Screenshot: Evolution Of Godzilla/YouTube

He has been haunting moviegoers’ dreams and crushing model cities for over 60 years now, but much about Godzilla remains mysterious even today, after all those movies, TV shows, and comic books. For instance, does the giant, rampaging lizard have a penis? And, if not, what’s the explanation for that son he had back in 1967? At Inverse, writer Eric Francisco has assembled a dossier about this apparently vital issue, but the evidence is, to put it mildly, inconclusive and contradictory. Though Toho, the studio where Godzilla began his career in 1954, has tried to maintain some control over the character over the decades, the franchise has been rebooted several times, and different storytellers have used the big scaly guy toward various purposes during that time. In other words, there isn’t just one “definitive” Godzilla. He is large and contains multitudes. For that reason, Godzilla’s penis may be the monster-movie equivalent of Schrödinger’s cat.

Nevertheless, for those who really care about these things, Francisco discusses the biological realities of the situation and analyzes the evidence available in the films, comics, and even commercials.

Officially, Francisco explains, Godzilla is meant to be a mystery. What he has or doesn’t have below the waist is not even a concern for his handlers. Artist Matt Frank, who works on a canonical Godzilla comic book, puts it this way: “The monsters are generally genderless; it’s just not something Toho concerns themselves with.” He also says that Toho has its limits: “You can’t just have a hanging schlong out there.” But blogger Nicholas Driscoll points out that there are some officially sanctioned pornographic ’Zilla comics, including one that depicts the monster’s sperm. And what about that 1985 Dr. Pepper commercial in which ’Zilla falls in love with a sexy lady monster? Something must be going on there.

Then there is the issue of Godzilla’s adorable biological offspring, Minilla. “There is no area more gray” than this one, claims Dr. Bill Tsutsui, author of Godzilla On My Mind: Fifty Years Of The King Of Monsters. When discussing how the character might reproduce, it is first necessary to pin him down to one particular species. But this brings up yet more issues. What, exactly, is Godzilla? An overgrown lizard? A dinosaur left over from the Cretaceous period? “Maybe we’re not meant to understand,” concludes Francisco, surrendering to the reality that some questions simply cannot be answered by mortal man.

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