Being a rabid Godzilla fan, even the embarrassingly bad G movies do not have an effect on my love for the King of Monsters. Having a seven-year-old son who is now discovering Japan’s biggest (heh-heh) export rekindles many fond memories of quivering suitmation and bad dubbing.
Explaining the appeal of a Godzilla film (especially the crude films of the 60s/70s) is similar to explaining the virtues of professional wrestling or Mob Wives to the uninitiated; there is a vicarious rush to be found that some will most certainly not appreciate.
But if you are a fan, there is no need for me to sit here and convince you that Godzilla films were an absolute blast for kids young and old. You get it. You will also realize that Godzilla was the biggest badass of all and few monsters got the upper hand on him. The fun part of the movies, for me at least, are the colorful enemies that Godzilla is often pitted against. And, since this article is titled My Favorite Foes of Godzilla, here they are (my top five):
5. King Kong: When you get past the utter implausibility of King Kong vs Godzilla, it is actually a pretty fun film. The producers fixed the deficiency in size between the two beasts by explaining that Kong grows because of a berry diet on his island. He also likes to drink wine made from these berries and pass out. After having his drunk ass hauled on a giant raft from his island to Tokyo, Kong pusses out in his first confrontation with big G. He does sober up long enough to use his inexplicable ability to harness electricity (WTF?) and his superior intellect to win their next encounter and grand finale. It should be noted that Kong spends most of the film either drunk or knocked out. It’ll make you want to scream at the TV, “Get up you lazy drunk sumbitch!”
4. Megalon and Gigan: I am listing these two knuckleheads together. If there were ever a Beavis & Butthead of the Godzilla universe, it was these two. They are a couple of B+ monsters who teamed up in Godzilla vs Megalon (which is most definitely the Plan 9 from Outer Space of Godzilla films). Both creatures look as if their design was inspired by a blast of LSD: Megalon is an insect/moth/ladybug with waffle irons for hands who can tunnel like a damn gopher and spit explosive mud at his enemies. Gigan looks like he was slapped together with what could be found in someone’s long abandoned wood shop; scythes for arms, a buzz saw in the center of his chest and a laser eye. Even as a kid, I was pretty sure that these losers had no clue or chance against Godzilla and his robot pal, Jet Jaguar. But still, they were fun to watch.
3. Destroyah: I love Destroyah. And he would place even higher on this list if he didn’t get his red scaly butt rapidly handed to him by a Godzilla in meltdown mode. Destroyah wasn’t really even beaten by Godzilla, but rather by the radioactive waves of energy that were pulsing from big G before he disintegrated and passed his awesome power to Godzilla Jr. (who really took a beating from Destroyah prior to that. Pick on someone your own size, ya bastard!). Destroyah was actually a colony of Precambrian crustaceans that were mutated when Dr. Daisuke Serizawa’s Oxygen Destroyer was used to defeat the original Godzilla in the first ever G film (1954). Destroyah has one of the coolest suitmation designs and he goes through several growth stages that begin at the microscopic level. Here comes Destroyah; he’s a berserker…
2. Mothra: Mothra is the exact opposite of Godzilla. While both had similar roles as an agent of the earth (Godzilla represented nature’s vengeance against man’s nuclear science while Mothra was a magical symbol of hope and peace), these two seldom got along, even when they occasionally teamed together against bigger threats (Mothra begs Godzilla to help save mankind against King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters. Godzilla’s initial reaction: “Humans?! Eff ’em!”). Mothra was a rainbow-colored champion; a giant tree-hugging silk moth and he had very mystical powers. He flew, as most of Godzilla’s enemies do, and we all know Godzilla hates that shit. As much as I love Mothra, I was always aware that he was no match for Godzilla (think Spider-Man vs Hulk once Hulk got his hands on Spidey). However, it has to be mentioned that one of Godzilla’s few losses in a film (Godzilla vs Mothra) came at the hands (or rather the web-spinning beaks) of two baby Mothra in their larva stage and I am sure it is a defeat that Godzilla has never been able to live down. Sing it with me: Mosura No Uta…
1. King Ghidorah: He is known by many aliases, but this Monster Zero has become Godzilla’s Moriarty. A three-headed powerful dragon and pawn of alien civilizations looking to overthrow earth, King Ghidorah has been Godzilla’s greatest threat many times over. When this guy pops in via a teleportation beam you know shit is about to get real. Whenever Godzilla is pitted against King Ghidorah, he must groan inside and think to himself, “Crap. This guy again?” You try fighting three heads that are biting you and spitting lightning bolts at the same time. The only thing worse than King Ghidorah is Mecha King Ghidorah. This dude’s upgrades include metal armor and wings and a robotic middle head that fires radiation blasts. At times, it has taken the combined might of Godzilla and many of his friends to defeat King Ghidorah. And when Godzilla has managed to best KG in a one on one confrontation, it has never been an easy task for the King of Monsters!
There are many great foes of Godzilla that I haven’t listed- Biolante, Mecha Godzilla, Varan, Manda, Gabara, Hedorah, Ebirah, Baragon, Space Godzilla, Megaguirus, Anguirus, Bambi- and more still. List yours in the comments section!