Godzilla" is a transliteration a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ?), meaning gorilla, and kujira (鯨 or クジラ), meaning whale. At one planning stage, the concept of "Gojira" was described as "a cross between a gorilla and a whale." The two words "whale" and "gorilla" describe Godzilla's traditional characteristics. The word whale represents his aquatic lifestyle and his bulky size. The word gorilla represents his sheer strength and the strategic thinking he uses when fighting against other monsters.
The Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira?) franchise is a series of multi-media featuring the character Godzilla created and owned by Toho. It is recognized by Guinness World Records to be the longest continuously running movie franchise, having been in on-going production from 1954 to the present day (with several hiatuses). The film franchise consists of 28 films produced by Toho (three of which had American adaptations) and two Hollywood reboots. A reboot by Toho is scheduled to be released in 2016 while Legendary Pictures is proceeding with a planned trilogy of their own with the second film targeted for a June 2018 release.
Relation to Cryptozoology
The creature Godzilla was originally inspired by mutations. In the original film, Godzilla was an based on nuclear mutations for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on earth. The radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru through the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954 led to much press coverage in Japan preceding the release of the first movie in 1954. The Heisei and Millennium series have largely continued this concept.
Godzilla Creatures Based on Cryptozoology
Throughout the Godzilla series, many of the antagonists, or the creatures Godzilla versus were actually inspired by cryptozoology. Some of these creatures include:
In the 1955 film Godzilla Raids Again, a creature known as Anguirus. Anguirus appeared only a year after Godzilla. Anguirus (spelled "Angilas" in that film) was properly called an "angilosaurus," (which in Japanese is pronounced roughly the same as "ankylosaurus"), a dinosaur described as one of the stronger dinosaurs that lived in the prehistoric era. The idea to include this creature was inspired by the crytozoological concept known as living fossils.
In the 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla, King Kong attacks a giant octopus based on the famous cryptid, the Kraken.
AliensThroughout the entire Godzilla series, Godzilla viruses several extraterrestrials inspired by the cryptozoological concept of alien encounters during the 1950s-70s.
These creatures include King Ghidorah, Hedorah, Gigan, and many others. The Hedorah,in particular, was based on the concept of Atmospheric Beasts.
Gorosaurus (ゴロザウルス Gorozaurusu?) is a dinosaur that appeared in the 1968 Godzilla film Destroy All Monsters.
Gorosaurus is an allosaurid, an abrupt descendant of Allosaurus itself. The idea to include this creature was inspired by the crytozoological concept known as living fossils.