WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Godzilla: The Planet Eater, streaming now on Netflix.
Toho's Godzilla anime trilogy set out to differentiate itself from the other films in the decades-old franchise. Rather than a monster slug-fest, like Legendary's MonsterVerse, these movies explore the complex web of philosophies entangling human existence.
In so doing, 2017's Planet of the Monsters, 2018's City on the Edge of Battle and, now, The Planet Eater reinvigorates Godzilla in a thought-provoking manner.
HUMAN EVOLUTION IS THE TRUE APOCALYPSE
With the release of the trilogy's final chapter, the bigger picture is now clear: These films were never about monsters vs. man, like first assumed, or wanton violence and large-scale destruction. The Planet Eater reiterates that the true monster is mankind, with Godzilla a byproduct of our hatred. Humanity's ambition led to technological wonders and, sadly, its eventual downfall.
At the film's conclusion, protagonist Haruo realizes mankind is better off without advanced technology. He destroys the remaining Mechagodzilla City nanotechnology, which could have been used to kill Godzilla and introduce a new age, as he realizes human evolution is a curse. Haruo doesn't want the cycle to repeat, and so, he ensures his species remains in the prehistoric times in order to preserve the planet.
RELIGION WILL CONTINUE TO TEAR US APART
The trilogy introduces the Houtua, a peaceful, primitive tribe that worships Mothra and remained on a Godzilla-dominated Earth after humanity fled. They're one with nature, and find a way to survive with the monster by devoting themselves to the Earth.
We then see the downside to religion and how it can be used as a means of corruption, for self-gain. That comes in the form of the extraterrestrial Exif, who worship King Ghidorah. The finale wades into how the pacifistic Houtua and the extremist Exif come into conflict, with the latter believing gods are meant to conquer and rule. The Planet Eater ends by making a big statement that there no place in a modern world for religion, unless it's one that preaches peace, love and unity, for everyone.
HUMANITY HAS THE FINAL SAY ON WAR
The trilogy explore humanity's need for soldiers, and how that leads to a never-ending cycle of war. Haruo knows we create problems for ourselves and then resort to war to solve them. That's what drew Ghidorah to Earth in the first place. A weapon like that, even when intended to kill the perceived enemy, Godzilla, will inevitably backfire. That's why, in hopes of preventing future wars, Haruo destroys any hopes for technology.
In addition to war, colonization factors into that decision. Sure, mankind's penchant for war is its own ruin, but the desire to explore and colonize also corrupts. Haruo believes living in caves, and gradually increasing the population with the Houtua, is enough. Mankind already became its own worst enemy through scientific progress and a hunger to invade other planets. That opened the door for the likes of Ghidorah and Mothra to come to Earth; Haruo wants to end that inherent curiosity.
To usher in a new era of peace, Haruo finally understands Godzilla was the purge humanity needed all along. Ironically, the Destroyer ended war by removing the last hateful person from the planet: Haruo himself.