Terror of Mechagodzilla (Review)

Terror of Mechagodzilla

aka Mekagojira no gyakushu aka メカゴジラの逆襲

March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Yukiko Takayama
Directed by Ishiro Honda

Titanosaurus, DirectTV pioneer

Terror of Mechagodzilla is a direct followup to the previous film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It’s also the final film of the Showa era, one of the few films to show direct continuity that would be used more in the Heisei films, and the final Godzilla work of some G-legends, Ishiro Honda and Akihiko Hirata. It also bombed horribly, helping lead to a decade-long absence of Godzilla in film form. Overall, Terror of Mechagodzilla is a mixed bag. The action sequences are some of the most violent and explosive of the older films, but they’re obviously trying to compensate from the lower budget (many scenes suddenly end up in the countryside) and the hectic explosions loose their danger after the 1 millionth giant boom.

Being a little mermaid sure is boring…

Ishiro Honda doesn’t sleep on the job, making up for the lower filming budget with some neat visual stylizing. A flashback to Professor Mafune’s descent into madness is shown via sepia-toned photographs while narration explains. Katsura’s lament that Titanosaurus is to be used as a murderous weapon is juxtaposed with other alien-controlled kaiju from prior films played on a quad-screen shot. Godzilla’s first appearance is one of the better introduction scenes in his history.

The alien command center is in some Trekker guy’s basement?

While Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla showed a trend towards more serious, Terror of Mechagodzilla straddled the edge of serious and silly. The action sequences were more destructive, but the alien villains were more comic book. The cyborg daughter is played for tragedy, but it is obvious from the beginning that it will end in a downer and we’re just running through the steps until the final act. I am willing to accept that some of the sillier aspects are unintentional, such as the alien helmets or the complete lack of concern for hunting down the aliens by Interpol even after they’ve been spotted multiple times in the same area. But I can’t deny that I feel it is there, and it clouds Terror of Mechagodzilla in a way that the prior film did not have.

Titanosaurus was tragically hit by a meteor during the filming of this scene…

メカゴジラの逆襲 (translation: Counterattack of Mechagodzilla) was first released in the US in theaters in 1978 under the title The Terror of Godzilla. The US rights were held by Henry Saperstein, who sold Bob Conn Enterprises the film rights, but also released the movie itself on TV in 1978 as Terror of Mechagodzilla. This cut is credited to UPA Productions of America, and features an additional six minutes of scenes taken from other Godzilla films and narrated to serve as an introduction to Godzilla (this sequence is detailed below), the only think cut was a brief shot of Katsura’s fake breasts during a surgery scene. By the mid-1980s, there was a new cut on tv that featured many of the violent scenes cut down, as well as not having the opening narration. There are some that say this was the theatrical cut, though I don’t know why the theater cut would have removed the violence when that seems more of a tv cut thing to do. That cut was the most widely available for decades, including the original version I saw before I got a tape of the original cut. I have still not seen the restored DVD, hence the screenshots are either from the old VHS tape or the earlier DVD.

For some reason, the humans won’t take us serious!

And as March of Godzilla 2012 continues, let’s get us to the Roll Call!

Akira Ichinose (Katsuhiko Sasaki) – Marine Biologist at the Ocean Exploitation Institute, which somehow qualifies him to have equal police rights as the rest of Interpol when he works with them to track down the mysterious dinosaur. Falls in love with a cyborg despite her repeated attempts to brush him off.
Katsura Mafune (Tomoko Ai) – Daughter of the famous Professor Mafune, who went mad. She covers for her father, telling the world he is dead. In reality, he is in league with the space aliens and is using his discovery, Titanosaurus, and his ability to control animals, against mankind for spurning him and his ideas. Katsura was rebuilt as a cyborg after she was injured in an experiment, and becomes more robotic the more the aliens due to her. Tomoko Ai went on to do a string of Nikkuatsu films.
Dr. Shinzo Mafune (Akihiko Hirata) – Akikhiko Hirata plays yet another mad scientist, except this one doesn’t have an eyepatch, he’s got crazy old man hair, mustache, and eyebrows. He hates mankind because they made fun of him. Good thing he doesn’t read YouTube comments, Dr. Mafune would explode with rage. Explode, I tell you! He teams with the aliens.
Interpol Agent Jiro Murakoshi (Katsumasa Uchida) – The main cop who is sort of in the film, though often the film forgets he’s there as it focuses more on Ichinose. But he occasionally shows up to save the day and to save Ichinose.
Alien Leader Mugal (Goro Mutsumi) – The new leader of the space aliens from the previous film. Mugal sounds like a name for a Gremlin or something. The greatest tragedy of Terror of Mechagodzilla is that the aliens never revert back to gorilla form.
Godzilla (Toru Kawai) – The biggest G of them all!
Mechagodzilla (Ise Mori) – Picked up from the ocean floor and rebuilt with human slaves, Mechagodzilla is back to fight his fleshy foe. And now he’s controlled by a cyborg lady! And he has some sort of head under his head! It’s all weird, but not enough to keep him from being turned into scrap metal.
Titanosaurus (Katsumi Nimiamoto) – Titanosaurus is a peaceful dinosaur used by an arrogant made scientist and aliens to attack humans, and is then brutally murdered by Godzilla for his crime of being brainwashed. Some people are really into Titanosaurus! If you are Japanese, you call him Chitanosaurusu. Rumor has it that Titanosaurus was originally supposed to be two smaller creatures called the Titans that fuse together to create Titanosaurus. This idea seems to have been recycled into Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
G is for Godzooky, that’s good enough for me!

I’ll destroy this city once I’m done playing in this hole!

Let’s start with the Very Special Opening Sequence…

Using clips from Godzilla vs. Monster Zero and Godzilla’s Revenge (the scenes from Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla), it attempts to paint a picture of Godzilla’s origin for people who need that kind of introduction to a monster movie. For the rest of us, it is a weird experience like watching a Discovery special that’s largely wrong.

Mechagodzilla gives a friendly wave while posing for his blueprints
We’ve tried for months, but we can’t unscramble the Spice Channel!
Praise the Lord!

A Narrator tells us no one knows the origin of Godzilla, but many believe he was an ancient god (!), while others believe he is a prehistoric monster awakened by atomic explosions. Great, even Godzilla has Birther conspiracy theories!

However Godzilla was born, people tried to destroy him. But the people were just toys, and he destroyed the people! Then Godzilla trashed their cities to let humans know they were annoying. Man’s weapons failed, because mankind sucks.

I’m not a bathtub toy!
So the space aliens want to turn Tokyo into Disneyland’s Tomorrowland?
I’m not crazy, the world has gone sepia!

Luckily for mankind, aliens suck worse, and when they came to take over America, Godzilla was like “WTF, get out of here!” So now Godzilla protects us. So the aliens used monsters (according to the shots, Speiga and Ebirah and King Ghidorah), but Godzilla beat them all. So it is time for the aliens to make a new monster, Mechagodzilla! Thus, the credits begin.

Did you know this was released by The Mechagodzilla Company! Because it was.

Next we recap the first Mechagodzilla movie, where the Narrator is keen to tell us that Godzilla called upon unknown powers to defeat Mechagodzilla, and hurls him into the sea.

So now people have launched an expedition to get the wreckage of Mechagodzilla. All that SPACE Titanium is probably worth a lot of money…

Oliver Hardy?
The Most Dangerous Game of Caddyshack
A yellow submarine, huh?

By the way, the other cut of Terror of Mechagodzilla begins at the recap of GvMG scenes, but there is no Narrator to tell you what is going on. It’s nice to see a film that doesn’t assume you are a moron. Things will continue the same, though the cut without the opening narration has small snippets cut out that were too violent for kids. One cut in particular ruins everything, and I’ll mention it when it happens.

So let’s join the submarine under the sea looking for Mechagodzilla, while a mysterious girl watches from shore. Hey, the submarine captain is Keisuke Shimizu from the last film! Okay, it’s not really Keisuke Shimizu, but it is actor Masaaki Daimon playing a totally different character. Let’s pretend he’s the long lost Shimizu brother. In any event, the sub can’t find any wreckage, only small scraps. Then they’re suddenly attacked! By a new monster with a goofy squeal! Titanosaurus!

The sub is destroyed like every submarine ever in a Godzilla movie!

They say the easy way to spot a cyborg is that they wear socks for sleeves!
Hey, this prop was in the last film!
Sure, these helmets look cool, but they keep getting giant guys in leather jumping on their back and trying to drive

Meanwhile at Interpol… agents discuss the accident and as the sub’s emergency transmission claims a dinosaur is attacking, they bring in some marine biologists. The only two names you should remember is Interpol agent Jiro Murakoshi and marine biologist Akira Ichinose. Oddly enough, they’re suspicious of the dinosaur claim despite the face the sub was looking for an alien-built mechanical double of a giant radioactive dinosaur.

The Space Monkey aliens are back with a new plan to attack Tokyo – though we’ll never see them turn into monkeys. =( They call the Earthings ignorant and will rebuild in their own image. Also the last of their planets is going to hit the black hole soon, so they must win or they won’t be around for the next sequel! As there is no next sequel, I think we all know what happened to the Space Monkeys… The aliens have Earthling Professor Mafune to help them, they saved his daughter and he hates humanity because everyone made fun of him. A perfect combination, like peanut butter and chocolate, or boomerangs and flamethrowers. The aliens are still wearing silver uniforms, but now they have a ridiculous helmet on as well, with bike handlebars sticking out of the dies and shark fins on the back! It’s a crazy helmet!

A neat flashback told via old photos gives us Mafune’s back story, he was going to build undersea ranches to control sea life for food. Then he claimed to have found a dinosaur he controlled called Titanosaurus, and then went nuts and left when no one believed him.

Murakoshi and Ichinose go to his last known address, where the mysterious girl from before tells them that Dr. Mafune died five years earlier, and that she’s his daughter. She claims to know nothing about Titanosaurus and burned all his notes. But we know he’s alive, and when she tells her dad about the visit, he laughs and declares revenge will be had on all those fools who called him crazy (and other cliched mad scientist sayings!) I’m waiting for him to curse out Wernstrom.

Hi! I’m a jailbait scientist daughter! Tee-hee!
Of all the things to label, the pupil?
Peter Lorre!

What is weird is that Dr. Mafune doesn’t even know they are aliens until he sees Mechagodzilla. The aliens then say “We are the spacemen from the third planet. The only surviving planet in the black hole!” Wait, WHAT? Every time they say who they are, they have a different name.. No wonder they suck! Get a focus group together and pick a name!

The aliens are using human slave labor to repair Mechagodzilla, which is mostly the surviving submarine crew, including the Captain, who escapes briefly but is caught (Though some guy in a hole sees what’s going on.)

Interpol uncovers evidence that Titanosaurus is a gentle dinosaur and are confused. Ichinose invites Katsura out to tell her about finding a notebook of her father’s. He gives it to her and says her father’s theory is right. She tries to get him to ignore Titanosaurus, but he says they’re sending another sub to look and he’s going to be on it and wants her on it! She’s conflicted, but back in the alien base, Dr. Mafune tells her they’ve gone to far, her mom already died in poverty and they can’t go back. Not sure of the logic there, but remember, he’s a MAD scientist!

The guy in the hole went to Interpol, he was given SPACE titanium by the escaping submarine captain, who had his voice box removed by the aliens. This guy in a hole does more detective work than almost all of the characters in Terror of Mechagodzilla save Ichinose and Murakoshi.

First we’re going to give you some shots to numb your gums, and then we’re drilling 4,5,and 6!
Why, Godzilla, what big eyes you have…
The best Godzilla film marathon ever!

Katsura starts to have a moral panic when Interpol launches their submarine, but she’s zapped by a bearded alien. We get a flashback and learn Katsura died and the aliens fixed her up to be a cyborg. Beard Alien taunts her that no one will loves a cybrog (which is dumb, cyborgs probably pull all sorts of tail! Human and Computer!) He asks her “What emotion controls you?” “Vengeance and hate. Revenge.” she replies in the most monotoned vengeance and hate display I’ve ever heard.

Titanosaurus is sent to attack the sub, but during the attack the submarine accidentally hits him with supersonic rays when trying to call for help, which hurt Titanosaurus and he runs away. Interpol sets to work building a giant supersonic ray oscillator.

Ichinose wanders around where escapee was, and aliens surround him. The dubbers decide to give the creepy-looking alien guy here a German accent for some reason as he tells Ichinose not to try to escape. But Murakoshi just shoots the alien and they both escape. Oddly enough, this is Interpol’s sole effort to investigate the mysterious alien base despite it being the biggest world security threat in the history of the world.

They even tell their bosses, who are still hesitant on going to full alert (despite the fact that aliens who have tried to destroy the Earth are trying again using the same giant mechanical weapon they used before and are kidnapping and torturing people and have been found twice in the same woodland area, indicating they do have a secret base there.) But, still, maybe we should hold out on full alert for a bit longer. Just to make sure. Can’t be too careful…

Katsura gives Ichinose some of her father’s notes that she claims to have found where he grew up. Also, she has a giant red cape on like Little Red Riding Hood. At last we get a scene where a character is wearing awesome fashion like the 60s Godzilla films always have! Ichinose tells her about the supersonic rays, which she tells her dad. Dr. Mafune scoffs and declares he’s going to unleash Titanosaurus just to show everyone what he can do! Katsura laments that Titanosaurus will join the ranks of the killer monsters enslaved to alien invaders, namedropping King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Manda (thanks to some stock footage!) Cool that Manda was mentioned, because he’s rather obscure.

Before cable, tv rabbit ears were complicated…
Mechagodzilla is powered by Lego

Titanosaurus attacks the city and Katsura sabotages the supersonic ray device, though no one knows it was her. The aliens have a super-Geiger device that they’re using to track Godzilla, and know he’s coming to fight Titanosaurus, so they plan on letting him do so! The hope is the monsters will kill each other and Mechagodzilla can destroy Tokyo unopposed.

Titanosaurus rampages…until…one blast brings him down. We see a shadow of a head, lightning..GODZILLA!!!! The King of the Monsters is here and he’s got his theme music blaring. He’s roaring and beating his chest, and the battle is on!

Some Interpol guys chase after Katsura, who damages herself escaping, and Titanosaurus retreats. Ichinose tries to defend Katsura, but nothing doing because everyone knows she’s guilty except him. The aliens fix Katsura and tell Dr. Mafune to follow them or else. They also put the Mechagodzilla controller inside Katsura, which is when Dr. Mafune starts to regret that he sided with crazy space apes!

Which cell is the princess in, again?
We’ve got to reclaim the high score on Pole Position
I like to pretend Mechagodzilla is Titanosaurus’s parrot

Ichinose is captured by the aliens, and realizes the truth when he sees Dr. Mafune, and then watches as the now distant and mean Katsura launches Mechagodzilla. She controls the robot via glowing green eyes. Interpol finaly does something and invades the abandoned base and rescues the prisoners, getting out just in time as the base starts to blow up.

Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla attack the city. Mechagodzilla tears things up with his rainbow eye blasts, while Titanosaurus uses his finned tail to wave it back and forth and cause wind damage. There are several more minutes of the monsters blowing things up as people flee.

DANGER DANGER DANGER KENNY ALERT!!!! We have KENNY ALERT LEVEL 5! A teenage kid named Ken is going to run around where the monsters are!

Remember, TarsTarkas.NET recommends you kill all children named Kenny immediately, burn the body, scatter the ashes, and trap the soul in a uranium spork that is blasted into Saturn’s moon Titan via large catapult.

This movie has a love of explosions and fire
Look at these Kennys. Just look at them!
Now Godzilla can fly? Time to return this DVD…

Kenny has a fat friend who joins him. But Godzilla shows up! I hope he squashed Kenny and his fat friend while running over to fight the monsters.

That sounds like something Godzilla would do.


We never see this Kenny again, so Big G’s work here is done.

Titanosaurus is eager to fight Godzilla again, and he starts wagging his tail, making things all windy. Godzilla is like “WTF, laws of physics, please!” but if that happened all these monsters would die to to the square-cube law expanding their mass far too great, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Mechagodzilla takes this time to also blast Godzilla, then Titanosaurus kicks him in the head so hard he flies across the screen. Luckily he flies into an area with less buildings so they can save money on models.

The fight gets more brutal, as Mechagodzilla blasting Godzilla while Godzilla holds Titanosaurus above his head, the bigger dinosaur falling on him. Suddenly jets attack Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla attacks while the monsters are distracted. So many explosions happen on the costumes that they’re all smoking and scorched. The best maneuver of the fight involves Titanosaurus picking up Godzilla by biting his upper mouth and yanking him into the air, then punching him.

Why you shouldn’t get lippy!
I smoke two joints in time of peace, and two in time of war…
Looks like someone’s getting some second-hand 420…

Mechagodzilla shoots Godzilla with a special missile, that causes Big G to have his head all smokey and then he collapses on the ground.

Oh, crap, I think they killed him.

Yep, he’s dead. No wonder the Showa films ended. Welp, see you in a decade, folks.

What? He’s not dead? Okay, fine, back to the film.

Humans fix the supersonic device finally and attach it to a helicopter. Why don’t they have more than one device? Interpol Agent Jiro Murakoshi is going to try to find out from Mafune’s house how the animal control device works.

Titanosaurus jumps up and down one a mound of dirt where Godzilla was buried during the fighting.

Mechagodzilla’s spontaneous combustion attack fails to be effective.
The Godzilla suit is really on fire in this shot.

The special helicopter comes in, darts Titanosaurus in the neck and then starts hitting him with supersonic rays, which causes him to leave the battle for a bit. Mechagodzilla is going to blow up the copter, but Godzilla pops out of the ground like the gopher in Caddyshack and starts blasting him with atomic breath. The two rivals fight fight fight. Mechagodzilla blasts and blasts and blasts and blasts with all his weapons at Godzilla. Godzilla is literally on fire and running at one point with all the explosions (the suit actually caught on fire big time here!!) Godzilla reaches Mechagodzilla and punches back.

Ichinose frees himself and starts attacking alien guys, while the Interpol agents close in on Mafune’s house, which just happens to be where all the aliens are now! Titanosaurus is still being driven cray from the supersonic rays.

Katsura is going to shoot Ichinose, but she’s shot by Murakoshi. As she has the Mechagodzilla controller in her brain, this let’s Godzilla rip of Mechagodzilla’s head, only he sees a metal brain device under the head – which zaps him with a laser!

That’s it, I’m defeated by a helicopter with a speaker that goes to 11!
What has Mechagodzillaed before will Mechagodzilla again

Katsura sees her father get shot, then awakens from her rage-fueled self. Ichinose tells her he still loves her despite her being a cyborg, and then she shoots herself so Mechagodzilla won’t be under control any more. The scene of her shooting herself is not in the American version that has the violent scenes cut out, so there is mass confusion as to why suddenly Mechagodzilla is deactivated, Katsura disappears from the film, and Ichinose is sad. So now we know!

Godzilla tosses Mechagodzilla, and then atomic breaths the wreck. He then sets his sights on Titanosaurus for a pounding.

The Interpol agents shoot the alien commander, but he’s invincible to their bullets. They have escape craft in the ocean and start to fly away. But the ships are instantly shot down by Godzilla, who then murders Titanosaurus, causing him to fall backwards into the ocean. Take that, peaceful dinosaur forced to fight via brainwashing!

Everyone cheers, the end!

Alas, poor Mechagodzilla. I killed him well…
Bionic horseshoe crabs!
If this scene is missing from your copy, you’ve been censored!

So that’s our downer ending, and our downer ending until 1984 gave us another Godzilla film! Just ignore the comics and cartoons. And this brings March of Godzilla 2012 to a close. Hopefully by the next time I’ll have located a few missing disks so I can give you more complete coverage of multiple versions of the few films left to cover!

Rated 4/10 (stock mantis, stock spider, stock lobster, stock dragon)

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One thought on “Terror of Mechagodzilla (Review)

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