Godzilla: The Horror and Metamorphosis of the Reiwa Era

How the Reiwa Era got experimental with Godzilla

If the Millennium Era was a celebration of all things Godzilla, the Reiwa Era sought to dissect its titular hero in ways audiences have never seen before. Around the time of the era’s first release, disaster struck Japan with the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Many have considered the event to be even worse than Chernobyl, and even now, many residents don’t want to return. Much like the original film’s inception, the first film, the Reiwa Era, was a response to the fears and dangers of the disaster, enter: Shin Godzilla.

Touted as one of the best Godzilla films ever created, Shin Godzilla was directed by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno. The film follows a very different version of Godzilla, which evolves into many various stages and resembles charred meat with jagged teeth and a tail that also fires an atomic laser. The movie was a commentary on the Japanese government with the guise of a monster film but ultimately became so much more.

The film returned the monster to his long-abandoned villain status and changed his origin so that his reptilian-like form was just a step to a larger, more grotesque metamorphosis. Godzilla was viewed as a radioactive tumor whose only desire is to spread and spread, engulfing the entire planet. The movie is body horror at its finest and introduced the Reiwa Era with a bang.

There was no sequel to Shin Godzilla, and it has since gone on to be one of Japan’s best films and best Godzilla films in years. Following its release, the franchise would move away from live-action and instead focus on animation with a trilogy of films. The trilogy began with Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters. It follows an earth that is thousands of years into the future. Godzilla has decimated humanity and is now called Godzilla Earth.

The first film is pretty standard humans vs. Godzilla moments as it follows characters who venture to this new Earth. Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle is where things pick up, and viewers are introduced to the strangest looking Mechagodzilla yet. This one has many new features, including a paneled body and nanotech. The final film in the trilogy Godzilla: The Planet Eater is where the anime has a massive kaiju battle.

The anime rendition of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is seen in the third film, and it offers up a visually unique battle that gives a fresh look at the age-old rivalry. Ghidorah’s shining gold scales counter Godzilla’s muted look perfectly and serve as an excellent way to end the trilogy. This particular trilogy is met with a lot of criticism on its general slow-burn style of storytelling. However, those who do watch say that it’s ultimately worth a look for any fans of the character.

The Reiwa Era was, without a doubt, its most daring and unique. It showed the lengths that the franchise will go to evolve and be different, and for the most part, it worked. Nothing has since compared to what the very short era had to offer, and while we won’t be seeing more from it any time soon, its future is looking even brighter than before. 

Thanks for reading everyone and please check out my rundown of Godzilla’s Showa EraHeisei Era and Millennium Era! I am still trying to figure things out scheduling wise but I am getting there! Thank you for the patience and support! We also have a new episode of our podcast, The Next Panel with Nick and Jake, up so make sure to give it a listen while you read! Stay Safe Stay Happy and Stay Fresh!

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