Ryan L. Fox
Since rising out of the Pacific and terrorizing Japan in 1954, Godzilla has been on the big screen for nearly 70 years (67 to be exact now). With the Big G about to throw down in his 36th film against Kong in less than two weeks (Godzilla vs. Kong by Legendary Pictures), you can't just help but wonder out of all the foes he's fought against over the years, which could be considered Godzilla's top rivals.
After going over and watching various clips from past Godzilla movies and reading, yours truly can help you figure out which kaiju could be considered Godzilla's top rivals.
Honourable Mention: Tie - SpaceGodzilla & Destroyah
Both of these kaiju were deadly rivals against Godzilla during the Heisei era with each having their origin tie in with Godzilla. (Space Godzilla was formed from Godzilla cells while Destroyah was formed from the same oxygen bomb that killed the original 1954 Godzilla). They also were well known for their roles as antagonists to Godzilla’s son, BabyGodzilla, with both of them brutally attacking the young kaiju with Destoroyah going as far as killing him in.
She was the first kaiju that Godzilla faced off against in the Heisei Era. Although her only appearance was in the film Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), the plant kaiju made her impact felt through. Created from a rose, the blood of Erika Shiragami (the deceased daughter of scientist Genichiro Shiragami), and Godzilla cells,. Because she has Godzilla’s DNA in her, Biollante is able to withstand all of Godzilla's attacks. This includes surviving an atomic blast right down her throat that blew up her head. Not to mention that she can produce radioactive sap that can damper Godzilla's own atomic energy as well as use numerous plant tendrils to restrict his movements.
Even kaiju like Godzilla has to deal with the scheming, cowardly enemy that laughs at the hero’s misery but also flees at the first sign of adversity. Gigan is no exception. Whenever things start to go south, Gigan tends to head on out on the first side of trouble. But don't let his cowardice fool you. Cold, brutal, sadistic. These words also describe Gigan. He was also the first villain to cause Godzilla to bleed (in Godzilla vs. Gigan in 1972) with his sickle claws and buzz saw blade on his chest. Not to mention in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Gigan had those sickle hands replaced by dual blade chainsaws and was able to put the hurt on Godzilla in their final showdown.
Considered to be one of Godzilla’s closest allies (both in the Showa era and Monsterverse), this female aerial kaiju was also one of Godzilla’s biggest rivals. Considered a benevolent protector and whorshipped as a goddess by the people of Infant Island, Mothra has battled against the King of the Monsters in numerous occasions. Whether it was in her larvae or imago form (her adult form), Mothra proved to be a capable fighter against Godzilla.
They have fought in at least one film during each era (Godzilla vs. Mothra (1961) in the Showa Era, Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) in the Heisei Era, and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) during the Millenium Era) with Mothra coming out victorious in those films.
Cold, calculative, and armed to the teeth. Making his debut in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), this mecha kaiju sole purpose of existence was for one thing and one thing only: defeat Godzilla. From finger rockets, laser eyes, railguns, and even giant chest lasers, MechaGodzilla was able to hold his own against the King of the Monsters.
Throughout the different eras, MechaGodzilla has had its origin and allegiance change. In the Showa Era, he was a robot doppelganger built by the villainous Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens to kill Godzilla and help them take over the planet. In both the Heisei Era and Millennium Era, he was built from the remains of different kaiju by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (Mecha King Ghidorah in the Heisei Era and the bones of the original Godzilla from 1954 in the Millennium Era)
Whatever the case maybe, there was one thing for certain and that was that MechaGodzilla pushed Godzilla to the breaking point each time they fought. Most notably, Heisei MechaGodzilla even went as far as killing him in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II (1993) while Millennium MechaGodzilla (otherwise known as Kiryu) was able to defeat his biological counterpart and drag him back into the Pacific Ocean in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003).
1. King Ghidorah
If Godzilla was Ying, then King Ghidorah is his Yang.
This three-headed golden dragon kaiju has been considered by many to be Godzilla’s biggest rival, if not his most iconic and most powerful. Since his debut in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Ghidorah has appeared in a total of 7 Godzilla films, mostly as the main villain. Whether it was in the Showa Era, Heisei Era, Millennium Era, or Monsterverse, the golden dragon has made his presence felt and struck terror into his opponents.
In a way, they are both similar yet different from each other.
While Godzilla has Atomic Breath, King Ghidorah has Gravity Beams that are just as powerful and destructive. While Godzilla is adept in fighting on land (and in water in the Monsterverse), King Ghidorah is a master in aerial combat. When facing off against each other in combat, King Ghidorah usually fights alone and can easily hold his own ground due to his high stamina and durability, while Godzilla has to rely on team-ups/help from other kaiju to defeat his rival.
But what makes King Ghidorah one of Godzilla's biggest rivals is that no matter how many times that the Big G knocks him down, the golden dragon keeps on coming back and is even stronger than before. Even when on the brink of death, King Ghidorah still finds a way to hold on and come back in a more powerful, mechanized form. So don't let his demise in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) because you know that if Godzilla is still kicking around in the Monsterverse, King Ghidorah won't be too far behind.
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