Character Analysis: Mechagodzilla [Showa Series]
Anatomy - Abilities - Fighting Tactics - Power Ranking - Character Bio

Published: 05/07/17

Energy Rating Energy
Durability Rating Durability
Intelligence Rating Intelligence
Strength Rating Strength
Speed Rating Speed

One of the most dangerous threats of the Showa series, Mechagodzilla was a construct built to aid in world domination.

The war machine was used in two different assaults, and both times went up against its rival: Godzilla. For this second siege against humanity, though, the robot had to be rebuilt. This leads to two different versions of the character, a "first" Mechagodzilla and Mechagodzilla II.

Although largely similar, there are a few major differences between the versions of the robot. This analysis examines each of the machines, and also contrasts the strength of each when they might differ.

 

Anatomy

Cutaway view of Mechagodzilla
Cutaway view of Mechagodzilla

Both Mechagodzillas were constructed by the Black Hole Aliens, built from a powerful substance called Space Titanium that was ten times stronger than steel.

A look below the hood shows complex inner workings of the machine. First off, we see that Mechagodzilla is powered by a cosmic energy tank. This generates energy by breaking down extraterrestrial elements within an internal cyclotron. Interestingly, Mechagodzilla II's cutaway shows that the power source was changed to a reactor, which was moved to the machine's pelvic area.

This energy produced powers internal functions, including a missile plant located in the waist area. The plant literally produces and creates projectiles, including finger missiles and more. This gives Mechagodzilla the chance to be engaged in combat while resupplying ammunition at the same time. Once produced, these projectiles would then be sent to missile chains. This process would ensure a healthy stockpile of missiles, filling the arms and legs with spares that could be quickly launched. The interesting attention to detail are in the missiles themselves, as the shell casing will actually expand. This process locks the missile in place, and explains why the projectiles, which are larger than the finger tubes, are able to travel through the body.

Cutaway view of Mechagodzilla II
Cutaway view of Mechagodzilla II

Mechagodzilla also had a few ways to enhance its detection system. Located in the upper chest area was a space radar, which would feed information to an antenna above. This allowed the robot to detect threats, even when vision to them was otherwise obscured by solid rock or water. It also improved its ability to receive commands from its controller. This included even if the robot was in a position where information might have been hard to receive.

Speaking of, the cutaway view also demonstrates a weakness for the first generation of Mechagodzilla. This is in the Cybanek, the red obtrusion on either side of its head. This was the actual receiver for command transmissions. If damaged, though, it would compromise the machine. The negative impact was seen when Godzilla and Mechagodzilla fought at the refinery and an explosion damaged it enough to hamper its head controller. As a result, the first Mechagodzilla features a critical spot here that it needs to protect.

Mechagodzilla II, though, corrected this by adding a back-up head controller. This protected the machine in the event that the exterior head, including the Cybanek, were damaged, destroyed or, as in the case of Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), ripped off.

Finally, the cutaway view shows a wealth of weapons at Mechagodzilla's disposal, some of which were never actually used.

Abilities

Space Beams

One of the machine's favorite attacks, the Space Beam was launched from the robot's eyes. The cutaway does oversell the attack, though, stating it could "melt or destroy any object". While not that powerful, the weapon proved devastating on more than one occasion. For example, it was able to get entangled and prove otherwise equal in power to Godzilla's atomic ray at the refinery. The most impressive showing, though, was at Okinawa. This is when, while flying, the beams eventually caused Godzilla to bleed quite violently. Coupled with Gigan's Universal Cutter and Hedorah's acidic properties, this was among the most damage the King of the Monsters had received from an opponent's attack.

Godzilla after being struck by a series of Space Beams
Godzilla after being struck by a series of Space Beams

 

Desto-Fire

Mechagodzilla was equipped with the ability to launch a flame attack from its nose. Called the Desto-Fire, this weapon released 500,000 °C degree flames, which is as hot as the Heisei Godzilla's atomic ray. Although never used in the movie, the weapon was depicted in two video games Godzilla: Battle Legends and Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters. The games slightly contradict each other, though. In the former, Mechagodzilla only launches this attack from its nose, while the Super Nintendo title uses this attack from the nose or mouth. As for why the attack was never used in the movies, it likely loses out from being close range. The machine was most fond of using long range weaponry, while up close the machine had enough strength to engage enemies with brute force. This might have resulted in the Desto-Fire being too limited based on other abilities at its disposal. Still, in the off chance Mechagodzilla confronts a foe weak to fire he has a perfect move for the situation.

 

Finger Missiles

The giant robot had two forms of finger missiles. The first version had what were called "Space Finger Missiles". Their firepower proved enough to knock over Godzilla and King Caesar on occasion. Furthermore, Mechagodzilla's ability to spam the attack made them devastating. Although the weapons normally detonated on impact, oddly there was one occasion where the weapons got lodged in Godzilla. Its not clear if this was a variant of the missiles, or if they simply misfired and didn't explode. As a funny side note, Godzilla gets struck with seven different missiles despite Mechagodzilla only having five on each hand. It is possible, though, that the robot made an unseen attack with his other hand as well and three of those missiles simply missed.

Space Finger Missiles lodged in Godzilla
Space Finger Missiles lodged in Godzilla


When it came time to upgrade Mechagodzilla for the second version, a lot of effort was spent in enhancing the finger missiles. Now called Revolving Finger Missiles, these weapons were stated to be five times as powerful as the old version in sources like Everything About Godzilla Movies (ISBN: 9784054002166). Sharp tipped and revolving, these new finger missiles were able to upturn city blocks with destructive force.

 

Cross Attack Beam

An armored shutter could open up in Mechagodzilla's chest to reveal a Cross Attack Beam. This weapon fired an ultra-high voltage electric beam at enemies. The attack was stronger enough to cleave a mountain in half, revealing King Caesar who was hiding behind it. Given this feat, it appeared that the beam was stronger than King Ghidorah's gravity beams. This is because in contrast, Rodan was able to successfully hide behind a rock mass against them, while King Caesar was unable to do the same against the Cross Attack Beam.

 

Defense Neo Barrier

While much of Mechagodzilla's arsenal is offensive, he did boast a Defense Neo Barrier to protect himself. This technique shielded the machine against Godzilla's ray. It was easily broken though when a physical object came into contact, in this case Godzilla's fists. However, breaking the barrier caused what appeared to be a burning effect on Godzilla, who fell over afterwards.

Godzilla burning himself on the Defense Neo-Barrier
Godzilla burning himself on the Defense Neo Barrier


Against some opponents, the Defense Neo Barrier could be a game changer. For example, being able to block a heavily powered move, like a Zero Cannon, could clinch a win. Against other opponents, though, this move isn't all that useful in Mechagodzilla's arsenal. This is because Mechagodzilla appeared unable to fight while it was going on. Certain monsters could more creatively get around breaking it with a physical object too. For example, a tossed boulder would achieve this without harming the attacker. That said, the move could still provide the machine a needed pause. This could be used its internal factories to continue to produce more projectiles or other benefits that a slight break in battle might grant.

It should be noted that the barrier was not used by Mechagodzilla II. Some publications, like the Large Picture Book of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World (ISBN: 4873765587), even leave this off as a potential power of this version. However, others, such as Koichi Kawakita's Toho SFX Mechanic Chronicle 1954-2003 (ISBN: 477530142X), do list it as a power. While debatable, it seems more likely than not that Mechagodzilla II had all the powers of the first and more, even though it elected not to use some.


Unisot

The large blade on Mechagodzilla's tail was not just for show, but could be launched to attack foes from behind. However, the tail is also used to stabilize Mechagodzilla's flight. As a result, it was likely a last ditch attack since it would have negatively impacted the robot's ability to retreat. Consequently, it was never used in either of the monster's film appearances.

 

Homyu Shot, High Pressure Homing Missiles and Treize Array

While Mechagodzilla's finger missiles were one of its projectiles of choice, the war machine had other ways to launch missile attacks. This included from his knees, feet and even the vents on his neck. Each of these attacks had its own name and were slightly different. The Homyu Shot, launched from the knee, were time-delayed warheads. This means the weapon could be setup to penetrate a target before detonating for a more devastating attack. The potency of this, though, is reliant on the warhead being strong enough to penetrate the foe in the first place.

The High Pressure Homing Missiles, despite their name, didn't appear to have homing capabilities. Shot from Mechagodzilla's toes, these missiles spun to drill into their targets before exploding. Finally, the Treize Array were smaller missile launchers that were located in the vents on Mechagodzilla's neck. It's unclear if this weapon was used against Godzilla or King Caesar.

In addition, although they have no specific name, Mechagodzilla was also able to fire missiles from his mouth. This includes three missile launchers on the roof of the mouth and two on the floor of the mouth. These were used when Mechagodzilla did an all-out assault on opponents.

Mechagodzilla's all-out assault
Mechagodzilla's all-out assault

 

Fighting Tactics

While its arsenal was similar across the two Mechagodzillas, its tactics were vastly different.

The first Mechagodzilla had four controllers. One gave voice commands while three others managed controls panels. The result was a brutal war machine. It was cunning enough to not only turn its head to attack Godzilla and King Caesar on either side of it, but also able to multi-task to turn its hand and destroy a small village right after both of its foes fell over. When disguised as Fake Godzilla, the machine would engage in close combat with enemies. It proved strong enough to easily best Anguirus here. Not resorting to any of its projectiles or weapons, Mechagodzilla beat the spiked monster with pure brute force.

With the disguise removed, the first Mechagodzilla favored long range assaults. Its primary weapons were its Space Beams from its eyes and Space Finger Missiles. In fact, it used the Space Beams as its initial attack against King Caesar and its missiles as its first attack against Godzilla. To its discredit, the machine continued to use its Space Beams, even after it was demonstrated that King Caesar could redirect them. While the Okinawa deity seemed to have minor abilities to drawn in the beams, it still required a foe to fire in the direction of its eyes. This is something that Mechagodzilla did three times. On the third time, though, Mechagodzilla quickly dodged the return fire. So to its credit, although it probably should have learned after the second time, it seemed to realize what was happening since it was ready to dodge the third return fire. After this it then switched to its finger missiles. The machine did, rather brazenly, fire its Space Beams another time at King Caesar's head. In this case, though, Mechagodzilla was able to score a forehead hit, not close enough to the monster's eyes for the attack to be drawn in like before.

Even in this form, though, Mechagodzilla would not hesitate to ruthlessly engage foes in close combat. It did so with King Caesar, even if it proved to be outclassed here by the Okinawa deity. However, after weakening the monster with its finger missiles, it had better luck fighting King Caesar up close.

Mechagodzilla brutally attacking King Caesar with his hand
Mechagodzilla brutally attacking King Caesar with his hand

 

Mechagodzilla's trump card, though, was performing an all-out assault. This involved its Space Beams, Space Finger Missiles, Cross Attack Beam, Homyu Shot, mouth missiles and High-Pressure Homing Missiles. The combined attack created a huge amount of firepower. It was able to largely incapacitate both Godzilla and King Caesar when used.

Occasionally, the machine would also fly and do strafing attacks with both its Space Beams and Finger Missiles, which proved to be very successful against Godzilla. Generally, though, the mech would attack while standing on the ground.

In contrast, Mechagodzilla II was controlled by a single individual, Katsura. To Katsura's credit, she controlled not just Mechagodzilla II but also Titanosaurus. This second version of the character exclusively attacked at long range. Its Space Beams and new Revolving Finger Missiles were its weapons of choice. Shockingly, the second form of the machine proved ineffective at close range combat. In fact, Godzilla was able to easily best it once he entered melee range.

In general, Mechagodzilla II was much slower to react to things, sometimes painfully slow. The poorest showing in respects to this is when Mechagodzilla II was attacked by the F-4EJ Phantom II jets. The machine halted its Revolving Finger Missiles from hitting Godzilla to turn and look at the jets. What resulted was a very sad 17 seconds of the machine looking at the F-4EJ Phantom IIs, not doing anything. This gave Godzilla enough time to run up, throw Titanosaurus aside, and get close enough to grab Mechagodzilla II. It was only after this that the machine finally released a Space Beam against the aircraft.

Sadly, Katsura having to perform double duty appears to have really negatively impacted Mechagodzilla's ability to analyze and respond to threats. That said, it still was able to launch an all-out assault against Godzilla. However, this time around the attack was not enough to keep the King of the Monsters from closing the distance and eventually getting into melee range.

 

Power Ranking

Energy Rating Energy

Since there are two Mechagodzillas, these rankings will be done for both and then averaged. Starting with energy and projectile attacks, both versions of the character were formidable. Both had their Space Beams from their eyes, which is likely the most powerful projectile for a kaiju from the Showa series given the damage it caused to Godzilla. This combined with a large array of powers gave Mechagodzilla an impressive and versatile range of energy attacks. Comparatively, both versions are a force to be reckoned with and have much of the same arsenal. Mechagodzilla II, however, has improved, Revolving Finger Missiles. It also had the new head controller that could fire a concentrated laser beam in the event the head was removed. So of the two Mechagodzilla II is the clear winner, although both pack enough power to get a full score.

Mechagodzilla: 5/5
Mechagodzilla II: 5/5

 

Durability Rating Durability

Space Titanium was ten times stronger than steel. That might be impressive versus military forces; however, kaiju are naturally very durable. The most impressive feat Mechagodzilla demonstrated here was being able to hold up against having his own Space Beams directed back at him. The armor was not enough, though, to withstand King Caesar ramming into a restrained Mechagodzilla, as the plating began to dent and push in. It was also not enough to stop Godzilla from ripping off the entire head, which in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) is a pretty violent break that doesn't happen along a joint.

Godzilla ripping off Mechagodzilla's head
Godzilla ripping off Mechagodzilla's head


Unfortunately, the first Mechagodzilla also had a major weakness in the form of its Cybanek, the red circles on the side of its head. These were required to control the machine, and if damaged would compromise the mech. This was seen when Godzilla and Mechagodzilla exchanged beams at the refinery, and the resulting explosion damaged Mechagodzilla's head controller. This weakness was patched up, though, for Mechagodzilla II, which had a separate head controller located inside the actual head. This meant the entire head exterior could be damaged or destroyed without compromising the machine. As a result, this gives Mechagodzilla II a huge edge in durability over the first. In addition, the CD-Rom Godzilla Movie Studio Tour also cites that the second Mechagodzilla had its chest reinforced with a Radioactive Blaze Protector. Based on the name, it likely would have helped shield it against Godzilla's ray when fired there.

Mechagodzilla: 2/5
Mechagodzilla II: 4/5

 

Intelligence Rating Intelligence

The two versions of Mechagodzilla had some form of artificial intelligence (AI), although this was only briefly seen. In the first movie, it was demonstrated when the robot was issued a variety of rather cryptic voice commands, such as "destroy King Caesar". The machine then processed these toward an objective, while being assisted by three controllers at panels. This AI ability, though, appeared to be improved in the second version. It was actually able to attack Godzilla with its new head controller and concentrated laser while Katsura was at first disposed and then secondly unwilling. It was also demonstrated in Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) after Katsura died. In this instance, though, the machine was not able to fight back but did have enough sentience to cry out when it was thrown. At the end of the day, though, Mechagodzilla requires controllers to function truly effectively. Remove them from the equation, and all the powers in the world won't matter and it would rank pretty low for both.

Mechagodzilla: 0/5
Mechagodzilla II: 1/5

That said, although it won't reflect in the score, let's rank the perceived effectiveness of its thought process based on the will imbued from its controllers. This aspect is touched on in more detail under fighting tactics above.

Mechagodzilla with four controllers: 5/5
Mechagodzilla II with Katsura: 2/5

 

Strength Rating Strength

Mechagodzilla's creators crafted a creature that was surprisingly strong. When disguised as Fake Godzilla, the machine was able to easily toss around Anguirus. In fact, it sent the spiked creature flying with a single kick. It was also strong enough to push back a ramming King Caesar, sending the golem-like kaiju falling to the ground. On two occasions, the machine sent the Okinawa deity flying with a physical blow too. This included once where it punched King Caesar off of the robot and another occasion where a kick sent the 30,000 ton monster flying. When needed, the first Mechagodzilla could effectively engage in hand-to-hand combat thanks to its strength.

Mechagodzilla, as Fake Godzilla, kicking Anguirus
Mechagodzilla, as Fake Godzilla, kicking Anguirus


Sadly, Mechagodzilla II doesn't really have any impressive feats here. In fact, it proved pretty useless when Godzilla engaged it in close combat. All the same, books like the Large Picture Book of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World (ISBN: 4873765587) cite both versions as being super strong and it probably stands to reason it had the same strength as the first, but just didn't make use of it effectively.

Mechagodzilla: 5/5
Mechagodzilla II: 5/5

 

Speed Rating Speed

Being able to fly at Mach 5 helps Mechagodzilla quite a bit in the speed category. This is far faster than any of the Showa series monsters, although Gigan had a much faster space flight speed. It used this power to even take flight from the ground to avoid one of Godzilla's atomic rays, an impressive showing. While as Fake Godzilla, the machine could also walk toward an opponent pretty quickly, a feat that it oddly seemed to lose when it became Mechagodzilla. The machine was still quick enough offer up a fairly good counterattack, though, when confronted by King Caesar, although was not as fast as that monster. Sadly, Mechagodzilla II seemed much slower. It lacked the more impressive speed feats seen of the first while disguised, and was generally sluggish in combat.

Mechagodzilla: 3/5
Mechagodzilla II: 2/5

 

Conclusion

Both versions of Mechagodzilla are quite dangerous. Most of the other Showa monsters would easily fall to them. In terms of which is more potent, Mechagodzilla "I" or Mechagodzilla II, there are different pros and cons to each.

The first Mechagodzilla was much more competent and faster. It could better analyze and respond to threats, to the point it was capable of taking on multiple foes at once. However, it featured a major weakness in its head controller. This could give some of the more durable monsters of this era, like Rodan or King Ghidorah, a chance for victory. This is because they might be able to withstand Mechagodzilla's firepower long enough to score a lucky hit against the head, either by ramming into it for Rodan or a stray gravity bolt for King Ghidorah.

The second Mechagodzilla on the other hand totally patched up this weakness. It was no longer susceptible to head damage. While Space Titanium was not an amazing defensive material when compared to the more durable titans of the Showa Series, the lack of the head weakness does make Mechagodzilla II much more difficult to defeat. It also boasted more powerful finger missiles, aiding to its already formidable arsenal. Unfortunately, Mechagodzilla II loses by being less competent. It was slower to react to threats and seemingly had an inability to fight in close combat. As a result, a monster tag team is much more likely to bring it down than it would the first Mechagodzilla.

Consequently, it depends on the situation to say which is better. Even with its head controller weakness, I would give the edge to the first Mechagodzilla in a lot more match ups. That said, there are certain scenarios where the increased durability and fire power of Mechagodzilla II would make up for it being sluggish and offer it a greater chance of victory.