King Ghidorah (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah)
|King Ghidorah incarnations|
- For the revived cybernetic form of this King Ghidorah, see Mecha-King Ghidorah.
Godzilla has disappeared, and now King Ghidorah has taken his place.
— Wilson (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah)
The centerpiece of a scheme by time-traveling terrorists from the year 2204 to bring Japan to its knees in the past before it could become a corrupt economic superpower, King Ghidorah was the result of three genetically engineered pets called Dorats being left behind by the Futurians on Lagos Island in 1944. In 1954, the Dorats were exposed to the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test conducted at nearby Bikini Atoll, fusing them together and transforming them into King Ghidorah. In the year 1992, the Futurians took control of King Ghidorah and unleashed him in Japan, demanding the nation surrender to their demands as the monster leveled Fukuoka and moved on to Hokkaido. Unable to defeat the three-headed monster, the Japanese government attempted to recreate Godzilla, whom they believed had been erased from history by the Futurians, by using a nuclear submarine to irradiate the Godzillasaurus they believed was lying dormant in the Bering Sea. Their plan only resulted in the already-mutated Godzilla becoming even larger and more powerful, and the now-revitalized King of the Monsters subsequently came ashore in Hokkaido. The Futurians ordered King Ghidorah to attack Godzilla, and as the two titans battled a defector from the Futurians, Emmy Kano, launched an assault on her comrades' ship with the aid of writer Kenichiro Terasawa and the android M11. The Futurians' control over King Ghidorah was severed, and Godzilla eventually took the upper hand in the battle, decapitating King Ghidorah's middle head. After Godzilla destroyed the Futurians' ship and ended their scheme for good, the wounded King Ghidorah attempted to escape, only for his wings to be blasted out by Godzilla's atomic breath, after which he plummeted into the ocean below. When it became clear that the powered-up Godzilla was now a greater threat to Japan than King Ghidorah, Emmy and M11 returned to 2204 to salvage King Ghidorah's preserved carcass from the ocean. They revived and enhanced the monster as the cyborg dubbed Mecha-King Ghidorah, then returned to 1992 to stop Godzilla from destroying Tokyo. Mecha-King Ghidorah succeeded in capturing Godzilla and carrying him out over the ocean before Godzilla knocked him out of commission with his atomic breath, with both monsters falling into the sea below. Mecha-King Ghidorah's wreckage would later be salvaged by the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center and used to build an even more advanced anti-Godzilla machine: Mechagodzilla.
Name[edit | edit source]
The "Ghidorah" (ギドラ part of King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese word for "hydra" Gidora) (ヒドラ, which shares two of its three katakana characters with "Ghidorah." It also, coincidentally or not, sounds very similar to the Hidora)Russian pronunciation of "hydra" (Гидра, ˈɡʲidrə). The addition of "King" (キング) to his name may have been influenced by King Dragon (キング・ドラゴン, the name given to Kingu Doragon)Zmey Gorynych, upon which King Ghidorah's design was based, in the Japanese version of the Soviet film Ilya Muromets.
The version of King Ghidorah from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is given the official subtitle Super Dragon Monster (超ドラゴン怪獣. He is also sometimes referred to as Living Ghidorah Chō Doragon Kaijū) (生ギドラ, to contrast the cybernetic Nama Gidora)Mecha-King Ghidorah. From right to left, King Ghidorah's heads were nicknamed Ichiro (一郎, Jiro Ichirō) (二郎 and Saburo Jirō) (三郎 by the film's staff to distinguish between them. Saburō)
Initially, Toho gave this incarnation of King Ghidorah the English name KingGhidora, though this would later be corrected to the monster's official English name. When TriStar released Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah on VHS in the United States, it spelled his name as King Ghidora on the cover.
Development[edit | edit source]
For Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, both King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah were designed by Shinji Nishikawa, and modeled under the Shiki Theatre Company. Modeling of King Ghidorah's suit was supervised by Keizo Murase, who also worked on modeling the Showa incarnation's suit, while individual body parts were handled by different modelers. King Ghidorah's head was modeled by Tetsuhiro Hamatani, his tails by Tanibayashi Dani, and other parts of the suit were modeled by Toshiyuki Happora, Masatoshi Abe, Seiji Yokoyama, Hidenori Komatsu, and others. The monster's design was kept more or less intact from the Showa series, but modifications were made to the design of the heads. Whereas the heads of the Showa King Ghidorah were patterned after the Eastern dragon or ryū (龍), the Heisei incarnation's heads were based more on Western dragons, or doragon (ドラゴン) as they are called in Japanese. Early concept art designs for the Heisei King Ghidorah depicted him with heads that closely resembled the heads of his Showa counterpart. According to Nishikawa, the manes of hair on King Ghidorah's heads were removed because it proved too difficult for the special effects staff to superimpose every individual hair over footage of people fleeing. In addition to the manes, the crescents atop King Ghidorah's heads were also omitted. The new head designs incorporated straighter, devil-like horns, with two large horns on the tops of the heads and smaller horns running down their sides. The tips of the tails were changed to resemble spiky fans rather than the feathery brushes sported by the Showa incarnation's tails.
A one-third scale miniature King Ghidorah prop was created for flying scenes, while a Bandai figure was used to cast shadows on the miniature city sets when King Ghidorah was supposed to be flying overhead. Two piano wires were used to control each of King Ghidorah's necks, two were used for each tail, two were used for each wing, and two were used for the torso, leading to a total of 16 wires used to operate the suit.  Nine puppeteers operated the wires, and were able to realistically simulate King Ghidorah's movements by turning and moving the suit very slowly. Actor "Hurricane" Ryu Hariken was inside of the suit. A completely separate costume made from fiber-reinforced plastic was created for Mecha-King Ghidorah, and unlike the organic King Ghidorah suit no actor was placed inside of it.
The one-third scale King Ghidorah flying prop, next to an animatronic bust of Godzilla's upper body
Koichi Kawakita initially planned for each of King Ghidorah's heads to have differently colored gravity beams, but this was later scrapped in favor of the golden color used in the Showa series. Noriyoshi Ohrai's advance poster for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah depicts King Ghidorah with differently-colored beams coming from each of his mouths, and an S.H. MonsterArts King Ghidorah figure was later released with differently colored beam accessories. A similar idea would end up being used for Mecha-King Ghidorah, however, as the mechanical central head's gravity beam switches colors back and forth between a purple/light blue mix and a light green/red mix over the course of its climatic battle with Godzilla. In addition, the organic heads fire golden gravity beams in contrast with the mechanical head. Kawakita made the decision for gold powder to be sprayed into the air when Godzilla decapitates King Ghidorah's middle head rather than blood, taking into account child audiences and potential international censorship.
Gold powder is released from King Ghidorah's severed head instead of blood, per Koichi Kawakita's decision.
Design[edit | edit source]
In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, King Ghidorah very closely resembles the Showa incarnation of the monster, being a giant bipedal, gold-colored three-headed dragon with two tails. The most noticeable physical difference between the Showa and Heisei King Ghidorahs is their heads. The Heisei King Ghidorah's heads are adorned with a set of straighter, devil-like horns running down their sides, instead of the single pair of curved horns and crescent sported by the Showa King Ghidorah. The Heisei King Ghidorah additionally lacks the manes of hair on his heads that the Showa version possessed. The Heisei King Ghidorah also stands straighter than the Showa King Ghidorah, without leaning forward as much. The Heisei King Ghidorah's eyes are red and reptilian.
Personality[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah is incredibly violent and destructive, but is completely under the control of the Futurians, who are commanding him to destroy Japan. When the Futurians' mind control is severed, he attacks Godzilla under his own free will, though this may only be in self-defense. King Ghidorah attempts to retreat shortly after Godzilla severs his middle head.
Origins[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah is part of a scheme by a group of time traveling terrorists from the year 2204, dubbed the Futurians, to destroy Japan in the past and prevent it from becoming a global superpower in the future. The Futurians traveled back to Lagos Island in the year 1944 and left behind three genetically-engineered creatures called Dorats. In 1954, the Dorats were exposed to the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test conducted at nearby Bikini Atoll, which mutated and merged them together into King Ghidorah. The Futurians then took control of King Ghidorah in the year 1992, directing him to destroy the major cities of Japan.
According to both the novelization of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and an earlier script, the Dorats were engineered using DNA recovered from the corpse of the "Space Super Monster King Ghidorah" found on the surface of Venus. While this is never addressed or alluded to in the film itself, it raises the possibility that if this scenario applies to the film, King Ghidorah is actually an alien creature like the Showa incarnation, and the monster featured in the film is a clone of him.
History[edit | edit source]
Planning to destroy Japan in the past and prevent it from becoming a corrupt economic superpower by the 23rd century, a group of time-traveling terrorists known as the Futurians traveled to 1992 Japan and claimed that Godzilla would return to destroy Japan in the near future, rendering the nation uninhabitable in the future. The Futurians assembled a team of Japanese citizens and traveled to Lagos Island in 1944, where it was believed a Godzillasaurus would later be exposed to the Castle Bravo H-bomb test conducted at nearby Bikini Atoll in 1954 and transform into Godzilla. The Futurians teleported the Godzillasaurus to the Bering Sea, where they believed it would die, and in its place secretly left behind three genetically-engineered creatures called Dorats. In 1954, the Dorats were exposed to the H-bomb test and merged together into King Ghidorah, who was taken control of by the Futurians in 1992 and unleashed against Japan.
King Ghidorah first attacked Fukuoka, tearing the metropolis apart with his gravity beams. The Futurians demanded that the Japanese government surrender to them and follow their demands for rebuilding the country. The government, unwilling to comply, sent a nuclear submarine owned by a private corporation to the Bering Sea, believing the Godzillasaurus was still dormant there and could be transformed into a new Godzilla by the sub's torpedos. Instead, the sub was intercepted en route by Godzilla, who was never actually erased from the timeline in the first place. Godzilla fed on the submarine's radiation, curing his Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria infection and causing him to grow to 100 meters in height. Godzilla came ashore in Hokkaido, much to the Futurians' irritation. The Futurians sent King Ghidorah to kill Godzilla, and the two titans battled near Hokkaido. King Ghidorah seemed to have the upper hand, until Emmy Kano and her android M11, defectors from the Futurians, assaulted their comrades' ship MOTHER and destroyed the computer controlling King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah was stunned, allowing Godzilla to get back to his feet. King Ghidorah constricted his necks around Godzilla, choking him and causing him to foam at the mouth. Godzilla was able to free himself with a nuclear pulse, knocking King Ghidorah onto the ground. Godzilla then fired his spiral heat ray at King Ghidorah's middle neck, severing it. Emmy used MOTHER's subship KIDS to teleport MOTHER in front of Godzilla, who promptly destroyed it with his atomic breath. The wounded King Ghidorah tried to fly away, but Godzilla blasted out his wings with his atomic breath and caused him to fall into the Sea of Okhotsk. The empowered Godzilla began a new rampage across Japan, leaving the nation helpless. Emmy believed that King Ghidorah could be revived with technology from her time so long as his corpse was preserved by the cold water, and traveled back to 2204 in KIDS.
When Emmy discovered King Ghidorah's comatose body in 2204, she outfitted the beast with cybernetic enhancements, including a mechanical central head, metal wings and a metal chest containing electrical capture cables and a machine hand. Emmy and M11 took control of the new Mecha-King Ghidorah (メカキングギドラ and traveled back to 1992 Tokyo, where Godzilla had reached the heart of the city. Mecha-King Ghidorah attacked Godzilla with its advanced new weapons, subduing him with its capture cables and machine hand. Mecha-King Ghidorah flew out over the sea with Godzilla, only for him to blast out Mecha-King Ghidorah's wings and send them both plummeting into the ocean. Emmy and M11 escaped the mech inside of KIDS and teleported back to 2204, leaving Godzilla defeated, but still very much alive.
Meka Kingu Gidora)
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Flight[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah can fly at speeds up to Mach 4 by flapping his wings. King Ghidorah is very maneuverable while in the air, allowing him to evade and destroy several F-15 fighter jets.
Gravity Beams[edit | edit source]
The Heisei King Ghidorah retains the character's trademark yellow Gravity Beams (引力光線 that he fires from his mouths. The beams are extremely powerful, easily leveling city blocks and even causing Inryoku Kōsen)Godzilla visible pain.
Wings[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah can produce powerful hurricane-force winds by flapping his wings. He can also use his wings like a defensive shield to block Godzilla's atomic breath. He also generates powerful shockwaves that decimate buildings simply by flying over them.
Constricting necks[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah constricts his necks around Godzilla in an attempt to strangle him, causing him to foam at the mouth.
Physical abilities[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah was able to knock Godzilla off his feet with a flying kick, then pressed his advantage with a series of powerful stomps.
Durability[edit | edit source]
King Ghidorah is highly durable and resistant to damage. He is immune to conventional weaponry, and even withstands point-blank blasts from Godzilla's atomic breath. Later in the film, he survives having his middle head decapitated and his wings shredded, and remains alive but comatose for over 200 years laying on the sea floor.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Though King Ghidorah can withstand Godzilla's atomic breath, a direct hit to the front of his middle neck by Godzilla's more powerful spiral heat ray easily severs it. Godzilla's atomic breath also shreds King Ghidorah's wings while he is trying to fly away, causing him to plummet into the sea below. King Ghidorah is vulnerable to Godzilla's nuclear pulse, which he uses to break free when King Ghidorah is strangling him with his necks. When the computer the Futurians use to control him is destroyed, King Ghidorah is briefly left confused and vulnerable, which allows Godzilla to gain the upper hand against him.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Battle Baseball (1993) - Nintendo Famicom
- Super Godzilla (1993) - Super Nintendo Entertainment System / Super Famicom
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1993) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Godzilla (1993) - Arcade
- Godzilla: Battle Legends (1993) - NEC/Hudson Soft TurboDuo / PC Engine Duo
- Godzilla: Great Monster Battle (1994) - Nintendo Super Famicom
- Godzilla: Giant Monster March (1995) - Sega Game Gear
- Godzilla: Archipelago Shock (1995) - Sega Saturn
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico
- Godzilla Movie Studio Tour (1998) - PC and Mac
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact (1998) - Sega Dreamcast
- Godzilla (2014) - Sony PlayStation 3 and 4
- Godzilla Kaiju Collection (2014) - Android and iOS
- Ace Combat Infinity (2015) - Sony PlayStation 3 [Tokyo Martial Law online mission]
- City Shrouded in Shadow (2017) - Sony PlayStation 4
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
- Vivid Army (2020) - Browser
- Star Dragon Quest (2020) - iOS, Google Play, Android
The Heisei incarnation of King Ghidorah appears in both the PlayStation 3 and 4 versions of Godzilla. Though he possesses the design, roar and abilities of the Heisei King Ghidorah, he is said to be an evil alien monster, like his Showa and 1998 incarnations. King Ghidorah appears as a boss on multiple levels, and an ending boss on the final level of some paths. King Ghidorah is one of the most powerful kaiju in the game. He attacks using his gravity beams, flying kick and melee attacks. He will approach Godzilla quickly by flying through the air and firing his gravity beams. He is a playable character in the PS4 version, which also features Mecha-King Ghidorah.
Moveset[edit | edit source]
- One tap: Pincer Bite
- Two taps: Three Headed Bite
- One tap (Mid Air): Bite Kick
- Tap: Three Headed Attack
- Tap (Mid Air): Rotation Attack
- Tap: Jump
- Hold: Fly
- Tap (Mid Air): Land
- Tap: Gravity Beam
- Down + Tap: Wind Gust
- Roar + Tap: Triple Discharge
- Tap: Windstorm
Kaiju Guide[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide.
King Ghidorah in the Godzilla arcade game
King Ghidorah in Godzilla (PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4)
King Ghidorah 1991 in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: King_Ghidorah/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
For Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Toho decided to give King Ghidorah a new roar rather than reuse his cackling roar from the Showa series. For King Ghidorah's new roar, Toho modified Rodan's roar to sound more dragon-like and metallic by multi-tuning it in both high and low pitches. This version of King Ghidorah's roar was modified and reused for the character in Rebirth of Mothra 3.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- This version of King Ghidorah was the tallest incarnation of King Ghidorah, as well as the tallest monster ever to appear in a Godzilla film until 2018, at 150 meters in height.[note 1] His height was finally surpassed by Godzilla Earth from the GODZILLA anime trilogy, who stands over 300 meters tall. He was also surpassed as the tallest version of King Ghidorah by the MonsterVerse King Ghidorah from Godzilla: King of the Monsters, who stands approximately 158.8 meters tall.
- King Ghidorah was the first kaiju from the Showa series aside from Godzilla to be reintroduced in the Heisei series.
- The Heisei King Ghidorah's new origin as the fusion of three genetically-engineered creatures was due to the fact that the film's director, Kazuki Omori, reportedly did not want King Ghidorah to be a space monster again. However, the film's novelization explains that the Dorats were genetically engineered from DNA recovered from the corpse of another King Ghidorah found on Venus. Toho planned to produce a direct sequel to the film where Godzilla was to battle another King Ghidorah from outer space called The Return of King Ghidorah, but opted to produce Godzilla vs. Mothra instead. Toho also considered featuring an alien King Ghidorah in an early version of what would ultimately become Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla before creating the original monster SpaceGodzilla instead.
- Stock footage of King Ghidorah from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah was to be included as part of a training simulation in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, but the scene was cut.
- The Heisei King Ghidorah's design has become a very popular design for the character in non-film media, and has been frequently utilized to represent him in video games and comic books. Oftentimes, this design will still be used for King Ghidorah even if he is depicted as a space monster like the Showa incarnation.
Video[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The heights for the Heisei King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah are inconsistently listed as either 140 or 150 meters. The majority of sources state that King Ghidorah is 140 meters, though some books contemporary with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, such as the 1991 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah Monster Complete Works (p. 10) and the early-1992 Godzilla Giant Monster Super Encyclopedia (p. 22), plus the 1995 Godzilla Giant Monster Diagram Encyclopedia (p. 94) and 1998 The Official Godzilla Compendium (p. 132) say King Ghidorah is 150 meters tall. However, the Battle History of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah manga collection, released in January of 1992, says that King Ghidorah is 140 meters tall, and says that Mecha-King Ghidorah weighs 80,000 metric tons whereas Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah Monster Complete Works, Godzilla Giant Monster Super Encyclopedia and Godzilla Giant Monster Diagram Encyclopedia erroneously give Mecha-King Ghidorah the same 70,000 metric ton weight as the regular King Ghidorah. A computer screen in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II displays Mecha-King Ghidorah's height as 150 meters.
- The wingspans for the Heisei King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah are inconsistently listed as being either 140, 150 or 175 meters. The 2014 book Godzilla Completely Deciphered (p. 75) and PlayStation 3 and 4 Godzilla video game's Kaiju Guide state that King Ghidorah's wingspan is 150 meters, while the 1998 The Official Godzilla Compendium says it is instead 175 meters (p. 132). The 1993 Encyclopedia of Godzilla (Mechagodzilla Edition) states that King Ghidorah's wingspan is 140 meters (p. 102).
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for King Ghidorah (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah). 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: 
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