So I finally sat down to do Kiryu and god is he a bitch to draw. As you may or may not know, I personally suck at doing Mecha. They are just so complicated bastards at times it makes my head spin. Yeah it looks easy with all those straight lines and simple shapes but its finding that middle ground between immobile and autonimous that just kills me. Anyway Kiryu is one of the those kaiju that came out of the rather desperate Millenium era. He had a great concept but his execution as per usual rather sucked. Out of all the Mechagodzilla's, Kiryu is the one that either makes you fly into a concentrated spat of nerd rage or turns you into an instant fan. See, Kiryu did a lot of things that could be counted as bad or good for the series depending on how you look at them.
For starters, Kiryu is not completely mechanical like his forebearers but is technically a cyborg. Basically higher ups in Tokyo got desperate enough to raise the original Godzilla's skeleton off the sea floor and construct a robotic shell around it with the usual weapons and reactor cores and armor plating that all mechagodzilla's have had. The key difference was that they built a 'DNA computer' and installed the thing into him to give him the reflexs of a living creature. Down side? It gave him all of Godzilla's latent instincts which when fully activated by the living Godzilla's roar caused him to go berserk and go apeshit on Tokyo. The guys at Toho pretty much combined the 'ghost godzilla' concept they've had on the back burner for ages with a next gen Mechagodzilla. The result was Kiryu.
Kiryu is quite different from the other Mechagodzillas. He's fast, fires missiles from his back rather than the front, shoots 'lightning' rather than lasers, does not have extremely durable defenses like the others and has a usable tail that comes into play with his new martial arts oriented combat style. While this new 'wire-fu' style made the fight more interesting it also had fans screaming about how 'anime' like the whole thing seemed. I mean, Kiryu is seen delivering cross punchs, judo throws and all manner of ass kicking to a Godzilla that frankly has no idea how to take a piss let alone defend itself. Not only that, but Kiryu continued this epic ass kicking into yet another movie. Yeah he lost an eye and a hand at the end but lets face it, Godzilla was getting beaten like a bastard step child and it took him all of half a minute to realize when he was in danger of getting turned into a giant ice cube. I'm sorry but even Mothra couldn't save the movie at that point. All of this disrespect to the monster king gave raise to this span of time being refered to a 'The Kiryu Saga' since it wasn't really about Godzilla anymore. It was about Mechagodzilla 3 kicking his ass for two movies in a row.
If the douche baggery of 'The Kiryu Saga' wasn't enough the guy had issues with his look alone. Kiryu was supposed to be built using the original Godzilla's skeleton. Yet his snout is pointed and looks more like a cousin of the Dragonzord than Godzilla. The rest of him was fine and actually rather unique for a Mechagodzilla. Some nuts and bolts from the Showa, the powerful chest and heavy weapons from the Heisei...were did it go wrong? Apparently its in the name as clear as day. The word 'Kiryu' is a combination of the words 'Ki' (metal) and 'ryu' (dragon). Thus his name means 'metal-dragon'. Jeez Toho, just because hes a mechanical saurian kaiju with a draconic name all stitched up doesn't mean you have to actually make him look like a dragon at the expense of your own material. They were burnt out by this point you could tell.
Kiryu had alot of potential but that potential wasn't as thought out as it should have been and the result was a draconian Mechagodzilla wankfest that burned through Toho's wallet and their fan's paitence. And then a beacon of hope appears on the horizon and Kiryu gets picked for a fan art inspired redesign via Matt Frank and his Godzilla Neo series. Thus Kiryu Neo was born. The Neo really did Kiryu a favor, it fixed his anatomy to be that of a true Godzilla and made him look like what he was supposed to be in the first place. Matt thought those red lines down his face were something interesting so he gave Kiryu red tubes running through him to inhance that quasi organic look Kiryu would have to have under all that armor. His eyes were made smaller and more expressive and his arms look rather beefy and capable of all those moves he pulled. His tail is more dangerous looking with veined blades coming out the ends. Since he is based on the Godzilla Neo's skeleton he has those saurian legs. Everything looks a okay from this angle however...there was still something missing.
After raging in frustration with actually drawing the bastard in both forms I got to thinking "Why the fuck is his overly complicated armor designed like this anyway?!" He's a robot over a skeleton right? He's capable of organic movement thus he has synthetic muscle in order to move. He has a tendency to go berserk even though his original body died thanks to his DNA based computer that regulates everything. He's like Frankenstien's Monster bound in a suit of armor. It's like Ghost Godzilla meets Unit 01. Kiryu in all honesty is a caged beast, angry at being brought back into the painful world of the living and forced to protect the very creatures he once sought to destroy. Certain 'triggers' make him go berserk and when berserk he reveals his true self, a Godzilla, THE Godzilla. So how do you bring the menace of Mechagodzilla, the savage fighting spirit of Gojira, the bound fury of Unit 01, and the etherial spirit of the living dead into one form? You create a hybrid thats how.
The hybrid is very similar to the Neo being that you can't REALLY improve on it that much. I gave the hybrid a skull like visage that really feels like there is a freakin Godzilla noggin under all that metal and allow some room for expression. Since Godzilla expresses himself through his eyes and jaws, the mobility of the eye is very important. I also carried over an idea I had with Gigan and gave him a synthetic eye with computer grid like veins reaching through it. If G-Force can make synthetic muscle why not an eye? The horn and 'ear wings' are more prominent than the Neo's since they are part of Kiryu's look and add to that external shell impression. The body is alot like the Neo but if I had the space I would have shown more of my major idea with him. I'd like to think of Kiryu's armored plating not only as a first line of defense but also as restraints. Just like how Unit 01 is organic under all that metal, Kiryu is slowly but surely taking control of his body. G-cells regenerate you know. Adding a chemical code that is exactly like Godzilla's means that not only is it going to think and fight like Godzilla, it is going to replicate and regenerate like Godzilla. This is where the undead spirit of Gojira comes in. Through the spirits influence, the synthetic fluids and such well begin acting like real Godzilla cells until eventually Kiryu becomes a true biomechanical construct. I'll probably do a full body sketch to show what I'm talking about.
The SD version will be based on the hybrid version as usual and I'm not going to tell you guys what the humor might be because its so out of left field you may not even make the connection. Rest assured though it does fit and its funny as hell, at least I found it funny. It's not being emo either. Christ, I don't know where you people come up with this shit, Kiryu might have been over the top but he was not a slashing the wrists kinda monster. Would you consider Frankenstien's Monster emo? See, same principle. He's not depressed, he's fucking pissed because some flea sized pig monkeys dragged him out his eternal resting place, stuck him in a super powered robo suit, put the biggest refrigerator EVER smack dab in the middle of his chest, and forced him to protect a city that he obliterated decades ago from his living next of kin. On top of that he has a whiny little bitch drunk on haterade pulling his nervous system around like a drunk five year old playing Street Fighter somewhere inside of him. That, ladies and gentlemen, would suck. Anyway, feedback is good. Any thing constructive to add would be great.