In the last summer of the 20th century, giant monsters began appearing all over the world and wreaking havoc. A powerful creature called Godzilla appeared which destroyed humans and monsters alike. Two species of aliens, the Exif and the Bilusaludo, arrived with the former attempting to convert humanity to their religion and the latter seeking to emigrate to Earth with promises to defeat Godzilla with Mechagodzilla, should humanity accept them. However, the Bilusaludo were unable to activate Mechagodzilla, which forced the aliens and humanity to abandon Earth and emigrate to Tau Ceti e via the Aratrum.
20 years later and 11.9 light years away, Captain Haruo Sakaki locks himself in a shuttle, threatening to bomb the area unless the Aratrum leaves Planet Tau-e and abandons the emigration project. Haruo believes the planet is uninhabitable and the emigration crew only consists of the elderly, including his grandfather, because he believes the Aratrum's committee are trying to reduce the population due to limited resources. Haruo fails, is arrested and thrown in a cell where he witnesses the emigration shuttle exploding upon entering the planet's atmosphere.
Metphies explains to the committee that they cannot co-exist with Godzilla and suggests killing it. He also explains that the anonymous essay was the result of a thorough investigation, promising to reveal the author under the condition that Haruo is released. Haruo is released on bail and explains to the committee that a certain unknown organ in Godzilla's body can emit a high frequency electromagnetic pulse that generates an asymmetrical permeable shield. Haruo proposes shoving an EMP probe within the cracked organ before it regenerates so Godzilla can implode. However, Haruo stresses that close quarters combat would be needed for accurately coordinated attacks in order to find its weak organ, as well as 600 people.
The committee reluctantly accepts Haruo's plan. However, upon landing two battalions on Earth, it is discovered that 20,000 years have passed and that Godzilla's presence has radically altered Earth's biosphere. The battalions are attacked by a group of flying creatures called Servums that exhibit biological similarities to Godzilla, causing critical damage to several of the landing ships. Leland, the company's commander, orders a retreat but Metphies stresses that they would need to rendezvous with Companies D and E through a pass in an area Godzilla frequents.
The group attacks Godzilla and manage to trap it within a collapsed mountain pass. EMP probes are drilled into Godzilla's dorsal fins which causes it to implode. Commenting after the apparent victory, the group's environmental biologist Martin Lazzari theorizes that this Godzilla may be different from the one that drove humanity away, believing it to be an offspring. Subsequently, the original Godzilla, which has grown exponentially to 300m in height, emerges from beneath a nearby mountain and destroys most of the remaining crew. Trapped beneath rubble, Haruo watches Godzilla leave, vowing to kill it.
In a post-credits scene, Haruo wakes up in a secluded area, finding an indigenous girl next to him.
(Characters - Japanese - English)
- Haruo Sakaki - Mamoru Miyano (adult), Aya Suzaki (young) - Chris Niosi (adult), Rachelle Heger (young)
- Metphies - Takahiro Sakurai - Lucien Dodge
- Martin Lazzari - Tomokazu Sugita - Edward Bosco
- Mulu Elu Galu Gu - Junichi Suwabe - Jamieson Price
- Rilu-Elu Belu-be - Kenta Miyake - Rich Brown
- Yuko Tani - Kana Hanazawa - Cristina Vee
- Adam Bindewald - Yūki Kaji - Robbie Daymond
- Eliott Leland - Daisuke Ono - Ray Chase
- Unberto Mori - Kenyu Horiuchi - Keith Silverstein
- Halu-Elu Dolu-do - Kazuya Nakai - Doug Stone
- Endurphe - Kazuhiro Yamaji - Joe Ochman
- Kobun Shizuno - co-director
- Hiroyuki Seshita - co-director
- Gen Urobuchi - screenwriter, story concept
- Naoya Tanaka - production designer
- Ferdinando Patulli - production designer
- Takayuki Hattori - music composer
- Naohiro Yoshihira - technical director
- Yuki Moriyama - CG character designer
- Mitsunori Kataama - modeling director
- Yukihiro Shibutani - art director
- Hironori Nochi - color key artist
- Satoshi Motoyama - sound director
About the production, co-director Shizuno stated, "From the start, we had the blessing of Toho to not be constrained by previous entries in the franchise, and with the freedom of imagination offered by animation I feel we have come up with a cool new form for Godzilla." On Godzilla's new design, co-director Seshita stated, "With his masses of muscle fibers and unique body tissue to support his enormous bulk, this is an extraordinarily rugged-looking physique. It was an overwhelming presence that reverberated through the whole project, like a fearsome deity that even we who created it must prostrate ourselves before. That is our Godzilla."
A stage event for the film was held at AnimeJapan 2017 on March 26, 2017. The film's directors are scheduled to attend the Annecy International Animation Film Festival to reveal more details regarding the film. In June 2017, a new poster detailing Godzilla's design was revealed with the tagline "Despair Evolves". On August 16, 2017, a new trailer and poster were released with the tagline "Who will go extinct — humans, or Godzilla?"
In March 2017, it was announced that the film will be streamed in 190 countries via Netflix following the film's Japanese theatrical release. Greg Peters, President of Netflix Japan stated, "Working with the best creators such as Toho in bringing Godzilla to Netflix users in over 190 countries marks a major milestone for us". That same month, a teaser poster revealed that the film will be released theatrically in Japan on November 17, 2017.
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters reached #3 at the box office on its opening weekend, earning ¥103 million from 71,200 admissions within two days and is projected to earn an additional ¥500 million.
Brian Ashcraft of the Kotaku website felt that the characters "aren’t all that interesting" but did state that the "anime version of Godzilla is surprisingly effective and frightening" and that despite his complaints, the "overall experience was good" and "It’s not a perfect picture, but it was a powerful proof of concept: Godzilla works as an anime." Matt Schley from The Japan Times praised the film's CG animation, stating, "even skeptics will admit the 3-D version of the king of the monsters looks pretty darn cool" but felt the film wasn't "nearly as thematically ambitious as its predecessor" and concluded by stating, "But still, with its impressive 3-D animation and action sequences, 'Planet of the Monsters' has the makings of something interesting."
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is the first film in a planned trilogy. The second film in the trilogy, titled Gojira: Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi, (translations vary from Godzilla: Battle Mobile Breeding City to Godzilla: The City Mechanized for the Final Battle) is scheduled to be released in May 2018 and set to feature Mechagodzilla.
This is the first animated Godzilla film, but not the first animated adaptation of the franchise. The first was an American animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1978. A series of four educational OVAs titled Get Going! Godzilland that featured Godzilla and several other monsters were released in 1994 and 1996. Another American animated series, this time based on the 1998 American Godzilla film, ran from 1998 to 2000.
Released theatrically in Japan, distributed through Netflix's online service in other regions. This in theory allows for a wider distribution, since most Japanese films only get very limited and often belated releases internationally. For example the franchise's previous Japanese entry, Shin Godzilla (2016) was a blockbuster hit in its home, but it was only screened in a few foreign territories, mostly as a limited theatrical run, and in some cases over a year after its original release.
Originally envisioned as an anime series, but the success of Shin Godzilla (2016)'s Japanese theatrical release convinced the creators to combine the narrative into a trilogy of movies and put them into cinemas in Japan.