The time-travel of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

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Terasawa
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Re: The time-travel of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Postby Terasawa » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:03 pm

I feel bad for anyone whose enjoyment of these movies is hampered by "Why didn't they confirm that Monster Island and Monstersland are the same place."
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Re: The time-travel of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Postby King of the Monsters » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:28 pm

In response to the supposed Showa continuity errors.

1. Like Zarm already said, we don't know the canonical aging rate of Godzilla's species. For all we know, Minilla just happens to age extremely slowly. This isn't the same continuity as the Heisei series, where BabyGodzilla grows from a newborn hatchling to an adult in three years, so it's possible Minilla could remain a child for 30 years or however long an amount of time passes between Son of Godzilla and Destroy All Monsters.

2. The monsters on Monsterland who previously died in their debut films are not the same individuals. Much like how a second Godzilla appeared following the first one's death as did a second Anguirus, the monsters crossing over to the Godzilla series in DAM are consistently designated "Second Generation" in Toho-licensed books. Some of them aren't even the same sizes as the original ones, Second Generation Baragon is 5 meters shorter and Second Generation Varan is a juvenile who is 40 meters shorter (some later publications gloss over or ignore this, but an Asahi Sonorama book contemporary with the film acknowledges these distinctions.)

3. Monster Island and Monsterland are not the same location. There's not really any book that explains what if any connection there is between them, the only distinction being made is that they are different locations. A common extrapolation based on what is shown onscreen that many fans use to explain it is that after Monster Island was decimated in Godzilla vs. Megalon, the monsters were all relocated to the new Monsterland facility by the events of Destroy All Monsters decades later.

Now yes, none of this is explained onscreen, but I don't think it needed to be. These films didn't run under the assumption audiences had seen everything that came before like with the MCU nowadays. People might be familiar with the monsters but that's about it. The films didn't waste time explaining how the continuity fits together or get bogged down in trying to justify any contradictions. Continuity was never the priority of the Showa films, matters like that were left to books and supplementary materials for anyone that cared to read them. And even then, viewers were smart enough to figure some of this out for themselves: If a second Godzilla appeared after the first one, the same could easily be true for the other monsters who died. If Destroy All Monsters is set at the "end of the 20th century," and Godzilla vs. Megalon is firmly placed in the 70's, then Destroy All Monsters must canonically be set last, explaining the distinction between Monsterland and Monster Island and how King Ghidorah returned in 1972. Etc.

Point being, I don't think the Showa films ever prided themselves on continuity and that was never central to the ability to enjoy them, and even then there was enough there to allow the continuity to make sense if someone tried to figure it out. Even to this day some official sources contradict each other on continuity matters regarding the Showa films, but despite that many sources do offer explanations that make sense.
Last edited by King of the Monsters on Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The time-travel of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Wed May 22, 2019 10:13 pm

I know there`s sort of a legitimate timeline explained thing, but I do also think that this film introduces the possibility that the Heisei series is literally just a different branch of the showa series that had its timeline disrupted. Instead of time travelers though, its the 1990`s writers.
Last edited by LSD Jellyfish on Wed May 22, 2019 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The time-travel of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Postby Terasawa » Thu May 23, 2019 3:49 am

One thing I really like about Zarm's theory on the previous page is that it helps explain the line "Godzilla is gone; he's vanished from history."

In a story where time travel is presented as a stable time loop, one wouldn't expect the characters to know even the name "Godzilla" if he was truly erased from history. In fact, in such a story, that would likely be the first point where the characters realize something is amiss. (And to be fair maybe they would have realized this sooner if Japan wasn't immediately besieged by King Ghidorah upon their return.)

Instead, as in Zarm's theory, Godzilla exists up unto the moment of time travel back from 1944. (He also continues to exist afterwards as well, thanks to the proliferation of nuclear energy in the 20th century, but this isn't known to our characters until Miki senses Godzilla a little later in the film.) To them, at the moment they return to Japan, Godzilla's chronology ends just as King Ghidorah's begins. While the past remains the same, in that Godzilla existed and had attacked Japan on at least three occasions, the present has been significantly altered by the disappearance of Godzilla from his pre-time travel 1992 location (and subsequent relocation to the Bering Sea, where he had been transported as a dinosaur in 1944) and the appearance of King Ghidorah in Japan.

I don't know if this is a translation error that was popularized by the dubbed version or if it's spoken this way in Japanese dialogue, but in saying "he's vanished from history," I actually think the characters are speaking from the perspective of the future (!) and not the present. It makes sense in the context of the film since 1. Godzilla hasn't attacked Japan in more than two years and -despite the JSDF's surveillance of him- isn't poised to be a threat anytime soon, 2. the Futurians claim to come from a future in which Godzilla continually ravages Japan to the point that the nation is destroyed. So if one is to look at the time travel events from the perspective of a 22nd time traveler in 1992 Japan, then yes, Godzilla seemingly "vanished from (their) history."

One other piece of evidence for Zarm's interpretation that I don't think has been brought up is the paradox that two versions of the same being cannot exist at the same point in time without one subsequently disappearing. Glenchiko says this to excuse Shindo from traveling back to 1944 Lagos, but it's true for Godzilla in this film as well. Thanks to their teleportation of the Godzillasaurus to the Bering Sea, the Futurians unwittingly create a second Godzilla that continues to exist beyond the date of their initial time travel to 1944 (I think the "present day" in the film is July 1992). Prior to this, Godzilla existed elsewhere in the Pacific, and it's this Godzilla that disappears (as Glenchiko warned would happen to Shindo) the moment that the Futurian/Japanese party returns to 1992 Japan.

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This is one of my favorite aspects of Kazuki Omori's Godzilla scripts. Godzilla is inevitable. In each of his four films he devises these wild plots to dispose of Godzilla but he somehow always returns. In Omori's works, Godzilla survives supposedly lethal doses of anti-radioactive bacteria, two volcanoes, being erased from time, being frozen solid, and a fatal nuclear meltdown. Some of these are technicalities (Jr. becomes a new Godzilla after his father's death), but still.
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Re: The time-travel of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Postby Zarm » Thu May 23, 2019 4:09 am

Terasawa wrote: One other piece of evidence for Zarm's interpretation that I don't think has been brought up is the paradox that two versions of the same being cannot exist at the same point in time without one subsequently disappearing. Glenchiko says this to excuse Shindo from traveling back to 1944 Lagos, but it's true for Godzilla in this film as well. Thanks to their teleportation of the Godzillasaurus to the Bering Sea, the Futurians unwittingly create a second Godzilla that continues to exist beyond the date of their initial time travel to 1944 (I think the "present day" in the film is July 1992). Prior to this, Godzilla existed elsewhere in the Pacific, and it's this Godzilla that disappears (as Glenchiko warned would happen to Shindo) the moment that the Futurian/Japanese party returns to 1992 Japan.


That's an excellent point, which I hadn't considered. Actually, there's an interesting idea for both this film and Rebirth of Mothra 3. What if this version of time travel actually works more like the recent film
Spoiler:
Avengers Endgame?
Changing the past can't actually change the present at all... and the only reason that both Godzilla, and Grand King Ghidorah, disappeared was because a second version had been created, and they caused the originals to vanish in favor of their existence so that both wouldn't be trying to exist at the same time?

That's a new and entirely different wrinkle to the theory that would require exploring, and I don't think that was necessarily the intent. But I do like the idea that the disappearance is not a result of the interference in history, but rather an incidental result of there being two of the same being trying to occupy the same moment in time.
Last edited by Zarm on Thu May 23, 2019 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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