It's Godzilla! Alongside Hello Kitty and Pikachu, Godzilla is easily one of the most iconic characters from Japanese pop culture. Featuring graphic prints of the terrifying monster, Godzilla is a serious legend. The towering creature has been scaring audiences ever since Ishiro Honda's first Godzilla film, originally released in 1954. The mysterious figure has been referenced dozens of times throughout pop culture, launching an entire franchise devoted to Godzilla. Since 1954, there have been over twenty five related films produced by Toho, and two additional Hollywood films. Godzilla fever is real—there have been video games, comic books and television shows related to the character. The name Godzilla derives from two Japanese words, gorira, or gorilla, and kujira, which means whale. The creature is described as a long dormant monster from the sea, freshly awakened by nuclear radiation.
The creature's design is inspired by real-life dinosaurs, like a combination of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Stegosaurus, with elements from an Iguanodon and an alligator. The gigantic reptile stands upright, a long tail and a set of fins along the ridge of its back. Godzilla is known for it's chilling roar, which is described in the comics as "Skreeeonk!". To date, Godzilla has been noted in the Guinness World Records for being the longest running movie franchise. The original 1954 film is considered a classic, and Ishiro Honda's Godzilla has been cited as being a huge influence for monster movies ever since. Since 2016, Toho Studios has created 29 Godzilla films, with additional versions planned for future release. Two American films featuring Godzilla have been created. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the first American made Godzilla was released in 1998. Director Gareth Edwards was at the helm of the 2014 reboot of Godzilla. Edwards also filmed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone Star Wars film. Godzilla is one of those timeless franchises that seems to be never ending. In the next years to come, we've got Godzilla: King of Monsters set for 2019 and an epic showdown between Godzilla vs. Kong for 2020 release.