The Origin Of Godzilla’s Infamous Dance Scene Explained

Godzilla has undergone many tonal shifts over the years, but the most perplexing period in his history led to an infamously irredeemable dance scene that the pop culture icon will never live down. A scene of Godzilla dancing has gained notoriety as a popular internet meme. It also highlights just how far the franchise departed from the original 1954 Godzilla for much of the 1960s.

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The dancing Godzilla scene is far from the only absurd moment from the Toho Godzilla films of the 1960s, but it is perhaps now the most ridiculed due to its widespread use as a reaction gif and meme. Those who aren’t familiar with his history likely don’t have any grasp on the context. It’s so far gone from what many modern internet users picture when they think of Godzilla (largely thanks to Legendary’s ongoing MonsterVerse) that it may be hard to believe that any version of Godzilla would have actually performed this dance. However, it most certainly did happen, much to the chagrin of one of the kaiju’s creators.



Where Godzilla’s Victory Dance Comes From

Godzilla's infamous victory dance

The dancing Godzilla scene originated from Invasion of Astro-Monster. Released in 1965, it was one of the more influential early Godzilla movies, mostly thanks to its introduction of aliens, who became a recurring antagonistic force in Godzilla’s films. This trope would rear its head many more times in the Shōwa Era of the Godzilla franchise (1954-1975). The plot revolved around an alien scheme that culminated in Godzilla and Rodan landing on the mysterious Planet X to do battle with King Ghidorah a.k.a. Monster Zero.

Related: The Best Godzilla Movies, According to Metacritic

The infamous victory dance scene occurs midway through the movie, when Godzilla and Rodan defeat King Ghidorah in short order and cause him to flee. Godzilla’s exaggerated leaps are made possible by the lesser gravity of Planet X, allowing for the mid-jump pose that almost looks like it could be out of an Irish jig. The heavy anthropomorphization of Godzilla is something that was a hallmark of the 1960s Toho films, and the victory dance is the most prominent example of it. The decision to include it was seemingly inspired by a move relevant to Japanese pop culture at the time of the film’s release. A character named Iyami from a manga titled Osomatsu-kun was known for using the same move.

Why The Original Godzilla Director Hated The Dance Scene

Ishiro Honda

Ishiro Honda co-wrote and directed the 1954 Godzilla in addition to Invasion of Astro-Monster, which could not be more different in tone. Honda created the original Godzilla as a metaphor for the horrors of nuclear war, and the movie is both dark and dramatic throughout. Toho abandoned that darkness in the 1960s in favor of a more kid-friendly Godzilla, turning him from a world-destroying force of nature into a playful antihero. According to Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa by Stephen Ryfle, Honda believed that the dance went against what the purpose of Godzilla was, but it was included anyway, specifically due to Toho’s desire to appeal to children.

As silly as the victory dance is, Godzilla showing emotion is something that has continued with the character across all the different depictions, right down to his most recent appearance. While the heroic Showa Era Godzilla borders is downright playful at times, the Heisei Era Godzilla was often seen snarling and angry. In 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong the giant lizard even smirks after inflicting damage on his rival. The victory dance is up there with the silliest moments in the franchise’s history, but giving Godzilla somewhat of a personality certainly has its merits.

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