Godzilla Day is celebrated as the day that the very first Godzilla film premiered in theaters in 1954. Years later, it’s incredible to think about how many generations that building-stomping lizard has inspired. In fact, when you look at modern franchises, it becomes obvious that without Godzilla, they wouldn’t exist.
Godzilla’s Role As A “Hero”
One of my favorite scenes from the old films is when Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra in her larva form are teaming up to take down the terrifying King Ghidorah. None of them would be able to handle the three-headed beast on their own but as a group they overpower him.
It’s like watching someone play a turn-based RPG with the characters in their starter forms, making you wonder if that style inspired game designers who grew up on these films. Plus isn’t the mascot of most monster trainer-themed franchises a reptilian lizard? Just look at Rathalos from Monster Hunter, Charizard, Agumon from Digimon, etc.
When it comes to Godzilla himself, he’s got all the traits of the classic protagonist – he’s not the most powerful or graceful being but when the world needs him, he always steps up. For viewers, he’s a safety net, a symbol that no matter how strong the obstacle is, a solution will always come. He’s not doing it on his own though.
All Hail Queen Mothra
Behind every great lizard is a great woman to keep him on his toes. That role here belongs to Mothra, the bug kaiju who looks after the world as its peaceful guardian. Where Godzilla is chaos, Mothra is the comfortable matriarchal figure, the Galadriel of godly monsters you could say.
She’s the strong female lead not because of her powers, but because of her role in the earth’s circulation. Her job is to keep Godzilla in check, to save him not from others but from himself. Mothra proved that you don’t need to be a ferocious female to be progressive, leading to a cultural precedent that still stands in fictional content today, one that created some of the most iconic characters.
For a recent comparison context, let’s use Princess Zelda – she doesn’t do the kind of battling Link does, but her powers sew together an important piece of the game stories – she was the one that foresaw Ganondorf’s wickedness when no one else did, who saved him by thinking quick and throwing that Ocarina into the moat. Power isn’t always physical after all!
King Ghidorah, Proving Three Heads Are Better Than One
Of course, you can’t have chaos and peace without darkness. When it comes to King Ghidorah, he’s the perfect archenemy for Godzilla because of how much of a pain in the ass he is and continues to be in all of his lifecycles.
While he always finds a way to beat him, that three-headed dragon is destined to always return. The pure malice he radiates burns the soul as hard as his gravity beams. He has one thing in mind and that is to be the top dog on earth.
King Ghidorah sees the entire planet as his territory and will stop at nothing to turn it into his playground, eliminating anything in the way. At his simplest core, he’s a selfish brat, something all iconic bad guys of the modern age have in common. Looking at you, Vergil from Devil May Cry 3.
Destroy All Monsters Melee Remake When?
Having watched the classic films growing up, it was only fitting that when Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was announced for the Gamecube back in the day, my brother and I absolutely begged for it. We had a blast duking it out with the monsters, the simple gameplay allowed us to enjoy the franchise in a brand-new way we hadn’t.
Godzilla’s simplicity is what has allowed it to be enjoyed by new generations for decades and decades, ensuring that it will never go out of style. It doesn’t matter how old you are, watching giant monsters fight is something you can appreciate in different ways.
It’s unique without being overly niche or difficult to follow. Nominally, what else is there to truly know besides that a giant lizard and his friends stop an alien dragon from destroying Earth on the regular?
The Future Of The Godzilla Franchise
Whether it’s games, movies, or merchandise, you can’t deny that Godzilla has permanently stomped his way into popular culture for good. Godzilla Day embodies the very heart of this, as it’s not about celebrating a film premiere, but rather what the series did for the world and continues to do. It brought joy to a crowd whose lives were changed by World War 2, so maybe with the way things are now, it can do the same for you.
Besides, if Godzilla can chuck King Ghidorah back into outer space over and over, you surely can overcome what’s troubling you. In honor of Godzilla Day, put on Ghidorah The Three-Headed Monster, or Godzilla versus Megalon, and celebrate the cultural icon for what it is.
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