Top 5 Kaiju Throwdowns -

Pacific Rim Featurette

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Top 5 Kaiju Throwdowns

Asserting dominance and bounding around like a luchador.

By Chuck Francisco     July 11, 2013

Let's be forthright: we're all looking forward to Pacific Rim for its sweet Jaeger on Kaiju fisticuff action. Our admission price will be exchanged for the right to watch massive and powerful beings pummel the snot out of each other in interesting and creative ways. That the cities which form their arenas are smashed around them in visually stunning ways is just the whipped cream delight atop the delicious mocha that is mech and monster action. And so, without further ado, and with no more teasing the title, I present the top five Kaiju Throwdowns!
5. Space Gyaos vs Guiron
From Gamera vs Guiron (1969)
This short fight is absurdly brutal for a Kaiju battle. With each attack, Guiron shears parts of Space Gyaos off wholesale. And as the bride said, they will be things you will miss. The original Gyaos was supposed to be in this film, but given how severely and mortally Guiron serves up the pain, they decided to paint him silver to create Space Gyaos. This is a very unique and vicious battle within the genre, which is doubly strange considering it's part of the kid friendly Gamera series. Very memorable. 

4. Godzilla vs Mecha-King Ghidorah 
From Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991)
What could be grander than the king of all monsters throwing down against his arch rival? What about Godzilla having to take on a resurrected cyborg version of Ghidorah from the future, piloted by a human? Hot off the high of all things cybernetic in the 80's, this is epic Kaiju action the likes of which should not pass quietly and without adulation. Enjoy the whole thing, from epic entrance through brutal beat downs, right here:

3. Gamera vs Barugon
From Gamera vs Barugon (1966)
Perhaps the most interesting of Gamera's battles, this one plays out like a contest from a Rocky film. Slowly circling each other, each combatant sizing up the other, they repeatedly lay into one another, causing significant (and obvious) damage. Gamera triumphs because, very much like Rocky, he takes all of the punishment Barugon can dish out, then gets back up to strike with several powerful haymakers of his own. This is also the best use of his flying shell attack of all the subsequent Gamera films. Perhaps the dim lighting accentuates the blue flame best? 
2. King Caesar and Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla
From Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974)
The stakes are sufficiently high after Mechagodzilla (impersonating the real deal) rips Anguirus' Jaw apart like careless children ruining new toys. Following a triumphant debut, the true Godzilla confronts Mechagodzilla, with the two inflicting serious damage upon each other in Death of Superman fashion. Mechagodzilla is repaired while Big G retreats to monster island for a little lightning therapy. King Caesar is awoken to stand against the tide of this alien menace. He's an energetic demon puppy, bounding around the fight like a Mexican luchador. With the King of all Monsters in his corner, this tag team can't loose as they gang up on the cosmic monster.

1. King Ghidorah vs Godzilla, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Baragon and Varan
From Destroy All Monsters (1968)
Requiring the combined might of a whose-who of Monster Island qualified this as the most epic of monster throw downs. King Ghidorah once again proves his dominance as a combatant, earning his code name Monster Zero, the first of the giant monsters. Sadly, despite the breadth of YouTube, this fight isn't available unsullied to watch. As a consolation prize, here's the main theme (with still shots) by Akira Ifukube. At once majestic and striking, while also hauntingly memorable, I find it the perfect way to conclude this countdown. 

There are so many battles to choose from! One could spend dozens of hours indulging in them on YouTube (as I most assuredly have). I highly recommend surfing them on your phone while waiting in line for Pacific Rim; it's an excellent opportunity to broaden a stranger's horizons. Which is your favorite monster throwdown?

Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous  Colonial Theatre  in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.


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thezillaman 7/11/2013 12:28:57 AM

 once again hail to the king kaiju King of monsters the one and only Godzilla!!!

goirish83 7/11/2013 9:13:37 AM

If the finale of "Destroy All Monsters" hadn't been #1 there would have been problems.  I think that Godzilla VS 'Zilla from Final Wars should be an honorable mention, Big G decimated that crappy wanna be version in like 8 seconds..........I always loved Toho's little jab at that shitty movie.

CaptAmerica04 7/11/2013 9:21:46 AM

 I still remember seeing that massive brawl from "Destroy All Monsters" on TV when I was a kid!  That was unbridled awesome then, and it still is now.

Question for all of you:  I remember that film being called "Godzilla on Monster Island."  Am I remembering incorrectly, or might they have billed it as such in the U.S. back in the 80s?

shac2846 7/11/2013 9:25:01 AM

 That is what I remember it being called capt because I watched it every time in came on TBS back in the day. 

Anyone know if the Godzilla Final Wars or any of the new godzilla flicks are worth checking out?

larkcall 7/11/2013 9:36:09 AM


Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora - Giant Monsters all Out Attack was good.  Final Wars was great, but a bit different.  It kind of combined Godzilla movies with Power Ranger type action.  It was a fun movie though.

goirish83 7/11/2013 9:39:04 AM

@shac2846..........most of those movies are good, but, at least to me, they have a different tone than the Heisei series did, and that's sad to me because Godzilla VS Destroyah's ending set up continuation supurbly, then Toho shifted gears.  Final Wars is just crazy with all the Kaiju appearing and fighting with each other, as well as the "super humans" that also fight.  If you are a Kaiju fan, check them out.  I hope Pacific Rim and Godzilla next do well, because hopefully it will spawn sequels here and new Kaiju movies from Toho.

saiyiansreign823 7/11/2013 9:51:50 AM

 Wait a minute, No Godzilla & Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon & Gigan. That was like the ultimate tag team Kaiju movie for me. It came on every Thanksgiving on Channel 9 in NYC in the 70's 80's & very early 90's. I remember having the action figures and recreating what was on TV as a kid.

fenngibbon 7/11/2013 10:40:40 AM


Quick correction:  On Thanksgiving Day WOR would always have King Kong, Son of Kong, and Might Joe Young.  On the Friday after Thanksgiving they'd have the Godzilla films (and usually King Kong Escapes).

Gamera vs. Guiron is just a brutal movie in general.  If I remember correctly, the alien babes were going to eat the kids' brains, and had gotten as far as shaving the one kid's head and about to crack it open when they were interrupted.    I also recall one kid kept mentioning traffic accidents for some reason.

doublec 7/11/2013 10:49:04 AM

 Godzilla on Moster Island was an American release title for Godzilla vs Gigan, because the Big G and Anguirus are sown leaving the island to take on Gigan and King Ghidorah. Destroy All Monsters has always been billed under that title, sometimes, pun obviously intended, using the initials D.A.M.
Gamera vs Barugon is by leaps and bounds the best of the Showa Gamera series. The fights from it always strike me because both monsters are depicted as being quadrupedal.
Great list, even if I always thought King Caesar (Shisa) to be an attempt at some kind of joke. I mean, c'mon, a sidekick for Godzilla that looks and acts like a giant cocker spaniel?!?

thezillaman 7/11/2013 11:44:13 AM

 shac, you could start with Godzilla 1985 and  vs biollante also battle for earth,  and vs space godzilla, the 90's vs mecha G. All the way up to the millenium series starting with Godzilla 2000, and ending with Final Wars.. shac, i think you would enjoy them...   :)

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