'Godzilla' Size Chart Shows How Much the 'King of Monsters' Has Grown Over the Years

Godzilla is a bigger threat now than he's ever been. The star of Godzilla: King of the Monsters is 393 feet and one half inch tall, just over four feet taller than its Japanese counterpart, last seen in Shin Godzilla. But both of the beasts tower over the original Gojira, the star of fifteen movies despite its diminutive 164 foot stature.

Noger Chen is a graphic designer and creative director in Taiwan whose Godzilla illustrations electrify kaiju fans. His latest piece of unofficial art compares multiple generations of Godzilla, offering a comparison not traditionally depicted in movie marketing. Chen's detailed size chart lines up every live-action Godzilla, from the 1954 original Gojira to the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Chen described himself to Newsweek as "a die-hard fan who started watching Godzilla in kindergarten" and shared his hope that Godzilla will continue to be a renowned, generational monster, with every era finding something new in the ever-evolving kaiju.

For research, including Godzilla's exact height in every movie, Chen turned to a variety of books, many unavailable in English, including Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works, The Art of Shin Godzilla and Godzilla Graphic Collection.

Here's Chen's size chart, which he created over the course of a month, often spending hours over a Wacom Intuos drawing tablet in the middle of the night, after long work days at a Taipei City advertising firm:

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Every live-action Godzilla, from 1954 to 2019. Noger Chen / Toho Co., Ltd. / Legendary Entertainment

From left to right, Chen recreates Godzilla's design and comparative height from every movie (some designs appeared in multiple films). Chen's Godzilla size chart not only captures tiny details—like subtle changes to Godzilla's brow ridges and the plates along his spine—but also dramatically highlights the differences between the multiple eras into which Toho Co. divides its Godzilla movies.

Godzilla Shōwa Period

The first is known as the Shōwa period, named for the era of Emperor Hirohito's reign. Except for the original movie, in which the monster is a metaphor for the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American atomic bombs, Shōwa period Godzilla movies are typically lighthearted and targeted at children, and show Godzilla slowly evolve from a monster into a hero who fights off alien adversaries, like longtime nemesis King Ghidorah.

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The (relatively) diminutive Godzillas of the Showa period. Noger Chen / Toho Co., Ltd.

Chen captures the Shōwa period in eight Godzilla designs:

  1. Gojira / Godzilla (1954)
  2. Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
  3. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
  4. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  5. Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) and Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
  6. Son of Godzilla (1967)
  7. Destroy All Monsters (1968), All Monsters Attack (1969), Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) and Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
  8. Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

Highlights include Godzilla holding Mechagodzilla's head (Mechagodzilla originally disguised itself as the real deal, wreaking havoc in Godzilla' name) and Chen's rendition of Godzilla's victory dance from Invasion of Astro-Monster.

via Gfycat

Godzilla Heisei Period

After a nearly decade-long break, the Toho Godzilla series returned with 1984's The Return of Godzilla, which acted as a direct sequel to the original movie—Godzilla was once again an elemental threat to Japan. Return is Chen's favorite. "The tone of the film is different from the Godzilla movies of the Shōwa era. It's very serious, gloomy, even epic," he said. "There are no other huge monsters in the film. The story focuses on the confrontation between humans and Godzilla, taking it back to the fear of the original Godzilla in 1954."

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Japan objects to Soviet plans to nuke Godzilla in "The Return of Godzilla." Toho Co., Ltd.

The more serious tone of The Return of Godzillawhich addressed political tensions between the United States, Japan and the Soviet Union—didn't last long into what became known as the Heisei period.

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The giant Godzillas of the Heisei period. Noger Chen / Toho Co., Ltd.

After 1989's environmentally-minded pollution parable Godzilla vs. Biollante, the series returned to its monster-mashing roots with 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. You can see the massive size jump in Chen's illustration.

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Time travelers bring a cybernatic King Ghidorah back from the far future to prevent Japan's economic ascendancy in 1991's "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah." Toho Co., Ltd.

After minor design changes in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), the monster king stayed the same through Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) and Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, in which Godzilla defeats a spaceborne clone (created from a clump of Godzilla cells and black hole radiation, of course) and births Godzilla Junior. The Heisei period ended with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, which pitted Godzilla against its own overheating radioactive body.

Godzilla Millennium Period

The Millennium period opened with 1999's Godzilla 2000: Millennium, released a year after the first American Godzilla. With its iguana body and sprinter's legs, director Roland Emmerich's take on the monster was widely derided by Godzilla fans. In the last movie of the Millennium period, 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, the real Godzilla dismissively tossed the imitation "Zilla" into the Sydney Opera House.

The far side of Chen's size chart depicts the split paths ahead for Godzilla. This time, it's the American version of the monster hewing closer to tradition.

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Shin Godzilla and the Titan from "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" are nearly evenly matched. Noger Chen / Toho Co., Ltd. / Legendary Entertainment

In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, in theaters now, the hero kaiju is pitted against old foes, like Rodan and King Ghidorah. References are made to Monster Zero and Mothra's 1960s origin story. Even Ghidorah's lightning-like "gravity beams" are lovingly reproduced.

The mutative monster introduced in Shin Godzilla, with its red, ripped flesh and jagged maw, is a nightmarish reinvention by Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe). Rather than a timeless "Titan," as kaiju are called in the Legendary Entertainment series opened by 2014's Godzilla, Shin Godzilla is endlessly transforming, growing from a tadpole form and mutating in reaction to any threat, until it is indomitable.

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Shin Godzilla

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Chen's Godzilla size chart is both revealing of the Godzilla series' grand sweep and useful for making comparisons between the different movies. But it's the immense and colorful Godzillas on the right side of the spectrum that most dramatize the renewed imagination and multinational storytelling that will define the king of the monsters newly open era.

'Godzilla' Size Chart Shows How Much the 'King of Monsters' Has Grown Over the Years | Culture