Godzilla Day: 66 years of Gojira, King of the Monsters
Nov. 3 is Godzilla Day. Believe it or not, it has been 66 years since Toho Studios released Honda Ishirō’s “Gojira” in Japan on Nov. 3, 1954.
“Gojira” was the first kaiju (“strange beast”) film, introducing a new subgenre under tokusatsu (“special filming”) entertainment. Kaiju films deal with giant monsters, while tokusatsu refers to Japanese live action movies or TV dramas that make heavy use of special effects, such as mecha (giant robots) and superhero shows. More important, this first Godzilla film was not only a cinematic classic, but also gave birth to an international pop culture icon and the longest continuously running film franchise, as officially recognized by Guinness World Records.
Why I love Godzilla Day
Godzilla has always fascinated me since I was a kid. Of course, I was too young to know that he was a metaphor for nuclear weapons, and I only saw the original 1954 movie much later.
Since we didn’t have access to the internet back in the day, I didn’t even know that Godzilla’s Japanese name was Gojira, and that this was a portmanteau combining two Japanese words: gorira (“gorilla”) and kujira (“whale”).
All I knew was that Godzilla was so awesome and cool, and that he could kick ass.
The first Godzilla movie I saw was “King Kong vs. Godzilla”. It originally came out in 1962, but I remember it being shown in Philippine theaters in the 70s. Newspapers even had a tale of the tape ad of the movie. My mom and I watched it, maybe in Odeon Theater in Recto or another cinema in that area.
Of course I was rooting for Godzilla. I’ve never liked King Kong, and even as a kid I knew Japan was way cooler than the US, which created that dumb ape. Heck, just to have that ape go toe to toe with Godzilla, Toho Studios had to make him much, much larger than he was in the original 1933 “King Kong” US movie.
And he still had to cheat against Godzilla.
Celebrating Godzilla Day
Japan’s BS10 Star Channel will show three Godzilla movies on Nov. 3 starting at 5 PM Japanese Standard Time. These movies are “Three Giant Monsters, Greatest Battle On Earth”, which is the literal Japanese title of the 1964 film more popularly known as “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster”, the 2014 American film “Godzilla”, and its 2019 sequel “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”.
Meanwhile, Cookpad TV is collaborating with Toho to launch a Godzilla café in Osaka and provide a special menu to celebrate the birthday of the King of the Monsters.
They even have Godzilla-themed desserts.
To commemorate Godzilla’s 66th birthday, a collaboration with Manhattan Portage and New Era will also be released on Nov. 3.
Finally, for fans of the massively multiplayer party game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, the good news is that Mediatonic and Toho Co., Ltd. are helping fans celebrate the King of the Monsters by bringing the fan favorite kaiju to gamers everywhere.
Beginning on Nov. 3, for a limited time only, fans will have the opportunity to use the all-new Godzilla skin. This will be available to players for 10 Crowns total. Featuring Godzilla’s trademark features such as its three rows of dorsal fins, the character has been designed to fit right into the Fall Guys world, including different colors depending on what the game calls for. Fall Guys is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam.
Obviously, this barely scratches all the Godzilla Day celebrations and collaborations happening in Japan and all over the world.
How about you? How are you planning to celebrate Godzilla Day?