Some thoughts about Destoroyah

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Some thoughts about Destoroyah

Post by BENNI.RoR »

Ever since I first ventured into the depths of the internet to read other fan's opinions about various Godzilla movies there are two opinions about Destoroyah in particular that I always found to be weird: first of all that Destoroyah is supposedly Godzilla's strongest foe and second of all that he (it?) is the ultimate evil and the most sadistic monster of the series. I kinda disagree with both of these sentiments but need to elaborate on why I disagree. This is first and foremost from an "in-universe point of view", not taking the real world context of the movie into account (at least not much).

1: Destoroyah is not Godzilla's strongest foe (but still very strong)

I always disagreed with the sentiment of Destoroyah being Godzilla's strongest foe because in my opinion every single form of Destoroyah has shown serious weaknesses or shortcomings in terms of various factors. Furthermore we lack critical information on how exactly Destoroyah even functions as an organism, let alone how intelligent he may or may not be.
Destoroyah's strength clearly lies in his adaptability. Not only did he survive in a dormant state for millions of years, he appears to be very prone to mutation, clearly using it to his own advantage. He can also apparently gather much energy from very little substance, being able to spawn hundreds of his Juvenile forms from just eating fish in the aquarium, maybe even the surrounding waters of Tokyo bay. All forms of Destoroyah seemingly draw from some kind of collective energy reservoir to mutate and sustain itself, this reservoir being very big, quickly regenerating but in the end still finite.
The strength of the Juvenile forms lies in offensive capabilites with strong melee attacks and a deadly micro-oxygen beam. But they can clearly be killed by conventional weapons like rocket launchers, grenades and flamethrowers. When the JSDF deployed helicopters, conventional tanks, MB92s, MBAW-93s and CLT-95s it was absolute overkill, at least the way I see it. As portrayed in the movie these weapons were absolutely capable of atomizing the Juvenile Destoroyahs and the nightmare would have been over there and then if Destoroyah wouldn't have used his mutative capabilities to merge into Aggregate Destoroyah. In theory this form should have still been killed rather quickly by the low-temperature weapons, but it made sure to destroy them quickly enough and flee the scene.
Both Aggregate Destoroyah and his flying form are the logical continuation of the Juvenile form: massive offensive capabilites with low defensive powers. Even though Godzilla Junior got nearly obliterated in his gruesome fight against Destoroyah his atomic breath was obviously able to sever limbs of Destoroyah and force the flying form down on the ground.
We know from some guide book to the movie (I can't remember the exact source) that Destoroyah possesses the ability to absorb and use foreign DNA, such as that of Godzilla Junior. And how it fitting it was that the Final form of Destoroyah was both bipedal and much less crustacean than his previous forms. Maybe the sole reason he could survive in the fires of the burning power plant because he could utilize the fire resistance that Godzilla and Junior clearly have (bit of a stretch, but whatever).
Destoroyah's Final form appears to mitigate his previous defensive weaknesses. He could obviously fight Burning Godzilla for a sustained period of time without outright dying on the spot. Super Mechagodzilla's armor already began melting down just because he was close to Godzilla after his power-up from Rodan. Destoroyah was much more resilient, but just to a limited extend. He tanked the very first hit from Godzilla's red atomic breath and then it went downhill. Every single hit Destoroyah took hurt him profoundly, making him cough blood and forcing him into a temporary retreat into his Aggregate form. This move in particular is the only clear sign of intelligence in Destoroyah. Not only does he retreat, he changes his tactic to wear his opponent down. Every time Destoroyah gains the upper hand in the fight it is because he attacks from behind or when his opponent was distracted. He can temporarily topple Godzilla with his broad offensive arsenal of sheer mass, deadly beam attacks and his ability to fly, but he is never able to build upon that. None of his attacks is strong enough to kill Godzilla (despite his regeneration supposedly failing at that point). Yet every attack of Godzilla depletes Destoroyah's reserves, wounding him nearly all the time up until the point Destoroyah's energy reservoir is no longer able to reform him in any shape or form, after being blasted with extreme heat and cold all at once. To add to that I am of the opinion that Burning Godzilla is not even the strongest Heisei Godzilla. Godzilla in his fight against King Ghidorah was just as powerful, could regenerate without issue and couldn't be distracted by emotional burdens such as Godzilla Junior.
My point is: Destoroyah is a glorified glass cannon. He can dish out massive damage, is very adaptable, using mutations to surprise the enemy or change into something to somewhat mitigate his weaknesses. But he is not stronger than Godzilla in the strictest sense. We can barely say anything about Destoroyah's intelligence or how exactly he sustains himself after mutating into his Juvenile form. But his endurance and power are finite. Contrast that to Heisei Godzilla, whose biggest strength is his endurance, being nearly unkillable. Destoroyah's only shot is to overwhelm his opponent and kill him in an instant. Any drawn out fight and it's over for Destoroyah.

2: Destoroyah is not evil, sadistic or malicious

To get this straight, I know the movie portrays him in a very demonic light, killing Junior and interrupting Godzilla's mourning and all. But if you take his actions at face value he is no more evil than Rodan. He is trying to survive. Predators kill to survive and so Destoroyah kills and eats the fish. Animals either fight or flee to survive aggression and Juvenile Destoroyah fights the humans who enter his habitat. Aggregate Destoroyah fights against Junior because clearly another dangerous animal enters his territory. Aggregate Destoroyah gets his ass handed to him and his grievously wounded, nearly killed. And here comes the only ever emotion I could read in Destoroyah: revenge. Destoroyah heads straight for Junior to get his revenge for being hurt and nearly killed. To put it plainly, it's nothing personal against Godzilla. People always paint it as if Destoroyah was trying to emotionally hurt Godzilla. From a real-life perspective that is true. Destoroyah is a plot device to raise the stakes for the audience, but from the in-movie perspective Destoroyah doesn't know Godzilla at all and is instead out there to get revenge on his previous opponent. To be sadistic or malicious would require to be intelligent and to be able to think on an emotional level. But I think Destoroyah's intelligence is rather limited. He fights, he survives, he is sentient enough to change his tactics against Godzilla and attempt to flee when realizing that he is about to lose. But he is not plotting anything malicious like SpaceGodzilla, nor is he possessed by some kind of human-level intelligence such as Mothra, Battra or Biollante.

I know this is a long-ass wall of text, but these thoughts have always wandered though my mind when thinking about this unique opponent of Godzilla and I really wanted to elaborate on them in a detailed way. Perhaps this speaks for the quality of the movie, despite the numerous list of short-comings it very clearly has. Or at the very least it speaks for the quality of Destoroyah's design and intended portrayal.

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Re: Some thoughts about Destoroyah

Post by G.H.B »

Welcome to the forums. This is pretty much my take as well. Destoroyah isn’t any more exceptionally malicious than Godzilla was in the first four Heisei films.

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Re: Some thoughts about Destoroyah

Post by LSD Jellyfish »

The idea of Destoroyah's territory being encroached upon by Godzilla Junior is an interesting one. It changes the dynamic of what is going on and I find it interesting. Same for Destoroyah merely getting revenge against the creature that just seriously wounded it (Junior) instead of trying to emotionally damage Godzilla. I'd agree that Destoroyah's strengths are it's adaptability, and that relative to other monsters, it's frail. That's a similarity it has with it's progenitor Hedorah.

I think a lot of what you talk about in regards to Destoroyah in the second half is about how Destoroyah has been propped up as a sadist/evil monster from the videogames and comics. I don't think that Destoroyah works well as a sympathetic creature, so I also think Toho is cool at letting the monster occupy that mold.
Last edited by LSD Jellyfish on Sun Dec 10, 2023 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some thoughts about Destoroyah

Post by edgaguirus »

Audiences also have a tendency to give non-human characters human qualities. Destroyah defending its turf and then killing Junior out of revenge or survival is very animal minded. However, since Destroyah is clearly seen as the villain in the movie, perspective will make its actions appear evil.
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Re: Some thoughts about Destoroyah

Post by Amp87 »

Destoroyah is one of those kaijus that is still talked about despite being on one film throughout the franchise its been nearly 30 years since the series ended. To me Destoroyah is not the most durable or toughest kaiju that Godzilla has faced at least in the films that honor has to go to Space Godzilla. To me Destoroyah is not the main villain of the franchise that of course is King Ghidorah has been since 1964 when he debuted and took on Rodan, Mothra, and Godzilla in the first multiple kaiju fight of all time.

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Re: Some thoughts about Destoroyah

Post by OrnithopodaistheBest »

I mean, as a character he's a blank canvas writers can exploit in other installments. Compared to Spacegodzilla who's explicitly stated to have human-level intelligence and has a plan to take over the Earth and eliminate Godzilla, Dessy comes across as more of a rampaging animal trying to survive, you do get things like him seemingly laughing when he chokes G man and his son with his tail, but these are pretty insignificant, and he's honestly a bit of a let down because with that ridiculously hardcore look you almost expect Dessy to be some sort of terrifying cackling maniac out to turn the planet into his personal playground, but you don't get much of that, and so it's up to ancillary media to carve out a more developed personality for the monster.

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