The Big Picture
Godzilla Minus One
achieved financial success, becoming the most successful Japanese live-action movie in U.S. history.
- The film takes a grounded and character-driven approach, focusing on post-war Japan’s exploration of post-traumatic stress.
- Director Takashi Yamazaki is interested in exploring a more serious tone of kaiju-versus-kaiju with human drama in a potential sequel.
Godzilla Minus One was one of last year’s biggest surprises. Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, the large-scale destruction on a miniscule budget, combined with the devastating exploration of post-traumatic stress on a postwar Japan, still reeling from the fallout — both literal and emotional — of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, made for an incredibly affecting, and effective, piece of filmmaking. The movie ended up grossing over $106 million worldwide off an approximate budget of between $10 million and $15 million. While speaking with Empire Magazine, Yamazaki was sure to note that, while that a sequel isn’t officially happening yet, he’s “very curious” about Shikishima and Noriko’s future.
“I would certainly like to see what the sequel would look like,” he says. “I know that Shikishima’s war seems over, and we’ve reached this state of peace and calm – but perhaps [it’s the] calm before the storm, and the characters have not yet been forgiven for what has been imposed upon them.”
The movie has an ensemble cast led by Ryunosuke Kamiki as Kōichi Shikishima, a former kamikaze pilot, along with Minami Hamabe as Noriko Ōishi, Shikishima’s partner, Yuki Yamada as Shirō Mizushima, a young crewman aboard the Shinsei Maru, and Munetaka Aoki as Sōsaku Tachibana. Further rounding off the cast are Hidetaka Yoshioka as Kenji Noda, Sakura Ando as Sumiko Ōta, Kuranosuke Sasaki as Yōji Akitsu, along with Mio Tanaka as Tatsuo Hotta, and Sae Nagatani as Akiko.
‘Godzilla Minus One’ Grounded Storytelling Approach Cointributed to Its Success
The modern trend — and of course, historically in the canon of Toho Godzilla films — has been to put Godzilla up against another kaiju, in order to give the King of the Monsters a more heroic role than the one he portrays in Minus One. However, Minus One is more of a character-driven drama than a monster film which begs the question of how exactly one manages to pull off that tightrope walk. It’s something Yamazaki wants to explore.
“I don’t know that anyone has pulled off a more serious tone of
with human drama, and that challenge is something that I’d like to explore. When you have movies that feature [
battles], I think it’s very easy to put the spotlight and the camera on this massive spectacle, and it detaches itself from the human drama component. I would need to make sure that the human drama and whatever’s happening between [the]
both have meaning, and both are able to affect one another in terms of plot development.”
Godzilla Minus One has achieved the status of the most financially successful Japanese live-action movie in U.S. history. Additionally, it stands as the top-earning foreign film in the U.S. since the pandemic and the most successful international movie in the U.S. over the last 24 years, highlighting its broad popularity and the demand for premium international films on top of it. Remarkably, amidst its widespread critical acclaim, the inclusion of an atomic fire-breathing monster causing destruction, coupled with its subtle and introspective character exploration, becomes an almost surprising detail by comparison.
Watch the trailer below and stay tuned at Collider for further updates.
Post war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb.
- Release Date
- December 1, 2023
- Takashi Yamazaki
- Ryûnosuke Kamiki , Minami Hamabe , Yûki Yamada , Sakura Andō