Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Godzilla Raids Again (ゴジラの逆襲?, lit. Godzilla's Counterattack) is a Gojira no Gyakushū1955 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the second installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on April 24, 1955, and to American theaters as Gigantis, the Fire Monster on May 21, 1959.
Two pilots named Tsukioka and Kobayashi are hunting for schools of fish for a tuna cannery company in Osaka. Kobayashi's plane malfunctions and is forced to land near Iwato Island, an uninhabited strip of rocks formed by volcanic eruptions. Tsukioka then looks for Kobayashi and finds him safe, with only a wrist sprain. While talking, the two men hear some strange sounds and find two monsters fighting. Tsukioka immediately recognizes one of the monsters to be Godzilla. The two monsters then fall off a cliff, into the ocean.
Tsukioka and Kobayashi report to the authorities in Osaka, and find out that the other creature, Godzilla was fighting Anguirus. A group of scientists with the two pilots researched Anguirus in a book written by a Polish scientist. Anguirus and Godzilla lived around the same time millions of years ago. Anguirus hated hostile creatures, which explains the intense rivalry between Anguirus and Godzilla.
Dr. Yamane, who experienced Godzilla's first attack, was also present at the meeting, and shows a film of Godzilla attacking Tokyo just one year before. He then explains that the monster Tsukioka and Kobayashi saw is another Godzilla. Yamane states that there is no way to kill Godzilla, and that Dr. Serizawa, the inventor of the weapon used to kill the previous Godzilla, the Oxygen Destroyer, had died and burned the formula. Yamane, though, suggests that the military should use flares on Godzilla to attract the monster away from the shore. Godzilla becomes angry when he sees lights because the hydrogen bomb's bright explosion had awakened him.
One day unexpectedly, Godzilla shows up on the shore of Osaka. Jets are sent to shoot flares from their planes to lead Godzilla away from the shore. Godzilla sees the flames, and, as Yamane predicted, starts to walk away.
Meanwhile, a prison truck transports dangerous criminals to another part of the country. All of the criminals, using body language, decided that this would be a great opportunity to escape from prison. The prisoners beat up the two policemen guarding the back door of the truck, and run away. A few of them find a gasoline truck, and put the petal to the metal. The truck crashes into an industrial building and starts a massive fire.
The fire attracts Godzilla to the shore of Osaka again. A few minutes later, Anguirus swims to shore and attacks Godzilla. The two creatures fight an intense battle, while destroying several buildings, including the tuna cannery that Tsukioka and Kobayashi work for. Godzilla finally bites Anguirus' neck, and throws him on a moat near Osaka Castle. Godzilla then fires his atomic ray, and burns Anguirus to death.
Tsukioka and Kobayashi are transferred to a Hokkaido plant. During a company party, Tsukioka and Kobayashi are notified that Godzilla destroyed one of the company fishing boats. The military, and Tsukioka begin a massive search for Godzilla. Tsukioka spots Godzilla swimming to the shore of a small, icy island. He notifies the cannery, and Kobayashi takes off in his plane to switch shifts with Tsukioka.
Kobayashi dives his plane towards Godzilla to distract him from walking back into the ocean. Tsukioka then transferred to the air force, travels on a jet with an old college friend. They drop bombs on Godzilla but are unsuccessful. Godzilla then wades towards shore. Koboyashi dives towards Godzilla again but Godzilla fires his atomic ray on Kobayashi's plane. The plane then crashes on an icy mountain, killing Kobayashi.
Tsukioka grieves but then notices that the military can shoot missiles at the mountain, and bury Godzilla in an avalanche. The jets fire the missiles, and bury Godzilla in snow to his waist.
The jets return to base to reload, and Tsukioka is authorized to fly in his own jet. The jets return to the icy island, and shoot missiles at the mountain, burying Godzilla to his neck. Tsukioka then shoots his missiles burying Godzilla completely. Tsukioka looks to the sky, and says, "Kobayashi, we buried Godzilla for you."
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Motoyoshi Oda
- Written by Shigeaki Hidaka, Shigeru Kayama, Takeo Murata
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Masaru Sato
- Cinematography by Seiichi Endo
- Edited by Kazuji Taira
- Production Design by Teruaki Abe, Takeo Kita, Akira Watanabe
- Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Hiroshi Koizumi as Shoichi Tsukioka
- Minoru Chiaki as Kojikawa Kobayashi
- Setsuko Wakayama as Hidemi Yamaji
- Takashi Shimura as Doctor Kyohei Yamane
- Masao Shimizu as Zoologist Tadokoro
- Sonosuke Sawamura as Hokkaido Branch Manager Shingo Shibeki
- Seijiro Onda as Commander of Osaka's SDF Terasawa
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Member of Osaka's SDF Tajima
- Minosuke Yamada as Chief of Civil Defense
- Yukio Kasama as President of Fishery Koehi Wamaji
- Mayuri Mokusho as Radio Operator Yasuko Inouye
- Ren Yamamoto as Commander of Landing Craft
- Takeo Oikawa as Osaka Chief of Police
- Shin Otomo as Convict Leader
- Senkichi Omura as Convict
- Shoichi Hirose as Convict
- Junpei Natsuki as Convict
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
- Main article: Godzilla Raids Again/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla Raids Again (Soundtrack).
- Gigantis, the Fire Monster (United States; Gigantis, el Monstruo de Fuego; Mexico)
- Godzilla's Counterattack (Literal Japanese)
- The King of the Monsters (El Rey de los Monstruos; Spain)
- The Return of Godzilla (Le Retour de Godzilla; France; De Terugkeer van Godzilla; Belgium)
- Godzilla Returns (Godzilla kehrt zurück; Germany)
- The King of the Monsters (Il Re de Mostri; Italy)
View all posters for the film here.
- Japan - April 24, 1955 [view poster]
- United States - May 21, 1959GtFM [view poster], 1961GRA
- Italy - 1955 [view poster]
- Spain - 1955 [view poster]
- France - 1957 [view poster]
- Germany - 1958 [view poster]
- Mexico [view poster]
Following the successful U.S. release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, Toho sold the American distribution rights to Godzilla Raids Again to Harry Rybnick and Edward Barison. Their idea was to create a new film for AB-PT Pictures Corporation using the special effects sequences from Godzilla Raids Again. Ib Melchior and Edwin Watson drafted a screenplay, titled The Volcano Monsters, in which Godzilla and Anguirus, now respectively referred to as a Tyrannosaurus and an Ankylosaurus, are discovered in a volcanic cave. Toho shipped Godzilla and Anguirus suits to Hollywood to allow the producers to film new footage of the monsters. Ultimately, AB-PT Pictures Corp. closed down in 1957 before production started on The Volcano Monsters. The monster suits were eventually lost.
In 1958, the film's U.S. distribution rights were acquired by producer Paul Schreibman, who hired Hugo Grimaldi to re-write and re-edit the film, re-titling it Gigantis, the Fire Monster. Aside from changing Godzilla's name to "Gigantis," Grimaldi's version changes the origins of the monsters: "Gigantis" and Anguirus are described as two related species of prehistoric fire monsters. The sound effects of the monsters were altered to reflect this, with several shots of Godzilla augmented with Anguirus' roar. Additionally, nearly all of Masaru Sato's original score was replaced with library music, most of which was composed by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter for other science fiction films. Stock footage from other science fiction films featuring dinosaurs was also added into the film. For years, it was believed that the reason for these changes was that Warner Bros. did not have the rights to Godzilla's name. However, Paul Schreibman said that he changed Godzilla's name to "Gigantis" to give the audience the impression that they were seeing a new monster, believing an original film would sell better than a sequel. He has since claimed he came to regret that decision
The English dubbing, also supervised and directed by Grimaldi, was recorded at Ryder Sound Service, Inc. in Hollywood. The voice cast featured veteran performers Keye Luke, Marvin Miller, and Paul Frees, as well as a very young George Takei, of Star Trek fame. Luke was cast as Tsukioka, whose character now narrated the events of the film. In addition to voicing Kobayashi, Miller narrated a pre-credit stock footage montage detailing man's scientific progress.
After completing the Americanization of the film, Paul Schreibman sold the theatrical rights to Warner Bros., which released the film on May 21, 1959. Gigantis, the Fire Monster was presented on a double bill with Teenagers from Outer Space, which Warner also purchased from Schreibman.
On November 7, 2006, Classic Media released the Japanese and American versions of Godzilla Raids Again on DVD. Prior to this release, the film had been unavailable on North American home video since Video Treasures' VHS release in 1989. A notable difference between the original Gigantis and the U.S. version released by Classic Media is the fact the Gigantis title card has been replaced with a newer Godzilla Raids Again title card, by request of Toho.
The film sold approximately 8,340,000 tickets in Japan, making it the third most-attended Godzilla film in Japan. It grossed around 1,700,000 yen, or $1,670,080.
The film was generally poorly received by fans and critics, who criticized it as a rushed sequel. It is, however, notable for being the first Godzilla film to introduce the formula of Godzilla battling other monsters, which would become a staple of the franchise.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases
Toho DVD (2001)
- Released: 2001
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
Classic Media DVD (2006)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono) and English (2.0 Mono)
- Special Features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle (for the American version), The Art of Suit Acting featurette (14 minutes), poster slideshow
- Notes: The American version of the film has a video-generated Godzilla Raids Again title card in place of the original Gigantis, the Fire Monster title card.
- Godzilla Raids Again was the first Godzilla film to feature two monsters.
- The Godzilla suit used for this film, the GyakushuGoji, was slimmer and lighter than the previous ShodaiGoji suit used in 1954, putting less pressure on the actor, and making every fight scene with Anguirus easier.
- The J.S.D.F.'s tactic of enforcing a blackout in Osaka to protect it from Godzilla is the same tactic used by Japan during World War II to protect cities from Allied bombing raids.
- In the American version of Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla's roar was altered to sound like Anguirus' roar, due to this version establishing that "Gigantis" and Anguirus are related. His normal roar is still heard in many instances, though, and the roars are interchanged erratically.
- Godzilla Raids Again is the only Godzilla film to date where Godzilla's dorsal plates consistently do not glow prior to him releasing his atomic breath. Later films would only occasionally not show the discharge, often by mistake.
- This is the first film in which Godzilla is defeated by the J.S.D.F. However, Godzilla Raids Again is the only Showa era film wherein the J.S.D.F. wins out over Godzilla with a coordinated tactical strike, and with no aid from another monster or some sophisticated form of technology.
- There are no scenes which feature Godzilla using his heat ray from the full suit-view. Every time he does, the hand-operated puppet head is used. This is due to the fact that the suit's mouth could not open wide enough to show Godzilla firing his atomic breath. This was also the case in the original Godzilla.
- Gigantis, the Fire Monster was distributed in the United States by Warner Bros., who would distribute Legendary Pictures' Godzilla and its sequels over 55 years later.
- After this film's release, Toho took a seven-year break from making Godzilla films. However, during these 7 years they continued to make kaiju films, and introduced some of the most recognizable monsters other than Godzilla from the Showa era, including Rodan and Mothra.
- In the Kaiju Guide for Godzilla: The Game, Anguirus' bio states that he once battled a monster called "Gigantis," who has since been banished from this plane of existence, an inside joke relating to the American version of Godzilla Raids Again.
- Godzilla Raids Again is the last Godzilla film to be filmed in black and white and the academy aspect ratio.
- Godzilla Raids Again is the second and final Godzilla film to have been produced in the 1950's.
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