Godzilla Minus One: Noriko's Neck Ending Explained

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Godzilla Minus One, Noriko's Neck Mark

Those who have watched Godzilla Minus One on streaming may have wondered exactly what the deal is with the mark on Noriko Ōishi’s neck.

Godzilla Minus One hit theaters in late 2023 and stood as a sleeper hit until it won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in early 2024. Just like that, all eyes were on the Japanese-language kaiju film.

The film was unexpectedly recently added to Netflix’s library and became available via video-on-demand, garnering Minus One an even larger audience.

What’s With That Mark on Noriko’s Neck?

Noriko in Godzilla Minus One

In Godzilla Minus One, Minami Hamabe's Noriko Ōishi served as the romantic lead. The protagonist, failed kamikaze pilot turned Godzilla-halting hero Kōichi Shikishima, meets Noriko at the beginning of the film, and they gradually build a humble life together.

Shikishima and Noriko in Godzilla Minus One

But roughly midway through Minus One, Godzilla does what he does best and attacks Tokyo, seemingly killing Noriko in his wanton destruction. It’s not until the closing minutes of the movie that it’s revealed that she survived and is reunited with Shikishima in a hospital room.

It’s an emotional moment for the two young characters, one that has resonated heavily with audiences. But it might not all be sunshine and roses for the couple. When the camera comes in close, a black mark is seen on Noriko’s neck.

Noriko’s neck in Godzilla Minus One

Now, this mark could be nothing more than a bruise inflicted on the woman during Godzilla’s rampage, but consider the fact that she’s been sitting in a hospital ward for an extended period of time. Surely, a bruise would have already been tended to.

It might also be that the blotch is radiation damage from the attack. Godzilla’s go-to offense is his iconic atomic breath, which is immensely radioactive. An injury like that wouldn’t dissipate as easily or quickly as a bruise.

There does stand the distinct possibility that the mark, which has caught the attention of many viewers who have watched Godzilla Minus One, could be meant to represent something more sinister. A negative omen of things to come.

Shikishima and Akiko in Godzilla Minus One

Not for nothing but the end of the film does, in fact, reveal that Big G is still alive, having outlasted the Japanese people’s complex attempt to put him down for good. 

During the final battle, Shikishima flew a specialized, bomb-laden plane right into the beast’s mouth (he ejected from the aircraft before impact) but the very last scene of Minus One saw Godzilla regenerating in the ocean depths that were believed to be his grave.

So, perhaps Nokiri’s marking can be seen as a signal to the audience that the good times will not last and Godzilla will return…

What’s the Status of a Godzilla Minus One Sequel?

In their classic song titled “Godzilla”, Blue Öyster Cult put forth the following message: “History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man.”

And that’s precisely what Godzilla is: a force of nature. A predator who shows up to balance the scales for Planet Earth when humans, or any other kind get too big for their breeches and start messing around where they shouldn’t.

So it more than stands to reason that Godzilla would return in a sequel to Minus One. But in reality, it’s not quite that simple.

Currently, there has been no officially announced development on a Godzilla Minus One follow-up. But director Takashi Yamazaki has some ideas about where one could go, as he detailed in an interview with Empire:

“I would certainly like to see what the sequel would look like... I know that Shikishima’s war seems over, and we’ve reached this state of peace and calm – but perhaps [it’s the] calm before the storm, and the characters have not yet been forgiven for what has been imposed upon them.”

Of course, Yamazaki’s comments about the “calm before the storm” lend further credence to the idea that Noriko’s neck bruise could be a harbinger of certain doom.

It would certainly seem like Toho, the studio behind Minus One, wants to get the idea just right before committing to producing a sequel to the hit film. Producer Minami Ichikawa noted that Toho wants to approach another movie “carefully.” 

Until a sequel is green-lit, audiences can check out Godzilla Minus One on Netflix and purchase the movie on digital VOD. 

Read more about Godzilla Minus One:

Godzilla Minus One Ending Explained: Noriko's Final Scene Explained

Godzilla Minus One Blu-ray Release Date Announced: When Will It Release In the US?

Here's Why Godzilla Minus One Is Called 'Minus One'

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.