Godzilla Raids Again
Godzilla Raids Again
Directed by-Motoyoshi Oda
Writing credits-Shigeaki Hidaka, Shigeru Kayama, Takeo Murata
Produced by-Tomoyuki Tanaka
Film Editing by-Kazuji Taira
Production Design by-Teruaki Abe, Takeo Kita
Director of Special Effects-Eiji Tsuburaya
Art Director-Akira Watanabe
Shoichi Tsukioka Hiroshi Koizumi
Koji Kobayashi Minoru Chiaki
Hidemi Yamaji Setsuko Wakayama
Dr. Kyohei Yamane Takashi Shimura
Dr. Tadokoro Masao Shimizu
Shingo Shibeki Sonosuke Sawamura
Terasawa Seijiro Onda
Tajima Yoshio Tsuchiya
Chief of Civil Defense Minosuke Yamada
Yasuko Inouye, Radio Operator Mayuri Mokusho
Commander of Landing Craft Ren Yamamoto
Chief of Police Takeo Oikawa
Quick to capitalise on the monumental success of Gojira, (1954) Toho almost immediately began production on a sequel, in which Godzilla would be pitted against another monster. While the resulting film didn’t match the excellence of its predecessor, it was still a passable sequel, which took Godzilla’s character in a new and interesting direction.
The plot, acting and character development are somewhat shaky compared to Gojira’s, and the pacing is frequently quite slow. Nevertheless, the film still manages to attain a similarly dark and brooding tone to its prequel, and contains several allegorical asides to Japan’s reconstruction following World War II. Godzilla’s portrayal, while not as effective as in Gojira, is still better than in almost any other Showa film, and Anguirus is well handled as well. The film also takes itself seriously throughout; in fact, it remains one of darkest, most down-to-earth Godzilla movies to this day.
The special effects, by Eiji Tsubaraya, are very similar to those in Gojira, both in quality and style, with the interesting exception of the sped up footage used when the two monsters fight. While unrealistic, this technique does help to give the battle a vicious, animalistic quality. As with Gojira, the miniatures and pyrotechnics are mostly well done, though problems arise with some of the puppetry and the inconsistency between the use of rotoscoping and practical effects in portraying Godzilla’s heat ray. One area where Godzilla Raids Again (1955) manages to surpass the original is the wirework, which is more sophisticated and better concealed this time around.
Masaru Sato’s score, while not on par with Ifukube’s superb score for Gojira, is still appropriately ominous in tone, and never detracts from the film.
While it may pale in comparison to the original, Godzilla Raids Again is still one of the better entries in the Showa series, which after this film went downhill, weakened by increasing silliness and ineffective portrayals of Godzilla. Only two later entries, Godzilla vs Monster Zero (1965) and The Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) managed to surpass this one, and they in turn are dwarfed by later films such as Godzilla vs Biollante, (1989) Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995) and GMK. (2001)
However, the true legacy of Godzilla Raids Again was not its cinematic quality, but its introduction of the “kaiju vs kaiju” template, in which lay the future of not only the Godzilla series, but the entire kaiju genre.
When a young Japanese pilot named Kobayashi is forced to land his damaged plane on the remote Iwato Island in the South Seas, he and his best friend Tsukioka, who arrived to rescue him, both witness a battle between an inexplicably resurrected Godzilla and a new, quadrupedal monster called Anguirus, who appears to be a mutated Anklyosaurus. Returning to Osaka in Tsukioka’s plane, the two men report the incident, and Dr. Yamane verifies the possibility of such creatures continuing to exist.
Godzilla and Anguirus soon arrive in Osaka, and continue their battle there, destroying most of the city in the process, and easily fending off attacks by the Japanese military. The battle ends when Godzilla stuns Anguirus by knocking the beast through Osaka Castle, after which he literally rips his adversary’s throat out with his teeth, and then sets the creature’s body aflame with his atomic breath. The triumphant Godzilla promptly returns to the sea.
After Osaka’s difficult but joyous recovery is recounted, Kobayashi and Tsukioka join the search for Godzilla and locate the kaiju on a frozen island in the Antarctic regions. At the cost of his own life, Kobayashi manages to start a huge avalanche, which a squad of military planes contribute to, burying Godzilla completely, and apparently ending the atomic leviathan’s life once more.