The Garuda's name is likely derived from that of the legendary bird Garuda of various cultures. Early concepts for the Garuda depicted it as bird- or dragon-like, potentially giving it its name.
Toho brought on Wataru Mimura to write a series of drafts for the next Godzilla film, Godzilla 5. One draft introduced a version of Mechagodzilla composed of seven vehicles which could join together and separate, accompanied by the independent flying machine Garuda. It fought a pair of Rodans on Adonoa Island, killing the male and knocking the female into the ocean. During the final battle, the mech killed Godzilla using its G-Crusher weapon; however, the Garuda's unstable nuclear reactor exploded and revived Godzilla, who destroyed Mechagodzilla piece by piece. Worried about the logistics of realizing the seven vehicles onscreen, special effects director Koichi Kawakita simplified them into a tank called the Gundalva and a watercraft called the Naga, with the Garuda now able to attach to Mechagodzilla's back. In Mimura's next draft, the Gundalva battled two Pteranodons on Adonoa Island instead.
Concept art of the Garuda by Shinji Nishikawa
Masaharu Ogawa and his company Ogawa Modeling created and designed the Garuda.:77 As with Mechagodzilla, small reference models were created to aid in the production of the props.:77 They created three props at 1:1 scale: one with its cannons extended for hangar and flying scenes, one with the ability to fold the cannons down, and a lighter:77 one with its cannons fully folded to attach to the back of the Mechagodzilla suit. The flying prop, which measured about 38 centimeters, was equipped with a freon gas assembly to spray streams of gas from its jets. Like Mechagodzilla, it was prototyped in styrofoam before being constructed with FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic).:77 It was later modified with a cannon folding gimmick of its own for scenes of Super Mechagodzilla's transformation. A 1/2-scale Garuda was also produced for shots alongside Mechagodzilla.:80
- Main article: Garuda#Concept art.
Two of the flying Garuda props returned in the Sanrio Puroland short Monster Planet of Godzilla. A large-scale model was modified to become the ship Earth, while a small-scale one became the Planet. Early drafts for Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla included a new second Garuda, but it evolved into Star Falcon. Kawakita's team considered remodeling the Earth miniature again, but decided to create a new prop entirely. The Earth is still preserved and has been put on display at events, such as the 2019 Tokusatsu DNA exhibition.
In 1992, the Japanese government commissioned the creation of a spiritual successor to the Super X — the Garuda, a superweapon that would hopefully defeat Godzilla. Meant as the ultimate anti-Godzilla weapon, the Garuda was made obsolete by G-Force's Mechagodzilla, a mech created from researching and salvaging the mechanical middle head of Mecha-King Ghidorah. Mechagodzilla, however, proved to have flaws, as it was defeated by Godzilla in their first encounter in 1994. In light of this, Kazuma Aoki proposed to modify and combine both the Garuda and Mechagodzilla, resulting in Super Mechagodzilla.
G-Force devised a plan where Mechagodzilla would destroy Godzilla's secondary brain, discovered from research into BabyGodzilla, using the G-Crusher. The plan had Baby Godzilla being used as bait to lure Godzilla. However, unexpectedly, Fire Rodan appeared and stole Baby Godzilla's container from the helicopter transporting him. To retrieve Baby Godzilla, Mechagodzilla was dispatched to handle Fire Rodan, with Kazuma Aoki following in the Garuda.
When it arrived, the Garuda tried to lead Fire Rodan away from the container holding Baby Godzilla, but Fire Rodan managed to incapacitate the Garuda. Kazuma quickly began repairing the weapon, and Mechagodzilla sent Fire Rodan flying into a building with a plasma grenade. Right then, Godzilla appeared, looking for Baby Godzilla. Mechagodzilla tried to fight Godzilla, but was no match for him. Kazuma managed to fully repair the Garuda in time and had it start bombarding Godzilla with firepower, distracting the monster. Mechagodzilla rammed into Godzilla using his thrusters and, finally, it was decided that Mechagodzilla and the Garuda needed to combine. The Garuda docked into Mechagodzilla's shoulders, and Super Mechagodzilla was formed.
Super Mechagodzilla fought and eventually gained the upper hand against Godzilla, destroying his second brain. Before Mechagodzilla could finish Godzilla off, however, Fire Rodan woke up and gave up his life energy to Godzilla for the sake of Baby Godzilla. Godzilla woke up with tremendous energy and rapidly used his power and spiral atomic ray to destroy both Mechagodzilla and the Garuda.
- Flight at Mach 3
- Equipped with dual High Power Maser Beam Cannons (高出力メーサービームキャノン Kōshutsuryoku Mēsā Bīmu Kyanon)
- Armored in an NT-1 artificial diamond coating
- Able to attach to Mechagodzilla's back to form Super Mechagodzilla. This can repair any damage Mechagodzilla sustained beforehand, as one of the machine's eyes that had been broken by Fire Rodan became operational again after the combination had been completed.
- In the Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II Shogakukan manga adaptation, the Garuda's cockpit is its own aircraft, and can detach from the rest of the fuselage as an escape mechanism, allowing it to survive Mechagodzilla self-destructing.
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1993) - Nintendo Game Boy [on Super Mechagodzilla]
- Godzilla (1993) - NEC/Hudson Soft TurboDuo / PC Engine Duo [on Super Mechagodzilla]
- Godzilla: Great Monster Battle (1994) - Nintendo Super Famicom
- Godzilla: Archipelago Shock (1995) - Sega Saturn [on Super Mechagodzilla]
- Godzilla: Giant Monster March (1995) - Sega Game Gear
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Godzilla (2014) - PlayStation 3 and 4 [on Super Mechagodzilla]
- Godzilla Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Destruction (2021) - Android and iOS [game files only; never implemented]
The Garuda flies towards Fire Rodan in preparation to engage him in battle
The Garuda and Mechagodzilla
The Garuda attached to Super Mechagodzilla in Bandai Namco's Godzilla
Unused Garuda icon from Godzilla Destruction
S.H. MonsterArts Garuda
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