Godzilla sues Honda over commercial for the Odyssey minivan

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 22, 2011

Toho Co. has filed a lawsuit against Honda Motor Co. on Feb. 2 for its unauthorized use of Godzilla's likeness in a commercial for the Odyssey minivan earlier this year. Toho is the Japanese film studio that has produced dozens of Godzilla movies over the past six decades.

This TV ad, which features the whining strains of heavy metal guitar and pyrotechnic explosions, seeks to convince young male drivers that minivans are cool as well as convenient.

To demonstrate the vehicle's split screen onboard video entertainment system, a head shot of the fire-breathing Godzilla appeared opposite an image of the rock band Judas Priest.

Junichi Tamaki, a Toho spokesman in Tokyo, said that the suit was filed in Los Angeles federal district court seeking an injunction against Honda's use of Godzilla.

Tamaki said that it took legal action because Godzilla was used without authorization in the Odyssey commercial and it infringes its copyright.

Toho has been in court several times previously to protect Godzilla’s image. So far, its legal team has successfully won cases against fast-food chains, toymakers, publishers, wineries and rock bands.

Honda is offering five models which are the EX, EX-L, Odyssey LX, Touring and the Touring Elite, all of which have been designed as well as manufactured in the U.S. Each of these models has their own unique mix of features, luxury, in-vehicle entertainment technology, and value. Take the Odyssey EX for example, for the 2012 model year it has some features available to it that were previously exclusively offered solely on the Odyssey EX-L.

As such, the EX now has the intelligent Multi-Information Display that comes with the 8-inch TFT screen and the Bluetooth HandsFreeLink. There is also the USB Audio Interface and 2-GB CD Library. Meanwhile the 2012 Odyssey Touring will no longer have its exterior color in Taffeta White like the previous model but instead have White Diamond Pearl. The body of the Honda Odyssey makes use of a design that exhibits a narrowing cabin and has the signature "lightning bolt" character line in order to have a unique and dynamic appearance.

Meanwhile, the styling cue results in a somewhat large window for the third row. This improves the outward perspective especially for the passengers seated on the third row. The goal was to have an interior that is quiet. This is why it makes use of high-strength steel for 59% of its highly rigid body, an amount considered as remarkable even by industry standards. With this, it improves how effectively its sound-deadening material is able to insulate against any road noise.

Another benefit of using high-strength steel is that it can lower the total weight of its body, resulting in improved fuel economy as well as being able to optimize the rigidity of its body to allow for agile handling. Its interior meanwhile has a number of modes available in order to better accommodate adult passengers, child seats, and cargo. This is in addition to the wide-range of entertainment technology already offered. Since the main design goal was to become the ultimate family vehicle, three rows of seating that provide comfort are offered for the interior.

In addition, each row offers legroom similar to the sedan. It also has five LATCH positions for its child seats with the Odyssey LX offering four LATCH positions instead. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. For the EX and LX, passenger volume is at 172.6 cubic feet. Cargo volume meanwhile starts at 38.4 cubic feet with all the seats up and can go as high as 148.5 cubic feet but will depend on how the seats are configured.

When the seats on the second row are removed, the cargo bay of the Odyssey can even fit in a 4x8 plywood sheet. With the front console removed, it is possible to fit a 10-foot-long 2x4 studs inside. Improving driver comfort is the driver’s seat that has 10-way power adjustable seating. This feature is helpful particularly for long trips. For the LX though, the driver’s seat only has an 8-way power adjustable seating.

For models Odyssey EX and above, there is a "3-mode" option for the second-row which allows a maximum of three child seats to be attached on this row. This is made possible by repositioning its outboard seats and then placing them alternately nearer the doors. Since this is an Odyssey, it comes with the one motion and 60/40 split third-row Magic Seat. Aside from being an original concept, it is also one of its most versatile features.

This feature allows legroom fit for any adult and it can simply be closed and open with one hand. All models though have standard features that include, among others, power driver's seat, power windows with the auto-up/down controls on the window of the driver and front passenger. It also has a maintenance minder system, tilt and telescopic steering column, and air conditioning with manual controls on the front and the rear.

For models Honda Odyssey EX and above, standard features include center console storage, conversation mirror, power sliding rear doors, "intelligent" Multi-Information Display that offers customizable wallpaper, and flip-up trash bag ring, to name a few. Meanwhile the Odyssey EX-L has the seating surfaces of the front row and the outboard second row in leather trim. There is also the power tailgate, heated front seats, and cool box.

Technologies include the rearview camera and XM Radio, among many others. For the Honda Odyssey Touring, equipped as standard are the Rear Entertainment System that comes with a 9-inch display and the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System.

The driver’s seat has a two-position memory and there are also the fog lights, 115 Volt power outlet, six-speed transmission, and parking sensors. Some of these are in the Odyssey Touring Elite which adds blind-spot information system, High Intensity Discharge headlights, Ultra-Wide Rear Entertainment System, and a whole lot more.

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