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Godzilla (franchise)

The Godzilla (ゴジラ, Gojira) franchise is a Japanese media franchise created and owned by Toho, centered on the fictional kaiju character Godzilla. It is recognized by Guinness World Records to be the longest continuously running movie franchise, having been in ongoing production from 1954 to the present day, with several hiatuses of varying lengths.[1] The film franchise consists of 35 films, 32 produced by Toho and three Hollywood films.

Godzilla (franchise)
Gojira 1954 Japanese poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster for Godzilla (1954).
No. of films35
Years active1954–present
Main characterGodzilla
First filmGodzilla (1954)
Latest filmGodzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Science fiction
United States

The first film, Godzilla, was directed by Ishirō Honda and released by Toho in 1954 and became an influential classic of the genre. It featured political and social undertones relevant to Japan at the time. The original introduced an acclaimed music score by Akira Ifukube, which was reused in many of the later films. The original also introduced the work of special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya, who used miniatures and "suitmation" to convey the large scale of the monster and its destruction. For its North American release, the film was reworked as an adaptation and released in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. The adaptation featured new footage with Raymond Burr edited together with the original Japanese footage.

Toho was inspired to make the original Godzilla after the commercial success of the 1952 re-release of King Kong and the success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). The success of the Godzilla series itself would go on to inspire other monster films worldwide. The popularity of the films has led to the franchise expanding to other media, such as television, music, literature and video games. Godzilla has been one of the most recognizable symbols in Japanese pop culture worldwide, remains a well-known facet of Japanese films and was one of the first examples of the popular kaiju and tokusatsu subgenres in Japanese entertainment.

The tone and themes vary per film. Several of the films have political themes, others have dark tones, complex internal mythology, or are simple action movies featuring aliens or other monsters, while others have simpler themes accessible to children.[2] Godzilla's role varies from purely a destructive force to an ally of humans, or a protector of Japanese values, or a hero to children. The name Godzilla is a romanization of the original Japanese name Gojira—which is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ), "gorilla", and kujira (クジラ), "whale". The word alludes to the size, power and aquatic origin of Godzilla. As developed by Toho, the monster is an offshoot of the combination of radioactivity and ancient dinosaur-like creatures, indestructible and possessing special powers (see Godzilla characteristics).


The Godzilla film series is broken into several (different) eras reflecting a characteristic style and corresponding to the same eras used to classify all kaiju eiga (monster movies) in Japan. The first two eras refer to the Japanese emperor during production: the Shōwa era and the Heisei era. The third is called the Millennium era as the emperor (Heisei) is the same but these films are considered to have a different style and storyline than the Heisei era.

Over the series history, the films have reflected the social and political climate in Japan.[3] In the original film, Godzilla was an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on Earth.[4][5][6][7] The radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon No. 5 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.[8] The Heisei and Millennium series have largely continued this concept.

Shōwa era (1954–1975)Edit

Every film incarnation of Godzilla between 1954–2017

The initial series of movies is named for the Shōwa period in Japan (as all of these films were produced before the "Shōwa Emperor" Hirohito's death in 1989).[9] This Shōwa timeline spanned from 1954, with Godzilla, to 1975, with Terror of Mechagodzilla. With the exceptions of Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Destroy all Monsters, and Terror of Mechagodzilla, much of the Shōwa series monster-action was intentionally made comical and laughable for children, with Godzilla frequently engaged in clownish slapstick wrestling with other monsters. Starting with Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla began evolving into a friendlier, more playful antihero (this transition was complete by Son of Godzilla, where Godzilla is depicted as a more virtuous character) and, as years went by, it evolved into an anthropomorphic superhero.

Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster was also significant for introducing Godzilla's archenemy and the main antagonist of the film series, King Ghidorah. The films Son of Godzilla and All Monsters Attack were aimed at youthful audiences, featuring the appearance of Godzilla's son, Minilla. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was notable for introducing Godzilla's robot duplicate and the secondary antagonist of the film series, Mechagodzilla. The Shōwa period loosely tied in to a number of Toho-produced films in which Godzilla himself did not appear and consequently saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, three of which (Rodan, Mothra and Varan) originated in their own solo movies and another five (Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Gorosaurus and Baragon) appeared in their first films as either antagonistic or secondary characters.

Haruo Nakajima mainly portrayed Godzilla since 1954 until his retirement in 1972. However, other stunt actors have portrayed the character in his absence, such as Katsumi Tezuka, Yū Sekida, Ryosaku Takasugi, Seiji Onaka, Shinji Takagi, Isao Zushi, and Toru Kawai.[10][11] Eiji Tsuburaya directed the special effects for the first six films of the series. His protege Sadamasa Arikawa took over the effects work for the next three films (with Tsuburaya supervising), while Teruyoshi Nakano directed the special effects for the last six films of the series. The Criterion Collection released the Shōwa era films as part of a Blu-ray box set in the United States and Canada on October 29, 2019.[12]

Heisei era (1984–1995)Edit

Toho rebooted the series in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla, starting the second era of Godzilla films, known as the Heisei series.[13] The Return of Godzilla serves as a direct sequel to the original 1954 film and ignores the subsequent events of the Showa era. The Return of Godzilla was released in 1984, five years before the new Emperor, but is considered part of this era, as it is a direct predecessor to Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), which came out in the first year of the new Emperor's reign.[14]

The Heisei films are set in a single timeline, with each film providing continuity to the other films, and brings Godzilla back as a destructive force of nature that is feared by humans.[13] The biological nature and science behind Godzilla became a much more discussed issue in the films, showing the increased focus on the moral aspects of genetics. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah gave the first concrete birth story for Godzilla, featuring a dinosaur named Godzillasaurus that was mutated by nuclear radiation into Godzilla. Godzilla was portrayed by Kenpachiro Satsuma for the Heisei films while the special effects were directed by Koichi Kawakita, with the exception of The Return of Godzilla, for which the effects were directed by Teruyoshi Nakano.

Millennium era (1999–2004)Edit

Toho rebooted the franchise for a second time with the 1999 film Godzilla 2000: Millennium starting the third era of Godzilla films, known as the Millennium series.[15] The Millennium series is treated similarly to an anthology series where each film is a standalone story, with the 1954 film serving as the only previous point of reference. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. are the only films in the series to share continuity with each other, which in turn share continuity with Mothra and The War of the Gargantuas (films that were produced in the Showa era).

After the release of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho decided to put the series on hiatus for another 10 years. Toho also demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla, kaiju and tokusatsu films.[16] Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah, secured the rights from Toho to make an IMAX 3D short film production, based on a story similar to his Hedorah film. This project eventually led to the development of Legendary's Godzilla.

Tsutomu Kitagawa portrayed Godzilla for the majority of the Millennium films, with the exception of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in which Godzilla was portrayed by Mizuho Yoshida. Unlike the Showa and later Heisei films, the special effects for the Millennium films were directed by multiple effects directors such as Kenji Suzuki (Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), Makoto Kamiya (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack), Yuichi Kikuchi (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), and Eiichi Asada (Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Godzilla: Final Wars).

Reiwa era (2016–present)Edit

The Reiwa iterations of Godzilla

In December 2014, Toho announced plans for a new Godzilla film of their own for a 2016 release.[17] The film is intended to be Toho's own reboot of the Godzilla franchise and is co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi (both who collaborated on the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion), with the screenplay written by Anno and the special effects directed by Higuchi.[18][19][20] Principal photography began on September and ended in October with the special effects work following in November that year.[21][22] Shin Godzilla was released in Japan on July 29, 2016 in IMAX, 4DX, and MX4D to positive reviews and was a box office success.[23]

In August 2016, Toho announced plans for a trilogy of anime Godzilla films with Polygon Pictures animating the films and Netflix distributing the trilogy worldwide, except in Japan where each film will be given a theatrical release by Toho.[24][25] The first film, titled Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, was released on November 17, 2017.[26] The second film, titled Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, was released on May 18, 2018.[27] The third and final film in the trilogy, titled Godzilla: The Planet Eater, was released on November 9, 2018.[28]

In January 2018, Toho announced its plans to invest ¥15 billion (US$135 million) for the next three years beginning in 2019 to co-produce content with Hollywood and Chinese studios who have licensed Toho's properties, such as Godzilla, Your Name and Pokémon. Toho will invest 25% in production costs and will earn a higher share in revenue and manage creators rights, so their creative input will be shown in each work.[29]

In May 2018, Toho's Chief Godzilla Officer Keiji Ota revealed that a sequel to Shin Godzilla will not happen, but revealed plans for a "World of Godzilla", a shared cinematic universe between Godzilla and other Toho monsters after 2021. Ota cited the Marvel Cinematic Universe as an influence, with plans to release a new film every one to two years.[30] Ota stated:

"After 2021, we’re thinking of a potential strategy that [releases] Godzilla movies uninterrupted at a rate of every two years, although there is a preference for a yearly pace as well. The future of the series and its forwarding developments are very conscious of the method of "shared universe". Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, etc. could all share a single world view much like a Marvel movie where Iron Man and the Hulk can crossover with each other. It is said that each movie can be a possible film production where any one of them could lead a film of their own as the titular character." – Keiji Ota, translated from Nikkei style.[30][31]

In 2019, Toho invested ¥15.4 billion (US$140 million) into their Los Angeles-based subsidiary Toho International Inc. as part of their "Toho Vision 2021 Medium-term Management Strategy", a strategy to increase content, platform, real-estate, surpass ¥50 billion in profits, and increase character businesses on Toho intellectual properties such as Godzilla. Hiroyasu Matsuoka was named the representative director of the project.[32] In 2019, Toho launched the first official English website and the first official English Twitter and Instagram for the franchise.[33][34]

In June 2019, Toho revealed plans to present the Toho Godzilla at the San Diego Comic-Con for the first time to commemorate the franchise's 65th anniversary, as well as being part of their plan to expand the franchise in the United States.[35] At the San Diego Comic-Con, Akito Takahashi, the project manager of Toho's Godzilla Strategic Conference, revealed Toho's intentions to have the Toho and Legendary Godzilla films expand together. He also revealed that the option to reintroduce political themes and old or new monsters would be available to filmmakers, should they choose to pursue it. Akito also expressed interest in re-introducing Mechagodzilla and Jet Jaguar in the future.[36][37]

Hollywood productionsEdit

Storyboard by William Stout for Steve Miner's unproduced 3D Godzilla film

In the 1980s, filmmaker Steve Miner pitched his idea for an American 3D production of Godzilla to Toho, with storyboards by William Stout and a script written by Fred Dekker, titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3D, which featured Godzilla destroying San Francisco in an attempt to find its only offspring.[38] Various studios and producers showed interest in the project, but passed it over due to high budget concerns.[39] The film would have featured a full scale animatronic Godzilla head built by Rick Baker, stop motion animation executed by David W. Allen, an articulated stop motion Godzilla figure created by Stephen Czerkas, and additional storyboards by Doug Wildey. The production design would have been overseen by William Stout.[40][41]

TriStar Pictures (1998–2000)Edit

TriStar's Godzilla in Godzilla (1998)

In October 1992, TriStar Pictures acquired the rights from Toho with plans to produce a trilogy.[42] Director Jan de Bont and writers Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott developed a script that had Godzilla battling a shape-shifting alien called "the Gryphon". De Bont later left the project after budget disagreements with the studio.[43] Roland Emmerich was hired to direct and co-write a new script with producer Dean Devlin.

Godzilla was released on May 20, 1998 to negative reviews from critics and fans[44][45] and was a box office success, grossing $136 million domestically and $379 million worldwide,[46] however, it was considered a box office disappointment.[47][48] Two planned sequel films were cancelled and an animated TV series was produced instead.[49] TriStar let the license expire in 2003. In 2004, Toho began trademarking new iterations of TriStar's Godzilla as "Zilla", with only the incarnations from the 1998 film and animated show retaining the Godzilla copyright/trademark.[45][50]

Legendary Pictures (2014–present)Edit

Legendary's Godzilla in Godzilla (2014)

In 2004, director Yoshimitsu Banno acquired permission from Toho to produce a short IMAX Godzilla film. In 2009, the project was turned over to Legendary Pictures to be redeveloped as a feature film reboot.[51][52][53] Announced in March 2010, the film was co-produced with Warner Bros. Pictures and was directed by Gareth Edwards.[54][55]

Godzilla was released on May 16, 2014 to positive reviews from critics and fans[56][57] and was a box office success, grossing $200 million domestically and $524.9 million worldwide.[58] The film's success prompted Toho to produce a reboot of their own and Legendary to proceed with sequels and a shared cinematic franchise,[59] with Godzilla: King of the Monsters released on May 31, 2019,[60] and Godzilla vs. Kong set to be released on March 13, 2020.[61]


From 1954 through 2019, there have been 32 Godzilla films produced by Toho in Japan. There have been three Hollywood productions: Godzilla (1998) produced by TriStar Pictures, and Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) produced by Legendary Entertainment in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures.

Toho productionsEdit

# Title Year Director(s) Effects director Monster co-star(s) Current U.S. licenses
Shōwa era (1954–1975)


1954 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya None The Criterion Collection[a]

Godzilla Raids Again

1955 Motoyoshi Oda Anguirus
3 King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962 Ishirō Honda King Kong, Oodako[66] Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The Criterion Collection[12]

Mothra vs. Godzilla

1964 Mothra The Criterion Collection[12]

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra

Invasion of Astro-Monster

1965 King Ghidorah, Rodan

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

1966 Jun Fukuda Sadamasa Arikawa Ebirah, Mothra, Ookondoru[66]
8 Son of Godzilla 1967 Minilla, Kumonga, Kamacuras
9 Destroy All Monsters 1968 Ishirō Honda King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra, Anguirus, Minilla, Kumonga, Manda, Gorosaurus, Baragon, Varan

All Monsters Attack

1969 Ishirō Honda Gabara, Minilla

Godzilla vs. Hedorah

1971 Yoshimitsu Banno Teruyoshi Nakano Hedorah

Godzilla vs. Gigan

1972 Jun Fukuda Gigan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus
13 Godzilla vs. Megalon 1973 Megalon, Jet Jaguar, Gigan, Anguirus, Rodan

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

1974 Mechagodzilla, King Caesar, Anguirus

Terror of Mechagodzilla

1975 Ishirō Honda Mechagodzilla 2, Titanosaurus
Heisei era (1984–1995)

The Return of Godzilla

1984 Koji Hashimoto Teruyoshi Nakano Giant Sea Lice[67] Kraken Releasing
17 Godzilla vs. Biollante 1989 Kazuki Ōmori Koichi Kawakita Biollante Miramax
18 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah 1991 King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Dorats, Godzillasaurus Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Godzilla vs. Mothra

1992 Takao Okawara Mothra, Battra

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

1993 Mechagodzilla, Super Mechagodzilla, Rodan, Fire Rodan, Baby Godzilla
21 Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla 1994 Kensho Yamashita SpaceGodzilla, Moguera, Fairy Mothra, Little Godzilla

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

1995 Takao Okawara Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior
Millennium era (1999–2004)

Godzilla 2000: Millennium

1999 Takao Okawara Kenji Suzuki Orga, Millennian Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

2000 Masaaki Tezuka Megaguirus, Meganulon, Meganula

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

2001 Shusuke Kaneko Makoto Kamiya King Ghidorah, Mothra, Baragon

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

2002 Masaaki Tezuka Yûichi Kikuchi Mechagodzilla

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

2003 Eiichi Asada Mechagodzilla, Mothra, Kamoebas
28 Godzilla: Final Wars 2004 Ryuhei Kitamura Monster X, Keizer Ghidorah, Zilla, Rodan, Mothra, Gigan, King Caesar, Anguirus, Minilla, Kumonga, Kamacuras, Manda, Hedorah, Ebirah
Reiwa era (2016–present)[b]

Shin Godzilla

2016 Hideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi
Shinji Higuchi None Funimation[c]

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters

2017 Kōbun Shizuno
Hiroyuki Seshita
N/A Servum, Dogora, Dagahra, Orga, Kamacuras, Anguirus, Rodan, Mechagodzilla Netflix
31 Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle 2018 Mechagodzilla City, Servum, Vulture
32 Godzilla: The Planet Eater King Ghidorah, Mothra, Servum

Hollywood productionsEdit

# Title Year Director(s) Effects director Monster co-star(s) Current U.S. licenses
TriStar Pictures (1998)
1 Godzilla 1998 Roland Emmerich Volker Engel Baby Godzillas Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Legendary Pictures / MonsterVerse (2014–present)
2 Godzilla 2014 Gareth Edwards Jim Rygiel MUTO (male and female) Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
3 Godzilla: King of the Monsters 2019 Michael Dougherty Guillaume Rocheron King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan, King Kong (archival footage), Female MUTO, Behemoth, Methuselah, Scylla[70]
4 Godzilla vs. Kong 2020 Adam Wingard John “DJ” DesJardin King Kong

Guest appearancesEdit

In 2007, a CGI Godzilla appeared in the Toho slice of life movie Always Zoku Sanchōme no Yūhi (Always: Sunset on Third Street 2). In an imaginary sequence, Godzilla destroys part of 1959 Tokyo, with one of the main protagonists getting angry that Godzilla damaged his car showroom. The making of the sequence was kept a secret. Godzilla has been referenced in, and has briefly appeared in, several other films.[71][72] Godzilla guest starred in the show Crayon Shin-chan as an antagonist.[73] Godzilla also appears in cave paintings (alongside Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah) in a post-credits scene in Kong: Skull Island.

Foreign adaptationsEdit

In 1956, Jewell Enterprises Inc., licensed Godzilla and produced an "Americanized"[d] version of the film called Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. The film utilized a majority of the footage from the Japanese original, but a majority of the political themes and social commentaries were removed, resulting in 30 minutes of footage from the Japanese original replaced with new scenes shot exclusively for the film featuring Raymond Burr as American journalist Steve Martin interacting with Japanese actors and look-alikes to make it seem like Burr was a part of the original Japanese production. In addition, sound effects and the soundtrack were tweaked and some dialogue was dubbed into English.

In 1957, producer Harry Rybnick attempted to produce a Hollywood-made alteration of Godzilla Raids Again titled The Volcano Monsters, using some of the Japanese footage from the former to make a totally different film; however, funding from AB-PT Pictures collapsed after the company closed down and Godzilla Raids Again was instead dubbed in English and released in 1959 by Warner Bros. as Gigantis the Fire Monster.[79]

Similar "Americanizations" occurred for the North American releases of King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla 1985, the latter which included Burr reprising his role of American journalist Steve Martin.

In 1976, Italian director Luigi Cozzi intended to re-release Godzilla in Italy. Facing resistance from exhibitors to showing a black-and-white film, Cozzi instead licensed a negative of Godzilla, King of the Monsters from Toho and created a new movie in color, adding lots of stock footage of graphic death and destruction and short scenes from newsreel footage from World War II, which he released as Godzilla in 1977. The film was colorized using a process called Spectrorama 70, where color gels are put on the original black-and-white film, becoming one of the first black-and-white movies to be colorized. Dialogue was dubbed into Italian and new music was added. After the initial Italian run, the negative became Toho's property and prints have only been exhibited in Italy from that time onward. Italian firm Yamato Video at one time intended to release the colorized version on a two-disc DVD along with the original Godzilla.[80][81][82]

# Title Year Director(s) Effects director Monster co-star(s) Current U.S. licenses
1 Godzilla, King of the Monsters! 1956 Ishirō Honda
Terry O. Morse
Eiji Tsuburaya None The Criterion Collection
2 King Kong vs. Godzilla 1963 Ishirō Honda
Thomas Montgomery
King Kong, Oodako[66] Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The Criterion Collection[12]
3 Godzilla 1976 Ishirō Honda
Luigi Cozzi
None N/A
4 Godzilla 1985 1985 Koji Hashimoto
R.J. Kizer
Teruyoshi Nakano Giant Sea Lice[67] N/A[e]

Box office and receptionEdit

Box office performanceEdit

Below is a chart listing the number of tickets sold for each Godzilla film in Japan including the imported Hollywood films, along with their gross revenue in Japan and outside of Japan. The films are listed from the most attended to the least attended. Almost all of the 1960s films were reissued, so the lifetime number of tickets sold is listed with the initial release ticket numbers mentioned in notes.

The first 13 films, from Godzilla (1954) to Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), had collectively grossed more than $260 million worldwide, including over $130 million in Japan and over $130 million outside of Japan[84] (equivalent to around $2–5 billion adjusted for inflation).[85] Godzilla films grossed at least $20 million each in the 1970s.[86]

By 2016, Toho's Godzilla film series (excluding the Hollywood productions) had sold more than 100 million tickets at the Japanese box office.[87][88] It was the highest-grossing film series in Japan, up until it was surpassed by the anime film series Doraemon in 2013.[89]

Toho films
Film Year Ticket sales (Japan) Japanese box office Other territories Worldwide gross
Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla, King of the Monsters!) 1954 9,610,000 $24,450,000 $19,584,000 $44,034,000
Godzilla Raids Again 1955 8,340,000 $21,190,000 $16,973,000 $38,163,000
King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962 12,550,000 $31,948,000 $25,590,152 $57,538,152
Mothra vs. Godzilla 1964 7,200,000 $18,304,900 $14,662,112 $32,967,012
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster 1964 5,410,000 $13,740,900 $11,006,377 $24,747,277
Invasion of the Astro-Monster 1965 5,130,000 $13,040,000 $10,444,960 $23,484,960
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep 1966 4,210,000 $10,700,950 $8,573,785 $19,274,735
Son of Godzilla 1967 3,090,000 $7,856,600 $6,290,400 $14,147,000
Destroy All Monsters 1968 2,580,000 $6,557,490 $5,254,580 $11,812,070
All Monsters Attack 1969 1,480,000 $3,762,040 $3,013,876 $6,775,916
Godzilla vs. Hedorah 1971 1,740,000 $4,417,300 $3,548,980 $7,966,280
Godzilla vs. Gigan 1972 1,800,000 $4,575,410 $3,665,569 $8,240,979
Godzilla vs. Megalon 1973 980,000 $2,490,640 $1,996,115 $4,486,755
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 1974 1,330,000 $8,400,000 $17,100,000 $25,500,000
Terror of Mechagodzilla 1975 970,000 $7,300,000 $17,500,000 $24,800,000
The Return of Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985) 1984 3,200,000 $12,041,667 $4,116,710 $16,158,377
Godzilla vs. Biollante 1989 2,000,000 $13,014,705 $7,000,000 $20,014,705
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah 1991 2,700,000 $24,538,461 $11,000,000 $34,538,461
Godzilla vs. Mothra 1992 4,200,000 $30,403,225 $4,000,000 $34,403,225
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II 1993 3,800,000 $30,285,714 $18,000,000 $48,285,714
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla 1994 3,400,000 $28,100,000 $20,000,000 $48,100,000
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah 1995 4,000,000 $34,000,000 $18,000,000 $52,000,000
Godzilla 2000: Millennium 1999 2,000,000 $16,176,471 $10,037,492 $26,213,963
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus 2000 1,350,000 $11,320,755 $10,000,000 $21,320,755
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack 2001 2,400,000 $21,854,839 $20,000,000 $41,854,839
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla 2002 1,700,000 $15,916,667 $16,000,000 $31,996,667
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. 2003 1,100,000 $11,016,949 $12,000,000 $23,016,949
Godzilla: Final Wars 2004 1,500,000 $11,886,792 $33,570 $11,920,362
Shin Godzilla 2016 5,960,000 $75,279,615 $2,620,385 $78,581,000
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters 2017 260,000 $3,420,000 $244,713 $3,664,713
Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle 2018 73,000 $1,000,000 $0 $1,000,000
Godzilla: The Planet Eater 2018 130,000 $1,718,590 $0 $1,718,590
Total 106,193,000 $520,708,680 $318,256,776 $838,045,456
Hollywood productions
Film Year Box office gross revenue Ticket sales Budget
United States and Canada Other territories[f] Worldwide Ref United States and Canada Japan
Godzilla 1998 $136,314,861 $242,700,000 $379,014,861 [90] 29,064,900[91] 3,600,000[92] $130–150 million[91][93]
Godzilla 2014 $200,676,069 $328,400,000 $524,976,069 [94] 24,107,800[95] 2,180,000[96] $160 million[94]
Godzilla: King of the Monsters 2019 $110,500,138 $275,400,000 $385,900,138 [97] 12,264,200[98][99] 479,000[100] $170–200 million[97][101]
Total $447,491,068 $846,500,000 $1,293,991,068 65,436,900 6,259,000 $460,000,000

Critical receptionEdit

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Godzilla (1954) 93% (72 reviews)[102] 78% (20 reviews)[103]
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956) 83% (24 reviews)[104] 60% (7 reviews)[105]
Godzilla Raids Again 56% (9 reviews)[106]
King Kong vs. Godzilla 47% (15 reviews)[107]
Mothra vs. Godzilla 92% (10 reviews)[108]
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster 75% (12 reviews)[109]
Invasion of Astro-Monster N/A[110]
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep 57% (7 reviews)[111]
Son of Godzilla 60% (8 reviews)[112]
Destroy All Monsters 75% (7 reviews)[113]
All Monsters Attack 25% (8 reviews)[114]
Godzilla vs. Hedorah 58% (11 reviews)[115]
Godzilla vs. Gigan 67% (6 reviews)[116]
Godzilla vs. Megalon 38% (7 reviews)[117]
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 71% (6 reviews)[118]
Terror of Mechagodzilla 43% (7 reviews)[119]
The Return of Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985) 20% (8 reviews)[120]
Godzilla vs. Biollante 71% (7 reviews)[121]
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah 56% (9 reviews)[122]
Godzilla vs. Mothra 75% (6 reviews)[123]
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II 83% (6 reviews)[124]
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla 57% (7 reviews)[125]
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah 100% (5 reviews)[126]
Godzilla (1998) 16% (76 reviews)[127] 32 (23 reviews)[128]
Godzilla 2000: Millennium 57% (69 reviews)[129] 41 (23 reviews)[130]
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus 60% (5 reviews)[131]
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack 63% (14 reviews)[132]
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla N/A[133]
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. 80% (5 reviews)[134]
Godzilla: Final Wars 45% (11 reviews)[135]
Godzilla (2014) 75% (315 reviews)[136] 62 (48 reviews)[137]
Shin Godzilla 86% (61 reviews)[138] 68 (14 reviews)[139]
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters 80% (5 reviews)[140]
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) 41% (311 reviews)[141] 48 (46 reviews)[142]

Other mediaEdit


In Japan, Godzilla appeared in five out of the 26 episodes of Toho's live-action television program Zone Fighter in 1973. Also in Japan, Godzilla (along with a plethora of other kaiju) appeared in an animated toy show called Godzilla Island that ran from 1997–1998.

In 1992, Toho produced a children's[143] educational television series titled Adventure! Godzilland (冒険!ゴジランド, Bōken! Gojirando), which featured both live-action and animated segments. The animated segments featured various characters from the Godzilla franchise in a chibi style,[144] including Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Anguirus, along with a pink female Godzilla known as Gojirin. The series aired on TV Tokyo and was followed by a second series, Adventure! Godzilland 2 (冒険!ゴジランド2, Bōken! Gojirando Tsū), in 1993. In 1994 and 1996, a series of four OVAs titled Get Going! Godzilland (すすめ!ゴジランド, Susume! Gojirando) were released on VHS by Gakken Video, and focused on teaching children how to read the hiragana alphabet and how to perform mathematics.

The success of the Godzilla franchise spawned two American Saturday morning cartoon TV series. The first one is the collaboration series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and co-produced by Toho, Godzilla.[145] The second one is the series produced by Sony Pictures Television, Godzilla: The Series, a cartoon sequel to the 1998 film.[146] Both series feature a scientific investigative team who call upon Godzilla as an ally, as well as making several homages to the Shōwa films. Several antagonist monsters in both series have been inspired by extant Toho creations.

In 1991, two Godzilla films, Godzilla vs. Megalon and Godzilla versus the Sea Monster, were shown on the movie-mocking TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

A parody creature resembling Godzilla, alongside another parody character resembling what appears to be a hybrid between Ultraman and Kamen Rider, appears in the television special Olive, the Other Reindeer during the song "Merry Christmas After All", during part of which Olive, Santa and the other reindeer are shown passing through Tokyo delivering gifts. The two characters are shown to be friendly and taking part in the song and dance routine shown to include numerous figures, both real and fictional, in the show in various locations visited by the team as they make Santa's annual trip around the world.

Godzilla made an appearance in a Nike commercial in which Godzilla (this version was created at ILM) went one-on-one in an oversized basketball game with a giant version of the NBA star Charles Barkley.[147]

Godzilla has been referenced multiple times in the American animated TV sitcom The Simpsons. Godzilla first appeared in the episode "Lisa on Ice" when Lisa imagines herself on Monster Island and is chased by various kaiju, including Godzilla. It has also been referenced in "Treehouse of Horror VI", "Mayored to the Mob" (where Godzilla can be seen signing autographs at Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con), "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" (in which the plane carrying the Simpson family is being attacked by Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and Gamera), "Simpsons Tall Tales", "Treehouse of Horror XVI", "Homerazzi", "Wedding for Disaster", "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony", "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" and "Treehouse of Horror XXVI".

# Title Year Monster Co-star(s) Licenses/Media
1 Zone Fighter 1973 Red Spark, Jikiro, Destro-King, Dorora, Wargilgar, Spyler, King Ghidorah, Dragon King, Gilmaras, Gelderah, Spideros, Garoga Gorilla, Shadorah, Shipdoror, Gigan, Barakidon, Garaborg, Detragon, Zandora, Mogranda, Balgaras, Gundarguirus, Goram, Jellar, Kastom Jellar, Super Jikiro, Bakugon, Needlar, Kabutogirah, Grotogauros Toho Video - DVD
2 Godzilla 1978–1979 Godzooky, Fire Bird, Earth Eater, Stone Guardians of Ramal, Megavolt Monsters, Seaweed Monsters, Energy Beast, Colossus, Cyclops Creature, Chimera, Minotaur, Magnetic Monster, Breeder Beast, Great Watchuka, Diplodocus, Time Dragon a.k.a. Allosaurus, Giant Squid, Giant Fly, Axor, Power Dragon, Giant Octopus, Cyborg Whale, Giant Venus' Flytrap, Giant Bees, Giant Dragonfly, Giant Ants, Giant Beetle, Giant Black Widow Spider, Moon Monster, Giant Magma Lizards, Macro-Spider Crab, Macro-Sea Turtle, Macro-Jellyfish, Macro-Tropical Fish, Macro-Sharks, Macro-Squids, Macro-Sea Horses, Macro-Electric Eels, Flying Macro-Manta Ray, Golden Guardians of Kyat-nor Classic Media - DVD (Season 1 (1978) available only, with its 13 episodes on three volumes (episodes 1-4 on Volume 1, episodes 5-8 on Volume 2 and episodes 9-13 on Volume 3; Season 2 (1979), with episodes 14-26, currently unavailable))
3 Godzilla Island 1997–1998 Godzilla Junior, Mothra, Battra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, Gigan, Hedorah, SpaceGodzilla, Destoroyah, Baragon, King Caesar, Moguera, Megalon, Gorosaurus, Kamacuras, Jet Jaguar, Dogora Toho Video
4 Godzilla: The Series 1998–2000 Baby Godzilla, Crustaceous Rex, Giant Squids, Nanotech Creature, El Gusano Gigante, Cyber-Flies, Giant Rats, Cryptoclidus, Reptilians, Crackler, Queen Bee, Mutant Carnivorous Plants, Quetzalcoatl, Baby Quetzalcoatl, Ice Borers, Baby Ice Borers, Nessie a.k.a. the Loch Ness Monster, Baby Nessie, Giant Albino Yeti a.k.a. Robo-Yeti, King Cobra, Termite Queen, Giant Bat, Cyber-Godzilla, Chameleon, Bacillus, Giant Mutant Black Widow Spider, Techno-Sentient, Silver Hydra, D.N.A. Mimic, Lizard Slayers, Swamp Beast, Fire Monster, Norzzug the Iron Lion, Giant Mutant Hummingbirds, Medusa, Giant Gila Monster, Megapede a.k.a. Giant Cicada, Giant Centipede, Ts-eh-Go, Armillaria, Shrewster, Skeetera, D.R.A.G.M.A.s, Mutant Jellyfish, Komodithrax, Giant Turtle, Thorny Devil, Giant Armadillo, Desert Lizard, Desert Rat, Deep-Dweller, Rhinosaurus, Giant Water Beetle Mill Creek Entertainment – DVD (all 40 episodes, including two that never aired originally, are available here in chronological order, in contrast to how the broadcast order showed many episodes out of sequence)

Video gamesEdit

A game called Gojira-kun (which was originally going to be titled Gojiraland)[148] was released for the MSX in 1985. The art style is similar to that of the chibi-style Godzilland series. In 1990, Gojira-kun: Kaijū Daikōshin was released for the Game Boy. It featured sprites that were similar to the ones used in Gojira-kun. The game included cut scenes that depicted a different style to the rest of the game. In 1993, Super Godzilla 's Bagan, a newly created Toho-approved creation (which had previously been intended for appearances in several 1990s Toho films that were never made), was released for the SNES and featured original monsters that were video game-only kaiju in a former film/movie.

In 2007, Godzilla: Unleashed, featuring Krystalak and Obsidius, two newly created Toho-approved creations, was released for the Wii and DS and featured original monsters that were video game-only kaiju. Legendary's Godzilla was featured as a playable character in Bandai Namco's 2014 video game Godzilla as "Hollywood Godzilla".[149] The widely popular video game Pokémon has made multiple references to Godzilla. The Dark/Rock type Pokémon Tyranitar is a direct reference to Godzilla. The Pokémon's appearance is a large green lizard monster-type creature who is characterised as an unstoppable force. In 2015–present, Gojira and Godzilla 2600 from the Homebrew fangame were released for the NES and Atari 2600.


A Godzilla series of books was published by Random House during the late 1990s and the first half of 2000. The company created different series for different age groups, the Scott Ciencin series being aimed at preteens and the Marc Cerasini series being aimed at teens and young adults. Several manga have been derived from specific Godzilla films and both Marvel and Dark Horse have published Godzilla comic book series (1977–1979 and 1987–1999, respectively). In 2011, IDW Publishing started a new series, Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters, rebooting the Godzilla story. It was followed by two sequel series, Godzilla (published in book form as Godzilla: History's Greatest Monster) and Godzilla: Rulers of Earth (published in book form as Godzilla: Complete Rulers of Earth Volume 1 and Godzilla: Complete Rulers of Earth Volume 2), as well as seven five-issue miniseries to date.

To tie-in with the 2014 film, three books were published. Titan Books published a novelization of the movie in May 2014, written by Greg Cox. The graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening by Max Borenstein, Greg Borenstein and Eric Battle served as a prequel, and Godzilla: The Art of Destruction by Mark Cotta told about the making of the movie. Godzilla has been referenced in The Simpsons comics on three separate occasions. The character is featured in Bart Simpson's Guide to Life where it and other kaiju characters such as Minilla and King Ghidorah can be seen; it is featured in the comic "An Anime Among Us!" and K-Bart. Godzilla is also featured in the comic Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror 7 where it and other kaiju can be seen referenced on the front cover. Godzilla has also been referenced in Marc Brown's Arthur adventure book called Arthur's April Fool, where Francine told Arthur and Buster that they need to pick on someone their own size, like Godzilla. Both Godzilla and Arthur became the two of the most popular characters to root for.


Godzilla: The Album, the soundtrack album of Godzilla (1998), sold 2.5 million copies worldwide.[150] The album's lead single, "Come with Me" by Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page, sold a certified 2.025 million copies worldwide.[151] Its Japan-exclusive single, "Lose Control" by Japanese rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel, sold 938,401 copies in Japan.[152] Shin Godzilla Ongakushuu, the soundtrack album of Shin Godzilla (2016), sold 43,951 copies in Japan.[153] Mars (1991), an album by the Japanese rock duo B'z featuring a Godzilla-themed song, sold 1,730,500 copies in Japan.[154]

Blue Öyster Cult released the song "Godzilla" in 1977. It was the first track, and the second of four singles, from their fifth studio album Spectres (also 1977). Artists such as Fu Manchu, Racer X and Double Experience have included cover versions of this song on their albums. American musician Michale Graves wrote a song titled "Godzilla" for his 2005 album Punk Rock Is Dead. The lyrics mention Godzilla and several on-screen adversaries such as Mothra, Hedorah, Destoroyah and Gigan.[155] The Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura has a song titled "Biotech is Godzilla" on its 1993 release Chaos A.D.[156]

The French death metal band Gojira named the band after Godzilla's name in Japanese.[157] The song "Simon Says" by Pharoahe Monch is a hip-hop remix of the Godzilla March theme song. The instrumental version of this song was notably used in the 2000 film Charlie's Angels. The British band Lostprophets released a song called "We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan" on its second studio album Start Something. The American punk band Groovie Ghoulies released a song called "Hats off to You (Godzilla)" as a tribute to Godzilla. It is featured on the EP Freaks on Parade released in 2002.

The American artist Doctor Steel released a song called 'Atomic Superstar' about Godzilla on his album People of Earth in 2002. In 2003, the British singer Siouxsie Sioux released the album Hái! with her band The Creatures; the album had a Japanese theme with a song dedicated to the monster, simply titled "Godzilla!". The record label Shifty issued compilation Destroysall with 15 songs from 15 bands, ranging from hardcore punk to doom-laden death metal. Not all of the songs are dedicated to Godzilla, but all do appear connected to monsters from Toho Studios. Fittingly, the disc was released on August 1, 2003, the 35th anniversary of the Japanese release of Destroy All Monsters.

King Geedorah (a.k.a. MF DOOM) released Take Me to Your Leader, a hip-hop album featuring guests from the group Monsta Island Czars, another Godzilla-themed hip-hop group. These albums include multiple Godzilla samples throughout the series. Taiwanese American electronic musician Mochipet released the EP Godzilla Rehab Center on August 21, 2012, featuring songs named after monsters in the series including Gigan, King Ghidorah, Moguera and Hedorah.

In 2019, American rock band Think Sanity released their debut album featuring songs based on Godzilla, Mothra, and Hedorah. The songs are titled "Sad Kaiju", "Mothra", and "Sludge", respectively. The monsters are also mentioned by name on the track "News at Six" in which they are comically described by newscaster Chip Bentley as destroying a nearby town. The band has mentioned in interviews that they have also written songs based on Biollante, King Ghidorah, and Rodan as well.

Cultural impactEdit

Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide and is an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the kaiju subset of the tokusatsu genre. It has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the United States (with the "-zilla" part of the name being used in vernacular language as a suffix to indicate something of exaggerated proportions), as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in general. The earlier Godzilla films, especially the original Godzilla, portrayed Godzilla as a frightening, nuclear monster. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese held about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the possibility of recurrence.[158]

At least two prehistoric creatures from the fossil record have been named after Godzilla. Gojirasaurus quayi is a theropod dinosaur that lived in the Triassic Period; a partial skeleton was unearthed in Quay County, New Mexico.[159] Dakosaurus andiniensis, a crocodile from the Jurassic Period, was nicknamed "Godzilla" before being scientifically classified. In 2010 the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society named their most recently acquired scout vessel MV Gojira. Toho, the people in charge of the Godzilla franchise, served them with a notice to remove the name and in response the boat's name was changed in May 2011 to MV Brigitte Bardot.[160]

Steven Spielberg cited Godzilla as an inspiration for Jurassic Park (1993), specifically Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), which he grew up watching.[161] During its production, Spielberg described Godzilla as "the most masterful of all the dinosaur movies because it made you believe it was really happening."[162] Godzilla also influenced the Spielberg film Jaws (1975).[163][164]


The Return of Godzilla (1984) generated $230,000,000 merchandise sales in Japan.[165] Godzilla (1998) generated more than $400,000,000 in North American merchandise sales.[166] In Japan, Godzilla merchandise sold ¥1.93 billion ($24.19 million) in 2005,[167] ¥7,000,000,000 ($64.36 million) in 2016[168] and ¥15,000,000,000 ($136 million) in 2017.[169] Combined, Godzilla generated more than $852.5 million in merchandise sales as of 2017.


  • 1954 Japan Movie Association Awards – Special Effects (Godzilla (1954))[170]
  • 1965 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Mothra vs. Godzilla)
  • 1966 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Invasion of Astro-Monster)
  • 1986 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects and Newcomer of the Year (The Return of Godzilla)
  • 1986 Razzie Awards – Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star (The Return of Godzilla)
  • 1992 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah)
  • 1993 Tokyo Sports Movie Awards – Best Leading Actor (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
  • 1993 Best Grossing Films Award – Golden Award and Money-Making Star Award (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
  • 1993 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
  • 1994 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II)
  • 1995 Best Grossing Films Award – Silver Award (Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla)
  • 1996 Best Grossing Films Award – Golden Award (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah)
  • 1996 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah)
  • 1996 MTV Movie Awards – Lifetime Achievement*
  • 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards – Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Remake or Sequel (Godzilla (1998))
  • 1999 Saturn Awards – Best Special Effects (Godzilla (1998))
  • 2001 Saturn Awards – Best Home Video Release (Godzilla 2000)
  • 2002 Best Grossing Films Award – Silver Award (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack)
  • 2004 Hollywood Walk of Fame[171]
  • 2007 Saturn Awards – Best DVD Classic Film Release (Godzilla (1954))
  • 2014 22nd Annual Japan Cool Content Contribution Award (Godzilla (2014))[172]
  • 2017 40th Japan Academy Prize – Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography, Lighting Direction, Art Direction, Sound Recording, Film Editing (Shin Godzilla)[173]

(*) In 1996 Godzilla received an award for Lifetime Achievement at the MTV Movie Awards. Creator and producer Shōgo Tomiyama accepted on his behalf via satellite and was joined by "Godzilla" himself.

Name usageEdit

"-zilla" is a well-known slang suffix, used to imply some form of excess to a person, object or theme;[174] some examples being the reality show Bridezillas and the Netscape-derived web browser Mozilla Firefox. "-Zilla" is rumored to mean "reptilian" as shown in the kaiju name, "Zilla". It has no word before its meaning, therefore it is not purely a suffix.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Janus Films and The Criterion Collection have sub-licensed these films from DreamWorks Classics (formerly known as Classic Media), who hold permanent rights to the Japanese and English versions of these films: Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), Rodan (1956), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), All Monsters Attack (1969), and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975).[62][63] On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced it would be acquiring DreamWorks Classics' parent company DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[64] The acquisition was completed on August 22.[65]
  2. ^ Japan's Reiwa era began on May 1, 2019;[68]however, Toho considers Shin Godzilla and the anime trilogy as part of the Reiwa era.[citation needed]
  3. ^ On July 31, 2017, Sony Pictures Television announced that it would buy a controlling 95% stake in Funimation for $143,000,000, a deal that closed on October 27, 2017.[69]
  4. ^ [74][75][76][77][78]
  5. ^ Kraken co-founder/managing director Matt Greenfield elaborated on the film's legal issues, stating, "Between all the changes of ownership and title that have occurred after New World released their version, the fact that you’re dealing with two entirely different production teams belonging to different sets of unions, and the fact that music from another film by a different composer was reused in NW’s dub [GODZILLA 1985 used music from Christopher Young’s soundtrack for the New World Pictures movie DEF-CON 4]."[83]
  6. ^ Including Japan



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  • Solomon, Brian (2017). Godzilla FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the King of the Monsters. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. ISBN 9781495045684.
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External linksEdit