A closeup of Godzilla in Godzilla Minus One

So, What’s up With ‘Godzilla Minus One’s Title?

Godzilla Minus One has officially arrived on Netflix. While the film is about the familiar and iconic kaiju, Godzilla, viewers may be wondering what the “minus one” part of the title refers to.

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Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have been building a MonsterVerse centered around the reptilian monster, but Godzilla Minus One is set outside that universe. It also isn’t directly related to any of Toho’s previous Godzilla movies. The standalone film takes place in post-World War II Japan. Although the country is already devastated by war, it must prepare itself for another threat when Godzilla begins its approach.

Godzilla Minus One received stellar reviews from critics. It’s reminiscent of the first Godzilla film in 1954, as it takes the kaiju back to its roots in Japan. Of course, the film is a much bigger visual and cinematic spectacle this time around, with powerful performances and a moving perspective on post-war Japan. Godzilla (2014) director Gareth Edwards gave the film his stamp of approval, even indicating he was “jealous” of how good it turned out.

As the film gains further traction on streaming, some viewers are still curious about the title. What does it mean?

The meaning of Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla in Godzilla Minus One

At first glance, one might assume Godzilla Minus One is meant to denote a prequel. As mentioned above, though, the film isn’t directly connected to any other Toho Godzilla film. Instead, the title is a reference to the tragic story the movie captures. In an interview with Forbes, Toho International President Koji Ueda stated:

The concept is that Japan, which had already been devastated by the war, faces a new threat with Godzilla, bringing the country into the ‘minus.’

It’s a sobering reminder of the devastation Japan experienced, especially after the atomic bombs were dropped. It took the country years to recover and regain economic stability again. The country was in a very vulnerable state, making it questionable if it was even possible for it to lose more. If the country had faced one more threat, it certainly would’ve propelled into negative territory. Hence, Godzilla Minus One‘s premise and title capture the realities of postwar anxiety and trauma.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.