Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, or Godzilla X Mechagodzilla, is the 26th film in the Godzilla franchise. It features the return of Mechagodzilla, and is unique among the Millennium series in that it actually references other films in the Toho canon. It is also one of only two films in the Millennium series to be directly related to each other, with it and its sequel Godzilla Tokyo SOS being referred to as the Kiryu Saga by fans. Known in Japan as Gojira tai Mekagojira.
In 1999, a giant monster appears during a cyclone. The monster is Godzilla, a beast not seen since 1954. Maser tanks, developed to combat giant monsters during the 1960s, are useless. The operator and driver of one such tank, Akane Yashiro (played by Japanese model Yumiko Shaku), makes a fatal error while backing away from the monster, and accidentally hits a jeep carrying her commanding officer. The jeep ends up tumbling down an embankment, and right into the path of Godzilla, who crushes the jeep before knocking Akane's maser tank over to the side.
After this incident, Akane is demoted to desk-duty and becomes a scapegoat. Meanwhile, Doctor Tokumitsu Yuhara, a scientist who works with biotechnology and DNA computers, is called by the JSDF for a special project. Dr. Yuhara, along with several other scientists, is shown the remains of the original Godzilla. The scientists are asked to help create an anti-Godzilla weapon with these bones: a Mechagodzilla, if you will.
The years pass, and in 2003, Mechagodzilla, nicknamed Kiryu, is finally ready. Armed with an array of weapons, including the deadly Absolute Zero Cannon, Kiryu is the ultimate anti-Godzilla weapon. Akane is asked to become a pilot for the cyborg, and she reluctantly agrees, the memories of her accident still haunting her. And it's not a moment too soon, for Godzilla has shown up again. During their first face off, Godzilla proves himself to be impervious to all of Kiryu's weaponry. Before Kiryu can unleash the Absolute Zero Cannon, Godzilla roars and then leaves. Kiryu becomes unresponsive and soon goes wild, acting like Godzilla, and rampages through an entire city.
Kiryu eventually runs out of power, but the damage to the project's reputation has been done. Kiryu is put into temporary retirement. Unfortunately, Godzilla returns days later, and only after setting fire to a significant portion of Tokyo does the Prime Minister authorize Kiryu's usage. During the battle, Kiryu, remotely controlled by Akane from a nearby airplane, kicks Godzilla's ass. Just when it seems that Godzilla is in a position for the absolute-zero cannon to be used, the monster king stops playing possum and damages Kiryu right before the freezing gun is fired, causing massive property damage. To make things worse, Kiryu has also run out of power.
To solve this problem, Akane leaves the plane and enters Kiryu to control him from the inside while he receives power from all over Japan. Meanwhile, her comrades and the rest of the JSDF attempt to keep Godzilla occupied. Soon, Kiryu is back in action, but before he can even move, Godzilla attacks the cyborg, knocking Akane briefly unconscious. Before Godzilla can finish both Akane and Kiryu, one of Akane's fellow pilots, Hayama, flies his plane into Godzilla's mouth to stop him. After she regains consciousness, Akane rescues her fellow pilot and flies over the ocean with Godzilla in tow while holding his mouth shut as she prepares to use the absolute-zero cannon. The weapon is finally used after falling into the ocean, but Godzilla survives and swims away, a massive scar on his chest showing the power of the weapon. Out of power and unable to do anything, Akane stands atop Kiryu's shoulder and watches her enemy retreat.
This film contains the following examples:
- Action Girl: Akane Yashiro.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: As mentioned below, Kiryu goes completely rogue upon hearing a real Godzilla's voice for the first time.
- The Atoner: Akane.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Kiryu's Absolute Zero Cannon is very powerful and is capable of disintegrating its target down to a molecular level, but it's highly choreographed, making it easy to avoid, as well as being very costly in terms of energy.
- Battle in the Rain: At the beginning of the movie.
- Big Damn Heroes: Kiryu bodyslams into Godzilla just as he's about to destroy a hospital that's being evacuated.
- Continuity Cavalcade: The flashback scene in the prime minister's office, covering Godzilla, Mothra and War of the Gargantuas.
- Cool Plane: The White Heron, which serves as Kiryu's control platform.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The English dub states that Mothra was destroyed by the heat ray, whereas in the Japanese version they simply said that it was used against her. This naturally makes the sequel rather awkward.
- Dynamic Entry: Kiryu arrives for his second battle with Godzilla with a fully sped shoulder tackle.
- Energy Weapon: Kiryu sports quite a few laser cannons.
- Expy: Ironically enough, Kiryu is an expy of of Cyber-Zilla of Godzilla: The Series when the latter is based on Mechagodzilla himself. Both monsters are built on from their remains, only in a different way.
- Both also cause loyalty issues for the heroic monster, with Zilla Jr. briefly siding with his biological father and Kiryu briefly turning against humanity after their first encounter with each monster.
- Haunted Technology: Kiryu. After hearing Godzilla's roar for the first time, he remembers his past life, and then goes rogue and begins destroying Japan.
- Inter Continuity Crossover: Both Mothra (1961) and War of the Gargantuas (1966) are mentioned and explicitly referenced in the film.
- It goes way beyond that. According to a Toho published guidebook, Rodan (1956), Varan, the Unbelievable (1957), The Mysterians (1958), Suspicious Star Gorath (1960), Dogora (1964), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965) and King Kong Escapes (1967) are all in continuity with this movie and it's sequel.
- Jettison Jetpack Attack: When Mechagodzilla's jetpack gets its gun attachments blown off, it fires the rest of it off at Godzilla to knock him down. Something similar happens in the sequel when Mechagodzilla fires his Shoulder Cannons at Godzilla except they detonate this time.
- Lost in Translation: Kiryu ("Machine Dragon") doesn't exactly roll off the tongue if literally translated into English. Then there's this exchange:Togashi (Japanese): That's the name of the anti-Godzilla robot. It's a mechanical dragon.Togashi (English): That's what they've called it. We're in charge of the weapon: Mechagodzilla.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The source of Kiryu going rogue is left rather ambiguous. Was it real paranormal activity with the original Godzillas ghost, or simply a technical malfunction of human error only?
- Macross Missile Massacre: Kiryu is still a Mechagodzilla, so this is to be expected.
- Missing Mom: Not really missing. When Sara's mom was pregnant with Sara's younger sibling, she became sick. Both her mom and sibling ended up dying, and Sara became very sensitive about life and death as a result.
- Mythology Gag: The Absolute Zero Cannon debuted in Atragon.
- Nigh-Invulnerable: Godzilla shrugs off pretty much everything that's thrown at him, until Kiryu fires a maser from his mouth.
- No-Sell: A problem the military faces when the new Godzilla appears: conventional Masers, which they'd relied on for dealing with most monsters, simply don't work on him.
- Parental Abandonment: Part of why Akane believes herself to be worthless.
- Reality Ensues: Oh, boy is there ever.
- When Godzilla attacks in the beginning, we later see refugees.
- Kiryu has to be recharged, otherwise it will shut down.
- During the opening fight, the soldiers are ordered to attack Godzilla's eyes and presumably blind him. It doesn't work but at least it was smart.
- During the same encounter, some soldiers panic and flee, something rarely depicted in any kaiju film.
- When Project KIRYU is first announced, several of Japan's neighbors are nervous due to the weapon's clearly offensive nature (Japan is not officially allowed an offensive military, having used their last one to start World War II). The PM must publicly state the machine is designed for dealing with giant monsters only, and that Japan has no interest in building an empire.
- After Kiryu goes rogue, people begin questioning whether or not it was a good idea for the AMF to even so much as consider building something like that.
- There is no Omnidisciplinary Scientist but several brought together for specific parts of Kiryu. One for how to power the whole thing, one on artificial life, one for software, one for the absolute zero cannon and so on.
- Shed Armor, Gain Speed: A large number of Kiryu's weapons are add on parts, including the backpack that holds its missile racks. These can be jettisoned to greatly increase Kiryu's speed and mobility at the cost of decreasing its arsenal considerably.
- Shout-Out: Kiryu is a giant cyborg created from the corpse of a giant monster for the express purpose of killing other monsters, but is prone to going berserk and rampaging. Sound familiar?
- Story Reset: Set after the first film, disregarding previous movies.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Sara vouches for Kiryu. Even though Kiryu is a monster, he is still a living being. In many ways, this hearkens back to Katsura from Terror of Mechagodzilla, as both characters are cyborgs.