Atomic breath/Nuclear beam/Radioactive ray/Atomic ray[edit | edit source]
Godzilla's signature weapon is his distinctive atomic breath. Godzilla's dorsal spines glow ominously, and then he lets loose with a concentrated blast of radiation from his mouth. This power is often mistakenly confused as fire breathing. The color of the atomic breath corresponds to the color of Godzilla's dorsal plates. Godzilla has been shown apparently being able to adjust the intensity of his ray, varying from a blast of superheated vapor(such as in the 1950s and 1960s) to a beam with explosive and concussive properties (in the 1970s and onward). In most of the films, his breath is neon-blue like in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, although in some films it is reddish-orange.
In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Godzilla's ray was shown as having incendiary properties and was strong enough to destroy an artificial miniature black hole, while in Godzilla: Final Wars it possessed incredible range, power and pin-point accuracy, able to hit a target in outer space and kill most kaiju with a single shot. In a memorable (and somewhat infamous) scene in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla even used his ray to fly by aiming it at the ground and lifting off like a rocket. His ray can also power electrodes, melt steel and rock and evaporate water instantly.
Another variation of the standard blue atomic breath in the Heisei series was the powerful Red Spiral Atomic Breath which he acquired as a result of absorbing Fire Rodan's life energy. Godzilla's red spiral atomic breath appeared in times when Godzilla was under extreme duress. However in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah the spiral atomic breath completely replaced the normal atomic breath, due to the amounts of power his nuclear heart was giving off. It is so powerful that only one blast of it was sufficient to completely destroy Super Mechagodzilla and SpaceGodzilla, though Destoroyah was barely able to withstand several hits. When Godzilla's dorsal plates began to melt and his heart was nearing the meltdown stage, the radiation increased his breath's power to the point that buildings that were near its path blew up. This new red breath was used on Destroyah who took fatal damage. The red spiral atomic breath was used in the Heisei films Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and the Millennium film Godzilla: Final Wars. The orange atomic breath seen in Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus which was as powerful as its blue counterpart is not the Red Spiral Atomic Breath, but a recoloring of the standard blue atomic breath.
Nuclear pulse, magnetic aura, and other powers[edit | edit source]
In addition to his deadly atomic breath, Godzilla can also emit atomic energy in all directions from every inch of his body in a short-range pulse called the nuclear pulse. Godzilla used this ability in the Heisei series. He used a more powerful version of it in Godzilla 2000 to kill Orga. In Godzilla: Final Wars, after being surged with Ozaki's energy, Godzilla uses a nuclear pulse to prevent Kaiser Ghidorah from draining any more of his energy.
In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla Godzilla found a way to generate powerful magnetic fields from his body after being struck several times by lightning, which proved devastating against his metallic foe. This is the only time Godzilla ever used this power.
Injury Resistance and Healing Factor[edit | edit source]
Godzilla has displayed an uncanny ability to resist injury. Not even the pressure and cold of deep sea trenches can kill him. Starting in the first Godzilla film, Godzilla displayed an immunity to conventional weaponry, virtually impervious to the JSDF's attacks and he is even shown to be resistant to technology from the future. He has demonstrated the ability to survive complete submersion in magma for an extended period of time. He has even survived being in ground zero of asteroid impacts as well as radio wave and being buried under tons of ice for years at a time, seemingly cut off from any oxygen source. His hide has been breached only occasionally (usually only by other kaiju like Gigan, Biollante, King Ghidorah, Destoroyah and MechaGodzilla).
In addition, Godzilla possesses an extremely advanced and highly efficient regenerative ability. This power was a crucial plot point in Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla 2000. In Godzilla 2000 it is explained that Godzilla's regenerative abilities may have something to do with his radioactive properties. Organizer G1 (Regenerator G1 in the English version) is the name given to a substance in his cells that is responsible for Godzilla's swift healing. Even neural tissue can be rebuilt by Godzilla's regeneration. In Godzilla vs. Biollante Japanese scientists use samples of Godzilla cells (called G-cells throughout the Heisei series of Godzilla films) to help create the ANEB. This healing factor would be inherited by all creatures spawned from Godzilla's DNA, those being Biollante, SpaceGodzilla and Orga. At the very end of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, after Godzilla has been completely obliterated (or so they all think), his heart is seen beating on the ocean floor, suggesting Godzilla's Regenerator G1 would allow him to completely regenerate himself from just a heart or even a single amino acid, perhaps indicating how he survived the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954.
His healing abilities have not been entirely consistent through the series. In Godzilla: Tokyo SOS for example he was still recovering from injuries received in the previous film. However, the wound that was not healing was caused by Mechagodzilla's highly powerful Absolute Zero cannon.
Physical abilities[edit | edit source]
Godzilla has displayed varied levels of physical strength. He has been depicted lifting and throwing monsters in excess of his own weight (such as King Ghidorah, Hedorah, Mechagodzilla and others) and in Godzilla: Final Wars was able to throw Kumonga clearly beyond the horizon. He is shown using various martial arts techniques in a comical fashion during the original Showa series and sprinting with astonishing velocity belying his size such as in Zone Fighter. In the Millennium series he has been able to leap high into the air. However, many of the films show Godzilla preferring to battle his opponents from a distance, particularly in the Heisei series. But it has been shown in virtually all the films that Godzilla is effective battling either at range or close combat. He has also been known to be able to do a flying kick as it was shown in Godzilla vs Megalon.
Godzilla's long tail is also a formidable weapon. It has been shown to be flexible and powerful, able to lash out quickly and topple over buildings and enemy monsters. In Godzilla vs. Megalon he was able to slide on his tail to deliver a kick, as well as kick himself up with his tail temporarily to kick down King Kong which was seen in King Kong vs. Godzilla. In Godzilla vs. Biollante Godzilla further damaged the Super X-2 with a quick tail swipe after crippling it with his atomic breath. In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II he used his powerful tail against Mechagodzilla delivering damage that rated level 8.
In all his incarnations he has been shown to have powerful jaws and sharp teeth and claws. Rarely, Godzilla has also used his dorsal fins as weapons, such as in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, when he uses their jagged tips to slice off Megaguirus' claw and in Godzilla vs. Hedorah where he used them to cut into Hedorah in mid-flight. In Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs Megaguirus his dorsal fins creates tremendous heat while his atomic breath is being prepared.
Radiation[edit | edit source]
Godzilla's body constantly emits its own radiation similar to that of nuclear fission. The exact nature of this radiation is unclear. It has been shown to contaminate water sources, raise ocean temperatures of a limited area and even create mutations; (the giant sea louse in The Return of Godzilla). His footprints as well as objects and people he has had close contact with hold traces that register on a geiger counter, while Godzilla himself will register at a distance of several hundred feet. His radiation, however, doesn't appear to be profusely destructive. In Godzilla an underwater scene showed Godzilla with several fish swimming in his close proximity and they were not visibly affected. Wilderness areas where Godzilla has appeared suffer no visible signs of fallout from his presence and cities he attacks are never abandoned permanently.
In the Showa series Godzilla was carnivorous (it is assumed, though he is never seen to eat anything throughout the series) while in the Heisei series it was insinuated that Godzilla feeds on radiation and the more he absorbs, the larger and more powerful he gets. He is seen attacking nuclear powered submarines, and was once revived by a radioactive storm. It has been speculated that his heart is the theoretical equivalent of a power reactor. This canon was somewhat carried over to the Millennium series though it was not again pursued as a significant plot point.
Amphibiosity[edit | edit source]
Godzilla is described in the original film by Doctor Yamane as a transitional form between aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates. He spends most of his life at sea, coming ashore to wreak havoc and/or save the day. He is capable of marching on the sea floor or swimming by undulating his tail like a crocodile, sometimes with his dorsal fins breaking the surface. Godzilla is almost certainly able to somehow extract oxygen from water, occasionally remaining in the ocean depths for periods of months or years, though there has been no official explanation or reference to this ability aside from the fact that he possesses gills. Godzilla also seems to be able to control his own buoyancy, often staying on the surface of open water in an upright position and maintaining it under extreme duress, and sinking to the bottom without visible effort. Like his ability to breathe under water this has never been explained. Being submerged apparently does not impede his atomic breath. He is as excellent a fighter underwater as he is on land and engages opponents in the sea on multiple occasions, fighting monsters either beneath or on the surface of the waves.
Intelligence[edit | edit source]
The extent of Godzilla's intelligence varies throughout the character's history, but Godzilla is generally depicted as a monster of some level of intelligence. In the original Godzilla film and its early sequels he is depicted with a simplistic animal cunning, but as the Showa series progressed he is seen as being as intelligent as a human, capable of abstract thought, relating cause and effect, and having a high level of self-awareness.Godzilla was shown to be able to figure out that his atomic breath could be used to power the electrodes needed to dry out Hedorah in Godzilla vs. Hedorah and able to communicate with other monsters. He can even be heard 'talking' to Anguirus in Godzilla vs. Gigan; (in the American release they spoke in distorted English while in the Japanese version they communicated via word balloons). Godzilla has even been depicted as having a sense of humor, as shown when the atomic titan laughs at Rodan (and apparently using rude language) during Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
In the Heisei series Godzilla reacts on animal cunning and instinct more consistently than in his Showa counterpart, as demonstrated by his conditioned response in The Return of Godzilla. He was still capable of independent thought, however and according to Miki Saegusa of human-like sentiments as well. This was corroborated by his mourning the death of Godzilla Junior in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. In Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II he seems to destroy Mechagodzilla out of rage at Rodan's death. In Godzilla vs Space Godzilla he was the first to figure out that Space Godzilla was using a tower at the central of a field of crystals to draw power several minutes before the JSDF was. It was insinuated in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah that he also remembers the distant past. The Heisei Godzilla was psychic on some level, possibly the most powerful in existence. His evasion of the JSDF in Godzilla vs. Biollante seemed to carry implications of precognition. Additionally, he had some manner of psychic link with Godzilla Junior and has several times demonstrated the ability to locate potential opponents from great distances.
In the Millennium series, Godzilla's behavior was again limited to a simplistic animal cunning. He was shown to be capable of abstract, even strategical thinking but displayed little to no anthropomorphism.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Despite his incredible power, Godzilla has displayed a few weaknesses over the years. In King Kong vs. Godzilla and Mothra vs. Godzilla he is shown to be vulnerable to electricity. However, the electrified barrier in the original Godzilla didn't appear to cause problems for Godzilla. Additionally, lightning (i.e., electricity found in nature) has been shown to have the opposite effect, at times serving to revitalize him. In The Return of Godzilla Godzilla was shown to be vulnerable to cadmium, though Godzilla's immune system was able to overcome it. Later on, Godzilla is revealed to have a second brain in his spine with Super Mechagodzilla being able to paralyze him by destroying it. Nevertheless, he was revived by Fire Rodan and further films seem to ignore this Achilles heel. It was also suggested in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla that Godzilla has a soft spot under each armpit. However, the validity of this claim was highly dubious and this alleged weak point was never successfully exploited. Godzilla's sheer bulk has also been depicted as a disadvantage, making it difficult for him to keep up with the more agile Megaguirus, who was able to outmaneuver him as well as forcing Godzilla to have to rely heavily on his endurance. Also, while he has an endurance level beyond measure, his enemies usually counter by trying to crush and batter him.
To date, the only weapons ever shown to be close to effective against Godzilla were Dr. Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer and to a lesser degree, Dr. Shiragami's ANEB (Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria). In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah the Oxygen Destroyer created the monster Destoroyah. The ANEB was a chemical compound developed from Godzilla's cells and designed to consume radioactivity. The bacteria managed to lower the radioactivity within Godzilla's body to the point of causing him to hibernate in the sea for three years. Godzilla was then resurrected in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah when travelers from the future tampered with the timeline, creating a larger, more powerful Godzilla. There were apparently no further attempts to use the ANEB against Godzilla.
Anti-Godzilla weapons[edit | edit source]
Due to Godzilla's size, super-strength and regenerative abilities, he is invulnerable to most forms of conventional attack. However, over the years, there have been some weapons that were able to hurt or even damage Godzilla.
Note: This list is for man-made weapons. Other monsters and forces of nature don't count.
- Oxygen Destroyer - (first appeared in Godzilla (film)) The Oxygen Destroyer was a chemical compound designed to remove all oxygen from water, causing living creatures to die of asphyxiation as their remains are liquefied. The Oxygen Destroyer was the first, and in many ways only, weapon to defeat Godzilla. However, this was retconned in the Millenium series. In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla survived and retreated from the Oxygen Destroyer, only to return in 1966. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla was killed, but its body remained to be possessed by the restless dead of the Pacific War. In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the original Godzilla's bones were not dissolved and were used to make Kiryu to destroy another Godzilla.
- Super X - (first appeared in The Return of Godzilla) The Super X was a hovercraft designed with cadmium missiles, radiation shields and high-intensity lasers to fight Godzilla. Its missiles were able to knock out Godzilla by slowing down the nuclear reactions in his body, but Godzilla was revitalized by a radiation cloud caused by a Russian missile. The Super X was ultimately destroyed when Godzilla dropped a building on it. Upgrades of the Super X appeared in the later films Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- Mecha-King Ghidorah - (first appeared in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) This mecha was built over the corpse of Godzilla's archenemy, King Ghidorah, and was piloted by Futurian, Emmy Kano. Despite taking heavy damage, Mecha-King Ghidorah was able to grapple with Godzilla for a time, until Godzilla unleashed his atomic breath, slaying Mecha-Ghidorah and sending them both plummeting into the ocean.
- Mechagodzilla - (first appeared Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) The first Mechagodzilla was created as a weapon of destruction by the Simians. It was originally covered with a pseudo-flesh covering. Mechagodzilla went on a rampage through Japan and even battled Godzilla's longtime ally, Anguirus. Godzilla eventually showed up and revealed the "evil Godzilla" as a robot imposter. Mechagodzilla's body was constructed of a nearly indestructible alloy known as "Space Titanium", was equipped with a staggering amount of firepower and had rockets for flight. Godzilla defeated it by pulling its head off. Mechagodzilla would later return, along with its new ally, Titanosaurus, in Terror of Mechagodzilla. A second version of Mechagodzilla appeared in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. This one was built by the JSDF, as a defensive weapon against Godzilla and other monsters like Rodan. It was designed from Futurian technology from the remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah. It still had a large assortment of weapons and was able to fly. It was even able to join with a shuttlecraft called Garuda to form Super-Mechagodzilla. It was successfully able to repel Godzilla and may have even been able to beat him if Rodan had not sacrificed his life to save Godzilla. Mechagodzilla was then destroyed by Godzilla. A third version of Mechagodzilla appeared in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. This time a manned mech called Kiryu was built around the skeleton of the original Godzilla from 1954. However, DNA in the bones caused Kiryu to remember that it was once Godzilla and it went on a rampage. Once the JSDF was able to get Kiryu under control, it forced Godzilla to retreat. Godzilla and Kiryu would meet again in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, but this time, Mothra would intervene. Mothra demanded that Godzilla's bones (inside Kiryu) be returned to its grave. The JSDF agreed, but only after Godzilla was defeated. Ultimately, Kiryu made the final decision and returned to the sea of its own will.
References[edit | edit source]
- J.D. Lees, Marc Cerasini (1998)"The Official Godzilla Compendium" p. 47