Kaiju Profile: Showa Mechagodzilla
The Showa Mechagodzilla kaiju profile is the 27th episode of Wikizilla's Kaiju Profiles video series. It was originally uploaded on April 26, 2018. A revised version was uploaded on September 19, 2018.
Written by The King of the Monsters, Les, KoopaGalaxain, Surf Kaiju, Titanollante
Voiced, edited by Titanollante
Mechagodzilla is a robotic doppelgänger of Godzilla who debuted in Toho's 1974 "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" and reappeared as the rebuilt Mechagodzilla 2 in the next year's "Terror of Mechagodzilla." Despite being a machine under the control of the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens, Mechagodzilla is semi-autonomous, responding to verbal commands from Kuronuma relayed electronically to the Cybaneck on its head. In "Terror of Mechagodzilla," the rebuilt Mechagodzilla 2 is linked to the cyborg Katsura Mafune, and is controlled through her organic brain tissue. However, the mech seems to retain some autonomy, as it continues fighting Godzilla even after Katsura breaks free of the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens' influence and regains complete control over her mind. Mechagodzilla is an extremely brutal hand-to-hand combatant, shown when it breaks Anguirus' jaw and repeatedly pummels King Caesar and shoves its hand down the monster's throat during their battle. However, Mechagodzilla primarily relies on its vast array of weaponry and prefers to attack its opponents from a distance using its various missiles and lasers. The 1992 book "Special Graphix: Godzilla vs. Mothra" compares MG's personality to that of King Ghidorah and Gigan, two other recurring villains in the Showa series. While King Ghidorah is said to be a "dignified villain" and Gigan a "bloodthirsty, ferocious cutthroat," Mechagodzilla is described as a "nihilistic killer" and a "consistently cold-hearted and composed professional," due to the fact that it is a mecha and does not outwardly display its 'true feelings.' Though other incarnations of the Mechagodzilla character would be introduced throughout the years, this video only covers the original Showa version.
Mechagodzilla was designed by Akihiko Iguchi, who stayed inside Tomoyuki Tanaka's room at Toho Studios for 3 to 4 days creating the design. Iguchi referenced pictures of Godzilla as he worked on the concept, gradually making alterations until arriving at the final design. Originally, Mechagodzilla was envisioned as having a completely rainbow-colored body, but this was ultimately decided against. Nobuyuki Yasumaru, who was in charge of modeling, commended Iguchi's design but felt its body was too smooth and dull, so he adorned the monster with rivets and the "MG" inscriptions on its arms. Yasumaru was also responsible for deciding the location of the window from which the suit actor would see out of, disguising it as the shutters on Mechagodzilla's neck.
For the portrayal of the rebuilt Mechagodzilla 2, two new upper halves were constructed and the entire suit was repainted a darker shade. For the scenes where the mech's head is removed, revealing its internal laser firing apparatus, a whole other upper half piece was utilized, and was actually modified from the suit of the first Mechagodzilla. Among other changes, several V-shaped decorations were added to the front of its chest, several alterations were made to its hands, and the inscriptions on its arms were changed to read "MG2."
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974): Mechagodzilla first appeared from Mount Fuji disguised as Godzilla and rampaged through the countryside. Anguirus emerged from underground and attacked it, but was brutally beaten—even having his jaw broken. The robot then moved on to Tokyo, where it was intercepted by the real Godzilla. After a brief skirmish, it shed its disguise and revealed the full extent of its weaponry, which it unloaded onto the King of the Monsters. He countered with his atomic breath, causing the beams to lock and explode, severely damaging Mechagodzilla and blasting the Big G into Tokyo Bay. The mech was called in for repairs back to the Okinawa base of the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens. The aliens captured a human scientist named Hideto Miyajima and forced him to repair it in exchange for his daughter's life. After repairs were completed, Mechagodzilla was unleashed once again and sent to destroy King Caesar, an ancient guardian monster of Okinawa. The robot dominated the battle, but before it could defeat King Caesar, Godzilla appeared once again, seeking a rematch. The Monster King and King Caesar then joined forces against the mech, but were still outmatched. Only when the King of the Monsters called upon his newfound magnetic powers to pull Mechagodzilla toward him did the robot attempt to escape. Successfully pulling it into its grasp, Godzilla held the machine still while King Caesar repeatedly attacked it, then twisted its head off. Mechagodzilla's body subsequently exploded along with the aliens' base, ending the invasion.
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975): In another attempt to take over the Earth, the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens rebuilt and modified Mechagodzilla as Mechagodzilla 2, with the aid of vengeful Earthling scientist Shinzo Mafune. Mafune helped the aliens improve Mechagodzilla, and also offered them the assistance of the monster Titanosaurus, which he controlled. Mafune stated that Mechagodzilla required superior living brain tissue in order to be truly perfect, so the aliens installed the control device for Mechagodzilla 2 inside Mafune's daughter Katsura, who they had previously converted into a cyborg.
Mechagodzilla 2 was deployed in Tokyo to show off its upgraded arsenal, with Titanosaurus providing backup. As the dinosaur wreaked havoc with his gale-force winds, Mechagodzilla set large areas of the city on fire. Godzilla arrived to challenge the monsters, but was outmatched. While Titanosaurus battled the Monster King head-on, the robot blasted its counterpart with various weapons. Titanosaurus kicked Godzilla into a ditch, while Mechagodzilla buried him with its missiles. The humans intervened and distracted Titanosaurus with a sonic wave oscillator, allowing the Monster King to clamber out of his earthen grave and take on his doppelganger one-on-one. Godzilla removed Mechagodzilla's head once again, but this time the mech had a smaller, secondary brain placed in its neck, allowing it to continue to operate without its head. The machine fought on, firing a concentrated laser from its second head that forced Godzilla back momentarily. However, Katsura Mafune committed suicide to stop Mechagodzilla. The Monster King seized this opportunity by throwing the robot into a ravine and blasting it with his atomic breath. The ravine then collapsed and buried Mechagodzilla's remains, preventing their retrieval by the aliens.
Mechagodzilla can fire rainbow-colored Space Beams from its eyes, which are capable of destroying objects instantaneously. The second Mechagodzilla, in addition to its Space Beams, could fire a potent laser from an apparatus in its Head Controller.
Mechagodzilla has Jet Fire propulsion jets in its feet which enable it to fly at speeds of up to Mach 5. The robot can still use its weaponry when midair, notably its Space Beams, which it uses by aligning its head to face forward.
Head Rotation: Mechagodzilla's head and neck can rotate horizontally a full 360 degrees. If the mech is fighting an opponent while another is approaching it from behind, it can rotate its head to face the opponent behind it and fire its Space Beams at them. This ability is also imperative to the creation of its Defense Neo Barrier. When Mechagodzilla rapidly spins its head in tandem with firing its Space Beams, a Defense Neo Barrier is formed around it, protecting it from Godzilla's atomic breath and any attempted physical attacks.
Mechagodzilla's fingers are each tipped with missiles, known either as Space Finger Missiles or just Finger Missiles. These projectiles have massive destructive power and are immediately replaced after each shot, allowing for near-rapid firing. Upgraded versions of these missiles, referred to by various names including Revolving Finger Missiles, New Style Finger Missiles, and New Style Space Finger Missiles, appear in "Terror of Mechagodzilla" where they are altered to be 5 times as strong and have the capability to explode with such force as to throw buildings and vehicles into the air.
In a similar manner, Mechagodzilla's toes are also tipped with missiles, called the High Pressure Homing missiles. These projectiles are designed to spin through the air in order to bury themselves deep into the flesh of an opponent before exploding, thus inflicting massive damage. Additionally, Mechagodzilla has missiles in its knees, referred to as Homyu Shot, which are time-delayed. It also possesses Mouth Missiles: missiles launched from barrels mounted on the inside of its mouth. Though, these are only seen during all-out attacks.
Mechagodzilla has an openable shutter on its chest, behind which lies a high-power laser discharging device that can fire an orange electromagnetic Cross Attack Beam. This beam was powerful enough to slice clean through a mountain.
A sharp blade called the Unisot is mounted on the tip of Mechagodzilla's tail which acts as a flight stabilizer. In an unused attack, Mechagodzilla would be able to launch this blade to attack an opponent behind it.
Mechagodzilla is able to launch flaming, 500,000 degree bullets from its nose in an attack called Desto-Fire. Although this ability ultimately goes unused in both of the mech's film appearances, a variation on the attack appears in the games "Godzilla: Battle Legends" and "Godzilla: Unleashed." The ability used here instead functions more like a flamethrower, projected from its nostrils.
Mechagodzilla is able to launch a large quantity of small missiles from its neck, thanks to an apparatus mounted there dubbed the Trace Device. Like Desto-Fire, this attack ultimately goes unused.
Radar and Antenna: Mechagodzilla is equipped with an antenna to receive the orders of the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens, upon which a 'Super Radar' is also mounted, enabling the location of enemies underwater or underground.
Weaknesses: Mechagodzilla is critically impaired when damage is sustained to its Cybaneck, a control receiver mounted on its head. It was rendered inoperable after the Cybaneck was damaged in a beam clash explosion, and was later defeated by the entirety of its head being torn off. In "Terror of Mechagodzilla," MG's controller was instead implanted within the cyborg Katsura Mafune, who if destroyed, would leave the machine completely paralyzed.
The shots of Mechagodzilla's Space Beams took two to three times as long to complete as a regular beam weapon, putting Toho's optical effects department for "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" under a great deal of strain.
In a scrapped 1973 precursor to "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," titled "Giant Monsters Converge on Okinawa! Showdown in Zanpamisaki," Mechagodzilla's role would have instead been filled by the mechanical monster Garugan, who would have fought against Godzilla, Anguirus, and Mothra. This concept was soon replaced by "Showdown in Zanpamisaki: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla." This script instead pitted the Big G, Anguirus, and a new monster dubbed "King Balgan" against MG and Gigan. Ultimately, King Balgan would be reworked into Caesar; Gigan would be scrapped from the film, and Anguirus would be moved from the final battle to the beginning of the movie to fight Fake Godzilla.
Anatomical drawings of Mechagodzilla aren't entirely consistent, but they nevertheless reveal interesting inner mechanisms. For instance, the 1974 model contains an internal missile factory which perpetually replenishes its supply of projectiles, a missile chain across its arms that feeds replacements, and a power-generating "Cosmic Energy Tank" that breaks down alien elements inside a cyclotron.
The Showa Mechagodzilla appears in both 1996 "Get Going! Godzilland" OVAs, where it is an inhabitant of the titular Godzilland who's extremely lonely due to not being friends with the other monsters. In the addition OVA, Mechagodzilla kidnaps Anguirus after he has a fight with Godzilla, intending to force him to become its friend instead. Goji and his friends rescue the ankylosaur from MG by answering several addition problems in a game-show format. In the subtraction OVA, Mechagodzilla attempts to kidnap Gojirin, but Rodan sees and warns Godzilla and Anguirus, who come to Gojirin's rescue - answering a series of subtraction problems until Mechagodzilla releases her. Both OVAs end with MG fleeing in tears, before Mothra convinces him to apologize, with the others then befriending him.
Although the Showa MG does not directly appear in the TV series "Godzilla Island" (where the Heisei Mechagodzilla is the monster who's plainly called 'Mechagodzilla') the series features two different villains based on it. The first is Black Mechagodzilla, which as its name suggests resembles a black-colored version of the Showa mech. The other is Fake Godzilla, a robot built to frame the real Godzilla. When the Monster King damages Fake Godzilla's disguise with his atomic breath, he reveals what appears to be the Showa Mechagodzilla's torso underneath before destroying it.
In the Godzilla comics published by IDW, the Showa MG only appeared as multiple robots. Its first appearance came in "Godzilla: Legends" #3, where the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens were shown to be constructing several Mechagodzillas to prepare for their invasion of Earth. The Showa MG was incorporated into the primary continuity of IDW's Godzilla comics starting in "Rulers of Earth" #13, where the Cryog alien leader Rhizon, posing as a Russian industrialist known as Dyachenko, mass-produced an army of Mechagodzillas under the guise of providing a cheaper alternative to the CKR mechas Kiryu and M.O.G.U.E.R.A. for countries seeking to defend themselves from kaiju. Worth noting is that each of the mass-produced Mechagodzillas in "Rulers of Earth" possesses a different number under the 'MG' initials on its arm. When the mechs are unleashed to attack the Big G in "Rulers of Earth" #14, Rhizon says "Mechagodzillas… beat Godzilla to death," a reference to a similar line spoken by Kuronuma in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla"... though in the trade paperback version of the issue, this line is replaced by "Mechagodzillas… he's all yours."
Lastly, Mechagodzilla's suit is one of the oldest known kaiju suits currently in decent condition, as it has been put on display across several exhibits in Japan. However, the preserved suit is seemingly pieced together from remaining parts of both the 1974 and 1975 MG suits, as the preserved suit's chest and crotch are from the 1974 suit, while the rest is from the 1975 suit. Mechagodzilla 2's Head Controller has also been preserved into the present day.
That's all there is for the original Mechagodzilla. Thanks for watching!
- Giant Monsters Converge on Okinawa! Showdown in Zanpamisaki
- Showdown in Zanpamisaki: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla