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The entire human race will perish from the Earth. When the monster Ghidorah passes, only flaming ruins are left.
~ Mas Selina Salno about King Ghidorah.
King Ghidorah, alternatively spelled as Ghidrah or more simply as Ghidorah, is a giant golden extraterrestrial dragon Kaiju and one of the main antagonists of the Showa era of the Godzilla franchise.
King Ghidorah first appeared as the titular main antagonist of the 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. He would later reappear in other movies of the Showa series and the 1973 television series, Zone Fighter.
He was portrayed by the suit actors Haruya Sakamoto in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Shōichi Hirose in Invasion of Astro Monster, Susumu Utsumi in Destroy All Monsters, and Kanta Ina in Godzilla vs Gigan.
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster
King Ghidorah first arrived on Earth in a meteorite that crashed in the Japanese countryside. Ghidorah broke free from the meteorite and proceeded to terrorize Japan, destroying various cities with his deadly gravity beams. A prophetess who claimed to be from Venus said that King Ghidorah previously wiped out all life on Venus and destroyed their advanced civilization, and would do the same to Earth. Mothra arrived in Japan to try and convince Godzilla and Rodan to join forces with her to stop King Ghidorah. The two monsters refused and decided to keep fighting each other. Mothra attacked King Ghidorah on her own, and was mercilessly beaten. Inspired by Mothra's courage, Godzilla and Rodan entered the battle, and together the three monsters were able to drive King Ghidorah back to outer space.
Invasion of Astro-Monster
After Ghidorah's invasion of Earth, two astronauts who arrived on the newly-discovered Planet X found an intelligent alien race, the Xiliens, living there. The Xiliens' leader, the Controller of Planet X, explained that his planet was constantly under attack by a horrible space monster they called "Monster Zero," in actuality King Ghidorah. The Controller, knowing that King Ghidorah was driven away from the Earth before by Godzilla and Rodan, asked if the Xiliens could "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan and use them to protect Planet X from King Ghidorah. The people of Earth complied and allowed the Xiliens to transport Godzilla and Rodan to Planet X, where they encountered King Ghidorah. After a brief battle, Godzilla and Rodan sent King Ghidorah into a retreat. The Xiliens thanked the Earthlings, and kept Godzilla and Rodan on Planet X.
Later, the Xiliens revealed that they planned to conquer and colonize the Earth for its resources, and threatened to unleash Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, who were all under their control, on the Earth. When humanity refused to yield, the Xiliens unleashed all three monsters, who began to wreak havoc. Using special electromagnetic wave technology, the people of Earth were able to sever the Xiliens' control over the monsters and later destroy the Xiliens' invasion forces with sound waves. The monsters regained consciousness and began to fight again. Eventually, all three monsters toppled into the ocean. King Ghidorah flew out of the water and retreated back to space, while Godzilla and Rodan disappeared for the time being.
Destroy All Monsters
King Ghidorah appears as the secondary antagonist behind the Kilaaks.
Near the end of the 20th century, Earth was invaded by an alien race called the Kilaaks, who attempted to mind-control all of Earth's monsters and use them to wipe out human civilization. When the humans managed to free the monsters from the Kilaaks' control, the invaders unleashed their trump card to destroy the Earth monsters, King Ghidorah. Ghidorah confronted the Earth monsters at Mt. Fuji, and despite being greatly outnumbered was able to hold his own for most of the battle. Eventually, King Ghidorah was knocked onto the ground when he was kicked in the back by Gorosaurus, allowing Godzilla and his allies to stomp him to death. After Godzilla destroyed the Kilaak's base, the ground below King Ghidorah split open, and King Ghidorah's lifeless body fell into the fiery pit below, which then exploded, destroying the King of Terror for good.
Godzilla vs. Gigan
King Ghidorah serves as the secondary antagonist behind Gigan.
In the year 1972, a group of aliens called the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens began a plan to invade the Earth by controlling King Ghidorah and a cybernetic monster called Gigan. The Nebulans unleashed both monsters in Tokyo, where they caused untold destruction. Godzilla and his ally Anguirus arrived to try and fight the space monsters off, but were at a tremendous disadvantage. Before King Ghidorah could finish his arch-enemy, a group of humans were able to destroy the Nebulans' base, severing their control over Gigan and King Ghidorah, leaving the two monsters confused and disoriented. Godzilla and Anguirus seized the opportunity and fought back, eventually forcing Gigan and King Ghidorah to retreat back to space.
After King Ghidorah's most recent defeat, an alien race called the Garogas, who claimed to have created King Ghidorah in the first place, took control of him and enlisted him along with Gigan in the ranks of their Terror-Beasts, which they used to attack and destroy various planets. King Ghidorah was utilized by the Garogas to invade Earth on multiple occasions, but was defeated by the hero Zone Fighter. King Ghidorah was one of few Terror-Beasts that was not killed by Zone Fighter, while his former ally Gigan did meet his end at the hands of Zone Fighter.
In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, King Ghidorah is an evil, sadistic, and destructive space monster that has traveled through the universe, destroying various planets and wiping out civilizations for the fun of it. He clearly viewed other species, including humanity, as lesser beings who he enjoyed slaughtering. Examples of his sadism include him brutally torturing Mothra in their fight and destroying the landscape of Earth.
In the rest of his appearances, however, he was the pawn of various invading alien races who used him as a living weapon of mass destruction in an attempt to conquer the Earth, and will become confused and easily overwhelmed by his enemies, forcing him to retreat, as soon as his alien masters' mind control is either severed or interrupted.
Powers and Abilities
King Ghidorah can fly up to speeds of Mach 3 in the Earth's atmosphere by flapping his gigantic wings. He exceeds this speed and reaches a speed of Mach 400 while flying through space.
King Ghidorah can fire golden lightning bolt-like gravity beams from each of his mouths.
King Ghidorah can produce powerful winds by flapping his wings, which are capable of blowing away buildings and knocking other kaiju off their feet.
King Ghidorah is extremely durable and resistant to damage, to an extent close to Godzilla. He withstands conventional weaponry with no noticeable effect, and can even shrug off point-blank blasts from Godzilla's atomic breath. King Ghidorah tends to use his durability to his advantage, as he often prefers to escape from a battle that he cannot win before he receives more injuries than necessary.
King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese transliteration of the word "hydra", hidora.
Throughout most of the Showa Series, King Ghidorah was referred to as "Ghidrah" in English releases of the films.
King Ghidorah's roar consists of a combination of screeching and clicking sounds. Each one of King Ghidorah's heads roars at a different pitch. In Shinichi Sekizawa's screenplay for the film, one of the terms to describe the physical description of King Ghidorah is that he has "a voice like a bell."