Despite being the second ever Godzilla movie, Raids Again isn’t quite talked about as much as any of the other films. Gojira broke the Japanese box office when it came out, so naturally what’s the first thing a major movie company does when that happens? Make a sequel. In this case, just five months later for a 1955 release date. It’s pretty amazing what they managed to accomplish in such a short time period. Sadly Ishiro Honda, the director of the previous movie, didn’t return. Instead, it was directed by Motoyoshi Oda. Raids Again isn’t a bad movie. The whole first half was actually pretty good. Sadly after the defeat of Anguirus, the film really starts to lose the viewer.
The story follows Tsukioka and Kobayashi. The latter while flying crash lands onto an island. Tsukioka comes to help, but they soon witness a frightening sight: Godzilla battling some kind of armored dinosaur. As they would later learn, this dinosaur is an Ankylosaurus called Anguirus. With the fight between the two monsters heading to Osaka, who will win? The answer to that is Godzilla, so now what is Japan going to do since they don’t have an Oxygen Destroyer? The story on paper works great as a sequel. The only way to make a Godzilla movie more exciting is to add another monster. And to make Dr. Serizawa’s death not meaningless by bringing back the monster, they instead decided to say this is another Godzilla. Everything works for the first half. After that the film goes downhill and becomes a chore to watch.
The cast isn’t bad, but they aren’t quite as good as almost any of the Showa films. Kobayashi is the notable character since he dies when trying to bury Godzilla with ice. The death is handled pretty well and is unexpected, so there’s that. The problem is that he wasn’t that greatly developed throughout the first half, so the viewer never became too attached to him. What I liked however was the inclusion of Dr. Yamane from the previous film. He makes some references to it, even showing his colleagues footage from G’s attack. There’s a pretty cool direct continuity link between the two.
Anguirus is the monster Godzilla fights, he would go on to be a fan favorite and (ironically) one of Godzilla’s best friends. The design is very good, being that of the dinosaur Ankylosaurus. It would be perfected in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS. Godzilla’s new design is pretty much like the original, just with a slightly different head. It may look ugly when you look at it on paper, but it looks pretty good in the film. The fights between the two are entertaining and unique among Godzilla battles. You’ll notice the footage is sped up when they’re fighting, making them seem like wild animals. It’s a neat effect, but I’m glad it wasn’t really unitized after this film.
The fight in the city was definitely the highlight, there’s a sense of grimness thanks to this being black and white. Once Godzilla defeats Anguirus, then things start to go downhill. After all the hype on Anguirus, to see him killed so early on was pretty strange. The story becomes incredibly dull to the point where you’re wondering when it’s going to be over. (You never want to get that feeling when a movie is under 90 minutes.) Sadly, like with Ishiro Honda, music composer Akira Ifukube didn’t return for this film. Instead, Masaru Sato does the music. It isn’t bad, but after Ifukube’s masterful work on the previous movie, it just pales in comparison.
Overall, Raids Again is not one of the higher tier Godzilla movies. It sounds good on paper, and many of the early scenes are quite good. Anguirus is a great creation and laid the groundwork for four-legged monsters. This film is monumental for a few reasons, it’s the first to have Godzilla battle another creature, it’s the first giant monster vs. giant monster story, and is the first movie to introduce Anguirus. Beyond those accomplishments however, lies a dull and formulaic story. If Ishiro Honda and Akira Ifukube had returned, chances are this would have been a much better watch.
Daniel is the guy for everything Godzilla related at Unleash the Fanboy. Besides the Big G himself, his favorite monster is Rodan and you can follow him on Twitter:@Destroyer_199