Gojira. Godzilla. G.I.N.O. Zilla. All of these names represent the exact same creature, and yet, fans get up in a tizzy when people call the creature from the 1998 film 'Godzilla' by a few of those titles. This topic has popped up on multiple forums and Facebook groups on several occasions and this being the internet it usually ends up with a lot of insults being thrown around and a moderator putting their foot down and removing the topic. Well, I'm here to give my thoughts on the naming of this black sheep of the Godzilla family and show you that you can call him whatever you want.
In 2004, Toho decided that they were done making sly references to the 1998 creature not being the real Godzilla (watch the beginning of the movie 'Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All out Attack' or 'GMK' for short) and wanted to use him as a separate entity in their new film 'Godzilla: Final Wars.' Fans were actually rather excited to see the American-made creature go up against the OG Godzilla, but were met with a dilemma. If Godzilla (Gojira) is the name for the traditional Japanese form of the monster, what do we call the American monster? Toho decided to rebrand the monster under the new name Zilla, since the creature took the "God" out of the name Godzilla (Shogo Tomiyama, the producer of the film, and many others were the ones who came up with the name). And thus, we all had our answer. Toho also stated that the American design would be referred to as such from now on in any media. The design of the creature and the rights to any future use reverted back to Toho after Sony did not make a sequel within the allotted time frame.
I personally accepted this new name wholeheartedly and even stopped using the name I came to know him by, G.I.N.O., aka "Godzilla In Name Only." I used the name Zilla to describe the creature himself and his particular design whenever it was used, including the original film and the animated series that followed it (technically Zilla Jr. is the name of the animated series creature, but I digress). I really like that Toho accepted the creature into the Godzilla series proper and I think that he has always worked best as a separate creature. Obviously, I knew that this was all being done in retrospect and that they weren't going to go back and officially change any of the merch for the 1998 film, but that didn't matter. Zilla was here to stay and could not be forgotten. Everything was fine in the fan community... Or so I thought.
Zilla has become more popular as of late and there has been a new influx of fans for his specific movie. I don't think that these fans deserve ridicule or anything like that, in fact more power to them for being fans of something that is generally disliked. The thing I take issue with is the new and older fans of the 1998 'Godzilla' refusing to let anyone call the creature anything other than Godzilla. Now, I understand that this is technically correct and that his name in the film is Godzilla, therefore he can be called Godzilla. I'm not arguing that he be stripped of his name, but that it is much easier to distinguish the specific design as Zilla so that everyone knows what you are talking about. In fact, the name he should be called by is actually Gojira, since according to the film, the news anchor mispronounces his name as Godzilla and then it just kind of sticks. I don't see any of these hardcore G-98' fans trying to call the creature Gojira and have everyone understand which creature they are talking about... Which is kind of the point of this article.
In a post 2014 'Godzilla' world, the americanized name of Godzilla has seemingly been attached to the Legendary design by Toho themselves. Since we now have essentially three different Gojiras, is it that wrong that fans distinguish them in the community as Gojira (Toho designs), Godzilla (Legendary design), and Zilla (the G-98' design)? I personally don't think so. But, if you are adamant that Zilla should be called Godzilla, and only Godzilla, then you need to at least understand the following: If you say Godzilla without the context of the 98' film, we are all going to think of the traditional Gojira designs before we think of Zilla. That is just a fact. Insulting either side does nothing, and a fan community should be more willing to accept the nicknames that are given to the creatures. I still end up calling him G.I.N.O. half the time because that's what I grew up calling him.
To summarize my point, I really just want everyone to take a step back from the naming debacle and just realize that Zilla, in whatever form or name, is a cool design and I'd like to see more of him. The movie he came from originally is not perfect and in fact does have a lot of negative aspects to it, but honestly, there are some worse Gojira films out there (I'm looking at you Godzilla's Revenge).
Will you start accepting people calling him Zilla, or will you stand your ground? Please comment below and start a healthy discussion about this unique creature design.