COG Considers: I Love My Cyborg Zombie Dinosaur
Today on COG Considers, let’s talk about Mechagodzilla. If you’re keeping up to date on the discussion swirling around the upcoming movie Godzilla vs Kong, then you’re probably aware of the theory that the rampaging, lizard-like Godzilla is actually Mechagodzilla in disguise. But who or what is Mechagodzilla? Good question. The answer is unnecessarily complicated, as most things are in any franchise after it passes its fiftieth anniversary, but here are the important bits.
First: Mechagodzilla is a mechanical monster–i.e., a robot–that was modeled after Godzilla. In its first appearance back in 1974’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, it was built by aliens specifically to destroy Godzilla and leave the earth wide open for conquering. This is probably less because Godzilla was actively trying to protect the earth and more because all iterations of Godzilla tend to get a little testy whenever aliens show up and start dropping other giant monsters on his lawn. Regardless, as you might guess, this version of Mechagodzilla was shredded down into its component parts by a really pissed-off radioactive dinosaur.
Second: Mechagodzilla is created to deal with Godzilla. Even in the continuities where it wasn’t made specifically to kill him, Mechagodzilla was still intended as either humanity’s or an alien species’ most important line of defense against Godzilla. Sometimes, as in the recent trilogy of anime movies, Mechagodzilla was made by both humans and aliens working together. Other times, it was built by humans working alone. Either way, it’s always presented as one of the most powerful–and dangerous–weapons ever created, which is fitting for something made to protect us from the physical incarnation of every threat we can’t just shoot. As you might guess, Mechagodzilla generally does not win this battle, but under the right circumstances it can eke out a tie.
Third: Mechagodzilla is a zombie cyborg. Yes, really. The 2002 film Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla presented its version of Mechagodzilla, nicknamed Kiryu, as having been built around the corpse of the original Godzilla from 1954. Kiryu was piloted by the Japanese Self-Defence Force against the current Godzilla, who was established as being its child, which is actually incredibly creepy. To make matters worse, the sound of Godzilla’s roar seems to awaken some of Kiryu’s lost memories, leading the bio-mechanical beast to go berserk. Imagine being resurrected as an undead weapon, controlled by machinery plugged into your brain, and forced to do battle with your own kid. No wonder the JSDF is left wondering if they should ever turn Kiryu back on.
Needless to say, Mechagodzilla is a monster with a long and surprisingly messed-up history. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Legendary will keep the dark, twisted origin of the character… but let’s be real here, zombie cyborg Mechagodzilla is as cool as it is nightmarish. And there’s a spare Godzilla skeleton lying around in the Monsterverse. We might still see Kiryu brought to the big screen once again.
And hey, if all else fails, there’s always Funko Pops.