Toho Master Collection: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Godzilla Raids Again DVD case
Godzilla Raids Again DVD case
Released the year after the 1954 debut of Gojira, Godzilla Raids again is the second movie to feature the giant radioactive dinosaur and follows in the narrative footsteps of the first Godzilla movie. It is gritty and far more of a horror movie than the later movies are, especially the late 60’s early 70’s movies. The 70’s were not kind to Godzilla.

The Americanized version starts with shots of atomic bomb testing and a narrative voice over that details the awesomeness of the bomb and some of its impact upon the environment. Not a lot though. Mostly it was to set the stage for the monsters. The narrator doesn’t really delve into the horrors of radiation or fallout.

The Japanese view the atomic bomb far differently than American audiences. The Japanese know the horrors of being on the receiving end of atomic bombs. In America, Las Vegas Nevada to be precise, tourism actually sprang up around atomic bomb testing.

Would that I were joking:

Color Postcard from the Horseshoe Hotel Las Vegas Nevada circa 1950's from the Oregon State University Library
Color Postcard of the Horseshoe Club, Las Vegas Nevada circa 1950’s Postcard image from the Oregon State University Library

Yeah. Come see the Atomic Bomb. It’ll be grand fun.

Check out these links: Nuclear Tourism

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The Japanese didn’t have to belabor the horrors. The Lucky Dragon 5 incident happened right before the first Godzilla was released. An unfortunate fishing boat caught too close to top secret nuclear bomb testing at the Bikini Atoll. Godzilla Raids Again, the original version begins with two spotters flying planes for a Japanese fishing fleet.

It is worth watching the original version of this movie. The tone is quite different right from the beginning with the spotters who open the movie.

One of the pilots, a Mr. Kobayshi, experiences engine trouble and crashes his plane on a small, mountainous island. His friend goes to retrieve him, making a water landing and rushing ashore to help his friend.

Since Godzilla had been thought dead at the end of the first movie in the franchise, through the use of the oxygen destroyer and noble sacrifice of Dr. Serizawa who invented it, imagine their horror when Godzilla suddenly appears behind a ridge.

Godzilla vs Anguirus
Godzilla vs Anguirus
Worried company officials and the military immediately being to plan defenses to use against Godzilla. Their concern is that he will once again march through Tokyo. Anguirus makes his first appearance in this movie, drawn by the very defenses that were supposed to deter Godzilla. The King of The Monsters takes great offense at Anquirus infringing on his territory. There is an epic and quite brutal monster fight that devastates Osaka. Godzilla actually kills Anguirus at the end of the battle and leaves Osaka in smoking ruins.

This heightens the citizens need to do something to protect their cities and lands from Godzilla. As with the original 1954 Godzilla movie there is a tragic love story where the love interest sacrifices himself to stop Godzilla. His sacrifice gives the military the answer to stopping Godzilla if not killing him. The solution is to bomb the high ridges of the mountains on the small island and bury the monster under an avalanche of ice and snow. And it works! So once again Godzilla has wreaked havoc on Japan and once again they have stopped him.

The special effects in this movie hold up very well even after all these years. During the monster battle there are buildings that are knocked over and the models are so detailed that the viewer can see interior walls and floors as the buildings collapse.

Godzilla looks like a creature mutated by the horrifying effects of the atomic bomb. The model planes and bombs at times showed their age but other than that the only thing that stood out was the ice in the avalanche occasionally looked like it came out of an ice machine. This movie holds up well, even on an HD television. The film quality shows its age with a few spots and lines here and there but not too many. I didn’t watch the blu-ray version. Instead I watched the Toho Master Collection version which I picked up several years ago on sale.

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