Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla


At the end of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), Big G just walks away from Tokyo, not considered completely injured or dead or sent away in a black hole. He just decides enough is enough. Mechagodzilla (or Kiryu as the machine made in the image of Godzilla is called by his makers) had unloaded all its weaponry, even using the grid lighting Tokyo as backup generation. Yet, despite all that, Big G just walks away. Those in the Kiryu project consider Godzilla leaving a big victory because Tokyo is salvaged anymore suffering, no longer punished structurally or with any more loss of life. Yumiko Shaku is Akane, a commander over a squadron unable to circumvent “Godzilla’s ancestry”, a new creature genetically tied to the giant lizard borne of radiation in 1954. The skeleton of the ’54 Godzilla is being used by Tokyo scientists and military defense forces to build their own mechanical version of the current relative, in the hopes of finally ridding themselves once and for all of any destructive monster that might decide to stampede through the city. Shin Takuma is Tokumitsu Yuhara, a scientist to help build Kiryu, with daughter, Sara (Kana Onodera) in tow (he wouldn’t come along unless she followed). While Yūsuke Tomoi’s antagonistic Hayama continues to provoke Akane by calling her out as a failed leader for the disaster that happened when trying to use an ineffective cannon against Godzilla as it came ashore. So while Akane deals with the misery of losing her squadron, she joins an elite aerial force, eventually emerging as the manual operations inside Kiryu.

The first time Mechagodzilla is afforded the chance to combat Godzilla it malfunctions, for one hour turned loose on a city unprepared for its rampage. One cool moment has Kiryu walking right through a large skyscraper. Kiryu, once back at headquarters, goes under testing and repair to correct its malfunction. It is obvious that the film will deliver what it promises: a climactic duel in the heart of Tokyo with buildings, roads, bridges, and traffic that stand in the way of these combative foes due for obliteration. Poor Tokyo, just as it has found restructuring and renaissance, the monsters return to wreak havoc once again. While Mechagodzilla looks gnarly, it lacks the personality of the usual monsters that duke it out with Godzilla. It is mostly “bio-machine” so there’s no “alive” in it. It is mechanical and needs others to operate its movements. Eventually Akane is that person to control the giant machine lizard against Big G, and Tokyo is ultimately the most victimized. I always contemplate just how much of a death toll Godzilla’s violent excursions leave behind. The movie lets us know that there is an evacuation, so perhaps many were able to get out in time. Just the same, Tokyo certainly sustains plenty of “contact”.

Mechagodzilla just lights Big G up several times with unloaded arsenals of laser and missile fire, but despite all of the noise and light show nothing comes of it. Not a scratch, bruise, or wound seems to come of all the display of force. That I think cheapens the novel concept of this Monster Robot in the likeness of Godzilla…it never seems to even tire Godzilla so how does the ending prove he “lost”. He just got fed up with Mechagodzilla, that’s all. Well, maybe that is a victory in itself…just to get rid of Big G helps Tokyo recover somewhat. Still, it is but small potatoes. Sara and her plant, the loss of her mom, and bonding with Akane give the film some human moments. Akane rising up out of the doldrums and proving Hayama wrong is a story, too…getting to exact some revenge on Big G for killing her officers allows her some payback. It’s not enough but at least Kiryu was a weapon at her disposal. It beats him just walking about willy-nilly breathing his fire onto the city without resistance. Kou Takasugi is Akane’s commanding officer, in the cockpit of a fighter plane, is actually rescued by her when his carriage in the clutches of Big G, parachuting out in the nick of time. For Kaiju fans, there’s plenty of noise and carnage…we’re not robbed of Tokyo’s ruin and injury. But from the ruins the inhabitants will rebuild. They’ll rebuild until Big G and some other monster returns to undermine their efforts at thriving as a city of industry and progress.