King Ghidorah is one of the most powerful monsters in the Godzilla series, and is often considered Godzilla's archenemy. Usually, King Ghidorah is so destructive and powerful, that Godzilla is often required to team-up with another monster, even several monsters, before engaging the three-headed dragon of terror and destruction in battle. One exception to this theme occurred in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, which included an extra powerful Godzilla defeating King Ghidorah, as well as severing King Ghidorah's middle head. Despite this setback, however, King Ghidorah is one of the few monsters who is more than a match for Godzilla under most circumstances, though there have been other monsters such as Hedorah, Destoroyah, SpaceGodzilla, and MechaGodzilla 2 who have been equally formidable opponents for Godzilla. King Ghidorah is also one of the monsters that are most often mind controlled; it acts completely autonomously in three movies, in other appearances being controlled for most of its screen time by aliens.
Created as an opponent for Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra in 1964's Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, King Ghidorah is a golden dragon-like space monster with two legs, three heads on long necks, bat-like wings, and two tails. It was said to be 100 meters tall with a 150-meter wingspan, and weighs 30,000 metric tons in the Showa series. King Ghidorah was brought to life on the movie screen by a stunt actor inside an elaborate three-piece costume, with a team of puppeteers to control the beast's many appendages. Its alarming shrieks — a different ringing pitch for each of its heads — are among the genre's most recognizable sound effects. Its design is due to special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya based on a minimal description in the script: "It has three heads, two tails, and a voice like a bell."
In recent films, King Ghidorah has undergone several revisions to its origin and appearance — for instance, a 150-meter tall irradiated triplet of genetically-engineered pets with a Rodan-like cackle, called Dorats in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, and a 49-meter-tall guardian monster in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack — and has been realized via CGI as well as suitmation.Xiliens, who sent King Ghidorah to Earth to weaken it's forces and take it over without any trouble. But the Xiliens did not know of Earth's Monsters. King Ghidorah was destined to be given to different alien races, losing his history on the way.
Initially, King Ghidorah was said to have come from outer space, an ancient evil responsible for destroying civilizations on many planets, including Venus (Mars in the English dub), as well as the planets themselves. Arriving on Earth in a magnetic meteorite, King Ghidorah devastated much of the Japanese countryside before being repelled by the monstrous trio, Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. In the follow-up movie, Invasion of Astro-Monster, it was revealed to be a mind-controlled pawn of beings from Planet X, a newly discovered planet in Jupiter's umbra, who called it "Monster Zero". These "Xilians" coveted Earth's water resources and took control of Godzilla and Rodan in an attempt to conquer Earth. However, the human characters intervened by freeing the monsters, and after a fight with Godzilla and Rodan, King Ghidorah flew back into space. While generally accepted as a victory for Godzilla and Rodan, some have argued that King Ghidorah actually won the encounter and left of his own accord, maybe because he was too injured to continue attacking Earth. Some have looked to the fact that in the next film Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Godzilla is found on an island supposedly dead but other fans say that Godzilla is recovering or sleeping.
He made two more appearances in the Shōwa Series, both times as an agent of alien invaders. In Destroy All Monsters, controlled by the Kilaaks, he fought and was seemingly killed by the combined might of ten of Earth's monsters, however, he reappears in Godzilla vs. Gigan, as one of the monsters controlled by the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens, and an ally of Gigan in a battle against Godzilla and Anguirus. It should be noted, though, that Destroy All Monsters was set in the year 1999, while Godzilla vs. Gigan is to all appearances set in the early 1970s.
King Ghidorah also appeared in two episodes of the tokusatsu superhero TV series, Zone Fighter. He appeared in two back-to-back episodes, and was one of the few monsters to survive his encounter with Zone Fighter.Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. This time beefed up to 140 meters height (492.125984 feet). Time-travelers from the 23rd century called "Futurians" released three genetically-engineered Dorats onto Lagos Island, the location at which a Godzillasaurus was believed to be exposed to radiation from hydrogen bomb testing and become Godzilla. Instead, the irradiated Dorats fused into King Ghidorah, which the Futurians then used to devastate present-day (1992) Japan. The marauder was defeated by a strengthened Godzilla; this newer Godzilla was larger and more powerful than ever before owing to an encounter with a modern nuclear submarine. Even so, King Ghidorah appeared to be winning the battle until its controlling computer was sabotaged. Godzilla recovered and blasted off the monster's middle head. King Ghidorah fell into the ocean, where he remained comatose for hundreds of years.
- Main Article: Mecha-King Ghidorah
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. King Ghidorah adopted yet another origin for this film, as one of three legendary guardians of the Japanese isles, similar to the eight-headed dragon Yamata no Orochi of Japanese mythology. In fact, King Ghidorah is said to be underdeveloped, awakened from hibernation before it could grow all eight of its heads. Godzilla again attacks Japan and is repelled by the combined might of the guardian monsters, Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, and the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Despite killing all three guardian monsters and decimating the JSDF, the spirits of the three Guardians entered Godzilla's body, stunning him long enough to allow General Tachibana to burrow his way out of Godzilla after internally firing a D-03 missile, an explosive drill. This eventually destroyed him when he tried to use his atomic beam again after it burst out the inflicted hole in his shoulder and finally caused Godzilla to vaporize himself from within. This film was the first time that King Ghidorah was depicted as a hero, instead than a villain. It was also the first time that King Ghidorah was physically portrayed as being smaller than Godzilla.
Powers and AbilitiesKing Ghidorah has had a number of changes made to himself over the years, but most of his traditional battle characteristics have remained the same. His different forms in the different movies have their own abilities.
- King Ghidorah flies at the speed of Mach 3.
- King Ghidorah is able to fire Gravity beams from his mouths.
- King Ghidorah is able to create hurricane winds from his wings.
- King Ghidorah uses his necks to constrict an opponent.
King Ghidorah, in the Showa series, had the ability to generate what appeared to be magnetic fields, but what were stated to not be, and instead be a "mysterious pulling power". 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 it used them as a form of levitation. In the Game Boy Advance video game Godzilla: Domination, the space monster King Ghidorah has two new, never-before-seen fighting abilities: first, the ability to emit devastating magnetic beams from his mouth, and second, the ability to produce a powerful magnetic pull around him which will draw nearby monsters closer and injure them. King Ghidorah is able to maintain the presence of his magnetic pull for roughly ten seconds before halting the attack and needing to recharge in order to reuse the attack.
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
- Invasion of Astro-Monster
- Destroy All Monsters
- Godzilla vs. Gigan
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
- Godzilla Island (TV series)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
- Godzilla vs. 3 Major Monsters
- Godzilla (Gameboy)
- Godzilla: Monster of Monsters
- Battle Soccer
- Super Godzilla (also "Mecha")
- Kaiju-Oh Godzilla (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla (Arcade) (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Battle Legends (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Monster War
- Godzilla: Giant Monster March (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Archipelago Shock
- Godzilla Trading Battle (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Domination (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Save the Earth (also "Mecha")
- CR Godzilla 3S-T Battle
- Godzilla: Pachislot Wars
- Godzilla: Unleashed (Wii and PS2, also "Mecha")
- Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash (also "Mecha")
- Godzilla: Monster Mayhem
- Godzilla On Monster Island
Godzilla Unleashed BioHeight:120 meters
"If Gigan is the hammer of the Vortaak invasion forces, then King Ghidorah is the anvil. King Ghidorah is the most physically powerful monster in the universe, and blends immense size, incredible strength, and near invulnerability into a unified engine of monstrous destruction. The Vortaak often hesitate to deploy King Ghidorah at all, lest he demolish their enemies and leave nothing to subjugate. King Ghidorah is at home in the vacuum of space, and travels between planets under his own power. King Ghidorah's wings allow him to fly in Earth's atmosphere, though his great mass hinders his aerial mobility. He naturally generates intense electrical energy that he unleashes as a powerful Triple Gravity Beam from his three heads. Despite all this, King Ghidorah's greatest ability is his asset to withstand damage-all known forms of attack splinter against his thick golden scales."
Godzilla Unleashed Stats
- Attack: 88 %
- Defense: 88 %
- Speed: 38 %
- Weapon: 75 %
- King Ghidorah appears four times in Courage the Cowardly Dog, notably two episodes when LeQuack turns on a TV with King Ghidorah on it, and shoots fire from the TV. Another time is when Courage opens a door and King Ghidorah is behind it giving a loud roar. Both clips were from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
- In the film "Independence Day", a young boy is seen playing with a King Ghidorah toy.
- In Growing Up Creepie, King Ghidorah was seen in a drive through movie screen, the clip was also from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
- In Tuff Puppy, Dudley puppy turned into a giant, grew 3 heads, and was able to breath fire. This shows a cultural reference from Nickelodeon, although the roar was not the same.
- In the Cartoon Network television show M.A.D., there's a skit involving the Jonas brothers where a fan sends them a letter asking how they stay so close. They reply by saying they are a giant three headed monster and go on attacking a city.
- In the anime series Shinzo, a similar monster named Grandorah was the antagonist in a few episodes.
- King Ghidorah appeared briefly in a Crest commercial.
- King Ghidorah, along with Mothra, were offered to TriStar to oppose Zilla for the 1998 American film, but the price they offered was too high, so it was declined by TriStar.
- In an episode of the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy called Modern Primitives, there was a parody of King Ghidorah called "Kitty Rah" and barfed hair balls opposed to King Ghidorah's usual gravity beams.
In Other Languages
- Spanish: Rey Ghidorah
- Russian: Кинг Гидора
- King Ghidorah can be considered the primary antagonist of the Godzilla franchise due both to his popularity and his film count of 6.
- King Ghidorah consistently ranks as viewers' favorite monster in the Godzilla films, 2nd to Godzilla. This fame, coupled with the unimpressive box office run of Godzilla vs. Biollante, inspired Kazuki Omori to revive King Ghidorah for the 1991 film.
- King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is the tallest monster in the Heisei Godzilla Series compared to Biollante, MechaGodzilla 2, SpaceGodzilla and Destoroyah, who are all 120 meters.
- King Ghidorah's middle head is shorter than the other two.
- King Ghidorah is one of few monsters to appear in all 3 series, the others being Mothra, Rodan, MechaGodzilla, Godzilla's son & of course, Godzilla.
- King Ghidorah is considered to be the strongest out of all of Godzilla's enemies and might possibly be just as strong or even stronger than Godzilla due to the fact that Godzilla always has help from other monsters or humans interfering with control over King Ghidorah.
- There's a Pokemon named Hydreigon that resembles King Ghidorah.
- For unknown reasons, King Ghidorah was referred to as either "Ghidrah" or "Ghidorah" in the American versions of his first three movies, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster and Destroy All Monsters, where as their original Japanese versions referred to him as "King Ghidorah". He wasn't referred to as "King Ghidorah" in an American version of one of his movies until Godzilla vs. Gigan and once the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy came out, the word "Ghidorah" has changed its meaning, it is no longer an alias for King Ghidorah, it now means a species of space monsters, as there have been other Ghidorahs appearing in some of Toho's movies ever since the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Desghidorah from Rebirth of Mothra, Grand Ghidorah from Rebirth of Mothra III and Keizer Ghidorah from Godzilla: Final Wars.
- The Heisei King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah and Keizer Ghidorah are the tallest main series Godzilla monsters ever, besides Bagan and the Marvel Godzilla, and in the game Godzilla On Monster Island, King Ghidorah is tied with Bagan and the Marvel Godzilla at an enormous 150 meters.