Mariners on fishing vessel Eiko-Maru see a bright light and boiling water. The ship sinks, while a distress signal is sent out. At Southern Seas Steamship Company, family and friends of the doomed ship are gathering for news. A second ship, the Bingo-Maru, arrives at the last known location of the Eiko-Maru, but it explodes and sinks as well.
A fishing boat finds three survivors, but sinks while taking them to Odo Island. At Odo Island, natives also rescue a survivor, floating on a raft near the shore. Masaji, a resident of the island, briefly wakes and says a monster sank the ship. An elder speculates the legendary “Godzilla must have done it,” but is met with skepticism. Later that night, during a fierce storm, Masaji is terrified as he looks out the window. Much of the village is destroyed, including the home of Masaji, who is killed.
Representatives from Odo Island arrive in Tokyo to testify about the tragedy before a committee of the Japanese Diet. Paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yamane proposes a fact finding mission to the island. Among those accompanying Yamane are his daughter Emiko and Hideto Ogata, the man she loves. Dr. Serizawa, who is arranged to be married to Emiko, is in the farewell party onshore.
The investigative team surveys the damage on Odo Island, finding radiation in many of the water wells, a giant, radioactive footprint and a recently dead trilobite, a shell-like creature thought to be extinct for millions of years. Suddenly, a giant prehistoric creature rises above a mountain. When the beast leaves, the islanders climb to the mountain’s precipice, only to find more giant footprints below on the beach. Yamane testifies that the creature, called Godzilla by the islanders, likely originated during the Jurassic period. He speculates it survived by eating deep sea animals, but nuclear weapons disrupted its natural habitat.
More ships disappear, and the government forms a Counter-Godzilla Headquarters. A naval fleet is dispatched to drop depth charges on Godzilla. Yamane laments the efforts, believing the monster is a significant scientific find. Revelers on a cruise ship are the first to see Godzilla in Tokyo Bay, who swims off into the ocean. Serizawa shows Emiko the Oxygen Destroyer. He uses it to kill a tank full of fish, but pledges Emiko to secrecy because he does not want its terrible power to be used against mankind.
Godzilla returns to Tokyo Bay, but this time comes ashore. Terrified residents cower as the creature smashes through an industrial sector before returning to the sea. An electrified fence is built in pretty short order around the coastal border of Tokyo. Ogata plans to ask Yamane to allow him to marry Emiko, but instead argues with the scientist about Godzilla. Yamane wants to study Godzilla, while Ogata wants the monster destroyed.
Godzilla arises from Tokyo Bay, crashing through and destroying the ineffectual electrified fence. Despite the best efforts of the Japanese military, the beast continues his destructive path through the city before swimming away. Tokyo is left in ruins. The landscape is broken, twisted, and ashen. Hospitals are overrun with the thousands of people who are dead, dying, or severely injured. Many have radiation poisoning.
Ogata, who has been told the secret of the oxygen destroyer, confronts Serizawa about using it against Godzilla. Following a brawl in the lab, and viewing scenes of the awful devastation on TV, Serizawa agrees to use the oxygen destroyer against Godzilla.
At the bottom of Tokyo Bay, Ogata and Serizawa find a slumbering Godzilla. He awakens and moves toward the pair. Ogata rises to the surface as Serizawa activates the oxygen destroyer. The water’s oxygen creates a frothy mix as it bubbles to the surface. Once he is certain it will kill Godzilla, Serizawa cuts his line to the ship above, the secret to the oxygen destroyer dying with him. Godzilla rises above the surface briefly, but sinks again. The oxygen destroyer searing away his flesh, and then his bones, leaving nothing behind.
Ogata tells Emiko that Serizawa’s last words were that he “wanted us to be happy.” As others celebrate Godzilla’s death, Yamane remains concerned that continued nuclear testing might cause other Godzillas to appear…
screenplay by Takeo Murata and Ishiro Honda
story by Shigeru Kayama
directed by Ishiro Honda
music by Akira Ifukube
Human Cast: Akira Takarada (Hideto Ogata), Momoko Kochi (Emiko Yamane), Akihiko Hirata (Serizawa), Takashi Shimura (Prof. Yamane)
Monster Cast: Godzilla
Notes: This is the original Japanese language version of Godzilla. The English language version is Godzilla, King Of The Monsters!.
LogBook entry by Robert Parson