Godzilla is one of the defining aspects of Japanese popular culture for many Americans. The word “Godzilla” is popularly associated with special effects featuring “men in rubber suits”, poor dubbing, and Saturday afternoon television. Though his popularity has waned slightly over the years, he is still one of the most popular kaiju in the world. To this day, Godzilla remains an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the “giant monster” subset of the tokusatsu genre.
In the Japanese movies, Godzilla is depicted as a gigantic, charcoal-colored reptile whose iconic design includes small pointed ears, rough bumpy scales, a powerful tail, and bony colored dorsal fins shaped like maple leaves. His origins vary somewhat from film to film, but he is almost always described as prehistoric, and his first attacks on Japan are linked to atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean. In particular, nuclear mutation is presented as being an explanation for his great size and strange powers.