The Evolution of Godzilla
Since Shin Godzilla was released, artists and novices alike have been churning out terrific fan art. Hilarious, exception, and brilliant are just a few words to describe what’s out there. But a couple days ago I stumbled across an exception piece by 塗壁 (@nurikabenuri) on Twitter. The piece is so deep that it deserves mention and comment.
This evolution of Godzilla sheds much light on the meaning and significance of the monster. The origami represents the DNA structure of Godzilla. It’s creature lying on the seabed nourishing on the nuclear waste recklessly left by humans. And therein lies the message and lesson of the film. The tail of Godzilla type 1 swirls upward like the helix structure of DNA. Godzilla type 2 with its embryonic eyes emerges from the watery womb flipping boats like a baby tosses toys and like a tsunami slams into the shore. One of the boats would no doubt be the Glory Maru, where Professor Goro Maki, who studied Godzilla and warned of its threat, left his documents and took his life. Shin Godzilla would soon return again from the sea transformed into its third bloody-red form recalling and foreshadowing the lives lost in its path of destruction. And finally, Godzilla evolves again into a terrifying beast that radiates nuclear energy across Tokyo like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. Although impervious to human military might, in the end Godzilla is overcome by human ingenuity and technology built upon the work and sacrifice of the professor. Godzilla is frozen before reaching its next incarnation forecast by grotesque humanoid creatures crawling up and out its tail as depicted in this illustration.
The composition and color of this piece are reminiscent of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. (Please note of the use of the Tree of Life in the opening of Evangelion.) There is a spatial and temporal movement not only through the evolution of Godzilla but that of humanity and the cosmos. There is balance, contrast, symmetry, and harmony. There is heaven, earth, and under the earth. There is the microcosm and the macrocosm. There is the above and the below. There is the beginning and the ending. There is the darkness and the light. There is the concealed and the revealed. There is a tower and mountain of human achievement inextricably bound with their monsters and built upon and out of harm and violence. The origami (the idea), the boats (mastery of the sea), the buildings (mastery over the earth), and the new and hybrid human life forms reaching for immortality and climbing into the heavens (mastery over death). Everything is cast in a spectrum of color – the blues, greens, oranges, yellows, reds, purple, and the white light come forth from the black of the abyss.
The film ends focused upon Shin Godzilla’s tail and those humanoid monsters. In this illustration, they appear to form the crown and glory of the evolutionary chain. Moving up from the bottom to the top, I cannot but help remember the words of the Bible and the story of creation: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters… And God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves… Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:1-2, 21, 26).
This is a brilliant work of art that reveals the meaning of Godzilla and the truth about humanity.