I was watching Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (English dub) and was really confused by one of the plot points. After Kiryu's (Mechagodzilla's) first encounter with Godzilla, the scientists lose control over it and it goes on a rampage. Kiryu shoots down one of the fighter planes containing Akanye and a squadmate. The squadmate is injured and Akanye pulls him out of the wreckage, but the squadmate asks Akanye why she saved him. We cut away before hearing Akanye's response.

Later in the mess hall, the squadmate approaches Akanye and angrily asks why she saved him. She stares silently, then other soldiers throw her a hat with the group's logo on it as a show of solidarity. The squadmate angrily says something like "I see you're all on her sideā€¦" then skulks away.

I don't get this scene. Why is he so mad that Akanye saved him? Wouldn't this be what any soldier would do? Didn't he want to live? Did I miss something earlier in the film?


It's impossible to say for sure, and it's been years since I saw this film. But, my recollection is that he resented Akane due to her being the sole survivor of the failed mission using "maser tanks" where his brother died. She accepted blame for the mission's failure, and the whole team resented her.

His survival indebts him to her, who he regards as to blame for his brother's death. And he may not have preferred to live.

There is a theme of Japanese soldiers preferring death to defeat or failure. It's a very old idea. I would be careful about using the phrase "any soldier" too much.

You might look at the Japanese concept of "giri", which translates as "duty" or "obligation", but can also refer to gifts meant to obligate. For instance, gifts brought to neighbors and the landlord when moving to a new residence are considered "giri", both an obligation to appease for any disruption caused by the move, and hopeful of obligation from them for future favors back.

Sometimes this obligation is unwelcome, but it's common to use "giri" in stories to compel the unwilling, even say monsters. That doesn't mean these characters are always happy about feeling obliged. Which is actually true about giri in real life, where it is often grumbled about.

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  • So "no one gets left behind" is something that wouldn't be a default assumption among Japanese soldiers, because some would prefer death to being rescued from a failure? – Thunderforge Nov 27 '17 at 3:06
  • I would say that no "category" of people is uniform. Respectfully, thinking of categories of people in terms of "default assumptions" is a faulty way of thinking, if we mean real people. If we are talking about story tropes, which is not about real people, then absolutely this is a traditional theme. As is redemption of error through suicide. But you might find some Australian soldiers that feel the same. There is a difference between "no one else is left behind" and "I won't be". Also, his fellow soldiers stand up for Akane after this, so they disagree, even in the story. – I. Noticed Nov 29 '17 at 20:10
  • I was referring to story tropes among Japanese soldiers, yes. Thanks for clarifying. – Thunderforge Nov 29 '17 at 20:13
  • I was hesitant to clarify, as I thought the question might be rhetorical, but now-a-days, I figure I have to double down or be misread for the possible subtext of my omissions. It's my ever shrinking brain, my ability to distinguish shrinks too. – I. Noticed Nov 29 '17 at 20:22

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