Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (2002)

Composed by: Michiru Oshima

Masaaki Tezuka returned to the Godzilla franchise two years after Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, and he brought composer Michiru Oshima back with him. Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla is more than just a reboot of the last MechaGodzilla vehicle. This time the mech is literally built around the bones of the original 1954 Godzilla! This is the closest fans have gotten to a Godzilla vs. Godzilla movie. Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla is the first half of the Kiryu duology, Kiryu being the new name for MechaGodzilla. These are among my favorite Godzilla films, with good storylines, some pretty good characters, great special effects and battle scenes, and also some of the best Kaiju music.

Oshima once again starts the score with Godzilla’s theme. In “Toho Logo – Transport Duty” it leads to a one-off military march. The second track sees the return of the full-fledged Godzilla theme presentation. The iterations of the Godzilla theme aren’t much different than what was presented in Oshima’s last entry, but she distinguishes her score with the wealth of new themes. The first of these appears in “Main Title.” It’s the first of many heroic motifs established for the score. After a tragic event in the opening sequence, Oshima goes into dour-sounding material in “Ominous Memories” and “Memorial Service.” “Appearance Requested” is an urgent track with the fanfare from “Main Title.”

After another iteration of Godzilla’s theme in “The Skeleton of Godzilla,” there is the playful and somewhat out of place “Leaving School.” “Akane’s Great Effort” introduces another heroic theme. It’s an optimistic motif backed by a heroic rhythm. It first appears over a montage wherein Akane, the female action lead, rebuilds herself physically and mentally while the government constructs Kiryu. “Akane and Sara” introduces a more emotional theme for the human drama, which crops up again in “Sara’s Shorea Plant.”

“Announcement Ceremony” introduces the main Kiryu fanfare, which from here becomes a prominent part of the Kiryu duology’s music. Part of the full-fledged theme presentation is actually lifted wholesale from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus’s “Kiriko’s Decision.” It might have been turned into a flight motif, as it open ups “Flying.”  A portion of Godzilla’s theme often accompanies the Kiryu theme, as at the 1:32 mark in “Announcement Ceremony.” This represents the strong link between the two giants, as after all Kiryu is built around another Godzilla’s bones. Oshima reworks the tune to more sinister effect in a scene where Kiryu goes berserk (“Running Wild”). Oshima accomplishes this by having the last note of the fanfare descend rather than ascend. The aforementioned scene where Kiryu goes berserk prompts a set of cues that convey peril and defeat, climaxing with a dour rendition of Godzilla’s theme in “Investigation into the Cause.”

The opening of “Trust – Sara’s Shorea Plant” provides another theme, this one for Akane. The theme soon returns in bolder, heroic fashion in “The Prime Minister’s Decision.” A final battle theme is introduced in the “Intense Fighting” tracks. I prefer this over the final battle theme from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. It does help that Oshima doesn’t repeat it ad nauseaum as she did that one, interspersing other themes and motifs from the score. “Absolute Zero” triumphantly starts with the Kiryu theme, but flounders as the latest self-defense super-weapon experiences technical difficulties. “Akane’s Resilience” brings back the optimistic theme from “Akane’s Great Effort.” Oshima wraps up the final battle with a couple more great action cues and the use of all the heroic motifs. “Godzilla Immortal – The End of the Fight” starts off with Godzilla’s theme, leads into the Kiryu theme, and then Akane’s theme. Akane’s theme makes a final triumphant appearance at the start of “End Credits.” The rest of this track is a replay of Oshima’s Godzilla theme suite. “Salute!” gives a final short reprise of Akane’s theme.

This is a fantastic Godzilla score. It has a multitude of themes, many of them great heroic fanfares, and there are plenty of quieter dramatic moments to give the music more depth and variety. One of Oshima’s strongest benefits in scoring Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla was the Moscow International Symphonic Orchestra. She wrote the music, but it was sent to Russia to be orchestrated. The end result is a score that is richer, deeper, and vibrant quality than any of the other Japanese-composed Godzilla scores. Thankfully the film’s story would continue in the follow-up, where Oshima would further develop the Godzilla and Kiryu themes.

Rating: 10/10

Tracklisting

  1. Toho Logo – Transport Duty
  2. Godzilla Lands – Godzilla vs. the Special Defense Forces
  3. Mesa Blow
  4. Main Title
  5. Ominous Memories
  6. Memorial Service
  7. Appearance Requested
  8. The Skeleton of Godzilla
  9. Leaving School
  10. Akane’s Great Effort – Kiryu’s Construction
  11. Return – Kiryu
  12. Intensive Training
  13. Akane and Sara
  14. Announcement Ceremony for Type 3: Kiryu
  15. Mobilization
  16. Godzilla vs. Type 3: Kiryu
  17. Awaking
  18. Running Wild
  19. Crash of the Type 3: Shirasagi
  20. Functions Stop
  21. Investigation Into the Cause
  22. Trust – Sara’s Shorea Plant
  23. Godzilla Detected – Interception
  24. The Prime Minister’s Decision
  25. Flying
  26. Intense Fighting I
  27. Intense Fighting II
  28. Absolute Zero
  29. Akane’s Resilience
  30. Power Outage
  31. Reactivation – Kiryu’s Will
  32. Crisis – Decisive Battle
  33. Godzilla Immortal – The End of the Fight

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