We're not sure why we're talking like Elmo, and we'd like to amend that Godzilla himself has not filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against American Honda Motor Company in Los Angeles — rather, Toho Co. Ltd. has (that link's in Japanese; punked!) — but yeah, this is happening.

It appears Honda tried to make a heavy-metal commercial for its new Odyssey minivan…

… doing its darndest to pretend like minivans can be hardcore and shredtastic and ragerific just like Judas Priest and Godzilla, but instead just ended up turning off its key suburban-mother demographic and pissing off some Japanese businessfolks who don't like handing their monsters out for free.

Tough shit. Watch for yourself:

We know copyright law is very serious and real, but shouldn't Godzilla be one of those things that belongs, by nature, to everybody? Like the colors of the wind? Or Lesley Gore? Or the Bible?

The other giant piece of irony in this case is that the director of the original 1954 “Godzilla” is named Ishirô Honda, which makes it seem like Godzilla's just being passed around the extended Honda family, or something.

Anyway, car company's declining to comment, and Toho's acting like it's the end of the world, fittingly. From the lawsuit:

“[Honda] uses heavy metal rock band Judas Priest, Marshall amplifiers and Godzilla to reinvent and sell a new image for its Odyssey minivan. Presumably Judas Priest and Marshall were asked, gave permission, and received payment to be associated with Honda's Odyssey minivan. Plaintiff Toho Co. Ltd., the owner of the world-famous Godzilla character, was not.''

So Toho sent Honda a cease-and-desist letter, to no avail:

“Instead, Honda and its advertising agency expanded their exploitation of the commercial, including broadcasting it nationally during the 2011 NFL divisional playoffs and conference championship games (some of the most-watched sporting events of the year).''

According to City News Service, Toho's precious lizard, who's over half a decade old, has no Oscars — “but in 1996, the character received an MTV Lifetime Achievement Award.”



LA Weekly