The ShodaiGoji is popular with fans who prefer the first, darker toned Godzilla film. This suit featured a heavy lower body, small arms and a large, round head. The face had pronounced brows while the eyes were completely round with tiny pupils, a feature unique to this costume.
For close-up shots, a hand-held puppet and the prototype suit were used. As a result, when the camera focuses on Godzilla's head in such close-ups, such as when he is firing his atomic breath, Godzilla appears to have larger, more glossy-looking eyes.
The suit also included several features particular to itself and to the GyakushuGoji: fangs, four toes, a rough underside for the tail and pointed tail tip, and staggered rows of dorsal plates (these features would reappear with the Heisei series of Godzilla films from 1984 to 1999). The dorsal plates for both the ShodaiGoji and the GyakushuGoji were dynamic in design and unique to the two costumes. During filming, a separate pair of Godzilla legs were used for close-up shots of Godzilla's feet.
The ShodaiGoji was recreated through computer generated imagery for new flashback scenes in Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla in 2002, namely where the original Godzilla is shown being reduced to a skeleton by the Oxygen Destroyer rather than completely disintegrated as in the original film.
The ShodaiGoji was the first of its kind - a suit fully operated by a man inside of it. As there were no established procedures on how to build or operate a suit like the original Godzilla suit, Godzilla special effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya and the production staff had to pioneer a new tecnique later known as suitmation. The ShodaiGoji suit and the original pre-ShodaiGoji suit were built by Eizo Kaimai.
The ShodaiGoji was portrayed by Haruo Nakajima, who would go to portray Godzilla in almost every subsequent film up to Godzilla vs. Gigan. Nakajima has said that he made Godzilla walk like an elephant from observations he made by watching an Indian elephant called "Indira" back around the time of Godzilla's production, so that Godzilla would not look vulnerable and to portray his massiveness. According to Nakajima, temperatures inside the suit reached up to 60 degrees Celsius, and he couldn't move Godzilla's left hand whatsoever in the ShodaiGoji suit.
- This is the only known Godzilla to have been brown since all future incarnations of the Godzilla suits were all charcoal black, and much later, green.
- The ShodaiGoji suit was 6.5 feet tall and weighed 200 pounds.
- The ShodaiGoji is replicated in the 2002 film Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla through computer generated imagery.
- The ShodaiGoji heavily influenced later Godzilla designs, most noticeably the 84Goji, SokogekiGoji, and ShinGoji.
- In the film Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, the ShodaiGoji was digitally replaced by the MireGoji in stock footage from the original film.
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