Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. shows what happens when a nation who’s been hurt too many times learns to trust again.
It’s one year after Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, and Japan is in a rough spot. Kiryu, their sole anti-kaiju super-weapon, still isn’t repaired after its last encounter with the King of Monsters,and the site of their last battle is still mostly rubble. Japan has pretty prominent battle scars, and they know it could be any day now before Godzilla, or something else, hits their shores again.
Whatever sense of normalcy they had been able to recover is interupted when Mothra shows up for the first time in 43 years. With her arrival of course comes the fairy twins of Infant Island, who pay a visit to Shinichi Chujo, the man who helped them in the original Mothra film. They inform Shinichi that the bones of the original Godzilla that currently reside in Kiryu must be returned to the ocean, so that Godzilla’s soul may rest. Mothra offers to defend Japan in Kiryu’s stead, but Shinichi understandably doubts whether the people are prepared to trust a monster that once leveled Tokyo.
The hero this time around in Shinichi’s nephew, Yoshito Chujo, one of the mechanics assigned to the Mechagodzilla project. Yoshito, played by GaoRed himself Noboru Kaneko, is a huge mecha nerd, so of course he’s adverse to the idea of trashing Kiryu. He’s not the only one, as the Japanese government decides keeps the project going. Things start to ramp up when the carcass of a murdered Kamoebas washes ashore, signaling to everyone that Godzilla’s awake and angry. When the Big G finally does attack, Chujo’s grandson Shun summons Mothra and the two clash for the first time in this continuity. Mothra isn’t up to the task however, and the JXSDF launch Kiryu to save her.
The setup in Tokyo S.O.S. is a pretty interesting one. This Mothra isn’t one that’s saved Japan multiple times, she’s an enemy just like Godzilla as far as many people are concerned, and it’s nice to see her earn her stripes. Yoshito is kind of flat and passive for much of the film. Yes, he has a goal in keeping Kiryu active, but he spends more time than I’d have liked looking at the floor while other people make decisions. Everything else is pretty standard, serviceable fare. This film is also directed by Masaaki Tezuka, and almost everything I said about the action last time holds true here as well.
My only complaint concerns the fact that all of the action fills up the entire second half of the film, which throws the pacing off. As a result, the first half can feel lethargic and the second feels overstuffed. Tokyo S.O.S. is a decent companion piece to Against Mechagodzilla, especially seeing as how its main message is just an extension of the “berserk” scene in the first, but it doesn’t stand well on its own.