Biollante

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Biollante
Godzilla film series character
Biorante.jpg
First appearance Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
Last appearance Godzilla: Rulers of Earth (2014)
Created by
Portrayed by
Masao Takegami
Designed by
Information
Species Godzilla/rose/human hybrid

Biollante is a kaiju who first appeared in Toho's 1989 film Godzilla vs. Biollante, and has since appeared in numerous licensed video games and comic books. The creature is portrayed as a genetically engineered clone of Godzilla spliced with the genes of a rose and a human. As the character was created during the end of the Cold War and a wane in the concerns over nuclear weapons represented by Godzilla, Biollante was conceived as a symbol of more contemporary controversies regarding genetic engineering.[1] WatchMojo.com listed Biollante as #8 on their "Top 10 Godzilla Villains" list.[2]

Character biography[edit]

Biollante first appears in the 1989 film Godzilla vs. Biollante. After Godzilla's return in 1984, Dr. Genshiro Shiragami attempts to use the monster's cells to genetically enhance various species of plants to create crops resistant to harsh weather. His attempts are initially thwarted when a bomb destroys his laboratory and kills his daughter Erika. Shiragami splices her DNA with that of a rose, which is nearly destroyed five years later by an earthquake. Hoping to make the rose immortal, he further splices its DNA with those of Godzilla, resulting in the creation of a hybrid mutant he christens Biollante. The creature roots itself into Lake Ashino, where it begins calling out to its progenitor Godzilla. Godzilla arrives and incinerates Biollante, whose spores float into the atmosphere. The spores later land near Osaka in the form of a much more Godzilla-like Biollante, who fights Godzilla to a standstill until the latter retreats after being weakened by the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria. Biollante subsequently dissolves again and floats into space, with an image of Erika being seen among the spores.[3]

The creature makes a brief cameo appearance in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, where it is speculated that its cells floating in space may have contributed to the creation of the monster SpaceGodzilla.[4]

Design[edit]

Biollante concept art, portraying the creature as much more humanoid in appearance.

Biollante was first conceived by dentist Shinichiro Kobayashi, who was the winner of a story writing contest for a sequel to The Return of Godzilla. In developing the character, Kobayashi kept in mind how he would feel if his daughter died, and combined this with a mental image he had consisting of Godzilla being consumed by a flower.[5] His idea of Biollante's origins was not too different from those of the final film, though the creature was portrayed in his submission as having no direct link to Godzilla, and of having human-level intelligence, as well as maintaining the memories of Erika. The draft's portrayal of the character had her psychically communicating with a reporter via images of flowers with human faces, and the final Biollante creature had a woman's face.[6][7]

Koichi Kawakita, who had previously worked for Tsuburaya Productions, was assigned to designing and realizing Biollante by Toho after the company became impressed at his work in Gunhed. Kawakita made use of Gunhed's special effects team Studio OX, though designing and building the Biollante props proved problematic, as traditional suitmation techniques made realizing the requested design of the creature's first form difficult, and the resulting cumbersome model for Biollante's final form was met with disbelief from the special effects team. Biollante's first form was performed by Masao Takegami, who sat within the model's trunk area on a platform just above water level. While the creature's head movements were simple to operate, its vines were controlled by an intricate array of overhead wires which proved difficult for Godzilla performer Kenpachiro Satsuma to react to during combat scenes as they offered no tension, thus warranting Satsuma to feign receiving blows from them, despite not being able to perceive them.[5] Creature designer Shinji Nishikawa originally designed Biollante's head as much more flowerlike, with four petal-like jaws, though the film's producers insisted on a more reptilian head.[8] Biollante's final form proved even more difficult to operate than the previous model, as its vine network took hours to rig up on set and required 32 wires to operate,[5] far more than required to operate King Ghidorah in the following film.[1] Visibility in the final form Biollante suit was poor, thus causing difficulties for Takegami in aiming the creature's head when firing sap, which permanently stained anything it landed on.[5]

Appearances[edit]

Biollante, as depicted on the front cover of Godzilla Cataclysm, issue 2 (September 2014)

Films[edit]

Video games[edit]

Literature[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Making of Godzilla vs. Biollante", Godzilla vs Biollante [DVD] Echo Bridge (2012)
  2. ^ WatchMojo.com (September 25, 2015). "Top 10 Godzilla Villains". Youtube. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). Directed by Kazuki Ōmori. Toho
  4. ^ Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994). Directed by Kensho Yamashita. Toho
  5. ^ a b c d Kalat, D. (2010), A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series, McFarland, p. 169-78, ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7
  6. ^ Ryfle, S. (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 259. ISBN 1550223488. 
  7. ^ Godziszewski, E. (1994), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla, Daikaiju Enterprises, pp. 249-50
  8. ^ David Milne, "Shinji Nishikawa Interview", Kaiju Conversations (December 1995)

External links[edit]