Godzilla Minus One

How does this 2023 film, which is set in post-WWII Japan, explore the complex emotions of its main character, Koichi, as he deals with survivor’s guilt? How does he compound the shame he has for having been too afraid to undertake his kamikaze mission in the late days of the war? When he and his unit are attacked by Godzilla why does he fail to carry out his part of the counterattack? How does the film portray post war Tokyo, and Koichi’s relationship with survivor Noriko and the orphaned child, Akiko, who she cares for? How does her action to save Koichi’s life during Godzilla’s attack on her home town compound his survivor’s guilt? Do elements of the film amount to a critique of Imperial Japanese attitudes toward life and death? How does the film portray comradery between Koichi and the men he works with as they clear mines, and later, confront the mutated Godzilla? What is symbolized when Koichi flies a modified jet aircraft into Godzilla’s mouth, and ejects before the explosion? What does Sosaku’s provision of an ejection seat symbolize? Is the film a conservative political statement of some sort? Why does the film have the Americans stepping back from confronting Godzilla? Do Godzilla movies symbolize Japanese feelings about the country’s Imperial past, along with the more obvious inspiration derived from Allied use of atomic weapons?

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