Godzilla Kaijuu Wakusei is a 3d anime film that aired last year with a screenplay by Urobuchi Gen, yes the writer of Madoka & Psycho Pass. Polygon Pictures led the way for this one. Yes, the studio behind Ajin. So, I’m pretty hopeful. I haven’t reviewed anything bad from Urobuchi. Plus, Godzilla is just easy to write for. So, let’s see how this goes.
We open with a space ship. Aboard, we find a young man, Sakaki, threatening to blow a shuttle craft to smithereens because he doesn’t want the higher ups to send a bunch of elderly volunteers down to a harsh planet and, most likely, their deaths. His grandfather talks him down and he’s arrested. We then go into a painfully long exposition dump about how the humans were forced to flee Earth when Godzilla appeared. And here you thought that climate change was going to make our planet inhospitable for us. After failing to find a readily accessible planet to colonise, the crew decides to return to Earth and try to retake it. Thankfully, Sakaki has a plan that might be able to beat Godzilla if she’s still there.
Okay, here’s the big problem with the film. We barely see Godzilla. And I know that was common in the old films but they were dealing with a guy in a rubber suit or animatronics with a limited budget for a model city to destroy. There were practical reasons for it that don’t exist in an animated feature. We see Godzilla very briefly in the flashback and then we see her almost an hour into the hour and a half film. And there’s nothing interesting to take up that time. There’s a long exposition dump, a bunch of technobabble and a bunch of non-characters looking around what’s become of Earth.
Here’s another issue, there’s not much reason for them to actually want to retake Earth. They know, even before they land, that Godzilla is still on there and the atmosphere’s become such that they can’t survive outside of their space suits. One of the characters actually suggests settling on the moon and taking scavenge trips to Earth for resources as a safer alternative, but it’s after they’ve landed and it’s become difficult and I just wonder “why didn’t they do that from the get go?” Seriously, if their probes showed them the atmosphere issue and they knew Godzilla was still stomping around, why didn’t they just make that their first plan? Because then they wouldn’t get the Earth itself back? You mean a planet that’s really hostile for them? Oh no, what a tragic loss. *sarcasm*
So we don’t just have a tedious build up but we also have a conflict born out of nonsensical decisions. And you’d think maybe it gets entertaining when they actually encounter Godzilla, but that isn’t the case. The climactic battle is really shit. I’ll go into more detail when I talk about the art.
There’s not much to say about the characters in this. Sakaki is obsessed with revenge because his parents died due to Godzilla when he was just a lad. The other characters fulfil very basic roles like the religious one, the stern warrior or the girl. Considering how much time we spend with these guys before the action even starts, you’d think they’d have some modicum of personality. But, no.
Let’s get right into the big problem with the big, humans versus Godzilla sequence. Godzilla barely fucking moves. Seriously, most of the sequence sees her standing like a bloody log with the occasional light tilt to fire off a burst of atomic breath. Then we get to see the humans in their futuristic vehicles shooting at Godzilla and grimacing. When the unwieldy rubber suit moves more dynamically than your animated version, you know you screwed up. And the futuristic vehicles look less impressive than the ones that were in that C.O.P.S cartoon I reviewed. Yes, the cartoon from the 80s with lazy animation looked better than this film.
This is one of those works where you know the actors are capable (they got actors like Miyano Mamoru & Sakurai Takahiro) but the script really gives them nothing to work with so you end up with performances that are, at best, barely passable. Hattori Takayuki’s OST is, unfortunately, not very good either. His work for the Slayers film was much better.
Sakaki and his male alien friend are pretty touchy, but they also aren’t well enough developed for their relationship to have much to it. I will say, it’s the closet thing to a romance the film has but that isn’t saying much. It’s basically just the least shit relationship dynamic so it wins by default.
This film is pretty abysmal. To recap, long exposition dump, a bunch of techno babble, nothing and a disappointing climax where the monster barely moves. the only Godzilla film that this is better than is the American one from 1998 and the cartoon based off of that was better than this. It earns a full 2/10. Tomorrow, Mahoutsukai Sally the film version, obviously.