Kaiju Profile: Godzilla (Final Wars)
Hey kaiju fans, it's Titanollante, presenting Wikizilla's kaiju profile on the most destructive weapon on Earth: the "Final Wars" Godzilla!
GODZILLA (2004), King of the Monsters
Aliases: Godzilla 2005, Final Godzilla, FinalGoji, FWGoji
Height: 100 meters
Length: 100 meters (tail)
Weight: 55,000 metric tons
The 2004 iteration of the King of Monsters starred in "Godzilla Final Wars," the character's semicentennial sendoff film which preceded the longest-ever gap between the release of two Japanese Godzilla movies. Emerging in response to humanity's destruction of Earth's environment, the film's opening narration states that Godzilla was the greatest enemy mankind ever faced. As explained to the character Kenta Taguchi by his grandpa while they and Minilla were witness to the Big G's spontaneous leveling of a Japanese town, Godzilla's anger towards humans harkens back to "long ago […]" when "[men] made a huge fire and burned everything on the land." [Samon Taguchi, English dub:] "That's why Godzilla cannot forgive mankind." Upon his release from Area G, he's lured across the globe by the Gotengo (the warship that had trapped him there in the first place); defeating the invading Xiliens' army of mind-controlled monsters along the way. Following the final battle against Keizer Ghidorah, Godzilla shoots down the Gotengo and menacingly stares down its crew, only to be convinced to stand down by his son Minilla - in what is according to the director, the first-ever portrayal of him "forgiving" humanity.
Handily the biggest of the Millennium series Godzillas - as "Final Wars" returned to the VS series' 100-meter scale - he's often contended to be among the most powerful incarnations of the King of the Monsters. Known also as Final Godzilla, "FinalGoji," or even "FWGoji" for short, Bandai figures contemporary to his movie were marketed with the name "Godzilla 2005" — keeping with the convention of labeling newly introduced incarnations with the upcoming year done throughout the Heisei and Millennium eras.
For Godzilla's 50th anniversary film, director Ryuhei Kitamura sought to emphasize monster battles, aiming to portray "a more powerful Godzilla" and harken back to the Toho Champion Festival-era films from his childhood. Camera tests were conducted using an SOSGoji suit from the previous year's film "Godzilla: Tokyo SOS," but Kitamura and monster modeler Shinichi Wakasa concluded that its movements were not suitable. Wakasa recalled a "Godzilla" fighting game his child had played and showed it to Kitamura, who agreed that it was closer to what he was looking for.
Yasushi Nirasawa submitted striking concept art of a jagged Godzilla, sporting curved spikey fins and a conspicuous red chest. Yoji Shinkawa additionally sketched an extremely thin Goji, with almost skeletal hands and a skull-like face flicking its tongue. However, neither of their designs were selected; instead, Wakasa designed the new Godzilla himself with input from Kitamura and special effects director Eiichi Asada. In designing Godzilla's head, Wakasa thought it appropriate to combine characteristics of several prior looks for the character's 50th anniversary, namely the ShodaiGoji, MosuGoji, and Heisei Godzilla designs. Godzilla's muscles and facial expression were emphasized to align with Kitamura's vision. His dorsal fins were also made smaller so as not to interfere with the choreography, and the whites of his eyes were removed so that he would not seem "willful."
Three FinalGoji costumes were made by Wakasa and his company MONSTERS, Inc.: the main suit for close-ups, another for "action," and one for "super action." Wakasa created the head sculpt, the upper body was sculpted by Akira Yamada, and the dorsal fins were shaped out of polyethylene foam. Molds were then created from these parts, with the head and torso cast in latex and the fins in urethane. Conversely, the suits' body parts from the waist down were fabricated from scratch by gluing together pieces of urethane. Though the materials used were no different than on previous suits, the modeling team took steps to make them more lightweight and easy to act in. For one, the space inside was not filled with latex, ensuring that stuntman Tsutomu Kitagawa's movements wouldn't be restricted. The suits' arms were the only parts which fit snugly, and they had a dual joint at the armpit to increase their range of motion. Also different from previous costumes was a lack of internal lighting in Godzilla's dorsal fins, both to reduce weight and to accommodate their reduction in size. The only lighting installed in any of the suits were in their mouths, for atomic breath. The head of each suit was attached to a helmet-like "skullcap" worn by Kitagawa, allowing his neck movements to translate to Godzilla's. The close-up suit also possessed a radio-controlled jaw. In recent years, the FinalGoji suits have been repurposed for Godzilla Fest short films - specifically 2021's "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" and last year's "Fest Godzilla 3: Gigan Attacks." And just like the original movies these shorts celebrate, the Godzilla suit is visibly deteriorating. Now that's faithful attention to detail! (Okay to be fair it's been two decades since "Final Wars"... so… 仕方がない。)
Godzilla Final Wars (2004): Godzilla was awakened by nuclear testing in 1954 and subsequently declared war on humanity. The international military org known as the Earth Defense Force (EDF) and M-Organization - its special unit of mutant-human recruits - were formed to combat Godzilla and the numerous other kaiju that appeared over the years, but could never defeat him. Twenty years ago, he was led to the south pole for a final confrontation. There he encountered the flying battleship Gotengo, which he promptly grounded. Before he could finish it off, an earthquake opened a fissure in the ground beneath him. Young crew member Douglas Gordon fired at a nearby mountain, burying the King of the Monsters inside the crevice in the resulting avalanche. Area G was constructed around the icy tomb, and there he lay for decades to come.
In the year 20XX, an alien force known as the Xiliens invaded Earth and took control of all the planet's monsters, using them to destroy major cities around the globe. The Gotengo, piloted by now Captain Gordon and staffed with the EDF's remaining forces, flew to Area G to release the King of the Monsters, believing him the only force capable of defeating the Xiliens' monster army. They were intercepted by the Xiliens' cyborg monster Gigan, but launched a volley of missiles on the way down, targeting and successfully hitting Area G. As Gigan landed next to the fallen ship, a familiar heat ray met him. Godzilla had awakened. Gigan countered shortly thereafter, subsequently enveloping Godzilla with his Hooking Anchors and attempting to drag him towards his Bladed Cutter. Godzilla, however, simply blasted the space monster's head off with atomic breath. With that taken care of, Godzilla switched his focus onto the ship that had entombed him, chasing it to Sydney, Australia. There, Godzilla found himself attacked by the monster Zilla, which lunged at him. Godzilla used his tail to smack Zilla into the Sydney Opera House and finished off his opponent with a blast of atomic breath.
Next, Godzilla fought Kumonga in New Guinea. Godzilla grabbed a thread of Kumonga's web and tossed the giant spider over the horizon before continuing on his way. After reaching the Kanto region of Japan, the aliens deployed Kamacuras. Goji fired his atomic breath to flush out the camouflaged mantis, who then flew at him. Godzilla simply grabbed Kamacuras and hurled it at an electrical tower, impaling and killing it. Further inland, he reached Mount Fuji, where the Xiliens deployed Anguirus, Rodan and King Caesar against him. More than a match for the trio, he defeated them one by one, leaving their unconscious bodies behind. Once in Tokyo Bay, Godzilla catapulted both Hedorah and Ebirah into the city with atomic blasts. With both monsters immobilized, Godzilla destroyed them.
Finally in the heart of Tokyo, Godzilla observed the aliens' approaching Hail Mary, the asteroid Gorath. He planted his feet and fired a Hyper Spiral Heat Ray at it, triggering its explosion in the skies over the city. When the dust settled above the newly-formed crater, Monster X descended from the heavens. The two clashed, with this new daikaiju proving to be a formidable opponent right away. Meanwhile, Mothra had just arrived in Tokyo to assist the King of the Monsters, but was intercepted by the freshly repaired Modified Gigan - who quickly knocked her out of the sky. The two aliens promptly joined forces and Monster X held Godzilla in place. He was struck by Gigan's Bloody Chainsaw, but moved out of the way in time for the next swing, which hit Monster X instead. Mothra flew in and knocked the two to the ground, forcing Gigan to give chase again. The ancient rivals took each other out of commission, leaving Godzilla and Monster X in a one-on-one where the Big G managed to gain the upper hand. Right after the crew of the Gotengo escaped from inside the Xilien Mothership as it self-destructed, the monsters fired their beams at each other. The attacks locked in midair and produced a forceful explosion, knocking the two back to opposite sides of the city.
Suddenly, Monster X transmogrified into Keizer Ghidorah. The kaiju initiated a beam-fight, but the beast's antigravity beams overpowered Goji's atomic breath. Keizer Ghidorah then hurled its foe across the ruined city and continued to brutalize him until it finally gripped Godzilla in its maws and started siphoning his energy. Witnessing this, the crew of the Gotengo realized they needed to help. EDF / M-Organization mutant Shinichi Ozaki used the Gotengo's Maser Cannon to channel and transfer his newly unlocked reservoir of Keizer energy into Godzilla, reinvigorating him. Keizer Ghidorah was forced to let go of its enemy, who in turn immediately got back into the fight. Ghidorah countered with an antigravity beam, but Godzilla retaliated with a supercharged atomic breath which annihilated the monster's middle head. After his severing of the second head, Godzilla manhandled the maimed Keizer Ghidorah; ultimately lobbing it in the air and firing a Burning G Spark Heat Ray which pushed the dragon to the edge of outer space, where it exploded.
Not having forgotten his battle against the Gotengo, Godzilla turned his attention toward the warship and blasted it with atomic breath. Upon crashing into the ruins of Tokyo, its passengers exited the ship and were faced down by the King of Monsters. Before Godzilla could finally annihilate them, Minilla arrived and convinced him to stand down. Godzilla turned away and made his way out of the ruined Tokyo with his son, wading out into the ocean.
The Final Wars Godzilla possesses remarkable physical prowess, facilitating rapid-fire dispatch of opponents when coupled with his lightning-fast reflexes. Among the most dexterous and agile versions of the Big G, he's proficient in close-quarters combat. Note his use of closed-fist punches (in contrast to the usual Godzilla slap), opportune grapples and impressive throws (most notably his overhand toss of Keizer Ghidorah, whose mass is double his own), his formidable leg strength by way of well-executed jumping maneuvers and potent kicks, and his command over his tail through the precise deflection of high-speed opponents.
Intelligence: Godzilla efficiently improvised battle strategies against his foes, promptly dispatching them one-by-one - at least 'til Monster X. His capacity for communication is such that he understood Minilla standing in front of the humans as meaning that they're not a threat.
A concentrated stream of radiation fired from his mouth, Godzilla's staple atomic breath is his most powerful weapon, and especially so in this movie. The attack sent flying the 70,000-metric-ton Hedorah and 50,000-ton Ebirah thousands of meters into the air from out Tokyo Bay, and otherwise killed Godzilla's enemies after one sustained hit (with the noted exception of Monster X). Atomic breath seemed to match the power of his Destroyed Thunder Beams, but got beat out in a lock by Keizer's antigravity beams.
Godzilla dished out a stronger variant, known as the Hyper Spiral Heat Ray, to destroy the asteroid Gorath hundreds of miles above the Earth with supreme accuracy and precision. Once supercharged with Ozaki's Keizer energy, his internal radiation forced Keizer Ghidorah to release its restraints on him. He then blew off the beast's middle head with a point-blank atomic blast. Lastly, the Burning G Spark Heat Ray was a red spiral variant used to push Ghidorah into the edge of the planet's atmosphere before obliterating him.
Boasting amazing durability, Godzilla comfortably withstood attacks from most foes. His remarkable stamina is exhibited through single-handedly stopping the asteroid Gorath after having traveled half the globe and defeating half a dozen kaiju over the span of a day.
Weaknesses: Godzilla only met the end of his rope against Monster X - whose physical strength and beam weapons matched or exceeded his own in power - and Modified Gigan - during the aliens' two-on-one against him. Keizer Ghidorah repeated that domination all on his own, ensnaring Godzilla and draining him of his life force. The intervention of Mothra in the former fight, and Ozaki with the Gotengo in the latter saved him. 'Side from that, the movie's theater program lists "low temperatures" as his weakness which, well, fair enough I suppose.
Hollywood star: By this point it's common knowledge that Godzilla's been recipient to a couple of real-world awards and honors. The one you see bandied about most often on social media claims the King of Monsters "became an official citizen of Japan!"... which isn't exactly the case (Shinjuku Ward awarded the character a "special certificate of residence" with no legal effect), but I digress. He's one of few fictional characters to have received an MTV Lifetime Achievement Award along with Jason Vorhees and Chewbacca, and is one of two dozen who've been dedicated a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He got his during the world premiere of "Godzilla Final Wars" on November 29th in Los Angeles. Suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa (in costume), along with several others from both behind and in front of the camera were in attendance on the red carpet.
Not Junior: Despite the silhouette callback in the intro of "Final Wars," the Godzilla in this movie is not the same individual as the Heisei-series Godzilla Junior. Aside from nothing official ever stating this to be the case, the text of the film makes clear that this Godzilla appeared in 1954 and has continually been a threat to mankind. But what official materials have said is that "Final Wars" exists in its own continuity, separate from anything else.
Goji gareki: It's extremely rare to see licensed merchandise for concept or unmade versions of Toho kaiju, even including the Big G himself. Mostly you'll see one-off customs, but for the handful that aren't, they're actually fan-made garage kits, sold at conventions such as WonderFest. You might glimpse an official "Godzilla" gold branding sticker on their boxes… which, you'd think… shouldn't be on these if they're fanmade? What's up with that? Well the legal status of these kits is an interesting and kinda convoluted topic. The Wikipedia article for garage kits explains, "[it's] not uncommon for a license holder to issue a 'single day license' where for one day only, license is granted for the sale of amateur garage kits" "in an effort to legitimize" "their production and sale in Japan." So from the hands of Takashi Yamawaki of T'sFacto comes the Yasushi Nirasawa concept version Godzilla resin cast model kit! Released in 2018, it's even approved by Nirasawa's office! Good luck getting one though.
さらば、FWゴジラ？: FinalGoji has scarcely been used in media in the almost two decades since he debuted. Movie tie-in comics, novels and games for Godzilla movies had dried up by now… In concept sketches for a pitched follow-up to the IDW comic "Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths," titled "Lolitas & Leviathans," artist Matt Frank even brought up that he "hasn't been used much." We can only speculate as to why, but we've at least seen him pop up recently. He's in the ensemble mobile games "Godzilla: Kaiju Collection," "Defense Force," and "Battle Line," which… everybody and their grandma's in those games, but it's better than nothing! And while artists used the FinalGoji design on a couple' covers for IDW over the years, it wouldn't see proper use in a comic until 2022's "Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Gigan", which appropriately enough took place in 2008. Perhaps we'll be seeing more of him when early 2000s nostalgia really gets going.
That's it for the "Final Wars" Godzilla. さらば、ゴジラ。