King Ghidorah

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King Ghidorah
Godzilla film series character
First appearance Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
Last appearance Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Created by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Portrayed by Shōwa
Shoichi Hirose
Susumu Utsumi
Kanta Ina
Hurricane Ryu
Akira Ohashi
Aliases Ghidrah
Monster Zero
Thousand Year-Old Dragon
Grand King Ghidorah[1]
King of Terror[1]

King Ghidorah (キングギドラ Kingu Gidora?) is a kaiju film monster that first appeared in the Toho's 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Although Toho officially trademarks the character as King Ghidorah[2] the character is usually referred to as Ghidrah in English markets.[3][4]



The initial idea for Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster came from Tomoyuki Tanaka, who also created Godzilla. Tanaka's inspiration came from an illustration of the Lernaean Hydra in a book about Greek Mythology, and the Eight-Headed Dragon of Japanese folklore, Orochi. Tanaka was enamored with the idea of Godzilla fighting a multi-headed serpent, but considered 7-8 heads to be excessive, with the number of heads being reduced to three.[5] The final version was an armless, three-headed dragon with large wings, two tails and of extraterrestrial origin.[6] Screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa insisted that the Ghidorah suit be fabricated using light-weight silicon-based materials in order to grant the wearer greater mobility.[7] The monster costume itself was designed by Akira Watanabe, and worn by Shoichi Hirose, who also played King Kong in Toho's King Kong vs. Godzilla. Hirose walked hunched over inside the Ghidorah costume, holding a metal bar for balance, while puppeteers would control its heads, tails and wings off-camera like a marionette.[6] Performing as Ghidorah proved challenging to Hirose, as he had to time his movements in a way that would not conflict with the separately operated heads and wings, as doing so would have resulted in the overhead wires tangling.[7] Special effects were added as the creature is capable emitting destructive, lightning-like "gravity beams" from its mouths and generating hurricane-force winds from its wings.[8] Despite King Ghidorah's central role in the film's plot, the character was given little screen time, as Hirose had fallen out with special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, who never forgave Hirose for accepting a Hollywood deal, and subsequently hired Susumu Utsumi to play King Ghidorah after Invasion of Astro-Monster.[7]

Although usually portrayed as Godzilla's nemesis, the character's role was reversed in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. In addition to this, the version of King Ghidorah to appear in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is used as a heroic defender of Japan once Emmy the Futurian repairs him with cybernetics, creating Mecha-King Ghidorah.


Spin-off characters based on Ghidorah (although quadruped in appearance) were featured in other Toho films: "Desghidorah" (or Death Ghidorah) in Rebirth of Mothra and "Keizer Ghidorah" in Godzilla: Final Wars. In July 2014, Legendary Pictures confirmed to have obtained the rights to King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan from Toho and plan to feature them in their sequel.[9][10]



Video games[edit]



  • Take Me To Your Leader is the second studio album by English hip hop artist Daniel Dumile (also known as MF DOOM)[13] and was released under the alias "King Geedorah" on June 17, 2003. The cover features a figure very similar to the appearance of King Ghidorah.


  1. ^ a b Rebirth of Mothra III Toho 1998
  2. ^ "King Ghidorah Official Trademark". Toho. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ "North American poster for GHIDRAH". Continental Releasing-1965. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ghidorah Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Toho. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ CHO Japan (2012-10-31). "1970's Godzilla FX Director - PART I - 70年代のゴジラの特技監督 (SciFi Japan TV #06)". YouTube. Retrieved 2015-07-25. 
  6. ^ a b David Kalat - Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster, Classic Media R1 DVD Audio Commentary
  7. ^ a b c Kalat, D. (2010), A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series, McFarland, p. 77-78, ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7
  8. ^ King Ghidorah character profile - Godzilla Movie Studio Tour (PC Game), 1998
  9. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (July 26, 2014). "Gareth Edwards returns to direct 'Godzilla 2' with Rodan and Mothra". The Verge. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  10. ^ Sullivan, Kevin P. (2014-08-14). "‘Godzilla 2′ Gets Release Date: ‘Let Them Wait’". MTV. 
  11. ^ "Graphic Novel: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah". Retrieved 2015-07-25. 
  12. ^ "Book: Godzilla Saves America: A Monster Showdown in 3-D!". Retrieved 2015-07-25. 
  13. ^ "King Geedorah "Take Me To Your Leader"". Retrieved 2014-06-23.