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Film / Godzilla Raids Again

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Godzilla's back, and he's not alone...

"The hydrogen bomb tests awakened Godzilla, and now, they have awakened an ankylosaurus."
Dr. Tadokoro, during the emergency conference.

Also known as Gojira no Gyakushu (Godzilla's Counterattack) is 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 Godzilla (1954). It's notable for introducing the monster Anguirus and the tradition of always having Godzilla fight another foe. The last black-and-white film and it kept with the grim tone of the previous film. A 1955 novella written by the film's screenwriter Shigeru Kayama and published in English as Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again adapts the initial screenplay of the film.

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, Marvin Miller, 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.

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...

Canonically followed by King Kong vs. Godzilla.

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.
  • Allegory: The film is treated as the Nagasaki to the first film's Hiroshima. The first film showcased all the horrors of war, its destructive aftermath, the victims of war both human and monster, and haunting imagery of the atomic bomb's destructive power. This film does have its aftermath after Osaka's destruction due to the monsters' fighting, but there's no weight other than whether Godzilla might attack again.
  • 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.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Yamane fears due to continuous nuclear testings in the Pacific, there might be another Godzilla in the world. Cue this film and his fear ultimately comes true.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Professor Tadokoro states that Angurirus is a carnivorous Ankylosaurus. Ankylosauruses are actually herbivores.
  • Behemoth Battle: The first of the Godzilla series: Godzilla vs Anguirus in Osaka.
  • 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.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Early-Installment Weirdness aside, the monster fights here is brutal and violent to the point that both monsters drew blood. Angurius bleeds to his death when Godzilla bites his neck.
  • Buried Alive: In the final segment of the film, Godzilla enters an ice field and is buried by an avalanche triggered by missiles fired at the mountains around him.
  • Captain Obvious: The U.S. cut promotes Shoichi Tsukioka to a narrational role, who then proceeds to explain every little detail in the movie. EVERYTHING.
    • Also, this line at the conference:
  • 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.
    • What are the odds that an Armored Truck full of convicts would just so happen to drive into Osaka, easily overpower their captors, quite serendipitously pick an Oil Truck as the getaway vehicle, and accidentally crash it into – what else? – oil tanks at a Power Station, thus causing an enormous explosion that attracts Godzilla back to Osaka? Not good, I can tell you that.
  • 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. Then again, given that he was a first hand witness to the aftermath of the first Godzilla's rampage, it makes sense that he would get the hell out of Osaka once he learns that's where Godzilla is heading.
  • 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.
  • Disaster Dominoes: The convicts' truck crashes into an oil refinery and sets off a chain reaction.
  • Dub Name Change: Guess who. (Seriously though, Godzilla is dubbed as "Gigantis", for reasons that made sense only to the producers of the U.S. version.)
  • 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.
    • This is the first film in the whole Godzilla franchise to feature the classic monster-on-monster fight scene, and as such it suffers from this trope. Godzilla and Anguirus’ final fight happens during the film's second act as opposed to the third like later films and Anguirus is killed immediately afterwards as said third act focuses on the JSDF trying to stop Godzilla at a remote iceberg. Later sequels would have the enemy monster (or Godzilla) either wounded or dead by the end instead.
    • The style of the fight in the film is much more subdued and has a slight horror element to it, with the focus being on the destruction caused by the two monsters, along with a near-total lack of music, alongside the far more animalistic fighting style Godzilla and Anguirus have in comparison to later entries.
    • This is the only film in the entire Showa Saga where it has any connection with the previous film. Since this is the only film to continue what the original film left off, it brings a rather oddity with the rest of the series. Godzilla for example is 100% identical to the original Godzilla and the humans still treated him in a very serious light after what the original did, but his behavior is this; he does not seem to be interested in attacking humans until the final act where they directly attack or annoy him. Anguirus is the one who attacked Godzilla first while the later films eventually establish them as friends. Any connection with the previous film is decidedly abandoned in the form of King Kong vs. Godzilla where the saga goes into Lighter and Softer territory.
    • Godzilla here is portrayed very closely to the original Godzilla, but he reacts with less hostility with humans (humans attack him first rather than the other way around). Later films in the series gives him more of a personality, loses his grudge on humans, and will fight on humanity's side as a full-blown hero.
    • In the beginning of the meeting with the scientists, they mention that Anguirus is also radioactive since a nuclear testing also woke him up, which is why he's immune to Godzilla's atomic breath until Godzilla kills him. Later films and supplmentary materials tend to ignore this and disconnect his origins with nuclear weapons.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Rather than Anguirus being killed by Godzilla's atomic ray or escaping, Godzilla brutally bites into his neck until he dies.
  • Filling the Silence: 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.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: "Lucky this car came along."
  • Happy Ending Override: While the first film's ending wasn't exactly "happy", it made all the effort the characters went through mattered. This film showed that there will be another Godzilla. Though this saga proves later on that the second Godzilla ultimately becomes a hero.
  • Harmless Freezing: Godzilla gets buried by an avalanche, trapping him in ice. When he emerges in King Kong vs. Godzilla, he's none the worse for wear.
  • Helicopter Flyswatter: Just watch the final battle sequence. The planes drop like flies.
    • In the Japanese version, Godzilla even catches a jet and tosses it to the ground.
  • Inconsistent Dub:
    • While not an extreme case, all the male dubbers pronounce Tsukioka as "Sue-Kee-Oh-Ka", while the female dubbers pronounce it somewhat more accurately as "Skyo-Ka".
    • Gigantis also misnames Kamiko Island, twice in the same reel. It's either "Kamito" Island or "Kiawata Island".
  • Inconsistent Spelling: 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 the hackjob done to the Japanese cast and crew in the opening credits: Shigeru Kayama > Shigem Kayama, Eiji Tsuburaya > Eliji Tsuburaya, Minoru Chiaki > Mindru Chiaki, and Motoyoshi Oda > Motoyoshi QDQ.
    • 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.
  • Kill It with Ice: The military attempts to do this to Godzilla by burying him in an avalanche. Godzilla breaks free unscathed in the next movie.
  • Lighter and Softer: Yes, Lighter and Softer. Compared to the previous film, Godzilla Raids Again is actually more hopeful despite the actions of the monsters, and characters didn't get worried about the monsters 24/7. While still a Horror film, at least it's not borderline cynical, something the first film is. It also does not contain the horrors and and aftermath that gave the original film its weight, and a conclusion where monster and man die together that treats the both as victims of war.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Solution: Godzilla is heading for Osaka! What do we do to prevent a repeat of the horrible death toll of his attack on Tokyo? Evacuate the city, of course.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Done entirely earnestly in Gigantis.
  • No-Sell: Anguirus is the first Godzilla opponent to tank his Atomic Breath (including to the face), with the beam destroying the buildings behind him. Justified as he's equally as radioactive as Godzilla. It is only when Godzilla takes a huge bite out of his neck that Godzilla ultimately manages to kill Anguirus, then incinerating his dead carcass.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After Anguirus' definitive defeat at the teeth and jaws of Godzilla within downtown Osaka, the latter later suddenly reappears within the Arctic, only for a squadron of fighter-jets to subsequently bury him down underneath of a thick layer of ice right on up until the events of the following film.
  • Posthumous Character: Daisuke Serizawa is mentioned as the inventor of the Oxygen Destroyer who gave a Heroic Sacrifice from the previous film.
  • 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.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Ascended Fridge Horror proved that there was another Godzilla in the world after the first one's death. However, sequels have proven that this Godzilla is much more non-malicious than the previous.
  • 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 a "The": Godzilla is always referred to with an integral article in the original German dub.
    "Das ist, ein Godzilla", Tsukioka
    • As is Angurus in Gigantis.
  • 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.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: A notable aversion for Godzilla, most of the action is centered around the western city of Osaka, at the time the second largest city in Japan.
  • Token Romance: Unlike the previous film, the Love Triangle has no bearing to the overall plot. While the romance in the previous film actually gave the film its weight, there's no direct consequences involved, and Godzilla being buried in ice was a spur of the moment plan to prevent Godzilla from raiding Japan. All of that ends up being very pointless in the next sequel.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Of the nine convicts, the dumbest of all were the final 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 run down into a subway station when they could have run 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.
  • Villain Protagonist: It's Godzilla. One of the first 3 films before his eventual Heel–Face Turn in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. The fact that he decides to leave Japan alone after defeating Anguirus (despite destroying good portions of Osaka) tells you such.