The twentieth Godzilla film and the fifth in the Heisei series. Continuing on borrowing familiar monster streak, Toho decided to choose Mechagodzilla. Titled "Gojira tai Mekagojira" in Japan. Not to be confused with the 1974 film of the same name.
Instead of being made by aliens, Mechagodzilla is portrayed as an Earth creation reverse engineered from the robotic parts of Mecha-King Ghidorah. Rodan also returns, as does the concept of Godzilla having a son. Godzilla was originally supposed to die in this film, but that was changed. The film had a strong box office reception. While story flaws were noted, the film, and its soundtrack specificially, are well reviewed.
In order to defeat Godzilla once and for all, the UNGCC (United Nations Godzilla Countermeasure Center) analyses the Futurians' technology from Mecha-King Ghidorah in order to build Mechagodzilla. Meanwhile, scientists investigate Adona Island and discover a enormous egg. They flee with the egg when Rodan attacks, only for Rodan to be mortally wounded by Godzilla.
The egg hatches into Baby Godzilla, a plant-eating Godzillasaur that's completely benign to humans. But Godzilla senses him and lays destruction as he makes a beeline toward him. Mechagodzilla is deployed and after an initial one-sided match, Godzilla bests him. The scientists manage to hide Baby Godzilla from Godzilla's senses, though, so the King of the Monsters retreats.
As Mechagodzilla is repaired and modified to combine with the rejected Garuda machine, the study of Baby Godzilla yields to a discovery that could finish Godzilla once and for all. But when Rodan revives and plans to get back his half-brother, what can our heroes do? And can Mechagodzilla kill Godzilla when an unlikely ally comes to his rescue?
Followed by Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.
This film contains examples of
- Adaptation Name Change: A strange inversion. Rodan's name was left as "Radon" (his Japanese name) for the English version.
- Adaptational Wimp: Heisei Rodan is not only smaller than Godzilla, he's also visibly damaged by the Big G's atomic breath, in contrast with Showa Rodan who was both immune and merely annoyed by Goji's signature attack.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In the manga version, Mechagodzilla's control went berserk to the point it remembers its original objective to kill Godzilla (due to it came from the remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah), literally tearing Godzilla apart by ripping his spines, giving him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, and as a last-ditch effort to kill him (despite being partially destroyed when Godzilla gains his new beam), use its Self-Destruct Mechanism.
- Armored Coffins: Thankfully averted when the crew of Super Mechagodzilla survives Godzilla's newly acquired spiral atomic ray.
- Anti-Villain: Godzilla and Rodan. Ultimately, their actions aren't due to any malicious intent, rather they're both desperately trying to get Baby Godzilla. Godzilla because he senses a baby of his species and wants to adopt them and Rodan because in his mind Baby Godzilla is his baby brother. It just happens that cities and military are in the way.
- Beak Attack: Rodan, as your standard pterosaur kaiju, has a beak and often uses it to attack, even crushing giant boulders with it.
- Beam-O-War: Godzilla and Mechagodzilla briefly engage in this in the final battle.
- Big Brother Instinct: Rodan is determined to reunite with Baby Godzilla, no matter what.
- Blood from the Mouth: Rodan, in at least two occasions.
- Breath Weapon: Godzilla has his iconic nuclear breath, with Mechagodzilla having a beam equivalent and Rodan acquiring his own uranium heat breath for his second appearance.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kazuma Aoki. He sneaks around modifying the rejected Garuda, is a fanboy of dinosaurs, and isn't exactly cut for military life. But he knows how to build and toy around with mecha.
- Came Back Strong: Rodan sacrificing himself to revive the near dead Godzilla not only fully restores him, but grants him his Red Spiral Ray.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Following Rodan's Heroic Sacrifice, Godzilla's Breath Weapon turns from the traditional blue to red.
- Combining Mecha: A first time for the franchise as Garuda attaches to Mechagodzilla's back to create Super Mechagodzilla (Yes seriously, that's the official name from Toho), which proceeds to paralyze Godzilla and almost kill him.
- Covers Always Lie: The jet seen in the poster art above. Presumably it's meant to be the Garuda, but it looks nothing like the version in the actual movie. This is actually an early concept for Mechagodzilla that never made it into the final film.
- Curbstomp Battle: The battles between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla are one-sided for the most part. In the first confrontation, Godzilla only survives due to a malfunction in Mechagodzilla, and the second time requires a sacrifice from Rodan in order to finally beat it.
- Curb-Stomp Cushion: While Rodan is able to take out Garuda and one of Mechagodzilla's eyes (preventing it from using it's eye lasers), he is ultimately no match for Mechagodzilla's remaining beam arsenal and gets crushed instantly once Mechagodzilla combines with Garuda into Super Mechagodzilla.
- Darker and Edgier: Coming off the Lighter and Softer (though not by much) Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, everyone who isn't Miki Saegusa, Azusa Gojo, and Kazuma Aoki are at each others' throats, and even Godzilla and Rodan began coming into blows with each other over the ownership of the egg. After taking Rodan out of commission, now it's a race against time once Baby Godzilla hatches from his egg that Godzilla is really desperate to get the newborn hatchling, and the UNGCC has the means to kill him using the remains and 23rd century technology of Mecha King Ghidorah.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In the Japanese version, Miki has to use telepathy to convince the baby that he must go with Godzilla rather than remaining in the artificial habitat the UN has built for him. The dub completely botches this and suggests she needs to convince Godzilla that he needs to raise the baby...even though he's been trying to do exactly that the entire movie, and the baby is still clearly the only one who doesn't want to go.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Godzilla is able to connect with his son, Miki helps Junior no longer be afraid of his father, and the two dinosaurs swim back into the ocean.
- Everyone Has Standards: Miki was fine fighting Godzilla...until her superiors decided using an innocent baby as bait to kill him was fair game when Godzilla's threat in this film amounts to being a father desperate to get his son. While she still goes along with it, she understandably has qualms about the whole situation, this is the film that slowly starts Miki's overprotective stance in the next two films.
- Flying Firepower: Fire Rodan was able to fly as well as fire a uranium beam from his mouth.
- Gentle Giant: Rodan was this in the manga adaptation (not destroying the transport helicopter, sparing Dr. Gojo), and willingly sacrificing himself so the egg would hatch.
- Glass Cannon: Despite being made of metal, Mechagodzilla's greatest strength lies in its absurdly vast arsenal that keeps Godzilla at bay, and can even kill him with enough firepower. However, once Godzilla closes the distance, Mechagodzilla lasts all of ten seconds against him.
- Gratuitous English: Several that do not involve American actors that stink at acting in the film.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rodan gives up the last of his energy to reconstitute Godzilla's second brain, disintegrating in the process.
- Idiot Ball: Scientists discover an egg; they know this egg will birth a monster, while being wrong about which one. Regardless, they bring this egg to Tokyo. Did they clear customs? They may as well have smuggled a nuclear bomb into the city they live in.
- It Can Think: Godzilla gets curbstomped in the first fight with Mechagodzilla where he mainly used his Atomic Breath which didn't affect Mechagodzilla. During the rematch, he only uses his atomic breath for a Beam-O-War before rushing into melee and beating Mechagodzilla down. He only starts using it again when Super Mechagodzilla is formed and stays out of melee range.
- Karma Houdini: The Mechagodzilla pilots (including Miki who was forced into joining the Mechagodzilla crew by the Japanese government in order to find the second brain) all survive the destruction of their robotic unit and never face any comeuppance from Godzilla for very nearly killing him and also slaughtering Rodan, though it sets Miki on an overprotective stance of Godzilla and his son that we see in the final two films.
- Long-Range Fighter: Mechagodzilla. At a distance it has Godzilla's number and could potentially kill him, but its most effective physical attack is 'fly into Godzilla when he's not looking'. Whenever Godzilla actually gets his hands on it, he completely overwhelms it very quickly.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Mechagodzilla, although this incarnation uses them more conservatively than the previous one, with beam weapons being the preferred choice. Once Mechagodzilla is believed to have the upper hand, however, the missiles are used with less restraint.
- Mama Bear: In the manga adaptation, Gojo is this, except the egg hasn't hatched until the final battle.
- Mid-Movie Upgrade: Mechagodzilla and Garuda are both given upgrades, in the middle of the movie, so that Garuda can attach itself to Mechagodzilla's back, allowing the two machines to create Super Mechagodzilla, Rodan gets one of his own with his transformation into Fire Rodan and gets his own Range Weapon, though his came at the worst possible time.
- Mythology Gag: There are many. There are the two girls at the ESP Institute whose mannerisms resemble Mothra's fairies (and have the same actors), the original plan to defeat Godzilla in the Ogasawara Islands, and not to mention the score, some of which shouts back to the Showa Era.
- No Antagonist: There's no real main antagonist of the film. The source of conflict is the Godzilla egg found by the UNGCC, and both Godzilla and Rodan are literally at each other's throats over it. While you would think the humans (especially Aso) are the real antagonists, they're just trying to protect their country from Godzilla, and Mechagodzilla is just a machine with no real agency, only acting its intended purpose to defeat Godzilla and other threats to Japan.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Towards the end after Godzilla defeats Mechagodzilla, Godzilla and Baby Godzilla are at a park, and once Baby Godzilla accepts Godzilla as his father, they are suddenly near a beach as they depart.
- Papa Wolf: Godzilla's entire motivation in this film is he senses Baby Godzilla and is trying to get to him.
- Raised by Humans: Baby Godzilla by Azusa Gojo. Eventually, there's a heartbreaking farewell.
- Recycled Soundtrack: Many themes from Ifukube's Showa scores get reused here, such as Mechani-Kong's theme being modified to become Mechagodzilla's theme, and Kong and Susan from King Kong Escapes being used as baby's theme.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Baby Godzilla's eyes glow red when he's frightened. That doesn't make himself dangerous, but that does send a signal to the more dangerous Rodan and Godzilla.
- Series Fauxnale: At the time of production, it was intended to be the final film of the Heisei series to avoid competing with Tristar's planned American Godzilla film (planned originally to release around 1994), hence why the characters speak as though Godzilla and Baby are departing forever into the sea at the end. Since that particular US adaptation fell through, the series continued for another two films.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: None of the human characters in the film accomplish much of anything, except accidentally making things worse. Bringing the Baby Godzilla egg to Japan results in nothing but massive destruction, and ultimately Mechagodzilla is destroyed, with Godzilla just leaving on his own with the baby.
- Arguably averted, as Baby Godzilla's bonding with the humans definitely leads to him being a friend to humanity, and quite possibly, making Godzilla far less hostile to human society by extension.
- Thanatos Gambit: In some ways, Rodan. Being half-brothers with Baby Godzilla, Baby Godzilla knew that Rodan was dying after being mortally wounded by Mechagodzilla's weapons, and after realizing that Godzilla has been killed by the robot, calls upon Rodan to give up what's left of his life to revive Godzilla in order to destroy Mechagodzilla. Rodan takes to the air, but gets shot down by Mechagodzilla, though fortunately Rodan lands right on top of Godzilla, giving him the chance he needs to sacrifice himself so Godzilla could fight on.