The Heisei era is a term used to identify the current political era of Japan. The Heisei series is named after the political Heisei era in Japan, which started in 1989 with the ascension of Emperor Akihito to the throne, and continues to this day. Technically, the Millennium and Legendary seriesGodzilla films are also part of the Heisei era due to being released during the political Heisei period, but are considered to be separate series from the Heisei series due to coming after hiatuses in the Godzilla franchise. Other major kaiju franchises have not followed this convention despite having similar hiatuses; for example, Gamera: The Brave is considered to be a part of the Heisei series, despite being released seven years after the previous film, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.
The Godzilla Heisei era lasted from 1984 to 1995. The Godzilla Heisei era was also nicknamed the "VS Series" (VSシリーズ, Buiesu shirīzu?, lit. Versus series) in Japan, due to the word VS (Buiesu) being featured in most of the films' titles. The Heisei era of Godzilla films follow a different continuity from the Showa films, ignoring every movie except the original 1954Godzilla.
Technically, The Return of Godzilla was released during the Showa era rather than the Heisei era, but is considered part of the Heisei series due to being the beginning of a new series and sharing continuity with the Heisei films that followed it.
It is a common misconception that Gamera: The Brave is counted as part of the Millennium series. The Millennium Series only applies to the Godzilla series, as the rest of Japan is still in the Heisei era. In Japan, Gamera: The Brave is sometimes referred to as the "Shinsei version" (新生版, Shinsei-ban?) to distinguish it from the trilogy. It is currently unknown as to how the upcoming Gamera film will fit into this trend, and whether it will start a new era or be another standalone film.
No Godzilla monster introduced in the Heisei series reappeared in the Millennium era, with the exception of the adult Godzilla Junior appearing through stock footage in the opening of Godzilla: Final Wars.
Godzilla monsters from this period were generally very large; much larger than monsters from the Showa era. Most of Godzilla's opponents were at least 20 meters taller than him.
The Heisei era set several records in various statistics for Toho's kaiju at the time; some of these records have been surpassed by later films, while others remain current.
In the Heisei Gamera trilogy, all of Gamera's opponents can fly. The only monster in the entire Gamera Heisei era thus far that is unable to fly is Zedus.
The Heisei era of Godzilla films introduced a filming technique where shots of the set were blended into footage of cities from ground level. While this did provide an ability to save money in building massive sets and also was an easy way to introduce a sense of scale, it meant that in many scenes people can be seen casually walking or even driving vehicles while the kaiju rampages nearby. This is especially evident in some of the Haneda Airport scenes in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, where a Boeing 747 that belongs to ANA can actually be seen taxiing towards the runway whilst Destoroyah flies into the air, pulling Godzilla along.
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