Character Analysis: 4.0
Date: 3/29/05

Godzilla's first adversary, and one of Toho's more recognized characters, Anguirus has changed drastically since he was first introduced in Godzilla Raids Again (1955). After undergoing more than a decade long absence, the quadruped monster remerged in the late 1960s in the film Destroy All Monsters. However, the creature was now a close ally of the King of the Monsters, fighting alongside the nuclear leviathan against creatures such as King Ghidorah and Gigan.

 
Cutaway view of Anguirus

Overall, Anguirus is not a complex creation by any means, and his fairly limited powers tend to support this. However, a look below the skin does reveal some interesting things. Most notable is that Anguirus, like the Heisei series Godzilla, possess more than one brain. In fact, Anguirus has five brains, one located in his skull and four other brains located above each limb. It can be assumed that the four brains located above his arms and legs act as hyper sensitive nerve sysem, allowing the creature to react quickly to pain or other feelings that might effect those areas.

The idea of Anguirus having so many brains might seem odd to some, but in retrospect it makes sense. Many dinosaurs, such as stegosaurus, were at one time believed to possess more than one brain. The space in the skull allotted for the brain in many dinosaurs is very small in contrast to more modern animals. When it was discovered that many of them had an unusually large spinal cord opening over the hip, it was assumed that this area housed another brain for the animal that was used to control the lower portion of their body. This theory held out into the 1980s before it was finally disproved, and the area above the hip was discovered to contain a large nerve junction instead. This discovery occurred long after the creature's film debut, however, so it's only natural that the creature would reflect some of these outdated notions. Anguirus was much larger than any normal dinosaur though, so Toho exaggerated this aspect, giving the creature several brains in order to control each of the creature's mammoth body parts.

So what tactical advantage does this pose for Anguirus? None, really. In fact, it presents several more vital areas that, if punctured severely, could down the creature rather quickly.

His internal features aside, Anguirus does have a few powers at his disposal, some more effective than others, that he can use to try and ward off attackers.

 
King Ghidorah crushing Anguirus

Spines:
Sadly, one of Anguirus' most prominent features is also one of his weakest. Despite their jagged appearance, Anguirus' spikes have proven, time and time again, to be ineffective at damaging his rivals. Godzilla, as both an enemy in Godzilla Raids Again (1955) and an ally in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), has grabbed Anguirus' backside without showing any signs of pain. Both of those examples don't come close, though, to comparing with King Ghidorah stomping on Anguirus' back in Destroy All Monsters (1968). Not only was King Ghidorah unharmed by the jagged edges, but he was able to press down with his feet and crush the quadruped monster.

Anguirus' spines, and his back shell, do serve a purpose though. As seen in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), the shell was effective at deflecting most of the military's arsenal that struck it. However, against larger and more powerful forces, the spines provide little protection.

 
Anguirus lunging backwards  

Extraordinary Jumper:
One of the creature's better known feats, Anguirus was capable of leaping rather large distances, often to slam his body directly into his foe. This ability proved key in toppling the distracted King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), as Anguirus lunged backwards, slamming his shell into the space demon. The quadruped monster also used this skill when facing off against the disguised Mechagodzilla; lunging when he first emerged out of the ground, and later thrusting his body so that he cleaved off a section of the robot's forearm, revealing the metal casing below.

 
Emerging from the Earth

Burrowing Ability:
Displaying a new ability in his last onscreen appearance, Anguirus proved to be rather effective at traveling below the Earth's surface, moving underneath Japan at night, and then emerging the next morning to attack the disguised Mechagodzilla when the robotic monster was directly above him; toppling the alien spawned machine. How fond Anguirus was of using this ability isn't entirely known. It could be mused that the creature burrowed his way out of the crater he fell in at the start of Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), although even that is just a guess.

Final Thoughts:
In closing, Anguirus is far from one of the more powerful kaiju in the Showa series of films. He has fought against some of the most powerful creatures from this era, but has always relied heavily on his ally or was beaten back into submission. However, his sheer determination does make him a valuable companion to the King of the Monsters.