Shin Godzilla is the heaviest kaiju movie in years, but there are still laughs to be found if you know where to look.

2016’s Shin Godzilla is kind of a strange beast. The first Japanese-produced Godzilla film in more than a decade, it’s noticeably darker and more somber in tone than most of the King of the Monster’s previous popcorn-fare giant monster slugfests, but Shin Godzilla is still a kaiju movie, and there’s a certain inherent silliness to the genre that can’t entirely be shaken off, particularly with lifelong kaiju fan Hideaki Anno in the director’s seat.

Shin Godzilla trailer

So during last weekend’s showing of Shin Godzilla on Japanese broadcast TV, sharp-eyed fans managed to pick out a number of sight gags, some possibly inadvertent, that add a little bit of levity to the otherwise dramatic proceedings. For example, Anno has always liked using plenty of on-screen text in his projects, and at one point in Shin Godzilla we see a screen of fictitious Twitter comments reflecting the spreading panic and distrust of the authorities following the kaiju’s appearance in Japan’s Kanto region. Fans of Anno’s best-known work, anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, might recognize one of the Twitter user icons…

…as Asuka, one of Evangelion’s main characters! What’s more, her handle is “bakashinji” (meaning “stupid Shinji”), something Asuka is commonly heard grumbling when her frustration at fellow mecha pilot and series protagonist Shinji boils over.

But Asuka wasn’t the only unexpected discovery by sharp-eyed viewers during the broadcast. In another ostensibly dramatic scene, we see a news correspondent on the street, reporting on the legal procedures the Japanese government must go through in order to authorize the use of military-grade weaponry in order to fight against Godzilla. But as he’s discussing this divisive political situation, someone in Japan just wants a pizza, as evidenced by the Domino’s delivery scooter that can be seen buzzing along the street behind him.

▼ It’s kind of a shame they didn’t go for maximum weirdness by having it be one of Domino’s Hatsune Miku or Christmas reindeer delivery vehicles.

And finally, we come to a scene of an electronics store employee standing amongst shelves of TVs tuned to an emergency broadcast regarding the Godzilla attacks. His posture, along with the way the shot is framed, makes him look small and powerless, creating a great visual metaphor for the helplessness humanity feels against Godzilla’s might.

But while the national broadcasters are all running reports on this “unprecedented crisis,” one set is tuned to local station TV Tokyo, which is running a food report on delicious crab instead of anything related to the humongous creature that’s rampaging through Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo.

The Asuka pseudo-cameo is obviously meant to be an in-joke for Anno’s preexisting fans, but the intent of the other two oddities might be a little deeper. One of the questions Shin Godzilla asks is whether or not the Japanese government and populace would really be up to the challenge of responding to a giant monster attack, and theorizing that even in the face of such danger some people would be more concerned with stuffing their faces than fighting a kaiju fits squarely with the movie’s tone.

Or maybe Anno was just really hungry while he was making Shin Godzilla.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/東宝MOVIEチャンネル

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he still thinks the Yawara sight gag in Project A-ko 2 is a classic.