Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II

 

The cover for the soundtrack

Composed by: Akira Ifukube

Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II is not a sequel to the original Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, but a continuation of the 90s Heisei series. Continuing their strategy of rebooting older monsters, the producers at Toho brought back the two remaining mega-monster stars: MechaGodzilla and Rodan. They also gave Godzilla a son again, but rather than bring back the divisive Minya they opted for a more realistic take. There are two central plots to the film. The first is G-Force, an organization tasked with battling Godzilla and other monsters, creating a mechanical Godzilla in hopes of finally killing the Big G once and for all. The other is the discovery of an egg in Rodan’s nest. It turns out to be a baby Godzilla, and Godzilla and Rodan battle for custody of the child. Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II is full of good ideas, but I find the film to be somewhat lacking. I think it’s not absurd or good enough to draw me in. The real issue might be the monster battles. The Heisei series is infamous for having the monsters stand apart throwing beams at each other and I find it to get boring at times. It’s nice to actually have them sometimes grapple or fight like actual animals. The music, though, is probably Ifukube’s best from the 90s.

The score begins with a sinister iteration of Ghidorah’s theme in “Opening.” This is because the mechanical components of Mecha-King Ghidorah’s corpse are used to build MechaGodzilla, a process which is underscored with rhythmic montage music. This builds MechaGodzilla’s new theme in “Main Title.” Ifukube wisely did not reuse his theme for the character from Terror of MechaGodzilla. That was a sinister theme linked to an alien invasion. Here MechaGodzilla is an instrument of the military and an extension of Japan’s home defense, a much more heroic role. The first appearance of this march is ponderous (in a good way) and grand. One reason I rate this score highly is because Ifukube actually shows some malleability and range with his themes instead of rehashing them in the same manner. “MechaGodzilla Landing Preparations” plays the theme at a faster pace as the robot flies to battle. By contrast “MechaGodzilla Repair Operation” features the theme in defeatist mode.

Another militaristic theme is “G-Force March” which doubles as a theme for the winged vehicle Garuda. As with MechaGodzilla’s material Ifukube shows versatility in its employment. Its first appearance in “G-Force Training Center” has a touch of humor as one of the main characters fumbles his way through training. “G-Force March” is the most straightforward presentation. “Garuda Simulation” puts the theme through an electronic iteration.

Ifukube really put the effort into devising new themes for this one. There are two more related to Baby Godzilla. Ifukube never actually made a theme for the original son, as he only scored one of his three appearances and that was the crowded Destroy All Monsters. The first of these two themes is a mysterious tune usually appearing with children’s choir (“Music of Ancient Vegetation” and “Esper Chorus” notable examples). It actually has a diagetic purpose. Prehistoric plants send it out, attracting the attention of recurring psychic character Miki Saegusa. By playing it the human characters cause Baby Godzilla to hatch. “Baby and Azusa” introduces the theme for the little tyke himself, a warm peaceful piece.

Godzilla and Rodan’s themes make their return. Ifukube opts to use the Terror of Godzilla theme rather than the Godzilla March this time, the latter still making a couple appearances. While the Godzilla March is more iconic, it’s nice having one of his earlier themes back. I actually think Ifukube should have utilized it in the previous film, where Godzilla assumed a more villainous role in comparison to Mothra. Ifukube reintroduces Rodan’s theme wonderfully in “Rodan Appears.” He goes through various mysterious tunes as a mysterious giant shape sails through the air. At the 0:44 mark the theme bursts forth in its glory. The Terror of Godzilla theme might have been brought back because of Rodan’s reappearance, as these two themes would classically appear alongside each other in the Showa series. It does so here in the lengthy “Godzilla vs. Rodan.” Another returning theme is the piano action motif from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah in “Electrical Discharge Attack.”

The album has a strong last act. “Rodan’s Life Force” has the pterosaur’s theme play in a mystical fashion. The Godzilla March makes an obligatory appearance and then it is on to three tracks devoted to the Baby Godzilla and choral themes. These present a lengthy peaceful ending.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised when returning to this score. Ifukube finally equals the creativity of his earlier works, creating several great themes. He puts old and new themes through various versions to keep things interesting. This is the best score from the Heisei series.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklisting

  1. Introduction
  2. Main Title
  3. G-Force Training Training Center
  4. The Adonoa Island Fossil
  5. Rodan Appears
  6. Godzilla vs. Rodan
  7. The Music of the Ancient Plants
  8. The Birth of the Dinosaur
  9. Baby and Azusa
  10. Godzilla Heads to Yokkaichi
  11. MechaGodzilla Prepares to Attack
  12. Mechagodzilla Flies at Full Speed
  13. Mechagodzilla To Suga Mountains
  14. Mechagodzilla vs. Godzilla
  15. Electrical Discharge Attack
  16. Godzilla’s Fury I
  17. The G-Force March I
  18. Baby and Azusa II
  19. Baby Godzilla in Transport
  20. The Garuda Simulation
  21. Kazuma and Asuza
  22. Esper Chorus
  23. Bird of Fire
  24. Starry Night Serenade
  25. Rodan Attacks Sendai
  26. Rodan Downs the Transport Helicopter
  27. Rodan Heads off to Makuhari
  28. Mechagodzilla Attacks Again
  29. Garuda Attack March
  30. Rodan and the Container
  31. The G-Force March II
  32. Mechagodzilla vs. Rodan
  33. Rodan Counterattacks
  34. Godzilla’s Fury II
  35. Godzilla’s Fury III
  36. The G-Force March III
  37. Super Mechagodzilla
  38. Search Eye
  39. Rodan’s Life Force
  40. Resurrection
  41. Godzilla’s Theme
  42. Godzilla’s Theme: Victory
  43. Baby and Azusa III
  44. From Miki to Baby
  45. Rolling Titles

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