Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) – Ishiro Honda

Director Ishiro Honda returns for the last Godzilla film of the Showa era, and while it still features space aliens intent on taking over the planet, this one feels a little deeper than some of the previous entries, by introducing some interesting characters who seem to really struggle with their natures.

I’m talking, specifically about Katsura (Tomoko Ai), the beautiful and intelligent daughter of a renowned scientist, Mafune (Akihiko Hirata), who has been working for decades on using a form of mind control over animals. In his research he discovered a giant aquatic dinosaur, christened Titanosaurus, which he promises he will learn to control. He’s promptly laughed out of academia, which causes a deep and abiding hatred for humanity.

He works on his device, but when his daughter tests it for him, an explosion results in her death, only to be restored to a form of life by aliens intent on using Mafune’s procedures, on their own project, the restoration of Mechagodzilla.

Enter Ichinose (Katsuhiko Sasaki) and a slew of Interpol agents, who are conducting investigations of the deep and come across Titanosaurus.

As Ichinose continues his investigation, he begins to fall for Katsura, who may or may not be able to love, while she is used by Mafune and the aliens to sabotage the project to stop Titanosaurus. But we all know, this is precursor to the arrival of the Big G!

Godzilla is being tracked by the aliens as he approaches Japan, but they are confident through their control of Titanosaurus, and their newly installed control over the restored Mechagodzilla that their kaiju will be more than a match for Earth’s defender, and that will pave the way for their ultimate take over of the planet.

While all the humans, and aliens struggle with who they are, their goals, and in the case of Katsura who they were and long to be, Godzilla throws down with both of the kaiju baddies, and thanks to some timely help is able to lay a final smackdown.

This is an interesting entry, we only get the three main kaiju, none of the others show up for the final battle, and when Katsura is being resurrected, she’s actually shown topless (it’s a prosthetic) as she’s being operated on – I have no fear of nudity, but it just seemed so odd and out of place to have this happen.

It’s a fun romp, the series really has embraced its own mythology and continuity, and it plays out wonderfully on the screen, and man, I have loved digging into these Godzilla films, because despite how much I’ve enjoyed the character, in his many incarnations, I had never really explored the film series or dived into the films that helped shape him.

So much fun! And of course, there will be a revisit through the years to come, because they are just so enjoyable, the costumes, the model work, the fights, the sets. These movies, even the iffy ones, are just a joy to sit through.

Go-Go-Godzilla!

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