The Godzilla series is broken up into four major sections. The first of these, the Showa series, refers to all the films from 1954 to 1975. The second film in the Showa era and the second film over all, Godzilla Raids Again, is probably my least favorite of all 31 films in the franchise. It’s not an awful movie, it just isn’t very memorable.Released just one year later, Toho attempted to capitalize on the success Godzilla with this film. Future entries in this series, no matter how repetitive they get, always attempt to feel distinct. Godzilla Raids Again definitely has a bad case of sequelitis. Takashi Shimura returns as Dr. Yamane to lend the film credibility, but he is given nothing meaningful to say this. All he really contributes is to tell us that he was right in his assessment that another Godzilla would appear, but while in that film it was a warning about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, here it is literal. This film is without message or identity. Everything thing feels like it’s just trying to copy the last film, just not doing a very good job.
The film suffers from not having Ishiro Honda at the helm this time. Not that he is the only person qualified to direct a Godzilla film, but Motoyoshi Oda’s direction is very bland. The same great use of lighting is not employed. Unfortunately this shows my least favorite of Godzilla suits in all its awful splendor, with its mangled putty face.
Of course, I can understand the need to see the monster(s) this time around. Yes, that was the gimmick for this one. This was the first time Godzilla had a monster to fight, this time being Anguirus the spiked ankylosaurus. Not only was this a first for the franchise, this was the first time Kaiju battled it out, setting a precedent for an entire genre. They haven’t quite figured out the battles yet though, and they look awkward and sped up.
The battle between Anguirus and Godzilla is really all this movie has to offer. They battle it out in Osaka, which is really just an excuse to destroy all the landmarks of Japan’s other major city since Tokyo had already been checked off the list. The rest of the plot just meanders, and none of the characters make any sort of impression. It’s easy to forget who is who, and what is even happening half the time. Despite its place in the series for being the first of the films to establish the formula I love, this one is rather forgettable and I usually skip it. Unless you are a completionist like myself, you should too.