Well, Godzilla certainly does Raid Again in this movie.
Godzilla Raids Again came out one year after Godzilla, which seems super fast, especially since the next movie, King Kong vs. Godzilla wouldn't come out until 1962. But the first movie did so well, that I guess they really wanted to jump on that. Good thinking.
This is the first Godzilla movie to feature another kaiju in it, a trend that will come to define the franchise in the years to come. This time, it's Anguirus, a dinosaur who fights Godzilla because, he's around I guess? It's unclear.
This movie also features a new director. While the first one was directed by Ishirō Honda, who will return to direct a ton of movies during the Shōwa period, this movie was helmed by Motoyoshi Oda. This was, apparently, the only film he directed that was shown outside of Japan.
But enough of the real world stuff, let's get to the giant monsters!
There is a Wizard of Oz style opening, before we see the sea. A pilot finds some fish in the sea, and tells the control room. The woman working there, Hidemi, tells a boat where the fish is. This operation is what's known as a cannery, where they catch and sell fish. This is a large scale operation, because Japan. Unlike the first movie, we meet most of our main characters pretty early in this movie. There's the pilot Tsukioka and his friend, another pilot named Kobayashi. Tsukioka is dating/engaged to the woman in the control room, Hidemi, who happens to be the daughter of Mr. Yamaji, the boss of the whole operation. So those are the main people to pay attention to. Already this movie has more characterization than the first one. The characters are interesting, and are making jokes and whatnot. It's nice.
Kobayashi's plane looses an engine, and he has to make an emergency landing on a nearby island. Hidemi tells Tsukioka to go help, and then tells Mr. Yamaji about all this. Tsukioka finds him and lands on the island, where more lively banter is exchanged. The film remembers that it is a kaiju movie, and has a giant monster attack! It's Godzilla, who, just like Emperor Kuzco, is supposed to be dead! He's already fighting something, the first time G fights another monster in the series, though certainly not the last. Also, the two men know about Godzilla, which is some neat continuity. It totally makes sense, but I wouldn't have been surprised if they were like, "What the hell is that?" It's the first hint that the world has changed due to a giant monster attacking.
Godzilla and the other kaiju fight, and accidentaly fall over a cliff into the ocean, presenting the pilots with the opportunity to escape. Back in Osaka, Kobayashi and Tsukioka go to the police, which is certainly a choice. They have a good old fashioned police line up, but with pictures of dinosaurs. They're looking for the dude that was fighting our boy, and they find it in an Ankylosaurus, or Anguirus for short. And thus, the first of the Godzilla monsters (besides G himself) was born. Also, YAMANE'S BACK, BABY! Our favorite paleontologist returns in a Jeff Goldblum-style cameo to warn everyone about the dangers of Godzilla. This is done through a silent film of a lot of the money shots of Godzilla destroying Tokyo. Also, I noticed that the book they are looking through is written in English, which is interesting.
We get some interesting information about the kaiju in this scene, such as the fact that Godzilla lived between 70-150 million years ago, that Anguirus is between 150-200 ft. tall, and it has its brain stretched across its thorax and abdomen, granting it increase reflexes and response time. All of this comes from a report written by a Dr. Piotr Hodor, whom I can only assume is a large man carrying Brandon Stark around Winterfell. Most importantly, we learn that THIS GODZILLA IS A DIFFERENT CREATURE THAN GODZILLA OF THE FIRST MOVIE! They are two of the same species. I really don't know how I feel about that, but I'll discuss it later.
They come up with a plan to figure out where Godzilla and Anguirus are, find out where they are going to land ashore, and evacuate that area. They also determine that G hates light, as it likely reminds him of the H-bombs that woke him. Maybe that can use flare lights to lure him back out to sea. There's a nice, character driven scene between Tsukioka and Hidemi, before the pilots go out searching for the kaiju. They find them. There are a few scenes in this movie, where people go out to do something, and then do it with no event. This is one of them. They find Godzilla and Anguirus, and keep track of them. Good job.
Back in Osaka, Tsukioka and Hidemi go to a dance. It's a nice, slow scene, that is interrupted by an announcement that Godzilla is about to land there, and that the city is being evacuated. This is the kind of stuff I love: The lives of the people being affected by giant monsters in a personal way. Osaka goes on blackout, while the military rolls in. Godzilla also rolls in, and the Operation Flare Lures commences as the city is being evacuated. The flares are actually working, but as G turns, he uses Tail Whip against a nearby lighthouse, and It's Super Effective! Hopefully that wasn't the lighthouse Aquaman's dad lived in. Topical humor!
Kobayashi tells Tsukioka that the boss is at the cannery, so they go there. Hidemi is left behind, because girl. What follows is a bizarre subplot about some escaping convicts that exists solely to cause a giant fire, which could have just happened naturally in the confusion, but what the hell. We're doing this. So, apparently, there is a van transferring some prisoners out of the city, since they are evacuating. I guess the prisoners were prepared for this because they use this opportunity to stage their escape. One of them blocks the wall, while the rest knock out the guard by the back door, and take his gun. They shoot out the back, causing the van to stop, and the prisoners run away, with the guards giving chase. Some of the no-longer-prisoners steal a car. To tie this all back to the main characters, the guards stop Tsukioka and Kobayashi as they are driving through, and command them to follow that car! A long, slow car chase commences, which ends in a huge way. The convicts' toy car accidentally crashes into some kind of plant (the industrial kind, not the Poison Ivy kind). It explodes for some reason, causing a massive fire, which Godzilla sees and turns back to the city. And that is the reason for all of that.
The army pulls out all stops in firing at Godzilla, using tanks, as well as other tanks. G atomic breaths a plane out of the air, which is pretty awesome. All this commotion summons my boy Anguirus, who sees G and is all "This town ain't big enough for the one of us...", and there commences a clash of titans, backdropped incredibly by the explosion of the military weapons. It's a really neat sequence, with some incredible shots, including the one where Godzilla breaths atomic breath on Anguirus, while a cityscape erupts in flames behind them. During this fight, I'm struck by the fact that the Titan fights contain no sound. There's roaring and shrieks (love Anguirus's roar, by the way), but no punch sound effects. The fifties, man. What can you do? Also, the fact of the rubber suits that the monsters are in is very apparent in these kaiju fights. So that's interesting.
There are a lot more tail whips, that destroy a lot more buildings accidentally. Some of the escaped convicts run right into G and A's fight, and turn back the other way, into the subway tunnels. But they can't catch a break, because the fight breaks open the tunnel, causing a flood! Poor criminals. There is a bizarre shot of a building shattering, before being destroyed by G shoving A through it. I don't know if that was supposed to be something weird, or just some jumpy editing. The end of the fight really made me feel bad for Anguirus, too. I don't know if this was intentional, but he just seemed sad, and was really getting his ass handed to him in the end. G finishes the fight by first biting A in the neck and wrestling him to the ground, then, when it seems he's down for the count, friggin atomic breath, baby! That's a straight up double tap, just to be sure. And just like that, the battle is over.
A newscaster tells us that the "Battle of the Century is over". The last movie used that phrase a lot, too. "Scientist of the Century", "Story of the Century". Not sure what that's about, but interesting. Also, the newsman says that Godzilla is "pacified" after defeating Anguirus, and heads back to the ocean. Everyone meets up in the ruined set of the controller room, which is really cool to see. Apparently, no one can find G, and Mr. Yamaji decides to keep the business afloat (no pun intended) by using another cannery as their base of operation, sending Kobayashi there. Hidemi is (again) made to stay behind, to help rebuild the destroyed office. There is more witty banter.
Time passes, as represented by some helpful snow. From the new location (Hokkaido), Kobayashi goes out to look for fish, and one of their boats gets a report of cod nearby, as Kobayashi flies overhead. Things seem fine until you realize that there is still a half-hour left in this movie. That's what I wrote initially, but then the movie decides to just have that be a scene. They seriously go out to look for fish, find some, and then return home. Okay, movie. Okay.
Hidemi and Tsukioka arrive at Hokkaido and call Kobayashi back so they can all celebrate. Kobayashi references someone else being excited to see them, but doesn't say who, leaving Tsukioka and Hidemi to ponder who it might be. This strange mystery has an equally bizarre payoff in that it turns out to be a few of Tsukioka's college friends we've never met before, leading me to wonder what this plot-line is doing in this movie. They all go to a restaraunt to celebrate. The movie again remembers that it has "Godzilla" in the title, and the beast makes his return into the plot by sinking one of the company's ship. The next morning, Tsukioka and a few others go out, looking for it. Hidemi tells T to come back, due to the weather, but he refuses.
There's been this weird sub-plot this whole time about Kobayashi wanting a bride to marry, and recently, he's been talking about this one girl. Whenever he talks about her, he holds up a book/diary thing, and Hidemi is very interested see what's in it, but he keeps saying no. Now, there is a scene where Hidemi, despite being nervous for Tsukioka, forgets that and has a warm and friendly scene with Kobayashi, who wants to know what women want. He still has his women notebook. Meanwhile, at the plot, Tsukioka finds Godzilla, but Hidemi forbids him from following him out too far. Kobayashi volunteers to go out and take over Tsukioka's shift, and, like so many scene's before, that happens. He does leave behind his diary, which ostensibly has a picture of the girl he likes in it. Hidemi can't resist looking at it, which is a big no-no. She sees the picture, and I'm pretty sure that is is a picture of Hidemi herself, but I don't know for sure, because it's never referenced or talked about again.
Godzilla lands on a nearby island. Tsukioka sees Kobayashi, and heads returns to land. K tells the military that they have to trap Godzilla on the island. They all fly back out. Hidemi, again, stays behind.
Kobayashi sees G heading back toward the ocean, and knows that reinforcements won't get there in time, so to lure him back to land, he flies down close to the beast. The military arrives and starts dropping bombs on Godzilla, a ton of them. It isn't working, and Kobayashi flies in close again. This time, G gets the upper hand, and atomic breaths K's plane. This destroys the plane and he crashes into the side of an icy mountain, killing Kobayashi and causing an avalanche. Tsukioka sees this and is sad, but it also gives him an idea. They can bury Godzilla in an avalanche! The military begins planning the dangerous manuever of flying at a mountain, shooting it with missiles, and then pulling up into a steep climb to avoid crashing into the mountain.
The first part of the plan is to load a bunch of drums of gasoline onto the island and fire at them, causing a big fire that will keep G in place. This happens successfully, and Tsukioka flies in to shoot the mountain. This, too, is successful, and G blasts a few more planes out of the sky as he is being buried under the ice, bringing his raid to an end. Tsukioka says goodbye to Kobayashi, telling him that they were victorious.
So, I really like this movie a lot better than the first one for two main reasons. 1. Godzilla is fighting another monster, instead of just destroying things by himself. That's cooler. 2. The human element is a lot more interesting in this movie than in the other. Everyone is this movie is wittier and funnier, and I care more about their interactions. So that's great!
I've decided I don't like the fact that this is a second Godzilla. This means that Godzilla is a race of creatures, not just one big thing. I prefer it the other way, but whatever. Probably they weren't thinking of the character's longevity when they wrote the first one. I'm hoping that in future movies, this Godzilla is the one that returns, and Raids Again. The ending, which featured Godzilla getting buried in an avalanche, seems really easy to undo. He can probably get out of that pretty easily, I'm not really worried about that.
This movie also features the first other kaiju, Anguirus. He seemed neat. More so than Godzilla, he just seemed like a dinosaur. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Like I mentioned, I really liked his roar. He moved really fast, which was, in some scenes, comical, but neat. I liked the fights between the monsters, even if I did constantly find myself distracted thinking about the two men in suits flailing blindly at each other on a sound stage.
That said, I thought this movie handled scale really well. It really did seem like these were giant beasts fighting against the back-drop of the city. Especially scenes where people were running around in the foreground. Good job, movie.
I would be remiss not to talk about Hidemi. She gets left behind a lot, which is annoying, but since about 95% of this movie was flying around, and she wasn't a pilot, I guess it's fine. I really did wish, though, that we saw her at the end, at least with Tsukioka returning to her after the final fight. That would have been some nice closure. Weird stuff about the Kobayashi story-line too. If it was Hidemi in that picture, then there was a straight up love triangle in this movie! That's cool. I guess there was in the first one, too, but Dr. Serizawa didn't seem to be too interested in all that, so I don't really count it.
So that's Godzilla Raids Again. I liked it a lot better than the first one, sorry if that's a controversial opinion. I thought it was funnier than the first one, the effects were cooler, and there was, like, two times the amount of giant monsters, so that alone is enough. Good job, Godzilla Raids Again' Good job.
Thanks for reading along, and make sure to tune in next week where we are leaving Godzilla buried for a while, as we cover 156's Rodan, who will be featured in 2019's King of the Monsters. See you then, everybody.