Mechagodzilla is a mecha from the Godzilla franchise. He is the mechanical doppelganger of Godzilla who first appeared in 1974's Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla as an extraterrestrial villain opposing Godzilla.
Subsequent iterations would later depict Mechagodzilla is depicted as a man-made weapon designed to defend Japan from Godzilla.
In all incarnations however, he appears as a robotic doppelgänger and arch-enemy of Godzilla, boasting a vast array of weaponry.
Originally conceived in 1974, Mechagodzilla was made as a more serious villain than its immediate two predecessors, Gigan and Megalon, whose films were considered creative disasters. According to Tomoyuki Tanaka, Mechagodzilla was inspired by both Mechani-Kong from the previous Toho film King Kong Escapes and the robot anime genre, which was popular at the time.
Effects director Teruyoshi Nakano also felt that a mechanical monster was cheaper to construct than the mutated animals Godzilla had previously faced such as Ebirah. As the resulting Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla proved to be a greater critical success than previous 1970s Godzilla films, the character was revived in 1975's Terror of Mechagodzilla. The film's screenplay was based on the winning entry of a story-writing competition won by Yukiko Takayama, who continued the darker tone of the previous film by adding the subplot of Mechagodzilla being cybernetically connected to a young woman.
Mechagodzilla's design remained largely unchanged from its previous appearance, though it was made to look thinner and more angular, with a darker sheen and an MG2 insignia emblazoned on its upper arms. The film's original draft was going to have Mechagodzilla destroy Tokyo utterly, though the destruction was cut down for budgetary reasons.
Mechagodzilla was brought back in 1993's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, as the success of Godzilla vs. Mothra and the popularity of its main antagonist Mothra spurred Toho into reintroducing familiar characters rather than inventing new ones.
Originally, the new Mechagodzilla was to be named "Berserk", and was envisioned as being a much more organic Godzilla-like creature which would later turn on its creators after becoming infected with a computer virus which makes it self-aware. Berserk would subsequently absorb more and more machinery, to the point of degenerating into a mass of metal and wires, though this concept was rejected early in pre-production.
As Mechagodzilla was intended to be a military defense weapon rather than an alien construct, the character was redesigned as looking sleeker and smoother. It was portrayed by suit actor Wataru Fukuda, and consisted of multiple separate elements which were worn like plate armor. Special effects artist Koichi Kawakita originally envisioned Mechagodzilla being able to split into aerial and terrestrial units, though this idea was scrapped in favor of the character merging with the flying battleship Garuda.
Alongside King Ghidorah and Biollante, Mechagodzilla is one of three characters from the Godzilla franchise to appear on this wiki and alongside the former, he is the inspiration of a mechanical villain known as Invincible which is the mechanical doppelganger of Firroth in Defenders of Earth.
Unlike Mechagodzilla however, Invincible is actually a cyborg and is fully independent but still boasts a vast array of weaponry. In addition, Invincible is not an extraterrestrial like Firroth's other enemy Inhusrelun but instead is used by the sinister organization PHANTOM although it usually acts independent as well.