Guys in rubber monster suits beating the tar out of each other? It doesn't get much more b-movie than that. While the Japanese kaiju (giant monster) genre has produced scads of films of widely varying quality, Gojira no gyakushûor Godzilla Raids Again, just now making its first appearance on DVD from Classic Media, is one of the best. Produced in 1955 as a quickie sequel to 1954's Gojira (released stateside in a heavily edited form as Godzilla: King of the Monsters), this first of many Godzilla sequels was the last to be shot in black and white and began the long standing tradition of the Big G battling other monsters. This DVD release carries both the original Japanese version, and the greatly altered U.S. release version.
In the original Japanese cut, a pilot named Kobayashi (Minoru Chiaki) scouting schools of tuna for a fishing company runs into trouble and is forced to ditch his plane near a remote Japanese island. Kobayashi's friend Tsukioka (Hiroshi Koizumi who also appeared in 1974's Godzilla Vs. the Cosmic Monster, Godzilla 1985 and 2003's Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) flies to the rescue, and finds his colleague safe and sound. Before the two men can leave the island, they witness two massive creatures battling ferociously, and they recognize one of the monsters as Godzilla. Despite the limitations of the time, the scene in which we first see the monsters is an impressive effects shot, giving a convincing sense of scale to the beasts. The two creatures go tumbling into the ocean and the men fly home and report their findings. It is determined that this second Godzilla (the first having been destroyed in the previous film) is a member of the same species as the original, while the other monster Anguiras, a nuclear age version of the ankylosaur, was obviously awakened by the same hydrogen bomb tests that roused the Godzilla creatures. With the exposition out of the way, it isn't long before the two creatures come ashore in Osaka and wreak havoc, at least sparing Tokyo this time.