Kaiju Profile: Showa King Ghidorah
This video corresponds to the Showa King Ghidorah.
King Ghidorah (キングギドラ)
The villainous King Ghidorah was created by Shinichi Sekizawa, Eiji Tsuburaya, Ishiro Honda and Tomoyuki Tanaka to be the antagonist of “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.” King Ghidorah was brought to life on the movie screen by a stunt actor inside an elaborate three-piece suit, with a team of puppeteers to control the suit's many appendages.
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.
King Ghidorah is a giant dragon monster standing erect with golden scales adorning its body, three heads on long necks, giant bat-like wings, two legs and two tails. King Ghidorah's multiple heads were inspired by the Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed dragon from Japanese mythology. The heads of this suit have two curved horns on both sides with a crescent in the middle and a mane on each one, much like the appearance of a Chinese or Japanese Dragon. It also has a row of spines running down each neck, while the ventral side sports snakelike, overlapping plates.
In the Showa series, King Ghidorah is an inherently evil ancient extraterrestrial dragon said to have wiped out Venus's entire civilization many thousands of years ago for the fun of it. He later attacked Earth, but was repelled by Earth's monsters. At some point, he was taken control of by the Xiliens and used as a pawn in their invasion of Earth. King Ghidorah was destined to be taken control of by different alien races, losing his history on the way. In “Zone Fighter,” the Garogas claimed to have created King Ghidorah, but this is never definitively confirmed.
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster: Thousands of years ago, King Ghidorah attacked the planet Venus, eradicating the planet's advanced civilization and rendering Venus an uninhabitable wasteland. The few Venusians that survived the monster's attacks fled to Earth, where they interbred with the native humans and gradually began to lose their identity.
In the present day, a meteor shower was visible in the skies above Earth, with one meteor crashing down in the Kurobe Valley in Japan. A scientific team led by Professor Murai traveled to the valley to examine the meteor, which exuded a strange glow and even produced its own magnetic field that fluctuated in strength. After several days of study, Murai and his colleagues observed that the meteor was actually growing in size. One day, the meteor began producing an extremely powerful magnetic field before splitting open and launching a ball of fire into the sky above. The fireball exploded several times before finally taking the form of King Ghidorah, having come to do to to Earth what he did to Venus in the past. King Ghidorah flew over Japan, leveling cities effortlessly with his gravity beams. As the cosmic terror approached the Mount Fuji area, Mothra tried to convince her fellow Earth monsters Godzilla and Rodan to cease their fighting and join forces against King Ghidorah. The monsters refused, forcing Mothra to take on King Ghidorah by herself. King Ghidorah blasted the larva with his gravity beams, arousing the anger of Godzilla and Rodan, who finally entered the battle. While King Ghidorah was more powerful than the three monsters individually, he was no match for their combined might, and was beaten into submission and covered in a silken cocoon. As Godzilla pelted King Ghidorah with boulders and threw him off a cliff, King Ghidorah finally retreated and flew back into the void of outer space.
Invasion of Astro-Monster: When astronauts Fuji and Glenn arrived on the newly-discovered Planet X, they encountered an intelligent and technologically advanced alien race called the Xiliens. The Xiliens' leader, the Controller of Planet X, explained that his people lived in constant terror due to the attacks of a horrific space monster known as Monster Zero. The Controller showed the two a video feed of the creature, revealing it to be none other than King Ghidorah. The Controller explained that he knew Godzilla and Rodan drove off King Ghidorah when the monster attacked Earth, and asked that his people be allowed to "borrow" the two monsters to fight off King Ghidorah on Planet X. When the two astronauts returned to Earth and received the support of the world's leaders, the Xiliens revealed themselves, having already been operating on Earth in secret. The Controller apologized for the secrecy, but thanked Earth's leaders and ordered the Xiliens' UFOs to transport Godzilla and Rodan to Planet X, with Glenn, Fuji and their superior Dr. Sakurai accompanying them to oversee the mission. When the monsters were placed on Planet X, King Ghidorah flew overhead and attacked them. Godzilla and Rodan joined forces again, and managed to force the space monster to retreat. The Controller remarked that this was a triumphant day for Planet X, and provided Glenn and Fuji with a tape he claimed contained the cure for cancer. The Controller sent the astronauts on their way, keeping Godzilla and Rodan on Planet X. When the astronauts returned to Earth, they found the tape was actually an ultimatum demanding that Earth surrender to Planet X and become a colony. King Ghidorah had actually been under the Xiliens' control the entire time, and now both Godzilla and Rodan had become their pawns as well. When humanity refused to surrender, the Xiliens released the mind-controlled Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah on Earth to destroy its major cities. Thankfully, Fuji and several Earth scientists discovered a device capable of breaking the aliens' control over the monsters. The device was activated, while the J.S.D.F. assaulted the Xiliens' hidden base. The Xiliens lost their control over the monsters, while their forces were defeated by the J.S.D.F. When Godzilla regained consciousness, he woke up Rodan and the two attacked King Ghidorah once again. During the battle, Rodan grabbed Godzilla and carried him in the air, slamming into King Ghidorah and sending all three monsters plummeting into the sea below. After a few moments, King Ghidorah flew out of the water and retreated back to outer space, while Godzilla and Rodan disappeared beneath the waves.
Godzilla vs. Gigan: As part of their plan to conquer the Earth, the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens took control of King Ghidorah and allied him with their own cybernetic monster, Gigan. Controlling the two monsters from the Godzilla Tower located in World Children's Land, the Nebulans unleashed Gigan and King Ghidorah in Tokyo. The space monsters razed the city and withstood all of the J.S.D.F.'s attempts to stop them, leaving humanity helpless. Thankfully, Godzilla and Anguirus became aware of the invaders' scheme, and swam to Tokyo to battle Gigan and King Ghidorah. However, King Ghidorah and his cybernetic ally proved to be more than a match for the Earth monsters. Godzilla was badly wounded by Gigan's hook-tipped appendages and the Godzilla Tower's laser beam, leaving Anguirus at the mercy of both space monsters. Fortunately, a group of humans managed to destroy the Godzilla Tower, severing the Nebulans' control over Gigan and King Ghidorah and leaving them confused. Godzilla and Anguirus regrouped and assaulted their foes once more, seizing the upper hand. Gigan eventually retreated, allowing Godzilla and Anguirus to double-team King Ghidorah. Godzilla held King Ghidorah still from behind while Anguirus rammed him with his spiky carapace. King Ghidorah soon retreated as well, leaving Godzilla and Anguirus victorious and the Earth safe once again.
Zone Fighter: King Ghidorah was taken control of by an evil race of aliens called the Garogas, who claimed to also be his creators, and was deployed to Earth. While on Earth, King Ghidorah was confronted by Zone Fighter, who defeated the space demon after a vicious struggle. King Ghidorah managed to escape with his life, something few of Zone Fighter's enemies, not even Gigan, managed to do.
Destroy All Monsters: When the crew of the Moonlight SY-3 destroyed the device the Kilaaks were using to control Earth's monsters, Godzilla and his fellow monsters assembled near the Kilaaks' base at Mount Fuji, preparing to assault it. The Kilaaks proceeded to unleash their trump card, King Ghidorah, to defend their base. King Ghidorah descended and attacked the Earth monsters, managing to hold his own against several opponents. Anguirus bit down on King Ghidorah's neck, causing him to take flight and send Anguirus falling to the Earth. King Ghidorah landed and stomped Anguirus into the dust, then reentered battle against Godzilla and his allies. Anguirus, undeterred, got back up and attacked King Ghidorah again. As King Ghidorah battled Godzilla and his allies, Gorosaurus landed a devastating kangaroo-kick on his back, knocking him to the ground. Godzilla proceeded to stomp on King Ghidorah's necks, causing him to cough up blood. Minilla fired a smoke ring that choked King Ghidorah's remaining head and caused it to fall limp to the ground. When Godzilla found the Kilaaks' base and destroyed it, it caused a huge fissure to open in the ground, with King Ghidorah's lifeless body falling into it. With King Ghidorah defeated for good and the alien invasion thwarted, Godzilla and the other monsters returned to Monsterland to live out their days in peace.
Flight: King Ghidorah is able to fly up to speeds of mach 3 in the Earth's atmosphere. He exceeds this speed while flying through space. In "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster," King Ghidorah can encase himself within a meteorite while traveling from planet to planet. In Godzilla vs. Gigan he encases himself in a large diamond-like structure while traveling through space.
Gravity Beams: King Ghidorah's most famous ability is the golden lightning bolt-like gravity beams he spits from his three mouths. These beams are roughly equal in power to Godzilla's atomic breath, and are capable of causing large-scale explosions when fired at buildings.
Hurricane Winds: King Ghidorah can produce hurricane-force winds by flapping his wings, which are capable of blowing away buildings and knocking other kaiju off their feet.
Durability: King Ghidorah is usually portrayed as being extremely durable and resistant to damage, often to an extent close to Godzilla. He withstands conventional weaponry with no noticeable effect, and can even shrug off point-blank blasts from Godzilla's atomic breath. King Ghidorah tends to use his durability to his advantage, as he often prefers to escape from a battle that he can't win before he suffers more injuries than necessary.
Magnetic Powers: In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, while encased in the meteorite, King Ghidorah had the ability to generate what appeared to be magnetic fields that varied in strength from time to time. While it was never stated directly what purpose they served, it was stated that they were somehow connected to its powers. It seems possible that King Ghidorah used them as a form of levitation.
Originally, before production of "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster," this suit had purple scales and rainbow-colored detail on the wings, but later on, the entire body was recolored into a gold color.
The Showa Ghidorah was portrayed through an actor inside the middle head, who would hunch over, holding a pole, with the necks and heads being controlled by wires.
His design was mostly created by Eiji Tsuburaya based on a minimal description in the script: "It has three heads, two tails, and a voice like a bell."
In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, not once (at least on-screen) did Godzilla use his atomic breath against King Ghidorah in battle, while he does use it repeatedly, with no apparent effect, against Rodan.
King Ghidorah would go on to become one of Toho's Big 5 monsters. As such, he returned for many films after the Showa era ended and became one of Godzilla's most recognizable foes.
That's all there is to know about the Showa King Ghidorah. Thank you for watching, see you next time!