Titled Kaijū-tō no Kessen Gojira no Musuko (Monster Island's Decisive Battle: Godzilla's Son) in Japan, Son of Godzilla is the eighth film in the Godzilla franchise, notable for the introduction of Minya and further Godzilla development into a hero. At least in the English-speaking fandom, this received a mixed reaction. Minya became one of the least-loved monsters in the franchise, and the Lighter and Softer direction isn't exactly welcomed by some, but the movie itself isn't bad. It garnered a 71% at Rotten Tomatoes, and the scenes between Godzilla and Minya can be heartwarming.
The testing of a weather control system on Sollgel Island is hampered by a nosy reporter and the discovery of large mantises. A strange cry from the island makes things go further awry, exploding the weather balloon and spreading radiation that mutates the mantises into Kamacuras which dig up an egg. They are about to make the baby Godzilla into their meal when the King of the Monsters himself shows up, offing the two Kamacuras and adopting the baby called Minya as his son. The first day of parenting starts off awkwardly, with Minya being a bit too cowardly and Godzilla not having the patience to deal with children. When Minya defends a woman living on the island from the last Kamacuras, the Giant Spider Kumonga is awakened and Godzilla must discover his Papa Wolf nature before his son is dissected...
This film contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Godzilla isn't particularly thrilled about being Minilla's adoptive father at first, best shown when he is less than impressed with the newborn infant and reluctantly allows him to climb on to his tail to carry him to safety, not to mention Goji treats Minilla rather harshly as he decides to train him to be a decent fighter (Granted, this is more justified considering Minilla is living on an island full of bigger, nastier kaiju that want to make a meal out of him). Goji starts to mellow when Minilla begins to prove his combat abilities and finally earns his respect by helping him beat Kumonga.
- Beam-O-War: Minilla actually engages in one with Kumonga briefly, using his heat-ray to deflect the arachnid's webbing.
- Godzilla does as well. Impressivly despite shooting spider webs but big, Kumonga manages to stalemate Godzilla's Atomic Breath years before Mechagodzilla's eye lasers would.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Kamacuras, two meters tall even before hit with a dose of I Love Nuclear Power.
- Bottle Film: Sans the prologue (which still takes place away from civilization), the entire film is shot on an island, All the monsters are operated with wires, and only two monsters require suitimation: Godzilla and Minilla.
- Cabin Fever: While the researchers are all a little flustered from being cooped up on Solgell for several months, Furukawa (played by Yoshio Tsuchiya) has it the worst. By the time the radioactive storm wrecks the island, he's so fed up with the place he begins threatening the others at gunpoint before literally trying to swim off the island. Godzilla showing up the moment he tries to doesn't make matters any better...
- Determinator: Dr. Kusumi continues his research for the benefit of the world in spite of increasingly unfavorable odds. Two Godzillas stomping around are just a few of those. Goro is also pretty determined to get a story out of the personnel when he drops in, being the intrepid journalist and all.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Dr. Kusumi is often seen ambling around with one.
- Dub Name Change: In the English dubbing script (also used as a basis for the Titan dub), Kamacuras and Kumonga were anglicized as Gimantis and Spiga, respectively. Saeko's name was also changed, to Reiko in the Frontier dub, and Riko in the Titan dub.
- Eye Scream: Godzilla gets a drop of Kumonga/Spiga's venom shot into his right eye after letting his guard down for a moment, resulting in a lot of agony and the first ever Godzilla Face Palm.
- Giant Spider: Kumonga.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The first radioactive sonde climate experiment goes awry after the mysterious radio waves from the center of the island jam the frequencies sending commands to the apparatus, and Kusumi and the others aren't able to detonate it in time, resulting in the opposite of the intended freezing effect: A fucking hot radioactive thunderstorm. Keep in mind that this is all Minilla's fault.
- Hong Kong Dub: The listenable but unpolished Frontier dub easily qualifies, though it was in fact dubbed in Tokyo.
- Impairment Shot: There's an out of focus glimpse of Kumonga seen through Godzilla's eye in the final brawl.
- Intrepid Reporter: Goro Maki.
- Kill It with Fire: Godzilla catches on pretty quick that the Kamakuras are extremely flammable.
- Leitmotif: This being a Masaru Sato scored picture, the soundtrack is a bit more of a Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack-type score than the usual Ostinato stuff, with several memorable motifs, like Minilla's theme, Riko's theme, Godzilla and the Gimantises' jazzy dirges, and the whimsical experiment preparation march.
- Monster Popsicle: Godzilla and Minilla are forced to go into hibernation by the final and successful test, which covers the entire island, both monsters included, in snow.
- Minimalist Cast: There are even fewer players in the U.S. TV version, which cuts the prologue.
- Mythology Gag: Minilla accidentally swipes a boulder at a Kamakuras with his tail, but it deflects it with its foreleg, hitting Minilla in the face. The Kamakuras then claps in amusement.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Kumonga seems at first glance like your generic Giant Spider monster... except he spits a highly resistent type of silk which can restrain larger, stronger kaiju like Godzilla and Minilla. He uses this to his advantage in his fight with Godzilla and would have likely devoured the Big G had it not been for Minilla's intervention.
- Papa Wolf: Godzilla.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: While most of the film is Lighter and Softer, with Minya providing cute antics and Godzilla's violence limited to an isolated island, Kumonga is a genuinely frightening creature, not to mention he comes dangerously close to making a meal out of Godzilla and Minilla at the end.
- Weather-Control Machine: A rare instance of this being used for benevolent purposes.
- You Have to Burn the Web: The only real effective way of escaping Spiga/Kumonga's threads.