Hedorah

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Hedorah
Godzilla film series character
Hedorah land 1971.jpg
First appearance Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
Last appearance Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Created by Yoshimitsu Banno
Portrayed by Shōwa series
Kenpachiro Satsuma
Millennium series
Kazuhiro Yoshida
Aliases The Smog Monster
Forms Aquatic Form
Land Form
Flying Form
Final Form

Hedorah (ヘドラ Hedora?), also known as the Smog Monster, is a kaiju monster who first appeared in Toho's 1971 film Godzilla vs. Hedorah. The monster was named for Hedoro (へどろ?), the Japanese word for sludge, slime, vomit or chemical ooze.

Whereas Godzilla was a symbol of Japanese concerns over nuclear weapons, Hedorah was envisioned as an embodiment of Yokkaichi asthma, caused by Japan's widespread urban pollution at the time.[1] Director Yoshimitsu Banno stated in an interview that his intention in creating Hedorah was to give Godzilla an adversary who was more than just a "giant lobster" and which represented "the most notorious thing in current society". He also stated that Hedorah's vertically tilted eyes were based on vaginas, which he considered "scary". The monster was originally going to be named "Hedoron", though this changed once the TV series Spectreman introduced a character with an identical name.[2]

The monster was realized via various props and a large sponge rubber suit donned by future Godzilla performer Kenpachiro Satsuma in his first acting role for Toho.[3] Satsuma had been selected on account of his physical fitness, though he stated later that he had been disappointed to receive the role, as he had grown tired of taking non-speaking roles.[4] In performing as Hedorah, Satsuma tried to emphasize Hedorah's otherworldly nature by making its movements seem more grotesque than animal-like.[5] Several authors have noted that, unlike most Toho monsters, Hedorah's violent acts are graphically shown to claim human victims, and the creature shows genuine amusement at Godzilla's suffering.[3][4] Banno wished to bring back Hedorah in a sequel set in Africa, but the project never materialized, as he was fired by Teruyoshi Nakano, who accused him of ruining the Godzilla series.[4] The character was nevertheless generally well received, with WatchMojo.com listing Hedorah as #7 on their "Top 10 Godzilla Villains" list,[6] while Complex listed the character as #8 on its "The 15 Most Badass Kaiju Monsters of All Time" list.[7]

Banno had hoped to resurrect Hedorah in his unrealized project Godzilla 3-D, which would have had the monster renamed "Deathla". Like its predecessor, Deathla would have been a shape-shifting extraterrestrial, though it would have fed on chlorophyll rather than gas emissions, and all of its forms would have incorporated a skull motif.[2]

Character biography[edit]

In Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Hedorah originates from the Dark Gas Nebula in the Orion constellation, and lands in Suruga Bay as a monstrous tadpole, increasing in size as it feeds on the pollutants contaminating the water. It proceeds to rampage throughout Japan, killing thousands and feeding on gas emissions and toxic waste. Godzilla confronts Hedorah, but discovers that his atomic ray has no effect on the creature. It is later discovered that Hedorah is vulnerable to temperatures high enough to dehydrate it, so the JSDF constructs a pair of gigantic electrodes on Mount Fuji. Hedorah fights Godzilla there, and is subsequently killed when Godzilla uses his atomic breath to power the electrodes, which cripple Hedorah and allow Godzilla to incinerate its remains.[8]

Hedorah briefly reappears in Godzilla: Final Wars, where it is under the control of the Xiliens. It is swiftly destroyed alongside Ebirah and Kamacuras in Tokyo Bay by Godzilla.[9]

Appearances[edit]

Films[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Godzilla Island (1997-1998) - The show featured Hedorah in several episodes, along with a related, but otherwise original character named Neo-Heodrah.

Video games[edit]

Hedorah fighting Godzilla, as shown in Bandai Namco's 2014 video game Godzilla.

Literature[edit]

Music[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barr, J. (2016). The Kaiju Film: A Critical Study of Cinema's Biggest Monsters. McFarland. pp. 58–9. ISBN 078649963X. 
  2. ^ a b "The Long Evolution of Godzilla 3-D", Sci-Fi Japan (August 7, 2007)
  3. ^ a b Ryfle, S. (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. Toronto: ECW Press. pp. 164–5. ISBN 1550223488. 
  4. ^ a b c Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. pp. 117–22. ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7. 
  5. ^ David Milner, "Kenpachiro Satsuma Interview I", Kaiju Conversations (December 1993)
  6. ^ WatchMojo.com (February 20, 2015). "Top 10 Godzilla Villains". YouTube. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ Josh Robertson, "The 15 Most Badass Kaiju Monsters of All Time", Complex (May 18, 2014)
  8. ^ Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971). Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno. Toho
  9. ^ Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. Toho.