashi Yamazaki included the Kyushu J7W Shinden, as well as other Japanese military vehicles such as the warships Takao and Yukikaze in Godzilla Minus One, because he has an interest in military history and had never depicted them onscreen before.[2]

For its appearance in Godzilla Minus One, the Shinden was initially intended to be depicted exclusively through CGI. According to Yamazaki, "Initially, the budget didn't allow for any portion of the [airplane] to be built" but "thinking outside the box, having a plan B, we were able to find a museum that was willing to purchase the prop after the film was made, which offset the production budget it would have taken to produce the plane in the first place."[3] Accordingly, a full-scale model of the Kyushu J7W Shinden was built for the film by TOHO Studios, with the Tachiarai Peace Memorial Museum in Chikuzen, Fukuoka, purchasing the model upon completion of the film's principal photography.[4] As only a single example of the Shinden exists - in a partial state of completion - in the collection of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in the United States, the scale model is the most complete version of the aircraft today. Since only two prototypes - neither of which were armed with any weaponry - were built before the end of World War II, the Shinden featured in Godzilla Minus One represents a production model of the type, as indicated by its nose-mounted Type 5 cannons.

While the Shinden was represented through CGI in longer shots and during energetic flight maneuvers, the scale model was used for close-up shots, as well as the scenes set in the warehouse where the aircraft was stored. The model features a modular design, allowing for portions to be removed depending on how close a shot of the aircraft was intended to be. For scenes of the Shinden banking, it was attached to a rig that allowed it to be moved by hand, with the film crew standing on either side of the rig to tilt the scale model and give the impression of it banking.[5] Scenes featuring the Shinden at Kashima Naval Air Station in Miho, Ibaraki were filmed on location at an actual surviving hangar that was part of the base during its use in World War II.[6]

In July 2022, the Shinden scale model was placed on display at the Tachiarai Peace Memorial Museum. To keep details about its appearance in Minus One a secret, Toho donated the model anonymously and did not reveal that it had produced it under after the film commenced its theatrical release.[4]

History

Reiwa era

Godzilla Minus One

The Kyushu J7W Shinden in Godzilla Minus One

During the closing stages of World War II in 1945, the Kyushu J7W Shinden was developed and put into limited production, with the Imperial Japanese military anticipating that it would be used to attack bomber fleets during a battle over Mainland Japan. However, this battle would never take place, and a number of Shindens which were field deployed ended up being abandoned, including one which was stored inside a hangar at Kashima Naval Air Base in Miho, Ibaraki.

In 1947, following Godzilla's devastating attack on Ginza, Tokyo, Operation Wada Tsumi was formulated as the plan that would finally bring about an end to the threat Godzilla posed to Japan. Former kamikaze pilot Koichi Shikishima asked Kenji Noda, the plan's architect, if he could source him an aircraft to use. While the vast majority of Japan's aircraft had been decommissioned by the Allies following the end of World War II, the Shinden was not among them. However, the two years it had spent in storage had left it inoperable, and it would require restoration works to be made before it could fly again. To solve this, Shikishima drew out mechanic Sosaku Tachibana, the only other survivor of Godzilla's attack on Odo Island in 1945, by writing poison-pen letters to comrades from Tachibana's postings before Odo Island. After Tachibana agreed to repair the Shinden, the race to make it airworthy in time for the operation was on. Shikishima secretly planned to fly and crash the plane into Godzilla's mouth in a suicide attack; accordingly, Tachibana replaced a fuel tank, two of the forward machine guns, and their respective magazines, with heavy bombs — one in the nose and the other in the fuselage.

On the day of the operation, Tachibana showed Shikishima a German-made ejection seat he had also installed, urging him to choose life over death, and the Shinden was launched from the airbase. Following tests of the plane's control surfaces, Shikishima flew the plane to Godzilla, who had made landfall ahead of schedule, and attracted his attention with a close pass. Upon sighting the plane, Godzilla immediately snapped his jaws at it, but the Shinden was able to avoid this attack with ease. Making a second pass, Shikishima fired at Godzilla with the plane's cannons, then dodged an incoming tail swipe by the monster. Irritated, Godzilla pursued the Shinden offshore and into Sagami Bay, continuing to give chase until he was within range of the fleet of ships tasked with carrying out the main phase of the operation.

With Godzilla in position, Shikishima used the Shinden to distract Godzilla by circling him, buying time for the Yukikaze and Hibiki to deploy their cables and freon tanks, making repeated close passes while firing the plane's cannons. Godzilla repeatedly attempted to attack the plane, but each attempt failed. With Godzilla having neglected to pay attention to the vessels around him, the cables were tightened, and the freon tanks were detonated shortly afterwards, sending Godzilla plunging into the depths of the bay.

After the decompression strategy had succeeded in critically injuring Godzilla through barotrauma, but had failed to kill him, an enraged and brutally-mutilated Godzilla surfaced from Sagami Bay and attempted to fire his atomic breath at the ships, though the sheer extent of his injuries meant that he appeared to have trouble firing the beam. In an instant, Shikishima flew the Shinden at top speed, blazing past the ships on a direct course for Godzilla. As everyone below watched on, he armed the bombs and ejected at the last possible moment, sending the plane crashing into Godzilla's mouth. A few seconds later, the bombs inside the Shinden exploded, blowing Godzilla's head above his lower jaw clean off. With no means of controlling his energy, Godzilla's body disintegrated.

Capabilities

Flight
  • Being designed for use as an interceptor, the J7W Shinden could fly at tremendous speeds; the prototype aircraft had a top speed of over 400 knots, around 466 mph or 750 km/h. This top speed is consistent with that of the prototype Shinden in real life, which reached these speeds during flight testing.[7] The Shinden is also depicted as being extremely nimble, able to avoid Godzilla's attacks with ease.
Armament
  • Armed with four nose-mounted 30 mm Type 5 cannons, two of which were removed by Tachibana and crew to fit the No.25 bomb.
  • Hardpoints for four 30 kg (66 lb) or four 60 kg (130 lb) bombs, but these are unused in Godzilla Minus One.
  • Equipped with two internal bombs — a No.25 and a No.50 — for use against Godzilla.
Miscellaneous
  • As part of the modifications made to the Shinden for its use in Operation Wada Tsumi, Sosaku Tachibana sourced and installed a German ejection seat into the Shinden, which Koichi Shikishima used to eject from the aircraft immediately before crashing it into Godzilla's mouth. A nameplate mounted beneath the seat's headrest identifies it as a compressed air ejection seat (German: Druckluft-Schleudersitz) with the name Confirmation (German: Bestätigung).

Video games

Gallery

Production

Godzilla Minus One

Screenshots

Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One/Minus Color

Post-production

Merchandise

Trivia

References

This is a list of references for Kyushu J7W Shinden. 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. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Donald, David (1 January 1998). The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Barnes & Noble Books. p. 553. ISBN 0760705925.
  2. Godzilla and Toho Tokusatsu Official Mook. vol. 12. Kodansha. 10 November 2023. ISBN 978-4-06-531493-7. |volume= has extra text (help)
  3. Desowitz, Bill (January 17, 2024). "Godzilla Minus One: From Sleeper to Potential VFX Oscar Frontrunner". IndieWire. Archived from the original on January 18, 2024. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "新作ゴジラの戦闘機「震電」福岡・筑前町に展示されていた 封切りされ「やっと言える」". Nishinippon Shimbun (in 日本語). Archived from the original on December 2, 2023. Retrieved December 2, 2023.
  5. GODZILLA OFFICIAL by TOHO (15 February 2024). "The Visual Effects of Godzilla Minus One". YouTube.
  6. https://twitter.com/tsukubakuc/status/1758055386853396852
  7. J. Francillon, Rene. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. p. 335.
  8. "ゴジラ対蒼焔の艦隊 特設ページ". Fleet of Blue Flames. 6 December 2023.

Comments

Showing 8 comments. When commenting, please remain respectful of other users, stay on topic, and avoid role-playing and excessive punctuation. Comments which violate these guidelines may be removed by administrators.

Loading comments...
Real World
Era Icon - Toho.png
Era Icon - Post-Millennium New Version.png
Vehicle