Technically, Godzilla is a classic antihero, but, if you ask Tokyo’s civic leaders, the gigantic lizard responsible for hundreds of thousands of fictional deaths in Japan and abroad couldn’t be more welcome on the streets of Japan. It seems the leaders have not only granted Godzilla citizenship, but a project has been completed to create a monument to Godzilla in the form of a life-sized (or would that be mutated lizard-sized) bust, which will overlook the Toho Cinemas Kabukicho/Hotel Gracery Shinjuku entertainment complex in Tokyo. No word yet on whether Godzilla is minded to destroy the complex or if he will protect it.
The document, guaranteeing Godzilla special citizenship cites the date of the very first Godzilla film, April 9, 1954, as the lizard’s date of birth, while verifying that, from hereafter, Godzilla will be known to reside at Shinjuku-ku, Kabuki-cho, 1-19-1. As is the case with any guarantee of special citizenship, a reason for this accommodation was required and given.
“Promoting the entertainment of and watching over the Kabuki-cho neighborhood and drawing visitors from around the globe in the form of the Godzilla head built atop the Shinjuku Toho Building.”
Under normal circumstances, only one copy of the document is issued, but, citing special circumstances, the Shinjuku government has permitted a total of 3,000 copies to be distributed to Godzilla fans on a first-come, first-serve basis. The main office, just a short walk from the Godzilla head, has been allotted 500 copies, while other distribution points throughout the city were each given 250 copies.
Meanwhile, it seems video game distributors are welcoming Godzilla back into the fold with the first game based on Godzilla in ten years, but his origins are hush hush. Titled only Godzilla, the video game features the giant lizard in all of his glory, crushing buildings, thrashing his tail, and breathing fire, but any mention of radioactivity or nuclear testing has been deliberately omitted.
Godzilla will feature top of the line graphics and be available on the PlayStation 4 platform and, according to game producer Shunsuke Fujita, he and his hand-picked team have been very careful to stay true to the the legend of Godzilla, having all been raised on Godzilla films. Fujita adds that the creature has been recreated for the video game with the intention of giving Godzilla “totally cool ferocity.”
Throughout history, Godzilla has been linked to nuclear radiation. From the beginning, Toho Co. created Godzilla, explaining his origins coming from mutations caused by nuclear testing in the Pacific, while other films have attributed Godzilla’s existence to Japan having been the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons. Even the newest films of 1998 and 2014 referenced nuclear fallout for the underlying cause in the creation of Godzilla.
This is where the game diverges from the myth of Godzilla. In the video game, Godzilla was created by “energy,” which is also what he needs to survive.
“We realize radiation is something that can never be disassociated with Godzilla,” Fujita said, when asked why Godzilla’s radioactive origins were omitted. “We aimed for something that was as close to the original interpretations as possible.”
Although he declined to comment further on the topic, Fujita may have provided the answer to the change in Godzilla’s origins in an offhanded remark later in the interview.
“It will be the first Japanese Godzilla after 3.11,” Shunsuke said, using the widely used term for the Fukushima disaster.
[Featured image courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures/Godzilla]