|“||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
Ishirō Serizawa (芹沢猪四郎?) was a scientist character created by Serizawa IshirōLegendary 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.
|“||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 suffered and/or are driven by personal loss to the Titans, such as radiation sickness-afflicted miners, 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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 he was thus for the most part nothing but patient with Mark. Particularly after Graham was murdered by Ghidorah, Serizawa seemed to identify with Mark about the grief of losing a loved one, while actively avoiding letting the raw grief consume him as had happened 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." When preparing to sacrifice himself, Serizawa consoled Mark about the latter's 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.
Serizawa thinks of Ren when sympathizing with Mark's impulsive attempt to single-handedly save his family in Antarctica. Ishirō very much raised Ren in a similar way to how his own father Eiji raised him: Ishirō committed himself to his work at Monarch at the price of spending very little time with his family. Unfortunately, unlike with Eiji and Ishirō, in Ren's case this type of parenting ultimately backfired; fostering increasing resentment and neglect issues in Ren (who did not share his forefathers' admiration of Godzilla), which boiled over once Ishirō's death in 2019 robbed Ren of the chance to reconcile with his father that Ren had been hoping for, and this led to Ren afterwards joining Apex Cybernetics' plan to attempt killing Godzilla and usurping him as the alpha of all Titans. Ren believes as an adult that Ishirō all but ignored him throughout his life, and he misinterprets his late father's actions as signs that Serizawa never valued his family or human life generally.
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 and genuine partnership, and they were often seen together and trusting each-other. Serizawa considered Vivienne very intelligent and the most compassionate person he knew. A testament to their closeness is that Serizawa chose to give a Yapese pendant that had belonged to his father to Vivienne on her thirtieth birthday. He 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. After Vivienne's death, Serizawa vowed that she would never be replaced, and he continued dwelling on her death for the short remainder of his life.
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. However, Serizawa has also come to recognize in the five years leading up to the mass awakening that Stenz is narrow-minded to the idea of coexisting with the Titans and is furthermore ultimately a puppet to the anti-Titan government, and thus feels wary about Stenz getting involved.
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.
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.
Serizawa had a wife, and a son named Ren, both of whom he rarely saw due to committing his time and work to Monarch in the same fashion as how his father Eiji had been towards him. Whilst Serizawa's wife was apparently understanding of his commitment, Ren was not and he grew to resent his father. When Ren was eighteen, Serizawa's wife died while he was away on an expedition, and it wasn't until a week later that news of her death reached him. Serizawa made it home two days after the funeral, and apparently attempted to comfort Ren by telling him that she'd understood the work which Ren took issue with - however, this backfired by greatly expanding the rift between Serizawa and Ren.
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.
|“||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. Serizawa specifically arrives at the plant by plane after being informed by Vivienne that about a new spike in the cocoon's activity. 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.
|“||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
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. Although Serizawa's death was not in vain, it is revealed that his sacrifice gave Godzilla a chance to take down Ghidorah, putting an end to the three-headed Titan's reign of terror for good and allowing Godzilla to become the true alpha Titan.
- Ishirō Serizawa, at least in the surname, was inspired by Daisuke Serizawa from the original 1954 Godzilla film.
- His forename is also a reference to the late legendary director Ishiro Honda.
- 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
- Godzilla: Awakening (First appearance)
- Skull Island: The Birth of Kong (Mentioned)
- Godzilla: Aftershock
- Godzilla Dominion (Flashback)
- Godzilla: The Official Movie Novelization
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization
- Godzilla vs. Kong - The Official Movie Novelization (Mentioned)
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla vs. Kong - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. ASIN: B08R6PKDFS
- Cox, Greg. Godzilla: The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. ASIN: B00MLDU6TO.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 118. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 150. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 99. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 208. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 209. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 33. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 151. ISBN: 9781789090925.