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Top 5 Best & Worst Godzilla Monsters

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Destroy All Monsters in the age of Photoshop
When Akira Takarada signed up for the lead role of Ogata in the original Gojira, he thought he was going to be the star. According to lore, when he told this to director Ishiro Honda, Honda informed him that no, Akira Takarada is not the star of the film; Godzilla is the star. No matter how well-drawn the human characters--how well-written or well-acted--they will always be playing second fiddle to the giant monster everyone is really there to see. Even today, no matter how excited people are about Walter White on the big screen, Bryan Cranston isn't the main reason people are going to go see the latest Godzilla.

This isn't to say that Godzilla has been deprived of exciting co-stars. After all, if every movie were just Godzilla destroying cities and shrugging off the military's pathetic attempts to kill him, there wouldn't be twenty-eight of them. No, the filmmakers learned early on that the best thing to do with Godzilla is to give him other monsters to fight. Most movies in the canon follow a pattern of introducing the human story, introducing some new monster, and then having Godzilla and the new monster brawl it out for the entirety of the final act. Sometimes Godzilla is given allies to fight alongside him, and sometimes the villain monster is also given an ally so that there can be a crazy tag-team match. There have even been a couple of times when it's three monsters all against each other!

As a continuation of Godzilla month here at emagill.com, what follows is a list of the best and worst giant monsters ever to come out of Godzilla's roster, not including Godzilla himself, of course. There are no real disclaimers or rules this time around, but know that I'm not going to be cheap and give the number one spot to "Humanity" or some such nonsense. Also know that I have included one or two mecha in this list, and if you have a problem with me calling a mecha a giant monster, too bad. Go make your own Godzilla blog and call me an idiot if you want, because this is my list, not yours.


THE WORST
5. M.O.G.U.E.R.A.
M.O.G.U.E.R.A.

M.O.G.U.E.R.A. (which stands for Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aero-type, for reals) is what humanity comes up with to replace the Mechagodzilla they built out of the remains of Mecha King Ghidorah. It is inexplicable that they would have hopes for a robot built from what was left of the robot that was built from what was left of the robot that was unable to beat Godzilla, and it is equally inexplicable why Toho would revive one of their dumbest-looking mechas dating back to The Mysterians, the original Moguera, which was named after a goddamn mole. What makes M.O.G.U.E.R.A. even worse is that he is a totally pointless digression in a movie already filled to the brim with pointless digressions (Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla). This low-rent Mechagodzilla flies into space to fend off SpaceGodzilla only to get its metallic ass handed to him, and then he comes back in the climax only to get plastered a second time as a diversion so that Godzilla can do all the real work. Also, it's annoying having to type out such a tortured acronym, which is why I'm not going to write about this thing anymore.


Anguirus
THE BEST
5. ANGUIRUS

Anguirus was the first non-Godzilla monster to appear in a Godzilla flick, going back to Gojira Raids Again in 1955. Anguirus, a giant mutated ankylosaurus, started as a foe, fighting Godzilla twice in their first appearance together. Though he would be a brainwashed foe once again in Godzilla: Final Wars, Anguirus and Godzilla overcome their differences and become good buddies. Indeed, Anguirus is the closest thing Godzilla has to a sidekick, and he is far more fearsome and loveable than Robin, the Boy Wonder. He helps Godzilla fight King Ghidorah and Gigan, is the first to see through the fake Godzilla's ruse, and is the only monster to actually be heard talking directly to Godzilla. Anguirus is reliable, loyal, and covered in deadly spikes, and that's how everyone's best friend should be.


THE WORST
4. ORGA
Orga

At the climax of Godzilla 2000, the giant monster that unseen aliens have built out of Godzilla's genetic material performs what is simultaneously the dumbest and most sexually suggestive move possible: he opens his surreal vagina mouth to an enormous size and lets Godzilla just stick his whole head in there. Godzilla chills out for a minute, as though not believing the beast has actually allowed this to happen, before charging his atomic breath and going to town. It's something you just have to see to believe. Orga, as he is named by Toho, is probably one of the worst-looking monsters to ever fight Godzilla (okay, he's not as ugly as Hedorah, but neither is what I left in the toilet this morning), not helped along by the excessive CG used to create and modify him. He's also not terribly imaginative--lacking the brawn and menace of SpaceGodzilla and picking up only the worst qualities of Biollante--and as I've already mentioned, the aliens apparently don't spend any time giving him any intelligence. With such a long and epic build-up to his arrival, Orga has got to be the most disappointing monster in the Toho library.


Gigan
THE BEST
4. GIGAN

Despite being introduced during a particularly campy and ridiculous time in Godzilla's history, Gigan is one of Godzilla's most violent and brutal enemies. Godzilla rarely bled before Gigan came around, but Gigan, with his hook hands and sawblade belly, turned Godzilla's neck into a blood fountain and Anguirus' face into cranberry sauce. Brought in as King Ghidorah's sidekick from space (and then loaned out to the Seatopians to fight alongside Megalon), Gigan was revived in 2004 as an ancient and terrible evil that was eventually fitted with friggin' chainsaws on his arms. This monster is bad-ass in every sense of the word.


THE WORST
3. DAIKONDORU
Diakondoru

Daikondoru literally means "large condor" in Japanese, and that's what this guy is, a giant condor. No explanation, no backstory, no rhyme or reason for him to fight Godzilla. Nope, Diakondoru just shows up randomly in the middle of Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, wails on Godzilla for a few minutes in a headache-inducing battle sequence that would make Paul Greengrass proud, and then gets unceremoniously dispatched so that the plot may continue. Seriously, that's it. Oh, and the entire scene is recycled in All Monsters Attack, only this time Toho calls him Daiwashi ("large eagle"), because screw your logic!


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-e. magill 4/29/2014

MORE GODZILLA MONTH COVERAGE:

The Godzilla Reviews
Top 10 Godzilla Battles
Solo Gamer Review: Godzilla: Unleashed




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