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  • Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    [Continued from Match 304]

    Osaka, Japan – Several months after the destruction of Infant Island

    Rainbow beams seared into the asphalt as Mechagodzilla-2 dispatched of the JSDF’s artillery fire. Maser cannons and fighter jets were lost in a vast array of explosions, with many lives lost. Super Jikiro funneled its magnetic prowess through the blocky left hand, pulling in tanks and jeeps from the ground as they smashed into its hand. Those within were crushed by the tremendous pressure as more and more tanks and vehicles stacked into a tight metal sphere. As the field cleared of the JSDF’s weapons, aside from those destroyed by Mechagodzilla, Jikiro dropped the ball—which resounded with a loud thud upon impact. Humanity’s efforts were futile, for their forces had been spread thin. And with their enhanced upgrades endowed upon them since the destruction of Infant Island, humanity’s end would be inevitable.

    Meanwhile, as many fled for their lives, a group of youths stood behind in the midst of the rampant chaos. Stealing desks from within the vacant school, they coordinated their efforts to recreate an ancient symbol, one thought to have called upon divine provenance in times of despair. The more they dedicated themselves, the faster the arrangement manifested itself in the form of a cross that seemingly emitted what resembled holy light. Even with all the death and destruction that surrounded them, they persevered and had faith this insane-brained plan would work.

    Then Jikiro took notice.

    The Garoga automaton scanned the ancient symbol and the puny insects that remained by the formation of school desks. What a pointless endeavor this was! For Jikiro would display that there was no hope to cling to when the Earth would fall into their hands! Its curved tail shone with a brilliant yellow light, its Gatling gun coursing with electricity as it aimed at the sign and the children. However, amidst the blazing evening sun, a shadow draped over the war machine. Jikiro’s sensors took notice of this, but it was far too late to react. With bursting winds following behind, the moth-like silhouette rammed into the mechanical heavyweight—grappling her multi-jointed legs atop Jikiro’s upper section and dragged the inorganic menace across the ruined streets with her incredible feat of strength. At the last moment, as she put distance between the alien fiend and the group of innocents, she released her hold and let Jikiro collapse onto the ground. The divine lepidopteran swooped around until she faced the alien threat, showing her true self that followed with a chirp.

    The Mothra of the new millennium, protector of a new generation, and the heir of the olden Mothra!

    With a loaded charge on standby, Jikiro unleashed its jagged Magnetic Ray from the barrels of its right hand. Yet with grace and elegance, the new Mothra avoided the lightning strands with relative ease. Before Jikiro could fire again, Mothra dive-bombed the techno-behemoth and sent the giant tumbling into an abandoned structure, crumbling under its sheer weight. Jikiro shifted through the rubble and tried to get back on its feet, but hurricane gales sudden overcame the mechanical titan that kept it pressed down against the ground. While it did not budge, the alien robot could not find the stable support it needed to get back up from Mothra’s powerful winds. The moth goddess kept up the attack, pelting the downed machine with the loose debris kicked up by the windstorm of her making.

    The beautiful insect observed with her brilliant bulbous eyes and noticed the mechanized reptile concentrating on her with cold, lime green lenses. She abandoned Jikiro, narrowly avoiding the Space Beams that zipped past her. With a mechanical screech, Mechagodzilla shot another round of Space Beams at the angelic moth, which barely grazed her plated abdomen with a quick burst of sparks. She dove at the doppelganger, with wings outstretched and titled until she was sideways. Her wings dipped in between the space of the streets as she rushed past Mechagodzilla, tripping up the mechanical menace and dispersing an array of excess rubble from the violent gusts in her wake. The mechanoid reptile twisted his head, once again prepared to fire his Space Beams at the airborne moth. Before Mechagodzilla could fire, a spread of light bullets pelted at the guardian deity courtesy of Jikiro, and forced a pained shriek from the insect. Mechagodzilla didn’t let this chance go to waste as he fired another set of rainbow lasers, this time scoring a direct hit! Sparks and flames chipped at her armor as she elicited another agonizing screech. Although the youthful and vibrant Mothra kept her airlift, she knew this battle wasn’t going to be in her favor. Nevertheless, she had to fight—for the well being of the very planet she was born to protect!

    Scanning with calculating eyes, Mechagodzilla squatted before his sole thrusters roared to life. With a powerful bound, the mechanical reptile took flight with a trail of smoke left in his path. He stiffened and straightened out his body, which ran parallel to the ground and face pointed forward. With an extra push from the rockets on his feet and tail tip, Mechagodzilla used his Unisot as a rudder in flight mode. He promptly began to pursue the target with the directive to clean up their unfinished business.

    Mothra turned her head and noticed her pursuer closing the gap at an alarming rate. She banked a hard right, climbed into a nearby body of aerosol, and vanished from visible sight. As she broke through the other side, she was surprised that her mechanical foe performed the same stunt, almost like a mirror. Mechagodzilla unlocked his arms and brought them frontward, prepping them like blades. Both of them charged, ready to meet head-on.

    With a thunderous clang, Mothra and Mechagodzilla passed each other in a brilliant spark of light as jointed feet and stiff arms clashed. The two descended in wide-angled turns to meet face-to-face for a second time, dropping beneath the clouds, and again their bodies collided in a shower of sparks as they zoomed by. Then it seemed as if they were arranging for another strike, Mothra clapped her wings and vanished into the thick stratus cloud. The airborne menace was quick to pursue, turning at a sharp angle and tore into the thick sheet of water vapor.

    As the dark grey robot tried to scan for his target’s bio-metrics, he had difficulty sustaining flight within the cloud. The compressed water droplets and ice crystals incidentally paved way for troublesome turbulence. Little did he realize that Mothra, who also struggled with the thick vapor cloud, sidelined him from behind outside his visor’s peripheral. Grappling with her hooked claws onto the blunt spines that lined along Mechagodzilla’s back, Mothra pulled the mechanical menace, both of them spiraling through the fluffy sheet. With another tug, she steered down until they broke through the clouds—diving straight for the abandoned district of Osaka.

    As they fell, Mothra felt a powerful jerk from the reptilian machine. Before she knew it, she was being hauled alongside Mechagodzilla by an unseen force. And it didn’t take her long to deduce the perpetrator behind it. Her compound eyes took heed of Jikiro, with its blocky left hand outstretched and the right Gatling gun hand outlining circular motions. Pulling back, Mothra abandoned Mechagodzilla as she left him under Jikiro’s magnetic influence. Then with a loud clang, Jikiro caught its mechanized ally and gently placed him back on his two feet.

    Detaching from the blocky hand, both of them directed their attention to the moth guardian. Jikiro’s tail flashed and fired another Magnetic Ray as Mechagodzilla assisted with a round of rainbow-colored lasers. Mothra was quick, but not perfect. Torrential energy fire grazed and seared against her as she tried to close the distance. The scales suppressed the lethal damage when the projectiles singed her wings, but that did not stop their onslaught. As Mothra got closer, Mechagodzilla ceased firing and sat on his legs, supported by the tail, with the kneecaps aimed at the airborne target. In a burst, high pressure Homyu shells propelled out of his kneecaps and buried into the outermost layer of Mothra’s thorax. She elicited a cry as the shells drew blood, which evolved into a hideous shriek as the delayed explosion kicked in. The brief paralysis from the explosion gave the automatons the opportunity to unleash their payload on the guardian. Unable to resist the assault, Mothra was forced onto the asphalt and left at the invaders’ mercy.

    Plumage of combustion and smoke rose from the many explosive shockwaves and fireballs that engulfed the fallen goddess. Not even a minute passed before all fell silent. Steam hissed from Mechagodzilla’s fingertips as his internal missile chamber replaced them with the new, more powerful revolver missiles. Jikiro’s four-pronged barrels sizzled with electricity, with the Magnetic Terror-Beast shrieking with delight. Mechagodzilla’s lime green eyes flashed with what would be considered anticipation as he set his fingers to finally obliterate their target.

    Mothra would perish, and the world would lose hope.

    Suddenly, their vision was compromised by silky string raining from the sky. The adhesive clung onto their metal frames, slowly building into thicker layers of webbing as the spray rained down on them. Jikiro flailed wildly, only to entangle itself more in the white mesh. Mechagodzilla kept his body movement restrained, only twisting his head to locate the source. Activity was detected, and the webbing had suddenly ceased, but there was no visible target in sight. With the buildings that stood in his way, the robot double of Godzilla could not get a fix on the target. Something he was quick to fix.

    A quick tug and the chest compartment flipped open, tearing the silky strings attached to the upper torso with relative ease. Orange lightning flew from the glass bulb and effortlessly tore through the obstructions in front of him. As the structures crumbled and the dust settled, Mechagodzilla finally saw the target that dared interfere.

    Its long, segmented, brown body called to mind a worm or a caterpillar, with a pair of soft blue beads for eyes attached to its face. Its muzzle twitched with uncertainty, as if it hadn’t anticipated in being found so quickly. The wormy creature released a quiet chirp, only to be promptly blasted by the orange bolt. As the durable larva was flung across the cityscape, Mechagodzilla moved toward his new target in slow strides. Their end would be inevitable.

    For Jikiro, the webbing may have stopped, but the machine had been wrapped to the point of near immobility. While the automaton’s oddball physical structure ensured limited sight, as its head was located on the upper torso region, the net still proved problematic for its primary arsenal. Try as it might, the mighty war machine flailed about aimlessly. That was until a sharp pain in its synthetic circuitry alerted it of a hostile on the tip of its rounded tail. Jikiro could feel the extra weight that held its bulky, robotic tail down. Although it could still yank it around, it proved to be incredibly cumbersome to manage.

    With muffled squeaks, the young Larva clung to the curved tail, fueled by determination. For every time Jikiro heaved its stunted tail, the Mothra Larva felt the brute force of being slammed against the pavement. Nevertheless, her resolve outweighed the pain that wracked her small body. However, despite being repeatedly smashed into the ground, it would not last forever. Electricity surged from the generator stored in Jikiro’s tail, shocking the mouth of the young Larva and finally forced her to release her bite. As the brown worm retreated into the abandoned streets, the mechanical giant tore through the web casing with a series of crooked bolts, which eventually freed Jikiro from its bind. It shook off the last of the sticky substance before turning to locate the intruder. Switching gears, Jikiro pointed its Gatling gun and fired several rounds of missiles, tearing through the structures to locate the target.

    Buildings crumbled under the Terror-Beast’s missile barrage. Meanwhile, Jikiro pulled the metal framework into its blocky left hand, clearing the area from as much debris as possible. The more it pressed on, the greater the dust cloud became. Jikiro knew it would find it sooner than later; but what it didn’t expect was what came next. From the dusty clouds, the segmented worm leapt directly for Jikiro’s face! Her mandibles clamped into the machine’s blocky, rectangular mouth, holding on with everything she could muster. All the while, the Magnetic Terror-Beast thrashed about in a panic, trying to shove the small creature off it.

    High pressure rounds bore into the worm-like insect as Mechagodzilla’s toes reloaded for the next round. The spinning missiles tore the exoskeleton and detonated, splitting the Larva’s natural armor with puss and yellow goop. The young Mothra shrieked from the excruciating agony, flopping over from the concussive aftershock. Her distress fell on deaf ears as Mechagodzilla loomed over her. Not a sound uttered from the machine other than the click, signifying that he reloaded.

    Suddenly, a mighty and powerful cry alerted the ruthless automaton of his original objective. With nothing more than a simple twist of the head, Mechagodzilla’s green lenses locked onto the adult Mothra, who beelined straight for him. In a moment’s notice, the homing missiles burst from his toes, eliciting an anguished screech from the baby Mothra. This only provoked the mother Mothra even more as she cried out for her child. The closer she got, the more Mechagodzilla silently prepared his next attack. Instantaneously, high-powered explosive charges erupted from the ports in a wild stream of flames. With a clap of her wings, Mothra elevated above the searing fire, barely avoiding Mechagodzilla’s surprise attack. Though its range was limited, the stoic weapon continued to pour ammunition into the Desto-Fire, rotating his head and tilting his body to keep track of the moth deity’s path.

    Enough was enough for Jikiro as it focused its concentration by pelting the infant worm with a barrage of light bullets. Plasma energies rained down on the Mothra Larva with a cavalcade of explosive sparks. Unable to brute force the pain, the youngling found herself releasing her mouthy grip and dropping to the ground. Without a second to waste, the mighty Garoga machine delivered a solid kick, hurling the brown caterpillar into the nearby Umeda Sky Building. With a jerky tug from its left hand, the magnetic influence pressured the metal framework to collapse in on itself, burying the Mothra Larva under thousands of tons of glass and metal, crushing her. Satisfied, Jikiro went ahead to assist his robotic ally against the true threat.

    Mechagodzilla ceased discharge when his head clicked back into place, prioritizing from the maimed larva to the adult. As the heat had melted the webbing away, Mechagodzilla was granted his mobility, turning his body and firing Space Beams at the Earth guardian. Elegantly, she evaded the rainbow lasers and dove in headfirst. In truth, rage coursed through her body. But now wasn’t the time, she couldn’t lose sight of the important responsibility she had to uphold, for her mother’s sake, for her family.

    Mechagodzilla’s stiff hands rotated, re-calibrating the revolver missiles he had yet to employ. The very weapon he had intended to finish off Mothra with would still fulfill their purpose. Both sets of fingers aimed and fired, converging on their primary target. A master of maneuverability and swiftness, Mothra zoomed past the lethal weapons and allowed them to slip by, not landing a scratch on her. The flames that propelled the revolver missiles fizzled out and began to fall in an arc. She accelerated and rammed her entire body mass into Mechagodzilla’s torso, relentlessly throwing the machine to the ground. Damages were sustained in its armored plating, dented from the extreme force applied. Mechagodzilla rose to his feet, undeterred from seeing this through to the end. Both locked eyes, examining each other closely to see who would pull the trigger.

    The wait wasn’t long.

    Mothra suddenly felt an explosive force against her back. Her chitin chipped away from the blast as her fur caught aflame. But it wasn’t done with her yet. Another round of the revolver missiles bombarded her, and more soon followed. Each repetitive strike whittled away the posterior of her natural armor, and each time eliciting a more agonizing shriek than the last. Once again, she found herself unable to sustain airborne flight as she was forced to the ground. While she tried to kick up winds to dampen the flames on her back, the metallic roar that came from behind informed Mothra all she needed to know.

    Jikiro’s Gatling gun hissed with steam as the automaton clanked its two asymmetrical arms together. For Jikiro had used its magnetic influence to pull the revolver missiles to itself, sucking them into the crease of the blocky left hand and out the barrels of its right hand. Jikiro screeched with devilish glee, eager to finally see all this come to an end. Mechagodzilla’s stoic demeanor expressed nothing, only an artificial will to seek and destroy. Both aimed their artillery hands at the fallen Mothra, only to once again find their visions compromised with silky web.

    The Magnetic Terror-Beast muttered and agitated cry. It knew in that moment the Larva it thought it had dispatched was still alive and kicking. Frustrated at their persistence, Jikiro prepared a Magnetic Ray, signaled by a flash from the tail, and turned to face the juvenile Mothra. As it threw the four-pronged barrels in front of itself, it discharged a streak of electric currents. At the last second, the segmented insect leapt over the beam, projecting to bite on Jikiro’s boxy head again. However, the mechanical giant swatted the bug with the blocky hand, ensuring the same tactic wouldn’t work twice.

    The Mothra Larva knew she had to fight against the mechanical reptile, even if she had already sustained lethal injuries from the inorganic imposter. She knew her sister was fighting to protect their mother, much like she was. Each second, she felt her life energy drain away the more she bled out. But her youthful, determinable will would not break as she continuously spat out a long string of silk. Even as Mechagodzilla discharged explosive flames from the nose ports to counter her web, she saw her mother in the distance. Her back was still aflame, bodily fluids leaked from Jikiro’s attack. Their eyes locked, and they recalled the warmth and love of home… She witnessed her mother scurry on her legs, crumpling buildings under her fluttering wings to take flight. Her desperate plea evolved into lamenting shrills, begging Mechagodzilla to stop.

    The Larva felt nauseous, her head spun around from excessive blood loss. She remained steadfast, even as her webbing vanished amidst Mechagodzilla’s lethal Desto-Fire. Her body was pressed down by her withering state; her blue eyes flickered in an attempt to persevere. Yet she knew what waited for her at the end. With his right hand, Mechagodzilla aimed his newly loaded revolver missiles at the grievously injured caterpillar.

    Her mother screamed, accelerating as much as she could.

    A simple rotation of the wrist, Mechagodzilla’s lime green eyes flashed.

    Click.

    Time slowed for the adult Mothra. She felt the gap between them widen tremendously, everything coming to an abrupt crawl. A sudden rush of memories of the recent-past came flooding in; how she migrated her people from the decimated Infant Island to the Bonin Islands, her rebirth into adulthood, the day she laid her egg and had twins, nurtured them to be strong Mothras for the next generation, how she promised to avenge those who had fallen before her… All that led to this very moment. With one final cry, she beseeched the metallic reptile to spare her child.

    Mechagodzilla gave no response.

    Her world shattered with a cacophonous boom. Sickening dread overwhelmed the imago Mothra as she saw the plume of explosive flames blossomed—and with it, chunks of brown chitin, yellow goop, and the ravaged body of her offspring, devoid of life. Her heart fell into the pits of despair, unable to process the reality that reflected off the sheen of her bulbous, compound eyes. She choked on her mourning cries, and golden glitter leaked from the tips of her majestic wings. Yet there was little time to grieve as her gentle blue eyes swirled into crimson wrath. She pushed her body and beelined directly for Mechagodzilla, who was already turning around to meet Mothra face to face. A trail of golden scales trickled from her wings, determined to exact her revenge upon her child’s killer.

    Mechagodzilla barely had the chance to react as Mothra recklessly slammed her entire mass against his space titanium plating. The mechanical imposter tripped back, with a noticeable dent engraved in his upper chest. Mechagodzilla scanned the purple sky, whose sunlight had already dimmed beyond the horizon, only to find a set of angry red eyes peering into his artificial soul. The moth-shaped form descended upon him, her loose scales clung on his extraterrestrial armor. Vicious swipes from her talons scarred Mechagodzilla’s snout with sparks and scraping of the metal. From the metallic menace’s perspective, an electronic interference muffled with his directory, unable to properly access the weapons stored in his head region. So, he improvised.

    With a subtle click, the hatch on his chest opened, prepared to use the Cross Attack Beam. But Mothra was quick to the draw, pulling her abdomen and shoved her blunt stinger into chest compartment, which housed the reddish bulb. Under its weight, Mothra grinded the weapon into dust, and even so continued to jab and dent Mechagodzilla’s armor with her incredible physical prowess. The machine’s control system went haywire, and shortly went limp thereafter. Lime green eyes faded, but even so, Mothra vented her sorrowful rage by raking the cybernetic corpse with her claws, dislocating the lower jaw and shredding the torso’s outer layer, only to reveal the inner circuitry… That was until she heard her other child’s cry. Abandoning the scrap heap, Mothra’s crimson eyes narrowed on Jikiro, the last of the invaders that had brought harm to her family.

    Another brutal kick hurled the second larva into a row of buildings, bringing them down under her weight. As the Mothra Larva chirped in anguish, she heard the clanging of Jikiro’s footfalls coming ever closer. The abnormal automaton cheered with a synthetic screech, holding out the blocky left hand. Magnetic waves stretched beyond to the distant horizon nearly three miles away. Courtesy of its enhancements, it tugged at the outlying Tsutenkaku’s shimmering red hue against the waning twilight. The magnetic force rocked the steel tower, which leaned over from the tremendous strain that influenced it. Then, not by its own volition, Tsutenkaku was pulled from its foundation and plowed through many buildings without any signs of stopping. Jikiro’s powerful magnet trembled from the force applied, but continued nonetheless. In less than a minute, the 103-meter tall tower found itself affixed to the blocky hand with a resounding shockwave, one that the Mothra Larva could feel the breeze of.

    For a moment, the Terror-Beast pulled its arm back and heaved the metal tower down like a sledgehammer. With quick thinking and intuition, the young Mothra rolled out of harm’s way, letting the structure slam into the asphalt with a destructive blast of wind and shrapnel. Even though she dodged it, the mere aftershock was enough to send the segmented worm crashing into another set of buildings nearby. Tsutenkaku’s reinforced steel frame had creaked and contorted, but Jikiro still had a use for it. Before it could try again, the Terror-Beast heard the angry shrills of a wrathful punisher from behind, diverting its attention. Jikiro saw the imago’s form plastered against a darkened sky, her eyes brimming with crimson hate. With an eerie war cry, Mothra dove down toward Jikiro, leaking a stream of gold scales in her wake.

    The Magnetic Terror-Beast knew she was out of range to use the Tsutenkaku against her, so it accommodated with a brilliant, yellow flash from its curled tail. Aiming its Gatling gun, a wild burst of electrical fury surged from the four-pronged tips and zoomed toward the moth deity. Much like in the past, Mothra’s reflexes saved her from a direct hit, only grazing her armored chitin. The rest of the lightning blast came into contact with the glittery trail left behind, resulting in a fantastic and blinding series of explosions, a reaction unlike the previous Mothra that Jikiro recalled fighting.

    Mothra continued her straightforward track, even when that put her in range of Jikiro’s new toy. The machine prepared an overhand, noticing that the divine moth made no effort to stray from her path. Before it could bring the full brunt of the tower onto the guardian, Mothra’s wings caught wind which dragged her to a stop, where she then followed up with a clap that dispersed a golden dust cloud. Golden scales swarmed the Garoga invader, searing into the machine’s armor plating. Perpetuated by the ensemble of Mothra’s divine wrath, Jikiro struggled to maintain footing. It wasn’t just a byproduct of the pain they brought; the Terror-Beast could detect several vital mechanisms within its body short circuiting, losing control over its functionality. It tried to bring up the Gatling gun, only for the spark within its tail-generator to die off; the magnetism that held the broken Tsutenkaku diminished, dropping the large structure to its side; and finally, Jikiro could feel itself collapse under its own weight as its eyes darkened. Even after the Magnetic Terror-Beast went limp, Mothra continued to pelt the mechanical monstrosity out of sheer rage.

    A small chirp beckoned the adult Mothra’s attention. She cocked her head and saw her child. The pace of her flaps slowed as the scales that left her wings diminished, leaving only a lingering cloud over Jikiro’s fallen body. Her wrathful red eyes vanquished as they returned to their gentle blue, filled with sadness and regret. The mother Mothra slowly descended to the ground, unable to maintain air buoyancy from the guilt she carried in her heart. The Mothra Larva crawled up and rubbed her nuzzle against her mother’s. Both of them cried and mourned, filling the air with sorrow.

    Mothra’s mission blinded her from what it meant to be a Mothra. To avenge was not the code of ethic, but to protect. Yet her pride got to her, and such a grievous mistake came at a cost. Ever since her birth, that arrogance seeped into her subconscious, even as she carried out her duty to the outside world. And it was one she hoped never to repeat again, for the sake of her last child and the generations that followed.

    The Larva noticed imminent danger out of the corner of her eye and warned her mother with a high-pitched squeal. The imago Mothra didn’t hesitate for a second, raising her body off the ground to cover her child from what came next. The scales that remained suddenly combusted into a fiery plume, one that the mother Mothra took the full brunt of, consumed by flames.

    Off in the distance, mechanical eyes glared at the billowing fire with indifference. Green lenses saw the remains of his former ally shatter into scattered limbs and pieces of armored shrapnel. But Mechagodzilla felt nothing of it; Jikiro was no longer a benefit to the cause. If it ensured the destruction of the Mothra lineage, then that would be more than enough. With a quick shot of Space Beams, Mechagodzilla had already set the golden cloud aflame… But the machine had calculative doubts that that was the true end of the Mothras. His eyes scanned his hands, detecting the particles leftover from Mothra’s rage-induced assault. They possessed reflective properties that induced powerful explosions, unlike that of the previous Mothra they had fought at Infant Island. Mechagodzilla tried to rotate his wrists, only for grinding screeches like nails on a chalkboard to emanate from the wrist joints as they struggled to spin efficiently. While his whole body had been peppered by the golden scales, his hands took most of the scales and left his arms virtually inoperable. Fortunately for the Simian mech, he didn’t need his arms for what he was about to do next.

    Even though the base of his head initially creaked, it didn’t take long for his spinning head to break into place. Faster and faster, his head rotated until he dispatched cyan energy from his eyes, which enveloped him in a cylindrical barrier. Now it was a matter of waiting out to see if the two remaining Mothras survived or not…

    Mechagodzilla’s spinning head came to a steady halt as the energized barrier became fully reinforced. Scanners observed the ruined city, more importantly the gigantic fireball where the Mothras were, to see if there were bio-signatures to be found. While it wasn’t immediately obvious at first, Mechagodzilla detected an immense spike of energy near the heart of the explosion.

    Flames and smoke warped as a fiery body flew out of the blast. The imago Mothra, encased in a body of fire, shrieked one final war cry; she was prepared to finish this ordeal once and for all. Mechagodzilla had anticipated as much, but was ready to bring it all to an end. In the span of a few seconds, the flaming Mothra closed the gap.

    Then, the moment of impact.

    Burning red fire and brilliant cyan energies clashed against each other, sparking in a beautiful cavalcade of conflicting sparkles. Mothra’s body warped the permeable barrier, inching ever closer to Mechagodzilla’s body. Yet even with the fire coat, it did not suppress all the damage; the harder she pushed, the more she lost her outer shell and wings in a burst of smoke and vapor. She inched ever closer to his metal torso…

    Unable to endure it for any longer, the flaming Mothra bounced back from the incredible force of the barrier, shedding her fiery fleece as she crashed onto the ruined city of Osaka. Her child rushed to her side, nudging her war-torn visage to wake up. Her eyes were dimming, which made the child anxious. The Larva took a glance at the mechanical threat that loomed ahead of them, dreadfully anticipating having to fight the robotic behemoth.

    Much to her surprise, turned out there wasn’t a need to.

    The Larva saw a cascade of sparks reacting from within Mechagodzilla’s protective casing. This led to a series of chain reactions, as one explosive scale ignited the next. For Mechagodzilla, the barrier became an inescapable prison, a coffin that cemented his fate. As more of the scales reacted, the more Mechagodzilla was consumed in a mammoth explosion. The cylindrical barrier warped and expanded, trying to contain the blast, and illuminated in a bright white light. But it was unable to contain all the energy within and popped from all the power. A flood of fire and shockwaves overtook the two Mothras and flung from away as the rest of the explosion manifested in a mushroom-shaped cloud. Soon enough, the thunderous roar of the blast quieted and left a raging fire in its wake. From the sky, shredded and charred pieces of Mechagodzilla rained down, marking the end of his reign of terror.

    The Larva awoke from the unconscious and scanned her surroundings, having been separated from her mother during the explosion. She quickly found her in the outermost ring and rushed to her side. Much to her dismay, she remained unmoving. Her head and wings were shells of what they once were just moments ago. The Larva pleaded to the natural forces of the world not to take her mother away as well. To lose all she cherished was too heavy of a burden on her mortal soul…

    The husk began to move. Dimmed eyes ignited in a brilliant blue light, reinvigorated with fresh life energy. The Larva squealed with a joyful surge as the mother cooed her child in assurance. Even with her damaged wings, the adult Mothra was still flight capable as she pushed herself off the ground. The two scoured the ruined Osaka until they found the last knot that needed to be tied before departing. They found the broken and mangled body of the fallen Mothra Larva, and now finally had the time to grieve. Mournful wails echoed across the battle-torn field, and those that heard it from a distance felt a deep-rooted sadness that accompanied it.

    Hours passed, with the scenery influenced by the midnight darkness and the soft glow of moonlight. The raging fire that had once burned died down as well. As their grieving session came to a close, the living Larva sprayed a silken web over her sister’s corpse, encasing it in a cocoon. The mother Mothra had her strength restored and grabbed hold of her child with her spindly legs. With several, successive flaps of her wings, her and the Larva took off into the starry sky, returning to their new home at the Bonin Islands—where their people awaited them.

    Before the flock of people would gather around in the morning to pay their respects, a messenger manifested from the sky. The minuscule, green-eyed moth gently landed atop the silken sarcophagus, cooing gently to the soul within. It was time to leave. The Fairy Mothra chirped as she lifted off, towing her grandchild’s soul with her into a world beyond the mortal coil, where they both could finally rest in peace.

    Winner: Mothra (Millennium)

    K.W.C. // September 1, 2020
  • Updates have stalled for Godzilla: Defense Force, meaning the state of the current game will likely reflect the final state of the title. As a result, we are ready to present our last tier list for the mobile game, a much delayed Godzilla: Defense Force artifact tier list.

    This is arguably the most important tier list. While all artifacts are beneficial, as they all boost attack by +25% and have an added effect, the game is setup so that players won’t get them all. This is because of the scaling costs, which make it harder and harder to get the next artifact. Consequently, players should expect to get 18-20 artifacts out of a total of 23. This means players need to prioritize their artifacts, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to invest in through upgrading. The sooner the player makes this decision the better, as investing in artifacts makes them more expensive to deconstruct to try and get a new one. This can be unfairly punishing as for example it can cost 5,000 X-nium to deconstruct a level 25 artifact.
    (more…)

    General // August 25, 2020
  • In celebration of the recent Gamera: The Complete Collection box set on Blu-ray, contributor Jeremy Williams interviews James Flower. A producer at Arrow Films and project manager on the Gamera collection. Arrow has released a number of Toho films in the last decade, including The Bloodthirsty Trilogy, Dark Water, Pulse, the One Missed Call Trilogy and the Ringu Collection, one of Flower’s favorite Arrow Video titles from last year. (more…)

    Interviews // August 22, 2020
  • Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    [Continued from Match 267]

    Infant Island

    Fight until the bitter end.

    That was what Mothra thought as she evaded the merciless barrage from the mechanical invaders. It was more than just for herself; this sacred land was her home, her priestesses and worshippers were family, and most importantly was the egg she had fought so rigorously to protect. Even in her injured state, with a slashed wing and missing a leg from her encounter with Zilla, she flew with grace and elegance over the surface, then proceeded to clap her wings to gain elevation over the hundreds of missiles and light bullets.

    Mechagodzilla remained stationary as endless finger missiles and shells burst from his fingertips, kneecaps, toes, neck, and mouth. Even if they missed Mothra, Mechagodzilla and his mechanical ally were here not just for the destruction of Mothra, but the demise of Infant Island. Thus, it was of no loss when the missiles missed their primary target. Fortunately for Mechagodzilla, Jikiro had his back. The Magnetic Terror-Beast kept aim with its right hand, a Gatling gun, which fired a spray of yellow bullets. The projectiles burst into sparks upon striking the Earth spirit’s fluffy thorax, which compelled her to cry out. Even so, the injury did not deter her.

    As she closed the gap between her and her adversaries, Mothra fired twin orange beams from her antennae. Both individually blasted the robotic titans, which distracted Jikiro and simply made Mechagodzilla ceasefire. The lepidopteran deity flew over the mechanical duo and dragged a powerful gale in her wake. Jikiro simply anchored itself with its immense weight. Mechagodzilla stumbled back, but not before rotating his head 180 degrees. Red, calculating lenses projected Mothra’s distance relative to his own and fired a pair of Space Beams at her. The rainbow-colored lasers found their mark on her underbelly, eliciting a shriek from the moth goddess.

    She maintained lift and banked a hard right, curving around to meet with her enemies once again. Mothra prepared her next strike in the form of glittery scales from her wings. Both Mechagodzilla and Jikiro stood their ground, but were quickly overwhelmed with her divinity. Golden powder-like scales washed over the mechanical fiends and scorched into their metal armor. The Godzilla doppelganger was quick to react as his head spun in place and generated a cyan cylinder from his eyes, which wrapped around his form. The small specks of light were neutralized, but there was nothing Mechagodzilla could do but wait. Jikiro, on the other hand, had no such luck. It tried to fire its light bullets, but the buffer layer dispersed the energy into jagged strings, which redirected back at Jikiro with searing pain. The Magnetic Terror-Beast tried again, this time indicated by a burst of light from its tail, as it fired a concentrated Magnetic Ray at Mothra. To no avail, as the diffused electrical energy bounced about in the golden cloud and returned to its sender in full force.

    Energy wasn’t doing the trick, so Jikiro had to depend on old reliable. Shifting gears within its Gatling gun, Jikiro changed its ammunition. As it aimed its Gatling gun once more, Jikiro uttered a pained shriek with the continual burns seared into its body. With rapid succession, missiles shot out from the barrels, ripping through the golden cloud and embedded themselves into their target. Mothra’s shrill resounded across the battlefield as she was sent hurtling back, throwing her from the air to the ground accompanied by burning flames and shrapnel. Even if the scales left Jikiro weary, the war machine did not ceasefire until the particles faded from sight. When they did, Jikiro collapsed onto its knees and blocky left hand, still sizzling and barely keeping it together.

    The Earth spirit was burdened by the wounds she sustained, but even worse was that she had fallen onto her back. She fluttered her wings wildly, kicking up a dust storm, each beat straining her body. But her bulbous, bright blue eyes informed her that she wasn’t going to make it. For she saw the cyan cylinder dissipated from the false Godzilla, who shifted into attack mode. Mechagodzilla’s chest compartment flipped opened, then all hell broke loose. Rainbow lasers, orange electric currents, yellow atomic flames, and space titanium-infused artillery fire poured from the mechanical behemoth, overwhelming the Infant Island deity in a blaze of relentless pain and agony. Any of Mothra’s anguished screeches were lost in the deafening booms that surrounded her.

    Thick black smoke and heavy dust obscured the moth guardian’s being, but that did not stop Mechagodzilla’s onslaught. Although Jikiro could barely hear their opponent’s banshee wails, there were points where Mothra’s shrieks overpowered even that of the explosions—a direct hit! However, even Mechagodzilla came to a ceasefire, for the plumage was too immense to guarantee a solid shot. The automatons scanned and waited for any signs of life…

    Mechagodzilla’s lenses caught an energy reading. It was a miniscule ball of light particles that danced around the mechanical behemoth’s eyes. Scanners identified it as a moth, no more than 30 centimeters in wingspan. Had this been a normal animal, there would have been no reason to hesitate. But it wasn’t. The energy spike it produced told Mechagodzilla otherwise. The tiny blue-eyed, bright yellow-bodied moth squeaked, as if warning him. Jikiro, even in its weakened state, also scanned the entity with curiosity; that was until the Terror-Beast peered over the dust cloud. With wild screeches, Jikiro alerted Mechagodzilla of the threat that loomed.

    An anomalous holy light brimmed from where their target laid, and what came forth was nothing short of breathtaking. Numerous moths, far too many to individually account for. They were similar to the yellow-bodied one, their population blotted the sunlight with what may have been tens of thousands of tiny shadows.

    The smoke cleared away and revealed the grievously injured Mothra, charred, bleeding, and missing an eye, but her wings lustrous and bright. Hundreds upon thousands of minute replicas manifested from tattered wings, swarming their benevolent creator. With a loud chirping war cry, Mothra issued the attack!

    In an instant, all the yellow-bodied Fairy Mothras dove straight at the two mechanical giants, pelting them with their antenna lasers. Individually, one Fairy didn’t do much; but as a collective, they singed the armor that protected their circuitry. The swarm fluttered around the behemoths, throwing off their trajectory. That was until Mothra commanded them to disperse, in which she unloaded her antennae lasers unto the alien invaders. Both of them stumbled and collapsed into one another.

    Not wasting a second, she flew directly at Mechagodzilla! With her enormous mass, she rammed into Mechagodzilla’s upper torso and latched her miniscule legs onto his frame. Without a second thought, energy funneled through her claws as she pumped Mechagodzilla full of her divine wrath. The metal doppelganger of the Monster King jittered and spastically twitched uncontrollably as retribution coursed through his circuitry, frying them. Mothra continued her ruthless assault by discharging lightning from her wings, pelting the space titanium alloy until it was charred black.

    The downed Jikiro was pelted by the armada, but it carried out its orders by swiping and blasting the miniature Mothras into a flurry of golden powder. Light bullets scattered their energized carcasses, whilst magnetism pulled the minerals within the large boulders onto its magnetic hand, crushing the Fairy Mothras under its weight. The Garoga automaton switched gears and pulsated light from its tail, signaling a destructive discharge. A crooked bolt of lightning swathed the Fairy Mothras, incinerating their bodies down to atoms. It eased the load, but the army of moths continued valiantly with their given mission.

    Even though Jikiro was weakened, the Garoga machine would not lie down and wait. Pushing itself to its feet and shaking off the laser fire, Jikiro’s tail pulsated with yellow light. Channeling its electric prowess, the automaton fired its Magnetic Ray at the adult Mothra, searing into her body as it shoved her off of Mechagodzilla. Her thorax oozed with grotesque puss, resulted from the attack delivered by Jikiro.

    Even though he was saved by his ally, Mechagodzilla collapsed onto the ground, unable to operate its motor functions due to the damage inflicted on the Cybanek. The robot monster was left helpless, but Jikiro set out to complete what they were both here for; the destruction of Mothra and Infant Island. Try as he might, however, Jikiro couldn’t land a solid blow against the wounded veteran, each wave of light bullets only striking empty air as she maneuvered out of the way.

    Higher and higher, the winged moth elevated into the sunlit sky, out of Jikiro’s line of fire. She beckoned her armada, and they complied with no hesitation. Immediately, they disengaged their targets and offered themselves to their maker, shining in brilliant spores. The more that merged with her, the more intense Mothra became as she was encased in a golden hue. She began to circle around, leaving a glittery trail in her wake.

    Jikiro panicked, kicking his downed ally in an effort to get him back up. From the heat produced by Mothra’s assault, Mechagodzilla’s nostrils exhaled steam as a coolant. His flaring crimson eyes glared at his partner, at least until he heeded what Jikiro had to say. He detected a considerable spike of energy produced from their primary target. This was a danger for the both of them, and there were two immediate options at his disposal.

    Mothra’s output of power informed Mechagodzilla’s decision making in taking the best course of action. His neck creaked from the scarred metal, but continued to swirl all the same. Faster and faster his head rotated, then deployed cyan energy from his eyes to construct the cylindrical barrier around his body. If this was the guardian’s last hurrah, then perhaps it was best to wait her out…

    Jikiro pondered, leaving the stake of its artificial life in its own hands. Mechagodzilla was prepared to take the blow, and the divine moth nearly completed the inevitable spell she would cast. He had to think of something quick, or risk the slim chance of survival on luck… no, the machine refused to bow to such improbable odds. If it were to fulfill the execution of its orders, it would do so by its own ingenuity. It was then that an idea came to the machine. There were no other options to work with, not with more time. There were only seconds to spare—time it was unsure would be enough, but had to try nonetheless.

    Pointing its blocky left arm to the sky, Jikiro twisted the magnets by a simple rotation of its wrists, and then circled its Gatling gun arm around as many times it could humanely do. Air was displaced by the force of his spinning arm, which strengthened its magnetic influence. Jikiro’s magnets discharged an inverse magnetic polarization; rather than attract, it would repel metal and disperse energy under the magnetic field it produced. But would it be enough to protect itself from what came next? This was Jikiro’s only shot.

    A golden ring clamped together as the holy moth continued to forge the seal’s power. Within the empty space, the Symbol of Mothra manifested and illuminated ever so brightly. With a simple command, it made its descent with a massive boom.

    Then, it struck.

    A thunderous cavalcade resonated across the land as the last of Mothra’s might seared itself into the earth. Massive shockwaves spread through the foliage and broken rock. Even the natives had to hold onto whatever remained steadfast in the destructive wake. Jikiro’s magnetic waves dispelled some of the energy, casting it aside as the Earth does with the sun’s gamma rays. Even so, it wasn’t enough to completely withstand it, as the heat it produced melted its armor and pushed it further into the earth. Mechagodzilla only fared slightly better. The overwhelming energy warped the cylindrical shield from the immense force. So much so that even the mechanical menace dropped to one knee from the pressure being applied. Only a few seconds passed before the two were engulfed in a purifying light.

    Like the sun, the Symbol of Mothra cast its light upon the darkness, signaling a chance for hope and prosperity. Just as quickly as it appeared, it faded. Scorched land was imprinted with the symbol, a sign of her divine power. The elder Mothra flew in to inspect the damages—to see if the invaders were still standing.

    As she glided over, she saw the remnants of her foes. Mechagodzilla had collapsed onto his chest, whilst Jikiro was partially buried under scorched earth, with the rocks already like molten slag. It had seemed both were finally stopped, at long last. Nevertheless, Mothra continued her investigation and found herself hovering above Mechagodzilla’s carcass.

    It was then the lifeless head creaked, twisting his head to meet Mothra eye to eye. Red lenses flared to life as the wicked machine fire a pair of rainbow lasers at point blank! The Infant Island goddess was flung back from the surprise attack, failing to even register the loss of her two front legs. As Mothra crashed, Mechagodzilla rose to his feet and reoriented himself. Meanwhile, Jikiro’s tomb began to vibrate.

    With a theatrical display, the melted mineral crater exploded, revealing Jikiro in moderate condition. Swirling heat dispersed into the daylight sky, with only noticeable deformation in Jikiro’s armor. However, its left hand was lost, destroyed by the seal. So instead, Jikiro improvised with a sudden charge of electricity.

    Mothra had nothing left to defend herself with. All of it had been expended in the fight, leaving her nothing left to hold onto… Except for hope for the future. One she knew she would not live to see. The mechanical duo shook the broken earth with every step they took, prepared to finish what they came here to do.

    Jikiro approached her first, holding the Gatling gun out and spraying the fallen goddess with an electric burst. Disgusting crunches echoed as the energy tore through Mothra’s natural armor. Her cries resounded to all who could hear as she squirmed in absolute agony. The mechanical replica of Godzilla, meanwhile, prepared to unload all of his firepower. Jikiro backed off and allowed his Simian ally to eviscerate the corpse in a spectacular display. Her final cry was cut short as rainbow lasers, orange lightning, and many missiles and shells tore Mothra asunder, scattering her remains across this very island she was designed to protect. Now there was nothing that would stand in their way from accomplishing their goals.

    The Magnetic Terror-Beast took heed of the fleeing natives and gifted them with a spread of light bullets from the right hand. They were incinerated in an instant. The light bullets evolved into a stream of electricity, eviscerating the flora, fauna, and villages that dwelled in the foliage. Mechagodzilla proceeded to assist his partner by carving the island with his Space Beams and Cross Attack Beam, utterly laying waste to the island until it became nothing more than smoldering ruins.

    It was then that they noticed the mountainside Mothra had fought so rigorously to protect. They had to ensure that nothing could come from this. Both machines aimed their weaponry at the mountain itself, blasting it to kingdom come. The tumbling rocks further layered on top of Mothra’s domain, cementing the fate of Infant Island.

    The bright sky turned pitch black from the rolling smoke, only the flames served as a dark marker in history. Their masters were content and were ordered to return to headquarters. Mechagodzilla’s soles roared to life as he took off by rocket boosters. Jikiro, however, had to do it the manual way by taking a dip into the water. The Magnetic Terror-Beast followed the fiery trail left behind Mechagodzilla’s wake. Soon enough, after the raging fires had extinguished, all fell silent.

    Days passed, as those who were in the temple grounds of Mothra’s cavern were the only survivors from the merciless genocide, which only amounted to fifty individuals accounted for. They prayed fervently to the lone egg that stood perched among the rubble from the collapsed mountain. Even with the few they had, they performed ceremonial dances for the divine protection of their beloved moth god. The Cosmos sung the song of the Earth, clinging to hope for the future while wracked with grief.

    And an answer was delivered.

    The egg began to flash in a brilliant spectacle. All who worshipped fell back at its sight, even the twin priestesses. The shell cracked, and what emerged was her long awaited successor. The young larva screeched as she took her first breath in her life, defiant to let this be the end of the Mothra lineage and the wonderful wisdom of Infant Island. As she quieted down, the larva gazed upon her people, sensing the dread they all faced. She assured them with gentle chirps, that she would avenge her mother and those that defiled Infant Island’s beauty, for she was their last hope.

    Winner: Mechagodzilla (Showa), Jikiro

    K.W.C. // August 21, 2020
  • Author: Michael Allen | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    In the ocean’s dark depths, among the hundreds of ancient stones and sea life, a creature stirred. At first glance the object that moved would have easily passed for an incredibly large rock, its sudden movement being the only indication it was actually a living being. Limbs sprouted from the holes, unmistakably arms ending in clawed hands and a mighty head. The green eyes opened and the tusked maw parted in a growl. It’d been the first time in years Gamera’s sleep had been disturbed, but the call to battle was not to be ignored.

    Earth needed its protector once more.

    Sirens wailed out across the Sapporo streets as the infamous form of Godzilla made his way slowly across the landscape. The charcoal colored demon spat from Hell reigned destruction over any living thing that dared to exist in the same space as himself. The ground trembled with every step the King of the Monsters took, a trail of destruction already carved into the city behind him. Smoke and flames danced into the brightness of the day, the spines lit up a hellish orange and a jet of fire erupted from Godzilla’s mouth, consuming several blocks in a supernova.

    A high pitched shriek rose from the ugly mouth, watching the fire consume more structures and the lives that fled from his colossal frame.

    Godzilla faced no opposition for the time being, the Japanese dare not risk the lives of civilians at the moment…and were still baffled by Godzilla’s sudden appearance. The last satellite reports had indicated Godzilla was somewhere off in the Pacific many miles away from the Japanese coast. Yet somehow here he was in Sapporo, launching an unprovoked attack! There wasn’t even radiation in the area, no one could see a logical purpose behind this attack.

    Godzilla screeched again and proceeded onward…but this time his cry was answered by another. Orange eyes shifting to the direction from whence the sound had originated. The opposition came in too quickly for Godzilla to react. An airborne clothesline to the throat instantly toppled the nuclear leviathan. In a thrashing display of limbs Godzilla struggled to regain his footing, the ground shook even more violently as Gamera completed his descent, powerful legs keeping his shelled body upright as he gave another battle roar.

    He was surprised to see Godzilla get up so quickly, for something that had been struck with such savage force, Godzilla or not it was a remarkably fast recovery! He didn’t even seem winded! Gamera glared daggers at the saurian, he couldn’t understand what it was, but something about Godzilla was…off. They had never met before (though both had a considerable reputation) but Gamera instinctively knew something was seriously amiss. Perhaps it was the scent, or just a gut feeling. Either way, his suspicions were about to be answered.

    Both charged at the other, buildings shaken to nothing more than rubble as the titanic footsteps shuddered the city to its core. Gamera avoided a swipe to the head by ducking, jerking upward to bring his skull colliding with Godzilla’s chin, barely even staggering him. Unsheathing an elbow claw, Gamera followed up with a counter swipe as Godzilla came in again with an unearthly scream of his own. Despite having the organic blade rip across his midsection Godzilla did not cease in motion, bashing his shoulder into Gamera, the Guardian of the Universe stumbling back in surprise at the enemy’s great strength. Added further to his shock was the fact there was no blood. Not even a drop. And instead of entrails there was…a glint! Metal. Godzilla allowed his arms to drop to his side, and in a flash of blinding light the disguise was gone. The impostor’s true form revealed, no doubt.

    Mechagodzilla’s yellow eyes unblinkingly met Gamera’s green orbs, a mountain of metal in the vague form of Godzilla. A short, immobile tail and blunt spines ran the length of the machine’s back. Fingers and toes just as immobile, the whole thing in and of itself looked slow, but judging by how armored it was speed didn’t look to be a concern. Mechagodzilla’s heads up display identified its assailant as Gamera, combative options from its mechanical brain presented to it. Time to fight back.

    Before Gamera could make another move he was pelted by missiles, blasting into his plastron, blowing chunks of it off; another to the shoulder yielded green blood. Gamera cried out in agony as he realized Mechagodzilla’s fingers were in fact deadly missiles! With an emotionless shriek Mechagodzilla set its lasers upon Gamera, pragmatically watching as Gamera was lifted off his feet with another cry of pain and landing helplessly on his back. His shell pressing into the pavement, dirt and concrete shot high into the air, raining down into the battlefield. Mechagodzilla’s hands shifted into place, targeting system getting an easy lock. Were it alive it might have felt very pleased with itself. Before it could fire, the sound of jets firing up and thick, hot smoke engulfed Gamera from sight. It took Mechagodzilla’s computer brain a moment or two to process what was happening, the closest it could get to shock. By the time it fired Gamera was already lifting off.

    Lasers and missiles detonated harmless on vacant ground and buildings, the half of the city of which they now fought had been largely evacuated so Gamera had little concern for exploding buildings at the moment. Rubble and flames littered the decimated streets for miles around. Mechagodzilla screeched as its head swiveled about to try and lock onto Gamera, hands raised futilely as the turtle literally flew circles around it. Increasing speed Gamera flew to the left, lasers obliterating a structure where he’d been seconds before. Cutting off the azure plasma that gave him flight, the chelonian tackled Mechagodzilla from behind, with its blunt spikes and stiff tail he had no worries about being injured. The duo landed in a heap, Mechagodzilla shrieking as its arms raised up, Gamera grunting as missiles fired into the sky. With nothing to lock onto they spun and soared randomly before falling to the ground, detonating buildings or the streets. Growling, he seized the machine by the head and repeatedly slammed its expressionless face into the ground.

    But to Gamera’s surprise Mechagodzilla forced itself up. Were it not for fast reflexes, Gamera would’ve fallen over again. He grunted again as a hard metal arm smacked across his face, a chop to the head further stunning him. Mechagodzilla continued hammering Gamera with fast strikes, relentless in its assault. So it wasn’t as helpless at hand to hand as it looked. Despite the pain the blows caused, Gamera refused to back away, the second he did he knew Mechagodzilla would open fire on him once more. Instead he followed up with something even Mechagodzilla hadn’t anticipated: a plasma fireball to the chest!

    Mechagodzilla stumbled back, vision temporarily obstructed by residue of the explosion, but its display indicated no true damage had been dealt. Gamera roared at the machine, seeing its armor glowing white hot but little else. Heat and flames danced in Gamera’s jaws, alerting Mechagodzilla that another would be coming swiftly. It opted to spontaneously take flight in the blink of an eye, the fireball struck a building instead, instantly leveling it. The speed with which Mechagodzilla had been propelled caught Gamera off guard, but there was little time to think about that. Mechagodzilla loudly landed behind Gamera, a panel on its abdomen falling open, a jagged red laser beam shot forth. The machine had wanted to end the fight quickly by simply cutting Gamera in two with it, but saw it simply raze harmlessly across the terrapin’s shell.

    Whipping around, Gamera unleashed another plasma fireball, only difference was that Mechagodzilla had certainly anticipated it. Defensive measures were the best course of action, its computer brain decided. The head rotated around and around, quickly bringing up a body encompassing shield. The turtle’s eyes narrowed in frustration as his enemy’s defense held up unwaveringly. He knew he had only seconds to decide how to proceed as he was well aware of what awaited him when that shield went down. Gamera’s jets fired up again, smoke billowing around him as plasma fire took the place of his legs. Concrete exploded beneath him as Mechagodzilla attempted to blast him with its lasers, but Gamera lifted off just in time.

    With no other option the machine gave pursuit, its own jets carrying it upward. Gamera narrowly avoided three more shots of Mechagodzilla’s lasers, his powerful shell tending to the rest. They rose up into the sky faster with every passing second, but Mechagodzilla was gaining with stunning speed on its side. Gamera warbled in pain as lasers ripped across his left arm, blood bursting from the wounds freely, spattering Mechagodzilla’s armored body as its pursuit carried on. The wind whipped past each of them as Mechagodzilla continued to gain speed. If not for Gamera taking flight first, he would have been overtaken much faster, but despite his enemy’s speed he was far from helpless. He’d led the Godzilla doppelganger into the air for a reason.

    Now high above the clouds, Gamera withdrew his additional limbs within the safety of his shell, more plasma fire erupting from his arm sockets allowing him to spin like a UFO in flight. Mechagodzilla was certainly a shockingly fast flier, but it wasn’t particularly aerodynamic. With its head locked in a straight position, arms to its side left it rather vulnerable. Gamera ruthlessly bashed into its side, the machine spinning around uncontrollably for several seconds, world a blue and white blur before regaining its bearings. It seized a chance and let loose another volley of multicolored laser beams into Gamera’s more vulnerable underside, a roar sounding out from within the shell and more green blood showering out. But victory was short lived for Mechagodzilla. Again the airborne terrapin shot toward Mechagodzilla, slamming into it ruthlessly, sparks shooting from its body as the sharp edges of Gamera’s shell met with the space titanium.

    With a high pitched, but emotionless cry Mechagodzilla was able to twist itself away from Gamera, allowing its jets to switch off. A single arm raised, targeting system struggling to get a lock, Mechagodzilla falling faster and faster. It fired one missile the moment its system had a clear lock. One was all that was needed.

    The missile entered Gamera’s right leg socket. An explosion of blue and orange burst from it, followed by a terrible howl of pure pain. Instantly, Gamera himself began to fall as well, bloodied and in agony. But still he would not stop, reactivating his left leg jet he increased his speed straight toward the Godzilla impostor, tackling it head on. Mechagodzilla hammered on the shell with all its might, warbling in an attempt to free itself, their combined weight bringing them down all the faster. Space titanium or otherwise, Mechagodzilla did not want to see if the armor could survive a fall of this magnitude.

    Gamera on the other hand seemed strangely as ease, despite his injuries and the situation. Mechagodzilla’s system notified that they were seconds from impact, desperately it shot missiles from its knees into Gamera’s gut, bloodying him further but to no avail.

    The two fighters met the ground. Hard. The whole city shook, buildings rumbled and fell, dirt plumed outward, the ground split open as more explosions decimated the city. Vehicles had been sent skyward before returning to the ground, becoming little else that scrap metal in the process. The shaking carried on for only a minute or so, but to those who watched from a distance it felt like eternity before all was still.

    From the rubble, Mechagodzilla dragged itself, majestic armor dented and chipped quite visibly. One eye cracked and dim, tail hung only by crackling wires. Left arm dangled limply as it shakily stood up once more, dully it surveyed the city ruins. Slowly its head swiveled around to take in the sight of Gamera, half buried in rubble and unmoving. The head shifted to the front again, gears and servos audibly whirring and clicking with strained effort before the machine began to limp away.

    What it failed to notice was the fires near Gamera being consumed by him, like a supernova it engulfed Gamera’s body, drawing inward to him. Absorbed in a bright, even beautiful display.

    Green eyes snapping open, Gamera stood with another battle roar. Mechagodzilla slowly turned around in something akin to shock…and fear. Its mind struggled to understand how Gamera stood now without a scratch on him, rejuvenated by the fire. And empowered by it. The power glowed in Gamera’s tusked jaws, billowing out like it was desperately trying to escape. Its mind was still trying to process when a plasma fireball shot forth like a cannonball, larger than any of the previous ones that had been utilized against it. With the damage sustained, Mechagodzilla had no way of defending itself. And in that moment, it understood why Gamera was so at ease by their descent. The last thing it took in was flash for orange, its head exploding to bits of burnt metal that littered the streets. Its body followed suit and exploded seconds afterward, metal raining down like snowflakes.

    Gamera gave a triumphant roar of satisfied victory. He lifted off once again to return to the sea. He would sleep quite well knowing Earth was safe and the unnatural presence had been bested in heated battle.

    Winner: Gamera (Heisei)

    K.W.C. // August 11, 2020
  • One good way to befriend a Godzilla fan is by asking them, “What was your first Godzilla film?” For years, I’ve always said Godzilla 1985. A few years later, I started to respond back with The Return of Godzilla (1984), the superior Japanese version of the same film. It’d be even longer before I realized that Bambi Meets Godzilla was technically my first Godzilla movie, as it preceded Godzilla 1985 on my VHS copy. (more…)

    General // August 9, 2020
  • It was always a dream to visit Japan. After spending years watching Japanese icons like Godzilla, Gamera, and Ultraman, the chance to roam around the very land that played a crucial part in enriching my childhood was something I had to do. In the summer of 2019, my dream came true, and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. But something happened there that I was not truly prepared for. (more…)

    General // August 5, 2020
  • Author: Harley Jameson | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    There were whispers in Fukuoka of an abandoned school, lost to time. Where spirits of children wandered the halls and enticed any who stumbled across it to join their ranks and lure all who came across them to their shadowy death. But those were only rumors, right? (more…)

    K.W.C. // July 30, 2020
  • In the early months of 1969, actress Hideko Takamine journeyed to the home of film director Mikio Naruse, with whom she’d made seventeen movies over the course of twenty-five years. Naruse had been fighting a losing battle with cancer for some time and had recently decided not to be hospitalized again. Perhaps realizing her chances to say goodbye were running out, Takamine paid him a visit and was surprised to find the director talkative and cheery, forthcoming and humorous—the total opposite of the shy, reticent person who’d made such gems as Floating Clouds (1955), When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960), and Lonely Lane (1962).

    In thinking back on their time working together, Takamine wrote, “[Naruse] was a person whose refusal to talk was downright malicious. Even during the shooting of a picture, he would never say if something was good or bad, interesting or trite. He was a completely unresponsive director [and] there was never an instance in which he gave me any acting instructions.” Another frequent star in these films, Tatsuya Nakadai, had the same experience, saying, “He was the most difficult director I ever worked for. He never said a word. A real nihilist.” On the set of Untamed in 1957, Takamine finally mustered the courage to ask Naruse for guidance on how to play her character, to which he just answered: “It’ll be over before you know it.”

    (more…)

    General // July 26, 2020
  • Author: Vincent Rodger | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    The brightly lit sun rose as normal over the beautiful, towering city of Osaka, starting its usual process of warming everything that sat below it. Making the water from the bay glisten and the trees seem a bit more noticeable. The leaves of the trees turned a slightly pale green due to the light that shined through them. The windows of buildings produced small glares in their reflection as they mirrored back what they saw from both sides. All was well and peaceful, with no panic or widespread chaos. Although this city held beauty and grace, it would soon witness death and destruction.

    From the windows, a shadow overhead could be seen, cloaking the sun’s rays for that of split moments at a time. These small moments slowly started to increase to that of minutes. People in the streets start to look up to the skies in curiosity, running in terror when they finally realized what was rapidly descending onto their small civilization. Approaching quickly, he didn’t give people that much time to escape, creating a large bloom of dust and water vapor as he landed. The creature that landed was partly made of metal, sporting three golden heads and two large wings to carry itself on. The Golden Death let out a hideous laugh as he appeared to smirk. He then lifted his three heads to the sky and screeched before quickly aiming at the people and let a seemingly unending rain of gravity beams upon the city.

    For that was the wish of his master, his invisible strings otherwise known as commands tugging and pulling at him causing him to bring destruction. This master was the Futurians, watching their masterpiece at work from hundreds of miles away, and easily becoming pleased with the progress of their plan in motion.

    “Our plan is working. Soon Japan will be nothing be a fabled memory,” the Futurian leader said in a calm voice as he turned toward his colleague. Glen watched him with a small nod, appearing joyous with the words given to him.

    The two known as Chuck and Glen watched as the creation they had titled Mecha-King Ghidorah ravaged the city, barely leaving any rubble to remember it by. Mecha-King Ghidorah looked over his endeavor with great vigilance, checking over it for any movement to hint that life might still be there.

    Overhead, dark clouds started to gather, drawing Mecha-King Ghidorah’s attention, his eyes analyzing them and coming up with many different errors. He didn’t quit, watching them carefully. A few of the darkly colored puffs started to light up, threatening the ground below. Taking the chance, a strike of lightning lit the sky for a short flash with a loud and enormous cracking sound. This quickly caught the attention of the Futurians, and watched through Mecha-King Ghidorah’s eyes as the light faded from his vision for a split moment and he watched the smoke. Something started to form inside the clouds; a monstrosity in human form. Or at least, somewhat human, with green eyes that pierced the soul and plenty of muscle to back up its glares.

    Mecha-King Ghidorah looked at the beast with disgust. It was repulsive in his eyes, almost like a disfigured human. This new creature was being searched throughout every database that Mecha-King Ghidorah had, yet to no avail. There was no information about this “thing” that he had stumbled upon. He continued to stare at it with morbid curiosity, until it raised its hand to taunt him with a slight motion before getting into a fighting stance. Mecha-King Ghidorah looked at it with slight rage as he let out a metallic shriek and growl, ready to rip this thing to shreds. There was no way he was going to let this creature defeat him in combat.

    “What is that thing!?” Glen asked Chuck in a worried tone.

    “It is of no concern to us. It took Godzilla to destroy King Ghidorah before we mechanized him. If this monster thinks it can beat Mecha-King Ghidorah, then it is sorely mistaken,” Chuck merely mumbled in response. This calmed Glen’s mind and rattled nerves as he returned his attention back to a computer, searching the database for the beast.

    “Sir… this makes no sense. This creature isn’t supposed to be here for another five-hundred years.”

    Chuck turned toward Glen and walked to the computer. Both men looked at the file of the “Attack Titan.”

    “How is this possible?” Glen asked as he turned toward Chuck. “Perhaps it was a recruited weapon of Emmy, the traitor. She could have brought it to the past to stop our plan.”

    “But it doesn’t matter. If she recruited it or if it arrived another way to this timeline. He will be turned into nothing but ash by Mecha-King Ghidorah.” With this, Chuck and Glen returned their attention to the fight shown on the screen in front of them.

    The Attack Titan let out an eerie cry as he charged at Mecha-King Ghidorah like a rabid dog. The mechanized dragon cackled as he released his gravity beams and Triple Beam Laser at the approaching titan, striking him across the chest with a hard impact and sending him into the buildings of the city. The Attack Titan let out a monstrous roar of anger as he fell to the ground, with barely a scratch marring his thick hide.

    Quickly, the feral giant got back onto his feet and once again charged at the cyborg, increasing his speed with each step. Each stomp of his feet broke apart the ground beneath him and left craters in their wake. Mecha-King Ghidorah once again shot his beams from his gaping maws at the Titan, but this time, he managed to dodge the onslaught of electrical energy.

    He finally reached Mecha-King Ghidorah and charged at full speed into his chest, slamming the future monster into a skyscraper and sending the building collapsing onto his foe. The cyborg screeched in pain as he was buried under the debris, pinned in place as the unknown goliath wailed upon the dragon’s heads with his fists.

    The two Futurians were shocked that a simple-minded beast could overpower Mecha-King Ghidorah. “How is this possible?!” Glen demanded.

    He turned toward Chuck, who was surprisingly calm about the situation. “Do not worry,” Chuck stated. “This beast may have the upper hand at the moment, but soon the tables will turn.”

    The Attack Titan stood above the rubble, watching to see if his enemy had survived the attack, which he was certain that it had. Mecha-King Ghidorah lunged at the Attack Titan, grabbing his arms with his left and right heads and shooting the Laser Triple Beam from his middle head, tearing off the limbs at the shoulder and pushing him across the battlefield. Mecha-King Ghidorah rose with both the Titan’s arms in his fangs, grinding their wrists to paste.

    The Attack Titan looked at the mechanized dragon as he dropped the Titan’s arms from his mouth and cackled. He took to the skies and rose above the Attack Titan, dropping down and stomping on the monster’s body, crushing him with his enormous weight. The Attack Titan roared in pain as Mecha-King Ghidorah rose back into the sky, but the cyborg received suffering of his as his scales burned from the scalding steam and heat from the titanic man’s body. Mecha-King Ghidorah backed away, screeching in agony as the Attack Titan rose back onto his feet, steam rolling off his body and his arms slowing regenerating.

    Mecha-King Ghidorah roared once again when a strange light appeared below him. Before he could react, a gigantic figure appeared from the light and uppercut the three-headed dragon into the sky, only for him to plummet into the ground. The hero of light, Ultraman, had arrived to join the battle.

    “No matter how many enemies are thrown at Mecha King Ghidorah, he will destroy them all. Kill them all, Mecha-King Ghidorah!” Chuck screamed at the screen as he watched Ultraman arrive on the scene.

    The Attack Titan looked at Ultraman with curiosity. Was he an enemy or an ally? He did attack Mecha-King Ghidorah, but he did not know if he was also a target. Though he could not hear Eren’s thoughts, Ultraman answered his question as he nodded at him and charged at Mecha-King Ghidorah. The three-headed hydra rose from the ground and charged at his silver opponent, ready to slay the alien protector. He shot his Gravity Beams and Laser Triple Beam at Ultraman, but the bolts missed as the giant of light leaped into the air, hitting nothing but the ground behind his last position.

    The Attack Titan had regenerated his limbs and charged once again at Mecha-King Ghidorah, fuelled with pure animalistic instinct and human rage. Just as Mecha-King Ghidorah was about to pummel Ultraman, his opponent teleported behind the cyberized dragon and kicked him toward the approaching Titan. The Attack Titan slammed his fist into Mecha-King Ghidorah’s center neck, pushing the hydra back again, as Ultraman used his Slash Ray to cut the back of cyborg dragon, exposing the mechanical circuits underneath.

    The onslaught from both the front and back made Mecha-King Ghidorah crash into the ground with an impact to make a small crater. He began to take flight, only to suddenly stop and fall to the ground. He rose again, only against his will this time, and was hammered into the ground once more. Ultraman and the Attack Titan had grabbed each of the mechanized dragon’s tails and were slamming him into the ground, denting armor and rattling organs with each blow. Mecha-King Ghidorah rotated his heads and rained down his deadly rays upon the pair, sending them both crashing to the ground in blasts of flame.

    The impact destroyed many buildings around the duo, flooding the streets in a seas of fire. As Mecha-King Ghidorah stood, he cackled at them, but in his premature victory, the terror from the future was almost struck by Ultraman’s Ultra Attack Ray, dodging the attack at the last second by mere inches.

    The Attack Titan chased after him, hoping that he would catch Mecha-King Ghidorah. The cyborg dragon cackled once more as he watched the abomination try to reach him, but his underestimation of the Titan proved his downfall. The Attack Titan closed the distance in a moment, jumping over Mecha-King Ghidorah and clinging to the robotic hydra’s back. The titan started to savagely beat against the armor, trying to rip it apart, but was only met with the flesh from his hands peeling off his bones and steam rising from the wounds. With each strike, blood splattered on the armor and more of his muscle and skin were removed, revealing the bone underneath.

    Gravity Beams strafed the Attack Titan, causing him to screech as he was forced off and fell to the ground with an enormous thud. Smoke rose off the Titan’s body as his healing factor worked quickly to regenerate the damage, but Mecha-King Ghidorah was already upon him. The dragon cackled as he took to the air, but was immediately struck out of the sky by a jumping Ultraman, slamming his fists into the dragon’s armored hide and making the cyborg fall to the ground.

    Slowly rising to his feet, the Golden Death brushed the rubble off his body as he tried to regain sight. His vision was impaired. Something was wrong. Perhaps the fall was too much. He turned his left head to see if his mechanical one had taken damage and indeed, the glass that held Mecha-King Ghidorah’s eyes were shattered. The middle head tried to look for his opponents, when agonizing pain shot through his left neck. The neck slumped to the ground, severed by Ultraman’s Ultra Slash. The foreign warrior was familiar with the destructive power of creatures like the Ghidorahs. Even if this cyborg was a fake, he was determined to slay him where he stood.

    “Order him to retreat!” Glen ordered. “If you don’t, he will be slain by the Earth Defenders.”

    Chuck spared a glance at his partner, ignoring the command. The future terrorist had no reason to panic, for he already knew the answer to this conflict. He was determined to watch the pair be killed by his magnum opus.

    Mecha-King Ghidorah howled in pain and turned toward Ultraman, presenting its metallic chest to the guardian in a bizarre move. Before Ultraman could realize the intention of the action, it was too late.

    “Now!”

    Chuck pressed a button and ports on the mechanical dragon sprang open. The capture cables and Machine Hand were launched at Ultraman as Mecha King Ghidorah screeched loudly. The mechanical restraints snatched Ultraman’s wrists, knees and waist, holding him in place as millions of volts of electricity flowed through the cables into the hero’s body. Mecha-King Ghidorah ́s surviving head gave a grim smile as he watched the hero writhe in pain.

    Of course, the dragon had no way of knowing that Ultraman was highly resilient to electrical attacks. The alien giant was hardly fazed by the onslaught, but his struggles to escape were no less motivated, as he was still bound by the limits of his energy.

    The Attack Titan rose from the ruins of the city. Steam rolled off his body, revealing the now-healed flesh beneath. As he rose, the muscled man caught the sight of Mecha-King Ghidorah, slowly ripping the life out of his ally. Without hesitation, he searched for a weapon, grabbing the top half of an electric tower, which had melted from the heat of the fires to form a spiked tip at the end. Brandishing the crude lance, he charged at Mecha-King Ghidorah with an inhuman cry. Ultraman’s Color Timer started to turn red and rapidly go off, faster and faster. If Mecha-King Ghidorah was not destroyed soon, he would perish.

    Ultraman struggled to shatter the bonds of Mecha-King Ghidorah’s grasp, but the tough future metal would not budge. He once again charged his Slash Ray to try and cut through the cyborg’s cables, but was immediately shot down by an onslaught of beams from his maws.

    The earth defender went limp and struggled for breath. The mechanized dragon was close to killing him, he could feel it. The Futurians smiled from their control room, delighting in the victory that seemed so near – until they noticed the Attack Titan charging from behind.

    “Behind you, Mecha-King Ghidorah!”

    The mutated hydra quickly turned his mechanical head toward the Attack Titan and opened fire. Taken by surprise, the giant still managed to dodge the attack and lunged at Mecha-King Ghidorah. He raised the tower piece as if it were a spear and aimed at the cyborg’s center head, thrusting it forward with all of his strength. As the cyborg dragon was about to unleash hell, the spear-like tower piece penetrated his metallic skull. The mechanical head started to flail in seizure-like jerks, causing the rest of the body to follow suit. Even with the Futurians’ warning, he could not escape death.

    The right head turned his attention toward the Attack Titan and immediately paid the price. With what remaining strength Ultraman had, he blasted Mecha-King Ghidorah with his Specium Ray, breaking apart its armor like it was paper. Mecha-King Ghidorah howled as he fell, fire and sparks ripping out of his chest, and crashed to the ground, limp and lifeless. The great pride of the Futurians was no more.

    The Attack Titan howled into the sky as he celebrated their victory and turned toward his ally. Ultraman fell onto the ground, struggling, but managed the strength to nod in return to his ally. The light escaped his eyes and Ultraman fell to the earth, exhausted of energy. The battle was just too much for the noble hero. While he may have beaten the enemy, it was not without a great cost.

    Chuck gritted his teeth in anger with the destruction of their masterpiece. He hit the dashboard of his ship with a fist, denting the metal surface slightly. “One day… We will return and I will kill you… Whatever you are.”

    The Futurian ship started to glow, activating the time circuits. With a bright flash, it vanished, returning to the point in time from whence it came.

    The Attack Titan looked at his fallen ally and nodded solemnly at the corpse of Ultraman. In a way, he felt responsible for the death of the legendary hero, and regretted his inability to do more to save him. As he turned away, he passed the remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah, which he eyed with a furious scowl. He graced the carcass with an angry kick, unleashing one final hellish scream to the heavens before continuing on his path to the city’s outskirts.

    Winner: Attack Titan

    K.W.C. // July 20, 2020