King Ghidorah (GMK)

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King Ghidorah incarnations
King Ghidorah 1998
King Ghidorah 2001
King Ghidorah 2018
King Ghidorah® (Millennium) copyright icon Toho Company, Limited Monster
King Ghidorah in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
King Ghidorah® (Millennium)
Alternate names Ghidorah, Yamata no Orochi
Subtitle(s) Holy Guardian Beast
(護国聖獣,   Gokoku Seijū),
Thousand-Year-Old Dragon
(千年竜王,   Sen-nen Ryūō),[1]
God of the Sky
(天の神,   Ten no Gami)[1]
Species Ancient undeveloped Yamata no Orochi
Height 50 meters[2][3][4][note 1]
Wingspan 93 meters (King Ghidorah)[4][3]
Weight 25,000 metric tons[2][3][4]
Forms Ghidorah, King Ghidorah
Place(s) of emergence Aokigahara[1]
Relations Mothra, Baragon
(fellow Guardian Monsters)
Allies Mothra
Enemies Godzilla
Modeled by Fuyuki Shinada
Portrayed by Akira Ohashi
First appearance Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
More roars
Thousand-Year-Old Dragon... King Ghidorah.

Yuri Tachibana (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack)

King Ghidorah (キングギドラ,   Kingu Gidora) is a three-headed dragon kaiju that appeared in the 2001 Godzilla film, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.

The GMK King Ghidorah is unique among other King Ghidorah incarnations in that he is portrayed as a benevolent guardian monster that defends Japan against Godzilla. King Ghidorah was one of the three Guardian Monsters, and in ancient times was known as Yamata no Orochi. After being slain by ancient Japanese warriors, Ghidorah was laid to rest under the Aokigahara, where the warriors hoped he would remain until returning one day to save Japan. Ghidorah was awakened in 2002 by Hirotoshi Isayama to battle Godzilla, and aided fellow Guardian Monster Mothra against Godzilla in Yokohama. Mothra was killed in the fight, but imparted her energy into Ghidorah and allowed him to become King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah fought Godzilla in an intense battle, opening a wound on his neck that would prove critical in his eventual defeat at the hands of Admiral Tachibana.


King Ghidorah's name is composed of "King" (キング,   Kingu) and "Ghidorah." The "Ghidorah" part of King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese word for "hydra" (ヒドラ,   Hidora), which is spelled very similarly to the Japanese katakana for Ghidorah.

This incarnation of King Ghidorah is initially given the subtitle Holy Guardian Beast (護国聖獣,   Gokoku Seijū). Among the three Guardian Monsters, King Ghidorah is known as the God of the Sky (空の神,   Sora no Kami). Within the context of the film, King Ghidorah is initially known only as Ghidorah (魏怒羅,   Gidora), with his name spelled in kanji, rather than katakana, characters. After absorbing Mothra's spirit, he finally becomes known as King Ghidorah (キングギドラ,   Kingu Gidora), and is given the subtitle Thousand-Year-Old Dragon (千年竜王,   Sen-nen Ryū Ō, lit. Thousand-Year Dragon King).

According to the character Teruaki Takeda, King Ghidorah was known in ancient times as Yamata no Orochi (八岐の大蛇,   Yamata no Orochi, lit. Big Snake of Eight Branches), an eight-headed dragon featured in Japanese mythology.


Concept art of all four monsters, showing their dimensions relative to each other.

When director Shusuke Kaneko finally decided on the desired concept for his Godzilla film, he wrote a story featuring Godzilla battling against three Guardian Monsters. He chose Varan, Baragon, and Anguirus as the three Guardian Monsters, as all three were depicted as much smaller and weaker than Godzilla. Kaneko's story, Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, was approved by producer Shogo Tomiyama and pitched to Toho, who asked that Kaneko work the popular monsters Mothra and King Ghidorah into the story. When Kaneko realized that many people were unfamiliar with the monsters he chose for his film, he went with Toho's wishes and rewrote the story to include Mothra and King Ghidorah in place of Varan and Anguirus. To accommodate his new role as a heroic Guardian Monster, King Ghidorah had to be revamped and redesigned. While in the past the character had always been portrayed as 50 meters taller than Godzilla, this version of King Ghidorah would have to be smaller than him to fit with Kaneko's vision of three smaller and weaker monsters taking on Godzilla. King Ghidorah was scaled to be 49 meters (rounded up to 50 meters in most sources) tall, compared to a 60 meter tall Godzilla. As such, the new King Ghidorah suit was the smallest suit ever made for the character.[5] Fuyuki Shinada was responsible for modeling the suits of all four monsters in the film. King Ghidorah was given much larger wings in comparison to his body, with pronounced claws on their tips. His feet were modeled after those of birds, with three claws in front and a single claw on the heel. Shinada, disappointed that his all-time favorite monster Varan wouldn't be in the film, compensated by sculpting Varan's facial fins onto King Ghidorah's heads. The King Ghidorah suit was worn by Akira Ohashi, a veteran of Kaneko's kaiju films who had played Gamera in Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion and Iris and Nightmare Gamera in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. Two sets of necks were created for the suit and used depending on the scene. The longer necks were operated by wires, while a shorter set of necks was sometimes attached to the suit, allowing Ohashi to place his arms in the left and right necks and control them himself.[6] A large model of King Ghidorah's necks was used for scenes of him sleeping in ice in Aokigahara. A close-up photograph of this model was used for the image of King Ghidorah's scales in the film's opening credits. The King Ghidorah suit from Rebirth of Mothra III was used for a single shot in the film, depicting King Ghidorah being scanned via thermal imaging underwater during his fight with Godzilla.

The 2001 King Ghidorah suit was refurbished several times for use in the CR Godzilla Pachinko games. Since King Ghidorah was portrayed as an evil space monster in these games rather than a benevolent guardian, the suit's faces were remodeled to look more vicious and villainous.


This incarnation of King Ghidorah returns primarily to the appearance of the Showa King Ghidorah, with light gold skin, two curved horns and a crescent on each head, and two pronounced fangs in each of his mouths. Like the previous two King Ghidorah incarnations though, this version lacks the manes of hair on his heads. This King Ghidorah bears many unique physical characteristics of his own, notably his smaller stature. This King Ghidorah has comparatively smaller wings which he often folds at his sides while walking, and his necks are rarely fully outstretched. While past King Ghidorah incarnations have towered over Godzilla, this King Ghidorah stands ten meters shorter than the film's version of Godzilla. This King Ghidorah possesses more reptilian feet, with a vestigial claw on his heel. This King Ghidorah's faces are made to look more benign and less threatening, to match this incarnation's heroic role. His faces also feature Varan-inspired facial fins on their cheeks. King Ghidorah's eyes are red with yellow, human-like pupils.

In ancient drawings, this King Ghidorah is shown with four legs, though in the film he possesses only two.


This King Ghidorah stands apart from other incarnations in that he is a protagonist for the first, and so far only time. While past King Ghidorah incarnations have destroyed everything in their path, either under mind control or out of their own free will, this King Ghidorah is a guardian monster that fights alongside Mothra to stop Godzilla from destroying Japan.


In ancient times, King Ghidorah was an eight-headed dragon known as the Yamata no Orochi. When King Ghidorah was slain by ancient Japanese warriors, he was laid to rest under the Aokigahara near Mount Fuji. The warriors began to pray for the beast's soul, in the hope that he and the other two Guardian Monsters would return to defend Japan someday. Empowered by the souls of Japan's honorable dead, King Ghidorah regenerated for thousands of years, but was awakened before he could grow back all eight of his heads, instead growing only three.


Millennium series

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

Thousands of years ago, King Ghidorah, an eight-headed dragon known as a Yamata no Orochi, was slain by ancient Japanese warriors and laid to rest in the Aokigahara forest around Mount Fuji, with the warriors praying for his soul so that he would rise again one day to defend Japan. In 2002, the still-regenerating Ghidorah, who had only grown back three of his eight heads, was discovered dormant underground by a suicidal man. Hirotoshi Isayama, a prophet attempting to revive Japan's ancient Guardian Monsters to stop Godzilla, traveled to Ghidorah's grave and channeled the souls of Japan's honorable dead to revive him. Ghidorah rose and traveled to Yokohama, where his fellow guardian Mothra was battling Godzilla. Ghidorah arrived and bit Godzilla, electrocuting him through his bite. Godzilla swatted Mothra aside with his tail and bit down on Ghidorah's necks before slamming him onto a building. Before Godzilla could finish Ghidorah with his atomic breath, Mothra flew in front of the beam and was blasted away. Godzilla turned his attention to the JSDF, attempting to wipe out their battleships with his atomic breath. Mothra tried to surprise Godzilla from behind, but was vaporized by his atomic breath.

King Ghidorah

Mothra's energy flowed into the unconscious Ghidorah, reviving him as the Thousand-Year-Old Dragon, King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah took flight and surrounded himself with an energy shield, which deflected Godzilla's atomic breath. King Ghidorah launched his energy shield at Godzilla, blasting him out of the harbor and into the ocean. King Ghidorah flew over the water and kicked Godzilla when he surfaced, only for Godzilla to drag him underwater. As the monsters battled beneath the waves, the Satsuma attempted to fire a D-03 Missile at a wound on Godzilla's neck, but it struck King Ghidorah's neck instead and rendered him unconscious on the sea floor. Godzilla swallowed the Satsuma whole and surfaced, destroying the Yokohama Bay Bridge and sending Yuri Tachibana and Teruaki Takeda falling into the water. Yuri dropped a sacred stone into the water, which revitalized King Ghidorah and allowed him to fly out of the water. King Ghidorah blasted Godzilla with his golden gravity beams, but Godzilla managed to absorb them into his dorsal plates. Godzilla fired a powerful blast of atomic breath wrapped in a golden spiral, which obliterated King Ghidorah in a single hit. King Ghidorah's spirit, along with the spirits of Mothra and Baragon, flowed into Godzilla and caused him to sink. The Satsuma then fired a D-03 Missile from inside Godzilla that expanded Godzilla's neck wound. When Godzilla surfaced and fired his atomic breath, it fired out of the wound and caused him to fall back underwater. As the Satsuma floated out of Godzilla, Godzilla charged his beam one more time, only for it to cause him to explode. When the Satsuma surfaced, Taizo Tachibana exited the submarine and saluted the sacrifices of the JSDF soldiers and the Guardian Monsters that had died to stop Godzilla.



King Ghidorah in flight

After absorbing Mothra's energy, King Ghidorah's wings unfold and he gains the ability of flight.

Gravity Beams

King Ghidorah spits his gravity beams.

This King Ghidorah retains the character's trademark golden gravity beams, but can only use them after absorbing Mothra's energy.


King Ghidorah withstands Godzilla's atomic breath.

This King Ghidorah's durability is somewhat reduced compared to previous incarnations, but he still survives being knocked out by Godzilla multiple times and withstands multiple blasts from his atomic breath.

Electric bite

Ghidorah electrocutes Godzilla through his bite.

Ghidorah can release a strong electric shock through his bite. After absorbing Mothra's power and becoming King Ghidorah, this ability is replaced by his traditional gravity beams.

Energy shield

King Ghidorah launches his energy shield at Godzilla.

After absorbing Mothra's energy, King Ghidorah can form a golden round energy shield that deflects Godzilla's atomic breath. King Ghidorah can release this energy shield and send it colliding with the ground, which will cause a massive explosion. This attack is the first method to pierce Godzilla's skin in the entire film, opening a small wound on his neck that later proves instrumental in defeating him.


Godzilla prepares to obliterate King Ghidorah after absorbing his gravity beams.

Smaller and weaker than Godzilla, King Ghidorah is easily overpowered by his foe in close combat. In both instances where he attempts to battle Godzilla up close, King Ghidorah is knocked unconscious. King Ghidorah's skin is easily penetrated by Godzilla's teeth, drawing blood and seriously injuring him. In addition, Godzilla is capable of absorbing King Ghidorah's gravity beams, and combines them with his own atomic breath to produce a beam that destroys King Ghidorah in a single strike.


Video Games


Main article: King Ghidorah/Gallery.


The GMK King Ghidorah's roar is made to sound like the Showa King Ghidorah's, a cackling screech at a different pitch for each head. The GMK King Ghidorah's roars sound like they are at least partially adapted from elk sounds.

King Ghidorah's roars in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack



  1. Concept size charts included in the 2001 book GMK Super Complete Works list King Ghidorah's height at 49 meters from the ground to the top of the middle head, though most sources, including the very book this size chart originates from, round it up to 50 meters.
    GMK Super Complete Works - Kaiju Dimensions 1.png


This is a list of references for King Ghidorah/GMK. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

Era Icon - Toho.png
Era Icon - Millennium.png
Era Icon - King Ghidorah.png


Showing 6 comments. Remember to follow the civility guidelines when commenting.

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Keizer Zilla

21 days ago
Score 0
I never liked how they made him smaller than Goji, It would have made more sense if Ghidorah was bigger than Goji. That would've emphasised Godzilla's power in this movie.

The happy Dragon

11 months ago
Score 0
Is he the biggest kiju?

The King of the Monsters

11 months ago
Score 0
Not even close. GMK King Ghidorah is only 50 meters tall, so he's on the smaller end.

Emperor Ghidorah

13 months ago
Score 1
My favorite Ghidorah :-)


19 months ago
Score 2
Another name for the winged form of Ghidorah is "Perfect Body" 完全体峙.

The happy Dragon

11 months ago
Score 0
my favorive is godzilla 2001