"The hydrogen bomb tests awakened Godzilla, and now, they have awakened an ankylosaurus."
~ Dr. Tadokoro, during the emergency conference.
"Ah, banana oil! I was desperate and worried and anxious. I'm not brave at all."
~ Tsukioka in response to Hidemi in the English dub.
The first sequel in the Godzilla franchise and the second entry in the Showa era, Godzilla Raids Again was made soon after the success of Gojira. Its notable for introducing the monster Anguirus and the tradition of always having Godzilla fight another foe. The last black-and-white film, it kept with the grim tone of the previous film.Despite poor reception by critics and fans, the film became the third most attended entry in Japan. The film was dubbed as Gigantis, the Fire Monster, which did things like give Godzilla Anguirus' roar in order to convince audiences this wasn't a Godzilla sequel (no, really), because Paul Schreibman, who distributed the film through Warner Brothers, believed that a stand alone film would be more successful. The dub was notable for having George Takei and Keye Luke among the cast, but it wasn't well received and Schreibman himself later lamented his decision. Depending on your point of view, it's either an embarrassment or comedy gold. Known in Japan as Gojira no Gyakushū.Searching for schools of fish for the Kaiyo Fishing Company, Koji Kobayashi's plane malfunctions and he has to make an emergency landing near Iwato Island. He is rescued by a coworker, Shoichi Tsukioka, and they are shocked to find Godzilla and a mysterious monster later named Anguirus battling on the island, who fall into the ocean. The pair later give evidence to a committee that includes Dr. Kyohei Yamane, who was present for Godzilla's original attack on Tokyo and advises them to lure Godzilla away with flares while the city in in blackout. Days later, Godzilla appears at Osaka's shore. Everything seems to go to plan as the city goes into blackout and flares lure him away. But a jailbreak gone awry causes a fire that lures Godzilla back to shore. Anguirus soon follows and the pair ignore the military fire as a brutal battle lays destruction across the city. With Anguirus dead and Godzilla victoriously leaving Osaka in ruins, our heroes jump at the chance to fight the King of the Monsters when he shows up near a small icy island. Can Godzilla be defeated, and would it take the sacrifice of one of our heroes for this to be done?As noted above, originally distributed by Warner Bros. on a double-bill with Teenagers from Outer Space in the states. Guess what else they're distributing...
The film provides examples of
Actionized Sequel: It's still a horror film, but this is where Godzilla first fights an opponent who's as dangerous as he is. More action scenes are spread throughout the course of the film's shorter runtime, most noticeably a convict breakout leading into a rather grindingly slow car chase, and instead of a two-man operation to deploy a chemical weapon underwater, the film climaxes with a furious assault on Godzilla by the air defense force.
Apocalypse Wow: Unlike the previous film, there's no other human casualties aside six criminals and a few JSDF planes. But the Scenery Gorn in Osaka still had its effects upon its inhabitants.
Bittersweet Ending: Godzilla is defeated, but at the cost of Tsukioka's best friend's life. The film ends on a rather somber note as Tsukioka pulls his F86 away, concluding with a slow zoom out of Kamiko Island. Gigantis, with the magic of stock footage, ends on a decidedly forced, lighter note.
Characterization Marches On: Since this Godzilla will become the one in the 60's and 70's, in this film, his character ranged from an animalistic creature who is destructive as hell to a superhero with anthropomorphic tendencies. Yes, this the same Godzilla of the 60's and mid '70's of later films. His Heisei counterpart remains the same creature he's always been.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Tsukioka falls prey to this in the third act while searching for Godzilla, much to the annoyance and anxiety of Hidemi.
Gigantis expands upon this trait a little more and actually gives Tsukioka somewhat of a developmental arc.
Continuity Snarl: The biggest one yet due to Paul Schriebman's meddling. Apparently, the original Godzilla was a "Gigantis" or "Angurus", and got asphyxiated by the Oxygen Destroyer. The weapon that killed the original Godzilla.
Contrived Coincidence: Tsukioka has a knack for this: 9 minutes into the film, he and Kobayashi encounter Godzilla and Anguirus on Iwato Island; They encounter the police officers chasing after prisoners who had just escaped using a truck, and Tsukioka finds Godzilla while the whole air force is looking for him. While the last one was justified, the other 2 are an odd coincidence. Steve Ryfle on the Classic Media commentary lampshaded this.
Dead Sidekick: Kobayashi in trying to keep Godzilla from going into the ocean at the climax.
Demoted to Extra: Despite appearing in the Japanese poster, Kyohei Yamane (Takashi Shimura) only appears in one scene to discuss how to deal with Godzilla after the previous event became a disaster. After that, he does not appear for the rest of the film.
Death Wail: Anguirus has an additional, unique cry head during his death, after Godzilla bites his neck, but it's only heard in foreign versions and is missing from the Japanese version entirely, much like Godzilla's in The Return Of Godzilla
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Kobayashi repeatedly insults Godzilla from the air during his short lived tenure as the monster's "keeper" on Kamiko Island.
DVD Commentary: The DVD release by Classic Media includes one by Steve Ryfle and a few others. It plays over and talks mainly about the american version, but it also talks about the japanese version as well and how the movie in general compares to the original.
Early Installment Weirdness: While some of these are de facto traits carried over from the previous film, Godzilla still has his low pitched bellows, his fins don't light up when he breathes the heat-ray (shortsightedness on behalf of the SPFX crew), and he and his opponent are portrayed through puppetry much more frequently.
Love Triangle: Tsukioka is engaged to Hidemi Yamaji while Kobayashi secretly pines for her. Unlike the previous film where there were consequences that followed, Kobayashi eventually became a Hopeless Suitor in a different way, and sees himself out. However, Hidemi does mourn for him.
Lull Destruction: The American version adds ludicrous amounts of narration and music that was never there in the Japanese version. To be fair, the Japanese version had scenes that drag on with little, if any, dialogue or music (the scene with the escapee criminals, for example), but what the American version did to rectify this was pretty damn extreme.
No Pronunciation Guide: While not an extreme case, all the male dubbers pronounce Tsukioka as "Sue-Kee-Oh-Ka", while the female dubbers pronounce it correctly as "Skyo-Ka".
Off Model: Much like the previous film, the monsters' close-ups are operated by a hand puppet. Said close-ups don't make them look like an exact match to the suits.
Recycled Script: It's basically Godzilla 1954 with another monster added in. However, since Ishiro Honda was not involved in this film (as Honda directed a love story afterwards), Shigeru Koyama wrote the script with no alterations from Motoyoshi Oda. However, without a means to defeat Godzilla without Daisuke Serizawa, the Japanese are screwed.
Regional Bonus: The 2009 German DVD has the best visual presentation of the film anywhere, although the German version is very slightly cut. (Even despite the film's age, Japanese telecines don't fare all that well in comparison).
Scenery Gorn: Much like the previous film, though it isn't as Nightmare Fuel-ish as the previous film, where there was a tear jerking levels of tragedy accompanied by Ifukube's score.
Slurpasaur: Are among the menagerie of bad special effects seen during Yamane's fire monsters presentation in Gigantis. Steve Ryfle couldn't even identify all the clips, offering the assumption some were from "Bargain Basement School Science films".
Spell My Name with an S: A very ridiculous case in the English version. Godzilla is either "Gigantis" or "Angurus", the latter due to the fact that while we have an annoying stock footage-laden unintelligent design theory, when Yamane finally reaches he stock-footage of Godzilla, Godzilla is referred to as Angurus by the professor. Seriously Paul Schreibman, which is it!?
Then there's this: Shigeru Kayama = Shigem Kayama, Eiji Tsuburaya = Eliji Tsuburaya, Minoru Chiaki = Mindru Chiaki, and Motoyoshi Oda = Motoyoshi QDQ. Obviously whoever did transcription from Toho's notes to the WB credits department was having an off day.
Gigantis aside, Anguirus' original romanization, dating all the way back to 1955◊, was Angilas, before Toho changed it around the mid-70s to the current spelling/pronunciation. For some unknown reason. Angilas is the more accurate romanization in any case.
Stupid Sacrifice: Even though Kobayashi showed the air force the path to victory, there was really no need for him to stick around after the JADF got there.
Too Dumb to Live: Of the nine criminals (Yes, there were nine. Three were captured after one gets shot), perhaps the dumbest of all were the remaining six. The first group tries to escape by truck and are pursued at a ridiculously slow speed (thus, unintentionally realistic) by Tsukioka, Kobayashi and two police officers but crash into an oil refinery. The last 3 criminals ran down into a subway station when they could have ran out of reach of Godzilla and Anguirus's fighting. However they drown when Godzilla tackles Anguirus into the river, causing the ceiling to collapse and killing them.