Character Analysis: MUTO
Biology - Abilities - Fighting Tactics - Power Ranking - Character Bio

Published: 02/15/16

Energy Rating Energy
Durability Rating Durability
Intelligence Rating Intelligence
Strength Rating Strength
Speed Rating Speed

There is a reason why Godzilla is one of the most iconic characters of all-time. Like most cinematic icons, Godzilla is subject to reinterpretation. That is probably why an entirely new Godzilla origin story comes our way once every new decade. With it, the Godzilla community explodes with a diversity of topics. Of these topics, I think the one that elicits the most creativity is the announcement of a new monster for Godzilla to fight.

Godzilla (2014) introduced to us not one new monster but two. They are known as the M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). The MUTO are a race of gigantic, parasitic organisms, which terrorized the prehistoric age, and waged a bloody war that ultimately ended with Godzilla becoming the last of his kind. In this analysis, I will go into extensive detail about their biology, unique abilities, and fighting tactics.


Biology

More than 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. Evolutionary success hinges greatly on a species' ability to overcome and adapt to anything that threatens their genetic legacy. Most species living today are very different than their common ancestors. The MUTOs, from the time they first crawled out of the primordial woodwork to when they stomped back into the 21st century, are an aberration -- they haven't changed very much, if at all. The MUTOs are the omega species of the animal kingdom, surpassed only by Godzilla -- the alpha of the primordial ecosystem.

What makes the MUTOs such an evolutionary success story? There are many reasons why the MUTOs have survived and persevered for so long.

One reason why is because of their supremacy over the land, air, and sea. The MUTOs thrive on land, be it on the surface or in more subterranean habitats. The air affords the MUTOs a clear advantage over earthbound predators like Godzilla. The sea doesn't bother them, which the Male MUTO demonstrated when he plucked a submarine out of the sea, or when he dive-bombed onto a ship carrying a nuclear warhead. No place on Earth can keep you safe from the MUTO infestation.

Interestingly enough, before the Female and Male MUTO met, the Female was pregnant. It's unknown if the Male inseminated the eggs or not. It's unknown if the Male of the MUTO species even plays a role in the reproductive process. For all intents and purposes, the Female MUTO is asexual. There was a courtship at work, as demonstrated when the Male offered a nuclear warhead to the Female. The Female accepted the gift and sought to use the nuke as a source of sustenance for her offspring.

Courting
The MUTOs after traveling across country toward San Francisco


It's been speculated that despite their unique abilities, the MUTOs are relatively frail when compared to the rest of their kaiju peers. The most infamous example of this is how the Male MUTO perished. In the climactic battle, Godzilla swatted the Male MUTO with his tail into a skyscraper. As the light leaves from the MUTO's eyes, we see building debris sticking out of the Male's mangled body. Some mistook this as a sign of weakness on the Male MUTO's part. In reality, it was more of a testament to Godzilla's strength than the Male MUTO's alleged frailty. Godzilla's tail broke the sound barrier when it hit the Male MUTO, his tail spikes actually chopping one of the Male's arms off in the process. Prior to this, Godzilla, with his monstrous jaws, swung the Male MUTO through a building and bounced him off another. None of this hurt the Male in the slightest. Godzilla couldn't even hurt him with his crunching jaws.

The Female MUTO, not to be outdone by her Male counterpart, showed impressive durability when her body stopped Godzilla's 80,000 ton bulk from stomping a mud hole through her chest. While it was enough to keep her contained, it wasn't nearly enough to hurt her.

The MUTOs are at the very least decently durable monsters.

 

Abilities

Radiation Absorption

Millions of years ago, Earth radiation levels were 10 times higher than they are today. The MUTOs consumed this radiation much in the same way we breathe oxygen. But the MUTOs have other ways to feed. In 1999, the Male MUTO gestated in the heart of the Janjira nuclear plant, and spent several years absorbing its radioactive core. After reaching maturity, the Male MUTO hatched, and promptly plucked a Russian Borei-class submarine out of the sea. The Male MUTO was later discovered snacking on its radioactive contents. The Female MUTO, likewise, was later seen swallowing nuclear warheads. In 2014, the Female MUTO, shortly after giving birth, sealed her eggs to a nuclear bomb, giving her unborn offspring direct access to its scrumptious radiation.

In the Philippines, the skeleton of a long dead Godzilla was found underground--with two MUTO spores attached to its punctured bones. We don't exactly know how the elder Godzilla died, but what we do know is it died while forcibly playing host to the MUTO spores. The MUTO spores absorbed the elder Godzilla's radioactive fluids dry before entering into a deep state of hibernation.

Even though the MUTOs make efficient radioactive gobblers, they are not impervious to its hazardous effects. Direct exposure to Godzilla's Atomic breath temporarily incapacitated the Female MUTO. Godzilla later killed the Female MUTO by breathing atomic fire down her throat, decapitating her head while incinerating her vital organs.

 

Electromagnetic Pulse

When threatened, the MUTOs are capable of generating powerful electromagnetic pulses. The MUTOs' nuclear consumption is what powers this ability. It's not currently known how such weapons would've proven effective in prehistoric times, though the film's novel, which I highly recommend, provided an intriguing explanation: the electromagnetic pulses were designed to negate Godzilla's Atomic breath. Unfortunately, the events of the film, unlike the happenings in the novel, dictate what is canon, and nothing onscreen substantiates this otherwise interesting theory. Nevertheless, the MUTOs' electromagnetic pulse poses a serious threat to the electronically-dependent human race. With one blast, the Male MUTO made the city of San Francisco lose its power. The Female MUTO was a living walking disaster as she marched unopposed across the American West. The United States Army was helpless in deterring the MUTO threat. Two MUTOs were enough to humble the world's most powerful military force. Had Godzilla not prevailed, it is very likely the MUTOs would've turned the entire world into a giant parasitic nest. Humankind would have literally, in the words of the late Joe Brody, been sent back to the Stone Age.

EMP
The male charging his Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)


The Male MUTO triggered his electromagnetic pulse a little bit differently. To activate his EMP on land, the Male needed to strike a hard surface with one of his claws. But a hard surface is not always required. When the Male MUTO plunged all of San Francisco into a citywide blackout, he did it from the air. How did he do this if there was no ground for him to strike? The Male MUTO simply clapped his claws together, which triggered the electromagnetic pulse. Given the prehensile shape of the claws, this wouldn't be very difficult for the Male MUTO to accomplish. The Female MUTO wasn't nearly as limited. Unlike the Male MUTO, the Female MUTO, by the looks of it, was able to activate her electromagnetic pulse with nothing more than a thought. Though it is plausible the Female MUTO uses a hidden organ to activate her electromagnetic pulses.

The MUTOs' EMP range has a large area of effect. The Female MUTO had a 'Sphere of Influence' up to 5-miles-wide. An example of this influence was demonstrated in the form of a crashed airliner. Commercial airliners have an average cruising altitude of 25,000-40,000 ft. This, as most readers have no doubt deduced, poses a serious concern to any electronically powered enemy. MechaGodzilla, one of Godzilla's most dangerous enemies, would have been useless in a fight against the MUTO parasites.

* I have a theory as to why the MUTOs might have developed the ability to fire an electromagnetic pulse. The MUTOs, like dolphins and bats, use echolocation as a means of detection and communication. What if their electromagnetic pulses amplified their echolocation? This explains why the Janjira MONARCH facility was experiencing erratic power failures every time the MUTOs were communicating. It's plausible the MUTOs' electromagnetic pulses were designed to augment their echolocation ability.

* There is another possibility: Godzilla, the natural enemy of the MUTOs, was able to repeatedly sneak up on them. This is why an electromagnetic pulse, like sonar picking up a blip, might be able to alert Godzilla's presence to the MUTOs before he could conceivably ambush them.

 

Echolocation

This is a fairly unique, effective ability. Through echolocation, the MUTOs were able to communicate across vast distances, from the shores of Japan to the deserts of the United States. This is mainly the reason why the MUTOs make, in this author's humble opinion, the most efficacious, kaiju-fighting pair yet. Their communication, being instantaneous, helped the pair fight as if they were of one mind.

 

Claws

The MUTOs are equipped with one of the most basic, naturally evolved weapons in the animal kingdom: claws. On multiple occasions, the MUTOs savagely pierced Godzilla's sturdy hide, wracking up a toll of grisly wounds. While this was no doubt compounded by the MUTOs' immense strength, their consistent effectiveness in combat makes them a true nightmare.

The MUTOs consistently wounded a Godzilla that survived a direct nuclear strike, shrugged off a 300,000 ton building falling on his head, and a heavy US Naval bombardment. Very few kaiju could survive a close encounter with the MUTO pair, even fewer would emerge unscathed. As far as piercing weapons go, a MUTO claw ranks very highly.


Flight

Of the two MUTO sexes, only the Male MUTO developed wings to fly. What the Male MUTO might lack in flight speed he makes up for by being very versatile and agile in the air. In close quarters combat with Godzilla, the Male MUTO used his flight to his advantage, managing to evade Godzilla's savage attacks while engaging viciously in kind.

 

Flight
The male MUTO flying down onto a ship

 

Physical Strength

Inhuman strength is a universal trait of all kaiju; however, not all kaiju are equal, and the MUTOs rank highly on the kaiju strength scale. The Male MUTO scooped up a Russian Borei-class sub and carried it to the heart of Honolulu, Hawaii. When submerged, the Borei-class submarine has a displacement mass of up to 24,000 tons. That is almost akin to snatching the Showa incarnation of Godzilla (25,000 tons) out of the sea, carrying him to an island, and then having him for dinner. Even more impressive, the Male MUTO, to save the Female MUTO's life, hooked his claws into Godzilla's side, and dragged his 80,000 ton bulk across the cityscape. He did this all from the air, which makes this already impressive feat even more impressive.

The Female MUTO is just as strong if not stronger than her Male counterpart. Her opening showcase of strength was busting out of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. During a bout with Godzilla, the Female MUTO slashed Godzilla open with a nasty swipe. In an even fiercer face-off, the Female MUTO clamped her jaws down on Godzilla and tossed him into a building, a testament to her immense upper body strength.

Alone, neither MUTO was a physical match for Godzilla. As a high-functioning team, however, the MUTOs proved their worth by besting the King of the Monsters.

 

Fighting Tactics

As previously mentioned, the MUTO make an excellent team. Their echolocation affords them nearly instantaneous communication. On their own, most kaiju wouldn't be able to prevail against the MUTO duo. Even famous kaiju team-ups, like Megalon and Gigan, or Godzilla and Anguirus, would be hard-pressed to defeat the MUTOs. The MUTOs play to their strengths, while exploiting their enemy's weaknesses.

But what tactics do the MUTO employ when they are fighting solo?

Facing Godzilla
The male facing Godzilla alone


The Male MUTO relies heavily on his flight. With his ability to fly, the Male can close the distance of most terrains, and in doing so, he is free to initiate the fight on his own terms. He fights with a burly tenacity, and is completely unafraid to engage larger, stronger foes. The Male is very quick up close, fully capable of evading serious attacks while punishing his opponent with his vicious claw strikes. While fighting with Godzilla, the Male MUTO's tactics greatly aided his kind's war with the radioactive giant. The Male was repeatedly seen pulling at the edges of Godzilla's jaws, twirling the giant beast around into a position that most benefited the MUTO's strategy. This usually left Godzilla's backside vulnerable, which the Male or Female MUTO exploited with extreme prejudice. The Male MUTO, though fearless in combat, was very cautious. When electronic foes were present, the Male was quick to disarm them with his electromagnetic pulse.

The Female MUTO, deprived of being able to navigate the skies, is a juggernaut on land. Like her Male counterpart, the Female is unafraid of engaging with superior foes, and will meet them head-on. Most kaiju would most likely be steamrolled by a charging Female MUTO, as her massive bulk and gigantic claws makes her a dastardly beast to overcome. The Female MUTO has a very simple strategy in close quarters combat. After charging, she will either engage with her claws or jaws, which would prove lethal to any opponent. The Female MUTO dwarves most kaiju, especially those from the Heisei era. So even the likes of Heisei Godzilla would be hard-pressed to slow down the Female's advancement. The Female MUTO, while incapable of flight, is capable of discharging an electromagnetic pulse with nothing more than a thought. As far as mechanical characters are concerned, she is a terrifying foe.

 

Power Ranking

Energy Rating Energy

The MUTOs' electromagnetic pulse would instantly spell doom for any unprotected electronically powered monsters (e.g. robotic monsters). Because of their incredible range, the MUTOs would silence most electronically powered foes before they could move within range to attack. However, the MUTOs' electromagnetic pulse would prove most ineffective against biologically based creatures.

 

Durability Rating Durability

It's difficult to approximate the MUTOs' durability. The Female MUTO was temporarily incapacitated by Godzilla's Atomic fire, which, in itself, is difficult to read. When Godzilla fired his Atomic breath down the Female MUTO's throat, it burned off her head, and vaporized her insides. Godzilla slew the Male MUTO by swatting him into a skyscraper with his tail, a strike that would most assuredly hurt even the mightiest kaiju. At the very least, the MUTOs were durable enough to withstand the bulk of Godzilla's attacks and, like most kaiju would, shrugged off conventional weaponry.

 

Intelligence Rating Intelligence

With their echolocation, the MUTOs have nigh-instantaneous communication. The Male MUTO employed a series of simplistic yet very effective fighting tactics against Godzilla. Though driven by instinct, the MUTOs are easily one of the sharpest tools in the kaiju shed.

 

Strength Rating Strength

The Female MUTO is a physical juggernaut, outclassed only by the King of the Monsters himself. In spite of battling a stronger opponent, the Female succeeded in inflicting great physical harm on Godzilla. The Male MUTO, too, was a force to be reckoned with, possessing enough strength to drag Godzilla's 80,000 ton bulk across several city blocks. The MUTOs' claws rank as one of the most efficient kaiju penetrating weapons yet.

 

Speed Rating Speed

In their primordial war against Godzilla, the MUTOs had a key evolutionary advantage: speed. In this category, more than in any other, the Male MUTO's role for survival was vital. The Male wasn't a fast flier, but he made up for it with his quick reflexes in close range combat. The Male's speed in close range combat proved to be a very effective counter to Godzilla's pure brute force. The Female MUTO, despite being more cumbersome than her Male counterpart, was surprisingly fast on land when she needed to be. With her short bursts of speed, the Female was able to catch her enemies off guard and, if they weren't strong enough to resist, destroy them outright.

 

Conclusion

A single MUTO spore poses a serious concern to humanity, a MUTO pair make very efficient Godzilla killers, and a swarm of fully-mature MUTOs would be apocalyptic. These creatures literally eat nuclear weapons for breakfast. They kill and feed off apex predators like Godzilla. They treat our armies like how we treat insects. For the time being, the fates appear merciful. Godzilla, with a little help from humanity, successfully eradicated the MUTO pair, saving the world from their pestilence. But the Earth is a big place, with many unexplored subterranean caverns. All the monstrous parasites need to make a comeback is a single MUTO spore to hatch, and the destructive cycle would begin anew.