Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is a fan favorite among hardcore and casual viewers. It was Jun Fukuda’s last film for the series. Fukuda is known for his light and fun tone in contrast with Ishiro Honda’s gloomy way of directing. This film is primarily important for one thing: the introduction of Mechagodzilla, or as the Sony DVD refers to him as, mechanical titan of terror! This would be G’s 20th anniversary, an impressive feat. I personally was never a huge fan of this film and much prefer its direct sequel, Terror of Mechagodzilla. The characters are far more interesting and the new monster, Titanosaurus, is handled better than the new monster here, King Caesar. But there’s no denying that Vs. MG has a lot of charm and is a lot of fun to watch.
The story centers around a prophecy that a giant monster will come and burn Tokyo. (Like that hasn’t happen before!) Godzilla emerges soon after, and seems to follow the prophecy that a monster will rise to destroy the state when black clouds appear. Things are not what they seem though when Godzilla’s pal Anguirus comes and battles him. Doesn’t make sense, eh? After a brutal battle, the real Godzilla appears and makes the Fake Godzilla reveal his true form, a robot duplicate made by Aliens of the third planet from the Black Hole. It’ll take the tag team of G and the ‘guardian of Okinawa,’ King Caesar, to put an end to it. The story moves along a little slowly at times. If the cast were just a little bit duller, then we’d have a problem. Thankfully, the cast is pretty solid. Not the best, but not bad.
The cast is your run of the mill standard Godzilla humans. Not quite the level of some of the earlier Showa films but still more interesting than a good majority of the Heisei films. Interpol agent Nanbara adds some much needed pizzaz to the human part of the story. (He has the infamous line in the dub, (“On this night, you should talk about love.“) While MechaG is the antagonist, the person behind the scenes is Kuronuma, commander of the Black Hole aliens. He’s the only real character of the invaders, the rest are just minions. He’s definitely one of the greatest humanoid villains in the entire Godzilla series. (Though no one can beat the Controller of Planet X!)
Godzilla like always is a blast to watch. Like in Vs. Megalon, he’s so full of personality that you just have to give a round of applause to everyone involved. The suit is is lifted from the previous film with a few modifications. It’s perfected in Terror of Mechagodzilla, but still looks great here. Mechagodzilla steals the show however, with such a unique Steampunk-like look. No other Mechagodzilla is bursting with personality like this guy, a true shame. He also has a great deal of unique abilities. such as finger missiles and a barrier he can create by rotating his head. TOHO truly outdid themselves with this robot, who would go on to become of the most recognizable and popular of Godzilla characters.
King Caesar is the other new monster. He was constantly hyped throughout, and even got a Mothra-like song. The design is pretty unique, looking like a mixture of a lion and a dog. The concept of being an ancient guardian ‘god’ is good, but unfortunately fell flat when he got pummeled by Mechagodzilla. In fact, he ended up being more of a liability than asset when Godzilla arrived. It’s disappointing since there was so much hype and in the end he didn’t really make too much of a difference in the final fight. Good character, but perhaps could have been portrayed better. (The grandfather states that King Caesar was the only monster that could defeat Godzilla…yeah I don’t think so.)
We can’t forget Anguirus. The film actually opened up with him roaring in the water. His major scene is when he battles the Fake Godzilla. To intervene for a second, Fake G is one of the most brilliant ideas of the whole Godzilla franchise. I could imagine the shock when Fake G appeared with the classic theme and the audience wondering why he destroyed a building and was brutally massacring his friend. Now, the fight between Anguirus and Fake G is a highlight, though not for the squeamish. In one of the most violent scenes in the series, Fake G breaks Anguirus’ jaw and sends him retreating away. It’s a really fantastic sequence all around. Though, it would have been nice to perhaps get a shot of Anguirus and Godzilla in the ending, since the viewer doesn’t get to know what happened to him.
An infamous plothole is when Miss Azumi, King Caesar’s singer, has a vision of a monster buring Tokyo and the people. Instead of showing Mechagodzilla, it shows King Ghidorah and his familar roar. It wouldn’t have made sense to show MechaG then, cause it would have spoiled the surprise. But it also doesn’t make sense for Ghidorah to appear, because he has absolutely no relevance to the story. Moving past that, one can’t help but find it peculiar that the aliens are actually ape-men in disguise. These aliens would go on to become cult favorites, being featured in the Dark Horse and IDW comics. The soundtrack by Masaru Sato is appropriate for a light 70’s flick. The battle theme is the most well-known of them all. While not quite as good as Ifukube’s work, it fits this film well enough.
Overall, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is a solid entry. The cast, while not being too engaging, is pretty good. The monster scenes are some of the best and a blast to watch. This is a perfect example showing that these aren’t animals fighting, these are characters. Little things such as Godzilla tilting his head in a perplexed manner after seeing the metal on under Fake G and MechaG dogging a counter-beam from King Caesar shows just how much heart is put into these things. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is easily best MechaG film to date aside from its sequel.
Daniel is the guy for everything Godzilla related at Unleash the Fanboy. Besides the Big G himself, his favorite monster is Rodan and you can follow him on Twitter:@Destroyer_199