Updated: Jan 19, 2019
With Gojira being successful, Tanaka went ahead in starting on a sequel. This is the first movie Godzilla fights another monster. The movie was released less than six months after the first movie's release.
Godzilla Raids Again uses a Godzilla suit similar to the suit in the first movie. It was slimmed down to fit Nakajima to make the acting process and simple moving more comfortable. It would also allow Nakajima to move more violently in battle scenes. Tsuburaya wanted the fight scenes to be shot in slow motion, but the camera technician accidentally shot it in fast pace making the action appear faster. Tsuburaya liked the effect and used the fast paced shots in the film. The movie was released in Japan on April 24, 1955 and is TOHO Company's fourth highest grossing film of the year domestically and 10th highest grossing Japanese release domestically.
When it was time to bring it to the United States, the Howard A. Anderson Company decided instead of dubbing the film to English, the movie was going to be remade with the title The Volcano Monsters. The North American rights to Godzilla Raids Again was purchased by producers Harry Rybnick, Richard Kay, Edward Barison, Paul Schreibman, and Edmund Goldman. The story was going to be similar, but was about a T-Rex and an Ankylosaur fighting each other and then were brought to San Fransisco where they escape and fight each other again. TOHO Company approved of the idea and shipped the Godzilla and Anguirus suits out to Hollywood so the filmmakers could shoot additional scenes, but by the time the suits arrived the company closed their doors and the suits were shipped back to TOHO. Then, Warner Bros. acquired the rights and changed the title to Gigantis The Fire Monster to make the audience believe that Godzilla in the movie is a whole new monster. Many scenes from the original were cut from the American version of the film and replaced the music with public domain stock music and Godzilla's roar was replaced with Anguirus's roars. Interestingly, George Takei, best known to play Lt. Sulu from Star Trek, was one of the actors that helped dub the film, but was uncredited. It would be one of George Takei's first works in the film industry.
At the end of Gojira, Dr. Yamane stated that if the ocean is left unchecked then another Godzilla would appear. In Godzilla Raids Again, that is exactly what happened, but this time Godzilla is not alone. The ankylosaur like monster, Anguirus, has also awakened and the two fight each other because Anguirus is said to be very aggressive. It was discovered that lights attracted Godzilla and planned to use flares to attract Godzilla away from Osaka. The plan was working, but while a police truck was escorting some prisoners, the prisoners break out and crash the truck. A few of the prisoners finds a gas truck and they use it to escape, but the truck crashes into an industrial building causing a large fire. The fire not only attracted Godzilla back to Osaka, but also attracted Anguirus as well and the two of them fight to the death.
Godzilla Raids Again is the first "versus" movie which will start the trend of movies that feature Godzilla fighting with other monsters. This movie can either be good or watchable at best depending on the version. The original Japanese version is just better all around. I even watched the American version first and it was so hard to watch that it almost put me to sleep. This has to do with the American version narrating everything that is happening in every scene. It literally spoon-feeds almost every single detail that is happening despite the fact that I already know what is happening and the person's voice is so irritating to listen to. Despite saying that the original was more serious only somewhat says something. While it was taken more seriously than the American version, it was not as serious as Gojira/Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. It was just to show that Dr. Yamane's fears of another Godzilla came to life and another monster just so happened to be there at the same time making the situation worse. This time around, most of the destruction in Osaka was caused by the escaped convicts with the fire at the warehouse, but Godzilla still got the blame for it anyways because of the fight. The fight scenes are what I looked forward to most and at least that stayed the same in American version. The added scenes in the American version did not improve the movie at all and the extra scenes were added just to make the movie look like it's another movie when it really isn't and it looks tacky and cheap.
Godzilla Raids Again is one movie that many should check out, but I only recommend watching the original rather than the American version. If anything, I would really want to see this movie get a proper remastered version with proper English dubbing and without the tacked on narration and extra scenes.
I already reviewed King Kong vs. Godzilla in my Kong-athon review. If you wish to read this review then you may read it by clicking here: Kong-athon: King Kong vs. Godzilla