At last, the final chapter of the Godzilla anime trilogy was released, a very different take on the franchise that has gotten mixed feelings. In "Monster Planet" and "City on the Edge of Battle", Haruo leads humanity's return from space to a post-apocalyptic Earth to reclaim it from Godzilla's rule, a mission that brought heavy losses and unexpected revelations. Now, in "The Planet Eater", he and his remaining forces are lost and divided. His longtime friend, Exif alien priest Metphies, gains a loyal following by proclaiming God will come to save them all. This "god", however, turns out to be Ghidorah, the 3-headed devourer of worlds. As Godzilla takes a stand against this otherworldly creature, Haruo must overcome his personal demons and confront Metphies.
The previous films explored themes of man vs nature, evolution/creation, hope, sins of the past, sacrifice, and abuse of technology. These continue with the addition of religion and nihilism; when combined, these two can lead to horrific results for those who blindly fall into their grip and there are some disturbing things here (deaths included). Metphies, arguably the most developed antagonist in the franchise, enforces this when he summons Ghidorah and attempts to force humans to accept their "golden demise" by taking advantage of their despair. By contrast, Haruo is on a crossroads of creating a brighter future for mankind in the face of all the blood on his hands in his quest to kill Godzilla. This is helped by his developing relationship with twins Maina and Miana, who put things into perspective through both their optimism and their closeness to him, though the execution of this aspect gave me mixed feelings.
The conflict between Haruo and Metphies parallels with the battle between Godzilla and Ghidorah; while admittedly not the most exciting fight and the middle is largely uneventful, it has cool moments like when they engage in melee combat. This version of Ghidorah is radically different, very alien and Lovecraftian in design and presentation, but retains core elements of his character (3 heads, gold, destroyer of worlds, etc.) and is honestly kind of scary. Godzilla is a little livelier this time around, showing more emotion, and his role as man's enemy takes an interesting turn as the planet's only true defense. The lore is also expanded, particularly with the Houtua culture and the Exif's grim philosophy. I also like the music, which brings the right sense of dread in scenes like Ghidorah's arrival and soothing in others. The song "Live and Die" by Xai is the best in the trilogy, having a somber, transcendent vibe to it with lyrics that complement the narrative. I'll also give kudos to the ending, one that is thematically appropriate for Haruo's harrowing journey.
Following this trilogy to its conclusion has been an interesting experience as a fan. It has been both an entertaining sci-fi action/adventure and a meditative think piece, reminding me of Matrix in that regard. While there are definitely areas of which it can be improved such as the pacing and further development of side characters, I found it satisfying. Though this may not be for everyone, any Godzilla and anime fans out there should at least give it a try.
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