Kaiju Profile – Mechagodzilla – By Jordan Garren

MECHAGODZILLA (1974-1975)

Height: 50 Meters (164 feet)

Mass: 40,000 metric tons (44,000 tons)

Weapons/Abilities: Missiles from fingers, toes, throat, and knees; laser blasts from eyes; close attack beam from chest; ability to create a protective force field around itself; rockets in feet allow Mechagodzilla to fly up to speeds of Mach 5; Space Titanium armor.

First Appearance: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

(Showa) Mechagodzilla’s Complete Filmography: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla (a.k.a. Mechagodzilla’s Counterattack).

Origin: Alien beings known as the Simeons built Mechagodzilla to conquer Earth because their own planet is being sucked into a black hole in a galaxy, far, far away.

While King Ghidorah has always been considered Godzilla’s greatest foe by man fans, I think Mechagodzilla is definitely a worthier foe. This hulking cybernetic doppelganger first battled Godzilla in 1974’s aptly titled Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. The movie is probably one of the last great films in the Showa series and showcases some great kaiju battles as well as a healthy dose of intrigue and fantasy elements. Aliens from “The Third Planet from the Black Hole” are planning on colonizing Earth because well… they’re planet is being sucked into a black hole! (For once, the aliens actually have a reason to conquer humanity!) In order to carry out their plans they construct Mechagodzilla, a super powerful mechanical double of Japan’s savior and pop culture icon. While the diabolical robotic monster proves to be more than a match for Anguirus (in a brief cameo) and Godzilla, the aliens are worried about the resurrection of another monster that may be able to stop Mechagodzilla: King Caesar!

It’s this plot point that really pushes the movie along. The film’s human protagonists are in possession of a King Caesar statue and plan on returning it to the Azumi temple from which it belongs. With this statue, King Caesar can be awakened to defend Japan! Of course, those pesky aliens, the Simeons, are hot on the trail of the statue and try to steal it every chance they get! By the end of the film, King Caesar is aroused from his centuries of slumber and he takes on Mechagodzilla until Godzilla arrives on the scene. Earth’s two guardian monsters then their mechanical attacker a harsh beating. Using a newly acquired ability to magnetize himself, Godzilla
latches on to Mechagodzilla and twists off the imposter’s head, resulting in a huge explosion. With Mechagodzilla destroyed, King Caesar returns to his hibernation and Godzilla wades off into the sunset. However, this definitely isn’t the last time Godzilla would butt heads with his robotic double. A year later, Godzilla and Mechagodzilla would return in another battle royale with Terror of Mechagodzilla (known as Mechagodzilla’s Counterattack in its native country). In this film, the Simeons have rebuilt and added many new improvements to their mechanical masterpiece of mayhem. And as if the odds weren’t already against Godzilla, the Simeons also have another ace up their sleeve. Dr. Mifune, one of Japan’s greatest scientific minds, has sided with the alien beings.

Why is he so important you may be wondering? Because he has full control of a giant aquatic dinosaur called Titanosaurus! Eventually Godzilla shows up (with a little dramatic flair) and takes on both monsters. Though Godzilla fights his heart out, he clearly isn’t a match for the combined might of Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla. Once again, it’s up to Japan’s scientists and military to help the Big-G out. During the film’s finale, Godzilla once again beheads Godzilla, but it turns out that the Simeons had already learned from last time. Beneath it’s Godzillian skull of space titanium, Mechagodzilla has a second small robotic head! However, this new addition still isn’t enough to stop the King of the Monsters and Mechagodzilla is ultimately destroyed by a few well aimed atomic blasts. Mechagodzilla would not be seen again until Nintendo’s awesome side scrolling game, Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (1988) in which you play as Godzilla and/or Mothra and travel across our galaxy, battling monsters during your journey. Mechagodzilla would also appear in a Godzilla Gameboy game where you guide a miniature Godzilla through mazes and traps while avoiding the likes of Hedorah, Mechagodzilla, Baragon, and others. The original Mechagodzilla would also see some action in both Godzilla’s Greatest Battles (only released in Japan but available to download off the internet if you’re familiar with emulation) and Super Godzilla, both released on the Super Nintendo console.

MECHAGODZILLA (1993)

Height: 120 Meters (394 feet)

Mass: 150,000 metric tons (165,000 tons)

Weapons/Abilities: Flight at Mach 1; mega-buster ray; synthetic diamond armor that is heat resistant; lasers from eyes; plasma grenades; can combine with the Garuda aircraft to become Super-Mechagodzilla; paralysis missiles; shock anchor and cables; “Godzilla Crusher.”

First Appearance: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

(Heisei) Mechagodzilla’s Complete Filmography: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
Origin: This new version of Mechagodzilla was built by the U.N. Godzilla Countermeasures Center to defeat Godzilla. The “Godzilla Crusher” weapon aboard Mechagodzilla is capable of killing Godzilla by destroying the “second brain” on his back.(?!)

During Toho’s Heisei Godzilla series, the film maker’s began bringing back classic Godzilla monster and revamping them. Besides having new designs, creatures like Mothra and Rodan were also given new origins and powers. Case in point, Mechagodzilla’s origin was changed. Now the massive cybernetic weapon is a man-made machine capable of bringing down Godzilla permanently. In its first and only appearance in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Mechagodzilla takes on not only Godzilla but Fire Rodan, a bigger, stronger, fire-breathing version of Toho’s classic kaiju. Mechagodzilla mortally wounds Fire Rodan during the film’s climax and actually kills Godzilla with the “G-Crusher” weapon (designed to eliminate Godzilla’s second brain). During its final moments of life, Fire Rodan manages to throw itself onto Godzilla and pass on its radioactive energy to the fallen monster. Godzilla almost instantly heals and is soon on the warpath. Needless to say, Mechagodzilla II was no match for the newly re-energized Godzilla and was thoroughly destroyed. However, Mechagodzilla II would go on to be a major character in Marc Cerasini’s Godzilla vs. The Robot Monsters.

This time out, Mechagodzilla is a new anti-kaiju weapon developed by the United States and Japan. The machine is ready for action but the only problem is that they still haven’t found anyone that can use the virtual reality control system. As fate would have it, a young boy name Michael Sullivan steps in and figures out how to use the system. Ironically Michael is forever bound to a wheelchair and cannot walk, but the use of the VR controls allows him to literally walk in Mechagodzilla’s shoes! Throughout the book, a barrage of monsters appear across the world and Mechagodzilla and Moguera (Russia’s clunky answer to America and Japan’s robotic achievement) are put into action to stop some of the lesser monsters. In the end however, the two robots and their main target, Godzilla, band together to stop the mighty Mecha-King Ghidorah, which is now the world conquest tool of an evil Mongol warlord who intends on rebuilding the Mongol empire! During the massive kaiju battle at the end, all of the mechanical monsters are destroyed and a triumphant Godzilla returns back to his home at sea. After this, Mechagodzilla II would appear in both Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee and more recently Godzilla: Save the Earth as a playable character.

MECHAGODZILLA (2002-2003)
(A.K.A. KIRYU)

Height: 60 Meters (197 feet)

Mass: 44,000 metric tons (40,000 tons)

Weapons/Abilities: Limited flight ability via rockets on back; maser blasts from mouth; “Absolute-Zero Cannon” can freeze and disintegrate anything it hits; twin laser cannons mounted on arms; shoulder mounted rockets and heat-seeking missiles; and so much more!

First Appearance: Godzilla X Mechagodzilla

(Millenium) Mechagodzilla’s Complete Filmography: Godzilla X Mechagodzilla and Godzilla X Mothra X Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Origin: The Japanese government fished the bones of the first Godzilla out of the Pacific and built them into the new and improved Mechagodzilla (a.k.a. Kiryu). This kaiju-sized robot is controlled by a DNA computer which allows for an occasional glitch during a few encounters with Godzilla, resulting in the machine’s Godzilla DNA to take over and cause wanton destruction.

During the start of the Millenium series, Godzilla took on several new kaiju creations. The results of the first two films were a bit disappointing so Toho starting using classic monsters throughout the rest of their films. In 2002’s Godzilla X Mechagodzilla, the all new Mecha-G is actually built from the bones of the first Godzilla (who stomped through Tokyo, Japan back in 1954). Because of this, Mechagodzilla (known as Kiryu in the Millenium films) actually goes haywire about halfway into the film after hearing Godzilla’s roars. Apparently the Big-G’s roar triggered past memories in Kiryu and it regresses to it’s old habits of city stomping. However, that “minor glitch” is repaired and Kiryu is once again sent to clash with the King of the Monsters. At the end of the movie, Kiryu fires it’s Absolute Zero gun (inspired by the weaponry the Natal alien mother ships used in 1959’s Battle in Outer Space). The powerful weapon actually freezes/disintegrates a huge chunk of Godzilla’s chest, causing the Big-G to retreat and heal it’s wounds. This victory would prove to be short lived because Godzilla would return a year later in Godzilla X Mothra X Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S..

That’s right, Mothra comes into play in this movie, and on the side of humanity. Or rather, Mothra will aid humanity, if Kiryu is dismantled and the Godzilla bones are returned to the sea. If that is done, Mothra will protect Japan from Godzilla, otherwise Mothra will aid in mankind’s downfall. So sayeth the tiny Shobijin, the tiny girls who have been a staple of every Mothra film ever made. Their warning puts a young engineer named Yoshito Chujo between a rock and a hard place. He’s currently working on the Kiryu project and aiding in its repairs, but now he questions if he’s doing the right thing. Human drama aside, the highlights of this movie are the battles between Godzilla, Mothra, her twin larvae, and Kiryu. Godzilla dishes out as much punishment as he takes and is brought down by the combined effort of the two larval Mothras and Kiryu. Once Godzilla is down for the count, Kiryu’s primal memories take over and the mechanized monster picks up Godzilla’s silk enshrouded body and flies off far out over the Pacific Ocean. Eventually, Mechagodzilla’s power runs down and it splashes into the water, taking Godzilla with it to a watery hibernation. Since its two feature films, Kiryu has been a playable character in the X-BOX version of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee and can also be utilized in the game’s sequel, Godzilla: Save the Earth. Either way, you’re guaranteed to cause your enemy a lot of pain with Kiryu’s powerful array of rockets and lasers!

Mechagodzilla has always been one of my favorite monsters and has to be Godzilla’s most powerful foe. The original Mecha-G from the mid-70’s perfroms rather impressively and actually wounds Godzilla so badly that he’s bleeding! In its followup film, Mechagodzilla is much more malevolent since it’s being controlled by a young girl/cyborg named Katsura and dishes out more punishment to Earth’s radioactive savior. This design for Mechagodzilla is truly my favorite and shows off the sheer imagination of Toho’s suit maker’s and special effects artists. And unlike its future incarnations, this Mechagodzilla can actually be disguised as Godzilla (with synthetic skin)! The Mechagodzilla II is a fairly cool upgrade from that Showa Mechagodzilla, but is truly lacking the screen presence of the original. Sure it looks impressive and has a huge arsenal of weapons, but the Mechagodzilla II loses a lot of its on-screen power because it is now a man-made machine and because it lacks any character. Still, it’s probably the first monster in Toho history to actually kill Godzilla, even if only for a few minutes. Kiryu (a.k.a. Mechagodzilla 3) is a major step up from the Mechagodzilla II, not only in design but character. Due to the fact that Kiryu is controlled primarily by a DNA computer that is connected with the Godzilla bones within its metallic body, it sometimes regresses into its former state; that of an angry and confused animal. But even when Kiryu is under total control, the robotic kaiju actually seems to actually convey emotion and is even, dare I say, a sympathetic character (especially during the final moments of Tokyo S.O.S.). Here’s hoping that Mechagodzilla appears in more films in the future and gets to battle other daikaiju, like Gamera! Yeah, that’d be great! Mechagodzilla vs. Gamera or how about Mechagodzilla vs. Ultraman?! You never know…. it could happen.

Pictures courtesy of Toho Kingdom.