M.O.G.U.E.R.A. (モゲラ Mogera)
FIRST APPEARS IN:
The Mysterians, 1957
– pointy face and fists
– a generally awkward body shape
SKILLS AND QUIRKS:
– doing the bidding of evil aliens (Shōwa era)
– doing the bidding of heroic humans (Heisei era)
– immunity to bullets and lasers
– zero immunity to collapsing structures
The Mysterians is a really enjoyable Ishirō Honda-helmed Toho flick. Though there’s no giant monsters in sight, it does feature the original M.O.G.U.E.R.A. aka Mogera (which I’ll use from know on out of pure laziness). Mogera is the precursor to robo-bretheren Mechagodzilla and Mechani-Kong. A weapon used by invading aliens who are desperate to impregnate Earth’s women (no joke), Mogera wastes no time fucking shit up with his laser beam eyes.
However, he doesn’t last too long. Though impervious to human weapons, Mogera is pretty easily dispatched by falling buildings and bridges. After an extended appearance early in the film, Mogera disappears. He returns for an insanely brief moment in the film’s final moments burrowing upwards from an underground lair in an attempt to join the battle between aliens and humans only to be instantly destroyed the moment he surfaces. I had to rewind the scene several times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
Mogera would return to the big screen in 1994’s underrated Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla; this time on the side of the protagonists and looking thoroughly 90s. Apparently Mogera’s appearance in the Heisei era Godzilla film only happened because Toho needed a giant robot less powerful than Mechagodzilla.
Though he’s certainly no Mechagodzilla, I quite like Mogera. He poses little threat with his shrewish face and lumbering movements, but his design is impressive and refreshingly bizarre in both his iterations. His penchant for destruction in The Mysterians is also admirable. He’ll never be able to step out from the shadows of Toho’s more famous giant robots, but he’s an endearing and memorable member of the extended Toho family nonetheless.