Kaiju Profile: Anguirus
Written by The King of the Monsters, Les, Astounding Beyond Belief, Titanollante, Koopa
Edited by Titanollante
Narrated by Goji73
Hello kaiju fans, I'm Goji73, and today we'll be taking a look at the Fierce Dragon, Anguirus.
Anguirus was introduced in the 1955 film "Godzilla Raids Again" as Godzilla's first-ever kaiju adversary. An Ankylosaurus which lived 150 to 70 million years ago, he was awakened and irradiated in the modern day by hydrogen bomb testing, much like Godzilla himself. The First Generation Anguirus featured in "Raids Again" came from Siberia and battled Godzilla on Iwato Island and again in Osaka, perishing during their second bout. The Second Generation Anguirus made his first appearance in "Destroy All Monsters" in 1968. Unlike his predecessor, this Anguirus became a close friend and ally to Godzilla, living alongside him on Monsterland and Monster Island and aiding him in battle. This incarnation showed up in "Godzilla vs. Gigan," "Godzilla vs. Megalon," and "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," after which the character would not see another onscreen appearance for 30 years, despite many false starts. The Third Generation Anguirus would finally appear in 2004's "Godzilla: Final Wars," set in a separate continuity, in which he was a mind-controlled pawn of the Xiliens.
While not quite a member of Toho's Big Five, Anguirus has become a popular monster in his own right, earning a reputation as Godzilla's closest friend and ally and a tenacious fighter even when severely outmatched.
The head of the original "Godzilla Raids Again" Anguirus suit was modeled by Teizo Toshimitsu, while the body was modeled by the Yagi brothers Kanju and Yasuei, plus Kanju's son Masao. A 2-shaku clay model of Anguirus was created and used as a reference for artwork and posters featuring the monster. It depicted Anguirus as having his carapace split into two pieces and turned upward. The suit was initially built to reflect this, but as the carapace peeled apart each time it moved, it was eventually joined together as a single piece. However, the battle scene between Anguirus and Godzilla at the Osaka port was filmed before the carapace was joined together, and so the effect of the carapace being composed of two separate pieces can be seen during this scene. The carapace weighed slightly over 11 kilograms, and as such, suit actor Katsumi Tezuka experienced difficulty standing up while wearing it. The color of the original suit was unclear onscreen, as the film was shot in black-and-white, but it was reportedly a light emerald green.
For "Destroy All Monsters" 13 years later, a second Anguirus suit was modeled by Nobuyuki Yasumaru and worn by Hiroshi Sekita and Tadaaki Watanabe. The suit was left mostly unchanged for "Godzilla vs. Gigan" and "Godzilla vs. Megalon." By "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," the suit's horns had been considerably worn down and shortened, while its large protruding fangs had been removed. According to suit actor Kin'ichi Kusumi, who also played King Caesar in the film, the Anguirus suit was so badly rotted that the inside of the suit was sticky and falling apart, and baby powder had to be applied to the suit's feet for him to even be able to use it.
Naturally, Anguirus had a brand-new suit for "Godzilla: Final Wars." This one was designed by Shinji Nishikawa and sculpted by Shigeaki Ito, an employee of Shinichi Wakasa’s company Monsters, Inc. Toshihiro Ogura, doing double duty as Ebirah, donned the Anguirus suit this time — no baby powder required. Veteran special effects director Koichi Kawakita shot additional footage with this suit in 2010 for the pachinko game "CR Godzilla: Descent of the Destruction God."
Godzilla Raids Again: Pilots Shoichi Tsukioka and Kojikawa Kobayashi discovered Anguirus locked in battle with Godzilla on the remote Iwato Island. Both kaiju fell into the sea and vanished, allowing the two men to escape and report their story to the authorities. A blackout was enforced on the city of Osaka to try and prevent the monsters from making landfall, but a large fire broke out at a refinery which attracted them both. The two resumed their battle, destroying most of the city in the process. Their vicious struggle eventually reached Osaka Castle, where Anguirus was overpowered and briefly attempted to flee. However, Godzilla caught him by the throat with his jaws, and bit down until he began drawing blood. Anguirus collapsed into the moat below. As he weakly tried to get back to his feet, he was immolated by Godzilla's atomic breath.
Destroy All Monsters: At the end of the 20th century, a second Anguirus was contained on Monsterland along with the rest of Earth's monsters. When the Kilaaks invaded the planet and took control of the monsters, Anguirus was used as a guard dog for their base of operations at Mt. Fuji. Anguirus engaged the human military along with Godzilla in order to protect the base and destroyed the attacking vehicles. Later, humanity freed Anguirus from the Kilaaks' control and sent him to attack their base. In their desperation, the Kilaaks called out King Ghidorah to defend them from the allied Earth monsters. Anguirus was quick to engage the space monster, biting down on his neck and being carried into the air as King Ghidorah took flight. King Ghidorah bit Anguirus until the beast released his grip and plummeted to the ground below. After being stomped into the dirt, Anguirus simply got back to his feet and joined Godzilla, Gorosaurus, and Minilla as they overpowered and finally killed King Ghidorah. After the Kilaaks were defeated, Anguirus was returned to Monsterland where he continued to live peacefully.
Godzilla vs. Gigan: Anguirus was among the kaiju inhabiting Monster Island, where he lived alongside his friend Godzilla. One night, they were awakened by the sound of the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens’ "action tape" being played. Worried about what was happening, Godzilla sent Anguirus to investigate the disturbance. He arrived in Japan and was met on the beach by the JSDF. After a barrage of tank shells and Maser beams, he fled the scene to return to Monster Island and receive Godzilla's assistance. Both kaiju then traveled to Tokyo to battle the Nebulans' pawns, Gigan and King Ghidorah. Initially engaging Gigan, Anguirus was overpowered, as was Godzilla. Once the Godzilla Tower was destroyed and the space monsters' mind control was severed, Godzilla and Anguirus were able to regroup and turn the tables. Gigan attempted to flee and was shot out of the sky by Godzilla, allowing Godzilla and Anguirus to focus on King Ghidorah. Finally, both of the aliens had enough and retreated. Victorious, Godzilla and Anguirus returned to their home on Monster Island.
Godzilla vs. Megalon: In the year 197X, aftershocks from an underground nuclear test in the Aleutian Islands ravaged Monster Island, disturbing Anguirus, Godzilla, and Rodan. Anguirus and Godzilla tried to flee the collapsing island, but Anguirus was swallowed by a fissure and disappeared underground.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla: Anguirus burrowed across Japan, eventually surfacing near Mt. Fuji, where Godzilla was uncharacteristically rampaging. Sensing that this was actually an impostor, Anguirus attacked the Fake Godzilla, chipping off a section of skin on the doppelganger’s shoulder to reveal metal underneath. Fake Godzilla easily overpowered Anguirus and broke his jaw. Anguirus then retreated back underground and was able to escape with his life. However, Anguirus had been able to successfully call for his friend, and the real Godzilla soon appeared in Tokyo to confront the impostor, revealing it as the robot monster Mechagodzilla.
Godzilla: Final Wars: In the 21st century, the Xiliens secretly dispatched Anguirus to attack Shanghai. The monster was confronted by the Earth Defense Force's flying battleship Karyu. He endured and evaded Karyu’s attacks until he was suddenly teleported away by the Xiliens, who pretended to have saved humanity from the attacking kaiju. After the Xilien Commander was assassinated and the Controller of Planet X openly revealed the Xiliens' hostile intentions, Anguirus was once again unleashed, where he was assisted by Xilien Fighters in destroying the Karyu. The monster was later deployed alongside Rodan and King Caesar to battle Godzilla at Mt. Fuji. Though they were able to land several blows on Godzilla, the King of the Monsters eventually defeated them and stacked them unconscious in a pile.
Physical Abilities: Anguirus possesses rows of extremely sharp teeth, capable of breaking King Ghidorah’s skin and drawing blood. He will also attack with his claws and simple charges.
However, his greatest asset in combat is his spiked carapace. In "vs. Gigan," Anguirus repeatedly launched himself backwards to damage King Ghidorah while Godzilla held him in place. In "vs. Mechagodzilla," he used his spikes to damage Fake Godzilla’s disguise and reveal the metal underneath. In "Rulers of Earth," Godzilla lifted Anguirus by his tail and used him like a flail, slamming his spikes into Mecha-King Ghidorah's chest.
In "Godzilla: Final Wars," and several video games released both before and after that, Anguirus is able to retreat inside of his carapace and curl into a ball, an ability dubbed the Fierce Dragon Monster Ball Violent Bullet… or simply Anguirus Ball. Anguirus is incredibly mobile while rolling — and incredibly deadly. He destroyed the Karyu with a single blow in this mode, and even staggered Godzilla.
In the Kodansha manga series "Godzilla, King of the Monsters," Anguirus can retract into his shell and quickly zip around in the air while rotating at extremely high speed, condensing his body into the shape of an ultra-sharp disc that can cut Godzilla. He also possesses a prehensile tail which he used to constrict Godzilla.
Durability: Anguirus' spiked carapace and armored hide grant him impressive resistance to attacks from enemy monsters. He withstood having his neck bit by King Ghidorah, falling from an immense height, and being stomped into the ground - quickly getting back to his feet and reentering the battle afterwards. He also endured grievous injuries in his battles with Gigan and Fake Godzilla: the former sawed open his face and the latter broke his jaw. According to the October 1979 issue of TV Magazine, Anguirus quickly and completely recovered from the latter, continuing to live peacefully alongside his friend Godzilla. In "vs. Megalon," Anguirus also survived falling into a tectonic fissure on Monster Island. Anguirus' durability is also highlighted in the comic "Godzilla: Rulers of Earth," where after being beaten nearly to death by a Cryog Mechagodzilla, he recovers to assist Godzilla in battle against Mecha-King Ghidorah and an army of Mechagodzillas.
Intelligence: Anguirus is extremely intelligent for a giant monster. He communicates with Godzilla, following his orders to investigate a disturbance in Japan and then asking him for help after learning of the situation. Both Anguirus and Godzilla are able to understand the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens' "action tapes" which contain their plans and cannot be comprehended by humans. Anguirus and Godzilla formed strategies and attack plans and were able to triumph while Gigan and King Ghidorah bickered once they stopped receiving commands from their alien masters. In "vs. Mechagodzilla," Anguirus immediately recognized that the Godzilla that emerged from Mt. Fuji was a fake, while the humans were fooled by the disguise. In "Final Wars," Anguirus coordinated with Rodan and King Caesar to try to take down Godzilla.
Swimming: Anguirus is able to swim at speeds comparable to Godzilla without showing signs of fatigue.
Burrowing: In "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," Anguirus burrowed underground to reach the Japanese mainland, where he emerged and attacked Fake Godzilla.
Anguirus briefly lets out powerful ultrasonic roars which caused Osaka Castle to crumble during his fight with Godzilla in "Raids Again." This ranged attack returned in the Atari/Pipeworks Godzilla video games as a sonic roar, capable of damaging nearby structures and monsters.
Heat Ray: Originally, Anguirus was meant to breathe the same heat ray as Godzilla: an intense incandescent light, as seen in this storyboard for "Raids Again." Additionally, the 1955 tie-in manga "Rampage Godzilla" has Anguirus exhale a breath attack identical to Godzilla's. This attack has not been seen since.
Anguirus's Japanese name, Angirasu, comes from the Japanese spelling of the dinosaur genus Ankylosaurus, upon which the monster's design is loosely based. The name was chosen from among several proposed by Toho employees. Actor Yoshio Tsuchiya, who played the character Tajima in the film, proposed the name "Gyottos" for the monster. Many of the rejected names were later used for the original monsters featured in the manga "Rampage Godzilla."
Anguirus's English name has been remarkably inconsistent across his film appearances. Toho's 1955 international sales brochure named him "Angilas," but he was called "Angurus" in the 1959 Americanized version of his debut film, "Gigantis, the Fire Monster." The English dubs for "Destroy All Monsters," "Godzilla's Revenge," and "Godzilla vs. Gigan" all referred to him as "Angilas." "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" finally used "Anguirus," which was later trademarked by Toho and became his official English name. However, the English dub for "Godzilla: Final Wars" pronounces his name as... "Angweenus." ["Captain, it’s the Angweenus sir!" - "What?!"] The confusion around his name led to many creative spellings in American publications during the 1970's, such as Anzilla, Anulis, and Angorus.
Anguirus is widely considered to be Godzilla's closest ally and "best friend." This is acknowledged in dialogue in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," where the character Keisuke Shimizu remarks that… "Anguirus shouldn't attack his friend Godzilla," when he sees the monster attack Fake Godzilla. This is also reflected by the subtitle given to Anguirus in "Godzilla vs. Gigan," "Godzilla's Companion." This portrayal holds true in many of Anguirus' non-film appearances, such as the "Get Going! Godzilland" OVAs, various children's books featuring Godzilla, and the Godzilla comics published by IDW. Their friendship was also the subject of "The Anguirus Song," written by Max Landis and sung by Matt Bennett.
Anguirus has never been able to defeat another monster without Godzilla's help. The first issue of the IDW comic "Godzilla: Legends," titled "The Underdog," revolves around this losing streak, showing snippets of Anguirus's defeats against Godzilla, King Ghidorah, and Gigan. This time, Anguirus is able to overcome the powerful Destoroyah with the help of the KDF. Anguirus is one of only three kaiju to appear in all ten of IDW’s "Godzilla" series, along with Rodan and of course Godzilla himself.
By the way, Anguirus and Rodan are hidden in the code of the 1988 NES game "Godzilla: Monster of Monsters" as playable characters. They are inaccessible through normal gameplay, though multiple sprites for them exist, and it’s even possible to control Anguirus using a modified ROM. He has no formal attacks, but deals incredible amounts of damage to any foe he collides with.
Anguirus appears in 79 episodes of "Godzilla Island," the legendary Toho TV show in which all the monsters are portrayed by Bandai figures. He is usually on the sidelines during the island’s various crises, although he does play a key role in the defeat of Gororin.
Most recently, Anguirus was featured in "GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse," the first prequel novel to the "GODZILLA" anime trilogy. There are at least four individuals of the species in the anime continuity. The first Anguirus appeared from Siberia and attacked Beijing with Rodan I in 2005, with both monsters being killed by the Chinese biological weapon Hedorah. Both monsters' skeletal remains are visible in the prologue of "Planet of the Monsters." A second Anguirus attacked South Africa a year later, while a fourth individual was killed along with Varan II and Baragon II by Godzilla in Los Angeles in 2030; a clear reference to his role in an unmade precursor to GMK.
Finally, Anguirus has been considered for a plethora of unmade films and early drafts. First he was slated to appear in the unmade 1956 film "Bride of Godzilla?", where numerous other members of Anguirus' species as well as Godzilla's would also appear in a hollow Earth ecosystem. At the end of the Heisei series, concept art for Anguirus and a "subspecies" was created for unrealized precursors to "Godzilla vs. Destoroyah." Next, he was scheduled for 2001's "Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack," where he would've been one of the three Guardian Monsters alongside Varan and Baragon. Anguirus and Varan were ultimately dropped from the movie and replaced by Mothra and King Ghidorah. Anguirus was then considered to appear in "Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla," where he would have fought Kiryu, and "Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.," where he would have washed ashore as a corpse after being killed off-screen by Godzilla. Producer Shogo Tomiyama objected to the latter, and he was ultimately replaced with Kamoebas.
And that's all for Anguirus. Thank you for watching.