THE LEGEND OF GODZILLA
John Rocco Roberto
PART SIX: MECHA-GODZILLA
1974 marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Godzilla. To mark this special occasion Godzilla producer Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted to create a new opponent for the King of the Monsters. He also wanted to tap in to the technological advances that were overtaking the world at the time. Thus was born MechaGodzilla. The concept of pitting kaiju against their robotic counter-parts was not new to Toho, as it had already been done almost 10 years before with Mechani-Kong (from King Kong Escapes). Godzilla’s robotic double however, proved to be much more a threat. Controlled by spacemen, Mechagodzilla is far more of a threat than Mechani-Kong ever was. Tanaka, and screenplay writers Hiroyasu Yamaura and Jun Fukuda (who directed the first Mechagodzilla film), also wanted to tap into the popular sci/fi “in thing” at the time. The Aliens From The Third Planet of the Black Hole are depicted as ape like creatures in the first film, reverting from their human guise upon death, and mutated humans in the second. This was obviously “borrowed” from the popular Planet of the Apes film series, the mutated human creatures looking strangely close to the mutated humans which inhabited New York City in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
Terror of MechaGodzilla would see the final return of original Godzilla director, and co-creator Ishiro Honda, as well as the return of Akira Ifukube to score the music. Ifukube would go onto to score several of the Heisei Godzilla films of the 90s, but unfortunately Honda, who had shown interest in directing one of the Heisei films, passed away in 1994. Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster and Terror of MechaGodzilla would mark the last of the Showa series films, and the end of Godzilla as the protector of mankind, as poor box office returns scraped all future plans to continue the series. When the King of the Monsters did make his big screen return 10 years later (in Godzilla 1985), he would return to his roots as the atomic terror of mankind.
Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster (1976)
Japanese Title: Gojira Tai Mechagojira (1974)
(Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla)
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Screenplay by Hiroyasu Yamaura and Jun Fukuda
Special Effects by Teruyoshi Nakano
Music by Masaru Sato
During a ancient ceremony in Okinawa, Masahiko Shimizu, and his brother Keisuke witness a prophetess predicts that monsters will soon overrun the world. Later in the day Masahikodiscovers a strange unearthly metal while exploring the caves in the area. Meanwhile a newly discovered cave at the construction site where Keisukeis in charge reveals an ancient underground temple, containing wall paintings and a statue of a lion like creature. Keisuke meets Saeko, an archaeologist who can translate the inscription on the statue. “When a black mountain appears above the clouds, a monster will come and try to destroy the world,” the hieroglyphics read. Saeko brings the strange statue back to her office, where her every move is watch by two strange figures. The next day Saeko runs into Keisuke board a plane on its way to Tokyo. Saeko intends to deliver the statue to Professor Wagura, and informs Keisuke that she has finished translating the inscriptions. Also on the flight is one of the strange figures who had been watching her. Suddenly, the entire plane full of passengers are drawn to the windows. Out in the distance, storm clouds have created the eerie vision of a black mountain floating over the clouds. In Tokyo,Keisuke accompanies Saeko to Professor Wagura’s resident, only to discover that the professor is Keisuke’s uncle. Saeko shows both the statue and the hieroglyph to the professor, and the two begin working on translating the ancient symbols. Later that night however, their work is interrupted by the intrusion of a strange visitor. Drawing a pistol, he demands that they turn over the statue. But before he can get his hands on it, Keisuke jumps him, and a fight ensues. The strange visitor runs from the house.
Meanwhile, brother Masahiko has taken the metal he had discovered in the caves to Dr. Miyajima, who discovers it is called Space Titanium. Suddenly an earthquake strikes the area, and to the horror of those around, Godzilla arrives to destroy Japan. Yet Godzilla seems strange, and as he cuts a path of destruction across the countryside Angilas soon arrives. But instead of greeting his old friend, Godzilla attacks him. During the battle, Angilas tears off a piece of Godzilla’s hide to reveal a patch of Space Titanium. Angered, Godzilla proceeds to break Angilas’ jaw. The monster retreats back underground. Suspecting that all is not right with this situation Dr. Miyajima, Masahiko and Miyajima’s daughter follow Godzilla for a closer look. As they witness the giant creature destroy a refinery they are shocked to seeGodzilla confronted by another Godzilla! During the battle of the twin titans, the false Godzilla is revealed to be a robot called Mechagodzilla.
From their secret underground base in Okinawa, the Spacemen from the Third Planet of the Black Hole in Outer Space watch the battle between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. The leader of the aliens is assured of Mechagodzilla’s victory, but as the battle rages Mechagodzilla is damaged and Godzilla is seriously wounded. As Godzilla recovers on Monster Island the spacemen begin to repair Mechagodzilla. Dr. Miyajima decides he must confront these aliens and heads off to the caves with his daughter and Masahiko.
Saeko and Professor Wagura, in the meantime, have learned that the Earth has one hope, the ancient creature King Seeser. But the monster cannot be revived without the iron-like statue. Unfortunately, the spacemen also know this, and is why they are out to steal the statue. To throw off their pursuers Keisuke and Saeko decide to head to Okinawa by boat. Unfortunately the aliens have guessed their plans and try to steal the statue. It is only through the intervention of the stranger they had met on the plane that the alien plan fails. Back in the underground base, Dr. Miyajima and his party have been captured, and Miyajima is forced to work on repairing Mechagodzilla. They are rescued by Keisuke, and the strange man who had been following him. It turns out that he is an Interpol agent, and they have been watching the spacemen for months. The agent, Masahiko and Dr. Miyajima (who feels guilty for having repaired Mechagodzilla), reenter the alien base in the hopes of destroying the giant cyborg., as Keisuke and Saeko take the statue to the prophetess. They arrive at the ancient shrine only to discover that the spacemen have gotten their first. Threatening to kill the prophetess and her grandfather, they are forced to turn over the statue, and are about to do so when their captures are suddenly gunned down. An Interpol agent, the partner of the mysterious man they had met on the plane, has been following their situation closely.
The prophetess is presented with the statue, just as the aliens launch Mechagodzilla. With a ritual song, she awakens King Seeser, who confronts Mechagodzilla. King Seeser however, is no match for Mechagodzilla alone, but as the two battle Godzilla soon arrives. He quickly joins King Seeser in the fight against Mechagodzilla. Back in the alien base, the Interpol agent, Dr. Miyajima and Masahiko have been captured by the alien leader. As they watch the ensuing battle on the monitor screens in the control center, it soon become apparent that Mechagodzilla is a match for both monsters. But Godzilla has learned a few new tricks, and quickly turns himself into an electro-magnet. Drawing Mechagodzilla towards him, he pins the cyborg creature allowing King Seeser to attack. Eventually Godzilla rips Mechagodzilla’s robotic head off, destroying the cyborg. Back in the alien base, the Interpol agent manages to free himself, and kills the alien invaders in a gun battle. As the alien base explodes King Seeser seals himself back into his mountainside cave as Godzilla swims out to sea.
Terror of MechaGodzilla (1978)
Japanese Title: Mechagojira No Gyakushu(1975)
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Screenplay by Yukiko Takayama
Special Effects by Teruyoshi Nakano
Music by Akira Ifukube
A year after the battle between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla a research submarine is searching the lake bottom for the wreckage of the giant robot. Suddenly the sub is attacked by a strange underwater creature and destroyed. Interpol, who investigated the first incident with Mechagodzilla, is call in to investigate the disaster. Recordings received from the sub just before it’s destruction indicate that a giant dinosaur may have been the cause of the disaster, andInterpol agent Murakoshi, with the help of biologist Ichinose (pronounced “Ichy-Nosey”)concludes that a discredited scientist named Shinji Mafune may have discovered the underwater monster years before. They visit the doctor’s home only to be told by the man’s daughter, Katsura, that he had dies years before. Meanwhile, in a hotel room high above Tokyo the Spacemen from the Third Planet of the Black Hole have returned. They plan to launch a new campaign to destroy Earth and have enlisted the aid of Dr. Mafune, who it turns out, is not really dead. Mafune, who turned his back on mankind after being dis-credited, has taken control of the underwater monster, called Titanosaurus. He is quickly enlisted by the aliens and taken to their secret base, where they are reconstructing Mechagodzilla. The alien leader offers Mafune a deal; help them repair Mechagodzilla and they will help Mafune reap his revenge.
Meanwhile, Katsura has become interested in Ichinose (especially as he believes in her father’s work), and when he informs her of their intentions to search for the dinosaur she warns him not to go underwater in search of Titanosaurus. Ichinose refuses to be put off, and invites Katsura to join him on the expedition. Back at her father’s house, Katsura is concerned about Ichinose, but the alien’s second-in-command reminds her of her true self (she was killed in a lab accident years before, and the aliens created a cyborg body for her mind to inhabit). But Katsura cannot help falling in love with the biologist, even though she is the key to controlling Titanosaurus. As Ichinose’s submarine searches the lake’s bottom she sends Titanosaurus to destroy them. In a desperate attempt to get away, the biologist activates the sonar, which sends Titanosaurus fleeing. Realizing that the monster is sensitive to supersonic waves, the military begins to build a supersonic wave oscillator.
In the meantime Dr. Mafune has grown impatient with the spacemen’s progress on Mechagodzilla and sends Titanosaurus to destroy Tokyo. The monster cuts a path of destruction through the city when suddenly Godzilla rises from behind some buildings and moves to attack Titanosaurus. At the military base it is soon discovered that the supersonic wave oscillator has been sabotaged, and Katsura is seen fleeing the building. Shot while trying to escape, her body plunges over a cliff and into the sea. Mafune is devastated by this loss and calls off the attack. The aliens however, retrieve her corpse and implant the Mechagodzilla control unit inside her chest. Angered that Mafune had acted on his own, they now have a bargaining chip over the doctor. Ichinose is also devastated by Katsura’s death, and goes to her home to pay his respects. He is quickly captured by the aliens and brought to the basement control room, where he is surprised to learn that not only is Katsura alive, but so is Doctor Mafune. Now under alien brainwashing she launches Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus to destroy Tokyo. The two monsters begin to tear the city apart, only to be confronted by Godzilla. As the giant creatures battle the military launches a helicopter armed with the now repaired supersonic wave oscillator. The energy beams completely incapacitate Titanosaurus, leaving only Mechagodzilla for Godzilla to contend with. But the aliens have made several improvements in their robot design, and defeating Mechagodzilla will not be so easy this time.
Back in the basement control center Ichinose cuts himself loose and strangles to death the second-in-command as Interpol agents surround Mafune’s house. Katsura is shot in the arm, allowing her to overcome her alien programming. Unfortunately her father is not so lucky, used as a human shield by the alien commander, he is killed in the ensuing gun battle. As Murakoshi and the rest of the agents chase off after the commander Katsura realizes that there is only one way to defeat Mechagodzilla, and begs Ichinose to kill her. Ichinose can not do it, even though he knows that katsura is a cyborg and that the Mechagodzilla controller is located inside of her; he loves her, and he can not do it. Realizing this, Katsura picks up the commander’s discarded weapon and shoots herself. As she lies dying, the control over Mechagodzilla is released. Godzilla easily defeats Mechagodzilla without alien intelligence to guide it, and turns his attention toward Titanosaurus, who Interpol has subdue with their sonar weapon. the commander however, has escaped to his ships, hidden beneath the waves of the lake. as the ships rise into the air Godzilla’s atomic breath makes short work of them. Finally, completely disorientated, Godzilla flings Titanosaurus’ body back into the lake. As Murakoshi and Ichinose morn over Katsura’s body, Godzilla swims out to sea.
© 2004 John Rocco Roberto/Visagraph Films International.