Godzilla_Beast

Run Screaming From Godzilla’s 10 Weirdest Friends and Foes

Megalon! SpaceGodzilla! Meet the silliest, funkiest and/or most stupefying beasties who’ve shared the screen with the most famous giant monster of all

The movie may be called Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but the star of the show, honestly, ain’t Godzilla. This time out, the skyscraper-sized fire-breathing lizard is joined onscreen by three legends from the original Japanese Godzilla film series: Rodan! Mothra! King Ghidorah! One big reason why these movies have had such a fervent fanbase for more than 60 years is that they have such a richly populated cast of ginormous monsters.

Not all of them are as awesome as the three-headed mega-dragon King Ghidorah, though. With over 40 movies plus several TV series to fill, the various Japanese and American companies that have owned a piece of the Godzilla franchise across the decades have whipped up a few kaiju that are, well… less than fearsome.

Here then are 10 of the silliest, funkiest and/or most stupefying beasties who’ve shared the screen with the most famous giant monster of all. Some are villains. (Godzillains?) Some are allies. (Godzallies?) And some are actually fan favorites, appearing in multiple movies and on ancillary merchandise. But even the ones that have endured have an undeniable eccentricity.

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Can’t Wait for Humanity to Be Eradicated

Hedorah!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. Hedorah (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster); Godzilla Island TV series; Godzilla: Final Wars; Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters

The original Godzilla movie was a cautionary tale, warning humanity that by choosing to enter the age of nuclear weapons, we unleashed forces of destruction that can’t be repressed. Godzilla vs. Hedorah — more pointedly titled Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster in its U.S. release — sounds a similar alarm, but regarding pollution. The droopy, goopy Hedorah is an alien being, transformed into a rampaging menace after feeding on our toxic emissions and waste. Throughout the course of his first appearance in the series, he keeps getting stronger — and gains the ability to regenerate himself — because he never runs out of “food.”

Scouting Report: As long we continue to pollute, we risk an attack from another Hedorah. So maybe don’t get so snippy about restaurants ditching straws.

Ebirah!

Appearances: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster); All Monsters Attack (a.k.a. Godzilla’s Revenge); Godzilla: Final Wars

There’s a tragic dimension to this massive lobster-thing’s origin story. Mutated by a terrorist organization’s nuclear waste, Ebirah was put to work by those same rogues, and driven to attack any ships approaching their secret island lair. The creeps controlled the creature by spraying him with acerbic fruit juice — like cat owners training their pet with a squirt bottle. Later, in Final Wars, an evil alien race known as the Xiliens mind-controls him into working against Godzilla, alongside Hedorah, whom Ebirah accidentally blinds with his pincers. To Ebirah’s credit, his one large claw and one small claw do work well in conjunction with each other — unless Godzilla just rips them off, as he does at the end of Horror of the Deep, or blasts them with radioactive fire, as he does in Final Wars.

Scouting Report: In his various incarnations, Ebirah has been easily manipulated by some pretty bad dudes. On the other hand, he does look like he’d be delicious, served with an industrial-sized vat of melted butter.

Battra!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. Mothra (a.k.a. Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth); Godzilla Island TV series

Mothra is one of the most popular characters in Godzilladom, because she’s a fierce protector of the Earth, and not a persistent threat to humankind. Battra, on the other hand…? Mothra’s dark brother also wants to keep the Earth safe, but from the corrosive influence of humans. In Godzilla vs. Mothra, the two ancient entities — each created over 12,000 years ago, by the planet itself — put aside their sibling rivalry to fight Godzilla, who’s never played too friendly with the other monsters. Once again, these are beings who are hard to understand and harder to tame, squabbling over old grudges that matter to us only because if the wrong kaiju wins, it could destroy us all.

Scouting Report: Despite the name, Battra isn’t so much a bat as he is black moth. Like Mothra, he has different skills at different stages, and can attack with everything from energy-blast-wielding horns to a fine powdery poison mist. But, y’know, he’s still a moth. As soon as Godzilla gets in close enough, he can chomp Battra to bits.

SpaceGodzilla!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla; Godzilla Island TV series

SpaceGodzilla, one of the most formidable foes in the Godzilla rogues’ gallery, emerges from the darker reaches of the galaxy — possibly from a black hole — as a fusion of Godzilla’s DNA and some energized crystals. While the rocks make SpaceGodzilla arguably more powerful than Godzilla, the glowing rocks also jut off him every which way, giving him a somewhat ungainly design. He also has a bad habit of making a rivalry personal. In Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, the first thing the alien does is attack Godzilla’s child, sticking him in a cage. Before long, Godzilla and his ally M.O.G.U.E.R.A. are smashing the copycat’s shoulder-stones into rubble.

Scouting Report: Like the Doomsday to Godzilla’s Superman (right down to the spiky protrusions), SpaceGodzilla is a creature of raw strength and malice, born to kill his arch-nemesis. He could also make a lovely centerpiece for New Age dinner parties.

M.O.G.U.E.R.A.!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla; Godzilla Island TV series

From time to time, the Godzilla-averse have tried to protect themselves by building towering mechanical replicas of the monster-king. (The classic example: Mechagodzilla!) When SpaceGodzilla threatens the Earth, a U.N. council deploys the Mobile Operation G-Force Universal Expert Robot: Aero-type, which can subdivide into a drilling land-tank and a flying warship, the latter of which is dubbed the Star Falcon. The robotic ’zilla is overmatched, although once Godzilla himself joins the fight, M.O.G.U.E.R.A.’s many detachable tools are able to weaken SpaceGodzilla enough for the big guy to deliver the finishing blow.

Scouting Report: Try not to think of M.O.G.U.E.R.A. as a final line of defense. He’s more like a pocket knife, or a first-aid kit: handy only in an emergency, and even then just a temporary fix.

Jet Jaguar!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. Megalon; Godzilla Island TV series

Another of the many robot characters in the Godzilla-verse, Jet Jaguar is notable for three reasons: 1) That’s a badass name, right?; 2) he can actually change size, from human-scaled to kaiju-fighting height; and 3) wait, doesn’t he look a little like Ultraman? Aside from the (not entirely coincidental) resemblance to a big ‘bot from another well-known Japanese science-fiction franchise, Jet Jaguar is a fascinating figure in Godzilla lore. Like a lot of these giants, Jet is a pawn in the ongoing chess-match between well-meaning Japanese scientists and unstoppable reptiles/bugs/whatevers. In Godzilla vs. Megalon, he’s stolen and reprogrammed by a malevolent nation-state, but later breaks free and summons Godzilla to save the day alongside him, before ending their successful adventure with an endearingly goofy handshake.

Scouting Report: The classic Jet Jaguar face has kind of a frozen smile, and friends, it is creepy as hell.

Megalon!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. Megalon; Godzilla Island TV series

Designed to resemble a Japanese rhinoceros beetle — but looking more like an armored cockroach — Megalon is the protector of a vengeful lost kingdom, driven underground by nuclear tests. He’s not a very good protector, though. Even before Godzilla arrives to kick his ass (with a literal, pro wrestling-style drop kick), Megalon has to get help from the space-faring mega-monster Gigan just to hold his own in a big fight. This is one of the big lessons of most Godzilla movies: Don’t count on these things to do your bidding.

Scouting Report: Cockroaches are persistent, yes. Cockroaches are also pretty squishable.

Dorats!

Appearances: Godzilla vs. King Ghidhorah

When they first appear in Godzilla vs. King Ghidhorah — genetically engineered pets brought from the future by meddling time-travelers — the three Dorats come across like some of the cutesier species from the Star Wars series. They toddle about and mewl, like Ewoks or Porgs. Later, though, they’re caught in a hydrogen bomb test, and merge into the mighty, three-headed King Ghidorah, one of Godzilla’s most challenging opponents. That doesn’t make the minutes spent watching them flap and squeal any less excruciating, though.

Scouting Report: The Dorats’ reputation is salvaged somewhat by their eventual incarnation. Imagine if the Ewoks could mutate into Chewbaccas! You’d maybe want to treat them with a little more respect, wouldn’t you?

Godzooky!

Appearances: Godzilla, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series

The American animation company Hanna-Barbera Productions wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of giving Godzilla an adorable child and/or sidekick. From the 1960s onward, the Japanese movies featured the likes of Minilla, BabyGodzilla, LittleGodzilla and Godzilla Junior. But leave it to the people who saddled Scooby-Doo with a wise-ass nephew, Scrappy-Doo, to give their Godzilla the most annoying kid imaginable, and with the silliest name. With his pathetic little wings, sputtering fire-breath and bumbling nature, Godzooky is the pesky, ineffectual mini-dragon nobody needed.

Scouting Report: This is the worst character in the entire Godzilla franchise.

King Kong!

Appearances: King Kong vs. Godzilla

Let’s clarify that the King Kong who appears in the third-ever Godzilla movie (released in 1962) bears only a passing resemblance to the 1930s Hollywood original, beyond being a dangerously oversized ape. Kong’s lone appearance opposite Godzilla in the original Japanese films was produced by Toho Studios in cooperation with Universal Pictures (which owned the character’s rights), and was an attempt to cash in on the growing giant monster craze by putting the two best-known examples into the same picture. Later, the studio would work together again — alongside the animation studio Rankin/Bass — to produce and release a standalone Kong film, King Kong Escapes, adapting a cartoon series. It seems almost unfair to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of King Kong and Godzilla given how different they are in this (highly entertaining) movie than in what came before and after. What is noteworthy, though, is how the classic Kong and Godzilla themes dovetail. These characters represent what happens when humans try to wrangle forces beyond our control — and then try to mitigate the ensuing chaos by throwing something even huger and wilder into the fray.

Scouting Report: Given that the next American Godzilla movie is Godzilla vs. Kong (due out next summer), we’ll find out soon enough whether a proper King Kong can really stand a chance against the big galoot.