Kaiju Profile: Minilla
Written by The King of the Monsters, Les, Titanollante
Narrated by Titanollante
Minilla is an infant member of Godzilla's species that appeared in "Son of Godzilla," "Destroy All Monsters" and "All Monsters Attack," reappeared in the 1973 tokusatsu program "Go! Greenman," and later returned in 2004's "Godzilla: Final Wars." In place of Minilla, a different version of Godzilla's son was featured in the Heisei series of films.
The Little Child Monster is significantly friendlier toward humans than any of the other kaiju featured in the Showa Godzilla films, and demonstrates human-like behaviors and emotions. He is very playful, enjoying games like kicking large boulders and jumping over or riding on his father's tail. He also shook ecstatically after firing an atomic heat ray on his own while his father slept, and he displayed childlike disobedience by falling on the ground and refusing to cooperate. While he is usually fearful of other monsters, he occasionally shows courage, though he is often outmatched by opponents. Minilla's personality in "Godzilla: Final Wars" was unchanged from the Showa series, as he was very friendly with humans. He also interceded on behalf of humanity to Godzilla, prompting Godzilla to end his war with the human race.
The Minilla from the Toho TV show “Go! Greenman”—which additionally featured its namesake hero fighting Gabara, Sanda and Gaira in separate instances—serves as a stark contrast to the character's other incarnations. This "evil" Minilla seeks to capture children for his master, the demon king Maoh, and his infant characteristics are heavily exaggerated. He's shown drinking from a giant bottle and has a pacifier, which when removed causes him to break out into tantrums.
Minilla is the official, trademarked English name for this character, though he is often called Minya or Milla in different English dubs. Minilla is never referred to by name in "Son of Godzilla," instead only being called 'baby Godzilla' or 'Godzilla's son' within the film, as his name wasn't decided upon until after the movie had finished filming. His name is finally said aloud in the Japanese version of "Destroy All Monsters."
The original Minilla suit's head and body were modeled by Teizo Toshimitsu and Yasuei Yagi, respectively. In addition to the suit, a 2-shaku (Japanese foot) model was created to portray the newborn Minilla. Minilla resembles a smaller, pudgy version of his father. His snout is slightly upturned and his eyes are larger and placed further forward on his head, giving him a more human-like appearance. He also possesses pronounced brow ridges above his eyes, and a small crest along the top of his head. In the Showa series, his head is slightly elongated, the dorsal plates on his back are small and undeveloped, and he only has three toes, like his father did from 1962 to 1975. Additionally, he lacks the charcoal gray coloration and rugged skin of his father, his smooth skin instead being a uniform desaturated green-gray. As a newborn, he was more of a tan color. The Minilla suit was modified for both "Destroy All Monsters" and "All Monsters Attack."
The Minilla suit used in "Go! Greenman" is brand new, but looks to be very cheaply built and possesses charcoal black skin similar to Godzilla's.
The "Godzilla: Final Wars" Minilla was designed by Shinji Nishikawa. This design retains the core look of the Showa version, though displays some differences. Namely, his body is more of a saturated green that's lighter on the belly and palms, and he has more noticeable dorsal fins, orange claws, prominent brown irises around his pupils, and more spread out teeth. This Minilla also has four toes on his feet instead of three.
In both the Showa and Millennium series, it is never stated on-screen if Godzilla is Minilla's biological father or if he simply adopted him. However, "The Official Godzilla Compendium" and Toho's official English-language website both state that in "Son of Godzilla," Minilla was adopted by Godzilla after he hatched on Solgell Island.
In “Go! Greenman,” Minilla is a creation of Maoh’s sidekick — the devilish Tonchiki — deployed in order to retrieve the blood of human children for his master.
In "Godzilla: Final Wars," Minilla appears near Mount Fuji with no explanation as to his origins.
Son of Godzilla (1967): Minilla began emitting a brain wave to call out for Godzilla while buried in the ground on Solgell Island, which interfered with the scientific equipment of a team of United Nations scientists on the island and caused their weather-controlling experiment to malfunction and trigger a radiation storm. The storm mutated the island's native giant mantises into huge kaiju dubbed Kamacuras, which dug up Minilla's egg and broke it open, intending to eat the hatchling. Fortunately, Godzilla arrived on the island and confronted the Kamacuras, killing two and forcing the third one to retreat. The newly-hatched Minilla came to befriend a human woman living on the island, Saeko Matsumiya, who fed him fruit and gained the ability to summon him with her call. Godzilla decided to raise Minilla as his son and train him to take up his mantle. Godzilla and Minilla took up residence next to a boiling red lake on the island, where Godzilla attempted to teach Minilla how to use his atomic breath. Minilla could only breathe pitiful smoke rings, but Godzilla found that when he stepped on his tail, Minilla fired a full atomic beam. When Saeko was threatened by the surviving Kamacuras, Minilla rushed to her rescue, but could not fight off the Kamacuras. Godzilla soon arrived, and Kamacuras promptly retreated. However, during the struggle Minilla accidentally knocked a boulder into the valley of the giant spider monster Kumonga, awakening it.
While his father was asleep, Minilla began to wander the island, only to be ensnared in Kumonga's webbing, along with Kamacuras. Kumonga instantly killed Kamacuras by injecting it with venom, then prepared to do the same to Minilla. Minilla cried out for help, and soon Godzilla arrived and attacked Kumonga, but found himself losing the battle. Just as Kumonga prepared to move in for the kill, Minilla unleashed his atomic breath at it. Godzilla and his son then combined their heat rays and set Kumonga ablaze, killing it. In the meantime, the U.N. scientists successfully executed their weather experiment, causing a snowstorm to form over the island. Godzilla and Minilla attempted to reach the ocean before Solgell Island froze over, but Minilla fell in the snow and became tired. Rather than abandon his son, Godzilla went back and embraced Minilla, falling into hibernation with him.
Destroy All Monsters (1968): By the end of the 20th century, Minilla was living with his father and several other kaiju on the human-monitored Monsterland in the Ogasawara Islands. When the Kilaaks assaulted the island and took control of its monster inhabitants, Minilla vanished and was not seen attacking any of Earth's cities. After the crew of the Moonlight SY-3 destroyed the Kilaaks' mind control device on the Moon, Minilla was the first monster to arrive at Mount Fuji to assault the invaders' Earth base. Soon he was joined by his father and the rest of the Earth monsters as they closed in on the aliens' base. However, the Kilaaks unleashed King Ghidorah as their final defensive measure to attack the monsters. Minilla took part in the battle against King Ghidorah alongside Godzilla, Anguirus and Gorosaurus, and managed to deliver the killing blow to the space monster by strangling his last living neck with a smoke ring. With King Ghidorah dead, Minilla stood triumphantly on the fallen kaiju's body and joined in celebrating the victory of Earth's monsters. After Godzilla obliterated the base of the Kilaaks, Minilla was returned to Monsterland with the rest of the monsters to live out his days in peace.
All Monsters Attack (1969): When Ichiro Miki dreamed of visiting Monster Island, he found himself chased by a Kamacuras, eventually tripping and falling into a pit. Minilla, having shrunk to human size, lowered a vine into the pit and rescued Ichiro. Minilla told Ichiro how he was often lonely living on the island, with his father spending most of his time fending off the other kaiju. Minilla was also constantly harassed by a monster called Gabara, who liked to bully him. Godzilla would not fight Gabara for Minilla, as he believed Minilla should learn to defend himself. Ichiro helped build Minilla's confidence and the two worked together to spring a trap for Gabara. The trap worked and Minilla successfully beat Gabara. Godzilla arrived to congratulate his son, but the enraged Gabara bit Godzilla, sending him into a furious rage. Godzilla held Minilla back and personally beat Gabara into submission, sending him fleeing into the jungle. Ichiro then awoke from his dream, and using the lessons he had learned from Minilla, was able to escape from two bank robbers who had kidnapped him.
Go! Greenman (1973-1974): An evil Minilla appeared in episode 46 of the series "Go! Greenman." Minilla was deployed to obtain the blood of young children for Maoh in a scheme to reverse his banishment. Eventually, the kids called Greenman with their Calls and the two fought. After a short battle, the monster grew and began menacing a city with a pacifier in its mouth. During their battle, Greenman managed to pull the pacifier out of the infant's mouth, causing it to fall to the ground and begin crying. Greenman readied his Breaster attack to finish the monster off, but decided to spare it instead. Minilla did not last for much longer, though, as he was then destroyed at the hands of his creator for failing his mission.
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004): In the year 20XX, Minilla was encountered by the young boy Kenta while he and his grandfather were hunting in the forest near Mount Fuji. Minilla joined the two in their truck, which they used to drive to Mt. Fuji to witness Godzilla's battle with Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar. Upon witnessing this battle, Minilla began to grow. The now-20-meter Minilla then traveled to Tokyo in the aftermath of Godzilla's battle with Keizer Ghidorah. When he arrived, he convinced Godzilla to let go of his hatred of the human race and spare the crew of the Gotengo. Godzilla then returned to the sea with Minilla.
Smoke Rings: Minilla's main weapon are his atomic smoke rings. These smoke rings, while significantly weaker than his father's atomic breath, can interact with physical objects and tighten around opponents to injure or even strangle them.
Atomic Breath: Minilla learned to use a true atomic breath in "Son of Godzilla." Initially, despite his best attempts, he couldn't fire the atomic breath as Godzilla demonstrated to him. After Godzilla stepped on his tail, he managed to fire it, and later fired it on his own as his father slept. Minilla also used his atomic breath to both save and assist his father during the battle against Kumonga. Scrapped sequences from "Son of Godzilla" show Minilla using his atomic breath against Kamacuras in place of smoke rings. Finally, Minilla was shown firing an atomic ray at the very end of "Godzilla: Final Wars."
Communication: In the Showa series, Minilla can communicate with Godzilla over great distances by broadcasting a brainwave pattern over radio frequencies. This ability interferes with other radio transmissions in its vicinity. In "All Monsters Attack," Minilla is depicted as being able to talk. This is indicative of the fantasy element of the film, in which Minilla only appears in the dreams of a young boy.
Size Changing: In "All Monsters Attack," Minilla is depicted as having the ability to shrink down to human size. While this ability was only shown within the dreams of Ichiro Miki in the Showa series, Minilla demonstrated he could physically change his size in "Godzilla: Final Wars." In "Go! Greenman," the evil Minilla could also increase in size, but was only able to do so when commanded by Tonchiki.
There is a popular fan theory that the Godzilla in "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" through "Terror of Mechagodzilla" is actually the Showa Minilla, now grown to adulthood. Although officially the 1970's Godzilla is the same incarnation of the character introduced in "Godzilla Raids Again," the 2004 informational book "Godzilla Great Dictionary" actually acknowledges this theory.
Director Takao Okawara stated in an interview that Toho wanted to bring Minilla back for the Heisei series in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II," but he didn't. As a result, Baby Godzilla was introduced instead.
Minilla's name was decided upon in a naming campaign created by Toho which had as many as 8,211 applicants, 135 of which suggested ‘Minilla’. A raffle was conducted and ‘Minilla’ was drawn, ultimately becoming the monster’s final name. The name was publicly revealed in a "naming ceremony" party at the film set with the movie's stars. Prior to Minilla's name being chosen, the monster was referred to simply as Child Godzilla (子供ゴジラ) or Godzilla Junior (ゴジラ・ジュニア), while he was referred to as Kojira (子ジラ), or Childzilla, in the script for "Son of Godzilla."
The idea for a "son of Godzilla" was considered as far back as three years before Son of Godzilla began production. A precursor to Minilla which utilized this concept was developed by Shinichi Sekizawa in a screenplay for a 1967 film titled "Two Godzillas: Japan S.O.S.!", where a bluish-skinned, thirty-meter juvenile Godzilla named Godzilla Junior would menace Japan alongside Godzilla himself. Unlike the gentle and meek Minilla, who hatched from an egg onscreen and was portrayed with much humanizing characterization, Godzilla Junior emerged from the sea and maintained a relatively serious presence as a threat to Japan. The name "Godzilla Junior" would later be used for Godzilla's adopted son in "Godzilla vs. Destoroyah," though without an interpunct in the Japanese spelling.
Finally, there exists scrapped footage for the ending of "Son of Godzilla," where Godzilla abandons Minilla once the island begins freezing over. Part of the sequence has survived in the trailer and in a workprint outtake reel. The King of the Monsters doesn't ultimately leave the infant behind however, and turns back in a change of heart.
That's all there is to know about Minilla. Thanks for watching!