Before Godzilla, there was Gojira.
Different cultures are fascinating as they offer you something you haven’t yet experienced. I am Australian. That’s it. My culture consists of Sunday roasts, books, art, alcohol and calling people ‘love’ unintentionally. A list that could be improved.
Gojira showcases a culture unlike my own. A culture that is affected by the threat of war and the invasion of a foreign creature. Interestingly, Gojira was created following the Hiroshima bombings during the Second World War. Gojira is the villain but shouldn’t it be nuclear weaponry? Gojira came to exist following human interference? Are we our own villains when it comes to experiencing something foreign?
Last year, I went on exchange for a semester in England. Previously, I had not been out of Australia but always wanted to, hence, the trip.
* cliché * My whole perspective changed.
England isn’t even that foreign to Australians but the unfamiliarity of a different place was addictive. The different cultures in my flat alone welcomed me to the world beyond what I knew. I had a flatmate from Mongolia, her name was Daria. She would tell me stories of her home – mainly about how cold it gets. I told her I hadn’t even seen snow properly. It was a shocking experience for the both of us. Travelling and film share the ability to transport you from your own context.
Gojira took me to 1956 Japan where an entire community is fearing for their lives because of a giant, nuclear lizard. I empathised with the characters even though I couldn’t understand their language. One’s cultural framework dictates how a text is valued to the individual. As someone interested in history, Gojira demonstrates how filmmaking has evolved but also how a war impacts the wider community.
Following Gojira, I also watched Cowboy Bebop, my first anime television experience. I stopped after episode six when Faye decided to eat her Dog’s food. I haven’t watched much Asian content besides Studio Ghibli productions, like Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away but this subject is already changing that. Add Gojira to the list.