Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
Startup - Resonance - Smashed Ice (起動・共鳴・氷砕)
— Japanese tagline
Fight 'til crumbled!
— International tagline
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (ゴジラ×メカゴジラ Gojira tai Mekagojira, lit. Godzilla × Mechagodzilla) is a 2002 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the twenty-sixth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the fourth in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 14, 2002.
Yet another reboot to the Godzilla continuity, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla reintroduces Godzilla's popular foe Mechagodzilla for the Millennium series. When a second Godzilla attacks Japan in 1999, the Japanese government dredges up the bones of the first Godzilla from 1954 and uses them to construct an anti-Godzilla weapon codenamed Kiryu. Kiryu is completed in 2003, when Godzilla returns to menace Yokohama. Kiryu is sent to combat Godzilla, but the monster's roar awakens the first Godzilla's soul within the cyborg, causing Kiryu to go berserk. Kiryu's lead scientist Tokumitsu Yuhara races to rectify this error in the cyborg before Godzilla makes landfall again. But even if Kiryu is fixed, the question remains if the government would willingly launch it again.
Plot[edit | edit source]
45 years after the original Godzilla's attack on Tokyo, a second Godzilla emerges and attacks Tateyama in 1999. The JXSDF is unable to defeat or even harm the monster. During the battle, Type 90 Maser Cannon operator Akane Yashiro accidentally backs into another vehicle, sending her commanding officer and its other occupants right into Godzilla's path, where they are killed. Akane is demoted in the aftermath and the Japanese government decides to commission a cyborg constructed from the first Godzilla's bones with help from the country's top scientists.
Four years later in 2003, the cyborg, named Kiryu, is finished and inducted into the JXSDF along with its human pilots, the Kiryu Squad. To Akane's surprise, she is made the primary pilot of the squadron, though Second Lieutenant Susumu Hayama still blames her for the death of his brother. A demonstration of Kiryu's abilities, including the Absolute Zero Cannon, which can effectively disintegrate enemies, is held for officials. At the same time, Godzilla reappears at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea paradise, prompting the JXSDF to immediately deploy Kiryu. During the battle, Kiryu unleashes most of its weaponry against Godzilla, who is seemingly too shocked to respond. Just before Akane uses the Absolute Zero Cannon to finish him off, Godzilla roars, causing Kiryu to freeze and remember its past life. Godzilla uses the opportunity to slip back into the sea, while an enraged Kiryu proceeds to rampage through the city for several hours before running out of power.
Kiryu is brought back to headquarters for further work, including weapon upgrades and computer software improvement. Meanwhile, Akane tries to settle matters with Hayama, and meets with scientist Tokumitsu Yuhara, who offers to buy her dinner, and his daughter Sara. Realizing that Godzilla's roar triggered Kiryu's rampage, he is able to implement system countermeasures to prevent it from happening again. However, due to mounting concerns, Kiryu is put out of commission for the time being.
When Godzilla appears for a third time, the JXSDF finds itself helpless without Kiryu's assistance, and Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi caves and allows the machine to be sent into battle with Akane at the controls. The fight appears to be going well, with Kiryu making use of most of his lesser weapons to contend with Godzilla, who is eventually knocked down. However, when Akane attempts to use the Absolute Zero Cannon, Godzilla uses a blast of his atomic breath to send Kiryu flying, and the weapon's misfire causes the cyborg's receiver to be damaged. Akane enters the maintenance hatch to take manual control of the cyborg as an AC-3 White Heron diverts massive amounts of power from the surrounding area to recharge it. With Kiryu back in the fight, Akane gains the upper hand and begins flying Godzilla out to sea while preventing him from using his atomic breath. However, both monsters plunge into the ocean as the Absolute Zero Cannon is charging, which allows Godzilla to survive the blast at point-blank range while the weapon itself is destroyed. With Kiryu's power supply exhausted and considerable damage sustained by the cyborg, Akane and the JSDF can only watch as Godzilla retreats with a massive chest wound, ending the conflict in a draw.
Staff[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
- Written by Wataru Mimura
- Executive producer Shogo Tomiyama
- Co-executive producer Takahide Morichi
- Associate producer Ritsuko Suzuki
- Music by Michiru Oshima
- Cinematography by Masahiro Kishimoto
- Edited by Shinichi Fushima
- Production design by Yukiharu Seshimo
- 1st assistant director Atsushi Kaneshige
- Director of special effects Yuichi Kikuchi
- 1st assistant director of special effects Shorei Noma
Cast[edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Monsters[edit | edit source]
Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla/Gallery.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Soundtrack).
Alternate titles[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla × Mechagodzilla (literal Japanese title)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (alternate translation)
- GXMG (abbreviated title)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (III) (Australia / New Zealand DVD title)
- The Return of Mechagodzilla (Powrót Mechagodzilli; Poland)
Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]
View all posters for the film here.
U.S. release[edit | edit source]
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla was released on DVD in the United States by TriStar Pictures in 2004. TriStar used Toho's uncut international print of the film, including both the English dub and the original Japanese audio.
Box office[edit | edit source]
Budgeted at roughly $8,500,000, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla opened in Japan on December 13, 2002, and earned $2,253,231 in its opening weekend. It went on to gross approximately $16,000,000 in Japan, making it the second biggest of the Millennium Godzilla films at the box office. It sold approximately 1,700,000 admissions.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is generally liked by Godzilla fans for introducing what some consider the best incarnation of Mechagodzilla.
Mike Pinsky of DVD Talk gave the film three stars out of five, saying: "While I did have some minor complaints, [this is] a fine entry in the series." Pinsky said "the plot is more interesting than most giant monster movies," and "the battle scenes, which are the main reason anyone watches these films to begin with, were great." Matt Paprocki of Blog Critics said the film is "pretty flawed, [but] those of us who still love seeing Japan get trampled are in for a treat." Stomp Tokyo praised the "great monster fight action" but criticized the "uncompelling non-monster scenes." Giving the film a "B+" score, Mark Zimmer of Digitally Obsessed said that it was "a good deal of fun and one of the better entries in the series." Digital Monster Island gave the film a "B" rating, calling it "a fun and exciting film that should please most kaiju fans."
Video releases[edit | edit source]
Toho DVD (2003)
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese
Universal Laser & Video DVD (2003)
- Region: 3
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), Cantonese (2.0 Surround and DTS)
- Special features: Japanese trailers for Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
- Notes: Includes traditional and simplified Chinese subtitles. Out of print.
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Special features: Trailers
Madman DVD (2004)
- Region: 4
Sony Blu-ray (2014)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
- Special features: Teaser for Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and trailer for Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
- Notes: Packaged with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trailers[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The continuity of what has been dubbed the "Kiryu Saga" by fans reaches beyond the continuity of the Godzilla series; the film makes reference to the events of such classic Toho tokusatsu kaiju films as Mothra and The War of the Gargantuas, with the film's theater program even alluding to the events of Rodan and Varan. The sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, also makes reference to Space Amoeba, and even includes Kamoebas in the monster cast. A book, released in Japan on the heels of the film's release, lays out a timeline of monster attacks included in the "Kiryu Saga." Included in the timeline are the monsters Rodan, the Meganulons, Varan, Mothra, Maguma, Manda, Dogora, Frankenstein, Baragon, the Giant Octopus, Sanda, Gaira, King Kong, Gorosaurus, the Giant Sea Serpent, and the other two monsters from Space Amoeba, Gezora and Ganimes. The only monster that is not included is Mechani-Kong.
- Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui, whose nickname is "Godzilla," makes a cameo in this film. 2002 was Matsui's last year playing in Nippon Professional Baseball; he signed with the New York Yankees six days after Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla was released.
- Hamtaro, Godzilla's theatrical partner at the time, is referenced in the film with one of Sara's classmates being dressed as Hamtaro's owner Laura Haruna and carrying a hamster resembling Hamtaro.
- Misato Tanaka, Toshiyuki Nagashima, and Shosuke Tanihara, all of whom starred in Masaaki Tezuka's previous Godzilla film Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, make cameo appearances in this film. Each of their characters, Tsujimori, Miyagawa, and Kudo respectively, share their names with the characters they played in the aforementioned film.
- Takehiro Murata, known for his roles in the Godzilla series such as Kenji Ando in Godzilla vs. Mothra and Yuji Shinoda in Godzilla 2000: Millennium, appears in a cameo in this film as the convenience store clerk picking up cans in Tateyama who witnesses several Type 90 Maser Cannons drive past.
- Director Masaaki Tezuka cameos in the film's post-credits scene as an AMF officer. Several other staff members who worked on the film or other prior entries in the franchise, including concept artist Shinji Nishikawa, special effects director Kenji Suzuki, writer Wataru Mimura, and many others also make cameo appearances.
- Suit actors Tsutomu Kitagawa (Godzilla) and Hirofumi Ishigaki (Kiryu) both cameo as Maser Cannon crew members in the film, along with Kenji Suzuki.
- A partial replica of the ShodaiGoji suit was constructed for this film to portray the original Godzilla during flashback scenes. It was worn by Tsutomu Kitagawa.
- In the film's screenplay, the initial Prime Minister of Japan was a man, but was changed to a woman when Kumi Mizuno was cast for the role.
- According to the book Godzilla X Mechagodzilla 2003 (Toho SF Special Effects Film Series SPECIAL EDITION), Anguirus was originally planned to appear in this film and battle Kiryu, but was scrapped. Anguirus was also considered to appear as a corpse in the film's sequel, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, before being replaced by Kamoebas.
- Akane Yashiro, Tokumitsu Yuhara, and his daughter Sara appear in the reference-filled end credits of Godzilla Singular Point.
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References[edit | edit source]
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