Kaiju Profile: Godzilla 1954
This video corresponds to the 1954 Godzilla.
Created by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda, Eiji Tsuburaya and Akira Ifukube, the original Godzilla debutted in the Toho’s 1954 film Godzilla, which pioneered the Kaiju genre. The original King of the Monsters stood at 50 meters tall, and weighed 20,000 metric tons.
Godzilla's name is a mix of the Japanese Gorira, meaning Gorilla, and Kujira, meaning whale. During one planning stage, the concept of "Gojira" was described as "a cross between a gorilla and a whale." The two words "whale" and "gorilla" describe Godzilla's traditional characteristics. The word whale represents his aquatic lifestyle and his bulky size. The word gorilla represents his sheer strength.
The original Godzilla boasted gray, burned, bumpy skin, a heavy lower body, small arms and a large, round head. The face had pronounced brows and small, round eyes with round pupils, and had pointed ears. It also featured two fangs, four toes, a rough underside on the pointed tail, and staggered rows of asymmetrical dorsal plates.
During filming, a separate pair of Godzilla legs were used for close-up shots of Godzilla's feet. For close-up shots, a hand-held puppet and the prototype suit were used. As a result, when the camera focuses on Godzilla's head in such close-ups, such as when he is firing his atomic breath, Godzilla appears to have larger, more glossy-looking eyes.
Godzilla was a type of undiscovered dinosaur from an era in which aquatic reptiles evolved into terrarian reptiles. He managed to survive the extinction of the dinosaurs along with others of his species, and slept in the Bikini Atoll region of the South Pacific Ocean. That is, until American Hydrogen bomb tests in 1954 killed the rest of his family and horribly mutated him.
While it was proposed by Dr. Kyohei Yamane that Godzilla might have been living in a colony of Godzillas, only one Godzilla emerged in 1954. After it attacked a cargo ship, a search party was organized on Odo Island where some survivors of the attack had been found. The Odo Islanders were convinced that the ship was the work of their ocean god, Gojira. Immediately after Yamane and the search party discovered one of the the monster's footprints, it appeared over the next ridge, forcing an evacuation of the island. The Japanese government then attacked the newly labeled Godzilla and declared it dead, but the world's relief was cut short when he emerged in Tokyo Bay completely unharmed. He damaged the wharf regions before returning the next day. Between attacks, the Japanese Self Defense Force set up power lines with 300,000 volts of electricity along the coastline, but Godzilla simply broke the circuit with his Atomic Ray and proceeded into the nest of tanks and jets inside the city. After destroying the military and the city, he returned to the bay. There seemed to be no way to stop Godzilla then. However, it turned out that a scientist by the name of Daisuke Serizawa had developed a chemical agent to destroy Godzilla--named the Oxygen Destroyer, the weapon removed all Oxygen atoms in an area, stripping the flesh and organs from any organism in the blast radius. He took the device down to where Godzilla was sleeping before detonating it and cutting his oxygen cable so that he and his device would die alongside Godzilla, so that it would never be used again.
In different continuities, different Godzillas emerged after the original’s death. However, the original Godzilla was still referenced and used in later films.
In "The Return of Godzilla," photographs taken of the Original Godzilla were shown to the sole survivor of an attack on a fishing vessel to help identify the new threat as another Godzilla.
In "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus," the events of Godzilla (1954) are retconned and the 1954 Godzilla is never killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, so the Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Godzilla is technically the same Godzilla as the 1954 Godzilla -- however, it is important to note that, this doesn’t mean that the 1954 Godzilla would have all the same abilities as the Megaguirus Godzilla or that any of the things that apply to that Godzilla would also apply to the original Godzilla.
The Godzilla in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is a vessel of the restless souls of those killed by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, who comes ashore in modern-day Japan to seek vengeance against the nation. The film implies that this Godzilla is the result of these souls possessing and reanimating the remains of the original Godzilla that attacked Tokyo in 1954.
Finally, in the continuity of the Kiryu Saga, the J.S.D.F. would convert the bones of Godzilla into a new Superweapon, nicknamed Kiryu, to combat a new Godzilla.
Durability: Godzilla is shown to be totally impervious to conventional weapons, with none of the J.S.D.F.’s weapons managing to do any damage to him whatsoever.
Atomic Breath: Due to his Hydrogen Bomb mutation, Godzilla can fire a gaseous stream of radioactive energy from his mouth.
Radioactivity: Due to the Hydrogen Bomb test, Godzilla became irradiated and left everything he touched radioactive.
Amphibiousness: Godzilla is capable of breathing on land, and in water.
Despite his bones being plot points in future installments, the 1954 film distinctly shows Godzilla’s bones being disintegrated by the Oxygen Destroyer.
Originally, the sound effects team tried using many different animal roars for Godzilla. Unhappy with the results, Akira Ifukube created Godzilla's iconic roar by loosening the strings on a string bass and rubbing the strings with a rosin covered leather glove, and slowing down the resulting recording. This roar would later be altered for use as the roar of other monsters in the Showa era, including Varan, Baragon and Gorosaurus. 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.
In the 2007 Toho drama film Always: Sunset On Third Street 2, a Godzilla design is seen destroying 1954 Tokyo in a dream sequence, but because it does not have the same design of the Original Godzilla, it is more of a reference to his film rather than the monster himself.
That's all there is to know about the 1954 Godzilla. Thank you for watching, see ya next time!