Kaiju Profile: Hedorah
This video corresponds to the Showa and 2004 Hedorahs.
Written by The King of the Monsters, Titanollante
Narrated by Enshohma
Hello kaiju fans, I'm Enshohma, and today we will be talking about the Smog Monster — Hedorah!
Hedorah is an alien lifeform that feeds off pollution which first appeared in director Yoshimitsu Banno's 1971 "Godzilla vs. Hedorah."
Primarily driven by instinct and the will to survive, the horrific death and destruction Hedorah causes are mostly derived from his bizarre biological properties rather than any true malice. However, he does demonstrate aggression and an ever-increasing amount of intelligence and awareness in his encounters with Godzilla. When first confronted by Godzilla, Hedorah answers Godzilla's taunts, and during the final battle, Hedorah laughs while brutally maiming Godzilla, and when he attempts to drown him in sludge. In addition, Hedorah is one of Godzilla's most difficult opponents in the Showa series. While he could not kill Godzilla, he seriously injured him and cost him a hand and one of his eyes, and it required the combined efforts of Godzilla and humanity to finally defeat the monster.
The original Hedorah has five distinct forms, denoted as: Young Form, Aquatic Stage, Landing Stage, Flying Stage, and Perfect Stage.
Hedorah's stages all share multiple common characteristics - all have gray/dim green, kelp-like surfaces and large, gold-and-black irises with red sclera. These eyes are positioned so that they blink sideways. Hedorah's Young Form is directly based off tadpoles in design and bears little resemblance to the other forms. In its Aquatic Stage, it becomes more distinct in appearance the larger it becomes, though it still vaguely resembles a gigantic tadpole. In its Landing Stage, it takes on a quadrupedal reptilian form. Its Flying Stage is like a flying saucer, and its Perfect Stage takes on a humanoid bipedal shape.
The Hedorah from "Godzilla: Final Wars" has only one known form: reminiscent of the original Hedorah's Perfect Stage, it has a dark gray body with reddish tubes protruding from it. Considerably thinner than the original Hedorah, it has more discernible legs and fewer kelp-like protrusions on its body. Hedorah's left arm also possesses a long, whip-like extension.
According to an interview with Yoshimitsu Banno by the Japanese magazine "Eiga Hi-Ho," he's directly quoted saying, "Hedorah's eyes were modeled on female genitalia…well, come on, vaginas are scary!" In "Godzilla: Final Wars," this allusion is significantly toned down, and his eyes were tilted, thus appearing to have a more 'normal' appearance.
In "Godzilla vs. Hedorah," Godzilla tears out two white orbs from Hedorah's body. While in the film, the purpose of these orbs is never discussed, supplementary materials explain them to be Hedorah's eyeballs, despite them being white instead of red.
In "Godzilla vs. Hedorah," Hedorah was an alien life form from the Dark Gaseous Nebula in the Orion constellation that landed on Earth after traveling on a comet for at least 243 light years.
In "Godzilla: Final Wars," Hedorah was one of many monsters under the control of the Xiliens, but his origins are never explained.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah: Hedorah, an alien from the Dark Gaseous Nebula of the Orion landed on Earth and promptly began feeding on pollution. Hedorah's actions soon gained the attention of Godzilla, who attacked the Smog Monster as he was literally sucking on an active smokestack to consume the pollutants being given off by it. At the time, Hedorah was smaller than Godzilla and inexperienced at fighting, and was easily trounced by Godzilla. The two creatures had a series of battles across Japan, and Hedorah continued to grow bigger and stronger, and eventually evolved into a flying saucer-like stage, allowing him to fly and spread sulfuric acid mist across Japan while destroying many factories as he continued to feed. Hedorah and Godzilla had a final showdown at the summit of Mount Fuji, in which Hedorah achieved his Perfect Stage, a humanoid, walking pile of sludge. Thanks to his acidic, poisonous body, as well as his lethal eye bolts, Hedorah very nearly put an end to Godzilla in their struggle. However, the JSDF had built a pair of gigantic electrodes near the warring monsters. Since Hedorah was an amorphous being and thus was mostly fluid, it was hoped that the two electrodes would dry Hedorah out and defeat him. Unfortunately, during the battle the fuses to control the electrodes had blown and the pylons supplying electricity had been damaged by the two monsters, making the electrodes useless.
Despite receiving brutal injuries in the battle, Godzilla powered the electrons with a blast of his atomic breath as Hedorah was standing between them, dehydrating him. Just as it seemed Godzilla had triumphed, Hedorah's dried husk burst open and another Hedorah flew out of it. Godzilla used his atomic breath to propel himself into the air and chase after Hedorah. After knocking Hedorah down, Godzilla brought Hedorah back to the electrodes and had them near-completely dry Hedorah out. Realizing Hedorah might still have moisture within him that could bring him back to life, Godzilla tore into Hedorah's body and had the electrodes dry out the remaining husk of Hedorah, reducing him to a mass of dust and finally defeating the alien.
Godzilla: Final Wars: Hedorah was the only Xilien-controlled monster, apart from the concealed Monster X and Gigan, not to participate in the initial attack on Earth's cities. The Controller of Planet X later dispatched him, along with Ebirah, to stop Godzilla in Tokyo Bay. Godzilla's atomic ray quickly sent him flying through the air and crashing into a building. Ebirah followed, and his claw pierced Hedorah's left eye. The two were then destroyed by an extended blast of Godzilla's atomic ray, much to the Controller's frustration.
Acidic Sludge: Hedorah is composed almost entirely of acidic, sludge-like material, which he uses as his primary means of attack. Hedorah can launch pieces of his body at opponents, which will burn or smother them. Hedorah can also discharge large quantities of sludge without impacting his size in any way, shown when he attempts to drown Godzilla in a pit by dumping a continuous stream of sludge onto him.
Sulfuric Mist: Hedorah does not require oxygen to survive, but rather thrives on inhaling toxic pollutants. The byproduct of Hedorah consuming these pollutants is a highly concentrated sulfuric mist, which is capable of corroding any metal and completely disintegrating organic life. In his Flying Stage, Hedorah was also able to fly by propelling himself through the air with this mist, spreading the mist across a large area in the process. Hedorah's sulfuric acid mist was able to make Godzilla collapse and gasp for air. In the ending credits of "Godzilla: Final Wars," Hedorah is shown spraying sulfuric acid mist from tubes on his body. Hedorah is not seen using this ability in the film itself.
Hedorium Light Beam: Hedorah's Flying and Perfect Stages can fire a crimson laser beam from their eyes capable of setting objects on fire and burning Godzilla's flesh.
Division and Recombination: Hedorah, like Destoroyah, is composed of multiple smaller individual creatures having joined together. Hedorah can grow in size and power by merging with other Hedorahs, or split apart into smaller ones and recombine later. Hedorah first demonstrates this ability in his first battle with Godzilla, where a small chunk of his body flies off while Godzilla swings him through the air. This piece of Hedorah begins moving on its own and eventually grows into a Landing Stage, then combines with the larger Flying Hedorah as it flies through Tokyo. Hedorah also uses this ability to survive during his final battle with Godzilla. When Godzilla uses the Giant Electrode to dry Hedorah's Perfect Form into a husk, a smaller Flying Hedorah breaks free of the husk and attempts to flee.
Evolution: By feeding on pollutants and combining with other Hedorahs, Hedorah can grow substantially in size and evolve into new, more powerful forms. Hedorah started out as a completely aquatic, tadpole-like creature, but developed legs that allowed him to come on land and gain access to more pollutants. Hedorah's next evolution granted him the ability to fly through the air and cover large distances quickly. The creature's final, Perfect Stage was a giant bipedal form that towered over Godzilla and allowed him to stand up to Godzilla in a hand-to-hand fight. Hedorah has the ability to switch between these forms at will: his Perfect Stage can transform to his Flying Stage and back. After a large portion of his body was dried out by the Giant Electrodes, the smaller Flying Hedorah that emerged from the monster's Perfect Stage was still able to transform into the Landing Stage.
Durability: As a result of his acidic and amorphous body, Hedorah has extremely strong defenses. Conventional weapons are useless against him, as they simply pass through him, leaving Hedorah unharmed. Godzilla's atomic breath also failed to work on Hedorah before the Giant Electrodes were switched on, as his beam was incapable of drying Hedorah out, and only caused him to spark. Attacking Hedorah physically is a poor choice as well, as any contact with Hedorah's extremely corrosive blood results in horrific injuries, such as Godzilla's hand being burned down to the bone. Only Hedorah's eyes are known to be affected by its own blood, and it has to close its eye whenever it bleeds to prevent the eye from being damaged. While Hedorah is vulnerable to being dried out, he can survive this if any moist parts of his body are left behind. Godzilla was forced to tear Hedorah apart and expose every square inch of his body to the electrical current of the Giant Electrodes in order to successfully destroy him.
Weaknesses: Because Hedorah's body is composed of a moist, sludge-like substance, he is vulnerable to being dried out by strong electrical currents. Hedorah was finally destroyed by electrical currents of the Giant Electrodes constructed by Toru Yano and the JSDF, with Godzilla ensuring his demise by tearing him apart and exposing every part of him to the current. After being dried by this electricity, Hedorah crumbled into dust.
During pre-production, Hedorah was originally called 'Hedoron.' Toho would later use the Hedoron name for a monster from their TV series "Warrior of Love Rainbowman." On that note, Hedorah's name comes from the Japanese word for sludge, 'hedoro,' and the common kaiju suffix '-ra.'
"Godzilla: Final Wars" director Ryuhei Kitamura originally wanted Hedorah to attack the Japanese island of Odaiba in a scene that was meant to spoof the Japanese police drama/comedy series "Bayside Shakedown." However, producer Shogo Tomiyama shot the idea down. To somewhat remedy the staff's complaints that Hedorah's role was too miniscule, footage of the Smog Monster destroying Tokyo and using sulfuric acid mist emitted from his tube, which was created alongside publicity shots of Hedorah with Godzilla, was placed in the end credits.
"Godzilla vs. Hedorah" director Yoshimitsu Banno always intended for Hedorah to return, as indicated by the "And Yet Another One?" card at the end of Hedorah's debut film. While Banno planned on making "Godzilla vs. Hedorah 2," it never got very far into production. Decades later in the 2000's, Banno tried to make a new Godzilla film titled "Godzilla 3-D," which would have featured Deathla, a kaiju which would have been similar in appearance to Hedorah but red in color and with a face like a human skull. His endeavors to secure funding for "Godzilla 3-D" would lead to Legendary Pictures acquiring the rights to Godzilla in 2010 and releasing a film in 2014.
Hedorah appears in the TV series "Godzilla Island," attacking Mothra and later being dried up by Godzilla. More interestingly however, the series introduced a mushroom-based Hedorah named "Neo Hedorah," who resembled the original's Perfect Stage with the exception of being light blue with candy-pink patches. Neo Hedorah appeared in Matango Island in the year 2098, destroying the food supply of the nearby Godzilla Island by producing giant mushrooms. At first defeating Godzilla, in the end Neo Hedorah was defeated through the combined efforts of the human Misato, King Caesar and Fire Rodan.
That's all we have for Hedorah. Thanks for watching!