Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira?) (//; [ɡoꜜdʑiɽa] is a giant monster or daikaiju originating from a series of tokusatsu films of the same name from Japan. He first appeared in Ishirō Honda's 1954 film Godzilla. Since then, Godzilla has gone on to become a worldwide pop culture icon starring in 28 films produced by Toho Co., Ltd. The character has appeared in numerous other medium incarnations including video games, novels, comic books, and television series. A 1998 American reimagining was produced by Tri-Star Pictures (the title monster of which was renamed to Zilla by Toho for later appearances), while a second American version by Legendary Pictures was released on May 16, 2014. The character is commonly alluded to by the title King of the Monsters, an epithet first used in the Americanized version of Ishiro Honda's original 1954 film.
With the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Lucky Dragon 5 incident still fresh in the Japanese consciousness, Godzilla was conceived as a metaphor for nuclear weapons. As the film series expanded, some stories took on less serious undertones portraying Godzilla as a hero while other plots still portrayed Godzilla as a destructive monster; sometimes the lesser of two threats who plays the defender by default but is still a danger to humanity.