Designing Biollante - Creating Kaiju
This video corresponds to the design process behind Biollante.
Biollante was perhaps the first Godzilla monster to go through a substantial design process, with a lot of concept art for her being made during the development of “Godzilla vs. Biollante.” The original writer of “Godzilla vs. Biollante,” a dentist by the name of Shinichiro Kobayashi, originally envisioned Biollante as being the result of Dr. Shiranui (the earlier name for Dr. Shiragami) mixing the cells of his dead daughter with that of a tropical plant. Biollante was only meant to have a single form and battle with Godzilla at the end of the movie, and was envisioned to have the face of a woman--a design element that was played around with but abandoned later on, and also had suggested for it to have poisonous petals that resemble butterfly wings, also a discarded idea.
Three of some of the first pieces of Biollante concept art were done by artist Kako Yodane, who had a lot of experience with previous shows such as “Return of Ultraman” and “Mirrorman,” and put them in an art book he published in April 2014. Yodane based Biollante’s rose form off the “Emergency Directive 10-4 · 10-10” creature he had previously designed, Darling Utsubo. There was also an idea where the Rose Biollante had legs and could walk. For her final form, he submitted a four-legged Biollante concept inspired by the “Return of Ultraman” monster Leogon, who he previously designed, and who Biollante’s original maker Kobayashi also created! The concepts were rejected, but formed the basis for further design.
Other design ideas for Biollante have been included in the books “Heisei Godzilla Perfection” and “Shinji Nishikawa: Drawing Book of Godzilla.” Some of the concept art was handled by Kou Yokoyama, and Yuto Matsubara. Shinji Nishikawa did a lot of close-to-final concept art on the final form as well, brought on by “Gunhed” and “Godzilla vs. Biollante” Special Effects Director Koichi Kawakita. Shinji Nishikawa elaborated that an emphasis was put on constructing parts of animals vegetatively.
These concept designs range from ones incorporating original design elements of Biollante, to a giant walking flower monster, a multi-legged plant creature, a more Godzilla-like plant construct with rose petals and tendril-tails, a spiny flower, a thin flower, and thinner versions of the final design appearance until it gradually became finalized, with close-to-final designs featuring her with legs, a tail, and with different heads. In some concepts of her head, her mouth would open circularly, and in others she would have jaws but a circular mouth hole with teeth - plus eyes that she could hide inside her jaw, or outside her jaw. In another concept she would have a very wide, flat, leaf-like head lined with teeth.
For her rose form, there are concepts that give her a full-fledged head rather than a jaw inside of a rosebud as in her final design. Other artwork has the rose form look more like a simple flower, or even having a head and neck. Before her design was finalized, there was also art with her having a large eye on the stem below the rosebud. There is also a strange design that makes Rose Biollante look almost alien in appearance.
Art director Tetsuzo Osawa as well as other higher-ups from Toho decided to incorporate elements of these final concept artworks for modeling the Biollante puppets. The final rose form design looked like a rose flower with a snout inside its bud and a wide stem with tendrils and vines tipped with venus flytrap heads, and her final form possessed an elongated Godzilla-like head with a plant mass body, four main root-like appendages with mouthed tendrils with additional mouthed vines, and an orange nucleus covered by a mess of vines, plus leaf-like structures reminiscent of Godzilla’s dorsal plates. With an imposing, heavy and powerful appearance on top of starring in a well-loved Godzilla film, Biollante is a fan favorite Heisei kaiju as a result.