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Spanning a legacy of over 60 years, Godzilla has seen just as many changes to his design as he has seen movie appearances. From the most subtle details on the suits to the Japanese namings and meanings behind them, Godzilla: Through the Ages will take an in-depth look at the many iterations of the famous monster.
- Showa Series (1954-1975)
- Heisei Series (1984-1995) & TriStar (1998)
- Millennium Series (1999-2004) & Always 2 (2007)
- MonsterVerse Series (2014-Present)
Showa Series (1954-1975)
Shodai-Goji’s white ray animated
The original. The 1954 classic and the one that started it all. Ironically, the very first Godzilla suit featured a good number of attributes that didn’t stick all that long with the character’s over all design. Starting with its head, Shodai-Goji’s face was a lot more horror-oriented than what would follow throughout the golden age and the rest of the Showa era. Godzilla’s ears were distinct, as were his fangs. His arms were short and boney and his body bulky with a mixture of fat and muscle. Godzilla’s tail was short and his spines extremely jagged and uneven. The suit also featured only one main row of spines with two adjacent rows of much smaller ones on opposite sides. His tail also ended with a point, something that would change in future designs of the monster. The number of toes this Godzilla had does differ, however. Canonically, the character had four. However, a handful of publicity shots do show this Godzilla with only three toes.
Shodai-Goji’s atomic breath as a mist
While the film was in black in white, Godzilla’s suit color was actually brown opposed to the charcoal gray that the fans have come to know and love. This is the biggest attribute that didn’t stick, with all future (colorized) versions (except the first of the millennium versions) of the character being black/gray. Unlike most future designs, there were a few other means to portray this version of the character, including a hand puppet that had much larger eyes compared to the suit.
For Godzilla’s beam, it was primarily a white, misty affect opposed to an animated blast. However, he did use one animated beam during his raid on Tokyo.
The name for this suit comes from the Japanese words of “Shodai”, meaning “first generation” and “Goji”, stemming from the Japanese name of the monster “Gojira.”
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
The flexibility of the Gyakushu-Goji suit
To non-fans and newcomers to the fandom, the 1955 Godzilla suit could appear to be a slightly modified 1954 suit. However, there are some great differences. Starting with its body, Gyakushu-Goji is far slimmer than its predecessor. This was done to allow easier movement for Haruo Nakajima during action shots, namely the climatic battles with Anguirus. The arms of this suit are more well proportioned to the rest of the body, giving the suit greater range. The head, while obviously based on the first’s design, is more thinned out, sometimes giving it a more “compressed” look. The head kept the previous ears and large fangs, but also increased the overall size of the teeth.
Gyakushu-Goji’s misty atomic breath
Godzilla’s trademark atomic breath was realized in both mist and animated form almost equally here in this film, with close-ups using the misty breath and longer range shots animating a white beam from its jaws.
The name for this suit comes from the Japanese word for counterattack, that being “gyakushū” followed by “Goji.”
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
King-Goji: Godzilla realized in color for the first time
Named aptly for Godzilla’s battle with King Kong, the King-Goji suit has become a fan favorite of the franchise. This suit returned the large, mountainous size of Godzilla from the first opposed to the thinner design from Godzilla Raids Again (1955). Being Godzilla’s first foray into color, moviegoers were greeted with a color scheme for the monster king that nobody saw coming: charcoal gray, going against nearly all previous poster artwork for the previous films (showing him green) and the original color for the 1954 suit. Godzilla’s large size came with more changes that would stick in the long run, at least for the next twelve years.
Godzilla’s toes now had only three toes opposed to four. Godzilla’s ears were missing, as well as his large fangs. While Godzilla’s spines were still multi-pointed, they weren’t as sharp and jagged as previous incarnations. Additionally, the smaller rows adorning the main row were starting to become larger. Finally, Godzilla’s tail also ended in a rounded tip, a trait that would stick for the character up until the monster’s return in the millennium era.
The origin of Godzilla’s iconic blue atomic breath
Overall, the King-Goji’s design was very frog-ish with a wide but short snout and rounded brows. Its tail had become both longer and thicker compared to both previous suit designs. Additionally, while Godzilla kept his better proportioned arms and hands, each finger now had a much larger claw. Godzilla’s eyes were also constantly locked in a position in which it appeared to be looking up.
For the first time in the franchise, Godzilla’s beam was mostly rendered entirely by hand-made animation, giving it a translucent, blue color opposed to the white fire seen in previous films or the red beam from poster art. There are a few shots of Godzilla using his beam and it being done in a mist form, however the mist has been tinted blue to match the animated breath attack.
The King-Goji name stems from the legendary monster he fought in 1962, King Kong.
Top: Head A (MvG)
Bottom: Head B (GtTHM)
Godzilla’s appearance in 1964 was a change from the extremely bulky King-Goji suit used two years prior. Godzilla again thinned down and the design itself lost the frog-like appearance. Godzilla’s spines were still irregular and kept with just one primary row and appeared very much like King-Goji’s costume. Godzilla did retain his three toes and four fingers, a change the prior suit brought about and would keep a staple all the way up to 1984. Probably the most ironic thing about this design is its snout. Do to a mishap behind the scenes, Godzilla’s snout was damaged and caused its upper jaw to wobble uncontrollably during shooting, giving it an almost canine-like muzzle appearance. This same suit was used less than a year later for the release of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), but with a replaced head that corrected the jaw issue and elongated its tongue.
Mosu-Goji’s atomic breath as seen in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
For Godzilla’s beam, it used a mixture of animation and mist. For its first appearance against Mothra, Godzilla’s beam was primarily animated and translucent blue much like it was in 1962. It kept this same look in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) when it was animated, but it was brought to life via mist more so than animation when used. This would be the last time Godzilla’s breath weapon would be done via a live action mist spray.
Mosu-Goji’s name originates by combining the word “Mosu”, a shortened version of the Japanese name for Mothra: Mosura and “Goji.”
Top: Head A (1965)
Bottom: Head B (1966)
For Godzilla’s rematch with King Ghidorah in 1965, another suit was crafted by the capable hands of Eiji Tsuburaya. This Godzilla design was far more reptilian than the last. Godzilla was also starting to gain a bit more of a “cute” design as the series began to aim toward a younger audience. It was a tad bit more padded compared to the Mosu-Goji design, giving it a bit of a “fluffy” appearance. Godzilla’s claws had also become duller, a trait that would stick up until Godzilla’s revival in the Heisei era. Godzilla’s jaws had become more rounded and his teeth needle-like. The center row of spines was larger with the surrounding rows returning to their much smaller size.
For Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966), the suit required a new head due to the previous one being combined with the Mosu-Goji suit to become the monster Jirass in an episode of the 1966 TV series Ultraman. A nearly identical prop was crafted, but with slightly different eyes. This design is sometimes referenced as Nankai-Goji.
Daisenso-Goji’s atomic breath as seen in Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
For Godzilla’s beam, it gained a much more streamlined appearance and added a bit of a white wash to it. This white wash was increased even more so for the following film and would become a common affect of the beam for the rest of the franchise.
This design would see future life in water scenes for Son of Godzilla (1967) and Destroy All Monsters (1968), along with the scene in Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) where Hedorah traps Godzilla in a pool of toxic sludge.
The name for the suit comes from the Japanese word for “Great War”, that being “Daisensō.” Its secondary name originates from the Japanese word for “South Seas”: “Nankai.”
Son of Godzilla (1967)
Side profile of Musuko-Goji
For Son of Godzilla (1967), a new suit was made to look more like an adult version of Godzilla’s newly created son Minilla. This suit returned the very angular, jagged, and uneven spines not seen since Godzilla Raids Again in 1955. The spines were also a different color, becoming a tan color opposed to the silvery color of previous designs. Godzilla was extremely large and bulky, looking more fat than muscular. Godzilla’s eyes were now larger and his snout, while still rounded, was shorter and sunken in with bigger nostrils. His neck was longer and Godzilla’s general image made to look more “fatherly” to fit his role in the movie.
Musuko-Goji’s atomic breath
This design would prove to be one of the most unpopular designs by far. However, it would see use again in 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan for water sequences of the character.
For this design’s breath attack, it remained relatively unchanged.
The “Musuko” part of this design’s name stems from the Japanese word for “Son.”
Side profile of Soshingeki-Goji
One of the most popular Godzilla suits of the later half of the Showa era, the Soshingeki-Goji design fully embraced its new, younger target audience. Godzilla was far more anthropomorphic than before. The neck became longer compared to older suits and the brow line far more pronounced. The spines remained very rounded with only one prominent row. The suit kept the same three toe pattern as previous suits with a very human-proportionate body. The muzzle remained rounded with a line of needle-like teeth behind its lips. For the first time in the series, a new color was added to Godzilla, though one rarely noticed. The underside of this Godzilla’s tail was colored a dull brown opposed to the charcoal color of the rest of its body.
Additionally, this suit was easily one of the most flexible suits in the entire franchise, allowing Godzilla to perform more human-like fighting styles and movement, only really rivaled by the 1955 suit and the following suit from 1973 to 1975.
Soshingeki-Goji’s atomic breath as seen in Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
This suit proved to be extremely popular for Toho, having chosen to revive it for All Monsters Attack (1969), Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), and Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). By 1972’s entry, the suit was starting to show massive signs of wear and tear. This would eventually result in another suit being crafted for the following entry in the franchise.
Godzilla’s beam remained rather unchanged from the previous design and was rendered entirely by hand-drawn animation. However, come 1971, Godzilla’s beam developed a “ridged” edge, almost as if slowly turning into a flame. Some shots of it also returned it to a bit of a misty appearance, despite being drawn by hand.
The name for the suit is derived from “sōshingeki”, Japanese for “attack of the marching monsters.”
Godzilla’s appearance in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
With the Godzilla series going strong and the previous suit suffering from vast wear and tear, a new suit was quickly ordered for the next film, Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973). It was reported that this suit was the fastest constructed of them all, taking less than a week in fact. It retained a lot of the features of the previous incarnation, including human proportions, a single row of rounded spines, and a rounded jaw. However, this Godzilla’s muzzle was larger and “fatter” compared to the previous. The brow line was also a lot bigger and the eyes the biggest of all designs and had the ability to move. Additionally, the underside of the tail was returned to a dull gray in color. This same suit would get used again in the monster’s handful of appearances in Toho’s 1973 TV show Zone Fighter.
Megaro-Goji’s atomic breath as seen in Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
By 1974, the suit was called into action again. However, the head went through several changes to become less friendly in appearance. The mouth and eyes were reduced in size, removing a lot of the “muppet” look it had originally. Additionally, the eyes lost the ability to move around. For Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1975, the head was modified even more to make it even less friendly in appearance, with the brow line coming down even more and the mouth slimming down.
Godzilla’s beam was rendered entirely in hand-made animation and was a translucent blue in color with almost fiery appearance on the edges, matching the previous designs while removing most of the white.
Megaro-Goji’s atomic breath as seen in Zone Fighter
It should be noted that Godzilla’s beam in Zone Fighter had three different appearances. In his first episode, Toho opted to revert back to the classic mist affect for the notorious weapon. However, from then on, it was animated and a lot more traditional. In episode 21, the beam was given a purple hue. While the basic appearance looked the same, the beam itself was a lot more violet in color rather than the typical blue.
The suit name originates from the name of the monster’s 1973 adversary: Megalon.
Heisei Series (1984-1995) & TriStar (1998)
The Return of Godzilla (1984)
Almost a decade after the last entry in the outstanding franchise, Godzilla made a ferocious return in 1984. Ignoring all past films except for the very first, the movie returned Godzilla to his roots of a walking abomination and metaphor for the atomic bomb. Gone was Godzilla’s friendly appearance and returned was his nightmarish visage updated for a new generation. Godzilla remained charcoal in color, but almost every other aspect was changed to reflect this new personality. Godzilla was far larger in size than before, having gained much more muscle mass. He was portrayed at eighty meters in height, thirty more than the last films.
Face of 84-Goji with upward eyes
This design returned aspects of Godzilla that hadn’t been seen since 1955. Godzilla’s tiny ears returned along with prominent fangs. His dorsal spines were sharper in appearance and he now had three rows of them running down his back, with the largest of them now at the base of the spine, just above the tail (the first and only design with this trait). Godzilla’s eyes were constantly in an upward look, almost mirroring the eyes of the 1962 design. For the first time in the series, Godzilla’s lips were able to curl, enabling this design to snarl. The mouth was short and filled with many pointed, dagger-like teeth. Godzilla’s toe count returned to four, another aspect that hadn’t been seen since 1955’s design and something that would remain with the character for the rest of the franchise.
Unlike the previous suits, this Godzilla design was exceptionally bulky and returned the character to a walking mountain of flesh. This made it extremely stiff in movement and much slower, no longer allowing the actor inside to perform the crazy stunts of the 1970’s Godzilla designs.
84-Goji’s atomic breath
Godzilla’s beam in this film remained blue and rendered in animation. However, the fiery edges of the previous ones were replaced with a smoother look and a much brighter, white interior appearance. Additionally, this movie introduced a drastically different roar that would carry over for the next several films before returning to a more traditional (but still modified) sound for the monster.
The name for this suit originates from the year 1984, the year the movie was made and the revival of the iconic movie monster.
Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
Spines of Bio-Goji
Five years after Godzilla’s tremendous return, Toho brought the monster back from his seeming death for Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). With this new movie came a completely new design that would become the standard for the rest of the series until the 1998 American remake. This suit design took several elements from the previous while introducing a slew of new things that had never been done before.
He remained charcoal gray in color, tiny ears, four toes and fingers, and overall menacing design. However, now Godzilla’s face had feline features and two rows of sharp teeth (he did retain the larger fangs, but they were shorter than the previous design’s). These features would only become even more enhanced in future designs. Godzilla’s brown eyes were enlarged and gave the reptilian monster a far more mammalian gaze. This went along with a more feline appearance for Godzilla’s face, including a tiger-like nose and tongue. Additionally, Godzilla could still curl his lips to snarl.
Godzilla retained three rows of spines, but the largest of which were now located in the center of his back opposed to the bottom. The outer rows were also increased in size to nearly match the center. Additionally, the spines were now able to flash with interior light when charging his beam, giving them a much more realistic appearance.
Bio-Goji’s atomic ray
Godzilla kept his highly bulky body, but wasn’t nearly as “fat” in appearance as the previous one, appearing as if more muscular with a longer neck, smaller head, and larger chest muscles.
The beam of Bio-Goji was completely animated and appeared white with a faint blue hue to the outsides of it.
The name for the design stems from the monster Godzilla faces in the 1989 outing: Biollante.
It should be noted that some of the confusion regarding the Bio-Goji suit being used for the next film could stem from the fact that one of the suits was cut up to be used for the water sequences in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah(1991).
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
Ghido-Goji’s atomic ray
Often confused for a simple retooling of the previous design, 1991’s Ghido-Goji suit was very similar in a lot of ways. It used the same molds used to craft the previous design, but did change the head. The new head was larger than the previous one and neck shorter. However, virtually everything else was nearly identical.
Godzilla’s beam changed to make the blue much more apparent compared to the previous rendition. However, this movie did start the trend of giving Godzilla’s beam spirals for special attacks. This was seen when Godzilla unleashes the attack that decapitates King Ghidorah’s central neck.
Ghido-Goji using the Spiral Breath
The name for this design stems from King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s arch nemesis that he battles in the 1991 film for the first time one-on-one.
An interesting side story for the design is that one of the two suits crafted for the film was stolen shortly following the end of production. After a widely reported investigation, the suit was eventually found and returned to Toho before work began on the next outing in the franchise.
One of the two suits would be recycled into parts to be used for the underwater and volcanic scenes of the next film in the franchise: Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).
Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
Face of Bato-Goji
Keeping with the standard design that began in 1989, the Bato-Goji design did decide to slim the monster up a tad. The thighs weren’t as large and the monster was all around sleeker in appearance while still retaining some of the bulk that had become a staple for the character since his resurgence in The Return of Godzilla (1984). The face retained the feline appearance of the previous ones, but the eye color changed from brown to gold. Godzilla still kept his dual row of teeth, tiger-like nose, tiny ears, and everything else that had become known as the stereotypical “Heisei Godzilla”. However, compared to the last designs, this Godzilla’s skull wasn’t as pointy and the forehead flat instead of rounded. Godzilla’s snout was also a bit thinner compared to the previous designs.
A new trait that was added to this design was an internal component that allowed Godzilla’s head to move up and down on its own.
Bato-Goji’s atomic ray
For the first time since the Showa era, Godzilla’s original roar made a comeback for this movie albeit with a more modern sound.
Godzilla’s beam became even bluer in color with the interior white also starting to show a blue tint.
The origins for this design’s name stems from the Japanese name for Battra: Batora, Godzilla’s secondary adversary in the film.
Side view of Rado-Goji
Very similar in appearance to the previous costume design, 1993’s Rado-Goji did make some subtle changes to the character. The monster was a bit more streamlined, losing a bit of the bulk in the shoulders and thighs. This gave the creature the appearance of having smaller limbs than the previous ones in the Heisei era. The spines remained extremely large with three rows going down the back, the largest of which still in the center. The creature’s face remained relatively unchanged, but the eyes were changed to a more golden color. The costume retained the internal mechanisms that allowed the head to pivot separately from the body.
Rado-Goji’s Spiral Fire Ray
Godzilla’s beam didn’t appear as bright as the last film’s, appearing a bit lighter in hue with a white center that filled out more. This film also did give Godzilla his first crimson beam, that being the Spiral Fire Ray. Outside of Godzilla’s appearances in the old Hanna Barbara cartoons and Marvel comics, this would mark the monster’s first use of a non-blue/white colored breath weapon.
The name for this suit stems from Godzilla’s flying co-star, Rodan, whose Japanese name can be translated as “Radon.”
After the film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), the Rado-Goji costume would see use for the Monster Planet of Godzilla “ride” in 1994 and then limited use in the following film, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994), where Godzilla is in the water and would also be modified to be used in water scenes for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), only given the glowing look the monster had acquired for the film.
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
Side view of Moge-Goji
For 1994’s Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, yet another suit was crafted for the King of the Monsters’ latest adventure. Like those before it, it kept the key elements of the Heisei design while making small, subtle changes here and there. The most obvious changes came in the form of the returning bulk to its thighs, shoulders, and arms enlarging their look from the previous suit. The eyes of this design were enlarged a tad, giving Godzilla a less menacing appearance for a role in which he was playing more of a heroic role than the previous entries of the era. A new mechanism was added to the costume that allowed Godzilla to look side to side as well.
Moge-Goji’s Spiral Fire Ray
Once again, Godzilla’s beam looked a tad different in this outing, gaining numerous white streaks within the blue instead of one solid streak. Additionally, his newest attack, the Spiral Fire Ray which had been introduced in the previous film, returned for this one’s finale with a similar appearance.
Moge-Goji’s name originates from Moguera, Godzilla’s robotic co-star in the film.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
Desu-Goji’s burning patches
For Godzilla’s final film in the iconic Heisei era of the franchise, Toho decided to officially kill the character. To do this, the King of the Monsters underwent a drastic change known as “Meltdown.” Instead of crafting a brand new suit entirely, the previous suit was heavily modified into Desu-Goji. Segments of the suit’s body were stripped and replaced by translucent material with hundreds of small light bulbs underneath to give the monster the desired glow that indicated his approaching death. While the basic body shape and facial features remained the same, everything was given a fiery red appearance, down to his eyes and claws which became orange in color. For the first time in the franchise’s history, Godzilla’s spines became orange.
Spines of Desu-Goji
A common mistake made by fans is thinking that the spines turned red/orange all the way down to the tip of the tail. The glow ended just at the base of the tail and the tiny spines that run along the lengthy tail were actually the standard gray/whitish color per the rest of the Heisei suits.
Hidden vents and tubes were placed across Godzilla’s body to constantly emit vast amounts of steam as he approached his doom as well, something that has never been done before or since this version of the monster.
Desu-Goji’s red atomic ray
Another new milestone for the franchise history is that Desu-Goji’s beam became a constant crimson in color. Fans often mistake this beam as the same one used in the finales against Mechagodzilla and SpaceGodzilla, but closer inspection pinpoints to this beam just being a red/orange/yellow variant without the spirals that were used to obliterate his previous opponents (except during the film’s opening when Godzilla attacks Hong Kong). When Godzilla finally enters his final scenes, his breath attack begins to mirror the attacks used at the end of the previous two films and his beam gains the spirals. New effects were also added at this point, including his spines melting and energy being released as his body broke down.
Desu-Goji’s name originates from the Japanese name for Destoroyah which is “Desutoroia.”
It should be noted that the final scene of this film showcases Godzilla Junior having matured into a brand new Godzilla. For this brief moment, the Desu-Goji suit was again utilized but the glowing effects turned off, giving it the appearance of a traditional Godzilla design of the era.
In 1998, Sony released what some fans consider a less than stellar reinvention of the iconic movie monster. To appeal to a wider demographic, the makers of the 1998 film saw to redesign Godzilla in a more “realistic” way and to be portrayed almost entirely in CGI. Godzilla’s traditional upright stance was traded in for a more horizontal, dinosaur-like stance not unlike that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Godzilla’s legs became digitigrade while his tail hovered off of the ground. This change in design allowed Godzilla to move a lot faster compared to every previous incarnation. Godzilla’s head was enlarged and rectangular with a prominent chin. His teeth were extremely small and often stuck out from his bottom jaw like a crocodiles when its mouth was closed. Godzilla’s standard multi-tipped spines turned more into triangular, forward-pointing plates with the largest of which positioned just below the shoulders. For the first time in franchise history, Godzilla was given an iguana-like dewlap (keeping with his new origins as a mutated iguana instead of a dinosaur) and skin colors a mixture of browns and grays. Godzilla’s arms remained human-like and often kept bent at the elbows and in front of his body. The fingers were much longer than previous incarnations as well.
Ameri-Goji’s combustible breath
Despite all of these changes, Godzilla did retain his classic roar though it was given a bit of a remix to sound different than its Japanese counterpart.
In order to maintain a more realistic take on the character, the creators removed Godzilla’s iconic Atomic Ray and replaced it with a naturally combustible blast of gas launched from its jaws.
The name for this design originates from America, the country of origin for this incarnation of Godzilla.
Millennium Series (1999-2004) & Always 2 (2007)
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
Face of Mire-Goji
Just a year following Sony’s remake, Toho resurrected their iconic series and ushered in the millennium era. For this film, they sought to bring forth a new design for the King of the Monsters and dropped the standard Heisei design that had been used for the past timeline. This new design brought in several new traits, including a change of colors. For the first time in the franchise’s live action history, Godzilla actually had a dark green skin tone. The mouth of this design was pointed and the teeth larger than previous versions. Gone was the Heisei era’s double row of teeth in favor of a single row with larger fangs emerging after every few smaller teeth. The face of this version was much more reptilian than the previous ones and the eyes and mouth locked in a frown-like look, not unlike that of 1962’s design.
Mire-Goji’s atomic ray
Godzilla’s skin was given small points, especially around his shoulders. Ridged, scute-like scales were placed on either side of the neck, giving it the appearance of a pseudo-hood. His spines were extremely large and jagged, almost sword-like and colored a deep purple. Godzilla’s hands and feet remained four digits, but the center toes were now placed further back behind the rest to give it a more saurian-like look. The tail remained long, but ended in a point instead of a round nub like previous designs. All around, this new iteration of the monster king had a much sharper, jaggier appearance.
Godzilla’s iconic atomic ray returned, but was given an orange and yellow tone. The look of the beam even gained a sort of blurry, fiery appearance and erupted from Godzilla’s mouth following a small explosion. Additionally, while it was given a more traditional roar, it was once again remixed to have its own sound opposed to sounding like an exact roar of any previous incarnation.
The name for this design comes from “mireniamu”, meaning “millennium” in Japanese.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
Gira-Goji’s spines and atomic ray
For the next entry in the long lasting series, the Mire-Goji suit was brought back but modified to be even brighter in color. The skin was a lighter, natural shade of green and spines an even brighter purple with silver shading added to the base. Godzilla’s mouth was smaller and neck even longer.
Godzilla’s roar was mostly unchanged for this film and his beam kept the same general effect design. However, the color of the atomic ray was made more chalky in color, losing a lot of the orange and yellow tints from the previous.
The name for this version of the character comes from the Japanese name for Megaguirus: Megagirasu.
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Side view with longer neck
Following the disappointing performance of 2000’s Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Toho returned Godzilla to his roots once more and turned to director Shusuke Kaneko for the next outing in the franchise. Once again, this film ignored all previous continuity and acted as a sequel to the 1954 original. Godzilla’s design was once again redone, losing the “edgy” look of the previous two. Godzilla was returned to his charcoal gray color scheme with bone-white spines. His body was significantly more bulky than the original millennium designs, but not as much as the 1990’s. Godzilla’s neck was also significantly longer than most designs post Showa.
Back view with spines
Godzilla’s face was redone to be much scarier than any incarnation previous. His eyes were made completely white, removing any visible pupils to enhance his new “possessed” origin. Godzilla’s teeth were larger than previous incarnations as well. Additionally, Godzilla lacked notable ears, a trait that had been with Godzilla since the beginning of the Heisei era. Godzilla’s claws, both on his toes and hands, were enlarged in size with the hand claws bearing a slight resemblance to the 1962 King-Goji. Additionally, Godzilla’s spines shrank in size and looked more traditional compared to the more sword-like appearance of the 1999 and 2000 incarnations.
Sokogeki-Goji’s atomic ray
Godzilla’s iconic atomic ray returned to its blue and white look not seen in it’s entirely since 1994’s Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. This time the beam had a very clean look with solid blue outer streams and a vibrant white interior. This color of beam would now stick with the character for the rest of the millennium era up until 2016. The charge up of the beam was also changed with the spines glowing a ghostly white while particles gathered inside of its mouth during a big intake of air before firing.
This design’s name originates from the “sokogeki” part of the film’s Japanese title, Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju Sokogeki. This translates the name as “All-Out Attack Godzilla.”
It should also be noted that this incarnation of Godzilla was originally meant to lean forward like a stereotypical dinosaur, but the suit’s limitations prevented this.
Side view with spines
Following the previous film’s successful run in Japan, Toho looked to return another iconic foe for the King of the Monsters. Masaaki Tezuka returned to helm the next two installments and with him returned his sharper, “edgier” design for the monster king. The design itself was very reminiscent of 2000’s Mire-Goji design, but with some significant differences. Godzilla kept the darker color scheme reintroduced in 2001. His spines were also drastically smaller than the 2000 design while bringing back the sword-like, sharp design of them. Additionally, the spines retained the classic color scheme and were a more silver-ish in color opposed to the purple made famous by the 1999 and 2000 designs.
Chest scar introduced in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
The Kiryu-Goji face was also enhanced with animatronics that allowed it to perform far more expressions than previous designs. The animatronics in its face allowed this Godzilla to widen its eyes in shock and anger, along with moving side to side. The eyes were also changed compared to the 2000 design the suit was based on and appear more mammal-like than reptilian. Godzilla’s tiny ears and “hood” around its neck also returned after being absent from the 2001 design.
Kiryu-Goji’s atomic ray
In 2003, a sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla was released and the Kiryu-Goji design was returned, but with some slight modifications. Godzilla now wore an ugly scar across its chest after being hit with Kiryu’s Absolute Zero Cannon in the previous film. Aside from this scar, the design was virtually unchanged.
Godzilla’s atomic ray retained the blue and white colors reintroduced in the 2001 outing, but also returned the “fiery” look to it introduced in 1999. Additionally, the small “explosion” generated in Godzilla’s more just prior to firing returned once more, only blue to match this beam’s color.
Finally, Kiryu-Goji’s name originates from the name of the latest incarnation of Mechagodzilla, Kiryu. The modified suit used in the 2003 film is often referred as “SOS-Goji.”
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Spines of Final-Goji
For Godzilla’s fiftieth anniversary film, Toho opted to reboot once more and ignore all previous timelines. This allowed for yet another Godzilla design to be introduced for the film. This design also returned Godzilla to a more traditional look, once again loosing the “edgy” and sharp look reintroduced previously. The monster retained its charcoal color scheme and bone-white spines, but was far sleeker than any design post Showa. This allowed the design to perform more outlandish moves and poses not unlike some of the Showa suits. Additionally, it has been reported that its range of movement was directly inspired by the 1955 suit.
Final-Goji’s atomic ray
Godzilla’s face was designed to be more canine-like than previous designs, becoming far narrower than most before it. The eyes were made that with certain shadows, they would gain an almost “anime”-like look. The ears were more noticeable and the spines given a single, large row going down the back surrounded by noticeably smaller spines, something not seen since the Showa era. While the suit itself was sleeker, Godzilla’s arms remained larger and gained a more human-like proportion compared to other designs.
Final-Goji’s spiral beam
The atomic ray retained its blue and white appearance of the previous three films, but the blue became more aqua in color and the white effect more pronounced. Like the previous design’s, the small explosion in Godzilla’s mouth just prior to firing was included. Additionally, near the end of the film, Godzilla’s spiral beam made a triumphant return since the Heisei era and came with a new, updated look to match the regular beam’s more fiery appearance while retaining the orange/red look and spirals.
This suit’s name originates from the film it starred in: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).
Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007)
Face of Always-Goji
Just a mere three years following Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), it was announced Godzilla would have a brief cameo in Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007). Rumors spread like wildfire that the company was “testing the waters” for an unexpected revival for the character. While these rumors proved false, the film did break some grounds for the character, even in his brief scenes. For the first time ever, Godzilla was rendered completely in CGI. Without a suit actor or limitations of those of a suit, the monster was able to move about a bit more “lifelike.”
The design for the monster was very reminiscent of 2001’s Godzilla, complete with white eyes. The head was blocky and lines of sharp teeth prominent. The head also lacked ears, a trait not seen since 2001’s design as well. The body shape was thick, especially in the neck and thighs. Additionally, like the 2001 design, the feet were larger than most with big toes and claws on each foot. The spines were extremely boney in appearance, a stark contrast to previous designs. They also lacked the stereotypical “maple leaf” or “sword”-like designs of previous spines, appearing more random as if broken rock.
Always-Goji’s atomic ray
For the brief appearance of his beam when he destroys the recently constructed Tokyo Tower, Godzilla’s atomic breath was given a white appearance with a slight, bluish hue on the edges.
The name of this design was never actually given its own, “Always-Goji” and “Sunset-Goji” are both names fans have become accustomed to using for this version of the King of the Monsters.
MonsterVerse Series (2014-Present)
Front view of Legendary-Goji
It was a time many fans waited years, if not decades, for: a proper, Hollywood rendition of the iconic movie monster. When Legendary announced the project, everyone held their breath. The 2014 movie featured a Godzilla that was purposely designed to be as close to the Japanese versions as much as possible while introducing its own “flavor” to stand out on its own. The result was a design that has divided many fans. The basic design for the monster combined elements of a bear, Komodo dragon and an eagle.
Side view with spines
The body shape is extremely thick and muscular, possibly even more so than the 1990’s Japanese Godzillas. The head is modeled after both a bear’s and an eagle’s, keeping the ferocity of the mammal with the “nobility” of the bird in certain angles. This Godzilla lacked ears like many of the Japanese designs and the teeth were a lot smaller than most previous incarnations. Interestingly, this design introduced gills to the character. While hidden in many shots, they can be clearly seen on his neck in others.
The arms of this Godzilla were very lizard-like, especially Komodo dragons when reared up on their hind legs. The fingers, as well, were webbed. This was another new aspect never seen in a Godzilla before. The hide was rugged and scaly, appearing more armored than all previous designs. Godzilla legs were also extremely large with his feet being designed after those of an elephant’s or brachiosaur’s, meaning he lacked the typical “T-Rex feet” that previous designs had. Once again, this was another new aspect for this design. The claws on both his hands and his toes were black.
Legendary-Goji’s atomic breath
Godzilla’s famous atomic ray made a triumphant return in 2014 and was given a more flamethrower-like appearance, only blue in color. Additionally, during the charge up of this attack, Godzilla’s spines all glow, including those on his tail (another new introduction for this design) with a “hum” coming from his body just prior to the firing of the attack.
Like the 2007 cameo of the character, this Godzilla was realized entirely in CGI. However, for the first time, he was brought to life via motion capture, bringing with it a degree of lifelike movement and expression never seen in Godzilla prior.
This Godzilla did not gain its own name. Instead, fans often refer to this design as “Legendary-Goji.” Other names often cited as “Gareth-Goji” (after the director, Gareth Edwards) and “14-Goji.”
This article was first published on December 14, 2016.General // September 6, 2017
From March into April, a survey was conducted on the Toho Kingdom forums for the most-wanted Godzilla figures to be made by NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association). The survey allowed members to vote for eight official movie Godzilla designs, whether not yet made by NECA or variants of their existing sculpts, and an additional five miscellaneous designs from just about any other Godzilla-related media, such as the video games or the cartoons. In their votes, members had to give brief reasons as to why they wanted the incarnations they were voting for.
After 30 days, the survey was ended, the votes for the official and miscellaneous designs were tallied up, and the lists were condensed into a Top 5 and Top 3 respectively. While this by no means guarantees NECA will take these results into consideration, or that any of the following designs will be made, we still appreciate everyone’s involvement during this event!
With that said…
Official Designs #5. 1968
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
Coming in at number five is the 1968 version of Godzilla. Originating from Destroy All Monsters, this incarnation gained tremendous support because of its multiple film appearances. Not only do fans desire to see a basic version of this suit, but almost everyone threw their two cents in with ideas for possible repaints and reissues including a 1971 “battle damaged” variation with a burnt eye and skeletal hand (during his fight with Hedorah in Godzilla vs. Hedorah) and a 1972 version with a bloodied shoulder and forehead (during his fight with Gigan in Godzilla vs. Gigan). Add on that there is very little in the form of figures of this specific Godzilla outside of Bandai vinyls and X-Plus, it came as no surprise to see 1968 find his way onto this list via the fans.
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
The 50th anniversary incarnation of Godzilla gained a lot of support from the fans do to his sleeker appearance compared to other incarnations. This design would benefit extremely well with NECA’s articulation style. After over ten years, this design hasn’t had much since its debut and it would seem natural for NECA to change that up. While it is a bit harder to think of some possible repaints/reissues available for it, a few fans submitted ideas for atomic blast variants (both blue and red beam variants), an arctic variant, and even a glowing “Keizer” Godzilla based on the scene in which Ozaki transfers the monster his energy.
Love it or hate it, the 1998 American Godzilla somehow always finds its way onto these types of surveys. While NECA has stated before they have no plans for this incarnation, it appears as if the fans really hope they reconsider. With a sleek and more saurian-based design, the 1998 Godzilla could be a very unique figure all around. Additionally, there would be a handful of repaint/reissue possibilities for this figure, including a battle-damaged version with wounds caused by the jets just prior to its death, and a color scheme version based on the animated Godzilla: The Series design, which fans hold in higher regard.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
The first of the millennium era Godzillas, the 1999 Godzilla (also known as “Godzilla 2000”) is a strongly popular design amongst fans. While this design isn’t as sleek as others voted up, it isn’t nearly as bulky as the 1990’s versions. Thus, if NECA could manage the aforementioned Heisei designs, 1999 shouldn’t be an issue. Many fans simply want the cinematic design of this Godzilla in a highly articulated fashion, something that Tamashii Nations didn’t do and instead went with a concept version. For reissues, NECA would have options for an orange atomic blast variant, a Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) variant with brighter green and purple colors, and even underwater variants.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
It was almost unanimous. Almost everyone who cast their votes included the 1962 version of Godzilla. An iconic design, it would make sense for NECA to cash in on the upcoming 2020 Godzilla vs. Kong film and release a figure based on their pair’s original match up. It has been over a decade since a widely released, six inch figure of this design was released and never once has any company done an articulated variant. Of all the designs voted up, this one may prove the most difficult for reissues, but the atomic blast variant still fits. Additionally, NECA could even do some scene specific recreations, such as when Godzilla emerges from the iceberg or is climbing out of the pit trap.
Miscellaneous Designs #3. Super Godzilla
A powered-up version of Godzilla only ever seen in one video game, Super Godzilla would fit perfectly in NECA’s classic video game series line. However, it may also prove troublesome. Who knows what the rights for this look like, if it falls under the general Godzilla copyright or something else entirely. Regardless, making the figure wouldn’t be too hard. With other lines, NECA has shown they’re good at recycling parts with minimal new sculpt work for heads and limbs. With just their 1994 basis, it’s not hard to imagine this being a possibility. There was no preference for either the U.S. design (no head crest) or original Japanese design (head crest), but the fans have declared that they want this monster in some capacity.
#2. Hanna-Barbera Godzilla
Godzilla (The Godzilla Power Hour)
Despite NECA being told “no” by Toho when first starting the line, the fans still want to see this a reality. A starting point for many older fans in the fandom, this cartoon version of Godzilla has never seen a figure. If there’s any company that could do it justice, it would be NECA. With NECA having done figures for over two years now and having done both an NES Video Game Appearance Godzilla and a completely original repaint (Reactor Glow), maybe now would be the time to revisit this idea with Toho and give the fans what they want.
#1. Stan Winston Godzilla
Godzilla (Lost Project – 1994)
Without a doubt the most famous unmade American attempt at Godzilla, the 1994 Stan Winston Godzilla design has gained tremendous popularity ever since Sci-Fi Japan ran a series of articles on it. This unique design is a far cry from what fans received in 1998 and even 2014, appearing more like the traditional Japanese Godzillas but with much meaner features. While this may be harder to see get made compared to other designs, in and out of the main line of films, NECA has a history of getting obscure things done for their toy lines. Being the highest voted of all miscellaneous Godzilla designs, the fans have clearly spoken: make the Stan Winston Godzilla.General // April 11, 2017
From January into February, a survey was conducted on the Toho Kingdom forums that allowed members to vote for up to fifteen kaiju they would like to see in the Tamashii Nations S.H. MonsterArts line of figures. In their votes, members had to give reasons as to why they wanted the monsters they were voting for, with choices being anything in Toho’s live-action movie library, whether produced or distributed by Toho, or even to request reissues of figures already in the line.
After 30 days, the survey was ended, the votes were tallied up and the list condensed into a Top 10, showing a rather surprising list of monsters the fans have voiced their demand for. While this by no means guarantees Tamashii Nations will take these results into consideration, or that any of the following monsters will be made, we still appreciate everyone’s involvement during this event!
With that said…
#10. Godzilla (1962)
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Spot number ten was grasped just at the end by the fan favorite Godzilla ’62. With a remake of the iconic King Kong vs. Godzilla underway, fans want to celebrate with a new figure for this vintage look of Godzilla. Fans really hope to see this someday, saying it is amongst their favorite of Godzilla’s designs and was a huge factor in their childhood and even becoming a fan to this day. Other fans stated their desire just to own a figure of this design as there hasn’t been many in the last decade and a half.
#9. Baragon (2001)
It was a close call for spots nine and ten in the end, but the final votes came in with support for Baragon. Almost everyone was unanimous in wanting the 2001 version of the character to go alongside Tamashii’s Godzilla 2001. Despite its smaller role in the film, Baragon has proven to be far popular than its other guardian brothers and has gained tremendous support from the fans.
#8. Godzilla (2002/2003)
Strong support for this version of Godzilla was apparent early on as he raked in votes faster than any other Godzilla design. Fans eagerly want this design of Godzilla, claiming it to be their favorite without a lack of new merchandise for it since the early 2000’s. Almost everyone was unanimous in voting for him, stating they would hope to see Tamashii release two variants: one with the battle scar and one without.
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Depending on whom you ask, this result is either expected or completely unexpected. Zilla was immensely popular early on and held steady as the votes came in. Fans pointed out his unique look and stance compared to other kaiju and that he’s one of their favorite monsters because of the animated TV series from 1998. Others pointed out that Zilla would make sense because of the amount of possible re-releases they could do with it (including the 1998 GODZILLA remake and one based on the cartoon series). Whether a figure is made of it or not, Zilla’s support and popularity amongst the fans is unquestionable.
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
As a release of the original Mechagodzilla looms overhead, fans have already begun looking toward the future. Titanosaurus was voted up simply for the desire to have a companion to pair with the upcoming (but yet to be revealed when) Mechagodzilla from Tamashii Nations. Additionally, as a popular kaiju in and of itself, fans pointed out that its red color scheme would look well and contrast the more mundane colors of a collector’s shelf.
Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
One of Godzilla’s most notorious villains simply for its horrendous movie, Megalon came as no surprise as fans voted him alongside Showa Gigan stating “they go hand in hand.” Pointing out wishful thoughts of Megalon’s drills being made of die cast, the fan support was strong with Megalon as he was said to be one of the many of the voters’ favorite monsters of the Godzilla franchise.
#4. Anguirus (1968/1972)
Godzilla’s loyal ally, Anguirus had very strong support until dropping mid-way through the survey. Still without a doubt one of the most popular kaiju, fans pointed out they wanted a bigger and better articulated Anguirus when compared to the Revoltech release. Additionally, fans declared that they’d want an Anguirus especially to go alongside a Showa Gigan should one ever be made.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
Godzilla’s first opponent in the millennium era led the votes up until the end when Monster X and Gigan surpassed him. Fan demand for this kaiju stems from a desire to have an Orga to pose and pair with Tamashii’s Godzilla 2000 figure. The monster’s popularity also came into play with many fans listing him as one of their favorites. Additionally, many fans noted their desire to also have Orga’s UFO included if there was any means.
#2. Gigan (1972/1973)
The highest-voted Showa kaiju to make the list was surprisingly the Showa Gigan. Despite a Revoltech figure being released numerous years ago, fans are still hungry for an articulated Showa Gigan. A fan favorite all around, many fans simply prefer this rendition of the cyborg over the millennium version.
#1. Monster X
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
The final monster of Godzilla’s 50th anniversary raked in more votes than anybody else in the survey. Almost every reason included the fact he’s humanoid and would be a wonderful addition to the line. Additionally, the lack of Monster X merchandise since 2004 has meant newer fans haven’t had a chance to add him despite him being one of their favorites.General // February 15, 2017