It’s easy to be the “King of the Monsters” when you’re the star of your franchise with top billing.
One eternal question spans all of pop culture: “Who would win?” This week we have answers. Prepare yourself for Polygon’s Who Would Win Week.
Even Kevin James could take down King Ghidorah if the fight took place in Queens. That’s really the main reason why Godzilla remains undefeated. Sure, some enemies may temporarily knock him out, but he eventually always gets up, goes “ROAR,” and ends up winning.
But what if Godzilla went against kaiju enemies from other franchises where he isn’t the main character? The answer: The black market would be flooded the following day with Godzilla steaks, especially if Big G went up against the following monsters.
Belyudra (Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend)
Godzilla’s size has varied a lot over the years, ranging from about 50 meters (164 feet) in the original 1954 movie to over 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) in the 2017 Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters animated film. But you could take the biggest on-screen Godzilla ever and double his size and he’d still end up snapped in half like a Gojira Slim Jim (Slim Gojim?) by Belyudra.
Debuting in Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend (2009), Belyudra is part of the Ultraman franchise starring giant bio-metallic energy warriors from another planet who’ve battled thousands of kaiju since the series debuted in 1966. And Belyudra is possibly the most powerful Ultraman foe of them all because it literally is thousands of kaiju. In the movie, the monster is created when the evil Ultraman Belial resurrects all the defeated Ultraman enemies at the Monster Graveyard and mushes them together Voltron-if-designed-by-Satan-style into an amalgamation abomination that’s technically part zombie, part Frankenstein’s monster, and part Mount Doom.
Not only is Belyudra born from lava, it is roughly the size of a mountain, with official sources citing its height as 4,000 meters (about 2.5 miles). If Godzilla ever stood in front of Belyudra, the Cenobite-puzzle monster would think that a kaiju making up one of its eyelashes or whatever fell out, and then flick him into the sun.
Actually, that’s not totally accurate, because Belyudra does not “think.” It’s more of a massive bio-exoskeleton piloted by Belial, a genius alien psychopath named after a biblical demon. In Mega Monster Battle, it takes the combined forces of six Ultramen, one kaiju, and a battle spaceship to defeat Belyudra. In a one-on-one battle between it and Godzilla, though, the King of the Monsters would be doing the Monster Mash (after Belyudra mashed it into kaiju paste by stepping on it) in two seconds flat.
Orochi (One-Punch Man)
Saitama, the protagonist of One-Punch Man, is like if someone tried to draw Lex Luthor from memory on a bar napkin at 3 a.m. and then gave him the power to kill anything with one punch. Yet even with such a tongue-in-cheek premise, the OPM manga and anime have become global hits because a lot of creativity and all sorts of wild ideas have gone into the story. And probably 90% of them are found in the series’ kaiju monster Orochi.
While originally standing at an unimpressive 27 meters tall (about 89 feet), the “Monster King” Orochi would still make short work of Godzilla because of his power of… everything. Picture children playing with action figures and making up their abilities on the go like, “No, your lasers cause no damage because my guy used an energy barrier.” “Well, my guy transforms into an acid drill and melts your guy.” “Nuh-uh, because my guy is actually an acid-resistant fire dragon made from diamonds.” “Well, mine transforms into a nuclear jetfighter!” “Well, mine teams up with God!” All of that is Orochi.
The monster’s powers have included manipulating his body shape at will, breathing fire, and regeneration, and all that was before he merged with a powerful esper and God (long story, don’t ask). After the fusion, Orochi could use psychokinesis, manipulate gravity, control electricity, fly, YES TRANSFORM INTO A JET like some bio Decepticon, and absorb energy from the entire planet (causing a global earthquake) to execute a devastating energy attack. More importantly, throughout all this, Orochi remained fully sentient and actually gained genius-level intellect.
And, yeah, none of that was enough to save Orochi from getting destroyed by Saitama. But if you pitted Orochi against Godzilla, the atomic lizard would be Gone-zilla with like one punch, man.
Mother Legion (Gamera 2: Attack of Legion)
Gamera is a prehistoric turtle monster that has been mutated by radiation from atomic bombs and can now breathe fire and fly through the air by spinning at hypersonic speeds like a gigantic, turtle-shell shuriken, making him the original Mutant Ninja Turtle. Still, even with all his powers, Gamera would have been made into turtle soup by Mother Legion from the 1996 film Gamera 2: Attack of Legion without human intervention.
The alien Mother Legion looks like a spider, a scorpion, and one of the bugs from Starship Troopers had hate-sex and produced a brand-new phobia. Named after the biblical Legion demon, the kaiju from outer space almost took out Gamera early on in the movie by having its bug children the size of Volkswagen Beetles climb all over the turtle and cover him like a suit made from scratchy Christmas-sweater yarn. The only reason Gamera survived that was by flying away, a power that Godzilla does not have… excluding 1971’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah, where he could “fly” by atomic-burping at the ground. We tend to not talk about that movie a lot.
Eventually, Mother Legion was able to spawn flying bug soldiers from her body, in addition to burrowing underground, creating electro barriers, and shooting lasers. She basically won the battle against Gamera by just showing up. But then the humans got involved and confused the flying bug swarm with radio signals. Still, given that Godzilla has the natural flying ability of a brick chained to a post, it’s fair to say that in a match between just him and Mother Legion (no humans involved), Godzilla would immediately end up filled with more bugs than Cyberpunk 2077 and have his hollowed-out corpse puppeted to perform silly dances for ML’s amusement.
Frankenstein (Frankenstein vs. Baragon)
Knowledge is knowing that “Frankenstein” was the name of the doctor, not the monster. Wisdom is knowing that since the creature was Dr. Frankenstein’s creation, he would naturally inherit his “father’s” last name. Japanese sci-fi trivia is knowing that in the 1965 movie Frankenstein vs. Baragon, Mary Shelley’s classic character was turned into a kaiju with monsters in his blood.
Frankenstein vs. Baragon, released in the states as Frankenstein Conquers the World, starts with the original Frankenstein monster’s beating heart being delivered to Japan, where scientists determine that the creature simply cannot die. As long as even one cell of it remains, it will eventually come back to life if given enough protein or radiation. That’s when an atomic bomb is dropped on the Hiroshima research lab, obliterating it and the city but transforming the heart into an entire person. It takes 15 years for the reborn Frankenstein to mature into adolescence, but once he’s discovered, his X-gene or whatever kicks in and he starts growing and growing until he reaches 20 meters (65 feet) in height. That’s not even half the size of the smallest Godzilla, but in a battle between the two, Frank might still have the upper hand.
As the movie explains again and again, this Frankenstein literally cannot die. If you chop off his arm, it will just grow back, while the severed body part will eventually regenerate into a whole new monster if provided a power source, like radiation. And lest we forget: Godzilla is a walking symbol of radiation with a signature atomic breath attack. In 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, detonating a nuclear warhead right next to his face was like getting a triple espresso into his system. Being in the same irradiated zip code as Godzilla could probably make Frank double in size. Or in number.
We know from 1966’s follow-up, The War of the Gargantuas, that DNA left by the Japanese Frankenstein eventually, over many years, matures into Bigfoot-like kaiju. But if that DNA was bathed in Godzilla halitosis, the maturation process could be instantaneous. With every drop of Frank’s spilled blood, Godzilla could be creating a brand-new enemy to fight. Sure, they would all be much smaller than the King of the Monsters, but with enough time, G-dog would be fighting off an entire swarm of enemies, and we already covered that scenario with Mother Legion. The winner: Frankenstein, through Technical Patience and Bigfoot kaiju blood.