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Saturday, February 16, 2013

CREATURE FEATURE : Anguirus

Anguirus (アンギラス Angirasu) is the second Kaiju (Japanese giant monster) to appear in the Toho franchise. Anguirus appeared only a year after Godzilla in the 1955 Toho film Godzilla Raids Again. Though being the first monster Godzilla ever fought, he has allied himself with the King of Monsters on several instances against more dangerous threats, eventually becoming his most trusted ally.



Appearance
Anguirus is a quadrupedal giant or irradiated dinosaur that resembles an Ankylosaurus, but much larger. His head can resemble that of a Ceratosaurus. He has several horns on the top of his head and a single horn above his nose. His face is long and drawn out and has rows of long, jagged teeth, like a crocodile. His carapace is studded with long, sharp spikes. Anguirus' tail is covered with spikes and makes up most of his body length. His hind limbs are longer than his forelimbs, and he can stand up on them to his full height, though he generally walks upon all fours. Anguirus has a particularly strange brain, for he has not one but five, one in his head which controls all of his organs, and one above each one of his limbs, each brain most likely controls the limb they are above. This gives Anguirus an advantage in battle, for he can react much quicker than most Kaiju. Anguirus first appears in the Showa continuity as brown with yellowish spines, these colors are later changed in the Millennium series to light gray, with orange spikes and horns.


Powers and abilities
Anguirus is armed with sharp teeth, claws, horns, spiky tail, and a spiky carapace. Although an aggressively tenacious fighter, Anguirus lacks ranged capability compared to some of Godzilla's other allies and opponents. Nevertheless, regardless of how much stronger his opponent might be, Anguirus never retreats from a fight without first taking substantial punishment. Also in most of the Godzilla video games Anguirus fires a sonic roar from his mouth, although he is never seen doing this in any of the Godzilla movies.
In his first appearance in Godzilla Raids Again, it is explained that Anguirus' is capable of moving incredibly fast in spite of his bulk due to his brain extending into his chest and abdominal areas, allowing him to react more quickly. He is able to lunge at his opponents with massive leaps and is also capable of burrowing substantial distances. Two of his more impressive attacks involve jumping backward to impale his opponents on his spiked carapace In Godzilla vs. Gigan and his vise-like bite; the most famous example of the latter being when he faced King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters where he latched onto one of King Ghidorah's necks, his grip holding firm even as his opponent took flight.
In Godzilla: Final Wars, Anguirus was redesigned with the ability to curl himself into a ball and propel himself forward with tremendous speed. The Final Wars version also possessed a spiked tail club like a real Ankylosaurus, though he was not witnessed using it in combat.


Origins
Showa series
According to the English subtitles of the 1955 Japanese language film Godzilla Raids Again, Anguirus (spelled "Angilas" in that film) was properly called an "angilosaurus," (which in Japanese is pronounced roughly the same as "ankylosaurus"), a dinosaur described as "one of the stronger dinosaurs that lived in the prehistoric era." It's described in a textbook by Polish world animal specialist Plateli Hondon as "one of the few creatures that had a thorough hatred for war-like predators," which explains Anguirus' eagerness to fight Godzilla. The dinosaur angilosaurus lived (according to the film) from 150-70 million years ago, and its remains were affected by the same hydrogen bombs that awoke Godzilla. In the English-dubbed version of Godzilla Raids Again, the name of the dinosaur is pronounced ""ANG-will-o-Saw-rus," and given the sub-moniker "Killer of the Living." They ruled the Earth at one time, according to the film, then disappeared suddenly. From an unnamed textbook in the movie (the same book that in the Japanese language version was written by Hondon), a scientist reads that these creatures (the angilasaurs) may return from hibernation due to radioactive fallout. Anguiras is said to have "brains in several parts of his body, including the head, abdomen, and the chest."
Anguirus was the first enemy that Godzilla ever faced. Godzilla and Anguirus battled in Osaka, and after a fierce struggle Godzilla won with a bite to the neck and incinerated Anguirus' body with his atomic breath.
Anguirus was re-introduced (in a brand-new costume) in the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters as an ally of Godzilla living with him on Monster Land, a man made habitat for all of earths monsters. This costume was re-used throughout the remainder of the Showa series, and Anguirus continued in his capacity as Godzilla's ally. He helped Godzilla repel the space monsters, Gigan and King Ghidorah, in 1972 (Godzilla vs. Gigan). He and Godzilla returned to Monster Land. The island was disturbed by nuclear bomb tests in (Godzilla vs. Megalon). The ground beneath Anguirus cracked. Rodan, perched on a mountain above, toppled down on top of Anguirus, forcing both of them underground into a massive split in the earth, both monsters disappeared.
Anguirus tunneled his way to a snowy region, where he witnessed Mechagodzilla's first emergence in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla . He followed Mechagodzilla underground to Japan where he reviled himself to call upon Godzilla, and engage Mechagodzilla in battle. However, Mechagodzilla was too powerful for Anguirus, and severely injured him, breaking his jaw in a bloody display. Anguirus was forced to retreat underground, although he managed to tip off humanity that this Godzilla was not the true Godzilla.


Millennium series
After a 30 year absence, Anguirus made a return in the 2004 film, Godzilla: Final Wars as a controlled monster of the Xiliens. He appears in Shanghai, and tramples everything in his path, then engaged the flying UN battleship, Karyu. The Xiliens appeared suddenly and teleported Anguirus and the other monsters away. They told the humans that they eliminated the monsters to save Earth, but this was soon discovered to be a ruse, the Xiliens were controlling the monsters. In Shanghai, the Xiliens use their fighter ships to attack the Karyu. While the Karyu was distracted, Anguirus jumped and curled himself into a ball, crashing into the ship at its midpoint. Karyu went spinning in the air before colliding into the Oriental Pearl Tower.
Anguirus, King Caesar, and Rodan are pitted against Godzilla at Mt. Fuji. He successfully defeats all three monsters. King Caesar, Anguirus and Rodan are then left in a heap at the base of the mountain. Godzilla did not kill his fallen foes as a nod to their status as allies of Godzilla during the Showa era. This is in contrast to the remaining majority of the monsters seen in the film, all of whom, aside from Zilla, were enemies of Godzilla during the Showa era, and were slain either by Godzilla, the Gotengo, or the mutants who were part of an anti-monster task force near the beginning of the film.


Popularity
Anguirus is very popular with Godzilla fans. In a G-Fan magazine poll for favorite monster, Anguirus won 3rd place behind only Godzilla and Gamera. Part of the reason is that the monster is a very loyal ally of Godzilla in "Destroy All Monsters" and "Godzilla vs. Gigan".

Film appearances
Godzilla Raids Again
Destroy All Monsters
Godzilla's Revenge (Stock Footage)
Godzilla vs. Gigan
Godzilla vs. Megalon (Stock Footage)
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Godzilla Final Wars


Behind the scenes
During the existence of the character there have been three official Anguirus suits. The first and second were constructed under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya. After the release of Godzilla Raids Again Toho was looking to release the movie to western audiences but was having trouble finding a distributor. AB-PT pictures, an American distribution company was producing their own movie, The Volcano Monsters, shortly after the release of Godzilla Raids Again. AB-PT attempted to incorporate the monster footage of Toho's film into their own but had little success. They struck up a deal between the two companies, a Godzilla and the original Anguirus costume were shipped to Los Angeles to film some additional scenes. Due to financial problems with AB-PT studios the company collapsed and its assets were absorbed into other production companies. The original Anguirus suit remains missing. The second suit, created for color filming, was built in 1968. The design had no radical changes from the original aside from some modification on the thickness of the spines and arrangement of the teeth. For Godzilla Final Wars a third suit was built incorporating modern sculpting methods and animatronics. The final suit is darker in color and somewhat more streamlined and biologically realistic in design.
Anguirus has been played by multiple actors throughout the Godzilla movie series.
Godzilla Raids Again (First Suit Version) - Katsumi Tezuka
Destroy All Monsters (Second Version) - Hiroshi Sekita
Godzilla Vs. Gigan (Second Version) - Yukietsu Omiya
Godzilla Vs. Megalon (Second Version) - Yukietsu Omiya
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (Second Version) - Momoru Kusumi
Godzilla Final Wars (Third Version) - Toshihiro Ogura




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