I made an appreciation for Kiryu, the third incarnation of Mechagodzilla…wow, seven years ago. It got hit with a copyright claim that led to the audio being muted, and, to my shame, I’ve only just gotten around to re-uploading it (partly I didn’t want to just do a re-upload when I was behind on new content, but that was probably just my overthinking it).
Kiryu got his own appreciation because he has several unique points relative to the other versions of Mechagodzilla. Those are pretty much just robots under control of either the bad guys or the good guys. Kiryu, though, is built around the skeletal remains of the original Godzilla – the one who raided Tokyo in 1954 and was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer. This results in him having something of a real personality peaking through the mechanics, including once or twice being completely taken over by Godzilla’s spirit. Even when he isn’t, he has a degree of life and depth to him that other Mechagodzillas don’t.
The two ‘Godzilla x Mechagodzilla’ films are kind of mixed; Kiryu is a fascinating addition to the kaiju ranks, and Mothra shows up in the second one for a showy supporting role drawing on her original film. Also, the first one in particular has a surprisingly strong pro-life theme, with references to the lead engineer’s wife refusing to sacrifice her unborn child, resulting in both their deaths, while Kiryu’s pilot refers to herself as an ‘accident’ who should never have been born, prompting the engineer’s surviving daughter to chide her that ‘no life is worthless’. Which ties in with Kiryu himself and a sense that the humans are crossing a line in the cybernetic technology used to create and control him. So, overall some pretty cool ideas going on in them.
The problem is that Godzilla himself is pretty much an afterthought, inexplicably behaving far stiffer than his mechanical counterpart, barely even fighting back during the battles and generally having very little to do in either story except to serve as the heavy (the first one even comes close to crossing the ultimate Godzilla no-no by having him run from a fight: he retreats shortly into his first encounter with Kiryu, but it’s arguable at least).
Anyway, I’ll probably do a full review on them at some point. In the meantime, the complicated identity issue led to my picking ‘Breaking the Habit’ by Linkin Park for this one way back in the day. Enjoy the video (and hopefully it won’t get struck this time).