Toho has returned with a new film, Godzilla Minus One. This new version of the King of the Monsters kicks off a new chapter for the iconic monster, which has witnessed several interpretations over the years in Toho’s franchise. Toho’s absence from the franchise has been noticeable since the release of Shin Godzilla in 2016, with WB’s MonsterVerse taking the driving seat in recent years. But how is Toho’s Godzilla different from WB’s interpretation?
Toho seems all set to break its long hiatus with Godzilla Minus One, with a release date set for late 2023. Helmed by Takashi Yamazaki, the film will be set in post-World War II Tokyo. The film features a new Godzilla wreaking havoc on the Japanese capital.
Toho’s Godzilla Isn’t Just Treated As a Monster
Apart from helming Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki also took the responsibility as screenplay writer and director of VFX. While speaking to Deadline, the director was inquired about the biggest difference between Toho’s Godzilla films and the American-produced adaptations. He was asked about his perspective on the American versions of Godzilla.
In response, Yamazaki said that Toho has always portrayed the legendary monster both as a monster as well as a god. In contrast, the American-produced versions seem to be more inclined towards showing Godzilla as pure evil.
Yamazaki told Deadline:
“Toho’s Godzilla is pictured as both a monster and a god, while American-produced Godzilla seems to have a more monstrous flavor.”
The director also mentioned that his motivation and skills progressed after watching Shin Godzilla. Following that, he was approached yet again and eventually took on the challenge of helming the new project.
Toho’s Godzilla Design Is Different Than MonsterVerse Version
Shin Godzilla reinvented the character, while Toho’s previous Godzilla movie was 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, which continued to follow the conventional suitmation technique in kaiju productions.
Similarly, the Godzilla Minus One design seems to have significantly differentiated the character from the MonsterVerse by taking inspiration from Toho’s earlier Godzilla films. One key difference in MonsterVerse’s portrayal of Godzilla is the character’s relatively small head and bigger body.
Toho Has Tried Taking The Horror Route
Shin Godzilla tried exploring the horror genre and made the character look scarier; however, many believe that the studio took it too far. It depicted Godzilla in an odd way that was different from the previous iterations.
It even gave the monster some new powers, such as shooting atomic rays from its tail, which did not go down well with some fans. In contrast, WB’s Godzilla appears similar to the classic version that fans are aware of.
Toho Might Have Missed Some Crucial Aspects
While there’s no question that Toho’s Shin Godzilla managed to take Godzilla back to its roots by showcasing it as a result of humanity’s destructive behavior, the movie failed to cover all crucial elements of the character. The Godzilla in the film seemed dull and lacked the essence that fans witnessed in the previous versions. The character’s rampage did not allow fans to support or empathize with the character.
However, in the Monsterverse, Godzilla’s portrayal pays homage to the Showa series, showing the character as the defender of Japan. Similarly, in the 1990s Godzilla movies, the character was shown as a mysterious anti-hero.
Has MonsterVerse Handled Godzilla Better Than Toho?
When compared, MonsterVerse’s version of Godzilla has seen more success than Toho’s interpretation. Shin Godzilla took a different approach from Toho’s traditional Godzilla movie format. The film focused more on showing humanity as the character’s biggest enemy. Nevertheless, Godzilla is defeated by the end of the film.
Interestingly, MonsterVerse’s Godzilla feels more recognizable to fans compared to the version they saw in Shin Godzilla, especially due to its design. While each filmmaker has their unique take on the character, most try to stick to the traditional appearance, making sure they don’t deviate from the iconic Godzilla look.