The title of Godzilla Minus One has 2 meanings and this is their explanation

The title of Godzilla Minus One has 2 meanings and

The monster lizard Godzilla has been causing havoc since the 1950s, usually with descriptive film titles that are more reminiscent of market criers than poets. Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla, Godzilla and the prehistoric caterpillars… you get the idea.

The film legend’s latest Japanese cinema appearance, however, is out of the ordinary. Godzilla Minus One, which is currently streaming on Netflix, has a rather abstract title. Who wants to do math exercises when a nuclear beast is trampling Tokyo? So that you can fully concentrate on the orgy of destruction, we explain the meaning(s) of the title of Godzilla Minus One.

This Godzilla jumps into the past

Another unusual element: Godzilla Minus One is a period piece, meaning the film is set in the past, whereas the series usually tends towards the present or future. The film begins in 1945 during World War II, when kamikaze pilot Koichi (Ryunosuke Kamiki) narrowly survives an attack by a dinosaur-like creature. After the war, consumed by guilt and shame, he returns to Tokyo, which has been destroyed by firebombs. But while Koichi tentatively builds a new life for himself, Godzilla grows to unimaginable size thanks to the US’s atomic bomb tests in Bikini Atoll.

Godzilla Minus One Explained: The 1st Meaning of the Title

Godzilla Minus One or Godzilla Minus One refers to the Situation in Japan after World War II. The Empire had triggered the Pacific War by invading Southeast Asia and attacking Pearl Harbor. As a result, Japan was bombed extensively. The most famous of these was the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the USA in August 1945. However, the ruins we see in Godzilla Minus One are a replica of Tokyo.

The trailer for the film:

Godzilla Minus One – Trailer (German) HD

The capital was the target of the most devastating air raid during World War II and in the film represents a country that is devastated after the war. This Japan is the starting point of the equation in the title, as director Takashi Yamazaki explained at a press conference:

The largest [Bedeutung] is how people rise from a post-war Japan that is at zero point, and then Godzilla comes and makes the situation even worse and more tragic

So the title of Godzilla Minus One means that Japan is in year zero and Godzilla’s attack pushes it back even further. 0 becomes -1.

The 2nd meaning of the title and its role in the franchise explained

The other, 2nd interpretation of the film title is less complex and was confirmed by Takashi Yamazaki:

The film takes place before the time of the original Godzillaso in this sense it is also a ‘minus one’.

Godzilla by Ishiro Honda was released in Japanese cinemas in 1954 and was the first cinematic appearance of the atomic lizard. The original film is also set in the 1950s. In contrast, the action of Minus One takes place between 1945 and 1947. The film is not a pure prequel, i.e. a backstory, as it introduces an attack on Tokyo shortly after the war, which was not part of the plot of the original.


Kōichi has to witness the renewed destruction of Tokyo

According to director Takashi Yamazaki, the meaning of the film title can be taken even further:

It is also a ‘minus one’ in the sense of a start – a retreat [der es einem ermöglicht]to get back on their feet in the face of difficult times. It can also be a ‘minus one’ when you lose something, and I hope that people feel the different meanings in this film when they see it.

Godzilla Minus One is currently streaming via Netflix subscription. You can buy and rent the masterful and still worth seeing original by Ishiro Honda on Amazon.