Japan's Godzilla to roar back in 2016

Japan's star monster Godzilla (front left) poses with a fan after an awards ceremony at Toho Studio in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward on Nov 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japan's star monster Godzilla (front left) poses with a fan after an awards ceremony at Toho Studio in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward on Nov 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The original Godzilla is set to stomp through Tokyo again in 2016, a Japanese movie production company said Monday, in what will be the creature's first return to home turf in a decade.

Since the giant lizard first tore through Japan's capital in 1954, there have been dozens of home-made follow-ups and a few efforts from Hollywood, including Warner Bros' US$160 million (S$211 million) incarnation this year.

But the King of Monsters - originally a man in a latex suit - has not been sighted on Japanese shores since 2004, leaving its legions of fans crying out for more fire-breathing destruction, film studio Toho Co. said.

"Receiving earnest requests from Godzilla fans for its revival, we will start production of a brand-new Godzilla, which will hit screens in 2016," Toho said in a statement.

Toho released Gojira - a Japanese portmanteau of "gorilla" and "kujira" (whale) - directed by Ishiro Honda, in November 1954, a few months after Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai.

The monster movie was a mega-hit, drawing 9.6 million viewers in the days before television sets were commonplace in Japanese households.