Legions of giant reptiles have wreaked havoc across the big screen over the years, claymation pterodactyls attacking bombshells and animatronic T-Rexes flipping SUVs, but the OG lizard of mass destruction is the one and only Godzilla. This lumbering monstrosity has been demolishing miniature cities for over six decades, and doesn’t show any sign of stopping his rampage any time soon. He’s become a such a huge pop cultural icon for his destructive ways that countless fans of the films have gotten tattoo tributes to Godzilla the other kaiju he battles.
Godzilla is the creation of Toho Studios and holds the world record for the longest running film franchise in history. There are 29 movies in which the monster waddles his way through model cities, stepping on toy cars and toppling cardboard buildings while sparks and other budget pyrotechnics ignite the air, and that’s not even counting the CGI-heavy Americanized versions in which we see Matthew Broderick worm his way to heroism and Bryan Cranston die disappointingly early. There was even a cartoon spinoff during from the early ‘80s where Godzilla is a fun-loving mascot for a team of oceanic adventurers. More films are slated to be released in both Japan and the US in the near future, too. If there is a future, that is.
When one really considers the metaphorical value of a behemoth, bipedal lizard; Godzilla is the physical manifestation of anxieties caused by the nuclear warheads that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. At the rate we’re going, we may kill off all the life on this godforsaken rock before any supernatural reptile has the chance to lay waste to civilization. As cold-blooded as it may sound, the only thing that could trump our mutually assured annihilation or waiting for AI to do the job for us would be an 80-story iguana’s reign of fire.
But who are we kidding? At the end of the day, Godzilla won’t ever rise from the depths to put us all out of our misery, and it’s a bit of a copout to wish that he would. After all, who should have to do somebody else’s dirty work for them? If you were a giant subterranean creature, you’d probably just chill out until the smoke clears and then come up and enjoy the smell of our charred remains, too. We may never have a towering, stumpy-armed scapegoat on which to pin our doom, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live out this apocalyptic fantasy time and time again. At least, we’ve got all the movies and these badass tattoos to keep us entertained until the end of time.
To see more body art inspired by cult classic films, make sure to visit all of these artists’ Instagrams. Should you want an homage to Godzilla on your body, have them design a tattoo of the OG giant reptile for you.