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YMMV / Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Since Godzilla states that he only hates humans because humans hate him, this implies he's not really a villain in the first place.
  • Awesome Music: It's Akira Ifukube in top form. Some of the library cues inserted for the American version aren't bad either, especially the clinic shootout track, which was rather unsuitably scored with Godzilla and Rodan's theme in the Japanese cut.
    • King Ghidorah's theme is superb as well. It's nearly as recognizable and iconic as Godzilla's own.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: As the Shobijin sing their song on What Are They Doing Now, there's a close up of a kid in the audience who stands up and proceeds to stuff an entire, large piece of food into his mouth.
    • When Rodan flies out of Aso, he’s heard roaring Godzilla’s roar instead of his own. This isn’t an error in the American cut either, it’s in the Japanese version. It’s never reference before or after his first appearance.
  • Broken Base: In America, fans are divided over which is the best Ghidorah, and it generally comes down to 3 of them- The Heisei Ghidorah, the Ghidorah from Rebirth of Mothra 3, and the original which features in this film.
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    • Unlike most films from the Showa era, there’s been debate over which cut of this movie was better. Purists consider the Japanese cut superior as it keeps Akira Ifukube’s music intact and doesn’t change certain plot points for no reason (Mars being devastated by Ghidorah instead of Venus in the original cut). Others, however, find the American cut superior for tightening the pacing up by rearranging the scenes around.
  • Complete Monster: This was the first appearance of Godzilla's Arch-Enemy, and living catastrophe, the titular three-headed dragon King Ghidorah. Reveling in the destruction that he causes, King Ghidorah flies from planet to planet, exterminating life for his own entertainment. Having already annihilated the civilization on Venus (Mars in the dub), King Ghidorah arrives on Earth, intent on repeating the process. Beaten by Earth's protectors, Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra, King Ghidorah did not accept his defeat gracefully, and returned again and again, ravaging the Earth on behalf of the Xiliens in Invasion of Astro-Monster, the Space Hunter Nebula M aliens in Godzilla vs. Gigan, and finally the Kilaaks in Destroy All Monsters, which proved to be the Great King of Terror's last stand. Essentially a life-hating demigod in the form of a dragon, King Ghidorah, undoubtedly the very worst of Godzilla's Showa Era, was responsible for the loss of millions of lives.
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  • Continuity Lock-Out: Easily the most continuity-heavy of the Showa-era films. At the bare minimum, one would need to have seen Rodan, Mothra, and Mothra vs. Godzilla to have full context for everything that occurs, and seeing all the other previous Godzilla films wouldn't hurt. Note that Rodan had been out of theaters for nearly a decade at the time, and was much less widely available on home video than the Godzilla films in the west, meaning many first-time Ghidorah viewers will be left scratching their heads at the giant pteranodon that suddenly enters the picture around the 40 minute mark with absolutely no explanation given.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: King Ghidorah, who would go onto make the most appearances of any of Godzilla's enemies, and among Toho's monsters is likely only surpassed in popularity by Godzilla himself.
    • Malness the assassin has his fair share of admirers.
  • Evil Is Cool: King Ghidorah. He fights three monsters at once, and fanbase all agrees that being far more evil than Godzilla adds to his appeal.
    • Malness again, his tortoise shell sunglasses notwithstanding.
  • First Installment Wins: The original Ghidorah is still generally considered the best, ESPECIALLY in Japan. However the second Ghidorah movie, Invasion of Astro-Monster, although lacking in the grand slam monster spectacle of its predecessor, is often considered to be a better written and cohesively assembled science fiction story. It also had the benefit of actually being released outside of only the U.S. and Japan.
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  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Owing to its regular theatrical and afternoon TV showings from the mid-sixties to late-seventies, the film has a somewhat large American fan base, as it was only shown stateside during its original release, but nowhere else, so foreign viewers who got the debatably superior Invasion of Astro-Monster in its place are mostly indifferent or actually dislike it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: It has since been revealed that Venus really was an earth-like inhabitable planet for several billion years. Thanks a lot Ghidorah.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Malness is a ruthless, determined assassin on a mission to kill princess Salno of Selgina for the kingdom's communist party. Having planted a bomb on Selgina's plane for a diplomatic visit to Japan, the Princess is saved only when a Venusian force compels her to dive from the explosion. Covertly tracking his target through Tokyo, Malmess remains as discrete as possible in his objective and is only stopped by interference from the Shobijin, and later Godzilla and Rodan. Eventually tracking Selgina to a scientist's laboratory, Malmess sabotages the electro-shock equipment to kill her in a way that leaves no evidence of his involvement. When this is foiled, Malmess is undeterred even by a car wreck and comes within hair's breadth of shooting both Salno and her friend Shindo before he's finally killed by Ghidorah causing an avalanche.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Oh Godzilla! What terrible language!"
  • Narm: When Ghidorah causes a rockslide that kills Malness, he... catches a giant rock, then falls to his death.
    • Even before that, Malness shoots Shindo's left arm, to which his reaction is rather delayed.
    • The English version, dubbed by a-Bellucci Productions!, while praised by some, has its fair share of narmy lines, many delivered by the princess.
    "I think that bracelets are worthless and silly. If I had one, I'd give it away immediately."
  • Narm Charm: Rodan throwing rocks at King Ghidorah to defeat the Eldritch Abomination is goofy as heck but somehow awesome.
  • Squick: Rodan drops Godzilla crotch first onto an electric tower.
  • Ugly Cute: Mothra Larva, and in a sense, Godzilla.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Eiji Tsuburaya is on top form here, the highlight being King Ghidorah and his gravity beams.
    • Especially Ghidorah's birth out of the fireball: an effect that still looks impressive.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Some people have theorized that the movie is a metaphor for the cold war with Godzilla and Rodan representing the US and the USSR, pointlessly fighting each other, causing destruction and refusing to let go of their grudges to stop a greater threat.
  • The Woobie: Mothra Larva.

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