Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
— Japanese tagline
Godzilla challenged by new monster... Angilas!
— International tagline
Nothing like it ever before!
The fantastic war of the giant fire monsters!
THEY'RE BOTH ALIVE! not one but two of the most terrifying creatures ever loosed on man
Born to destroy each other... but first they'll destroy the world!
— American taglines
Godzilla Raids Again (ゴジラの逆襲 is a Gojira no Gyakushū, lit. Godzilla's Counterattack)1955 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, 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 on May 21, 1959.
The first of many sequels to the original Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again introduced the series' staple of pitting Godzilla against another monster, in this case the giant Ankylosaurus known as Anguirus. The film follows pilots Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi, who discover a second Godzilla locked in battle with Anguirus and report their story to Japanese authorities. As Godzilla and Anguirus' battle threatens to decimate the pilots' beloved home of Osaka, the two men will play a key role in the decisive battle to save Japan from Godzilla's wrath.
Pilots Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi are scouting the ocean for schools of fish for Marine Fisheries KK, located in Osaka. Suddenly, the engine for Kobayashi's plane malfunctions and he makes an emergency landing on the remote Iwato Island. Hidemi Yajima, Tsukioka's lover and the daughter of the company's owner, informs him of the situation, and he immediately flies to the island to rescue his friend. Tsukioka sees Kobayashi's plane sitting atop the water near the island, with Kobayashi himself waving at Tsukioka's plane from the island. Tsukioka lands and reunites with Kobayashi, who has only suffered a sprained wrist in the incident. The two men hear strange noises coming from the cliffs on the island, then look to find two huge monsters battling on the island. Tsukioka immediately recognizes one of the monsters as Godzilla, but cannot identify the other. The grappling monsters tumble off the island into the ocean below, after which they both disappear.
Upon returning to Osaka, Tsukioka and Kobayashi report their story to the authorities. A conference with the JSDF, several scientists, including Kyohei Yamane, and the two pilots is held in Osaka, where they determine that the monster Godzilla was fighting is a creature called Anguirus. According to a report from a Polish scientist, Anguirus is a vicious dinosaur that lived during the same time as Godzilla, and harbored an intense hatred of violent creatures like Godzilla. Like Godzilla, Anguirus had been living deep underground only to be disturbed and awakened by recent nuclear testing. When asked how they can hope to stop Godzilla, Dr. Yamane shows footage recorded of the first Godzilla's raid on Tokyo the previous year, then regretfully states that there is no conceivable way to defeat this Godzilla. Yamane mentions that the first Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, a chemical weapon invented by Daisuke Serizawa, but unfortunately Serizawa had taken his own life to ensure the weapon could never be used again. Yamane offers one piece of advice: Godzilla harbors a strange instinct towards lights, possibly due to their reminding him of the atomic bomb that awakened him. If a blackout is enforced and flares are dropped offshore, Yamane believes Godzilla can be lured away from the mainland.
When Godzilla unexpectedly surfaces in Osaka Bay, a blackout is immediately enforced on the city as citizens are evacuated. Fighter jets fly over the bay and begin dropping flares, which successfully lure Godzilla away from the city. Meanwhile, a group of prisoners stage an escape from the truck transporting them, beginning a lengthy chase with the police across the port area. After the prisoners hijack a fuel truck, two pursuing officers get into a car driven by Tsukioka and ask him to follow the truck. Eventually, the truck flies off a ramp and crashes into a refinery, starting a raging fire that quickly consumes the port area. The fire soon draws Godzilla's attention, and he approaches Osaka once again. Anguirus also comes ashore, and resumes his battle with Godzilla. The JSDF opens fire on the kaiju, but their weapons have no effect as Godzilla and Anguirus begin tearing the city apart. Their battle destroys countless buildings, including the tuna cannery that Tsukioka and Kobayashi work for. Eventually, the two monsters reach Osaka Castle, which is destroyed as Godzilla tackles Anguirus into it. Godzilla then bites down onto Anguirus' neck, causing him to bleed profusely before falling into the moat below. Godzilla fires his atomic breath at his foe, burning him to death and leaving Godzilla the victor. He leaves Osaka ablaze and in ruins.
In the aftermath of the devastation, Tsukioka and Kobayashi find the cannery in ruins. Their boss informs Kobayashi that he will be transferred to the company's Hokkaido branch while he and his daughter clean up in Osaka. After he has been working in Hokkaido for some time, Kobayashi is informed that Mr. Tajima, Hidemi, and Tsukioka will be arriving in Hokkaido soon, and meets them one night at a company party. While Tsukioka and Kobayashi are catching up, they learn that one of the company's ships has just been sunk somewhere off the coast. Knowing Godzilla must be responsible, Tsukioka gets into his plane and begins scouring the surrounding waters despite Hidemi's protests. Tsukioka eventually finds Godzilla coming ashore on the remote icy Kamiko Island, and alerts the JSDF. Kobayashi switches shifts with Tsukioka to keep an eye on Godzilla while he flies to a JSDF base. As the military begins arriving on the island to attack Godzilla, Kobayashi notices the monster beginning to leave the island. He dive-bombs Godzilla with his plane, only to be blasted by his atomic breath and killed upon impact with the slopes of the island. As Tsukioka grieves for his friend, he notices an avalanche of ice falling from the area Kobayashi's plane struck, giving him the idea to bury Godzilla under ice. Tsukioka tells his plan to the JSDF, which begins an operation to blast the slopes of the island using fighter jets. After a few minutes, Godzilla is buried in snow up to his waist, as the JASDF pilots return to base to refuel and reload.
To prevent Godzilla from escaping the island, the JSDF lines the shore of the island with gasoline barrels and lights them on fire. Soon, the fighter jets return, with Tsukioka flying one. The jets open fire on the slopes again, and although some are shot down by Godzilla's atomic breath, Tsukioka and the JASDF are successful in completely burying Godzilla under the ice. With the menace finally halted, Tsukioka solemnly looks to the sky and says, "Kobayashi, we buried Godzilla for you."
- Main article: Godzilla Raids Again/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Motoyoshi Oda
- Written by Shigeaki Hidaka and Takeo Murata
- Story by Shigeru Kayama
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Masaru Sato
- Cinematography by Seiichi Endo
- Edited by Kazuji Taira
- Production Design by Teruaki Abe, Takeo Kita, and Akira Watanabe
- Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Gigantis, the Fire Monster
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Keye Luke as Shoichi Tsukioka (voice)
- Marvin Miller as Koji Kobayashi (voice) / Narrator
- Paul Frees as Doctor Kyohei Yamane / Captain Terasawa / Kohei Yamaji (voice)
- George Takei as Ikeda (voice)
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 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 dei Mostri; Italy; El Rey de los Monstruos; Spain)
- Godzilla: The Sea Monster (Godzila: Morsko Čudovište; Yugoslavia)
- The Fire Monster (O Monstro de Fogo; Brazil)
View all posters for the film here.
- Japan - April 24, 1955 [view poster]
- United States - May 21, 1959 [view poster]
- Portugal - November 1955
- France - October 1, 1957
- Italy - 1957 [view poster]
- Belgium - 1957 [view poster]
- West Germany - February 24, 1958 [view poster]
- Spain - 1958 [view poster]
- United Kingdom - April 1960
- South Korea - May 17, 1960
- Mexico - June 30, 1960 [view poster]
- Yugoslavia [view poster]
- Brazil - January 1961
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 the 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.
Gigantis, the Fire Monster did not enter standard television syndication after its theatrical run. The film remained obscure in the U.S. until its reappearance on cable TV in 1984, followed by a VHS release via Video Treasures in 1989. A video generated title card restoring Toho's English title, Godzilla Raids Again, accompanied the film in syndication in the late 1980's and early 1990's. This version was released on DVD alongside the Japanese version by Classic Media on November 7, 2006. The North American distribution rights to Godzilla Raids Again are currently held by Janus Films, who has labeled it and the other Godzilla films it has acquired as part of the Criterion Collection despite not yet making them available on Blu-ray or DVD.
United Kingdom release
Eros Films brought Gigantis, the Fire Monster to UK theaters in April 1960, as part of a double feature with The Nights of Lucretia Borgia. It received an A rating from the British Board of Film Censors, preventing children under 11 from seeing it unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sony released Godzilla Raids Again on Blu-ray in 2019 as part of the The Criterion Collection's Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 box set.
Godzilla Raids Again was released in West Germany on Feburary 24, 1958 by Donau Film. Less than a minute of footage was excised. Among other mistakes, the opening credits erroneously give directorial credit to production designer Teruaki Abe instead of Motoyoshi Oda.
Godzilla Raids Again sold approximately 8,340,000 tickets in Japan, less than its predecessor but still more than every Godzilla film that followed, save for King Kong vs. Godzilla. It grossed around ¥170,000,000, becoming Toho's fourth-highest earner in 1955, and tenth among Japanese films overall.
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.
Toho DVD (2001)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by Sadamasa Arikawa and Tomioka Motoyoshi, isolated score, massive image gallery (several thousand)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono) and English (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- 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. Reissued in 2012, both releases are out of print.
Splendid DVD (2009)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: German (1.0 Mono), Japanese (1.0 mono)
- Subtitles: German
- Special features: Trailers
Toho Blu-ray (2014)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (LPCM 2.0)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by Sadamasa Arikawa and Tomioka Motoyoshi, isolated score, dispatch trailer, radio ads for Godzilla (1954) and Godzilla Raids Again, image gallery (12 minutes), "Godzilla’s Creation! Yoshio Suzuki" featurette (20 minutes)
Splendid Blu-ray (2014)
- Region: B/2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0), German (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0)
- Subtitles: German, Dutch
- Special features: None
- Region: A/1 or B/2
- Discs: 8
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: All bonus features on Criterion's Godzilla Blu-ray, 1990 Ishiro Honda interview by Yoshimitsu Banno, interview with director Alex Cox, interviews with actors Bin Furuya and Tsugutoshi Komada, 2011 interview with critic Tadao Sato, unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters, trailers, illustrated hardcover book with an essay by Steve Ryfle and liner notes on each film by Ed Godziszewski
- Notes: Uses a new English subtitle translation by Kerim Yasar. Sony distributed a Region B/2 version of the set in the United Kingdom.
- 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 JSDF's tactic of enforcing a blackout in Osaka to protect it from Godzilla is the same tactic used by Japan at the end of World War II to protect cities from Allied bombing raids.
- Godzilla Raids Again is the only Godzilla film to date where Godzilla's dorsal fins consistently do not glow prior to him releasing his atomic breath. Later films would only occasionally not show the discharge, often by mistake.
- Godzilla Raids Again is one of only two Godzilla films in which the JSDF defeats the monster at the end with existing technology, along with The Return of Godzilla.
- 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.
- 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 seven years they continued to make kaiju films, and introduced two of the other most recognizable monsters from the Showa era: Rodan and Mothra.
- In the Kaiju Guide for Bandai Namco's Godzilla, 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.
- Two shots of newspapers place the events of Godzilla Raids Again in January of 1955, possibly stretching into February.
- In the scene at the Yayoi restaurant in Hokkaido, the song that the fishermen are singing is the Hokkaido sea shanty Sōran Bushi (ソーラン節).
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