Regardless of what others will tell you, humans are a requirement for a good Godzilla movie. They set up the plot, in some cases the reason the monsters are fighting, and help it be a movie rather than just a Kaiju Big Battel event. There’s only so much you can do with the monsters. There have been movies that forgot the monsters (Legendary’s first Godzilla comes to mind almost immediately) and they do ultimately drive the story as the best human plots tie in to either the monsters or the aliens attempting to use the monsters. Roland Emmerich got this right as did both Godzilla cartoons and both the excellent Dark Horse and IDW runs of the comic. Humans are the reason the monsters exist after all.
YouTube channel Up From The Depths (I’m betting a reference to the Hanna-Barbera theme song) seems to recognize this, putting out a list of his top 10 favorite Godzilla human characters. None of the American humans show up either from movies, cartoons, or comics, but it’s still a good list. However there are two entries I think he missed.
Obviously you couldn’t have this list without Dr. Serizawa, and Gordon may be a stereotype of every pre-2000s badass American action hero (which is the joke–if you didn’t realize that I have some bad news about Big Trouble In Little China‘s Jack Burton too) but that’s what makes him awesome in a movie where making sense is an afterthought. However, there are two women I would put on this list immediately. I’ll just assume they were in the top 12.
If you’ve seen my video review of Godzilla Versus King Ghidorah (which you would have to in order to get the caption gag) then you know I love Emmy Kano, Futurian. Also it was my first video. Please judge accordingly. Surprisingly, bringing in a woman whose ancestral homeland you want to destroy onto your team just because her ancestor wrote the book you’re using to mess with history in a movie where making sense of time travel is even less of an afterthought than any sense in Final Wars was surprisingly a bad idea. It doesn’t help when she’s smart enough to reprogram her robot bodyguard to help her betray you and can pilot a cyborg kaiju to beat up Godzilla. Emmy is awesome and I love her. I’d date her if she was a real person. What, I’M not her ancestor.
Then you have Miki Seguza, the connection point for the Heisei series of Godzilla films. First appearing in Godzilla Vs. Biolante she’s one movie short of being part of the entire set. Her psychic powers grew as the series went on, as did her connection to Godzilla. One time she used her powers to help facilitate her own rescue from terrorists who wanted to use Godzilla. It did not end well for the terrorists. She didn’t always have a strong appearance in every movie but they did attempt to do more with her than being an early warning Godzilla system.
I did consider putting Steve Martin on this list, and I guess technically I am, but honestly all he does is give the American audience a character they can use as a guide into the Japan under attack at a time when people still barely understood Japan and there weren’t the legion of Japanophiles the internet has today. That’s important in bringing the original movie out of Japan and to the larger world of course so he is really important to the franchise. After that however he doesn’t do a lot and he was poorly utilized in Godzilla 1985.
So…humans. Presumably you reading this are one so maybe cut them some slack. 90 minutes of nothing but monster fighting sounds cool but if Michael Bay’s Transformers films have taught me anything it’s that awesomeness can be made mundane without a reason for the audience to care. The humans are that reason. Some have been handled well, some haven’t, and we can debate who’s on what list, but overall you can’t have a good Godzilla movie without them.