The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around. Let them fight.
— Ishiro Serizawa (Godzilla)
Serizawa was born and raised in Hiroshima by his father Eiji, who instilled in him to respect man's harmony with nature from an early age. Having studied at both the University of Tokyo and Oxford, he grew to become a revered figure in the scientific community. In 1981, Serizawa joined Monarch, following the footsteps of his father who was one of the organization's founding figures. There, he quickly devoted himself to studying MUTOs, Godzilla in particular. In 1997, he met Vivienne Graham while at a speaking engagement at Oxford and took her under his wing in Monarch. Both he and his new assistant were summoned to the Philippines in 1999 to investigate a Titan skeleton unearthed in a mine, setting off a chain of events which led to the clash between Godzilla and two MUTOs in San Francisco in 2014, an incident in which Serizawa and Monarch would play a major role. After Godzilla defeated the MUTOs, Dr. Serizawa would continue to work in Monarch up until his death in 2019, sacrificing himself to revitalize Godzilla with a nuclear weapon and allow the monster to challenge his ancient nemesis King Ghidorah.
Dr. Serizawa is a somewhat stoic individual with a deep respect for the organisms he studies. He is very critical of the human race, particularly their attempts to dominate the planet and their scant regard for the rest of nature. As a reminder of humanity's destructive potential, he carries with him his father's pocket watch, which had stopped ticking because of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. He believes Godzilla's existence is in the good of nature, as he appears to restore balance when it is disrupted.
According to Serizawa's personnel file, he is a reclusive man, even among his closest colleagues in Monarch. It is known that he enjoys the works of Wagner and the poetry of Matsuo Basho.
In 1999, Serizawa and his assistant Dr. Vivienne Graham were called to the Philippines to investigate a collapsed mine. There, they discovered the skeleton of a long-dead member of Godzilla's species along with two giant spores, one of which had hatched.
In the fifteen years following the incident at the Janjira power plant, Serizawa, Graham and a team of Monarch scientists studied the male MUTO while it was cocooned and feeding on the plant's reactor. After the MUTO broke free from its cocoon and destroyed Monarch's research facility, Serizawa and Graham were taken aboard the USS Saratoga to help the U.S. military, under the command of Admiral Willian Stenz, hunt and destroy the MUTO. After discovering that Godzilla had resurfaced, Serizawa believed that he had risen to kill the MUTO, which was his kind's natural enemy. Serizawa was proven correct when Godzilla swam underneath the Saratoga and confronted the MUTO in Honolulu. After Godzilla and the MUTO both left Honolulu, Serizawa began studying the MUTO's echolocation patterns more carefully. Serizawa concluded that the MUTO was communicating with a female --the dormant spore-- which at this point was moved to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada. A team of soldiers was sent to the facility in Nevada and discovered that the female had already hatched and was attacking Las Vegas. When the military formed a plan to lure all three monsters offshore and try to kill them with a nuclear warhead, Serizawa protested, claiming that the bomb would have no effect on the monsters and that Godzilla was only there to kill the MUTOs and restore balance. Serizawa's pleas fell on deaf ears however and the military carried out the plan, which failed after the male MUTO stole the armed warhead and delivers it to the female at their nest in the center of San Francisco. After this, Admiral Stenz agreed to Dr. Serizawa's plan to withdraw military effort to destroying the MUTO and let Godzilla handle them. After Stenz refocused military efforts to extracting the bomb, Serizawa told an extraction team that the MUTOs had likely laid eggs underground and were keeping the warhead there.
After the battle, Serizawa and Graham gathered around the seemingly dead body of Godzilla in the ruins of San Francisco. When Godzilla stirred and returned to the ocean, Serizawa looked up in joy as the monster he had dedicated so many years of his life to studying returned to his home in peace.
Five years after the events in San Francisco, Monarch had started to receive backlash for its focus on protecting the Titans rather than exterminating them. The heads of Monarch, including Serizawa and Vivienne Graham, were called for a Senate hearing where they would plead their case as to why the government should continue to fund them. After a brief introduction by Sam Coleman, Senator Williams questioned Serizawa as to why he was so devoted to protecting the Titans. Serizawa explained that not all of these ancient creatures were malicious, and that some could be benevolent. As more of these creatures awakened, he argued that humanity should make an effort to form a kind of symbiotic relationship with a benevolent Titan to protect them from more aggressive ones, ensuring their own survival. Serizawa saw Godzilla as a prime monster that could act as a protector. Williams mockingly asked Serizawa if he was suggesting humanity should make Godzilla their "pet," but Serizawa responded that it would be the other way around. Many inside the hearing laughed out loud at his suggestion. At that moment, Graham and Serizawa were informed that Monarch scientist Dr. Emma Russell and her daughter Madison had been kidnapped. The two quickly left the hearing with Sam, much to Senator Williams' annoyance. The three traveled to Colorado to inform Dr. Russell's ex-husband Mark of the situation. They explained that whoever kidnapped them was after the ORCA, the sonar device Mark and Emma had invented in college, which Emma had continued to develop at Monarch in the hope of establishing communication with Titans. They boarded an Osprey with Mark and embarked to Monarch's headquarters in Bermuda. En route, Mark asked Serizawa how many Titans there were, and he responded that Monarch had discovered 17 and counting, after Godzilla. Mark was furious and asked why Monarch hadn't killed them while they had the chance, and Serizawa replied that he and Emma believed some were benevolent.
The Osprey arrived at Outpost 54, Castle Bravo, and landed within the underwater base. There, they briefed the other members of Monarch on the situation. Emma and Madison had been kidnapped by mercenaries led by Alan Jonah, and infamous ex-British Army colonel turned eco-terrorist. Not long after, Godzilla began to approach Castle Bravo with aggressive intent. G-Team began to arm the base's Maser Turrets, but Mark told Serizawa to stand down and signal to Godzilla that they were not a threat. Serizawa gave the order, and G-Team deactivated the turrets. Mark then said to open the base's shields, and after some hesitation Serizawa ordered the shields to be lowered. Staring them down was Godzilla, just feet away from the window. His dorsal plates glowed a bright blue, flashing on and off. Dr. Graham interpreted it as a dominance display. Godzilla stared at the terrified onlookers before his dorsal plates stopped glowing, cloaking him in the darkness. The onlookers began to relax, but Godzilla suddenly swam swiftly by the Outpost, causing the entire base to shake. After the shaking stopped, Dr. Ilene Chen noted that Godzilla didn’t seem to be angry at them, but something else that he felt threatened by. Mark told the others to track Godzilla's course, which revealed he was projected to land in Antarctica. Mark told Serizawa that Godzilla may be going after the ORCA. Monarch headed to Outpost 32 in Antarctica aboard the flying command ship the USS Argo. En route, Serizawa and Graham explained that this outpost was a recent discovery and completely off the books. The Titan under observation seemed to be a rival alpha to Godzilla, and was given the designation "Monster Zero" by Emma. Two Ospreys were deployed to the outpost, with G-Team disembarking from one to storm the base while Serizawa and the other scientists stayed behind in their Osprey while Mark accompanied G-Team. When G-Team was engaged by Jonah's men, Mark rushed in after them to save Emma and Madison. Shortly after, Serizawa saw Mark and G-Team running out of the base as the ice began to shake and split open. From the icy chasm, the three-headed Monster Zero rose. As storm clouds spewing golden lightning began to cover the sky, energy began to glow from the creature’s necks. Monster Zero promptly obliterated nearly half of G-Team by spitting electrical gravity beams at the ground. As the survivors ran for the Osprey, Godzilla rose from the frigid waters and confronted Monster Zero. This further endangered G-Team and some died as they attempted to reach the Osprey, while Godzilla seemed to be outmatched by Monster Zero. Monster Zero's gravity beams immobilized the Ospreys, trapping the scientists inside. Serizawa and most of the others were able to get out, while Graham stayed behind to help Mark out. As Mark and Graham ran toward Serizawa and the others, Monster Zero bit down on the ice and swallowed Dr. Graham whole. Serizawa fell to his knees as he saw his longtime friend and colleague perish. The Argo soon arrived and opened fire on Monster Zero, prompting him to retreat with Godzilla in pursuit.
Aboard the Argo, G-Team leader Diane Foster reported that she saw Emma pressing a detonator that triggered bombs attached to the iceberg Monster Zero was frozen in. Mark confirmed this, adding that she and Madison refused to come to him when he had Jonah at gunpoint. On the radar, Monster Zero had vanished in a tropical storm while Godzilla was shown making his way to Isla de Mara, Mexico, the site of Monarch Outpost 56. As the Argo headed for Isla de Mara, they received a transmission from Emma, who explained the reasons for her actions. Humanity had damaged the environment so much that a mass extinction was inevitable. She believed the Titans were the key to reversing this damage, since their radiation caused life to grow wherever they went. However, since the government was determined to exterminate them all instead, she took matters into her own hands and was using the ORCA to awaken the Titans one-by-one, allowing them to finally restore balance to nature. Serizawa was horrified by Emma's actions, accusing her of tampering with forces beyond their comprehension and gambling with the lives of billions. Emma refused to relent, but encouraged them to find shelter soon before signing off. Broadcasting the ORCA's signal remotely, Emma then unleashed the winged Titan known as Rodan from the Isla de Mara volcano. To make matters worse, the tropical storm in which Monster Zero had earlier disappeared was heading to the area, revealing it was actually being generated by the monster. The Argo and a squad of fighter jets attempted to lead Rodan away from the nearby village and directly to Monster Zero, but the village was obliterated nevertheless and the Argo was the only aircraft remaining by the time they reached Monster Zero. Monster Zero easily defeated Rodan, and as he made his way to the Argo, Godzilla erupted from the water and dragged Monster Zero under. Godzilla overpowered Monster Zero now that they were in his domain, eventually ripping off his left head. Back on the Argo, Monarch had received a transmission from Admiral William Stenz informing them that the military had created a new weapon to kill both monsters, the Oxygen Destroyer. Serizawa begged Stenz to reconsider but Stenz stated that the weapon was already on the way. The Oxygen Destroyer struck the water where Godzilla and Monster Zero were fighting, creating a green explosion that killed everything in a two mile radius. Amazingly, Monster Zero flew out of the water virtually unscathed. On the Argo, monitors showed Godzilla's vital signs fading, until they completely disappeared. Serizawa bitterly told Mark that he finally got his wish.
Monster Zero returned to Isla De Mara and sat atop Rodan's volcano. After his left head regenerated, he let out a piercing cry that sounded throughout the entire Earth. Many Titans suddenly awakened and began destroying cities all around the world. Rodan returned to his volcano and stood at its foot, bowing to Monster Zero. Monarch noted that Monster Zero seemed to defy all known laws of nature. Dr. Ilene Chen suggested he wasn’t from Earth at all, as ancient legends stated that he "fell from the stars" and menaced both humanity and Godzilla. This likely meant that he was not part of the natural order, and an invasive species or "false king" according to Serizawa. He asked Chen what the legends called this creature, and she replied "Ghidorah, the One Who is Many." The Argo returned to Outpost 54 and met with Stenz and the military to determine countermeasures against the Titan uprising. Suddenly a bright white light began to illuminate the sky outside Castle Bravo. Dr. Chen recognized the Titan emitting the light as Mothra from Outpost 61, the "Queen of the Monsters." The bright light she was casting seemed to act as some kind of beacon. Mothra was emitting some kind of sonar pattern, prompting Serizawa to check for something responding. To their surprise, Godzilla was weakly responding to Mothra's calls. Serizawa, Mark, Chen, and Dr. Rick Stanton followed Mothra aboard a nuclear submarine, intending to use the sub's nuclear torpedoes to revive Godzilla so he could defeat Ghidorah. Mark asked Serizawa asked why they were going to so much trouble for Godzilla. Serizawa said that sometimes the best way to defeat one's demons was to make peace with them. He told Mark that times of crisis like this could also be times of faith, where they either come together or fall apart. Nature always balanced itself, he told Mark, so the question was only which side they would be on. Mark asked if Serizawa made that entire speech up, and Serizawa joked that he read it in a fortune cookie once. The sub was then pulled underwater by a whirlpool, and found itself inside the Hollow Earth. The sub deployed drones to search the surrounding area, and discovered an ancient sunken city. Adorning its walls were carvings and paintings depicting Godzilla, indicating that the ancients who built this city once lived alongside and even worshiped Godzilla. The drones soon detected an air pocket, which emitted intense radiation. Just before the radiation caused them to shut down, the drones showed that this air pocket was a highly radioactive chamber filled with molten lava which served as Godzilla's lair. This was where Godzilla went to recover by feeding on the planet's natural radiation. However, at this rate Godzilla could take years to recover from the Oxygen Destroyer, time they didn't have. While they could speed up the process with a nuclear blast, the sub's firing system had been damaged and could not be repaired. Chen suggested that someone manually place and arm a nuclear torpedo in the chamber next to Godzilla, but Stanton explained that the heat and radiation would kill them before they could make it back. Serizawa then volunteered to place the warhead. Chen insisted there must be another way, but Serizawa resolutely stated that this was the only way. He donned a diving suit with an oxygen tank which would keep him alive long enough to reach Godzilla and arm the torpedo. Serizawa shook Stanton's hand and embraced Dr. Chen before leaving. As he prepared to board a miniature submarine with the warhead, he handed Mark his notebook. Mark asked if Serizawa was sure about this, and Serizawa replied that Godzilla fought and died for them. Godzilla was not only proof that coexistence was possible between man and Titans, Serizawa said, he was the key to it. Serizawa entered the submarine and departed for Godzilla's lair. Exiting the mini sub, Serizawa dragged the warhead up the stairs of the altar where Godzilla rested, fighting through the intense heat and lethal radiation. Serizawa finally reached the top of the altar and armed the warhead. As the countdown began, Serizawa removed his helmet and approached Godzilla. Godzilla opened his eyes and seemed to eye Serizawa with curiosity as Serizawa gently placed his hand on Godzilla's snout. With the final seconds of the countdown ticking away, Serizawa said his final words to Godzilla, the monster he had admired and studied for most of his life. "Goodbye, old friend," Serizawa said, just before the warhead exploded, obliterating Godzilla's lair along with the rest of the sunken city. But Serizawa's sacrifice would not be in vain, as Godzilla soon surfaced from the water next to the submarine, fully revitalized by the nuclear blast.
- Godzilla: Awakening (2014)
- Skull Island: The Birth of Kong (2017) [issue 1; mentioned]
- Godzilla: Aftershock (2019)
Ishiro Serizawa was born in 1945, before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, to a Japanese sailor and his wife. Ishiro's father found his son alone in the ruins of Hiroshima and left him with his grandparents in Kyoto for the next several years.
In 1980, Ishiro went to visit his father in Tokyo, after he had called him urgently. His father began telling him things he said he would tell him when he was older: that he didn't work for a cargo company; instead he worked for a secretive government unit. His father told Ishiro about Shinomura and Godzilla. Ishiro attended his father's funeral the next year in 1981, where he was approached by Shaw, a former colleague of his father's. Knowing why Shaw was there, Ishiro said he was ready and joined Monarch.
In 1995, while arguing with his father over the 1973 Skull Island expedition being kept secret by Monarch, Aaron Brooks angrily accused his father of being just like Serizawa, naïvely believing that giant monsters should be left to maintain the balance of nature by themselves.
To be added.
- Ishiro Serizawa is named after Daisuke Serizawa from the original 1954 Godzilla film and prolific kaiju director Ishiro Honda. In the June 2012 revision of the script, he was called "Doctor Honda."
- Likewise, Serizawa's father, Eiji, is likely named after Eiji Tsuburaya, the director of special effects for the original Godzilla and numerous other entries in the franchise.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization mentions that Serizawa has a son named Ren, although the character never appears in person.
- Ken Watanabe also voiced Serizawa for the Japanese dubs of Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
- Serizawa's costume from his first scene in Godzilla is a reference to special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's typical work outfit.
- In issue #18 of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, a character bearing a striking resemblance to Ishiro Serizawa can be seen running from Godzilla and Ebirah, along with a character who closely resembles Vivienne Graham.
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