Showa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Fifteenth film: Mekagojira no Gyakushū / Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) - Concluding the franchise on a high note - 8/10
Terror of Mechagodzilla is the fifteenth and final entry in the Showa Era Godzilla franchise. It sees legendary veteran director Honda Ishiro, who had started it all twenty-one years earlier, return to direct the final film of his career. The franchise comes full circle here as it includes profound characters with inner struggles going all the way back to the first film.
This movie is basically a tragic tale of revenge. Scientist Mafune Shinzo had once been rejected by his colleagues for claiming that Titanosaurus had survived extinction in the depths of the ocean. Alien invaders contacted him and pointed out that they believed his story. With their technology and his ambitions, they managed to control Titanosaurus and make him a weapon against mankind. Alien invaders and the vengeful scientist are also repairing Mechagodzilla to unleash further destruction upon Japan. Marine biologist Ichinose Akira starts investigating after an Interpol submarine mysteriously disintegrated at the bottom of the ocean and rediscovers the scientists' controversial claims. He meets his daughter who wrongfully tells him that her father has died years ago but continues to be interested in the case and starts falling in love with the lonesome daughter. As it turns out, she actually died during one of her father's experiments and has been transformed into a cyborg by the alien invaders. She is torn between collaborating with them, helping her father and protecting her new lover and mankind. The daughter soon becomes the central element in an intriguingly detailed plot.
While the story is certainly one of the very best in the franchise, the fight scenes between the monsters are of an average quality. This is mostly due to the fact that Titanosaurus is everything but spectacular. Its first mysterious appearance in the opening sequence is quite intriguing but it disappoints as soon as it reaches the surface. Mechagodzilla is obviously much more interesting but its new version doesn't add any intriguing elements that would distinguish it much from the predecessor. Godzilla is obviously also involved in some battles and delivers the goods without shining too brightly. Had the monster battles been more intense, then this movie could have found its righteous place among the very best Godzilla movies ever made. As it turns out, it's a great but not an outstanding conclusion to the first era of the franchise.
Declining box office success and restricted budgets were the main reasons for the franchise to lay dormant for nine and a half years following this release. That doesn't mean that scriptwriters didn't have any ideas for further sequels with old and new monsters but the films simply weren't made. Terror of Mechagodzilla wasn't supposed to be the last film of the Showa Era franchise but it's a conciliatory conclusion in hindsight with the return of veteran director Honda Ishiro, a complex plot indirectly tracing back to the original film that had started it all and the fact that this movie doesn't leave any questions unanswered. Fans of the franchise should definitely know and watch this movie as well as its even slightly superior immediate predecessor. To conclude, the franchise's dormancy wouldn't end up being a bad thing because The Return of Godzilla nine and a half years later would turn out being one of the greatest monster movies ever made.« Showa Era Godzilla movies (1954 - 1975): Fourteenth film: Gojira tai Mekagojira / Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) - An energetic mixture to redeem the franchise - 9/10The double-album of pop and metal - A review of Black Infinity's The Illuminati of Love and Death I & II »