Godzilla Raids Again is not only a pivotal movie in the franchise, but for kaiju movies in general. This is due to the fact that it is the first movie where two kaiju fight each other, a theme that would become synonymous with most all kaiju flicks to follow. Let’s dive right into this revolutionary flick!
Godzilla Raids Again wastes little time introducing the second monster, as the first time we lay eyes on Godzilla he engaged in fisticuffs with Anguirus on the island of Iwato. We observe the engagement mid-battle, never knowing what intellectual difference created the ruckus. The brief fight ends when the two fall into the sea and presumably settle their argument over a beer in the Pacific (probably Pacifico beer).
The next time we see Godzilla he is poking his head up in Osaka Bay. We should probably back up here for some knowledge from the movie’s science talking guy. He tells us that Godzilla was awoken by hydrogen bomb tests. From Godzilla’s* first “raid” they learned that he does not like lights. They hilariously conclude that it is due to the bad memories of the previously mentioned hydrogen bomb testing. Knowing that they cannot stop him, their plan is to blackout Osaka and lead Godzilla away from the city with flares floating down from the sky. Because, as everyone knows, you chase what angers you.
This plan works well enough, until there is an unrelated explosion in Osaka. Godzilla turns away from the flares and the raid is on! Yet, Godzilla hardly gets time to raid Osaka before his nemesis, Anguirus, comes up behind him. The two kaiju get right to it and began rastlin’. This is by far the highlight of the movie. (Later on being dubbed by a news reporter as “The Battle of the Century!”) The two do little other than wrestle (periodically they bite at each other). Osaka gets demolished as a result of their shenanigans. Basically the same scene keeps repeating itself in all of its glory: The two kaiju wrestle near a large building or two, their wresting causes the building(s) to collapse, the camera focuses on some humans, then back to the kaiju near some other buildings, repeat. It is movie magic!
After wearing down his opponent, Godzilla chomps on the back of Anguirus’ neck, locks down and kill his foe. So it goes. After Godzilla releases his jaws, Anguirus tumbles to the shore, where Godzilla proceeds to light him on fire (via mouth-fire-spray-thing), along with most of Osaka. Then, as a human observer notes, seemingly satisfied with his work, Godzilla returns to sea. You may be wondering, why did Godzilla not whip out the fire earlier in the fight? He did try this, but alive-Anguirus was impervious to it. Apparently, dead-Anguirus turns to gasoline or something like the same.
After this encounter, Godzilla takes a long hiatus. After much searching, the humans find him on a remote, mountainous island. It is there that the humans use planes to bomb the mountains, creating avalanches that (lamely) bury Godzilla. The End.
How do our kaiju stack up in Godzilla Raids Again? We will start with the newcomer, Anguirus. Anguirus is one rough customer. He is “four-legged,” with a back that may be a shell, but is definitely covered in spikes. His head is also adorned with a smattering of spikes for good measure**. Aside from his appearance, we learn from his short life that Anguirus likes to brawl. Sure he could have let Godzilla tire himself out with destroying Osaka, then got at him. That is not Anguirus’ style. The dude wants to
fight wrestle. Sure it leads to his demise, but you have to love his pizazz. On the down side, Anguirus’ life is prematurely extinguished. He does not even make it to the third act of the movie (an act that could have desperately used him). Also, as mentioned above, he is “four-legged.” Anguirus is not exactly a marvel of evolution. His two hind legs are clearly built to stand upright, yet Anguirus opts to rumble on his front legs and his back knees. Additionally, Anguirus has no weapon. He is just a brawler. Despite his shortcomings, Anguirus delivers some personality in a very limited role, thus earning one Reagan:
This was Godzilla’s second showing (and second Godzilla for that matter) and it was not as strong as the first. The most prominent error that Godzilla showed was in his downfall. Cornered in a canyon on an island, Godzilla allows himself to get trapped from avalanche after slow avalanche. The speed at which the avalanches were coming down would have made it easy to keep stepping on top of the ice/snow. Instead, he stays put and eventually gets covered. Also, he was cornered in the canyon because the humans lit the entrance of it on fire. I am a little skeptical on how a beast who shoots fire from his mouth and romps around burning cities, could be afraid to break through a small fire and return to the ocean. And it was daylight, so the “angry at light” argument holds no water here. On the flip side, Godzilla lays a beatdown on his foe and leaves a devastated Osaka with much aplomb. It was a work of art how he killed Anguirus, lit him and the city on fire, then strolled back into the sea. Great stuff, and good enough to overcome his slip ups and earn two Reagans:
*I was really wondering if they were going to ignore the fact that Godzilla had turned into a skeleton in the first one and pass this one off as the original. However, they clear up early on that this is a second Godzilla. (I understand that being “a Godzilla” means that the “G” in Godzilla should not be capitalized, yet his name is also Godzilla – thus keeping with the identity crisis that many kaiju must face.)
**Early on, it is also mentioned that Anguirus has a brain in his breast and abdomen that makes him react quicker. You would think that this would come up later in the movie. It does not.