Everyone knows Godzilla is king of movie monsters. But that claim to fame comes on the shoulders of the many opponents he took out on his path to victory. Some of these kaiju costars are better than others. Some are also weirder than others. But all of them won a solid place in the hearts of giant-monster fans everywhere.
Despite the historical significance of being Godzilla's first kaiju foe, Anguirus just can't get any respect. Maybe it's because he's a quadruped. Even if you're covered with spikes and have one of the coolest roars in the series, it's hard to look menacing when you can't even stand. Nevertheless, Anguirus' tenacity and uniqueness should not go unnoticed. He's an underdog, but he's still awesome.
If you have any pity left over after dealing with Anguirus, use it on Baragon. This kaiju first appeared in the non-Godzilla film Frankenstein Conquers the World and didn't join the Godzilla universe until Destroy All Monsters. Baragon's big moment comes in the incredible Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in which he stands as one of three legendary guardians charged with taking Godzilla out. Big-eared and slightly goofy, Baragon is the first to fight, the first to die and the only one deemed not cool enough to appear in the film's already super-long title.
If there's one thing we didn't get enough of in the Godzilla series, it's definitely King Caesar. Appearing only in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and briefly in Godzilla: Final Wars, this dog-lion hybrid provides one of the strangest kaiju designs ever, and has one of the coolest backstories. Only a song can awaken him from his eternal slumber, and only if sung by members of a specific family, so it's no wonder he hardly ever shows up.
Starting out as a collection of crab things, Destoroyah doesn't seem like much at first. By the time he's finally done mutating, however, he's about as close to demonic as a kaiju can get. That's based not only on his horrific appearance but his downright cruel murder of Godzilla Junior. He and Godzilla's epic battle is long, vicious and extremely bloody.
Take a little Godzilla DNA, mix it with a rose, and you get Biollante, a sort of heavy metal nightmare version of Little Shop of Horrors' Audrey II. Biollante may just be a giant plant, but it has some vicious attacks and size superior enough to make Godzilla look small by comparison. The later Godzilla eras had a difficult time creating memorable new monsters, but this one is a true winner.
Hedorah is weird. But that's fitting because Godzilla vs the Smog Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Hedorah) is a pretty weird movie overall. This giant pile of sludge can change forms to fit any situation and has the ability to use weaponized acidic ooze strong enough to penetrate Godzilla's hide, making him one of the series' deadliest fighters.
Just look at this guy. How can you not love him? Gigan has a cool sci-fi space face, giant hooks for hands, wings and a chainsaw for a stomach. And that's not even mentioning all the crazy upgrades he gets in Final Wars. Just for offensive creativity alone, Gigan is a total classic.
There are so many Mechagodzillas it's almost not fair to lump them all in one group. But regardless of his shifting origins or how he's utilized, he's still a robot version of Godzilla, and that will always be one of the coolest moves this series made - though maybe it wasn't unexpected as Toho also made a Mechani-Kong in King Kong Escapes and a Mecha-King Ghidorah later in the series. They just really like robotic kaiju.
Mothra sort of feels like the Lisa Simpson of kaiju, and there's no doubting her stance as one of the most iconic figures of the Godzilla series (or her own). What sets Mothra apart, of course, is not just her beauty but also her altruism. She truly yearns for the greater good, even if that means wiping Earth off the map. And for her niceties, she can still pack a surprising wallop when required.
Like Mechagodzilla, there are many Ghidorahs to consider in this series. Some good, some bad, all awesome. This is Godzilla's number one foe no matter how you grade such things: Power, iconography, number of appearances, whatever. Godzilla can fight battles for decades to come and he will never find a better opponent than this strangely armless three-headed dragon.
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