Chronology and Connundrums: Anglias and Monster Island

Originally Published in G-FAN Issue # 11 September/October 1994


Angilas, that quadrupedal, spiney, overgrown relative of the Ankylosaurus, is one of the most popular of the kaiju, ranking fourth in a poll of Japanese fans. He has had featured roles in three films Gigantis the Fire Monster (1955), Destroy All Monsters (1968), and Godzilla On Monster Island (1972), canleo appearances in two others Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) and Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster (1974), and appeared once via stock footage Godzilla ‘s Revenge (1969). Angilas is a scrappy kaiju, getting into several fights, and though usually han-died roughly by his opponents, he always bounces back sooner or later .

Angilas first appeared in Gigantis (released on video asGodzilla Raids Again). His origins are obscure; presumably, like Godzilla, Angilas is a dinosaur revived/mutated by atomic testing. He is spotted fighting Godzilla on Iwato Island and continues the battle into Osaka where he is severely wounded, falling into the sea. It has been stated that Angilas dies in Gigantis and that his subsequent appearances are of another of the same species. I disagree. Kaiju are not so easily killed, and there is evidence that only one Angilas exists.

First, a side note. A mistake occurred in Part I of this series. Destroy All Monsters should have been listed last, as the events it chronicles occur last in time. This is impor- tant for the discussion following.

Resulting from his battle with Godzilla, Angilas is gravely injured and does not recover until approximately 1966. Sig- nificantly, as with Godzilla’s first appearance after Gigantis, Angilas’ return (in Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster) finds him in a snowy, icy terrain. No doubt he hibernated to heal his wounds and then arose, still feeling a little woozy, to seek revenge on Godzilla. Burrowing to Japan, Angilas attacks what he believes to be Godzilla but is actually Mechagodzilla in disguise. MG makes quick work of Angilas who, bleeding profusely, retreats underground.

Here is the first conundrurn. Shimizu, who observes the battle between Angilas and the pseudo-Godzilla is describes them as friends. 11 is odd that two creatures who had fought nearly to the death would be considered friendly. Later, it is concluded Angilas knew he was attacking Mechagodzilla and not his “friend” Godzilla. However, this statement is not authoritative. It is more likely that the people are misinformed and consider all kaiju to be friends. In all the confusion of Godzilla and Angilas’ attack on Osaka, there was doubtless little chance to notice they were attacking each other as well.

Subsequent to his defeat at the titanium talons of Mechagodzilla, Angilas is brought to Monster Island (more on this later). While there, he makes amends with Godzilla and the two get along famously thereafter. Angilas is still recovering during Mechagodzilla’ s second appearance and is unable to join in the festivities.

Later, leaving Monster Island and landing at SagamiBay (in Godzilla On Monster Island), Angilas is at first driven off by the Japanese Self Defense Forces. Undeterred, he returns with Godzilla to battle Gigan and King Ghidora. The fight is an arduous one with Angilas taking some hard knocks from both of the space monsters. As a result, Angilas is too weak to help fight Megalon and Gigan in 1972 (Godzilla vs Megalon).

Not until 1999, the time of Destroy All Monsters, is Angilas fully recovered. As game as ever, he helps defend the Kilaak base while under their control and takes part in the final battle against King Ghidora once the aliens’ control is broken. Having learned little from his past encounters, Angilas is once again badly pummeled by Ghidora. Nevertheless, Angilas and the Earth mon- sters have the last laugh and return peacefully to Monsterland.

So far, Angilas has not been revived for the Revised Series. There were rumors of his return in an updated “Godzilla vs King Kong”, but that project was scrapped in favor of Godzilla vs Space Godzilla. Still, the popular Angilas may yet be called back into active service. Here is his chronology:

1955: Angilas is gravely injured.
1966: Having recuperated, emerges to fight Mechagodzilla, is defeated, and burrows underground.
1971: Having again recovered and been brought to Monster Island, fights Gigan and King Ghidora.
1999: Controlled by the Kilaaks during their invasion, primary duty is guarding base at Mt. Fuji. When freed, joins in the attack on the Kilaaks and fights King Ghidora again.

Monster Island! A name to conjure with. The full story of Monster Island has never been told; its history must be reconstructed from the hints given in the kaiju eiga (monster movies).  In Part I of this series it was stated that all the kaiju had been gathered on Monster Island by 1971. Upon further reflection, I think this is not the case. Let’s take a look at the where, the why, and the how of Monster Island.

With Godzilla and Minilla in deep freeze (at the end of Son of Godzilla), the decision was made to gather up Earth’s monsters at a single location. The chosen site was the Ogasawara Island chain. Why Ogasawara when Solgell Island (location of Son ofGodzilla) might have been a logical choice? There must have been some factor which rendered it unsuitable. The criteria for the Monster Island site would likely be size (large enough to accommodate all the kaiju) and location (away from populated areas yet not so remote as to hinder observation).

Once Solgell Island was deemed unacceptable, the decision to locate at Ogasawara was finalized. Was there anything other than size and location that recommended this particular site? Yes, there was: a kaiju was already there.  Chronologically, Godzilla On Monster Island is the first film to feature Monster Island. Near the beginning of the film are shown the kaiju located on Monster Island at that time ( 1971): Godzilla, Minilla, Angilas, Gorosaurus, Rodan, Mothra, Spiega, and Gimantis. How did they arrive? Godzilla, Minilla, Spiega, and Gimantis were delivered from Solgell Island deep frozen. Angilas was moved while still in recuperative hibernation after fighting Mechagodzilla. Similarly, Gorosaurus would have been transported while recovering from his battle with Kong (King Kong Escapes). That leaves Mothra and Rodan. Mothra lived on Infant Island and must have been relocated from there. Thus, as Rodan was neither deep frozen nor wounded, it seems logical that Rodan was already nesting on one of the Ogasawara Islands, obviating any necessity for moving the only kaiju in a position to object to the process.

How were the various kaiju located? The whereabouts of Godzilla, Minilla, Spiega, Girnantis, Mothra and Gorosaurus were all known, but what of the others? In Monster Zero, the Xians knew the exact locations of Godzilla and Rodan, even though the Earth people did not. Obviously, the Xians possessed technology to locate the kaiju. It is equally certain that after the defeat of the Xians, the wreckage of their bases would have been searched for useful information. In this way, the secret of locating the kaiju was eventually discovered and reproduced, although the Xians’ means of controlling the kaiju was not.

The role of the Xians resolves some other conundrums as well. In Monster Zero the Xians did not request the aid of Mothra, who had played a pivotal role in King Ghidora’ s earlier defeat. Why not?  Before approaching the Earth the Xians had already found Godzilla, Rodan and, no doubt, Mothra. They would have contacted the Shobijin (twin fairies) in order to neutralize Mothra. At the time, Mothra would have been unhatched (more on this in the next installment), but still a potential threat to the Xians’ plans for conquest. Unable to fool the Shobijin, the Xians would have eliminated them or removed them from Earth to prevent their interference, and Mothra’s. This explains why Mothra is absent from Monster Zero as well as why the Shobijin are never seen after Godzilla vs the Sea Monster. Mothra was eventually moved to Ogasawara, still in the egg stage, hatching sometime after arrival.

By 1972, the time of Godzilla vs Megalon, no other kaiju had been brought to Monster Island. It is not until 1999 (Destroy All Monsters) that the remaining kaiju have been assembled: Varan, Baragon, and Manda. All three had been recovering from serious injuries making them easy to capture, yet they must have been difficult to retrieve because of their resting places: Varan and Manda at the bottom of the ocean, Baragon deep underground. The remaining kaiju were accounted for in Part I. To recap: Hedorah, Titanosaurus, Sanda, Gaila, and Ebirah were dead, Gigan and King Ghidora were in outer space, King Seesar was entombed, Megalon was inaccessible, and Kong was missing and presumed dead.

Finding the kaiju and moving them to Ogasawara was one problem, keeping them there was another, and one not easily solved. In the beginning, there appear to have been no special measures used to keep the kaiju within bounds. Reliance seems to have been placed on the natural inclinations of the monsters themselves. Godzilla would stay put to look after Minilla, Angilas and Gorosaurus were recovering from injuries, Spiega and Gimantis would have no particular reason to leave. Mothra would not leave unless summoned by the Shobijin and Rodan had chosen the site for its nest.

At the time of Godzilla On Monster Island, the kaiju are able to come and go from Ogasawara at will. They are still considered a threat; Angilas is attacked when he first arrives at Sagarni Bay. The same is true at the time of Godzilla vs Megalon; nothing prevents Godzilla from answering Jet Jaguar’s call for help. Eventually, security devices are installed to keep the kaiju on the islands and the secure area is named Monsterland. If any attempt was made to rebuild Mechagodzilla or Mechanikong to serve as guards, it obviously failed. Here is the Monster Island chronology:

1967: The decision is made by the United Nations to establish Monster Island. The Ogasawara Islands, Rodan’ s nesting place, are selected. The deep frozenkaijuare brought there.
1967-70: Angilas, Gorosaurus, and Mothra are brought to Monster Island.
1971-99: Varan, Baragon, and Manda arrive.
1999: Control devices are installed to prevent the monsters’ periodic wanderings. The monsters are freed by the alien Kilaaks, but eventually recovered and returned to Monsterland.