Another frenetic treat from Masaaki Tezuka. The director follows up Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla with Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, a Kiryu rematch that ropes in Mothra and two of her offspring. The first out-and-out sequel in the Millennium cycle is a slight, almost supplementary feature that expands on the previous film's resurrection theme in an expertly ordered action setting. Instead of an interesting inflection to be brushed aside for battle, Kiryu's strange half-life informs and drives Tokyo SOS. Mothra, acting as a kind of kaiju envoy, warns humanity that the reanimated Kiryu is an affront to all monsterkind. As long as this Mechagodzilla exists, Godzilla will be drawn to it. Unfortunately Japan's automated saviour is actually its millstone.
It's not clear why Godzilla homes in on Kiryu. It could be that the King of Monsters views the robotic reflection as a threat to his throne. Equally it could be that Godzilla 1954 was a relative, perhaps even a parent. How Kiryu chooses to confront his opponent, when freed from human control, lends a certain plausibility to this idea. Working alongside two silk spitting Mothra larvae, Kiryu restrains rather than attacks Godzilla. He traps the beast in his malfunctioning metal carapace, then drags him down to the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean. Is Kiryu atoning for his radioactive rampages? He certainly seems to have bonded with a few of the humans that have piloted and maintained his metal body. Has he finally learnt to empathise with mankind? Maybe he simply wishes to be dead again, and has correctly deduced that Godzilla's elimination will mean he will be left in peace.