Gigan ガイガン [Showa]

Gigan - Character Analysis
Gigan [Showa Series]

Height : 65 meters
Mass : 25,000 tons

Powers / Weapons

Flight at mach 3; space travel at mach 400; hammer-claw hands; Universal Cutter; diamond transformation; infra-red vision; explosive hammer-claws; ninja art of revival technique; Laser Knife; heat ray


Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972); Godzilla vs. Megalon; Zone Fighter Episode 11

Series // Showa

Sound Effect


Slicing through the inky blackness of space, a brilliant blue diamond of reverence traveled. Its angular mass reflected the thin jasmine beams of light that touched its smooth surface. To some worlds, this may have seemed like nothing more than bewildering sight. To others, though, it was a vision of death. For within the confines of the sapphire-like object, a monstrosity lay in wait. Born from the twisted and primordial minds of the Space Hunter Nebula M aliens, a cyborg, dubbed Gigan, lay dormant. Housed within its gem lair, the creation was sent to the furthest corners of the universe. Missions of utter destruction and mayhem were programmed into its directive.

With their home world ruined by the dominate species, its masters had conquest on their mind. They needed a new world to inhabit. Setting their sights on Earth, a group of the aliens infiltrated the planet. Establishing a base while in disguise, the beings worked from plans on magnetic tape. These tapes were not only used to store plans, though, but as a means to control creatures. They were instrumental in being able to direct Gigan, a key element in their invasion plan. The aliens, though, were very familiar with the high number of monsters already on Earth. Not leaving things to chance, the beings also located King Ghidorah. Together, the three-headed monster and cyborg would form an attack force against Earth.

In 1973, the aliens' plan went into full effect. The signal was sent out, summoning Gigan and King Ghidorah. Emerging from the depths of space, a fiery asteroid and diamond appeared. From the fires, King Ghidorah materialized. Shortly afterwards, in a violent internal explosion, Gigan emerged from the diamond. The duo raced toward Earth, destruction their directive.

Gigan [Showa Series]Arriving near Godzilla Tower, their masters' base of operations, the two were let loose on Tokyo. The alien kaiju were brutally efficient, quickly leaving devastation in their wake. While King Ghidorah attacked from the sky, lacing the area with gravity beams, Gigan attacked from the ground. Using its hammer-claw hands, the cyborg ripped the city apart. When eyeing a large building, the Universal Cutter on its chest spun into action. The giant buzzsaw was used to slice the building, its hammer-claws destroying the rest. The Self-Defense Force mobilized a counter assault. With tanks and maser cannons, the machines fired at the two monsters. However, King Ghidorah's gravity beams leveled the resistance.

Making their way to the harbor, the duo set their sights on the oil refinery. Leaving a blazing inferno, the city appeared doomed. It wasn't until Godzilla and Anguirus arrived from Tokyo Harbor that the devils met a challenge. With the space creatures working in unison from the Nebulan's control, though, the Earth monsters were overpowered. As a tough battle ensued, Gigan and the three-headed monster led their targets toward Godzilla Tower. Once within range, the tower laced Godzilla with its laser cannon. Meanwhile, Anguirus was unable to help, pinned down by Gigan's Universal Cutter. Humanity, though, assisted Godzilla, destroying the tower and breaking the aliens' control.

Left to their own devices, the red eyed creature and King Ghidorah continued their battle. Picking on the weakened Godzilla, the pair tossed the nuclear behemoth at the remains of their masters' base. However, Godzilla caught a second wind, mustering more strength to fight back. Facing Gigan one-on-one, the King of the Monsters prevailed. Beaten back, Godzilla then joined Anguirus to battle the three-headed monster. The cyborg flew to join in the fight, only to accidentally hit King Ghidorah. As the two aliens briefly bickered, Anguirus flung itself at them, knocking them over. Realizing that defeat was likely, the recently pummeled King Ghidorah retreated. Seeing the odds against him, Gigan ascended from Earth as well.

The cyborg's duty wasn't finished yet, though. Within a year, the creature would be called back to Earth. Following in the Nebulan's footsteps, a race of undersea people, the Seatopians, launched an all-out assault. Their strike centered around their god, a giant beast known as Megalon. Knowing that a quick and powerful strike was the key to victory, the Seatopians sent out a plea. They requested that the Space Hunter M aliens send them Gigan. Answering the call, the aliens complied and the cyborg was dispatched to Earth. However, once again, as fate would have it, the pair of Megalon and Gigan met resistance. The combined strength of Godzilla and Jet Jaguar was more than enough to detour the pair of demons. Gigan, realizing that defeat was immanent, fled from Earth. He left Megalon to face the overwhelming dominate power of Godzilla and Jet Jaguar alone.

Traveling through the voids of space, the weakened Gigan crossed paths with the Garoga. Capturing the cyborg, the alien race equipped Gigan with modifications. This involved placing explosives on the clawed forearm tips. Ready for battle, the monster was parachuted back to Earth mere months after he fought Jet Jaguar there. Placing its cosmo steel clawed feet on the soft soil, the red eyed creature faced a familiar adversary: Godzilla. The reissuing battle between Gigan and the King of the Monsters was again fought. Even with his new abilities, though, Gigan was no challenge for Godzilla. Dispensing with the cyborg, the leviathan left Gigan for dead after rescuing Zone Fighter.

Gigan, though, was not finished. He rose once more to fight Zone Fighter. The two battled, with the cyborg landing a key hit with its explosive hammer-claw. Despite flooring the Peaceland warrior, though, Zone Fighter quickly released his Proton Beam. The weapon hit the other explosive charge, harmlessly detonating it. At this stage, the cyborg's previous war had taken a toll on its strength. Weakened, Gigan faced the giant hero's signature Meteor Missile Might attack. Under siege, the alien monster momentarily walked away from the attack. However, the cyborg collapsed to the ground, foaming at the mouth. It had sustained critical damage, causing it to explode. The humanoid giant and protector of Earth had destroyed Gigan for good.

Powers / Weapons
Flight at Mach 3

Flight at Mach 3

Gigan could fly at a speed of mach 3. The cyborg was able to use its flight in combination with its Universal Cutter to do strafing attacks against its enemies.

When Gigan was used by the Garoga aliens, the creature was outfitted with parachutes for his decent from the Terror-Beast Missile. However, there is no indication that the cyborg's flight capabilities had been compromised.

Space Travel at Mach 400

Space Travel at Mach 400

The cyborg could travel through space at an incredible speed of up to mach 400.

Despite appearances, Gigan's wings were not used for aerial travel but rather as a cooling system. The cyborg's ability to travel in space is actually due to rockets located behind the wings. This is why the creature leaves a smoke trail from this area, even in space.

Hammer-claw Hands

Hammer-claw Hands

Gigan had two hammer-claw hands, which could be used to inflict blunt trauma attacks against foes. The tips could also be used to dig into objects as well, able to dry blood after repeated strikes to Godzilla's forehead.

The claws were built from cosmo steel, making the creature's hands as hard as diamonds. They were sturdy enough to withstand a blast from Zone Fighter's Proton Beam as well.

Hammer-claw Hands

Universal Cutter

The Space Hunter Nebula M monster was equipped with a buzzsaw in its abdomen. The high-speed rotating blades could be used to rip, slash and cut through targets.

The weapon was used both from a standing position and while flying, hitting targets from above.

Diamond Transformation

Diamond Transformation

Able to incase itself in diamond, Gigan could travel through space for longer voyages.

Once in this state, the cyborg could violently explode in its diamond form to revert to its normal form.

Infra-red Vision

Infra-red Vision

The alien, machine hybrid was equipped with a large, infra-red eye. This allowed the creature to see in very dark situations.

Explosive Hammer-claws

Explosive Hammer-claws

When used by the Garoga aliens, Gigan was equipped with powerful explosive charges on top of its hammer-claw hands. This was strong enough to detonate and floor Zone Fighter with a single strike.

The power appeared to only be usable once on each claw. After being struck with one, Zone Fighter used his Proton Beam to detonate the other explosive before it could be used offensively.

Ninja Revival Technique

Ninja Art of Revival Technique

Another enhancement bestowed on him by the Garoga aliens, after being beaten the cyborg was able to almost "reboot". When using the ability, Gigan's body would get dark as he recharged himself.

This power was utilized after Godzilla used his tail to beat down the cyborg. Once the King of the Monsters left, the previously defeated Gigan revived himself to attack Zone Fighter.

Laser Knife

Laser Knife

A high-powered laser cannon was built into the area above the monster's eye. The beam was capable of shattering solid rock.

The cyborg's laser cannon was never used. However, after being struck by a rock in the head, the cannon does flash briefly.

Heat Ray

Heat Ray

Gigan could emit a five thousand degree heat ray from its mouth. The ray was strong enough to melt steel, and was generated from an internal nuclear reactor.

This attack was never used by the cyborg.

Background and Trivia
  • The cyborg monster was portrayed by suit actor Kengo Nakayama.
  • Gigan's suit was modeled by Nobuyuki Yasumaru.
  • In the 2000 publication The Giant Picture Encyclopedia of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World (ISBN: 4873765587), Gigan's attacks are mentioned as "Rotating Disc Cutter" (胴の回転カツタ一 - Dou no Kaiten Kattaa), "Hammer Hands" (ハンマ一ハンド - Hanmaa Hando) and "Body Strike" (体当たり - Karada Atari).
  • While often cited in Japanese as "Hammer Hands", Gigan's hooks are called "Hammer-claw Hands" in English in The Official Godzilla Compendium (ISBN: 0679888225).
  • A stand-alone hammer claw prop of Gigan was created for Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). The claw was used in sequences such as when Gigan jumps to destroy the F86F Saber Jets in the air. This detail is located in the book Toho Champion Festival Perfection 2014 (ISBN: 4048669990).
  • Sometimes called a buzzsaw or rotary cutter, the name "Universal Cutter" for the central saw comes from several cutaway views of the creature. One such cutaway appears in the 1992 publication The Ultimate Godzilla Monster Illustration Super Encyclopedia (ISBN: 4063042790).
  • Gigan [Showa Series]Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano got the idea to give Gigan a third eye based on statues of Buddha that have an aura around this part of their head. He also read an article that stated someone being able to shoot a beam from their forehead through ESP which helped further the idea. However, the actual use of the ray shooting from this part was scrapped from the movie by Nakano, who had a change of heart stating that something like this was better suited to a human or superhuman than a monster like Gigan. This information can be found in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • The CD-Rom Godzilla Movie Studio Tour cites, in English, Gigan's unused laser attack as a "Laser Knife".
  • The Godzilla Encyclopedia - New Edition (ISBN: 4773087250) cites Gigan's laser attack as being 5,000°C. This is possibly in error, though, as this is the same temperature of the creatrure's heat ray.
  • Gigan's feat of being able to travel in space at mach 400 is cited in the Everything Godzilla: The Complete Super Encyclopedia (ISBN: 4063045579).
  • The cyborg's ability to recharge itself was cited as "Gigan's Ninja Art of Revival Technique" (ガイガン忍法生き返りの術 - Ninp Ikikaeri no Jutsu) in the Godzilla Encyclopedia - New Edition (ISBN: 4773087250).
  • The CD-Rom Godzilla Movie Studio Tour claims that the cyborg's revival technique is due to a "secret device" installed in Gigan's hammer claws. However, it seems to imply this revival occurred after battling Zone Fighter as well, which is likely in error.
  • The character's revival power could also be done in the Super Nintendo game Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters, which when performed gives an injured Gigan a very temporary period of invicibility.
  • When asked about the creature, special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano noted that the main idea "was to create a monster completely different from the previous film. We decided to work on the new monster in every detail, such as the size of the hands, and we wanted to add a mechanical feel to it. That's how we invented Gigan, whose hand was a sickle, and stomach was a big knife." Noted in The Sons of Godzilla: From Destroyer to Defender (ISBN: 1724667270).
  • The book New Godzilla Walker - The New Legend of the King of the Monsters (ISBN: 9784048956321) lists a history of weaponry. As a side result, it gives a date for several movies in terms of when they take place. In the case of Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), it is stated as taking place in 1973. The book does not give a date for Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), while the movie itself gives a vague 197X date. The international dubbed version cites the begining as occurring in 1971 instead of 197X, although Monster Island is destroyed during this sequence where as it is seen prominently in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). As a result, the dubbed version is likely wrong in this instance.
  • Although Gigan is a mix of green and yellow coloring, sources often depitic the creature as being blue and yellow. This includes toys and other merchandise surrounding the character. However, even the main poster for Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) uses the blue and yellow color scheme for the cyborg.
  • Kenpachiro Satsuma was originally hardly able to perform in the Gigan suit due to heavy resin used to make the claws and feet. He attributed this to suit maker Nobuyuki Yasamaru, saying, "His priority is design, not operation of the suit or the actor." Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano interceded and Yasamaru reluctantly agreed to hollow out the claws. This information can be read in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla (self-published).
  • On playing Gigan and after his experience in the larger Hedorah suit the prior year, Kenpachiro Satsuma noted "you could do moves like brandishing the claws; you could imagine more ways to move in a suit like that. But the feet were so big, that they easily caught on other objects or on my opponent, and I tripped a lot." Cited in The Sons of Godzilla: From Destroyer to Defender (ISBN: 1724667270).