Godzilla Director Explains Why the Franchise Turned the Kaiju into a Hero

Godzilla is now a much more heroic icon than when the Kaiju initially made its debut in the 1950s, and one special effects director behind TOHO's original incarnation of the Kaiju explained this gradual shift. In a recently resurfaced interview with special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano (as spotted by @Noe31158907 on Twitter), Nakano explained the reasoning behind the tone shifts in the Godzilla films during the Showa era of the franchise that saw it transform from a more dangerous monster to a hero that fought off other Kaiju threats. As expected, it was a reflection of the times.

As Nakano broke down in the interview, without Godzilla's shift to herodom the franchise would not have had as wide of an appeal as it did over the years, "I believe that without any changes to Godzilla's character, the series would not have been able to continue. If Godzilla had remained a villain, probably only hardcore Godzilla fans would have watched the movies, and not the general audience."

Nakano believed this decision to be the correct one for the time as it did result in a more successful franchise, but Nakano personally better enjoyed the more monstrous version of the fan favorite kaiju, "I think it was correct to change Godzilla's character...it was a reaction to the times and changes in the audience. But myself, I basically like a scary Godzilla, rather than a good Godzilla."

Godzilla 1954 Showa Era
(Photo: TOHO)

This heroic spin on Godzilla is also one of the more fondly remembered throughout the years. It was also the version of the character that made its way outside of Japan too. The current incarnation of the Kaiju in Legendary's Monsterverse is currently being portrayed as a heroic protector of Earth's natural balance.


That will definitely be tested in the upcoming end to the Monsterverse quadrilogy, Godzilla vs. Kong. Both of these famous Titans are protectors in their respective franchises, and now the two will soon do battle. It's currently scheduled for a release this November, but that's currently in the air due to the ongoing novel COVID-19 pandemic.

What did you think of this more heroic shift for Godzilla over the years? Which version of the famous Kaiju do you prefer? Would you like to see more of a return to Godzilla's more frightening phase? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!