Godzilla’s Hanna-Barbera cartoon is upsettingly odd
Godzilla had a cartoon made in the late 70’s by Hanna-Barbera and well it’s umm..something. As a kid I loved Godzilla but whenever re-runs of this show aired on Cartoon Network I found it difficult to sit through. The show seems to have been made by people who didn’t know what Godzilla was and just used what they thought he was and went along with it. The characters or setting is never really explained you just know that you have some people on a ship who live with this creature called Godzooki that encounter monsters but Godzilla helps them out. Apparently the series bible explains this Godzooky, who is Godzilla’s nephew and he was in danger but the crew of the Calico saved his life and Godzilla protects the crew as a reward.
Now none of the characters really have that much of a personality and you don’t really know their roles besides one being the Captain and de facto leader, the Doctor who you assume she is in charge of the investigator and for who knows what reason brought her nephew with her, and finally some black guy who you assume has some job there. We don’t really know what they’re doing though besides speculate that they’re doing research.
They just happen to always go into mysterious islands or be at the right time where something awakens a monster just as they pass by. We never get any familiar foe for Godzilla but I guess the monsters he fights are decent, and they do shake it up from time to time when he fights aliens or even a terrorist group. The crew get in on the action a bit just like in the movies giving them something to do so it’s not just a 22 minute Godzilla fight.
Like I mentioned it doesn’t seem they had a very good idea of what Godzilla was since he looks more like what your parents imagine Godzilla is. He’s green like a dinosaur and breathes fire like a dragon; He can do that through his mouth and even in one episode through his nose. You’d assume maybe they thought an atomic blast wasn’t very realistic but that goes out the window when you see he has laser vision like Superman.
His size also tends to be very inconsistent depending on the situation that he’s in. Not to mention he seems to be able to stand on water as he does this whether he’s in open sea and not just coming out of it as he reaches land. Godzilla is more like a superhero here and doesn’t behave like an animal at all, he’s just there to protect or save the world. He moves like a wrestler and is fairly intelligent implementing strategy in his fights so not your usual rampaging Kaiju.
Let’s get to Godzooki (Godzuki?) that is infamous but he’s really no worse than other Godzilla’s offspring like Minilla. He is the “Scooby-Doo” of the show like in other Hannah-Barbera shows that had the “mascot”. He isn’t really scared he is more of a Scrappy always wanting to be breave but he always fails at it, many of his sound effects sound exactly like Scooby’s groans though.
He can call on Godzilla whenever they need to but that’s not the only way he can be called upon there’s also a radio signal the Captain has. Godzooki is once mentioned that one day he will become a Godzila which brings up some interesting questions. As mentioned this Godzilla is completely tamed and basically at the orders of the crew at request through a radio signal, could it be that in this universe Godzilla is a weapon that they breed and when it dies they replace it? Why else would the crew do what they do?
In the end the show ends up being ok, it has good ideas but they’re not implemented very well mostly because of its era that it belongs to. It tries to shake up the formula but it can never really succeed at becoming interesting. At only 26 episodes long it’s worth a watch since it can be background fodder as you do other stuff if you’re in the Godzilla mood and it did inspire the second Godzilla animated series based on the 1998 American Godzilla film that took the ideas of this show but actually implemented them in a much better way.