King Ghidorah (Rebirth of Mothra 3)

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King Ghidorah incarnations
Mecha-King Ghidorah
King Ghidorah (Rebirth of Mothra 3)
King Ghidorah (Millennium)
King Ghidorah® trademark icon
King Ghidorah®
Modern Type King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra 3
Cretaceous King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra 3
Alternate names Grand Ghidorah, Grand King Ghidorah,
King of Terror, Super Dragon King Ghidorah
Subtitle(s) Space Super Monster
(宇宙超怪獣,   Uchū Chō Kaijū)[1]
Species Extraterrestrial three-headed dragon
Height 60 meters (Modern Type),[2]
40 meters (Cretaceous)[3]
Wingspan 80 meters (Modern Type),[2]
50 meters (Cretaceous)[3]
Weight 50,000 metric tons (Modern Type),[2]
25,000 metric tons (Cretaceous)[3]
Forms Cretaceous King Ghidorah,
King Ghidorah (Modern Type)
Place(s) of emergence Space[1]
Relations Desghidorah (relative)
Enemies Rainbow Mothra
Played by Tsutomu Kitagawa
First appearance Rebirth of Mothra 3
Modern Type
More roars

King Ghidorah (キングギドラ,   Kingu Gidora) is a three-headed dragon kaiju who appeared in the 1998 film Rebirth of Mothra 3.

This is the only incarnation of King Ghidorah to appear in a film without Godzilla. Like the Showa incarnation of the character, this King Ghidorah is an evil space monster, and first invaded Earth millions of years ago during the Cretaceous. King Ghidorah returned to Earth in the present day to feed on the life forces of human children, trapping them all inside a gigantic dome in the forests around Mount Fuji. Rainbow Mothra attempted to stop King Ghidorah, but was soundly defeated. Rainbow Mothra traveled back to the Cretaceous period and battled King Ghidorah's younger and weaker form, seemingly killing him by dropping him into an active volcano. When Rainbow Mothra returned to the present day, King Ghidorah reappeared and continued his reign or terror. Rainbow Mothra then transformed into Armor Mothra and destroyed King Ghidorah.


The "Ghidorah" (ギドラ,   Gidora) part of King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese word for "hydra" (ヒドラ,   Hidora), which shares two of its three katakana characters with "Ghidorah." It also, coincidentally or not, sounds very similar to the Russian pronunciation of "hydra" (Гидра, ˈɡʲidrə).

King Ghidorah's ancient form is referred to as Cretaceous Type King Ghidorah (白亜紀型キングギドラ,   Hakuaki-gata Kingu Gidora) in Japanese.[3] This is typically shortened to just Cretaceous King Ghidorah in English, including on the tag for his Bandai Toho Kaiju Series figure and in the mobile game Godzilla Defense Force. The translation King Ghidorah Cretaceous Type is alternatively used in the Picture Book of Godzilla & All Monsters. By contrast, Ghidorah's modern form is usually referred to as simply "King Ghidorah," though King Ghidorah (Modern Type) [キングギドラ(現在型),   Kingu Gidora (Genzai-gata)] is sometimes used to distinguish it from the Cretaceous Type.[4] Both forms were also given different nicknames by the production staff: Cretaceous King Ghidorah was called Young Ghidorah (ヤングギドラ,   Yangu Gidora) and Modern Type King Ghidorah was called Grand Ghidorah (グランドギドラ,   Gurando Gidora). Grand Ghidorah, or alternatively Grand King Ghidorah, has become a popular name for this incarnation of the character among English-speaking fans. In the film, the Elias Moll refers to King Ghidorah as the King of Terror (恐怖の大魔王,   Kyōfu no Dai Maō).


Initially during development of Rebirth of Mothra 3, the filmmakers considered featuring a new monster as Rainbow Mothra's foe, as they had done for the first two entries of the trilogy. This new monster was to be associated with fire, and Rainbow Mothra would travel back to Edo period Japan to fight it.[5] Eventually, Toho decided to incorporate a more well-known established monster into the film. Initially, their choice was Rodan, before King Ghidorah was ultimately settled upon.[6] King Ghidorah's last film appearance had come in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, though the character had been considered for multiple unrealized projects since then. Toho had planned a direct sequel titled The Return of King Ghidorah, which would feature an extraterrestrial King Ghidorah separate from the one in the prior film arriving on Earth to challenge Godzilla. When this project ultimately resulted in Godzilla vs. Mothra, Toho revived the concept for the sixth film in the Heisei series. In this story, Godzilla was to battle an alien King Ghidorah dubbed "Emperor Ghidorah," but this idea was also scrapped and replaced with SpaceGodzilla. Koichi Kawakita said in a 1995 interview that Toho planned to produce a standalone film starring King Ghidorah in 1999,[7] but this never came to pass, possibly because of the character's appearance in Rebirth of Mothra 3. For his role in Rebirth of Mothra 3, King Ghidorah would be returned to his traditional depiction as an evil space monster, a characterization Toho had planned to return for the various unmade films featuring him in the Heisei series.

Modern Type King Ghidorah concept art

Modern Type King Ghidorah was designed by Shinji Nishikawa and modeled by Shinichi Wakasa of MONSTERS Inc. The scales for the suit were produced by Ogawa Studio.[8] Some of the paint applied to the suit was partially based on the coloration of chameleons.[9] The suit was worn by actor Tsutomu Kitagawa, who also portrayed Cretaceous King Ghidorah in the film and would go on to play Godzilla in five of the six Millennium films.[9] A smaller prop of Modern Type King Ghidorah was created for flight scenes and aerial battles with Rainbow Mothra.

Cretaceous King Ghidorah concept art

A separate costume was created to portray King Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah.[5] Cretaceous King Ghidorah was designed by Yasushi Torisawa. Early concept art for this form strongly resembled the Showa King Ghidorah before the final design opted for a more dinosaurian anatomy and dull golden-brown skin. The suit was modeled by a team led by Nobuhiro Kokubo and consisting of Shigeaki Ito (head modeler), Toshiya Suzuki, Taichi Yamada, Shosuke Koshiba, Kazuhito Kimura, Kimiko Sekine, Natsuko Kurahashi, and others. The left and right necks were operated by piano wires, while suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa also placed his arms into these necks to move them.[10] The modelers were strongly conscious of weight reduction when creating the Cretaceous King Ghidorah suit, and wanted to make it possible for Kitagawa to run and jump while inside the suit.[9] The staff nicknamed the Cretaceous King Ghidorah suit "Young Ghidorah" (ヤングギドラ,   Yangu Gidora).[6]


Modern Type King Ghidorah exhibits physical characteristics of both the Showa and Heisei incarnations of King Ghidorah. Like the Showa King Ghidorah, this incarnation possesses curved horns on each of his heads, along with a crescent on the top of his heads and pronounced fangs in each of his mouths. Like the Heisei King Ghidorah, this King Ghidorah stands completely upright, and lacks manes of fur on the sides of his heads. Some characteristics unique to this King Ghidorah are his comparatively more muscular build, shorter and thicker necks, and taller and more detailed wings. The ornamentation on his heads is also unique, in addition to the two horns and crescent, each head also features a fin-like projection on its cheek. The middle head also possesses unique forked antler-like horns. This King Ghidorah's skin is a somewhat brighter and shinier shade of gold than that of previous incarnations.

King Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah, has dull gold-colored skin. The necks are relatively short but thick and are covered in bright gold spines, while the his three heads are proportionally larger than in previous designs. In keeping with the other ancient monsters who appear in the film, Cretaceous King Ghidorah is designed to look more primitive and fierce. Cretaceous King Ghidorah also draws on features from theropod dinosaurs, as seen in the suit's legs and faces.


This incarnation of King Ghidorah returns to the Showa incarnation's depiction as a malevolent space monster that arrives on Earth to decimate all life. The explanation for this King Ghidorah's destructive nature is that he feeds on the life forces of the creatures he kills. He first attacked Earth during the Cretaceous period, and returns to Earth in the present day to feed on the life forces of children. This King Ghidorah appears to be more intelligent and methodical than past incarnations, constructing a huge dome in which to trap his victims and slowly harvest their life forces. He is also capable of instilling mind control on other beings, and does this to turn the Elias against each other.


King Ghidorah is an evil giant three-headed dragon from outer space and a more powerful relative of Desghidorah. He first arrived on the Earth millions of years ago as Cretaceous King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah wiped out the majority of life on Earth and consumed their life forces. He then returned to Earth in the modern day in his more powerful mature form, intending to feed on the life forces of human children.


Heisei era

Rebirth of Mothra 3

Cretaceous King Ghidorah
Cretaceous King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra 3

King Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah, first arrived and attacked the Earth 130 million years ago in the Cretaceous period, where he killed and fed on the life forces of vast numbers of dinosaurs. Cretaceous King Ghidorah then encased himself within a meteor and left the Earth, using the life-essence of the creatures he had destroyed to live as he traveled through space. However, Rainbow Mothra managed to transform into Light Speed Mothra and travel back to the Cretaceous period and attack Cretaceous King Ghidorah while he was still on Earth. King Ghidorah's younger form was still more than a match for Rainbow Mothra, shredding both of his wings and mortally wounding Mothra before being dropped into a volcano and seemingly killed. Unbeknownst to Rainbow Mothra, one of King Ghidorah's tails was severed in their battle, and burrowed underground to hide and regenerate.

King Ghidorah
King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra 3

130 million years later, King Ghidorah arose again, traveling to Japan in a meteor to feed on humans. King Ghidorah built a dome in the Mount Fuji area where he kept his victims and absorbed their life forces. Rainbow Mothra heard of this monster, and he quickly took action to defeat it. Even with all of Rainbow Mothra's power, King Ghidorah quickly defeated him. Rainbow Mothra touched down nearby, but was healed and transformed into Light Speed Mothra by his priestess Moll and traveled back to the Cretaceous period to defeat King Ghidorah's younger form. In the present day, King Ghidorah had vanished and it appeared Rainbow Mothra had been victorious. However, King Ghidorah reappeared in the sky and resumed his reign of terror, having regenerated from the tail Rainbow Mothra had left behind millions of years ago. Rainbow Mothra was reborn as Armor Mothra and engaged King Ghidorah in battle again, this time proving to be the more powerful combatant. Armor Mothra sliced off King Ghidorah's wing with his own razor-sharp wing, then flew through him using the Excel Dash Buster technique, causing him to crystallize and explode.


The King Ghidorah from Rebirth of Mothra 3 demonstrates many unique abilities not shared by any incarnations before or since, in addition to the character's traditional abilities.


King Ghidorah can fly at a speed of Mach 3 while in the Earth's atmosphere and at sub-light speeds while in outer space.[2] King Ghidorah is able to fly even with the loss of one of his wings using a zero gravity field. Also, in a scene with a lying meteorite, in which King Ghidorah was enclosed, the surrounding trees and the earth took off into the air, which confirms the presence of manipulation of gravity.

Gravity Beams

King Ghidorah fires his Gravity Beams

Modern Type King Ghidorah can fire the character's traditional golden Gravity Beams (引力光線,   Inryoku Kōsen) from his mouths.[11] These beams are powerful enough to destroy buildings and severely injure Rainbow Mothra. He can also combine his Gravity Beams into a single concentrated blast, called the Gravity Beam Triple Tornado (引力光線トリプルトルネード,   Inryoku Kōsen Toripuru Torunēdo),[11] which was sufficient to send Rainbow Mothra flying through the air but failed to even slow down Armor Mothra. Before unleashing this combined attack against Armor Mothra, his entire body emitted a golden glow.

Antigravity Beams

King Ghidorah fires Antigravity Beams from his wings in Rebirth of Mothra 3

King Ghidorah can fire up to six Antigravity Beams (反重力光線,   Hanjūryoku Kōsen)[11] from each of his wings.

Hypnosis Beam

King Ghidorah can instill a weak mind control on other beings susceptible to it using a Hypnosis Beam (催眠光線,   Saimin Kōsen) projected from his eyes.[11]

Fire Balls

Cretaceous King Ghidorah spitting Fire Balls in Rebirth of Mothra 3

Cretaceous King Ghidorah can spit Fire Balls (火炎弾,   Kaen Dan)[3] from his mouths in place of his mature form's gravity beams.

Wing Shockwaves

While flying, King Ghidorah's wings produce hurricane-force winds called Wing Shockwaves (翼の衝撃波,   Tsubasa no Shōgekiha)[12] which blow away cars and buildings.


Modern Type King Ghidorah cannot be harmed at all by any of Rainbow Mothra's various attacks, at least until the latter transforms into Armor Mothra.


King Ghidorah is shown to have regenerated his entire body from a severed tail that was cut off by Rainbow Mothra in the past. The book Rebirth of Mothra 3 Super Complete Works suggests that King Ghidorah could still regenerate from the wing Armor Mothra slices off in their final battle.[13]


King Ghidorah deflects Rainbow Mothra's beams with a barrier in Rebirth of Mothra 3

King Ghidorah's scales can manipulate the light from projectiles to form a protective barrier (バリア,   baria).[11] He used this ability to shrug off Rainbow Mothra's Cross Heat Rainbow Laser, Mineral Chest Beam, and Sparkling Rainbow Buster attacks. However, it failed to block Armor Mothra's Armor Heat Laser.


King Ghidorah and his dome in Rebirth of Mothra 3

King Ghidorah is able to create a dome (ドーム,   dōmu)[11] that allows objects to pass through, yet has a corrosive effect when they try to leave. The dome's exterior is laced with tentacles that pull outside victims inside. Living creatures inside the dome slowly have their life-force drained and transferred to King Ghidorah.


King Ghidorah can teleport smaller beings inside his dome.


King Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah, is considerably weaker than his mature form, allowing Rainbow Mothra to eventually defeat him by throwing him into an active volcano. In addition, King Ghidorah's mature form is susceptible to Armor Mothra's attacks, which sever one of his wings and eventually cause him to completely explode.

Video games


Main article: King Ghidorah/Gallery.


Modern Type King Ghidorah's roars are recycled from the Heisei King Ghidorah's roars, themselves modified from Rodan's roars. This time, the roars have been deepened and mixed with some parts of Orochi's growling noises. Cretaceous King Ghidorah's roars are modified from Desghidorah's elephant-like roars at an increased pitch. Cretaceous King Ghidorah's roars would later be recycled for Orga in the Japanese version of Godzilla 2000: Millennium.

Modern Type King Ghidorah's roars in Rebirth of Mothra 3
Orga's roars in the Japanese version of Godzilla 2000: Millennium (recycled from Cretaceous King Ghidorah's roars)



This is a list of references for King Ghidorah (Rebirth of Mothra 3). 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]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Toho Special Effects All Monster Encyclopedia. Shogakukan. 23 July 2014. p. 104. ISBN 4-096-82090-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 10
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 14
  4. Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 38.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. villagebooks. 28 September 2012. pp. 260–263. ISBN 9784864910132.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Takahashi, Wako and Wataru Nankawa (1998). Rebirth of Mothra 3 Encyclopedia. Keibunsha. p. 84, 179. ISBN 4766931165.
  7. Koichi Kawakita Interview II -
  8. Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 55.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Rebirth of Mothra 3 <Toho SF Special Effects Movie Series VOL. 13>. Toho. 12 December 1998. pp. 46, 88–89. ISBN 4-924609-74-9.
  10. All Toho Monsters Pictorial Book (4th Edition). Yosensha. 4 September 2016. p. 270. ISBN 978-4-8003-0362-2.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 13
  12. Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 12.
  13. Kusakari & Kurajo 2014, p. 39.
  14. Triplethreat001.jpg



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