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YMMV / Godzilla

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Japanese Films or Franchise related YMMV:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Godzilla is all over the place with Anti-Hero tropes, sometimes he has no character and is merely a symbolic metaphor. For those incarnations where he clearly demonstrates intelligence, it often begs many-a-question. Is the monster being intentionally destructive out of primal savageness? Or just a tragic being that is too big and too powerful to ever peacefully co-exist with other life-forms?
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  • Anvilicious: Since the very beginning with Gojira these films have never really been subtle about their political statements whether it be the dangers of atomic power, environmental destruction, the greed of capitalism, dangers of unchecked science, Japan forgetting about their past crimes and many other topics. However alot of the time it's the case of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Archive Panic: As of this writing, Toho Studios has released a total of thirty-two full-length films starring the Big Guy. If you decided to binge-watch them all at once, it would take you about two days to watch them all (assuming you didn't stop to eat and sleep). If you decided to throw in the American remakes, plus Toho's twenty other Kaiju movies in the Godzillaverse note  the whole marathon would take roughly four days. And let's not even get started on Expanded Universe material, such as comic and video game tie-ins, and the two cartoon series. All of this is without including the multitude of alternate dubs and versions to choose from.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Broken Base:
    • What's the best era of Godzilla films? Were the Showa (1955-1975) films fun yet cheesy films or low-budget over-the-top messes? Was the Heisei (1984-1995) era a good throwback to Godzilla's darker roots with tighter continuity or were they nothing but wangst and boring "beam war" fights? Was the Millennium era (1999-2004) a unique way of continuing the franchise with different continuities in each film or a confusing mess that tried too hard to capture the feel of both the Showa and Heisei eras all while blending too many anime tropes to no success? And now there’s the Reiwa era (2016-Now). Good luck getting the fans to agree on any one era.
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    • Whether or not the American made MonsterVerse Godzilla movies should be accepted as part of the official Godzilla series has also split the fandom apart. Some feel that because they weren’t made or produced by Toho means they shouldn’t be part of the Japanese series whatsoever. Others feel that Legendary and Warner Bros. have done such a good job at capturing the spirit of the Toho made Godzilla films that they consider them to be spiritually on par with the Japanese films. The fact that Toho has approved of Legendary’s efforts hasn’t helped matters either, with some citing it as proof that Toho has faith in the American studio to do their character justice, while others dismiss it by claiming that Toho also approved (albeit begrudgingly) of the infamous 1998 American remake, as well as some of the other notorious entries within the main series, such as All Monsters Attack and Godzilla: The Planet Eater.
    • There is a slight one between which Showa Mechagodzilla film is better. The more upbeat Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla with a snazzy tune by Sato that is delighted with playing 70s spy tropes and ape aliens straight or grimmer Terror of Mechagodzilla with brooding music by Ifukube with Godzilla outmatched by two monsters and the aliens look like burn victims now. Both sides agree that both films are a step up in production after the previous two films and of course some like them both for being like day and night.
    • The Showa-Era films box set by The Criterion Collection has noticeably split the fanbase apart, with the use of previous HD masters as opposed to new scans (not including Godzilla (1954), which uses Criterion’s transfer from 2012) and the lack of American cuts (excluding the original and King Kong vs. Godzilla) being the two biggest points of content. Did this ruin the initial hype behind the set since the original HD masters don’t live up to Criterion’s standards and the American cuts are still hard to get, or were these minor critiques that didn’t take away from the overall sets quality? About the only things both sides agree on is that it was impressive for Criterion to get all 15 films together in one set considering its tangled up home video history, and that there was some Executive Meddling by Toho regarding the transfers and alternate cuts.
  • "Common Knowledge": Godzilla being green. In the films? Sometimes but mostly not. This is the case for some posters and spin-off material and Godzilla's sons have been depicted as green but if you don't count junior or Manila a green Godzilla was not in the live-action movies until Godzilla 2000 and they only stayed green for one film after before going back to a black and/or gray color scheme.
  • Complete Monster: Has its own page.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Innumerable professional critiques of the American MonsterVerse films will do this to the Japanese films by implying all or the majority of them are dead-serious atomic metaphors in the vein of the first film; this became especially pronounced after Shin Godzilla, a Darker and Edgier Japanese reboot, was released. While many of the Japanese entries have serious themes, by the time the MonsterVerse began, there were far more Godzilla films centered around the Big G fighting other monsters and/or defending humanity than him simply being a pure force for destruction.
  • Dork Age:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: With a robust roster of monsters, there are many of these, and nearly every monster is a fan favorite in certain sectors. However, probably the best two examples would be Anguirus, particularly for American fans, and Baragon, particularly for Japanese fans.
    • Despite only appearing in the first movie (and, even there, having limited screentime) Dr. Daisuke Serizawa is easily the most famous human character in the series.
    • Megalon. Despite appearing in one movie, he is one of the easiest monsters to play in the Godzilla games. Easy to use in combat and great for beginners no matter which system you're playing.
    • Gorosaurus and Titanosaurus both have very devoted followings with frequent overlap despite never reappearing outside the Showa Era films.
    • Despite being scrapped, the Rat/Fish monster Deutalios is popular due to the Toho Kingdom toons.
    • Bagan. You can read about it in What Could Have Been.
    • Biollante and Destoroyah both proved very popular despite only appearing in one movie each.
    • King Shisha/Caesar is incredibly popular, despite only having one major role.
    • Jet Jaguar, despite being an Expy of Ultraman, is still very popular among the fans, having lots of fanart and videos dedicated to him. And of course there's his song: PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH!
    • Gigan managed to gain a following even though the films he appeared in are considered to some of the lowest points of the frachise.
    • Rodan, generally considered Godzilla's Lancer by those who don't pick Anguirus, and also The Smart Guy.
    • Mecha-King Ghidorah only appeared in one movie, but would go on to feature in many comic books, novels and video games, and nowadays is nearly as iconic as his non-cyborg counterpart.
    • Miki Saegusa tends to be well-remembered and regarded, partly due to being one of the few human characters to appear in multiple films. It really helps that she's also one of the only human characters who understands that fighting Godzilla is pointless.
    • Music wise, both Reijiro Koroku and Michiru Oshima are often cited as being some of the franchises best composers, with many praising their ability to create new themes and make them as bombastic, gothic and even emotional, with many fans favorably ranking their scores on par with the works of series regular Akira Ifukube despite composing less films then most of the series composers (Oshima did the music for three Godzilla movies, where as Koroku only did one).
  • Evil Is Cool: King Ghidorah, Gigan, SpaceGodzilla, and Destoroyah.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • Though it might seem harmless, don't ever use "Zilla" as an abbreviation for "Godzilla". As plenty of hardcore fans will be happy to explain, "Zilla" was the monster from the 1998 American remake (alternately called "GINO", or "Godzilla In Name Only"), so-called because the fans accused him of taking the "God" out of "Godzilla". If you must refer to the Big Guy by a diminutive nickname, the preferred epithet is "Goji" (short for "Gojira"). Or "Goji-san", if you're the formal type.
    • Saying Godzilla 'breathes fire' will drive some fans up the wall. They will quickly insist that only the Hannah Barbara Godzilla spat fire. The proper phrase would be atomic breathe/spits thermonuclear energy/radioactive vapor even though plenty of fans think 'breathes fire' rolls off the tongue better and 'thermonuclear breathe' is simply a mouthful.
  • Fandom Heresy: Criticizing the original film. No matter what your opinion of all the other films are, you're asking for an ass-kicking if you insult the original on any forum.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With the Gamera fan base. Kaiju movie fans as a norm watch more than one series and to say both franchises have essentially the same, shared fanbase wouldn't be a stretch at all.
    • Also with Digimon fanbase as well, to a lesser extent.
    • There’s also one with fans of Ultraman, thanks in part to the series creator, Eiji Tsuburaya, also being the same man who worked on the majority of special effects in the Showa Godzilla series.
    • Godzilla and Marvel Cinematic Universe fans also share some overlap. It’s not uncommon to see Godzilla fans show their respect and support for the MCU and vice-versa. Godzilla having a run of comics by Marvel in the past, as well as some of the actors from the MCU appearing in some of the MonsterVerse movies helped.
    • Due to both franchises featuring kaiju, Neon Genesis Evangelion fans tend to also be Godzilla fans. It helps that Evangelion's creator Hideaki Anno would go onto direct Shin Godzilla.
  • Ho Yay: Godzilla and Anguirus's friendship is sometimes looked at in this light.
  • I Am Not Shazam: Thanks to a TNT music video, people used to think Gabara is Baragon thanks to a mislabel.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Godzilla, at his gentler moments... which happen to be rare.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Wait, there's more to these films than just watching Godzilla destroy cities and fight monsters? It's the Trope Namer for a reason.
  • Love to Hate: Ghidorah, Destoroyah, and Gigan all get this treatment.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: Everyone has heard of Godzilla, but few people have actually seen many of the movies or know much about them.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • In the six decades since the original movie's release, the suffix "-zilla" has entered common English parlance as a tongue-in-cheek way of describing something abnormally large or powerful (e.g. "Bridezilla" or "Momzilla"). Godzilla is iconic enough that people will always know what you mean.
    • That wasn't very cash money of you.Explanation 
    • Godzilla had a stroke trying to read this and fucking died. Explanation 
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Godzilla's trademark roar. It was originally created by coating a leather glove in resin and dragging it down the strings of a double bass.
  • MST3K Mantra: It's just best not to think too hard about a film series that stars giant radioactive dinosaurs, three-headed cyborg dragons, giant butterflies, giant cyborg monsters from outer space, etc.
  • Narm Charm: Many of the Showa films, but in terms of characters, Jet Jaguar definitely has so many fans despite being a one-off Ultraman Expy because he's just so laughably silly.
  • Newer Than They Think: there are some concepts that are strongly associated with the franchise by the general public and casual fans which were actually not introduced until the Heisei-era movies and are nowhere to be found in the Showa movies, despite the latter being the longest and most internationally recognizable chapter of the franchise. These include:
    • Godzilla being an ordinary dinosaur that grew to colossal size and became nearly invulnerable after exposure to atomic testing. Originally he was a previously undiscovered ancient species that was always that big (which is also true of nearly every prehistoric Showa monster), and the H-bomb test just gave him his atomic breath. The new origin debuted in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
    • Likewise, Godzilla feeding on radiation and growing stronger from exposure to it, even to the point of being able to heal fatal wounds or return from death. He could absorb electricity in the later Showa films, but never goes near radiation apart from the incident that gave him his atomic breath. 1984's The Return of Godzilla was the first to establish his unique atomic metabolism.
    • Godzilla having an extremely accelerated healing factor.
    • The existence of the G-Force, a specialized international military organization formed to develop defenses against Godzilla. Films prior to 1993's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II just have the Japanese Self Defense Force acting solo
    • Mechagodzilla being a piloted mecha built by humanity to fight Godzilla. The Showa Mechagodzilla was an autonomous robot built by invasive aliens to conquer the Earth (and to fight Godzilla).
    • The iconic "Godzilla March" by Akira Ifukube did not actually appear in its modern and most familiar arrangement until Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. It is a medley of two separate motifs introduced originally in Godzilla (1954) and King Kong vs. Godzilla.
    • The classic Godzilla theme that’s played through the majority of the series run goes back further than its initial debut in 1954, as the earliest known rendition of the iconic theme was from a little known film called Shachô to onna-tenin (The President and the Shopgirl).
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Many people find any of the movies not directed by Ishiro Honda to be inferior.
  • Popularity Polynomial: After 2004, it seems Godzilla all but disappeared from the public eye (largely because no new films came out for an entire decade). But once trailers and footages from the 2014 reboot, fans came back, memes surrounding the movie have started popping up around the internet, and even the general public is becoming interested in the character again. The film also inspired a renaissance to the character itself, with an expanded universe, Shin Godzilla, the anime trilogy soon following its success.
  • Recurring Fanon Character: Red, a shapeshifting monster and Big Bad of NES Godzilla Creepypasta, has gone on to appear in several fanworks since.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • It's been a slow process, but Zilla (aka American!Godzilla, aka GINO) has been gradually redeemed in the eyes of the fandom. The animated series featuring his more Godzilla-like son (with Zilla as an undead, robotic antagonist) helped, as did his brief appearance in Final Wars, where he received a beating from the original Godzilla. It's in the IDW comic Rulers of Earth however, that Zilla reached his final redemption, taking a huge level in badass and holding his own with the real Godzilla. The comic more or less indicates that Godzilla was the stronger of the two and would have killed Zilla if the fight had continued, but Zilla put up a fantastic fight against big G. The fandom universally acknowledging it as a great moment for both combatants. Zilla also gets some good moments later in the series such as surviving a fight with Destoroyah and being one of the only monsters to evade capture by the alien Tripods and destroyed several of them.
    • Baby Godzilla and Godzilla Junior showed that Godzilla having a son wasn't a bad idea if executed right.
    • With the original version of Gojira becoming better known in the States there has been a backlash against King of The Monsters. However numerous historians have pointed out that Godzilla would not be so well known if not for King of The Monsters. Even Raymond Burr as been redeemed somewhat in fan's eyes when it was revealed he refused the comical lines and played his reprisal in The Return of Godzilla with dignity.
    • Jet Jaguar being able to show off lightning brusier skills and agility against mighty glaciers in various video games and the IDW comic has redeemed him.
  • Sacred Cow: Among the many composers throughout the series, Akira Ifukube is universally lauded as the Godzilla maestro, not only for being responsible for Godzilla’s iconic theme, but also his many emotional and epic militaristic pieces throughout both the Godzilla series and Toho’s other monster and Sci-Fi movies. It is very unwise to criticize any piece he’s ever composed.
  • The Scrappy: Minilla isn't well-liked to say the least (in the US anyway, he’s actually well liked in Japan), largely because of his hideous design and annoying uselessness as an obvious Kid-Appeal Character. Even in-universe Godzilla doesn't seem to like him.
  • So Bad, It's Good: While this designation applies to much of the franchise, the films in the seventies are particular prone to falling under this sort of designation with plots, monsters, and dialogue that is outlandish even by the regular standards of the series, and a noticeable drop in production quality, as noted below.
  • Special Effects Failure: Fairly common among many of the movies, although surely the worst are Godzilla's Revenge, Godzilla vs Gigan, and Godzilla vs Megalon, which all include a hefty amount of stock footage.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The most commonly cited would be Destroy All Monsters over Godzilla vs the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla over all of the other 70's films, with a tiny window of Hedorah over Revenge, and 2001's GMK over Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs Megaguirus. Many fans would also say this for War of the Gargantuas, which is a cult favorite over it's much more forgotten predecessor, Frankenstein Conquers the World.
  • Ugly Cute: A few of the monsters count. Mothra, Mothra's caterpillar babies, Minilla, and even Godzilla himself sometimes (mainly in the older films with the big eyes), to name a few.
  • Vindicated by History: The Showa Era as a whole. While it does have a lot of great gems, it was more often then not reviled by many as a sea of goofy, low budget, over-the-top messes that gave the series a bad reputation as "mindless kids flicks". As the years went on, however, it’s been viewed much more favorably by fans who appreciate the era for its creative special effects, deep themes and allegories, and interesting, fantastical storytelling, with some entries that were once said to be part of its Dork Age (such as the Mechagodzilla duolody) now being viewed as major highlights of the era. Nowadays it’s not too uncommon to hear fans rank it as their favorite series of Godzilla films. The fact that all 15 films got the Criterion treatment helps too.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Well yes some Godzilla movies are okay for kids to watch but a lot of Godzilla movies focus on a lot of darker aspects like War, Nuclear fallout and Tragic Monster. This especially goes for the original Godzilla (1954) which is a straight-up horror movie. Even some of the later films that are overtly meant for kids like Godzilla vs. Hedorah still have plenty of Family-Unfriendly Violence.

Video Game-related YMMV:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Was Godzilla attacking the generators to feed on the G-Energy, like the prime minister said? Or was he a Well-Intentioned Extremist who knew the generators painted a huge target for hostile kaiju and aliens to come after?
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Japan's reception of the game was pretty positive, with it earning a score of 30 out of 40 in Famitsu. Western response however, has been pretty unfavorable as seen with both critic and user scores on Metacritic. Godzilla fans however, have been more welcoming to the game than most of the general public or reviewers.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Legendary Godzilla, the final boss of the single player campaign becomes this if you've hit Burning Godzilla status. Downplayed as his melee attacks are still extremely damaging and if the player isn't careful can easily beat them to death.
  • Broken Base: The game is rather divisive, with some viewing it negatively especially compared to the Pipeworks Godzilla Trilogy and considering it rather dull and repetitive, while others view it positively and feel comparing it to the fighting games is unfair as it's not really trying to be one so much as a kaiju movie simulator with a large emphasis on the rampage aspect.
  • Cycle of Hurting: In later levels you've got a time limit to destroy all the reactors while taking damage from the enemy monster, plus the Super-Xs. You have to let them do this to you if want to get to the reactors and destroy them before the time limit expires. Only when the reactors are destroyed, can you think of taking out the enemies.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: As mentioned above, the game has been received fairly well, especially in Japan and by several fans. It helps that the game captures the spirit of the franchise in a good way.
  • Polished Port: The PlayStation 4 version bumps the resolution up, which results the visuals becoming clearer. There is also less lag than on the PlayStation 3 version, making the experience more consistent.
  • That One Boss: Even in the demo King Ghidorah is already gaining this rep due to high defenses, melee and range attacks. Which is rather befitting considering his name is KING Ghidorah.
    • Biollante, due to her long-range vines that she can drive into the ground and then stab Godzilla with in a flurry of rapid-fire jabs, along with her acid sap being very strong and able to push Godzilla back a lot and can even knock him off his feet. It doesn't help that she can also have the Super-X II attacking Godzilla at the same time.

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