King Ghidorah's name is composed of "King" (キング?) and "Ghidorah." The "Ghidorah" part of King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese word for "hydra" (ヒドラ?, Hidora), which is spelt very similarly to the Japanese katakana for Ghidorah.
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, because they sounded more like "hydra." He wasn't referred to as "King Ghidorah" in an original American release of one of his movies until Godzilla vs. Gigan.
In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, the guardian monster Ghidorah's name is spelled in kanji but pronounced the same: 魏怒羅? (Gidora).
King Ghidorah is a golden dragon monster with two legs, three heads on long necks, giant bat-like wings, and two tails. King Ghidorah's multiple heads were inspired by Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed dragon from Japanese mythology. 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. 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."
King Ghidorah does not have much of a developed personality because it is under someone's control in most of his appearances. The only times he was not under mind-control throughout most of the film were Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Rebirth of Mothra III, and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. He temporarily was free of mind-control in Invasion of Astro-Monster and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, where, in the former, he fled from Godzilla and Rodan in fear and probably from being overwhelmed, and in the latter, he was very confused to what was happening and was killed by Godzilla. It seems that each of King Ghidorah's heads can think for themselves separately, although the middle head appears to be dominant. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, King Ghidorah was said to be evil, and he destroyed civilizations on several planets for reasons unknown. He tried destroying Earth and its civilizations, but he fought the three monsters that got in his way and retreated eventually. In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah caused the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period, then returned to Earth in the modern day to feed on humanity. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, King Ghidorah is one of the Guardian Monsters, being the God of the Sky. King Ghidorah was a protector of Japan, making Ghidorah a protagonist for the first, and by far only, time.
King Ghidorah has a different origin in every series.
In the Showa series, King Ghidorah was created by the Garogans and was given to the Xiliens, who sent King Ghidorah to Earth to weaken its 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.
In the Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, King Ghidorah is the result of three Dorats fusing due to an atomic bomb being dropped in Lagos Island, the island where the original Godzillasaurus was mutated. The Dorats were put on the island by the Futurians.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah arrived on the Earth millions of years ago and caused the Cretaceous extinction. He returned to Earth in the present in order to feed off of humans, especially children.
In the Millennium series, King Ghidorah was an eight-headed serpent god, or Yamata no Orochi, that was prematurely awoken before he could grow all eight of his heads, instead only growing three.
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 him "Monster Zero." These Xiliens 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 Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Godzilla is found on an island supposedly dead but other fans say that Godzilla is recovering or sleeping.
Destroy All Monsters, controlled by the Kilaaks, he fought and was seemingly killed by the combined might of ten of Earth's monsters in the year 1999.
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.
Godzilla and Gigan. Godzilla was allied with Zone Fighter, and Gigan was allied with King Ghidorah.
King Ghidorah was one of the few monsters to survive his encounter with Zone Fighter.
The Futurian Emi Kano recovered the beast in 2204 and, from its body and futuristic technology, created the cyborg Mecha-King Ghidorah (メカキングギドラ?, Meka Kingu Gidora), equipped with solar-paneled wings, an entirely mechanical middle head, and several devices specifically designed for combat with Godzilla. This incarnation managed to stun Godzilla with its Capture Cables, grasp it with the giant Machine Hand, and carry it out to sea. Godzilla finally blasted the monster at point-blank range, crippling it, and both plummeted into the water. Godzilla would return the following year (Godzilla vs. Mothra), but King Ghidorah would not appear again in the Heisei series. The cybernetic remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah, however, would later be studied by the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center (U.N.G.C.C.) and the technology used to design and construct MechaGodzilla in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2 and later Moguera in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.
Cretaceous King GhidorahKing Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah (白亜紀キングギドラ?, Haku Aki Kingu Gidora), first arrived and attacked the Earth 130 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. Cretaceous King Ghidorah quickly caused the KT extinction event; he exterminated the dinosaurs and almost every other life form on the planet. 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 travelled through space. Millions of years later, during a meteor shower in 1999, the same meteor crashed into the Mount Fuji region, with Cretaceous King Ghidorah now being in his adult King Ghidorah form. Mothra Leo, as Rainbow Mothra, came in and attacked King Ghidorah, but ended up being overpowered by him. Then, with the aid of his priestess Moll, Leo transformed into Light Speed Mothra and traveled back in time to battle Cretaceous King Ghidorah, when he wasn't as powerful. During the battle, Leo cut off one of Cretaceous King Ghidorah's tails and the tail burrowed into the ground, which would regenerate an entire King Ghidorah body millions of years later. Cretaceous King Ghidorah was defeated when Rainbow Mothra used paralyzing powder on him and then dropped him into an active volcanic Mt. Fuji, destroying the first Cretaceous King Ghidorah.
King Ghidorah130 million years later, Cretaceous King Ghidorah arose again as King Ghidorah. It came to Japan to feed on humans, mainly children, but he soon started to eat adults. 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 retreated home, and was transformed into Light Speed Mothra and he flew through time to destroy King Ghidorah in his weaker form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah. He defeated the young form of the Ghidorah, but King Ghidorah's tail dug into the ground, and regenerated his body over millions of years. King Ghidorah returned, only one day later than he arrived the first time. Rainbow Mothra was then reborn as Armor Mothra, and he engaged King Ghidorah in battle. After a long battle, Armor Mothra destroyed King Ghidorah once and for all. Zaguresu controls the monsters into fighting against each other and sends King Ghidorah to. The humans break the mind-control, but most are too injured to continue fighting. Godzilla and Rodan battle King Ghidorah and all three monsters are knocked off the cliff. King Ghidorah lay at the bottom of the ocean, but Zaguresu zapped him with her beam and revived him. He battled furiously against Godzilla, who's atomic ray did nothing. Godzilla finally went down, but Torema unleashed a pyshic wave that knocked King Ghidorah back. Godzilla fired his ray again, and this time King Ghidorah could feel it. She eventually weakens from an attack from Zaguresu earlier and King Ghidorah continues his fight with Godzilla. Godzilla eventually gains the upper hand, biting one of King Ghidorah's necks. King Ghidorah tries to fly away but Godzilla bites on King Ghidorah's leg. King Ghidorah uses all of his strength to free himself, even lifting Godzilla into the air, and eventually breaks free and flies away.
When Godzilla was in the sea after he had killed the Guardians and decimated 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 of a villain. It was also the first time that King Ghidorah was physically portrayed as being smaller than Godzilla.
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, 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.
Weight: 80,000 tons
"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."
King Ghidorah appears as a boss on multiple levels, and an ending boss on the final level of some paths. King Ghidorah is one of the most powerful kaiju in the game. He attacks using his gravity beams, flying kick and melee attacks. He will approach Godzilla quickly by flying through the air and firing his gravity beams.
Godzilla Raids Again Manga
King Ghidorah appeared in the Godzilla Raids Again manga, being used by the Xiliens to take over Earth. Before reaching Earth, King Ghidorah encounters Biollante, who later becomes a King Ghidorah clone.MechaGodzilla. In the following three-way battle, Steven Woods fired MechaGodzilla's special weapon at both King Ghidorah and Godzilla, knocking out both monsters in the process. King Ghidorah did not appear again in the series and is presumed to be dead.
King Ghidorah later appeared in three issues of the mini-series Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths. Here, it is shown that King Ghidorah is a resident of Monster Island along with Godzilla, Mothra, Anguirus, and Battra.Dimension Tide, a device that could open miniature black holes. The AMF planned to use it on the alien duo and Godzilla himself. The two aliens were lured to Antarctica, soon were involved in a four-way battle between themselves, Kiryu, and Godzilla. At the fight's climax, the Dimension Tide fired and opened a miniature black hole. King Ghidorah and Gigan were soon sucked into the hole, with a heavily-damaged Kiryu following in suit shortly afterwards.
Mecha-King Ghidorah in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth Issue 15. In issue #16, the Cryog leader recalls discovering the badly wounded body of King Ghidorah following his earlier battle with Godzilla and MechaGodzilla. The Cryog leader ordered Gigan to slice off Ghidorah's middle head so that he could replace it with a mechanical head that gave him control over the entire monster.
King Ghidorah appears in Godzilla: Cataclysm Issue 1 locked in battle with Godzilla. King Ghidorah bites Godzilla and shocks him through his bite, but Godzilla lifts Ghidorah by his head and slams him to the ground. Godzilla then blasts Ghidorah at point-blank range with his atomic breath and defeats him. It is unknown if King Ghidorah survived the encounter or not. Arata's grandfather later recalls that some members of his village pray to King Ghidorah as a deity that brings rain.
The most common version of King Ghidorah's roar is screeching with some clicking sounds added and modified to sound deeper. In the Heisei era, his roar is borrowed from Rodan and it was made to make it sound more dragon-like and somewhat metallic.
In Other Languages
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