“Godzilla Minus One ”ending explained: How Godzilla is defeated, what's a G-cell, and more


<p>Toho International</p>

Toho International

'Godzilla Minus One'

No one expected Godzilla Minus One to stomp on everyone's soul.

Not to be confused with Legendary Pictures' kaiju rock 'em, sock 'em Monsterverse series, Toho's Oscar-winning — gosh, it always feels good to say that — creature feature starring everyone's city-destroying giant lizard tells a riveting, post-World War II tale about redemption, grief, PTSD, and found family.

In the 1945-set Godzilla Minus One, the titular reptilian monster is responsible for two horrific incidents in kamikaze pilot Kōichi Shikishima's (Ryunosuke Kamiki) life. First, there's Godzilla's attack on the Japanese base located on Odo Island, where Shakshima panics and falls unconscious when instructed to fire at Godzilla from his plane. The next day, Shakshima awakens to discover only he and the mechanic Sōsaku Tachibana (Munetaka Aoki) have survived. A couple of years later, Godzilla strikes again when he lays waste to the Tokyo district of Ginza, where Shakshima's girlfriend Noriko Ōishi (Minami Hamabe) sacrifices herself to save him from the blast of the beast's heat ray.

Devastated by the loss, Shikishima vows to take down that kaiju and — with the help of his genius minesweeping crewmate Kenji "Doc" Noda, who devises a plan to kill Godzilla at Sagami Bay using ships, cables, and freon tanks — he might be able to defeat his gargantuan foe (though he does have an ulterior motive). Of course, things don't exactly go according to plan, and there is a climactic showdown between man and monster. Let's unpack the ending.

<p>Toho International / Courtesy Everett </p> Ryunosuke Kamiki in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Toho International / Courtesy Everett

Ryunosuke Kamiki in 'Godzilla Minus One'

What was Shikishima's ulterior motive?

When his love Noriko is presumed dead, Shikishima becomes more distant than usual toward his adoptive daughter Akiko (Sae Nagatani). He preps with his comrades to defeat Godzilla, but there's an unspoken ulterior motive in the air. Though his task is to lure Godzilla out to sea and launch bombs into Godzilla's mouth with his fighter plane, Shikishima plans to deploy himself with the explosives, feeling that living up to the kamikaze role he spent the whole movie running from will give him redemption. Shikishima is so wrapped up in his grief and PTSD by this point that he doesn't consider returning to Akiko. Before going off to fight, he has Akiko go to his neighbor Sumiko Ōta (Sakura Ando) with a letter enclosed with money, intending to have her become Akiko's new guardian.

"Don't do anything rash. I won't forgive you if you orphan Akiko," Captain Yōji Akitsu (Miou Tanaka) tells Shikishima via the transmitter. He responds in silence. Shikishima's mind is already made up — or so it seems.

<p>Toho Co., Ltd.</p> 'Godzilla Minus One'

Toho Co., Ltd.

'Godzilla Minus One'

Do Doc's plans to stop Godzilla work?

Well, no. Godzilla does enter Segami Bay, but earlier than anticipated. Doc and his fellow war veterans aren't fully prepared for his arrival, but they put their plan into action anyway. The crews on two separate ships rope Godzilla with their ship cables, leaving him unable to move. They then shoot and rupture freon tanks around the monster to aerate the water's volume so the surrounding water pressure can push Godzilla under the sea below. Unfortunately, Godzilla proves to be too strong and breaks through the cables.

But don't worry. Doc has a backup plan in which inflatable balloons will blow up under Godzilla, bringing the creature back to the surface and hopefully killing it through explosive decompression. Naturally, Godzilla chews through the balloons. When both plans fail, the situation feels hopeless... until Shirō Mizushima (Yuki Yamada), the "kid" who desperately wanted to fight alongside his veteran peers, shows up with a fleet of young crewmen in tugboats, who successfully wrangle Godzilla with their cables.

<p>Toho Co., Ltd.</p> Godzilla in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Toho Co., Ltd.

Godzilla in 'Godzilla Minus One'

How is Godzilla defeated?

Unable to move, an angry Godzilla fires up his atomic breath in an attempt to kill all those sailors once and for all. At the last second, Shikishima arrives, flies into Godzilla's mouth, and detonates his plane full of bombs. The blast destroys Godzilla's head, causing the heat ray's energy to tear its body apart — kind of like a lizard experiencing acid reflux. But what about Shikishima?

Related: Every Godzilla movie, ranked from worst to best

<p>Toho Co., Ltd.</p> Ryunosuke Kamiki in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Toho Co., Ltd.

Ryunosuke Kamiki in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Does Shikishima die?

Shikishima survives! A flashback reveals that Mr. Tachibana installed an ejector seat for the pilot, wisely telling him to let go of his guilt and "live." Cut back to the present day where we see he avoids crashing into Godzilla's mouth by ejecting himself from his seat and parachuting to safety.

<p>Toho Co., Ltd.</p> Minami Hamabe in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Toho Co., Ltd.

Minami Hamabe in 'Godzilla Minus One'

What are G-cells?

Shikishima arrives home with his fellow crewmates and reunites with Akiko and Sumiko. Shikishima receives good news when Sumiko gives him a telegram revealing that Noriko survived the attack. He runs to the hospital to find his love recovering in a hospital bed with bandages covering her eye and arm. She asks, "Is your war finally over?" A teary Shikishima embraces her and responds, "Yes." As they hold each other, you can see a black bruise growing on the side of Noriko's neck, which director Takashi Yamazaki confirmed is composed of Godzilla cells or G-cells.

While not much information is known about how Godzilla's cells infected Noriko, it's safe to assume that his regenerative scales can affect humans, helping them heal from whatever physical injury they face. Speaking of regeneration...

<p>Toho Co., Ltd.</p> Godzilla in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Toho Co., Ltd.

Godzilla in 'Godzilla Minus One'

Is Godzilla dead at the End of Godzilla Minus One?

Before Godzilla Minus One's end credits roll, we see a shot of Godzilla's body sinking underwater, but his flesh starts to regenerate. Will we get a vengeful Godzilla in a sequel? Will Noriko become a Godzilla hybrid? Only time will tell. What we do know is that you can't keep a good Godzilla down.

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