All of the Ghidorahs

Written by Barney Buckley

Email Address – bbuckley@triad.rr.com


King Ghidorah’s name is composed of “King” (キング?) and “Ghidorah.” The “Ghidorah” part of King Ghidorah’s name comes from the Japanese word for “hydra” (ヒドラ?, Hidora), which is spelt very similarly to the Japanese katakana for Ghidorah.

King Ghidorah was referred to as either “Ghidrah” or “Ghidorah” in the American versions of his first three movies, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster and Destroy All Monsters, because they sounded more like “hydra.” He wasn’t referred to as “King Ghidorah” in an original American release of one of his movies until Godzilla vs. Gigan.

King Ghidorah (キングギドラ Kingu Gidora?) (Also known as King Ghidrah, King Ghidora and Monster Zero) is a kaiju, a Japanese monster featured in several of Toho Studios’ Godzilla films. It appears as an armless, three-headed dragon with large wings and two tails.

Shōwa Era

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Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964): The original version of the monster is an alien who travels to Earth in a magnetic meteorite, and devastates Japan until repelled by Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra.

Invasion of the Astro-Monster (1965): Ghidorah is now the mind-controlled pawn of aliens from “Planet X”, and refer to Ghidorah as “Monster Zero”. The “Xians” covet Earth’s water resources and also take control of Godzilla and Rodan in an attempt to conquer the planet. When Earth forces free Godzilla and Rodan, the pair drive Ghidorah off into space once again.

Destroy All Monsters (1968): Set in the future year 1999, Ghidorah is controlled by the alien Kilaaks. The monster is eventually killed by Godzilla and several other monsters. (Note: Chronologically, this film occurs last in the Showa era timeline).

Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972): Set in the present day, Ghidorah teams with fellow monster Gigan and wreaks havoc until they both are driven away by Godzilla and Anguirus.

Heisei Series

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Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991): Time-travelers from the 23rd century (called “Futurians”) travel to the past to release three genetically-engineered bat-like creatures called “Dorats” at the location at which a Godzillasaurus was to be exposed to radiation and become Godzilla. The irradiated Dorats fuse into King Ghidorah, which the Futurians then use to devastate present-day Japan. Godzilla eventually battles and cripples Ghidorah, with the wounded monster falling into the ocean. The Futurians, however, locate Ghidorah in the future, and using advanced technology create the cyborg “Mecha-King Ghidorah”. The monster battles Godzilla to a standstill, before both disappear into the ocean.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993): A new Mechgodzilla is constructed from the remnants of Mecha-King Ghidorah.

Shinsei Series

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Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001): This marks the first time where Ghidorah is portrayed as a hero rather than a villain. Once again, its origins are reinvented with this incarnation having mystical origins, similar to “Desghidorah” from Rebirth of Mothra. Ghidorah is portrayed as an “ancient guardian monster” who is summoned to unite with two other guardian monsters, Baragon and Mothra, to defeat Godzilla.

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004): This incarnation returns the character back to its extraterrestrial origins, where it initially lands on Earth as a bipedal humanoid creature known as “Monster X”, only to later transform into a three-headed quadrupedal creature called “Keizer Ghidorah”. This is the second time Ghidorah is portrayed as a quadruped, and the first time it is seen to use levitation as a weapon against its enemies. Despite that this incarnation is commonly referred to as “Keizer Ghidorah”, Toho officially trademarks the character as “Monster X II”.[4]

Other Appearances

A similar monster also featured in two films in the Mothra trilogy, both of which involved time-travel and different versions of Ghidorah:    Rebirth of Mothra (1996): A version of Ghidorah, referred to as “Desghidorah” (or Death Ghidorah) appeared as a black, quadrupedal, three-headed extraterrestrial dragon. Freed from imprisonment in a prehistoric cave, the creature battles both an adult and larval form of Mothra before being entombed once again.    Rebirth of Mothra III (1998): A similar Ghidorah, under the title “Super Dragon King Ghidorah”, appears in a more traditional form and battles Mothra Leo, who undergoes several transformations to match the monster.

Music

Take Me To Your Leader is the second studio album by American hip hop artist Daniel Dumile, better known as MF DOOM, released under the alias King Geedorah on June 17, 2003. The character is based on the three-headed gold dragon King Ghidorah.

Television-Ghidorah appeared in two episodes of the tokusatsu superhero TV series Zone Fighter (1973).

Video games

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (1989, Nintendo Entertainment System), Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (1992, Nintendo Entertainment System), Super Godzilla (1993, Super Nintendo Entertainment System), Godzilla: Battle Legends (1993, Turbo Duo), Godzilla Trading Battle (1998, Playstation), Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (2002, Nintendo GameCube and Xbox. Released in Japan in 2002 as Godzilla: Domination! for the Game Boy Advance), Godzilla: Save the Earth (2004, Playstation 2 and Xbox), Godzilla: Unleashed (2007, Playstation 2 and Wii. Also released in 2007 as Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash for the Nintendo DS).

Abilities

The creature is capable of tremendous destruction due to its size, flight (with the creature’s wings also generating hurricane strength winds) and can fire gravity beams (lightning-like energy beams that also have the power to levitate objects) from its mouths.

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Appearance

King Ghidorah is a golden dragon monster with two legs, three heads on long necks, giant bat-like wings, and two tails. King Ghidorah’s multiple heads were inspired by Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed dragon from Japanese mythology. King Ghidorah was brought to life on the movie screen by a stunt actor inside an elaborate three-piece suit, with a team of puppeteers to control the suit’s many appendages. His design was mostly created by Eiji Tsuburaya based on a minimal description in the script: “It has three heads, two tails, and a voice like a bell.”

Personality

King Ghidorah does not have much of a developed personality because it is under someone’s control in most of his appearances. The only times he was not under mind-control throughout most of the film were Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. He temporarily was free of mind-control in Invasion of Astro-Monster and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, where, in the former, he fled from Godzilla and Rodan in fear and probably from being overwhelmed, and in the latter, he was very confused to what was happening and was killed by Godzilla. It seems that each of King Ghidorah’s heads can think for themselves separately, although the middle head appears to be dominant.

In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, King Ghidorah was said to be evil, and he destroyed civilizations on several planets for reasons unknown. He tried destroying Earth and its civilizations, but he fought the three monsters that got in his way and retreated eventually. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, King Ghidorah is one of the Guardian Monsters, being the God of the Sky. King Ghidorah was a protector of Japan, making Ghidorah a protagonist for the first, and by far only, time.

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Origins

King Ghidorah has a different origin in every series.

In the Showa series, King Ghidorah was created by the Garogans and was given to the Xiliens, who sent King Ghidorah to Earth to weaken its forces and take it over without any trouble. But the Xiliens did not know of Earth’s monsters. King Ghidorah was destined to be given to different alien races, losing his history on the way.

In the Heisei series, King Ghidorah is the result of three Dorats fusing due to an atomic bomb being dropped in Lagos Island, the island where the original Godzillasaurus was mutated. The Dorats were put on the island by the Futurians.

In the Millennium series, King Ghidorah was an eight-headed serpent god, or Yamata no Orochi, that was prematurely awoken before he could grow all eight of his heads, instead only growing three.

Cruteuos King Ghidorah

  • Height: 40 meters (131 ft) 
  • Wingspan: 60 meters (197 ft) 
  • Weight: 25,000 tons 
  • Powers/Weapons: Plasma beams, regeneration, teeth, flight at mach 3 
  • Classification: Space Kaiju 
  • First Appearance: Mothra 3 (1999) 
  • Number of movies starred in: 1 
  • Fight Record: Not Available

King Ghidorah Showa Era

  • Height: 100 meters (328 feet)
  • Wingspan: 150 meters (492 feet)
  • Mass: 30,000 metric tons (33,000 tons)
  • Powers/weapons: Flight at Mach 3, gravity beams from mouths, hurricane winds from its wings
  • First appearance: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  • Notable G-Series credits: 5, 6, 9, 12, 14, 15
  • Fight record: Wins 1, Losses 4

King Ghidorah Heisei Era

  • Height: 150 meters (492 feet)
  • Wingspan: 175 meters (574 feet)
  • Mass: 70,000 metric tons (77 ,000 tons)
  • Powers/weapons: Flight at Mach 3, gravity beams from mouths, hurricane winds from wings
  • First appearance: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  • Notable G-Series credits: 18
  • Fight record: Losses 1

Mecha King Ghidorah

  • Height: 150 meters (492 feet)
  • Wingspan: 175 meters (574 feet)
  • Mass: 80,000 metric tons (88,000 tons)
  • Powers/weapons: Laser triple beam, gravity beams, anti-gravity flight at Mach 4, Godzilla capture cables with “machine hand,” body armor
  • First appearance: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  • Notable G-Series credits: 18
  • Fight record: Ties 1
  • Dorats
  • (No physical statistics can be identified about the Dorats. Sorry.)

First appearance: Gojira tai Kingu Ghidora (Godzilla vs King Ghidora) The Dorats where a test by the “Futurians” to see the effects of Nuclear testing. They left them on Lagos after teleporting Godzilla into the ocean. Unfortunately, on the way back, some idiot left these three cute little puppets behind. In the film, they do this so abruptly that it makes you yell out something like “Hey! They left the pets behind!” Apparently, the creatures fused into Ghidorah. Amazing, making the transaction from 1 foot puppet to 7 foot suitmation actor!

Grand King Ghidorah

  • Height: 60 meters
  • Wingspan: 80 meters
  • Mass: 500,000 metric tons
  • Debut Film: Mothra 3: King Ghidorah Attacks
  • Kaneko’s Ghidorah
  • Height: 50 meters (164 ft) 
  • Wingspan: 93 meters (302 ft) 
  • Weight: 25,000 tons 
  • Powers/Weapons: Flight at Mach 3, gravity beams from mouths, hurricane winds from wings, electric bite Classification: Deity (God like) kaiju 
  • First Appearance: Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: GMK (2001) 
  • Number of movies starred in: 1 
  • Fight Record: Lost 2
  • Note: King Ghidorah grows throughout the film, but not to his fullest potential as an adult.

Death Ghidorah

  • Body Length: 100 meters 
  • Mass: 75,000 tons
  • Wingspan: 80 meters
  • Powers/Weapons: Energy bolts, Breath fire, can absorb energy
  • Weaknesses: Doesn’t seem to like water very much and cant seem to stand up to Mothra’s weapons either.
  • First appearance: Mosura (1996)

Kaizer Ghidorah

  • Height: 140 meters
  • Length: 150 meters
  • Mass: 100,000 tons
  • Powers/Weapons: Able to fire Gravity beams from its mouths; can drain energy through its bite
  • First Appearance: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Descriptions

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Besides Mothra and King Kong, Ghidorah is probably the best known Godzilla foe. This Space-Kaiju has appeared in 5 Godzilla movies (old and new), the most by any one Kaiju! First in his own self-titled movie, Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster. Unfortunately, the Ghidorah series when it started, no sequel was ever made. TOHO probably never intended Ghidorah to have a separate movie series, after all; Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra pretty much stole the show from our 3-headed space friend, not allowing him to become more than a common enemy.

The Dorats where a test by the “Futurians” to see the effects of Nuclear testing. They left them on Lagos after teleporting Godzilla into the ocean. Unfortunately, on the way back, some idiot left these three cute little puppets behind. In the film, they do this so abruptly that it makes you yell out something like “Hey! They left the pets behind!” Apparently, the creatures fused into Ghidorah. Amazing, making the transaction from 1 foot puppet to 7 foot suitmation actor!

   Death Ghidorahs exact origin is unknown. It is a monster from space that went from planet to planet absorbing all the energy. A race of gargantuan prehistoric Moth creatures managed to trap and imprison it. This happened 65,000,000 years ago. Death Ghidorah had just sucked Mars dry before coming to the Earth. In 1996 it came back, released by the evil fairy Belvera. He absorbed the life out of a whole forest. Using his new strength, he defeated the adult Mothra, who died to protect her son, Mothra Leo. Leo survived and made a home as he transformed to Mothra Leo, adult. He then defeated Death Ghidorah.

Origins

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King Ghidorah (Kingu Gidora), sometimes known as King Ghidorah, is a fictional daikaiju (giant monster) featured in such movies as Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs Gigan, Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, Rebirth of Mothra III, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and Godzilla: Final Wars as well as some other stock footage appearances.

Created as an opponent for Godzilla in 1964’s Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, King Ghidorah was a golden, dragon-like creature with three heads on long necks, bat-like wings, no arms, and twin tails. It was said to be 100 meters tall with a 150 meter wingspan, and to weigh 30,000 metric tons.

King Ghidorah was brought to life on the movie screen by a stunt actor inside an elaborate costume, with a team of puppeteers to control the beast’s many appendages.

Initially, Ghidorah was said to have come from outer space, and was an ancient evil responsible for destroying civilizations on many planets, including Venus. Arriving on Earth in a magnetic meteorite, Ghidorah caused much destruction to the Japanese countryside before being repelled by the monstrous team of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan.

In its next movie appearance, Invasion of Astro-Monster, it was a mind-controlled pawn of beings from Planet X, who coveted Earth’s water resources. Once again, Godzilla and Rodan drove the dragon back into space.

It made two more appearances in the original Godzilla film series, both times as an agent of alien invaders. In Godzilla vs Gigan, it teamed with the cybernetic monster Gigan in a battle against Godzilla and the spiky quadruped Anguirus. In Destroy All Monsters, it was apparently killed by a combined force of ten of Earth’s defending Daikaiju.

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Ghidorah also appeared in two episodes of the tokusatsu superhero TV series, Ryûsei Ningen Zôn.

The dragon was revamped with a new origin for 1991’s Godzilla vs King Ghidorah. Futuristic time-travelers released three genetically-engineered “Dorat” creatures onto an island where they would be exposed to radiation from atomic bomb testing. The Dorats fused to become Ghidorah, which was then used by the so-called Futurians to devastate present-day Japan. When the marauder was killed by Godzilla (who blasted the monster’s middle-head off), the corpse was later recovered and used as the basis for a cyborg dubbed “Mecha-King Ghidorah.” This incarnation managed to stun Godzilla with its Machine Hand weapon and attempted to carry Godzilla away from Japan before being blasted by the reptile and crashing into the sea.

In the Return of Mothra continuity, another variety of Ghidorah, Death Ghidorah, was introduced. It was a quadipedial version of King Ghidorah. Later, King Ghidorah itself appeared in the 1998’s 3rd installment Rebirth of Mothra III. Like the first version, this King Ghidorah came from outer space, and was responsible for the death of the dinosaurs. The giant insect Mothra battled Ghidorah in both prehistoric times and the present-day to save a group of children kidnapped by the dragon in its older ‘Grand King Ghidorah’ form.

In 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, it received yet another origin, this time as a legendary guardian of the Japanese isles, apparently related to Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed dragon featured in Japanese mythology.

King Ghidorah is also known as Monster Zero, who is referenced in Rob Zombie’s “The Great American Nightmare.”

Other Ghidorahs

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In Rebirth of Mothra, a monster called Desghidorah appears and is a black, quadrapedal three headed dragon who could create fire and open fissures into the Earth as well as absorb energy from the planet it was destroying. Mothra defeated it and sealed it away, making the world safe from its evil.

In Godzilla Final Wars, a skeletal looking monster called Monster X appears and clashes with Godzilla. As their fight seems to end in a tie, Monster X transforms into a massive golden quadrepedal Ghidorah called Kaiser Ghidorah, who absorbs Godzilla’s energy and nearly kills the king of the monsters, until Godzilla gets a burst of energy from the superhuman Ozaki, which makes Godzilla stronger and given a more powerful beam which is enough to cause Kaiser Ghidorah to explode in the stratosphere in an massive burst of energy visible from space.

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