KAZUKI OMORI RECALLS THE HEISEI GODZILLA SERIES! Toho’s Writer-Director Shares His Memories of the King of the Monsters!

Writer-director Kazuki Omori in January 2017. Photo © Brett Homenick.

Kazuki Omori arguably revived the Godzilla franchise in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. As the director and screenwriter of the popular Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Mr. Omori helped revitalize the G-series, which had mostly stayed in hibernation since 1975, with bold new ideas and contemporary story lines. In July 2006, Mr. Omori, through the translation of Robert Field, spoke with Brett Homenick about his career as one of Godzilla’s most popular filmmakers. 

UPDATE (June 2021): The following transcript features improved and updated translations by Yusuke Sasaki from the original recording of the interview. Some details have been clarified from the previous translation, while others have been brought to light for the first time.

Brett Homenick: The first question is, just to give us a little bit of your background, growing up, and if you watched kaiju movies growing up.

Kazuki Omori: I saw the first Godzilla movie when I was five years old. As I was growing up, I kept watching the Godzilla series. Around the age of 15, I came to like 007 [James Bond] more than the Godzilla movies, so I stopped watching Godzilla movies for a while. As I became mature, I felt Godzilla movies were kind of childish. At the time, I thought, “I shouldn’t be watching this kind of stuff now.” After I started working in the film industry, Hollywood movies such as King Kong and Jaws were shown in Japan. So I thought, “Wait a minute. We have Godzilla in Japan.” Godzilla was remade in 198[4] and shown in Japan. After seeing the remake of Godzilla, I thought, a bit arrogantly, “I think I could do a better job than this.” (laughs) At the same time, the producer, [Tomoyuki] Tanaka, was thinking the same thing. (laughs) And, because Mr. Tanaka and I thought the same thing, we collaborated on making a Godzilla film, which was [Godzilla vs.] Biollante (1989).

Biollante had good results in terms of box office revenue and content, even though it did not become a massive hit. As we brought Godzilla back to life in that sense, we planned to bring back Mothra, as well. We thought about “Mothra vs. Bagan.” So we were thinking about getting Mothra going again, but the Toho executives thought that Mothra wasn’t as strong as she should be, so Toho wanted to [make] a Godzilla movie again. So we decided to do another Godzilla movie again a year later. By the way, the script “[Mothra] vs. Bagan,” was used a lot in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), the second movie after “[Mothra] vs. Bagan,” in a variety of scenes. After that, Mr. Tanaka came up with the idea of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah because King Ghidorah is the strongest enemy in the history of Godzilla. Since it was the 60th anniversary of Toho, we decided to use King Ghidorah to represent Godzilla’s strongest enemy.

There have been many, many Godzilla movies, and we wanted to make the best one. However, we had no idea how to make the best Godzilla film. We thought about where Godzilla and King Ghidorah had come from. As I said yesterday, the [origins of King Ghidorah] were in in Back to the Future Part II. So we thought the idea of finding the roots [of Godzilla and King Ghidorah] and including a time paradox in the new movie. You may know that Mr. Tanaka has done many different types of science fiction movies. Although he has done a lot of science fiction movies, the ones he has never acknowledged as science fiction were the time-travel movies.

He probably thought that time-warping and going to a different dimension are illogical in science fiction. So, up until then, he had not done any of those things. So the young staff members and I tried to persuade Mr. Tanaka by explaining how a time travel film is more interesting as a science fiction movie. After persuading Mr. Tanaka, I created the first draft of the script. We provided the draft to Mr. Tanaka, and then he said, “I do not know what science fiction actually is, so you can do what you want, but there is a serious problem in this draft. The problem is that Godzilla doesn’t come out until the middle of the movie.”

What we decided to do was to use Godzillasaurus, the dinosaur that appeared before Godzilla was born, and we created an exciting action scene in which Godzillasaurus fights against the American army in the first half of the film. By creating this scenario, Mr. Tanaka was convinced. Even though it was questionable whether Godzillasaurus was a dinosaur or a kaiju, Mr. [Koichi] Kawakita, the special effects director, did a very good job. He was able to use a dinosaur in a kaiju film.

Back to the Future was quicker with the time travel than we were, but we were faster than Jurassic Park! (laughs) Mr. Tanaka’s philosophy was that, if you have an hour-and-a-half movie, you should have a big fight between kaiju at least every 30 minutes in the movie, which makes the best kaiju movie. So, in the first 30 minutes, you see the Godzillasaurus taking on the American army, the next 30 minutes is Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, and in the last 30 minutes you have Godzilla vs. Mecha-King Ghidorah. So it was as perfectly matched to the producer’s philosophy. Don’t forget about the existence of [Android] M11. I am not sure if it was earlier than The Terminator, but it might have been earlier than Terminator 2! (laughs)

It was the 60th anniversary for Toho. At that time, Toho had three main genres of movies: war, science fiction, and kaiju movies. All these different genres were in this movie, so it was a well-balanced movie, I thought. So, for the 60th anniversary, it was a very worthy movie, which is what the producer and everyone thought. So we had a very [good] balance with the movie itself, and [the battle of] Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, who had been a really strong enemy, is contained in this movie. Thus, it’s my favorite movie. Does that answer the question?

BH: That answers the question and then some! Just to backtrack a little bit, talk about becoming involved in Toho Studios and getting involved in directing Godzilla films.

KO: The producer, Mr. Tanaka, has since passed away, so I do not really know exactly why he took a liking to me. There was a big group of fans in Osaka, so I had known about that. He had a lot of friends in this big group of fans in Osaka, so there was probably a connection there somewhere. We had this big Godzilla revival festival in Osaka, and some of my friends from that fan club had a little bit of power. When Mr. Tanaka came to Osaka, they said, “There‘s nobody else except Mr. Omori who could do this next movie for you.” I think they pushed him a little bit. So he said, “The first movie we do, Biollante, will be produced in Osaka.”

Photo © Brett Homenick.

BH: One question [I have] about Godzilla vs. Biollante concerns the script. Now, as I understand it, the story was actually submitted by a dentist who had won a contest, a story contest. So talk about incorporating that idea into your own screenplay.

KO: After the [1984] remake of Godzilla, Toho sent out word that they wanted new ideas for Godzilla movies, and, because there were a lot of fans, they got tons and tons of different ideas sent to Toho from many people. Among all the entries they had sent in, they had five left over that they were thinking about using. One of them was that spies were going to scramble for the cells of Godzilla, and the other was there was going to be a plant-monster.

Among the five left over, producer Tanaka said, “I like these five. Which one do you prefer?” So we suggested these two, the one that had to do with Godzilla cells and using them for something, and the plant-monster. It was the dentist who brought in the idea of this plant-monster, and this was the one we decided to use. His name is Dr. [Shinichiro] Kobayashi. He’s probably the most well-versed dentist in Japan when it comes to Godzilla! (laughs) Dr. Kobayashi was the one who came up with the idea for Godzilla and Biollante’s teeth. (laughs)

BH: One of the themes in the movie is that of bio[technology], so what was your inspiration to incorporate that kind of theme into this movie?

KO: A lot of this idea came from the producer, Tomoyuki Tanaka. Godzilla himself had come from radioactivity, so what would be the next generation? It had to be something dealing with biotechnology. So we had Biollante in that era because it was the next generation that people would understand a lot easier. I think one other reason Mr. Tanaka wanted me to do this movie is that I am a licensed doctor, so it was a good match for me to do this movie.

BH: One aspect of Japanese movies that I always find fascinating is the inclusion of Western actors. There are several Western actors in this movie, so just talk a little bit about working with them. I believe some of their names are Kurt Cramer and Derrick Holmes, and just say a little bit about working with them.

KO: At the very beginning of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, when you see Emmy and the man from 23rd century who is like a captain inside the submarine looking for King Ghidorah’s remains, we requested the producer to offer Orson Welles to be in the movie. However, we did not have any money, so we decided to ask different actors.

BH: I was asking specifically about Biollante, the ones from there. We will come to King Ghidorah a bit later.

KO: One of the things we tried to get a lot of foreign actors to come to Biollante, but they wanted more money, and we did not have that kind of money to bring a lot of these famous actors. As you may know, the producer believed that most of the money should go into the making of the special effects, so there was not a lot of money put into the casting. When we want to use foreign actors for these movies, we struggled to find them. Because this is a Japanese movie, most of the people who watch it are not just adults but younger people, as well. If there are too many subtitles in it, then they are not going to understand it. Thus, we asked the foreigners to speak some Japanese. When it came to Biollante, some of the foreigners we used in that spoke Japanese. However, as they spoke a lot of Japanese words, some of them were not clear enough for the audience to understand. Thus, we had a hard time finding the right people to fit the roles.

Then we realized from Biollante that we had all these problems, so, when it came to King Ghidorah, we went out of our way to find foreign actors who could speak Japanese that could be understood by the Japanese people. [turns to Robert Scott Field] So he was M11! (laughs)

BH: In Godzilla vs. Biollante, you created the character Miki Saegusa, the psychic. Just talk a little bit about why you decided to create that character, and did you have any intention that she would become a recurring character throughout the series?

KO: Mr. Tanaka was the one who created Godzilla, but I created Miki. It was a concept where you have this big kaiju, and you have this cute girl, who are actually fighting each other. Thus, I thought it was a good conflict. Mr. Tanaka himself thought it was a bad idea at the beginning. He thought, “No, [it must be] kaiju vs. kaiju. You’re not supposed to have this young girl in this movie.”

You may remember from Biollante that they were over the ocean, and she was actually kind of fighting with Godzilla. In my first script, she actually uses her physic powers to raise Godzilla out of the ocean. However, Mr. Tanaka got upset and rejected my idea because he believed this little girl could not easily take on Godzilla and lift him out of the water.

At the beginning, I had no idea that she would be in other movies, but, as Biollante went so well, and she got some popularity, she came to be in some of the other movies. She was also scheduled to be in “Mothra vs. Bagan,” even though it did not become a movie. There is a movie called Carrie, and it was an image like that. I created her by imagining Carrie, [which is also a] Stephen King novel.

BH: Well, the composer for Godzilla vs. Biollante is Koichi Sugiyama, and this is the only Godzilla movie that he scored. So just talk a little bit about working with Mr. Sugiyama and composing the score with him and working with him.

KO: I think he’s a great composer, and at the time he was composing music for games. With his knowledge and experience in game music, I thought he could bring a new flavor of fantastic music that would probably go well with the Godzilla genre. As you see in the James Bond films, the theme [music] is basically the same, but the music changes in every movie, and it was my thought of doing that, as well. Being different from Akira Ifukube, who was the one who always did the music for Godzilla movies, I think Mr. Sugiyama is a great composer because he and I could work very well. Mr. Tanaka also wanted to make Godzilla more of a Hollywood movie where maybe Americans or people from other countries would like it, too, and the music up until then had been very Japanese. So bringing in this new type of music would probably make it easier for the Americans and other foreign countries to like Godzilla and the movie itself.

BH: Let’s switch gears for a little bit and talk about Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Now you have already spoken a little bit about it, but just talk a little bit more in detail about writing the script and incorporating the ideas Mr. Tanaka wanted.

KO: I pretty much said everything about the process about that. [pause] I think, in the movie, one of the newest concepts was Mecha-King Ghidorah. There was Mechanikong as a counterpart to King Kong, and there was Mechagodzilla as a counterpart to Godzilla. That is why we thought it was natural that there could be a Mecha-King Ghidorah. But the whole process was a lot of fun and interesting, I think.

BH: As with Biollante, there was also a sizable gaijin [foreigner] cast. There were several people like Kent Gilbert, Chuck Wilson, Richard Berger, and a certain chap named Robert Scott Field, and as I say, I am always very interested to learn how it is to work with a foreign cast, so I’d like you to talk a little bit about working with those gaijin.

KO: Working with the foreigners in this movie was a lot of fun and easy in the sense that all of the foreigners in the movie were also Godzilla fans.

BH: One of the veterans that you worked with was Yoshio Tsuchiya, and he is a legendary actor. Just say a little bit about working with him.

KO: The most important scene probably in the movie is where a tear comes to Godzilla’s eye when he’s facing this human being. I think there are very few who could play a role opposite a tearful Godzilla. In the case of the first Godzilla, some of the famous actors, such as Akira Takarada and Akihiko Hirata, would have a chance to be in this, as well. Akihiko Hirata, who played Dr. Serizawa, was one of the famous actors, and, before Biollante, we wanted to work together.

But he passed away before Biollante was in the process of being made, so we were not able to work with him. By the way, in Biollante, I wanted him to play the role of the prime minster of Japan. But, because he had passed away, I found someone of equal quality to play that part. So I asked Yoshiko Kuga, the widow of Mr. Hirata, to play the role, and she fully agreed to play it. But Mr. Tanaka said, “Having a woman is not suitable for the role of the prime minister.” Eventually, I asked her to play the role of the chief cabinet secretary.

Because Mr. Hirata had passed away, we thought, who could act opposite a tearful Godzilla? Mr. Tsuchiya was the only one we could think of who was worthy of that role. If you know of Mr. Tsuchiya’s background, he has only been in Mr. [Akira] Kurosawa’s movies or in kaiju movies, so everybody knows him from these two genres. So, when we brought this to Mr. Tsuchiya and said, “We would like you to play this role,” he said, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this role.” I personally think we found the right actor, and we have Godzilla crying in the face of this human being. I think of all the movies in the Godzilla series, this has to be the best scene, in my personal opinion. But Mr. Tanaka said, “Why is Godzilla crying?!” (laughs)

BH: Another legendary person who worked on the film is Akira Ifukube, the composer. You talked about working with Mr. Sugiyama, but now say a little bit about working with Mr. Ifukube on this film.

KO: He passed away this year. While working with him, he was fond of kaiju movies. It was a great honor to work with him. He came many, many times to see the movie in the process of being made. The first time I saw him, I thought he was very a diligent person because he would always come to see what was going on. As the days went by, he kept coming to watch, and I think it’s just because he likes Godzilla. One thing about the music, he would not just make the music, but he would tell us the exact reason for each note or whatever else in detail. He would tell us, “This is why I’m doing this. This is why I’m doing that.” So he goes into a lot of detail about what he’s doing with his music.

One of the most impressive things I remember about him was not for the music, but, as you edit the scenes, you start to cut out certain pieces, but it has nothing to do with the music. However, I remember this one part in the movie where it is said you can’t have [two identical people] in the same time and space at the same time, or else one of them will disappear. I had cut that scene out originally, but Mr. Ifukube came up to me and said, “Why did you cut that out? It was perfect with it in it. You need to put it back in.” It was the first experience I had ever had of a composer telling me to put something back in!

He was a very diligent composer, and the first thing he usually did was get this whole group of musicians together and start conducting them. He brought all these musicians to Toho Studios to do this, and it apparently had been many, many years since they had a whole orchestra there at Toho. There were more staff members in the studio to watch them perform the music than there were musicians because the staff wanted to see and listen to the orchestra’s performance. So they got all the instruments together, and he was standing at the podium ready to go.

He said, “Let’s practice a little bit to see if we can get the right sound.” These were all different musicians, and they may have done some kaiju music before, but they were there for the same reason, and none of them had ever done it before. Without any practice at all, they started in [with the Godzilla theme music]. I cannot forget the expression on Mr. Ifukube’s face at the time when he saw the people start to play it at the very beginning.

Being the composer, once you have got the music all set up and ready to go, you don’t have to come anymore, but he came every day. We would start filming every day at about 10:00 a.m., and he always came exactly at 1:00 p.m. and stayed until the end. So he’d come at 1:00 p.m. on the first and second day, and we were always starting at 10:00. But he’d come at 1:00 p.m. every day, so then we started filming at 1:00 p.m., to keep pace with him. We were very pleased to work with him, and he was satisfied with his music in the kaiju movies, especially with his music when Godzilla appears. So maybe that is one of the reasons he came every day. I think, without a doubt, all over the world, anyone who knows Godzilla movies will know this music. He has got to be in the top three as far as composers go in this genre.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

BH: One last question about King Ghidorah: Of course, this movie made waves in the West as being anti-American. So I just wanted you to address the real situation behind that, just to put to rest all the rumors.

KO: Just to put you at ease, I am not anti-American. (laughs) I love American movies, and I have always watched American movies since my childhood. I just wanted to make a movie with American army people in it, and, to put the rumors to rest, I am not anti-American. I love American war movies, but, looking at all the ones I have watched over the years, Americans never lose. So I thought they should lose at least once! [to the audience] Why don’t the Americans ever lose? (laughs)

BH: Just to talk about Godzilla vs. Mothra, the screenplay that you wrote, talk about what led to that movie and talk about writing the screenplay.

KO: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah did very well at the box office in Japan and became very popular quickly. Up until then, it had been every two years they were making a new Godzilla movie, and, because it had done so well, they wanted to make another movie the next year. Because I was personally too busy to be the director of the movie, that is why they asked me to write the script.

One good thing was that I had the screenplay of “Mothra vs. Bagan,” the movie that never came to be, and I thought that would be a shortcut to help me write the script fast enough, even though I was busy with filming these other projects. It took almost two years to do the Godzilla vs. Biollante script, and it took about a year for the Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah script, but, for Mothra, it took three months! (laughs) But that is because it took me a year to get the “Mothra vs. Bagan” script together, so that probably helped. (laughs)   

BH: Now after Godzilla vs. Mothra came out, you took a little bit of a hiatus, and [you were not] involved in the next two films. Can you talk about why that was?

KO: Since I thought that Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah was a perfect movie, and after we did Mothra, I thought it was a little bit less than what I had done with King Ghidorah, so I just wanted to back away from it for a little while until a new opportunity came.

BH: Now, when it comes to Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), I have read that you only agreed to do that [because] your home was destroyed in the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Is there [any] truth to that?

KO: The timing’s a little bit different. In 1994, at about the end of December, they brought the idea of Destoroyah to me. At the time, they did not have any real ideas for Godzilla. They just wanted to make a new movie. Another producer named [Shogo] Tomiyama brought the idea of bringing something in like a Godzilla Predator that could disappear, Ghost Godzilla. So, even though they brought that idea to me, I had no idea what they were talking about, and I thought that type of Godzilla was strange. After Ghost Godzilla, the next idea they brought to me was that Godzilla would die.

In December 1994, they brought the idea to me. I thought it was quite an interesting idea and a challenge to kill Godzilla and thought about how to do it. Then I took the offer in December 1994.

By the end of December, we had finished thinking of the contents of Destoroyah, and, on January 10th, 1995, we had the last pre-production meeting before the making of Destoroyah in Tokyo. On my way back home, which is in in Kobe, the earthquake happened. We decided on the name Destoroyah in the last meeting. So maybe that had something to do with the earthquake! Then it became Destoroyah.

BH: One thing I wanted to ask about was, I read an interesting review of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and it talked about the theme of infanticide, about Miki sending Godzilla Junior off to die, and that was a theme of the film. I just wanted to ask you about that.

KO: I have not read that article myself, but, during the middle of production, we thought about doing something like that, but we thought it would be too tragic for the audience to see. So it was contained it in the screenplay, but it was not put into the film. On the other hand, because this was the last movie Miki was in, we were thinking about having her die. We were thinking about having her killed off, but we thought that we would bring her back sometime, so we did not do that.

BH: Well, my final question would be concerning working with the director Takao Okawara, and, in the same review, you were reportedly upset by the changes that were made to the script onsite by Mr. Kawakita and Mr. Okawara. Whether or not that is true, talk a little about your working relationship with Mr. Okawara. 

KO: I do not remember exactly what it was, but there was one line in my script that they apparently took out, but that was the only thing I remember being upset about. It was only one point. It was something to the effect of: “This is the era in which Destoroyah was born from the Oxygen Destroyer, and this is the era in which monsters are born from nuclear energy.” Then the main character says, “It is the era in which we live!” That was the original story of this movie.

I thought it was a very important line to have in the movie, but apparently the director did not. That was the only thing I remember being frustrated about. There are probably a lot of people who could get mad like that because their scripts were changed, but I have been a director myself, so it is no big deal. It is not worth getting that mad over, so I never really got mad over anything too much. On the other hand, it might be fun to see the guy who writes the script and the director fight with each other! (laughs)

On the inspiration for using a dinosaur in King Ghidorah.

KO: It’s a true story, and it’s even contained in the film, that there was an article in the newspaper that something that looked like the remains of a plesiosaur was caught by a Japanese ship near a South Seas island in 19[77]. It is even said in the movie, “If the remains of a plesiosaur were found there, it would be natural that the remains of a tyrannosaur could be around the island, too.” This is the real story behind it. Every so often, I asked the same type of questions to producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. For example, I would ask him if Godzilla had any veins in his body. Mr. Tanaka would answer, “That is mysterious.”

Did children really draw the pictures of Godzilla in Biollante?

KO: That is a very good question. I did not know the answer until I got there that day, and there were all these drawings. Since those drawings were impressive, I asked the person in charge of the art, “How did you make these drawings?” He answered that he asked all the art staff members in the studio to draw pictures and then gathered all the drawings they made. So it was not actually children. They picked out the best ones to use in the movie, and they gave the person who drew the best picture a prize.

On the changes he made to King Ghidorah.

KO: How can I say it? I can only say a very abstract thing. When I was 12 years old, I watched King Ghidorah on the screen for the first time [in 1964’s Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster]. At that time, King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) had been released. Although I was a boy, I wondered what kind of monster Godzilla would fight next. When I heard the story that the monster would have much more power than Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra, and that they needed to combine their powers to fight that monster, I wondered what the monster looked like.

Through this movie, I wanted to express the image that an incredibly strong monster has appeared, which the audience could feel when they watch the movie. Director Kawakita was probably an assistant director [of special effects] at the time. He might have had a similar image as I did. He said that he was also surprised at the outcome of how King Ghidorah looked in this movie.

There is a famous myth in Japan called Yamata no Orochi that is a kind of snake with [eight] heads, and this snake has appeared in many traditional Japanese stories. The concept of King Ghidorah probably comes from that. Yamata no Orochi has been in a number of movies in Japan, including Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994), Princess from the Moon (1987), and The Three Treasures (1959). In a sense, Biollante also had that image, too, but it had too many heads to recognize that behavior. Maybe we overdid it.

On the controversy of killing Godzilla in Destoroyah.

KO: The Japanese Godzilla fans are smart, so they probably thought that he would be brought back in some way in the future. Anyway, the fans would be interested in the way the story of the death of Godzilla would be connected to the next [Godzilla movie]. They found that Godzilla Junior would be in the next story when he appeared in the movie. I thought the idea of Godzilla’s dying was remarkable. At the beginning of the movie, when he appeared, Godzilla came out red while melting down before he dies. I thought the red [Burning] Godzilla was a different visual type of Godzilla, so I think a lot of fans enjoyed seeing this new type of Godzilla.

On Android M11.

KO: It was my mistake! (laughs) Even now, I still regret that I didn’t create M11 more carefully. I made his running [scenes] very roughly. I wish I could have thought of the idea of M11 in [more] detail. This was probably the last Godzilla movie that we only used analog [effects] before CGI technology was introduced. At that time, we did not have digital technology. If we had had digital technology, I think we could have made him run in a variety of ways. However, we did not have any CGI to use at the time, so it was almost as good as we could have done with analog technology. I would like to create a new version in a Godzilla movie with digital [effects].

On using Emmy and Android M11 as spin-off characters in other films.

KO: There were no plans! (laughs) Of course, we would want to make it if there is an opportunity. M11 and Emmy are too old, so it would be too late to use them as actors. (laughs)

On studying time travel before writing the King Ghidorah script and whether time travel is a real phenomenon.

KO: As for me, I’ve enjoyed watching movies since I was young. Before Back to the Future was released, I had watched many movies, and George Pal’s The Time Machine is my favorite. Although I did not do much research into time machines, I had seen a large amount of time travel movies. A year before we made Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, we made another movie called Mangetsu: Mr. Moonlight (1991). The story was about a samurai who time-slips more than 200 years to the present and falls in love with a schoolteacher. I do not know whether it is possible or not, but I think it is impossible. This type of phenomenon is only possible in the movies. That is why movies can provide people with dreams. Do you know the movie The Final Countdown? I enjoyed watching it. It’s about an aircraft carrier in World War II that time-slips.

Was there a message about pollution in King Ghidorah?

KO: One of the messages I have in the movie is that Godzilla could be born anywhere in the world if nuclear pollution continues to be spread all over the world.

What were the movies you enjoyed growing up?

KO: My favorite movie is The Great Escape. I also love 007. There was an American TV series called The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo [played by Robert Vaughn] had the code number 0011. Maybe that is where the 11 in M11 came from. (laughs)

On using the Gotengo in Super Fleet Sazer-X the Movie (2005).

KO: With regard to Sazer X, this is the first movie that director Kawakita and I did together in a long time. The story is that robot kaiju and suit heroes that appeared in the TV series are fighting. Director Kawakita told me that he wanted to use the Gotengo, so I was surprised. As I heard the details, we did not have enough budget to make something new. On the other hand, there was an old Gotengo [with the original design] that had never been used in a movie. The new Gotengo [with the updated design] appeared in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), but this old Gotengo had not been used. Please keep it a secret. (laughs) We used that old Gotengo in the movie we made.

Why did you write Android M11 to speak so much English?

KO: It’s probably because he is better at English than Japanese! (laughs) Unfortunately, the Japanese tend to see people who speak English as people from the future.

On killing Godzilla in Destoroyah.

KO: I asked many questions of Tomoyuki Tanaka about whether Godzilla has veins or arteries. But he would only say, “That is mysterious.” That is why we could not kill Godzilla off in a medical way.

On Bagan.

KO: This is something that Mr. Tanaka personally wanted to see come to fruition. In an old Chinese book, the story was that it looked like a mountain, but it was a kaiju. When it does not move, it looks like a rock. However, it turns into a kaiju once it moves. It may be a kaiju that can transform. Mr. Tanaka was interested in kaiju that could change shape. That is why he liked Mothra. She can change from a young larva to an adult. Biollante also transformed from its [original] shape to its adult form. That was producer Tanaka’s philosophy for entertainment toward kaiju. I think it would have been a Chinese version of a kaiju.

On whether “Mothra vs. Bagan” influenced the creation of Battra in Godzilla vs. Mothra.

KO: I cannot exactly recall the story, but a bad Mothra might have appeared in “Mothra vs. Bagan.” I am not impressed with the main character. I never expected to be asked so many questions about the films I created. I need to understand my movies more deeply.


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