- When a black mountain appears in the sky, and the red sun rises in the West, a monster will appear and try to destroy the world.&When the people of Okinawa are in danger, a monster will appear and save them.~ Two prophecies of the Azumi Royal Family
Both of the prophecies above are put to the test in Godzilla's 20th anniversary outing, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (Gojira Tai Mekagojira, not to be confused with the Heisei and Millenium films). The monster that will try to save the people of Okinawa is King Caesar, the ancient guardian of the Azumi Royal Family. The monster that will destroy the world... is at first believed to be Godzilla, but after Godzilla's ally Anguirus is brutally attacked and wounded by the beast, people start to notice that something is off. When Godzilla attacks a refinery, another Godzilla appears. A vicious battle soon follows, where the first Godzilla soon sheds its skin in a fiery display to reveal a mechanical weapon of destruction: Mechagodzilla. The resulting battle ends in a draw, but questions remain. Who built Mechagodzilla, and why?
The answer to the above questions is that a race of aliens from "The Third Planet of the Black Hole," or Simians, have come to Earth to setup a new home for themselves. Instead of asking nicely, however, they've decided that the best option is to use Mechagodzilla to destroy a sizable portion of Japan to make way for their own settlement.
However, there is still the issue of the Azumi prophecy, and with it, King Caesar. If King Caesar can be awakened, then other monsters may soon follow, and so the Simians attempt to gain control of a precious statue that is instrumental to the legend to prevent the divine monster's awakening. Deciding to launch a two-pronged plan, the Simians capture an Earth scientist who is familiar with the technology they used to create Mechagodzilla, to speed up repairs, and send their own agents out to capture that damn statue. What follows are gunfights, INTERPOL agents with some bad hair-dos, and archaeologists fighting in a race against time to awaken King Caesar and stop the Simians. Fortunately, Godzilla is still alive, but will he be able to rejoin the fray before it's too late?
Well, yeah, of course he will.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was released in 1974, as the 14th Godzilla movie and in honor of the King of the Monsters' twentieth birthday. The film was directed by Jun Fukuda, with music by Masaru Sato and SFX work by Teruyoshi Nakano.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla features examples of:
- Alien Invasion: Once again a plot element during this era of the franchise.
- Attack Reflector: King Caesar can reflect Mechagodzilla's eye beams with his own eyes.
- Being Watched: There are two instances of this.
- In Act I, a man is seen watching another man who is watching the professor. The same man who was being watched (and was watching the professor) reappears later in the movie on a boat because he's an alien trying to prevent King Caeser from being summoned.
- When Godzilla is fighting Godzilla, the aliens are watching the fight.
- Big Damn Heroes: Agents Nanbara and Tamura.
- Just as Mechagodzilla is about to finish off King Caesar, the true King of the Monsters appears.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: King Caesar's name in Japan is actually King Shisa, because he is a gigantic version of a traditional Okinawan shisa statue. Somehow this got corrupted as the nonsense term "Seesar" when the film was first translated, and later on Toho officially re-translated it as King Caesar. Not only is the new name essentially meaningless and incredibly redundant given that "king" and "caesar" more or less mean the same thing, it also doesn't sound remotely Japanese.
- Blood from the Mouth: Poor Anguirus.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: Godzilla gushes with blood underneath Tokyo Bay after the beam explosion knocks him down into it.
- Call-Back: Anguirus emerges in the prologue sequence... somewhere... after being swallowed up by a fissure at the beginning of the previous film.
- Captain Obvious: "Space titanium? You mean it's from outer space?"
- Chekhov's Pipe
- Chest Blaster: Mechagodzilla is packing one, and first uses it to take out the mountain that King Caesar is hiding behind.
- Crazy-Prepared: The Professor, who made a special pipe whose "bowl's metal includes a?????" and "If you separate it in this way, magnetic waves will develop that will destroy the positive and negative electrodes", just because.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Mechagodzilla's fight with Anguirus, and most of his fight with King Caesar, who only survived because of Godzilla's timely arrival. Even after he shows up, Mechagodzilla still inflicts its fair share of damage on the two.
- Despite being grossly outmatched by Mechagodzilla, it takes his jaw being shattered for Angurius to finally give up.
- King Caesar counts as well. After Mechagodzilla catches on to his trick, he's obviously outclassed. But he was summoned to protect Okinawa, and he's gonna do so even if it kills him.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Why the aliens are apes.
- Evil Knockoff: Mechagodzilla himself.
- Eye Beams: Mechagodzilla. Fortunately, King Caesar can reflect them.
- Foreshadowing: Mechagodzilla might be well disguised as Godzilla when he first appears, but does not copy Godzilla's iconic roar, providing the first clue that something is off.
- Golem: King Caesar is a shisa-like kaiju-sized golem. He spends most of his time sleeping in an inanimate state inside a mountain and can be awakened with a song, which the family uses just in time to wake him up so he can help Godzilla fight his mechanical double.
- Gorn: This is definitely one of the, if not the goriest Godzilla film.
- Killer Space Monkey: Simians, though they're not as brutish as most examples of the trope are.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Mechagodzilla has dozens and dozens of missiles, lasers, and rockets at his disposal and he uses all of it in his battle against Godzilla and King Shisa.
- Meaningful Name: King Caesar, or Kingu Shisa. Refers to the shisa of mythology. Unfortunately, this is sometimes overlooked.
- More Dakka: Mechagodzilla, armed with Breath Weapon, laser eyes, with missiles on its fingers and toes.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Godzilla himself. After his first defeat, he attracts lightning bolts to gain the power of magnetism and, oddly enough, heal.
- Mechagodzilla: His forcefield to protect him from Godzilla's breath, he only uses this once though.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Mechagodzilla is made from space-titanium and sports an unbreakable force field. Ultimately subverted, however, as it turns out Caesar's physical blows are strong enough to deal serious damage to it once Godzilla gives him the opening to do so.
- Off with His Head!: How Mechagodzilla is finally defeated due to Godzilla's new magnetic based powers.
- Precision F-Strike: A mild one, but in a mid-70s' Godzilla movie it really stands out. The Simian leader spouts this gem before unveiling Mechagodzilla in his true form: "Damn Godzilla! You're mistaken if you think your powers are a match for Mechagodzilla!"
- Sadly Mythtaken: Subverted with King Caesar. The Shisa is considered a guardian beast in Okinawan folklore and there is a story about a Shisa being awakened to fight a monster (Though, it's a sea dragon instead of a giant robot).
- The original myth is even referenced in the song used to summon/awaken King Caesar. Translated, she's singing "Kill the dragon, King Caesar!".
- SpaceX: The aliens boasted that Godzilla could not break Mechagodzilla's armor of space-titanium.
- Spell My Name with an "S": King Caesar, whose name is likely officially romanized that way because most people outside of Japane are unfamiliar with Japanese folklore, particular regional folklore like Okinawa's. In particular, especially at the time of release, not many Westerners knew what a shisa is. Star Maker's blurb also spelled it as "King Seeser", which was common on Toho's own materials at that time. As such, it's probably to avoid having to add extra exposition to an already limited amount of dialog.
- Spot the Imposter: Mechagodzilla first puts on Godzilla's skin so he can frame the true Godzilla for all the rampage he does. Eventually, Godzilla rips off a chunk of the disguise and the Simians decide that the lie can't continue. Anguirus wasn't fooled by the disguise.
- This Cannot Be!: The Simian leader has this reaction when Godzilla and King Caesar finally destroy Mechagodzilla.