- For the original monster which served as the basis for Zilla's design and characteristics, see Godzilla (TriStar).
I knew that tuna-eating monster was useless!
— Controller of Planet X, after Zilla is defeated by Godzilla (Godzilla Final Wars)
Zilla (ジラ is a giant mutant iguana Jira)kaiju who first appeared in the 2004 Toho Godzilla film Godzilla Final Wars.
One of the Xiliens' many mind-controlled monster pawns, Zilla was unleashed in Sydney, Australia before he was teleported away as the Xiliens tried to pose as humanity's saviors. When their plan was exposed by the Earth Defense Force and Godzilla was freed from Antarctica, Zilla was deployed to battle him in Sydney. Zilla was quickly defeated by Godzilla, who swatted him aside with his tail and finished him with a blast of his atomic breath. Zilla is based on TriStar's controversial depiction of Godzilla from the 1998 American film and was included in Godzilla Final Wars after TriStar's rights to the character expired and reverted to Toho. Zilla's only film appearance to date came in Godzilla Final Wars, but he has also been featured in the mobile game Godzilla Kaiju Collection and two licensed Godzilla comic series published by IDW Publishing. Zilla also exists within the timeline of the GODZILLA anime trilogy of films, with an entire chapter dedicated to the creature in the novel GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse.
Zilla's name is derived from that of Godzilla, with the "God" part removed. According to Godzilla Final Wars producer Shogo Tomiyama, this name was chosen because the TriStar Godzilla "took the 'God' out of 'Godzilla,'" elaborating that "Hollywood's Godzilla is just a normal monster. He's not a God." Though the original creature from the 1998 film legally remains known as Godzilla, all of its future appearances in media will be as the monster Zilla. As stated by Godzilla: Rulers of Earth artist and co-writer Matt Frank, "Toho makes zero distinction between 'Zilla' and 'Godzilla 1998' with the exception of title alone... Ever since 2004, Toho's official stance has been that any future incarnations of the character be referred to hereafter as 'Zilla.'" Because the monsters are considered otherwise identical outside of name, even merchandise specifically based on the creature from the 1998 film may use the name "Zilla." Licensed merchandise of the TriStar Godzilla can continue to be made under the "Godzilla" name as well, however, as evidenced by X-Plus' DefoReal Godzilla 1998 figure, various ornaments by Cast, and a Bandai keychain.
Zilla's name is never spoken onscreen in Godzilla Final Wars, though he is at one point referred to by the Controller of Planet X as a tuna-eating monster (マグロを食ってる, or tuna-head in the English dub. Because of this line, Japanese fans frequently refer to both Zilla and the TriStar Godzilla by the nicknames Maguro maguro o kutteru, lit. "tuna-eater") (マグロ, lit. "tuna") or Maguro-san (マグロさん, lit. "Mr. Tuna").
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla receives his name after being misidentified as Godzilla. A soldier tries to report the monster's appearance over a communicator, but the transmission is interrupted and only "-zilla" is relayed, which is then adopted as the creature's name. In GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse, Zilla earns the nickname French Godzilla (フランスのゴジラ after the Furansu no Gojira)French military incorrectly identifies the first specimen of the species as Godzilla.
In Godzilla Final Wars, Zilla's appearance is almost identical to that of the TriStar Godzilla, due to his CGI model being created simply by scanning Trendmasters' Ultimate Godzilla figure. The only differences in his appearance are his scutes, which point straight upward instead of curving forward. His skin is tan with blue on top of his body, similar to the 1998 Godzilla, although he appears almost entirely light blue during daytime scenes. Zilla possesses a dewlap, but not spiky like the one that was present on the TriStar Godzilla's neck.
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla is given the exact design of the TriStar Godzilla, complete with curved scutes and the same coloration and details on his skin. One feature unique to the IDW Zilla is the presence of a fifth digit on his hands. While the suit created for the TriStar Godzilla bore a small vestigial fifth digit on its hands, Zilla's is fully developed and usable.
In Godzilla Final Wars, Zilla is completely under the control of the Xiliens, and attacks Sydney under their orders. When he battles Godzilla, Zilla, perhaps foolishly, attempts to attack Godzilla head-on by pouncing on him, which results in his quick demise.
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla is highly aggressive and extremely vicious, attacking Godzilla upon encountering him in Honolulu. Zilla holds his own in the battle by evading Godzilla's attacks and opportunistically striking him back, but retreats as soon as Godzilla gains the upper hand and nearly kills him. Zilla later takes up residence in the waters around the Monster Islands, but avoids going ashore where the other kaiju are. Zilla manages to evade the Trilopods when they invade the islands and capture the kaiju, then follows them to Los Angeles and attacks them. During this battle, Zilla actively rescues Jet Jaguar from several Trilopods, then joins forces with Godzilla and the other monsters to defeat the alien menace. After the battle, Zilla and the other kaiju seemingly submit to Godzilla and follow him out to sea.
Zilla's origins go unexplained in Godzilla Final Wars, and he is never even mentioned by name. According to the film's theater program, Zilla's "true identity is unknown, but according to one theory it may be the same monster that struck New York in 1997." The book Godzilla Final Wars Super Complete Works, published in 2005, reiterates this, stating "Informal information has been reported saying that the same kind of monster appeared on the East Coast of the U.S. in 1998," obviously referencing the 1998 American Godzilla film. The book also states that Zilla is a "mutated iguana monster with tuna as its regular meal."[note 2]
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla's origins are never directly discussed, but it is established that he is part of the natural balance of Earth, along with all of the other Earth kaiju. Zilla's appearance on the Infant Island mural suggests that he is an ancient creature, instead of a mutated iguana like his film incarnation. In Godzilla: Oblivion, Zilla is one of several kaiju that inhabits an alternate dimension where Godzilla rules.
In the continuity of the GODZILLA anime trilogy, Zilla's specific origins are unclear and contested, but one theory posits that Zilla, along with Orga and Biollante, may be a subspecies of Godzilla or a species directly derived from him.
- Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Godzilla Final Wars
Zilla was sent to attack Sydney, Australia, under the command of the Xiliens. The towering reptile terrorized the city, destroying cars and eating civilians. Suddenly, Zilla and all of the other kaiju that had appeared around the world were teleported away by the Xiliens, who claimed to have come to save humanity. After the Xiliens' true intent, to take over the world and harvest mankind's mitochondria, was revealed, they re-released all of their monsters. The Earth Defense Force freed Godzilla from Area G in Antarctica and led him across the world to defeat the Xiliens' monsters. The Controller of Planet X had Zilla redeployed in Sydney to battle Godzilla. Zilla pounced at Godzilla, avoiding a blast from his atomic breath, but Godzilla swung his tail and knocked the monster into the Sydney Opera House before incinerating him with another blast. Following Zilla's defeat, the Controller simply remarked that he "knew that tuna-eating monster was useless."
Zilla is an extraordinary jumper, capable of pouncing large distances to attack his enemies with a High Jump Kick (ハイジャンプキック).
Zilla is incredibly fast and agile. Zilla tends to charge at his opponents, and is capable of quickly fleeing or evading enemies when he is overwhelmed.
Zilla's claws managed to draw blood from Godzilla in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, though he was largely overmatched by the King of the Monsters. During the final battle between Earth's monsters and the Trilopods, he slashed the throat of a Godzilla-type Trilopod with his scutes, and later tears into the throat of the Titanosaurus-type Trilopod with his teeth.
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla displays the TriStar Godzilla's ability to burrow through concrete and steel. Zilla uses this ability to evade a blast of Godzilla's atomic breath during their battle in Honolulu, and even opens up a sinkhole beneath him.
In Godzilla Final Wars, Zilla does not exhibit a great deal of strategy, as he (perhaps foolishly) attempts to attack Godzilla head-on, only to be swatted aside and quickly dispatched by his atomic breath. In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla seems to regain the 1998 Godzilla's intelligence, as he exhibits strategy in his battle with Godzilla, using his burrowing ability to evade a blast of Godzilla's atomic breath and even pulling Godzilla into the military's line of fire while the latter is grappling him. When Zilla realizes he has no chance of winning the fight, he waits for an opportunity and escapes to the ocean while Godzilla is distracted. Zilla later somehow manages to avoid capture by the Trilopods when they attack the Monster Islands, and knows to travel to Los Angeles to join forces with the other Earth monsters and battle the Trilopods.
In GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse, Zilla was given the TriStar Godzilla's ability to rapidly reproduce asexually, using fertility and sheer numbers as a weapon. Text from the novel says: "If you leave one young one alive, no, if you leave just an egg behind, it'll hatch and reproduce all over again" and, "the big ones are dangerous, but the young ones were more troublesome. They're intelligent and act in herds. The young ones act as decoys for the tanks while the adults attack from the rooftops."
Although Zilla was easily killed by a single blast of Godzilla's atomic breath in Godzilla Final Wars, the version which appeared in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth survived sustained hand-to-hand combat with the King of the Monsters. However, he was also hurt by small-arms fire and a missile from a helicopter. During the Earth monsters' showdown with Magita, a kick from the giant Trilopod knocked him out of the fight, though he recovered following her death.
- Godzilla Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS
Zilla in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse
Zilla appeared in France in October of 2039 and was brought down by the French military, who initially misidentified the creature as Godzilla due to it being bipedal and possessing dorsal fins and a long tail. However, Zilla possessed the ability to reproduce asexually, and its offspring quickly overran the city of Rouen, which had managed to escape the wrath of Godzilla himself. Even though an adult Zilla was considerably more frail than most kaiju, able to be brought down with a single shot from a Maser Cannon or railgun, its greatest strength was its fertility. If just one egg was left behind, hundreds more Zillas could be born and overrun the city again. The Zillas were also intelligent and capable of working in herds, younger ones would draw the attention of tanks while adults attacked from the rooftops. Zilla was mentioned to be the hardest kaiju to free a city from, and was not finally exterminated until December.
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #1-2, 9, 13, 25 (2013-2015)
- Godzilla: Oblivion #4-5 (2016)
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth
Zilla appeared in the first issue of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth as a rogue kaiju. He was first sighted by a submarine which mistook him for Godzilla. He later made landfall in Honolulu, Hawaii and was given the identification as "Zilla" due to radio interference. He then went on a rampage while fighting the CKR forces stationed there before being attacked by Godzilla, who had also arrived, and the two monsters prepared to fight. Godzilla threw Zilla into a building and blasted him with his atomic breath, similar to the way Godzilla finished him in Godzilla Final Wars. However, Zilla burrowed underground and avoided the blast. Zilla then dug behind Godzilla and ambushed him. Godzilla and Zilla engaged in a heated physical battle until Godzilla grabbed Zilla by the neck and choked him. Before Godzilla could kill Zilla, CKR opened fire on Godzilla, distracting him long enough for Zilla to escape to the sea.
Zilla reappeared in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #13, where he was spotted swimming in the waters around the Monster Islands. Zilla apparently avoided capture when the Trilopods invaded the Monster Islands, as he was not seen inside the Trilopod hive.
Zilla returned in the final issue, where he suddenly appeared in Los Angeles and saved Jet Jaguar from a Trilopod with Godzilla's characteristics. Zilla then took part in the final battle against the Trilopods alongside Godzilla and the other Earth monsters, managing to injure and kill several of the creatures. Zilla attempted to battle Magita, the gigantic Trilopod queen, but was kicked aside by its massive legs. After Godzilla destroyed Magita, Zilla and the other monsters followed Godzilla out to sea.
Zilla against Godzilla on the cover for issue #2 of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth
Zilla in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth
Zilla in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #13
Zilla in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #25
Zilla appeared at the very end of the fourth issue of Godzilla: Oblivion, where he emerged from an interdimensional portal alongside Biollante, Rodan, Mothra, Anguirus and King Caesar. In the following issue, where Hedorah joined the monsters, Zilla wandered off and rampaged through the city on his own while most of the other monsters tried to battle Mecha-King Ghidorah. Later, after Mecha-King Ghidorah was defeated by Godzilla, all of the monsters were left behind as the humans left the Earth as it became covered by tiny robotic cells that served as interdimensional doorways.
Zilla in Godzilla: Oblivion #4
Zilla in Godzilla: Oblivion #5
- Main article: Zilla/Gallery.
In Godzilla Final Wars, Zilla's roars are recycled from the TriStar Godzilla's roars, themselves a combination of the Showa Godzilla's roars and elephant sounds. Zilla's roars seem to be mostly the elephant-based roars, rather than the Godzilla-based ones. They were later mixed with Millenium-era Godzilla roars for Godzilla Filius in GODZILLA: Planet of the Monsters. In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla's roar is written as "SKREEEEEENK."
In other languages
- Marathi: जिल्हा Jil'hā, transcription of Japanese name
- Gujarati: જીલ્લા Jīllā, transcription of Japanese name
- Shogo Tomiyama and Ryuhei Kitamura did not originally intend to include Zilla in Godzilla Final Wars, but upon learning that they could use the TriStar Godzilla in the film, they decided to feature him as the new monster Zilla. Zilla's late addition may be responsible for the monster's lack of appearances in merchandise and promotional materials for the film.
- Zilla's quick destruction at the hands of Godzilla in Godzilla Final Wars was, according to Shogo Tomiyama, meant to "show which Godzilla is stronger," reflecting many fans' dissatisfaction with TriStar's depiction of Godzilla.
- Despite Zilla's quick demise in Godzilla Final Wars, Patrick Tatopoulos was thrilled to learn that the Godzilla he designed would be appearing in a Toho film.
- Zilla's role in the novel GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse is a direct reference to the worst-case scenario regarding the TriStar Godzilla's reproduction in the 1998 film, where it multiplies rapidly and overruns an entire city due to all of its offspring being born capable of asexual reproduction. In addition, Zilla attacks France, a reference to the French being responsible for Godzilla's creation in the 1998 film.
- Zilla was briefly considered for inclusion in the video game Godzilla: Unleashed, but didn't make the cut due to his lack of popularity during production on the previous games.
- After Zilla is dispatched by Godzilla in Godzilla Final Wars, the Controller of Planet X angrily says "I knew that tuna-eating monster was useless," a reference to the TriStar Godzilla's diet of fish in the 1998 film. In the film's English dub, the Controller calls Zilla a "tuna head."
- Zilla is the only monster in Godzilla Final Wars to be portrayed entirely through computer-generated imagery, a nod to the TriStar Godzilla being portrayed primarily through CGI in the 1998 film.
- In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, when Zilla is seen swimming in the waters around the Monster Islands, the character Chavez suggests that Zilla may be reluctant to set foot on the islands because he isn't welcome. Lucy assures him that the other monsters will eventually come to accept him. This is most likely an inside joke referencing the Godzilla fanbase's reluctance to accept Zilla.
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth artist Matt Frank noted that while Zilla could have reproduced and gained the TriStar Godzilla's "power breath" ability had the series continued, he or his offspring would not have been able to employ the green atomic breath used by Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series due to IDW Publishing not holding the rights to that specific version of the character.
- ↑ In a blog post, artist Matt Frank stated that Zilla was approximately 80 meters tall in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth. However, in issue #2, Lucy Casprell estimates that Zilla is 200 feet (roughly 61 meters) tall.
- ↑ Mutated iguana monster with tuna as its regular meal. / イグアナが突然変異した怪獣でマグロを常食としている。(p. 23)
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