Limited resources, depleted forces, a commander with nowhere to run except a city… on the edge of battle.
Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle is the second part of Toho Animation’s Netflix-produced anime trilogy which directly follows the events of Planet of the Monsters which released earlier this year in January.
Shortly after Haruo and his newly acquired army defeat what they believe is the only threat on Earth, Godzilla Filius, a new threat emerges in the form of the largest Godzilla in the Kaiju’s famous history, Godzilla Earth, which stands at an incredible 300 meters tall. After succumbing to Godzilla’s mighty heat ray, Haruo is separated from the rest of the remaining humans and is saved from certain doom but a young member of the Houtua clan, a group of sub humans who have managed to survive and evolve in the 20,000 year future that this story takes place in and that worship a mysterious egg.
It falls to Haruo and the rest of the humans to work together with their familiar allies, the Exif and the Bilusaludo, whilst also developing a new relationship with the Houtua in a bid to take down Godzilla Earth once an for all.
As with most of the Japanese iterations of Godzilla media in recent memory, the majority of the focus lies upon world building through character interaction, lengthy exposition and a slow dramatic build to an epic conclusion. This model was understandable in Planet of the Monsters as directors Hiroyuki Seshita and Kobun Shizuno wanted to quickly develop a cast of characters that audiences could connect with. However, in this sequel, it unfortunately hinders the natural progression of the pace of the story. In most second parts of a trilogy, world building and character relationships take a slight back-seat in favour of having action at the forefront.
The first two acts of City on the Edge of Battle suffer from a monotonous take on the previous installment with adding very little in the way of anything new or exciting. The overall plan of the Humanoids in cut and paste the same as the first film and it isn’t until the finale where things start to truly pick up. As the tale draws to its conclusion, the action ramps up and some quite shocking revelations are unleashed upon the audience to significant effect which, in turn, sets up for a thrilling outcome in Part 3 (releasing in November 2018 with a tentative title of Godzilla: Eater of Stars) when some fan favourite characters have been teased to appear.
The animation throughout this series has been altogether superb. Crisp and sharp visuals give a polished feel to the human characters and the monsters that grace the screen, including the King himself, have a menacing and scaly aura which adds to the terror. The accompanying score gives the world a much deeper layer of character too. Godzilla’s theme especially really embodies how much of a other worldly threat he truly is.
Ultimately, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle is neither the best or worst iteration of the Godzilla franchise but is most definitely made with the intention of trying something new but adding a heavy sci-fi and futuristic element to the famous monster. There are plenty of details that hardcore fans with latch on to (including plenty of Easter Eggs and a very exciting post credit scene) and that in itself gives not just this film but this series some weight. I, for one, am very excited to see how Seshita and Shizuno end this intuitive interpretation of the worlds most famous king.