Let's Talk: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Whether you know it as Godzilla’s Counterattack (Japanese version, 1955), Gigantis, The Fire Monster (America version, 1959), or Godzilla Raids Again, this was the second film in the Godzilla franchise. According to The Official Godzilla Compendium, it was the sequel to Godzilla (1954). Yeah, okay! We all know how that worked out, thankfully. I don’t think I could survive with only two Godzilla movies.
This movie was released only six-months after Gojira debuted in Japan. It definitely rode its coattails as they showed clips from the original stating their worst fear came true. There is more than one Godzilla. However, they added another monster to the mix: the Ankylosaurus, also known as Anguirus. That’s right! This is the first appearance of Godzilla’s bestie, but in this film they’re mortal enemies.
Let's Play the Difference Game
Anguirus pretty much looks like the monster we’ll come to know and love starting in 1968 with Destroy All Monsters (Attack of the Marching Monsters). There are two main differences, though. From what I can see, in this movie his eyes and his size are different. His eyes look like shimmering diamonds and he doesn’t seem as bulky as he does come thirteen years later. Then again, Rodan, Ghidorah, and even Godzilla look better in Destroy All Monsters, but I will get to that when that movie comes around.
However, when it comes to the big guy, they made some massive changes to his suit. As noted in the compendium, “The very first G-suit, used in Godzilla, was extremely heavy and bulky, and the filmmakers decided to slim it down for Godzilla’s second feature, Godzilla Raids Again. The leaner physique was a better choice for the rigorous battle scenes staged with Godzilla’s opponent, Anguirus.”
They say it’s for the battle scenes, I say it looks like a juvenile. Think about it. This Godzilla is smaller, slimmer, and has a different roar (at least in the American version). What if it’s a “younger version” of the original Godzilla that came out of hiding with its dad (or mom) and stayed hiding until it went looking for its parent? While doing so, Anguirus and Godzilla found each other and fought because that’s what animals do; they defend their territory. Alright, my storyteller side is showing, but that explanation is better than it was slimmed down for battle scenes.
Now, I have a bone to pick with the American version. I recently re-watched it for this post, and I forgot how different the two movies are. Severely different! Like I discussed in my Godzilla (1954) post, the main difference was in the stories. And I’m sorry but the American version sucks! I hated watching it when I was little because it scared the crap out of me. Seriously, be a five-year-old watching the American version. The music score is frightening, the look of the monsters is terrifying, and their roars are horrifying. I did not watch this movie for a very long time. Thankfully, I introduced myself to the Japanese version and realized what a masterpiece it truly is.
The Japanese Version
The Japanese version doesn’t just focus on the two monsters and when they’ll be making landfall. Like the original Godzilla movie, it focuses on the economy as well. Since the main characters, Tsukioka and Kobayashi, work for a small fishing company, they begin to worry about losing fishing ground because of the two monsters. It would be a huge hit for the business and for the economy. Even after G-man and Anguirus battle it out and destroy Osaka, the owner of the fishery in Osaka knows they can’t just let their ships stand by and do nothing. So, he asks Kobayashi to go to their branch in Hokkaido, which would become their main hub until Osaka was rebuilt. The kept going in the face of adversity.
Also, during the fight scene, the framing was so well done, you actually thought two monsters were fighting in Osaka. Plus, the silence of the fight scenes truly gave me goosebumps. I mean, at times a cello (at least I think it was a cello) could be heard playing beneath the sounds of them fighting, but that just added to the creepiness. At least in the American version, there was music playing which made it a little less scary.
The American Version
Lastly, I feel like the American version only focuses on the two monsters and the build-up of them making landfall and fighting. It also felt like a movie I had to watch in school. It opens with a hydrogen bomb going off in a testing zone and a narrator talking about it, about humans creating rockets going up into space, etc. I honestly thought I was watching a film on rockets and bombs, not a monster movie. I almost whipped out a notebook and started taking notes, fearing a teacher was about to yell at me.
Then the rest of the movie has Tsukioka narrating with a plethora of added scenes that were not a part of the original movie. Tsukioka even talked about being a coward, but then found his bravery at the end of the movie. It was just absolutely horrible. I was, once again, reminded how amazing the Japanese version is compared to the American.
What Do You Think?
Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Was Godzilla Raids Again one of your favorites or did you hate it? Let’s talk!
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Please remember, I am not getting paid to talk about this amazing franchise or promote any movies or books. I am just a fanatic, like yourself, wanting to start a conversation about Godzilla and other monster movies. To learn more, please check out my Policy page. Also, I would love to hear from my fellow Godzilla fanatics. You can either comment below (please read my “Comments Policy” on the Policy page before doing so) or contact me.
The photos featured in this post are my photos. The first is my copy of Godzilla Raids Again while the second is my signature photo, me with this awesome film.
**This post was originally published on October 2, 2019**