on Gojira (1954)


GojiraEvan and I watched Gojira (1954) last night (thanks, Netflix!). We had fun reading the subtitles, and watching Gojira do his thing. A fun movie, with some surprisingly deep cultural subtext (the society of post-atomic Japan, a scientist conflicted over his creation of a doomsday weapon...).

But... There was a scene in a fishing village on the Island of Oda Island, where an elderly man was describing the rituals they used long ago to ward of Gojira. Human sacrifice. Ritual dances.

Then, the scientists at Anti-Gojira Forces HQ declare that Gojira is the product of atomic testing. But, the movie was set in the early 1950s (released in 1954). Nagasaki and Hiroshima were destroyed less than 10 years previously, so assuming the longest possible time since a nuclear explosion, Gojira is only a few years old.

And yet the elderly fisherman described anti-Gojira rituals from the olden days. The villagers on Oda Island found a recently-living trilobite in Gojira's footprints. Is Gojira a time traveler?

So, was Gojira around before World War II? Was he (she?) not discovered because he only struck pre-industrial fishing villages? Did the nuclear testing simply take a smaller Gojira and embiggen it, giving it super powers?

Wait. What nuclear testing? In a country rocked by two horrific nuclear attacks, why would they be detonating nuclear devices to test? There were [rumours of a Japanese device](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_nuclear_weapon_program) detonated in Konan, Korea, in 1945, and then nothing since. Who was doing the "nuclear testing" in the sea south of Japan, triggering the rise of Gojira?

And what kind of device was the Oxygen Destroyer? It sucks all oxygen out of water (but not the atmosphere?) and then liquifies soft organic tissue. Like Oxi-Clean Pro? Is Serizawa a great-grandfather of Billy Mays?

Surprisingly, this understated and subtly crafted Japanese film asks more questions than it answers...