As a fan of Japanese media who grew up on Tokusatsu shows such as Kamen Rider Black and anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion, I was no stranger to Godzilla. When I was young, my older brother introduced me Japanese media that he was a fan of and I was instantly a fan of giant robots and kaiju movies. Due to living a small portion of my life in the Philippines, I’ve had lots of exposure to Japanese media through all the pirated versions being sold on the streets.
Due to watching already Godzilla beforehand, I already understood the purpose of Godzilla which was to convey the destruction of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. What captured my attention during the film however, was everyone else’s reaction to the film. I was under the preconception that Godzilla was somewhat a household name and people have at least heard the reason why Godzilla exists. People laughed it off at first, commenting on how the rubber suit Godzilla hasn’t aged well etc. It became apparent that people in the room had no knowledge on Godzilla or it’s purpose. As the livetweets went on, people started learning about the parallels between Godzilla and WWII and everyone’s perspective on the movie changed.
It was definitely seeing everyone’s fresh experience of the Japanese Monster King and made me reminisce about my first time watching Godzilla. Back then I was only a child so Godzilla was nothing more than a simple giant monster movie. Of course a few years later I’d come back to it a little older and learn about how Godzilla was representing the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. In the film, while Godzilla is a monster destroying Tokyo, the real monster was Serizawa and his experiments. By itself, the symbolism of “Humanity is the real monster” doesn’t hold much weight. However, knowing that Godzilla was intended for a post-WWII audience makes it so much heavier.
Watching the movie again, I was more interested in the movie techniques rather than the overall theme of Godzilla. Specifically the rubber suit and practical effects as they are essentially a lost art in this day and age. They’re rarely done in the Japanese industry outside of Tokusatsu and Super Sentai shows, even then it’s just rubber suits while CGI has replaced the practical effects.