The arrogance of man is thinking that nature is in our control. and not the other way around. Let them fight. „ 

— Serizawa to William Stenz

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Ishirō Serizawa (芹沢猪四郎,   Serizawa Ishirō?) was a scientist character created by Legendary Pictures that first appeared in the 2014 Godzilla graphic novel, Godzilla: Awakening, before making his first live-action appearance in the film, Godzilla. He returned in the 2019 sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Personality

Nature always has a way of balancing itself. The only question is, what part will we play? „ 

— Ishiro to Mark Russell

Dr. Serizawa is a somewhat stoic individual with a deep respect for the organisms he studies. He himself states that he admires all forms of life. He deeply admires the Titans, especially Godzilla, regarding them as physical forces of nature itself. He was visibly outright regretful when he realized the male MUTO was about to hatch and ordered it killed. After the MUTO hatched unscathed despite the attempt to kill it and wiped out most of the Monarch personnel at Janjira merely by breaking free, Serizawa realized that the MUTOs, Godzilla and other creatures like them are simply beyond humanity's ability to control or kill, with subsequent attempts to the contrary by the military effectively verifying his beliefs.

Serizawa believes that Godzilla's existence is in the good of nature, and that Godzilla acts to restore balance when it is disrupted by other Titans. To this end, Serizawa believes that the best and wisest thing humanity can do in the face of the Titans' increasing emergence is let Godzilla and the other Titans fight to restore natural balance among themselves, rather than attempt to intervene with nuclear weaponry and the Oxygen Destroyer in forces that are beyond humans' control. He was disgusted upon discovering King Ghidorah was an alien lifeform and dubbed him "a false king", likely because it meant Ghidorah had even less right to ruling the planet than humanity besides Ghidorah's capacity to destroy the planet's balance permanently. Serizawa is very critical of the human race, particularly their scant regard for the rest of nature and fallacious attempts to dominate forces which are beyond their understanding all because of a sense of human planetary dominance which is proving false in the wake of the Titans' reemergence. Having been taught by his father the value of mankind co-existing with nature, Serizawa believes that coexistence with the emerging Titans is very much possible following the MUTO crisis.

However, Serizawa is by no means dismissive of human life. Besides his reluctant decision to kill the male MUTO and prevent it posing a threat when it hatched, he was concerned about evacuating the people of Isla de Mara when Rodan was set free, and he criticized Emma Russell for risking billions of lives. Serizawa is notably empathetic towards those who've experienced and are driven by personal loss to the Titans, such as Joseph Brody and Mark Russell. With his father having been a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, Serizawa was very much against the use of nuclear weaponry against the Titans, seemingly not just due to his beliefs about man and nature but also because of the shadow the bomb had cast on Japan and humanity, sincerely pleading more than once with Admiral Stenz to not go through with the plan to use a hydrogen bomb during the 2014 crisis.

Though he is secretive about his past, he loved and respected his father Eiji, so ever since he died, Ishirō keeps his father's broken pocket watch as a keepsake and reminder of humanity's hubris at Hiroshima.

Relationships

Diane Foster

Serizawa has a more cooperative relationship with Foster than with Stenz. The colonel respected and adhered to Serizawa's demand that her men stand down when Godzilla approached Castle Bravo despite her own judgement to the contrary.

Emma Russell

It's implied that Serizawa knew Emma somewhat well while she was with Monarch, knowing that she was the one who named Ghidorah "Monster Zero". When she contacted the Argo after releasing Ghidorah in Antarctica, Serizawa expressed a rare moment of genuine outrage towards her, criticizing her plan for involving meddling with the Titans and gambling with billions of human lives.

Godzilla

Although they almost never interacted, Serizawa possesses deep and profound respect for Godzilla, the Titan whom his father encountered and whom Monarch was founded because of. He firmly regards Godzilla as the physical manifestation of nature's way of restoring balance in the face of other, more hostile Titans who might threaten that balance. At the end of the 2014 MUTO crisis, Serizawa was somewhat morose when it appeared Godzilla had died, and was subsequently thrilled when the Titan made a recovery and peacefully left the ruins and survivors alone. Serizawa was visibly saddened when Godzilla was seemingly killed by the Oxygen Destroyer. When he and the others onboard the USS Scorpion were forced to deliver a nuclear weapon to Godzilla in person at the cost of one of their lives, Serizawa volunteered himself for the task. During the task, Serizawa took some comfort in dying saving the life of the Titan he regarded so highly and who had shaped him and his father, tearfully bidding farewell to his “old friend”.

Joseph Brody

Serizawa and Joe Brody didn't get the chance to interact directly before the latter's untimely death. Serizawa was surprised that Joe managed to recover data from the day of the Janjira meltdown where he'd prviously thought all the data lost, and he was visibly empathetic when Joe made it clear he was motivated by the death of his wife at Janjira over a decade earlier.

Mark Russell

Despite Mark's abrasive attitude, hatred of the Titans and belief that Serizawa was foolish for believing they were anything other than malevolent monsters, Serizawa could clearly see the undercurrent of grief, and thus for the most part was nothing but patient with Mark. After Godzilla's death, an affected Serizawa finally called Mark out by softly hissing at him in front of the other key Monarch operatives, "Looks like you got your wish, Mark." Despite this, when preparing to sacrifice himself, Serizawa consoled Mark about the latter's previous loss and about Godzilla, and he notably chose to hand his notes over to Mark before sacrificing himself; suggesting he saw something special in Mark.

Vivienne Graham

After Serizawa recruited Graham into Monarch, he was impressed by her remarkable talent and passion. Over time, the two intellectuals' relationship grew from a mentorship into a very close partnership. Serizawa was visible helping Vivienne to her feet immediately after the brush with Godzilla in Castle Bravo. When Ghidorah devoured Vivienne, Serizawa fell to his knees in horror, and was visibly grieving her death some hours later on the USS Argo. According to the King of the Monsters novelization, Serizawa vowed after Vivienne's death that she would never be replaced.[2]

William Stenz

Despite not knowing him before the MUTO crisis, Dr. Serizawa mutually respects Admiral Stenz from early on and appears somewhat understanding of Stenz's job and position. Despite Stenz lacking Serizawa's beliefs about nature and not always listening to him, Serizawa clearly sees Stenz as a reasonable man; attempting to talk the admiral out of using a nuke on Godzilla and the MUTOs, privately telling Stenz about his pocket watch in relation to his objection to using the nuke, and sharing a look with Stenz during the senate hearing years later.

History

Godzilla: Awakening

Before the bombing of Hiroshima, Ishirō Serizawa was born in 1945 to Japanese sailor Eiji Serizawa and his wife. After the atomic bomb fell, Eiji found Ishirō alone in the ruins of Hiroshima and left him with his grandparents in Kyoto for the next several years. Ishirō went on to achieve a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Tokyo, and a Ph.D. in Elemental Biology from the University of Oxford.

In 1980, Ishirō visited his father in Tokyo when he called him urgently. Eiji began telling him things he said he would tell him when he was older: That he didn't work for a cargo company and in reality worked for a secretive government unit. Then Ishirō learned about Shinomura and Gojira. He attended his father's funeral the next year in 1981 and was approached by his father's old friend, Shaw. Knowing why Shaw's there, Serizawa said he's ready and joined Monarch on June 12.

Post-Awakening

In the late 1980s, Serizawa was introduced to Landsat employee Rick Stanton by colleague Dr. Houston Brooks, as whispers of the 1973 secret mission to Skull Island piqued Stanton's curiosity. Knowing a true believer when he sees one, Serizawa offered Stanton a job at Monarch shortly afterward and Stanton joined in 1989. In 1997, during a speaking engagement at Oxford University, Serizawa noticed paleobiology doctorate candidate Dr. Vivienne Graham. She joined Monarch two years later and Serizawa became her mentor. Impressed by her talent and passion, their dynamic evolved into a close partnership. In the same year, Serizawa and Dr. Graham are called to the Philippines to investigate a collapsed mine. There, they discover the skeleton of a long-dead member of Godzilla's species along with two giant spores, one of which has hatched.

In 2005, Monarch detected a sonic pulse wave signal originating from Boston similar to a previously recorded Titan song. Believing the signal to be the sign of a new Titan emerging, Serizawa, Dr. Graham, and a field team are dispatched to investigate. They follow the signal to a lab at MIT and find Drs. Mark and Emma Russell testing their prototype of the ORCA, a potentially revolutionary device that could change the face of interspecies communication. Two years later, as the couple continues to make breakthroughs with their research, they are both brought into Monarch.[3]

Godzilla

Nature has an order. A power to restore balance. I believe he is that power. „ 

— Ishirō to Ford Brody, about Godzilla

In the 15 years following the 1999 Janjira power plant incident, Serizawa, Graham, and a team of Monarch scientists study the male MUTO while it is cocooned and feeding on the plant's reactor. After the MUTO breaks free from its cocoon and destroys Monarch's research facility, Serizawa and Graham are taken aboard the USS Saratoga to help the U.S. military, under the command of Admiral William Stenz, hunt and destroy the MUTO.

After discovering that Godzilla has resurfaced, Serizawa believes that he has risen to kill the MUTO, which was his kind's natural enemy. Serizawa is proven correct when Godzilla swims underneath the Saratoga and confronts the MUTO in Honolulu. After both Godzilla and the MUTO leave Honolulu, Serizawa begins studying the MUTO's echolocation patterns more carefully. Serizawa concludes that the MUTO was communicating with a female --the dormant spore - which at this point was moved to a nuclear waste repository in Nevada. A team of soldiers is sent to the facility in Nevada and discovers that the female has hatched and is attacking Las Vegas.

When the military forms a plan to lure all three monsters offshore and try to kill them with a nuclear warhead, Serizawa protests, claiming that the bomb will have no effect on the monsters and that Godzilla is only there to kill the MUTOs and restore balance. Serizawa's pleas fall on deaf ears however and the military carries out the plan, which fails after the male MUTO steals the armed warhead and delivers it to the female at their nest in the center of San Francisco. After this, Admiral Stenz agrees to Dr. Serizawa's plan to withdraw military effort to destroy the MUTO and let Godzilla handle them. After Stenz refocused military efforts to extracting the bomb, Serizawa tells an extraction team that the MUTOs have likely laid eggs underground and are keeping the warhead there.

After the battle, Serizawa and Graham gather around the seemingly dead body of Godzilla in the ruins of San Francisco. When Godzilla stirs and returns to the ocean, Serizawa looks up in joy as the monster he has dedicated so many years of his life to studying returns to his home in peace.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Sometimes, the only way to heal our wounds is to make peace with the demons who created them. „ 

— Ishiro to Mark Russell

If Godzilla is King of the Monsters, Ishirō Serizawa is Monarch royalty. Son of founding father Eiji Serizawa, his family legacy has been woven into the very fabric of Monarch’s DNA from its inception.

Born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Serizawa grew up in the aftermath of the unimaginable tragedy that first awoke Titanus Gojira, forging a powerful bond between man and monster that has become the driving force in his life. His father taught him to respect the harmony between man and nature from an early age, core values of co-existence that he would embody as Monarch’s guiding principal. He still carries his father’s pocket watch with him, a broken timepiece that reminds him of the ultimate price of mankind’s destructive nature.

Serizawa is a man of quiet reserve, fond of the classical works of Wagner and the poetry of Matsuo Bashō. He dedicated his life to Titan study and preservation at a time when the mere idea of their existence was nothing more than a punchline at the end of a cryptozoological funding proposal. When Godzilla revealed himself to the world in 2014 the laughter stopped, and desperate governments turned to him as humanity’s leading authority on creatures thought to be myth. Now when Serizawa speaks, the world listens.

A revered figure in the scientific community, it was during a speaking engagement at Oxford University in 1997 that he first discovered a brilliant doctoral candidate in paleobiology—Dr. Vivienne Graham. Impressed with her remarkable talent and passion, what began as a mentorship grew into a partnership of two extraordinary intellects that would become the guiding force for Monarch into the 21st century.

Although Dr. Serizawa is the tip of the spear at Monarch, he refuses to carry an official title stating: “In order for Monarch to maintain a balance between mankind and Titans, we must first maintain an equal balance of self.” To Serizawa, there is no higher order.

A fiercely private man, much of Serizawa’s life remains a mystery even to his closest colleagues at Monarch. Fitting for a man with an almost spiritual connection to nature and its most powerful guardian.
„ 

— Operative profile[3]

Five years after the reveal of the Titans to the world, Serizawa, Graham, and Monarch's technology director Dr. Sam Coleman are invited to Washington D.C. to speak to Congress about whether Monarch should fall under military jurisdiction. During the meeting, Serizawa and his colleagues were informed that Emma and her daughter Madison have been abducted by eco-terrorists led by fanatic ex-colonel Alan Jonah, and recruit Mark to help with the rescue mission.

When Godzilla comes too close to Monarch's Castle Bravo headquarters, Serizawa and Mark insist that G-Team leader Diane Foster doesn't attack. Shortly after, Godzilla swims towards Antarctica with Monarch following behind. It's here where the team witnesses Emma destroy Outpost 32 to awaken Ghidorah, who then has a brief battle with Godzilla and much to Serizawa’s horror, devoured Graham, before escaping.

The next morning, the Monarch team receives a video message from Emma on their emergency channel. She reveals that she's been working with Jonah all along and plans to awaken the Titans so humans can realize that they were never the dominant species, and save the world from the damage mankind has inflicted upon it. Serizawa scolds Emma for risking the lives of billions and trying to control something beyond humanity’s power, but Emma counters Serizawa's claim by telling him that if it were up to the government, the world will continue its path towards destruction unless the Titans are freed. Emma moves forward with her plan by choosing to awaken Rodan from Outpost 56 on Isla de Mara in Mexico. Serizawa and his team send the G-Team to the island to begin evacuations before Rodan awakens and decimates the village. Then the team realizes that Ghidorah is heading for the island. The USS Argo lures Rodan and Ghidorah together so they will fight each other. The plan is a success but Ghidorah quickly overpowers Rodan and sets his sights on the Argo. Just before Ghidorah can reach it, Godzilla leaps out of the ocean and attempts to subdue Ghidorah, biting off one of his heads in the process. Then the military intervenes by deploying the Oxygen Destroyer to kill the Titans. Godzilla is seemingly killed in the blast but Ghidorah survives the attack. Serizawa can only sit distraught at the results.

Ghidorah then regrows his severed head and unleashes a roar that awakens the remaining Titans, commanding them to attack humanity. Not long after, Monarch discovers that Ghidorah is an alien invader who desires to terraform Earth into a suitable habitat by commanding the other Titans. Serizawa concludes that no other creature can fight back since the rivalry between Godzilla and Ghidorah was ancient and unique. As everyone is uncertain of what to do, Mothra appears before Castle Bravo, revealing that Godzilla is still alive yet very weak.

Serizawa, Mark, Stanton, and Dr. Ilene Chen decide to revive Godzilla by traveling into the Hollow Earth via the USS Scorpion and detonate a nuclear warhead in his lair. However, the launching mechanism was damaged during the submarine’s crash and the only way to activate the warhead is by hand. Despite the danger of heat and radiation, Serizawa volunteers to detonate the warhead, believing that it's his purpose to revive Godzilla. He passes on his notes and research to Mark before bidding farewell to his colleagues. After braving the volcanic environment, Serizawa activates the warhead on a timer of one minute and approaches the weakened Godzilla. Serizawa places his hand on Godzilla's snout and says goodbye to his old friend before the warhead explodes.

Trivia

Serizawa and Graham in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #18

  • In issue #18 of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, a character bearing a striking resemblance to Ishirō Serizawa can be seen running from Godzilla and Ebirah, along with a character who closely resembles Vivienne Graham.

List of appearances

Films

Comics

Novels

References

This is a list of references for Ishiro Serizawa. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 99. ISBN: 9781789090925.
  2. Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 209. ISBN: 9781789090925.
  3. 3.0 3.1 https://www.monarchsciences.com/
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