13 Greatest Godzilla Foes
Article By: Sean Abley
Thirty-six films, three TV shows, over fifty video games, endless comics and guest starring roles in other media—Godzilla really is the King of Monsters! And yet, there’s always some other monster trying to get some street cred by taking him on in a battle over Tokyo. Here’s a list of some of the most formidable, and interesting, creatures and creations to come knocking on G-man’s door over the last sixty-plus years.
1. Destoroyah (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, 1995)
Twenty-two films into the franchise and they needed a monster that could kill Godzilla. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has a more serious tone than many of its predecessors, where mean Godzilla had been turned into Monster Island babysitter Godzilla. In this downer of a film, Godzilla’s heart, which is really a nuclear reactor, is starting to meltdown, threatening the entire planet. Turns out the old Oxygen Destroyer used to defeat the original Godzilla is back in business, creating new mutant creatures called the Destoroyah. Hoping to use the Destoroyah to kill Godzilla before he destroys the planet, the Japanese Self Defense Forces use Godzilla Junior as bate to lure his dad into a hopefully fatal battle. G Jr. is (apparently) killed, and Godzilla’s grief quickens the meltdown. The JSDF manages to mitigate the damage caused by Godzilla’s ultimate meltdown, but Tokyo is left uninhabitable.
2. Bambi (Bambi Meets Godzilla, 1969)
Although Godzilla wins the battle, Bambi definitely wins in the court of public opinion.
3. Gigan (Godzilla vs. Gigan, 1972; Godzilla vs. Megalon, 1973; Godzilla: Final Wars, 2004)
One of a handful of cyborgs to battle Godzilla, the best part of Gigan’s design is the buzzsaw blade spinning in his abdomen… that is, until Godzilla: Final Wars, when Gigan’s hook hands were replaced with chainsaws. It never takes less than two other monsters to defeat Gigan, cuz he’s that much of a badass.
4. King Kong (King Kong vs. Godzilla, 1972)
Godzilla was still mean, and Japan loved King Kong, so the ultimate “vs.” film was created. Kong animator Willis O’Brien originally created a King Kong Meets Frankenstein treatment, which made its way around Hollywood and the world until Toho bought it and changed the foe to Godzilla. Despite fanboy lore, there aren’t two endings to the film—In Japanese or English, King Kong always wins. If possible, watch the subtitled Japanese original rather than the English-language dub with added footage.
5. Biollante (Godzilla vs. Biollante, 1989)
Godzilla’s cells and DNA are used to create monsters in more than a few Godzilla movies, but this might be the most bizarre of all the experiments. A doctor grieving the loss of his daughter splices her DNA with a rose. A few byzantine plot twists later and he then splices that daughter/rose DNA with Godzilla’s, creating the unstoppable plant monster, Biollante.
6. Charles Barkley (Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley, 1992)
As you can see, Charles Barkley is more powerful than Godzilla, as evidenced by the Big G getting dunked on hardcore in this Nike commercial from the 90s. Apparently the world needed more Barkley/Godzilla action, so Dark Horse Comics produced a one-shot comic based on the commercial in 1993.
7. Mothra (Mothra vs. Godzilla, 1964; Godzilla vs. Mothra, 1992)
The most beloved monster in the Godzillaverse second only to Godzilla, Mothra is also the second most prolific, appearing in 13 films (to date) including solo movies. Typically a hero (or heroine, as Mothra is female) in the Godzillaverse, Mothra and The Big G have both worked together and squared off on a number of occasions.
8. Shrewster (Godzilla: The Series, 1998-2000)
An animated continuation of the Godzilla storyline from the American 1998 Tristar film. The egg seen at the end of the film has hatched, and now the new Godzilla is helping the U.S. fight various radiated monsters on a weekly basis. Shrewster is a shrew… and a tornado. (Why not Shrewnado? Bet they’re kicking themselves about that one now…) Considering how hard it is to fight a tornado, we’d rank Shrewster as one of Godzilla’s greatest foes.
9. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, 1972; Terror of Mechagodzilla, 1975; Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, 1993; Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, 2002; Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., 2003)
First introduced as an alien-constructed cyborg used as a weapon against Earth, then later as a human-constructed weapon used against Godzilla or whoever else was around (courtesy of the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center), Mechagodzilla is a major repeat offender in the Godzillaverse.
10. Doctor Demonicus (Iron Man #193, 1985)
Supervillain Demonicus was introduced into the Marvel universe via the two-year run of Godzilla, King of Monsters, a licensed comic version of the monster that lasted from 1977-1979. At that point the copyright expired, but Marvel’s interest did not. In Iron Man #193, Demonicus genetically re-engineers Godzilla, completely changing his appearance, referring to him only as his “once greatest enemy,” and effectively enslaving him to do his bidding (and keeping the lawyers at bay). Anyone who can basically erase Godzilla from existence is surely one of his greatest foes.
11. Rodan (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, 1964; Invasion of Astro-Monster, 1965; Destroy All Monsters, 1968; Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, 1993; Godzilla: Final Wars, 2004)
Rodan is a recurring player in the Godzillaverse, sometimes foe, sometimes uneasy ally as they fight other adversaries. Strangely, Rodan and Godzilla have yet to engage in a one-on-one film, always sharing the limelight (and title) with one or more other monsters.
12. King Ghidorah/Mecha-King Ghidorah (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, 1964; Invasion of Astro-Monster, 1965; Destroy All Monsters, 1968; Godzilla vs. Gigan, 1972; Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, 1991; Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, 1993; Rebirth of Mothra II
King Ghidorah (or just Ghidorah in the U.S.) is a great Godzilla adversary because A) he has three, fire-breathing heads, and B) there’s a good chance he’ll be transformed into Mecha-King Ghidorah at some point during the film.
13. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. Hedorah, 1971; Godzilla: Final Wars, 2004)
The notorious smog monster! If you keep track, you’ll notice most Godzilla foes are either some from of prehistoric creature, a giant animal, or a mechanical version of a previous monster. But Hedorah is its own thing, a shuffling mass of pollution-eating terror. Having nuclear panic battle environmental extinction personified is a monster mash more relevant now than when the creatures were first pitted against each other. Fingers crossed in this new age of global warming Hedorah will make a comeback.