aka Gojira vs. Mosura aka Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth
Directed by Takao Okawara
Written by Kazuki Omori
This is the most popular film of the Heisei Godzilla series, in that it did the best at the box office due to the cross appeal of Mothra with girls. It spawned the Mothra Trilogy as an offshoot (though technically not in the same universe) and helped set up sequels down the line in the Heisei series. And it wasn’t released in the US until years later, thanks to fallout from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Thus, I ended up with a full-screen dubbed VHS release around 1998 or so when the movies started to show up at the local Suncoast (now bankrupt.) Isn’t that grand? So as Godzilla has been rebooted, it is time for familiar monsters to start reappearing. Since Ghidorah already did his part, now Mothra will show up to kick some Godzilla butt. Mothra is also joined by Battra, the Dark Mothra. Wow, how original. Will Dark Godzilla then show up? What about Light Ghidorah? What if we had a Godzilla who was black on one side and green on the other? Then he fought another bi-colored Godzilla, except his colors were on the opposite sides! This is a Star Trek joke, for those of you who are 13 and stumbled across this while Googling for “Godzilla boobs” or something.
Someone will find this review by Googling “Godzilla boobs”
Back to the films, we have typical Heisei stuff with the army being useless, that psychic girl Miki Saegusa showing up, and a bunch of new main characters who have to spend the film repairing their marriage. Important stuff, to be sure. This is also the deput of the Heisei Shibojin, or the Cosmos as they get renamed this time around. And they are not real twins, just two Idols that Toho had lying around.
Originally, Mothra was to fight a monster known as Bagan in a film called Mothra Vs. Bagan. Then Godzilla vs. Biollante tanked and Toho realized that no one knew who Bagan was. Instead of having Mothra fight Bagan all across Asia (including battles in Shanghai and Bangkok) Mothra was reworked into the Godzilla series. Mothra then got so popular she headlined her own trilogy of films. Bagan appeared as the final boss in the Super Nintendo video game Super Godzilla, and almost fought Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Bagan, but that film became Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. So Bagan gets the shaft again!
Takuya Fujito (Tetsuya Bessho) – Indiana Jones has been reincarnated as a Japanese tomb raider. That’s what happens when you die in a fridge as a nuke goes off. Takuya Fujito spends so much time stealing ancient artifacts he divorced his wife and hasn’t seen his young daughter. This all changes thanks to the power of Godzilla. Sure, thousands died, but Takuya rekindles his marriage!
Masako Tezuka (Satomi Kobayoshi) – Ex-wife of Takuya Fujito and mother of their young daughter. Reluctantly gets her husband out of jail to guide a mission in Infant Island in search of the giant egg, and being around each other during tragedy helps them get back together.
Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – Don’t you know who she is by now? Miki Saegusa spends most of the film hunting down tiny girls.
The Cosmos (Keiko Imamura & Sayaka Osawa) – The Shobijin are now The Cosmos, because of…uh…um…stuff. So they are still two tiny girls who speak in unison, have psychic powers, and give warnings to people. They also get kidnapped by evil corporations all the time, because evil corporations are dumb and think two tiny slave girls will lead to an increase in sales of octopus-flavored Pocky. Maybe it would, this is Japan we are talking about. The Cosmos were created by the lifeforce of the Earth
Kenji Andoh (Takehiro Murata) – The Secretary to the President of the Maritomo Company. Sort of a jerk, but becomes less of a jerk when he stands up to his boss. Then he gets fired and exits the movie. Takehiro Murata also stars as Yuji Shinoda in Godzilla 2000, as a newspaper editor in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and has cameos in GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and Godzilla X Mechagodzilla.
Professor Fukazawa (Saburo Shinoda) – Professor of being a suave Japanese Professor, also volcanoes or something. Will return in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
Marutomo Head Takeshi Tomokane (Makoto Otake) – Evil CEO of an Evil Corporation who is Evil. And also a dork. Look at him, with his dorkiness. Conspires to cut down all trees, enslave the environment, kidnap tiny girls, and fire anyone who disagrees with him. His stockholders love him.
Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) – Godzilla? Never heard of him.
Mothra Larva (puppet) – Another Mothra pops out of an egg and immediately is involved in a fight. For someone who loves peace so much, Mothra sure gets into fights as a newborn a lot. Mothra has a fight in the high seas, trashes a city searching for The Cosmos, and then morphs into moth form after a cocoon on the Diet.
Mothra Moth (puppet) – Moth form of Mothra hasn’t changed much except to get bigger than the Showa form. And she has beam weapons now. And she can make little tiny Mothras, though we don’t see that in this movie so just forget I mentioned it.
Battra Larva (Hurricane Ryu Hariken) – Battra first appezred 12,000 years ago to trash civilization because they made a weather control device and Earth was mad. Battra and Mothra fought each other during that time. You remember all of this from history class so there is no need to add details. Battra then slept and was supposed to awaken in 1999 to destroy a meteor, but Godzilla woke him up earlier. So now Battra Larva is running around doing Battra Larva things. Is 90 meters long and weighs 20,000 tons
Battra Bat (puppet) – Battra then grows up without the need of a cocoon. First Battra hates Mothra, but eventually the two team up to attack Godzilla. This results in the death of Battra, who hasn’t been back unless you count Godzilla Island episodes. Adult Battra has a length of 73 meters and weights 30,000 tons, with a wingspan of 180 meters and can fly at Mach 3. Battra is the Black Mothra.
Yuzo Tsuchiashi (Akiji Kobayashi) – A grey-haired guy in G-Force who is some of these Heisei films yet he wasn’t featured in a Roll Call because these Heisei films have like 90,000 characters. He went back in time in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and helps plan defenses against Godzilla in multiple films. He is a friend of Environmental Planning Board Chief Jyoji Minamino. Actor Akiji Kobayashi is famous for the Kamen Rider X series, and also cameos in Gamera 2: Assault of the Legion.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is the third of the Heisei series of films, and the first to include a classic Toho kaiju in a new form (other classic monsters such as Mothra and Rodan would soon arrive as well.) The big story with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is not the plot or the monsters or any of that jazz, but the controversy surrounding the release of the film. Back in 1991, the US was still having rough relations with Japan economically, following a period where Japan seemed to be buying up much of America at wholesale prices. Japan’s edge had started to slip at this point, and they would soon be in the middle of a decade-long recession, but fear of Japan soon controlling the world war rampant in the dimmest of bulbs, who coincidentally just happen to have radio and TV shows. They were upset over the sequence where the precursor to Godzilla, the Godzillasaurus, slaughters a bunch of US troops during World War 2. The fact that men from the future who were white also went back in time to ruin Japan economically in retaliation of Japan’s dominance was also touchy. Accusations of anti-Americanism flew wild, and Japan had to say “What the frak?” No one seemed upset over the thousands of dead Japanese people in the film, the fact a Japanese woman was one of the time travelers, a white guy was a good robot, or the fact that everyone in the future where Japan dominated hated the country and thought of them as corrupt and deserving death for their arrogance.
But talking heads are morons, so who gives a crap what they thought in 1991? All I am concerned about is if that had any decision in the delaying of release of the post-Biollante films in America. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah did not hit the US market until at least 1996, because I bought the VHS of it while I was in college. A few bootlegs circled at conventions, but outside of the grey market you could not get a glimpse of new Godzilla for five years. Of all of the Heisei era films, I think I enjoy this one the most, largely due to the human characters not being that annoying. It was very much better than its predecessor, Godzilla vs. Biollante, which was terrible (when Godzilla wasn’t fighting the army) and featured a stupid monster that I hate. Biollante’s poor showing at the box office basically forced Toho to tell the director he is bringing back a named monster, something that happened again when GMK: Tokyo SOS director Masaaki Tezuka was forced to put Ghidorah and Mothra in a film neither had any business being in. Toho could easily avoid this by not having lame monsters like Biollante or Megaguirus, but I guess that is just too difficult. Rumors swirl that this was originally going to star King Kong in a rematch against Godzilla, but negotiations went sour.
Enough rambling, let’s get to this production! We will have the cast breakdown, and then jump into the feature
Kenichiro Terasawa (Kosuke Toyohara) – All Godzilla films need a reporter and a scientist, so Kenichiro Terasawa is our reporter. He predicts where Godzilla comes from, IN THE FUTURE, but for now he is just a guy who hasn’t done anything cool yet.
Emmy Kano (Anna Nakagawa) – From the future! She came back in time to destroy her native Japan because Emmy has self-hate issues or something. Regardless, she soon realizes that Japan is ichiban and switches teams to be all 100% pro-Japan. She is also a pseudo-love interest for Kenichiro Terasawa, which is sort of gross because she is his descendent. I guess in the future the inbreds rule the roost.
Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – Recurring character Miki Saegusa returns for the first time, thus she is a recurring character. Recurring, you see. She is psychic and has big ears. They are related. Also, she will be a recurring character, have I mentioned that?
Professor Mazaki (Katsuhiko Sasaki) – Hey, a physics expert! Our resident scientist helps Terasawa discover the secret of Godzilla’s origin and explain the time travel junk to the military.
M-11 (Robert Scott Field) – A white guy who isn’t evil or related to a director just happens to be a robot! But that allows for cyborg action like the world has never seen. Okay, not quite. M-11 is pretty cool for a second-rate Data so I give him two robotic thumbs up!
Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) – Godzilla grows in size thanks to modern radiation from 80 meters to 100 meters. Now he can kick even more butt! If Godzilla ever wanders past your house, don’t use any radiation on him, because he’ll keep growing bigger and bigger and have to buy new wardrobes each time, making Godzilla madder and madder.
King Ghidorah (Hurricane Ryu) – King Ghidorah is the agent of the evil Futurians used to try to destroy Japan so they won’t rule the world of the future. Three heads are better than one, unless you have low ceilings.
Mecha-King Ghidorah (Hurricane Ryu) – Mecha-King Ghidorah is the modified version of King Ghidorah that transports from the future to fight Godzilla. Piloted by Emmy and M-11.
Godzillasaurus (Wataru Fukuda) – Godzillasaurus was just chillin’ on his island when these Japanese guys showed up and trenched in. Godzillasaurus suspiciously ignored them until heroic Americans came to kill the Japanese, and Godzillasaurus decided he should get involved in the conflict. His attempts at peacemaker resulted in his body being riddled with bullets, so Godzillasaurus lashed back and struck out in anger. Godzillasaurus hid his rage deep inside until it consumed him and he became rage personified. So learn some stress management, kiddies!
Dorats (puppets) – AHGH!! KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE! Sorry. These ugly as sin things turn into King Ghidorah. If the Futurians wanted to destroy Japan maybe they should have dropped several dozen back in time so there would be many King Ghidorahs. But that would require having some brains!
Directed by Kazuki Omori
Written by Shinichiro Kobayashi and Kazuki Omori
The origins of Godzilla vs. Biollante are not what is usual for a Godzilla film (with the possible exception of Godzilla vs. Megalon) In 1986 Toho held a contest to write the next chapter in the Godzilla saga. The eventual winner was a dentist named Shinichiro Kobayashi, who came up with a concept about the mutant plant, dead scientist’s daughter, and the psychic girl. The final product is radically different in the other parts, as Shinichiro Kobayashi’s original script also included a rat/fish hybrid monster named Deutalios. The plot also echos parts of the Ultra Q episode The Mammoth Flower, in that there is a giant flower with wacky tentacles. In an interesting side note, the second place winner of the story competition was an entry titled Godzilla 2 by American Jim Bannon, which is set in the future and had a super computer that creates battle machines to fight Godzilla. Toho eventually to this script, yanked the Godzilla out of it, and turned it into the 1989 movie GUNHED. Toho considered using the GUNHED computer to fight Godzilla in subsequent Heisei films, but as we know that never happened.
Since I am mentioning the term Heisei, I might as well explain what it is for those of you who aren’t Gojiraphiles. There are three main eras of Godzilla films. The original series is the Showa series and runs from the original film in 1954 until 1974’s Terror of Mechagodzilla. The second series is known as the Heisei series after the Emperor of Japan during the bulk of the series. It began with Godzilla 1985 (aka Return of Godzilla) and ran through 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. The third series was the Millennium Series, which started with Godzilla 2000 and ran through Godzilla Final War.
Scientist labor to find out if Mister Muffins or Whiskers was the feline who yakked on the couch
Miki Saegusa will become a recurring character throughout the Heisei series. A psychic girl who has a link with Godzilla, she comes in useful when Godzilla resurfaces and causes trouble. Miki starts out as a young girl here (and is really dressed down as a child compared to the later movies where she will be presented more grown up) and matures as the series goes on. An occurring character in so many movies is a rare thing in Godzilla films, and she helped string the Heisei films into a more cohesive group. She is played by Megumi Odaka, who has retired from acting around 2000 and dropped out of public view shortly afterward. Rumors have swirled of illness, but as to what she has been up to it is anyone’s guess.
Biollante represents mankind’s arrogance, which is a theme the film will beat over your head again and again. Yes, we get it, mankind is arrogant and playing God and all that stuff. We know this from the other Godzilla films that say some of the same stuff. So getting an extra layer of shame cake is not a pleasant desert. The next film gets all preachy as well, but about totally different things. As many of the live action sequences are completely forgettable, much of the preaching falls on ears that won’t remember it 90 minutes later. The human story here switches from scientists and ethical dilemmas to terrorist countries and their goons to psychic schoolgirls to untested military officers. It is like four stories in one, plus the monster action. The film debuted dubbed on video and cable in the US, though I have a copy of a Japanese version which will be used in the review. As far as I know there is no real difference.
Kazuhito Kirishima (Kunihiko Mitamura) – Scientist who becomes involved in international intrigue in the wake of Godzilla’s return from volcano slumber. Kazuhito works with Godzilla cells, but ends up partnering with Lt. Goro Gondo in an attempt to stop Saradian terrorists. Kunihiko Mitamura has another encounter with kaiju in Gamera 3.
Asuka Okouchi (Yoshiko Tanaka) – Our female main character who is dating fellow scientist Kazuhito Kirishima. Asuka Okouchi works with at the psychic institute and acts as a pseudo-mother to Miki Saegusa. Her father runs the Okouchi Foundation that does a lot of shady biogenetic work in the name of science. Yoshiko Tanaka returns as Asuka Okouchi in Godzilla vs Mothra.
Major Sho Kuroki (Masanobu Takashima) – Young kid in charge of dealing with the Godzilla counter-attack. I guess Japan was all out of old generals. Manages to do a pretty good job, so good his character doesn’t return in any sequels. Masanobu Takashima will finally get to fight Godzilla again as Major Kita in Godzilla: Final Wars.
Dr. Shiragami (Koji Takahashi) – Scientist whose daughter Erica was killed by terrorists, so he implants her DNA into roses (that start to die) so then he inserts Godzilla DNA into those roses. Good job, idiot! Then he spends the rest of the film calling people arrogant, until he is thankfully shot.
Lieutenant Goro Gondo (Toru Minegishi) – Military Man who was in charge of the site where Godzilla was trapped by the volcano. Manages to not even get blamed in the slightest when terrorists plant giant bombs and blow up the volcano. He is off running around doing wacky Godzilla-fighting stuff, and gets squashed by a building after shooting Godzilla in the mouth with a bacteria-laden rocket.
Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – A psychic teenage girl who will become a recurring character in the Heisei series. In this installment she is dressed up like a young girl, but the following films with dress her like an actual adult.
SSS9 (Brien Uhl) – Assassin who works for Saradia or something, also called an ALIEN agent (another terrorist group) but also kills terrorists. Thanks to the confusing plot, I was not sure what his name was, so we got the description of “Scrawny Lorenzo Lamas” in the plot synopsis! But according to the credits his name is SSS9. Yeah.
Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) – You don’t know who Godzilla is? What, do you live in a cave? Well, go back to painting things on a wall, because we are assuming you know who Big G is. As Godzilla vs. Biollante takes place after the last film, Godzilla starts out buried in a volcano.
Biollante rose form (???) – Hey, a giant rose would be totally cool to see Godzilla! And this is some good crack!
Biollante final form (???) – Lizard version of Biollante is less stupid but still pretty darn lame.