Anguirus (アンギラス Angirasu)
FIRST APPEARS IN:
Godzilla Raids Again, 1955
– spiked shell-back
– horned face
– spine-covered tail
– getting fucked up by Mechagodzilla
– crawling around on his hands and knees
– communication through animated speech bubbles (see: Godzilla vs. Gigan)
– befriending Godzilla
Anguirus doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s the first monster to engage Godzilla in battle way back in 1955. He’s the only other Godzilla-franchise kaijū outside of Godzilla to appear in black and white. And he’s Godzilla’s sidekick in later Showa entries. I suppose, despite his CV, Anguirus is not the most memorable of monsters. He lacks the bizarre design features of a kaijū like Gigan, the thrills and fireworks of Mechagodzilla, and the moralistic finger-waggling of Hedorah. Like Godzilla, he’s just a big lizard. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Godzilla is imposing, whereas Anguirus is clearly just a guy in a suit crawling on his hands and knees.
I’ve always felt a little sorry for Anguirus. He’s Toho’s punching bag because, I guess, he’s not a particularly popular character. When Anguirus is beaten up, it’s vicious and relentless. Take his death (or near-death) scene in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, for example. After a short and one-sided punch up, Mechagodzilla (disguised as Godzilla) tears open Anguirus’s jaws until blood oozes out from his silly mouth. Anguirus drags himself away (we can assume) to his death. It’s easily the most unceremonious exit from the Showa series… or any Godzilla series for that matter… and it is probably the only scene from a Godzilla film that I could describe as traumatising.
Anguirus is, admittedly, not one of my favourite giant monsters. But I have a soft spot for him and have to give a certain amount of credit to his longstanding service to the Godzilla franchise. Yup, Anguirus gets an A+ for effort.