A team of brilliant scientists from around the world have created the ultimate anti-Godzilla weapon: the titanium titan known as Mechagodzilla! However, lowly but gifted technician Kazuma Aoki (Masahiro Takashima) believes his robot fighter craft, Garuda, can contribute to the fight, even though his project has been scrapped. Joining G-Force, Kazuma accompanies scientist Azusa Gojo (Ryoko Sano) and psychic girl Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka, a reoccurring character throughout the Nineties Godzilla series) on an expedition to Adonoa Island where they discover a gigantic dinosaur egg. Protecting the egg is none other than that flying terror, Rodan, who engages the newly arrived Godzilla in a monstrous melee. Team Mechagodzilla scramble to join the fray and battle Big G to a standstill. Back in Japan, the egg hatches to reveal Baby Godzilla, a friendly little dino-tot who forms a close bond with Azusa, Miki and her class of psychic children. However, the UNGCC (United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Centre) rashly choose to use Baby as bait to lure Godzilla into a fatal showdown against his robot rival.
Mechagodzilla clanked his way into the hearts of kaiju-loving kids in the colourfully chaotic Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and its endearingly eccentric sequel Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) and, although more or less a carbon copy of the Mecha-Kong from King Kong Escapes (1967), has proven himself to be one of Big G’s most enduring foes. For their twentieth Godzilla movie, Toho studios revived the rampaging robo-saurus and scored both a smash hit in Japan and rare praise from their increasingly vocal and pernickety fans overseas. Screenwriter Wataru Mimura crafts a lively and humorous script (note the hilarious montage of hapless Kazuma training for G-Force) that moves like gangbusters and casts Godzilla as the embodiment of nature chastising mankind for their hubris. That said, the message is slightly undermined by the depiction of Godzilla as such a relentlessly destructive force throughout the first two acts.
Throughout the Heisei era Godzilla films, Toho sought to court a generation of hardcore sci-fi action fans, who wanted an unapologetically terrifying monster menace, without alienating their core audience of children who loved the radioactive reptile and cheered his every move. In most cases this resulted in stories of uncertain tone, but Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II wisely downplays Big G’s murderousness so the more poetic and humane undercurrents seep through, such as a charming sequence wherein a group of adoring little psychic girls serenade Baby Godzilla with a lullaby. By far the most intriguing aspect of Mimura’s screenplay is the suggestion that Baby could forge a telepathic link between Godzilla and humanity, granting each a greater understanding of the other. Sadly, few of the other entries explore this theme with much conviction. The script is not entirely flawless, notably an inconsistency with Rodan that was handled more believably, if outlandishly in Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster (1964).
The special effects set-pieces orchestrated by Koichi Kawakita are among the most eye-catching and outstanding in the series, with monster battles mounted on an epic scale and an arsenal of hi-tech hardware to dazzle sci-fi fans. Kazuma even rides a cool pterodactyl-shaped flying craft. Although the Godzilla suit lacks personality and the new, streamlined Mechagodzilla isn’t as endearing as the clunky, funky original, the revamped Rodan is an effects triumph and Baby Godzilla trumps Minya (remember him?) as an engagingly goggle-eyed animatronics creation. Cute without being cloying. The human characters are also appealing: Masahiro Takashima remains a likeable lead in spite of his subplot being the least interesting, Ryoko Sano forms an affecting bond with Baby Godzilla as his surrogate mother, as does Megumi Odaka who, besides looking cute in her G-Force uniform, engineers an affecting reunion between father and son, from which all humanity learns a lesson. Mechagodzilla returned in a radically re-imagined guise in Toho’s twenty-sixth Godzilla adventure: Godzilla x Mechagodzilla (2002) while Miki, Baby and the big guy himself reunited far sooner in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994).