After decades of witnessing him stomping through Tokyo and crushing the megalopolis under his feet time and time again, the city government has decided to put the radiation-born, fire-breathing beast to work—as a cultural ambassador.
As reported by the Associated Press last Thursday, the cinematic superlizard was granted a special residency permit to Shinjuku Ward, and dubbed “tourism ambassador” at the same time. Of course, the “real” Godzilla, who has ranged in size from 50 meters tall during the Showa era to a gargantuan 100 meters tall in the 2014 Godzilla flick (in fact, some Japanese Godzilla-watchers actually thought the most recent incarnation needed to be put on a weight reduction plan—we blame the influence of American fast food), wouldn’t have managed to attend the awards ceremony without causing some consternation.
So, in his stead—and paying tribute to the special effects of yore—the residency certificate was accepted by an actor in a Godzilla suit, who did need a bit of help holding on to the residency certificate with his not-so-prehensile claws (we’re guessing no fall-back career as a file clerk for ol’ G).
As Paste Magazine reports, the ceremony has been a lead-up to the opening of two new landmark locations at the 31-story Shinjuku Toho building: a new movie theater, which will be Tokyo’s largest and is set to open on April 17, and the Hotel Gracery, which will open one week later. The Hotel Gracery will sport three Godzilla-themed rooms: two with views of a giant Godzilla head that pokes out from the roof of the theater below, and one that comes with its own statue, movie posters, and a giant reptilian claw hanging over the beds. (Hey, we don’t judge: everybody has a thing.)
It’s also not a bad bit of buzz for the reboot of the franchise by Toho, who originally brought Godzilla to life in 1954. Their next iteration will be directed by anime superstars Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi. We can only imagine what Shinjuku’s most recent cultural ambassador will get up to in the film, which is slated to hit screens in 2016—hopefully he could make his way into the Olympics. We’d figure him a shoe-in for the Gold in Greco-Roman…