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Film / Terror of Mechagodzilla

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"Even if you're a cyborg, Katsura, I still love you!"
Akira Ichinose

The final film of the original series, also known as the Showa Era of the Godzilla series (while Destroy All Monsters is the last film chronologically), and directly taking place after the previous year's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It is the final Godzilla film directed by the legendary Ishir⁠ō Honda, and is called Mekagojira no Gyakushū (Mechagodzilla's Counterattack) in Japan. Also went under the title "The Terror Of Godzilla" in its initial U.S release.

The movie was not well received when it was released, and Toho would not produce another Godzilla movie until the king's 30th anniversary in 1984 due to an energy crisis. The film was one of only two Godzilla films to have less than a million tickets sold. It would remain the least successful Godzilla film until Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004. The music was composed by Akira Ifukube, and the special effects were directed by Teruyoshi Nakano. The film was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka.

As this is the last film of the Showa Godzilla storyline, it is followed by The Return of Godzilla which starts the Heisei Godzilla story arc despite coming out in the Showa era.

This film contains examples of the following:

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The scientists don't believe Mafune's theory of a dinosaur living near Japan despite the fact that two Godzillas had already come to Japan before doing such (The first was a villain while the other in 1955 had a Heel–Face Turn, serving as Japan's protector). Not to mention that other prehistoric monsters like Rodan, Anguirus, and Varan had made rather significant appearances by that point, and Earth had been invaded by The Mysterians and their Moguera robots.
    • May have been justified by the claims he was making didn't just include the fact that he had discovered Titanosaurus. He claimed that the creature was benevolent and that he had a means to control the creature. At the time he would have made said claims (1960-1), two Godzillas had attacked, one of which would return and battle King Kong, two Rodans had rampaged across Japan, and Mothra had just left Japan in shambles. A year later Kong would fight the second Godzilla, and at the time the idea of being able to control these creatures seemed utterly ludicrous. If he had simply claimed to have discovered Titanosaurus and left it at that, he might not have been met with such derision.
  • Artistic License – Physics: When Godzilla is sent flying by Titanosaurus, he falls in a very odd way, and Titanosaurus somehow also lifts and flails Godzilla around by his lip.
  • Alien Invasion: Although a human villain (Mafune) also helps contribute.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Mechagodzilla is immune to pretty much everything under the sun, and takes multiple hits from Godzilla's atomic ray without slowing down. He's only destroyed after Katsura, who has Mechagodzilla's controls inside of her, kills herself.
    • The trope takes hold at the last minute. If one pays attention to Mechagodzilla as Godzilla hurls him into the ditch intended for him, you can see that Mechagodzilla is just barely still holding together. One of his hands is certainly about to fall off.
  • Bad Boss: Mugal has three of his mooks executed when Ichinose and Murakoshi managed to escaped unharmed.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Godzilla shows up just in time to save some kids from getting squashed by Titanosaurus.
    • The military sends rockets and jets to distract Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla to give Godzilla a much needed window to get his second wind.
  • Big Good: Godzilla. Humanity at this point is fully supportive of the Big G and the military rejoins the fray when he engages Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus to back him up.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The aliens and Mechagodzilla are defeated at the cost of Katsura's life. Titanosaurus's defeat also counts as this.
  • Blow You Away: Titanosaurus can use his tail like a fan, easily knocking Godzilla off his feet.
  • Bowdlerise: The Terror of Godzilla, courtesy of Bob Conn Enterprises. While the rest of the '70s films also suffered cuts for violence and language in the US, the editing performed on the ending of the film directly affects the emotional outcome of the film, and it's very sloppily done.
    • When UPA aired the movie on television, the version they used was more or less uncut... with the exception of one scene that featured Katsura's bare breasts, which was edited out. Modern airings on El Rey Network also use this version.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Mugan uses Mafune as this to save his own skin against the Interpol agents.
  • Buried Alive: After Titanosaurus kicks Godzilla into a deep pit, Mechagodzilla blasts down mountains to bury Godzilla in it, and Titanosaurus jumps on the mound so Godzilla can't get out until the humans arrive in a helicopter and weaken Titanosaurus with sonic waves, allowing Godzilla to dig out of it.
  • Central Theme: What Measure Is a Non-Human? The main conflict involving Katsura is how she would regain her humanity when she was turned into a cyborg by the Black Hole aliens. The aliens tell her Humans Are Bastards and must be destroyed, as her father even believes it. Ichinose tries to get her to regain her humanity and succeeds.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the climactic battle between Godzilla against Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus, Godzilla is completely outmatched and literally beaten into the ground. If it weren't for the intervention of the humans that break the alien's control over Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus, he would've had no chance of victory.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the previous film and the other two before it, TOMG is the darkest Godzilla film in the Showa series since Godzilla vs. Hedorah. Mechagodzilla's paint scheme even seems to show this, as it is a darker grey compared to the bright silver of the previous film. The soundtrack is done by Akira Ifukube, and is much darker than the sillier, campier music of the past two films. Also, to increase the tension further, Godzilla is faced with worse odds than in the previous films, as he is up against two monsters at the same time, with no allies to help him. And finally, this film has the most Scenery Gorn since Destroy All Monsters.
  • Darkest Hour: Even the might of Godzilla is no match for the combined might of Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus. The Big G is taken down and it looks like all hope is lost, until the humans manage to distract Titanosaurus with the Sonic Wave Oscillator.
  • Determinator: It doesn't matter how much firepower Mechagodzilla has, or how powerful Titanosaurus' tail fan is. Godzilla just keeps coming.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Katsura dies in Ichinose's arms after committing suicide.
  • Dub Name Change: Titanosaurus is called "Titano Kong" in the Italian dub.
  • Dynamic Entry: Take a wild guess.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: What mainly separates Mafune from the Black Hole aliens is that he deeply cares for his daughter and is uncomfortable with the aliens converting her into a cyborg.
  • Fan Disservice: Aside the National Geographic Nudity in the first film, this is the only Godzilla where it shows bare female breasts. In this case Katsura's, but it's not meant to be titillating. She is given surgery by the Black Hole Aliens and they're actually fake (a mannequin to be exact).
  • Genre Throwback: Terror of Mechagodzilla seems more like a kaiju film from the 1950s and early 1960s. It has a serious tone, a weighty theme, a lavish city destruction spectacle, a new monster antagonist that looks more like a natural animal, significant scenes of evacuation and human fear, and a well-developed human plot. This contrasts it with the kaiju films of the late Sixties and 1970s, which were campy, had fights takes place in barren wilderness rather than cities, featured outlandish monsters, and whose human plots were almost exclusively there to set up the monster fights. This was a conscious choice on the part of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka for artistic and monetary reasons, believing that Godzilla had gotten too wacky and that this was the reason ticket sales were declining. Part of arresting this trend was bringing back Ishiro Honda and Akira Ifukube.
  • Gentle Giant: Titanosaurus. He is only violent when he's being mind-controlled.
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla are both pretty much immune to bullets and mortars.
  • Glass Cannon: Titanosaurus is a physical powerhouse capable of totally manhandling Godzilla, but he gets absolutely wrecked whenever he's hit by Godzilla's atomic ray.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Black Hole aliens had apparently been on Earth for more than a decade when they resurrected Katsura as a cyborg.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After Ichinose refuses to kill her, Katsura takes the laser gun and shoots herself, destroying Mechagodzilla's controls.
  • Immune to Bullets: Mugan would like to believe this about himself, and he may be right, but he and his escape ships are definitely not immune to Godzilla's atomic ray.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Apparently, one of the humans who was aiming a sonic emitter onto Titansaurus somehow aim at his neck.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Subverted. Katsura thinks that she can't, so she asks Ichinose to kill her. He refuses, so she takes the gun and destroys Mechagodzilla's controls herself.
  • It Only Works Once: Godzilla takes Mechagodzilla's head off like he did before, but this time Mechagodzilla has a backup head that can't be removed so easily. It can also shoot a laser.
  • Large Ham: Doubles as Say My Name when Dr. Mafune shouts Katsura's name before he dies. The dub was hammier though.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Mechagodzilla unleashes a torrent of lasers, rockets, and missiles at Tokyo and later Godzilla.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Katsura Mafune.
  • Market-Based Title: Hoo-boy, we have a lot to cover. Was theatrically released in the U.S. under the puzzling name of The Terror of Godzilla, in the UK as Monsters From an Unknown Planet, in Germany as Konga - Godzilla - King Kong: The Brood of Devils, and in France as Monsters From the Lost Continent. There are four different versions of the English title card alone (the original international version, the UPA TV version, the "new" UPA title card, and another variation of the new" UPA title card).
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Mechagodzilla receives a backup head and... revolving hand missiles. Otherwise, he retains the same weapons and abilities he had in the previous film.
  • Naked on Revival: In the Japanese version at least. While reviving Katsura again, they show her breasts (unusual for a Godzilla film). Obviously, this is cut out in the version created for US theaters so the film can obtain a G-rating, and its the only scene edited out in the UPA television version that otherwise remained uncut.
  • No Holds Barred Beat Down: Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla are absolutely brutal in their attack on Godzilla.
    • Godzilla returns the favour to Mechagodzilla after he makes his comeback; once he finally gets past its Macross Missile Massacre to within punching range, he unleashes an unstoppable barrage of blows Mechagodzilla is helpless against.
  • Off with His Head!: For a second time, Godzilla tears off Mechagodzilla's head, but this time it doesn't defeat him, as his rebuilt form now has a smaller backup inside.
  • Plot Parallel: Ichinose rips off Tsuda's prosthetic face, then Godzilla decapitates Mechagodzilla shortly after.
  • Scenery Gorn: The scene where Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus attack Tokyo is a glorious example of this. With plenty of explosions and models being blown up with reckless abandon, you may forget you're watching a Godzilla movie and are instead watching an episode of Thunderbirds.
  • Sequel Escalation: the previous film had Godzilla facing Mechagodzilla with the help of King Caesar. This movie has Godzilla taking on an even more powerful version of Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus at the same time, without any allies to help him.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Despite being in the late Showa era, this is pretty much a wrestling match with the heroes and villains. Including the monsters. Eventually, the cynical villains lose while the humans will have a (eventual) hopeful future.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Commander Mugan, Mugen, or Mugar, which is it?
    • Mugal/Mugar (depending on how you'd like to translate it) in the original Japanese dialogue.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The rebuilt Mechagodzilla has spikes on his knees.
  • Swimming Into The Sunset: The film ends as Godzilla returns to the ocean while the sun is setting.
  • Syndication Title: The film ran on local stations in a mostly uncut and expanded form under that title at the same time a heavily edited version played in theaters as The Terror of Godzilla in 1978.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Dr. Mafune was ridiculed for his staunch belief that there was a dinosaur living underwater near Japan. Apparently, no one ever sought him out and apologized to him after a certain event in 1954. Sure, he was referring to a completely different dinosaur, but still. Unfortunately, he also has apparently become mad as a result, but according to the dialogue, this happened in 1960 (5 years after the second Godzilla's first appearance), which means Japan had just recently dealt not only with two Godzillas and Angilas but also Rodan and Varan. But the nail was that it wasn't necessarily the dinosaur that got Dr. Mafune scorned by the scientific community, but that he claimed that he could control the creature and all marine life. Even for the people that didn't necessarily believed his claim as ludicrous, they definitely believed that humans shouldn't be allowed to possess that kind of power.
  • Title Drop: A subtle one of one listens carefully:
    (Japanese version) Commander Mugar: "This is Mechagodzilla's counterattack!"
  • Tragic Monster: Titanosaurus. Constantly being used and forced to do things beyond his control, he is finally free at the end, only to face the wrath of a tired and bitter Godzilla, who didn't know about the mind control. Katsura can also count, to an extent.
  • Tragic Villain: Doctor Mafune was absolutely right about Titanosaurus's existence, and his machine capable of controlling Titanosaurus might have been a huge help with the other giant dinosaurs that arose in 1955. Of course that didn't happen, and he's completely misanthropic by the present day.
  • Uncertain Doom: Titanosaurus gets blasted by Godzilla off a cliff into the ocean at the end of the film. Whether or not the blast kills him is still a mystery. Thought Tomoyuki Tanaka states he managed to survive and live under the sea again.
  • Villain Protagonist: The villains drive the most of the plot in the film while heroes are trying to uncover their plot. The Siminians and Mafunes cover the first two acts of the fim until the third with Godzilla faces Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla and Ichinose is forced to face the Siminians and Mafunes himself.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Averted. Titanosaurus is susceptible to sonic waves and they had to build a special weapon just to take him down. Without it the final battle may have gone very differently.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Katsura, being a cyborg, struggles with this throughout the film. It doesn't help that the Simians do their damnest to make her turn against humankind. Ichinose convinces her that she's still human because she can produce tears, and he says that even if she's a cyborg, he still loves her.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In the theatrical US release (and the home video releases of it), Katsura's suicide was cut out, and she vanishes without a trace after the aliens are defeated. Her Heroic Suicide scene manages to make it into the Toho Master Collection rerelease of the English-language version.
    • Also Interpol agent Kusakari, who disappears in the US cut because the scene of him getting executed by the aliens was deleted. The deaths of Mugal's right hand man Tsuda and Dr. Mafune were also removed from this cut, leading to them suddenly vanishing from the story too.
    • And Mafune's creepy gardener, who, in either cut, disappears after accompanying Katsura to the city and running from Interpol.
  • You Have Failed Me: Mugal sentences three mooks to death for letting Ichinose and Murakoshi escape.
    Mugal: Because you lost the Earthmen at this crucial time for us all, you are sentenced to death!
  • Your Size May Vary: In one brief shot, Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus randomly look like they are the size of mountains, nearly filling up the sky, instead of about 50 and 60 meters tall respectively.