When it comes to Godzilla, particularly in the older films, an extremely simple recipe is used. Godzilla attacks, humans retaliate, another monster usually appears, Godzilla wins the day. Rinse and repeat.
The anime trilogy on Netflix confronts Godzilla in a new light, introducing a futuristic world overran by various monsters and positions Godzilla as the ruler of the entire world. How could he not rule? The Kaiju is a colossal 300 meters tall, almost three times the size of Legendary’s Godzilla.
Warning: This post contains slight spoilers.
The previous two films have suffered in many ways. Fans were waiting six months for each release, the build up was very slow, the films withheld the title monster or kept him stationary for a while, in fact Godzilla doesn’t move at all in the final film. Even the promise of Mechagodzilla was eradicated after he… became a city in City on the Edge of Battle. But with all three films now out, I believe people would benefit more from a long binge. While there are certainly drawbacks from this particular trilogy, there is a lot to be enjoyed and can really only be enjoyed when watched in a very tight sitting.
Godzilla: The Planet Eater picks up where the previous film left off. Mechagodzilla City has been destroyed and the last chance to defeat Godzilla has seemingly vanished. Haruo, the main protagonist, tends to his friend, Yuko, who has been rendered comatose after ‘nanometal’ consumes her body. The crew of the Aratrum condemn Haruo to death causing him to go into hiding with the remnants of humanity back on Earth. In a desperate bid to defeat Godzilla, both Metphies, on Earth, and Endurph, on the Aratrum, summon “The Golden Demise”. This immediately triggers alarm bells for any Godzilla fan.
The interesting thing about Ghidorah in this film is his philosophical and religious origin. The film incorporates many extraterrestrial beings such as the Bilusaludo and the Exif. The Exif have dedicated their lives to converting people and planets to their religion. They worship the god, Ghidorah, and help locate planets worthy before gaining the populations trust and sacrificing them to their Golden Demise. Very similar to the role of Silver Surfer and Galactus, minus the nihilistic philosophy.
The visual representation and the fascinating history behind Ghidorah is enough to make up for the mistakes of the previous films. While there isn’t a lot of Kaiju action, the stories behind the Planet Eater makes it that much more exciting. While I missed the original form of Ghidorah, the new version, accompanied by a shining golden aura, claps of thunder, and an interesting snake-like body that is seemingly indestructible, brings a sense of awe that finally places Godzilla in a place of peril. The snake-like dragon of golden bolts, the King of the Void, earns his godly title simply by his appearance and unique abilities that appear to be too much for Godzilla and the entire planet.
While the film lacks in spectacular action, the animation of Ghidorah and Godzilla make it a truly captivating experience. However, the visuals aren’t the only thing that redeems the finale film in an unsteady trilogy. Surprisingly, the films throws incredibly deep and philosophical questions at us. Instead of being a monster mess similar to the likes of Pacific Rim 2 which arguably had no substance, Planet Eater provides us with a lot to ponder. The film asks us why people should bother fighting against a threat like Godzilla who only attacks when provoked, and forces us to question the consequence of hate. A reoccurring theme within the trilogy is undoubtedly Haruo’s and mankind’s hatred for Godzilla, while justified, it can be seen as a primary cause for the struggles that the characters go through. So the film positions us in a way that allows us to rethink hatred, and it actually plays a big role in the post credit scene- so make sure you stick around for the end.
The film isn’t perfect. Nor is it a triumphant monster movie, but it is an intriguing and visually stunning experience. The visuals, the music, the emotion, the throwback to nuclear atrocities, and the delivery of a deep philosophical lore makes this film an incredibly satisfying finale.
This may not be for everyone. It really depends on how you like your monster movies. Typically I would say that any Godzilla movie that refuses to use Godzilla is destined to fail, however this anime movie changed my mind.
Have you watched the Godzilla trilogy on Netflix? If so, let us know what you thought in the comments below. All three parts are available on Netflix and can now be enjoyed in one great sitting. Grab some friends and some popcorn and enjoy a new and refreshing take on the Godzilla story.
James Lister is a University student in the UK, currently undertaking his Masters degree in Media & Communication. He has a strong passion for everything Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Anime related.