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SYFY WIRE Godzilla

Godzilla gets trippy in new artwork from iconic pop artist Murakami

By Jordan Zakarin
Godzilla Painting

Godzilla hasn't been this psychedelic since 1971.

That year saw the release of the trippiest Toho kaiju movie of them all, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, which featured hippies, kaleidoscopic club scenes, and a filthy smog monster enemy endlessly consuming Japan. Nearly 50 years later, the Godzilla franchise has returned to pop art reminiscent of the era with a new mural and design series from iconic Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

Godzilla Painting

The iconic artist is known for his "Superflat theory," which "reconstructs Japanese traditional paintings and the origin of Japanese contemporary art through visual premises of anime and manga." His works blend 20th-century Japanese pop culture with fine art and more traditional forms that have sustained through the centuries. He has frequently worked with anime and manga characters, mutating and injecting them into larger statements about contemporary Japan.

Godzilla, a monster that emerged from the nuclear wreckage of World War II to ultimately become a kid-friendly titan of pop culture, makes for the perfect subject matter.

The pieces — the giant mural above and several fun, small icons — were commissioned as part of Toho's celebration of Godzilla's 65th anniversary, which has been officially recognized as November 3. Murakami's original is on display at ComplexCon in Long Beach, California, this weekend. Merchandise emblazoned with the artwork will be sold, exclusive to that weekend.