30 Days of Godzilla: Day 15: Best Millennia Series Fight: The ones that come to mind for me are Godzilla vs. Kiryu in both Godzilla against MechaGodzilla and Tokyo S.O.S there was something about the intensity of those fights that made me interested. The climatic battle in Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus had some nice charm to them.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Mekagojira no Gyakushuu aka Counterattack of Mechagodzilla aka Terror of MechaGodzilla 1975:
Like Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, I love this film. Despite being a follow up to Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, the tone and style they took is much different than the colorful and flare of vs. MechaGodzilla. However this new direction the movie takes, is just as good and interesting.
The reason for the change in tone and direction is because director Ishiro Honda comes back one last time to direct the last of the Showa era of Godzilla movies (He started it, might as well end it as well.). With him comes Akira Ifukube who delivers a fresh new score for the film that fits very well with Honda’s directing. It’s nice seeing these two again and the effort and craft they put really makes this film stand out.
MechaGodzilla returns and this time he has a friend in a monster known as Titanosaurus, who is being mind controlled by a disgraced scientist, Dr. Shinji Mafune who teams up with the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens, the Simians. Indeed the aliens who created MechaGodzilla, have returned for another invasion. This time in detail we learn that they want Earth to colonize it due to their species dying out. It’s interesting in this film compared to vs. MechaGodzilla, the Simians here are more cold, no tolerance, serious antagonists who show no mercy as opposed to the previous film where they are more suave and colorful in their approach. The Simians here, don’t play around and I don’t mind the change, different invasion team, different styles. I like both styles.
The human side of things feels more dramatic than before, it feels like a drastic race against time, and humanity is giving it all it can to make sure this second invasion doesn’t succeed like the first. The real tragic side in this film are of the two human antagonists, Shinji Mafune and his daughter Kasura.
Shinji was a man driven mad by a society that rejected him and his ideas, he holds them responsible for him being an outcast and the death of his wife. He goes so far as to allow the Simians to make his daughter into a cyborg. When he realized too late that she would become the new control center for MechaGodzilla, he realized he made a deal with the devil but still continued on, he came too far to back down and he ultimately pays the price.
Kasura’s tragedy is her becoming a cyborg. She is constantly told by the Simians that she isn’t human, that anything she feels is a lie. She is nothing but coldness. Until she met a man named Akira Ichinose, who warmed up to her and was truly open minded enough to believe in her father’s theories. She felt the most human around him, her personality is in constant shift when with her father and others compared to when she’s with Akira. In the end she too ultimately pays for her father’s arrogance and lack of trusting herself. But she went out on her own terms, killing herself to stop MechaGodzilla once and for all.
Those two really stood out to me. Cast wise they are serviceable and with Honda’s direction they the point and mood across very well. Akihiko Hirata again stood out to me as the scientist Shinji Mafune, really capturing a sense of betrayal and hatred in his performance. As well as Tomoko Ai who played Kasura. She captures a struggling person who isn’t sure of their humanity.
Godzilla is great in this film when he appears. He has a fight for his life as he has to battle MechaGodzilla and Titanosaurus by himself. That’s like fighting King Ghidorah and Gigan by himself. But his effort and sure determination (and a little help from humanity, oh who full circle that is.) who is able to stop the threat and save the Earth. Toru Kawai steps in to suit act for Godzilla and does a fine job in capturing Godzilla’s attitude and personality.
MechaGodzilla is also good but sadly is probably the weakest of the three that stood out. However he’s out there, he’s destructive, relentless and even has a funny moment with Godzilla rips off his head and Godzilla is shocked to find that ripping his head off doesn’t work this time.
Titanosaurus really stole the show kaiju wise, his design, the way he’s used (underwater action done well), his powers and ultimately his tragedy of being a peaceful monster who actually doesn’t mean any harm, is being used by a broken man who is controlling him for his own vengeance.
Teruyoshi Nakano’s special effects are great again, matching what he did with vs. MechaGodzilla but showing off amazing miniature work. What he did with Titanosaurus during the underwater stuff is really amazing to see and the destruction is just marvelous as well. The action is on par with vs. MechaGodzilla on the monster side, creating a fun atmosphere despite the bitterness going on from the human side.
I would definitely recommend this film to Godzilla fans, toku fans just new fans. If you were a fan of vs. MechaGodzilla, it’s a great follow up, if you wanted to get a Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla that was a tad bit more serious, this is for you too. What you’ll get is a Honda film that harkens back to earlier Showa kaijuu film in the sense of tone and tragedy. You’ll get great directing and music to mix in with some amazing special effects and action. It’s one of the Showa era’s best films and a nice film to end on for the era. As we see Godzilla in this era go to sea one last time in triumph as he gets a well deserved rest.
Final Thoughts on the Showa Era of Godzilla:
So that’s the last of the Showa era of Godzilla films. How do I feel about the era as a whole? Overall, I love the Showa era of Godzilla, great creativity, craft, action and idea just ripe with fun and imagination. It’s a fun era that I’d recommend for anyone wanting to get into Godzilla or just want to have fun. I grew up with it, so it holds a special place in my heart.