With their first live action Godzilla film in twelve years in currently in Japanese theaters, Toho has announced that they are expanding their iconic giant monster franchise into animation with a feature length animated film scheduled for theaters next year.
Variety is reporting that the film is set to be co-directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita with Gen Urobuchi scripting.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that there has been animated Godzilla fare. Back in the 70s, Toho teamed up with Hannah-Barbera for a Saturday morning Godzilla series that infamously featured the big G teamed up with his nephew (don’t even try to reason with that) Godzooky. Less remembers is a short-lived animated television spinoff of the 1998 Matthew Broderick-starring Godzilla film that fans try hard to forget.
With most movies, one should be probably be concerned with plot and characterization, I think we can all agree that part of the appeal of the Godzilla franchise as well as other kaiju films from Japan is the suitmation, or “man in suit” style of special effects. And that is something you just won’t get in an animated film. It is also the same thing that works to the detriment of the two Hollywood Godzilla films that presented the titular monster as a strictly CG creation. The way the character is realized has become part of the character’s identity. And so I wonder how well an animated film can do in capturing the essence that so many of us have come to associate with the character. We’ll get our answer some time next year.