Study Guide

Godzilla Fandoms

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The only thing larger than the bill for one of Godzilla's urban vaycays is the size of the monster's fanbase. This cinematic creature is huge (ba-dum-ching) and enjoys a fanbase as dedicated as any other franchise: Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, you name it.

But Godzilla remains most popular on its home turf of Japan.

In the Land of the Rising Sun, the Terror of Tokyo is a cultural phenomenon. Its film franchise has been going for more than 60 years and has yielded more than 30 films, which is more than even James Bond can lay claim to. If the Japanese response to the latest film, Shin Godzilla (2016), is any indication, the Japanese are nowhere near franchise fatigue and are eager to see more.

Oh, and we haven't even begun to count the books, TV series, video games, manga, and merchandise sporting the King of the Monsters' reptilian mug. Seriously, it's hard to properly describe just how much Japan loves Godzilla, but we think two examples will help those on this side of the Pacific get it.

First, Japan has an entire store dedicated to nothing but Godzilla swag. Located in Shinjuku—a major shopping district in Tokyo—the store houses about 500 items for syphoning the cash from the wallets of Godzilla enthusiasts.

Also in Shinjuku is a life-sized Godzilla head and claw posed over the Toho theater. This statue isn't a promotional figure, either; it is a permanent resident of the Tokyo skyline. It's also a great spokesperson, er, spokesmonster and is currently hawking mouthwash for even the worst atomic breath (Source).

Godzilla Goes West

Of course, the King of the Monsters isn't just a part of Japanese pop culture; it's a part of world pop culture and much loved in the West, too.

Hollywood has created two Godzilla films—one bad and the other not-so-bad—and we've imported all of the Japanese ones. The creature's roar is one of the most recognizable sound effects /a> in movie history, right up there with the light saber and Tarzan's call. It's even crossed over with Western franchises to do battle with the likes of King Kong and the Avengers.

Godzilla's also been referenced to in countless shows and movies. Pacific Rim was hugely inspired by Godzilla and his kaiju kin. The Simpsons and Robot Chicken have parodied the monster to wonderful effect.

And then there's Godzilla vs. Bambi , a two-minute cartoon that's exactly what it sounds like and is considered a classic. Heck, the big beastie has even shown up in commercials hawking Dr. Pepper, Nikes, and pudding cups.

Fans have showed their support in ways as diverse as they are. They maintain huge databases of information that keep track of all things Godzilla, like the wiki Gojipedia. They've created fan videos and fanfiction. Some of the most dedicated have even taken to some crazy elaborate cosplay.

Finally, there's paleontologist Kenneth Carpenter. In 1997, he named a newly discovered dinosaur Gojirasaurus (literally, Gojira lizard) in honor of the cinematic creature.

And it doesn't seem like atomic fever will subside any time soon. With the Monsterverse going strong, fans can look forward to many more Godzilla films to be released in the next few years. It's the perfect time to get your Godzilla on.

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