A hundred minutes of intense physical and philosophical conflict, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (GODZILLA -決戦機動増殖都市) does justice to Godzilla by returning the Kaiju king to its metaphorical roots.
Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle Synopsis
Haruo’s team survives the previous assault by Godzilla, thanks to rescue by a mysterious indigenous tribe called the Houtua. Through the Houtua, they also discover the remnants of Mechagodzilla, the weapon the Bilusaludo previously constructed to counter Godzilla. By fully reactivating the core of Mechagodzilla, the Bilusaludo are then able to harness Nanometal, a mysterious self-growing substance capable of killing monsters. However, to truly defeat Godzilla, the expedition force requires more than a new weapon. In the words of Metphies, the final step is for the fighters to become a monster greater than the one they face.
This was a pleasant surprise!
Unimpressed by part one which I found to be muddled and sleepy, I didn’t keep an eye out for this, and thus would have entirely missed it had Netflix not notified me. What a surprise! Ten minutes into the show, I was intrigued by the new developments, much of which carries a distinctive Studio Ghibli flavour. Hereby, let me also acknowledge the efforts, or should I say sacrifice, of the first movie. Free of the need to introduce the convoluted relationship of the three races, which was all done in part one, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle is able to immediately dive into the atomic heat of things. This provided for a far easier and more engrossing watching experience. It also quite successfully denotes the space for the subsequent philosophical conflicts involved.
As for the story itself, admittedly, the whole Nanometal device felt silly, although I acknowledge its role in exploring the psychological differences of the three races. On the latter, this initially came across as trite, given the viewpoints discussed aren’t exactly new to Anime. What then saved the discussion, and for me, even elevated it, was the subsequent reminder that the three races are in some sort of curious symbiosis. They continue to cooperate till the final moments despite their differences. This cooperation, in turn, forms the unusual premise that brings out the crucial question of what Godzilla actually represents. Those who know the origins of the beloved destroyer would have the answer on hand, just as they would be able to guess who the darling in the third movie would be. In my case, I additionally appreciated the subtle social satire behind the social comparisons. I did, despite this being achieved at the cost of Goddy having fewer rampaging moments.
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