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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Godzilla Raids Again

Kayama Shigeru

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To purchase Godzilla Raids Again

Title: Godzilla Raids Again
Author: Kayama Shigeru
Genre: Novel
Written: 1955 (Eng. 2023)
Length: 105 pages
Original in: Japanese
Availability: in Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again - US
in Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again - UK
in Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again - Canada
in Godzilla - France
in Godzilla - Italia
from: Bookshop.org (US)
directly from: University of Minnesota Press
  • Godzilla in Osaka
  • Japanese title: ゴジラの逆襲
  • Translated and with an Afterword by Jeffrey Angles
  • Published in one volume with Godzilla

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Our Assessment:

B- : decent adventure, but a bit quick and thin

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Japan Times . 29/10/2023 Kris Kosaka
TLS . 1/12/2023 Bryan Karetnyk
The Washington Post . 23/10/2023 Patrick Macias

  From the Reviews:
  • "Overall, the novellas (which are aimed at middle-school readers) are entertaining and informative, even for those unfamiliar with the original films, although the stories sometimes falter with obvious characterizations or on-the-nose messaging." - Kris Kosaka, The Japan Times

  • "Though this prose version is structurally tighter and more coherent in some respects, Kayama makes little attempt to improve on the film sequel’s well-noted shortcomings. While slavishly following the screenplay down to the very details of camera angles (Kayama’s description of the destruction of Osaka Castle being one conspicuous case in point), the novelization does little to add depth to any of the characters and fails to resolve the fundamental tension between Godzilla’s anti-nuclear impetus and the sequel’s step away from its allegorical origins via the introduction of the second kaiju, named Anguirus. For all that it remains assuredly entertaining, bolstered by Kayama’s punchy, quick-paced prose." - Bryan Karetnyk, Times Literary Supplement

  • "Today’s readers should not go into the book versions of Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again expecting lost Japanese literary masterpieces on par with those by Yukio Mishima or Kobo Abe. It helps to remember that they were written by a pulp author and firmly aimed at young readers." - Patrick Macias, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Godzilla Raids Again is the sequel to Godzilla, published together with the original story. The original story was subtitled Godzilla in Tokyo, and here we find Godzilla in Osaka -- as, while the first Godzilla seemed to have been vanquished at the conclusion of the first novel, soon enough there's another sighting and encounter:

     "Godzilla ! It's gotta be. "
     "Godzilla ?!"
     "It must be ! It's got to be the same monster that attacked Tokyo."
       If the original story had ships first encountering the creature, here it is planes. And not only does Godzilla appear but, hot on his heels, there's another kaiju -- one that was: "covered with hard scales and probably measured something like forty or fifty meters in height".
       Professor Yamane realizes quickly what's happened: "Hydrogen bomb testing awakened not just Godzilla but also this other monster too -- Ankylosaurus" ("also known by the common name of Anguirus").
       As if its size weren't bad enough:
Moreover, the thing that is most remarkable about Anguirus is that unlike other animals, it had multiple brains in its body -- namely in its chest, abdomen, and elsewhere -- to maximize its speed and agility. Anguirus bore a fundamental hatred for other creatures. It was a gigantic, violent creature given to savage behavior.
       Just what one wants to waken from the deep ..... But at least it doesn't get along with Godzilla, but rather seems to be a combative rival.
       Godzilla is soon headed for Osaka and soon does his thing there:
     Osaka was burning. Flames, flames, flames were leaping up everywhere. From the high ground behind the city, the citizens of Osaka looked down, hardly knowing what to say or do. Everyone had gone completely pale.
     Bombs, cannons, and airplanes -- all the weapons proudly produced by the most advance, modern science -- had proved completely ineffective against the gigantic monster. All anyone could do was wring their hands and watch.
       Science fails against the forces of nature -- so what can fell Godzilla ? Perhaps some forces of nature ..... Aerial assistance in various forms helps things along, but ultimately nature takes its course -- though surely no one should feel too comfortable that that's the last they've heard of Godzilla, given the previous conditions he's survived under .....
       Godzilla Raids Again is a slightly more straightforward adventure story than Godzilla was, with Kayama not trying to force quite as much into it -- there's no terrible-fantastic scientific discovery like Dr.Serizawa's in the original story, for example -- and this has the advantage of making it feel less underdeveloped than the more ambitious original, and, as such, fictionally somewhat more satisfying. Godzilla is the more interesting of the two, but on a basic level Godzilla Raids Again is the better read.
       The second kaiju is an interesting plot twist, but here too Kayama is done with it much too quickly. There's a dramatic confrontation in Osaka -- complete with the two fighting beasts taking out Osaka Castle in one big "Crash ! Kaboom !" -- but the rivalry turns out to be relatively short-lived. Much like Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again feels too much like the film-novelization it basically is, rather than a full-fledged work of fiction.
       Published together with the original novel, and with an extensive Afterword by translator Jeffrey Angles as well as a 'Glossary of Names, Places, and Ideas' that is much more useful than this kind of thing usually is, the volume as a whole is certainly worthwhile and of interest -- but on its own Godzilla Raids Again just a decent adventure story and not much more.

- M.A.Orthofer, 23 September 2023

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Godzilla Raids Again: Reviews: Godzilla: Godzilla Strikes Back - the movie: Other books by Kayama Shigeru under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Japanese author Kayama Shigeru (香山滋) lived 1904 to 1975

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© 2023 the complete review

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