While the Oxygen Destroyer made its first major appearance in the 1954 film, it has made several appearances in numerous other Godzilla films after its initial appearance.
The Oxygen Destroyer is a heavy device composed of a metal capsule with a glass central chamber. Within this chamber is a second capsule attached by rods at either end. Contained within the capsule is a large amount of what would be later known as Micro-Oxygen, the weapon's payload. Numerous gauges and pressure meters are present on the larger capsule. To operate the Oxygen Destroyer, the two ends of the larger capsule have to be pushed inwards. This causes the rods securing the inner capsule to pull apart, releasing the Micro-oxygen within.
The Oxygen Destroyer was the invention of Dr. Daisuke Serizawa. Having devoted his studies to the element oxygen, Serizawa accidentally stumbled upon a volatile and deadly chemical reaction. Though horrified by the destructive potential of his discovery, he nonetheless continued his research, optimistic that some beneficial outcome could be produced from it.
The device works by activating a chemical stored within its spherical center, which causes the center to split in half and open. Once released, the chemical (later dubbed Micro-Oxygen by Kensaku Ijuin) reacts violently with the water, isolating oxygen molecules and splitting them. The molecules are then liquefied. This means that any organism exposed to the chemical will first suffocate from the lack of oxygen, and then disintegrate.
Depending on the amount of the oxygen destroying chemical released, the body of the victim will either be eaten down to the bone or destroyed completely. When used to its full potential, the Oxygen Destroyer will leave no remains. According to Dr. Ijuin, if the Oxygen Destroyer had been used on land, it would have turned Tokyo into a cemetery.
Creatures that thrive in anaerobic environments, however, such as the Precambrian crustaceans that became Destoroyah, can actually be empowered by the Oxygen Destroyer's chemical reactions and mutate to incorporate Micro-Oxygen within their bodily processes.
After Godzilla destroys Tokyo, Serizawa reluctantly agreed to allow the Oxygen Destroyer's raw form to be used against the kaiju, but only after destroying his research documents and materials. The formula was still in his memory however, and fearing that it would lead to another arms race, the doctor sacrificed himself as he detonated his device underwater, killing both Godzilla and the chance that his device would become a weapon.
The use of the weapon in this film was almost identical to the 1954 film's, however, Steve Martin is the one to convince Emiko and Ogata to talk to Serizawa about its use.
In 1996, Dr. Kensaku Ijuin unveiled an invention he called micro-oxygen, which he intended to benefit humanity, like Serizawa before him. Ijuin confessed that he made reference to Serizawa's surviving work when working on micro-oxygen, but never intended to recreate the Oxygen Destroyer after his analysis of the soil where the weapon was fired, determining that it would have "turned Tokyo into a cemetery" if it were used on the ground. Emiko Yamane saw Ijuin being interviewed about the invention by her niece Yukari, and became concerned that Ijuin's invention was dangerously similar to the Oxygen Destroyer.
Emiko begged Yukari and Kenichi Yamane to convince Ijuin to shelve the project, since Serizawa had given up his life to ensure that the Oxygen Destroyer could never be used again for any purpose because of how dangerous it was. Despite their aunt's pleas, Yukari and Kenichi attempted to convince Ijuin to recreate the Oxygen Destroyer, believing it was the only way to stop Godzilla's impending meltdown and save the world. However, Dr. Ijuin revealed another concern, a lifeform had escaped from a soil sample recovered from the site where the Oxygen Destroyer was detonated to kill the first Godzilla in 1954.
Soon, Ijuin was called to investigate when all of the fish in a local aquarium were mysteriously killed. Ijuin determined that the fish were killed by several microscopic creatures that had been mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer and were coming ashore due to the presence of micro-oxygen. These creatures began combining with each other into larger and more fearsome forms and wreaking havoc, eventually combining into a gigantic living incarnation of the Oxygen Destroyer, which Ijuin named Destoroyah. G-Force determined that their best option was to lure Godzilla to Tokyo and have him fight Destoroyah and hopefully be killed before he melted down.
G-Force had Miki Saegusa and Meru Ozawa use their telepathy to lure Godzilla Junior to Tokyo, knowing Godzilla would follow. Junior was attacked by Destoroyah and managed to defeat him after a brutal battle. While Godzilla and his adopted son tried to reunite near Haneda Airport, they were attacked by Destoroyah in his final form, who killed Godzilla Junior and battled Godzilla.
When Godzilla's temperature reached critical, Destoroyah tried to fly away, but was shot down by G-Force's freezer weapons and collided with the superheated ground, vaporizing him and ending the Oxygen Destroyer's destructive legacy once and for all.
In the continuity of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah it is established that the use of the Oxygen Destroyer against Godzilla was kept a national secret. It was feared that the military would face ridicule over its inability to defeat Godzilla and thus the Japanese Self-Defense Forces were officially credited with the monster's defeat.
In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the Oxygen Destroyer didn't dissolve Godzilla's skeleton, and Mechagodzilla's blueprints incorporated the original Godzilla's skeleton within it to make the design process and construction less strenuous.
The Oxygen Destroyer is briefly mentioned in the tutorial level for Godzilla: The Game. The G-Force Operator says that Godzilla was only driven away from Japan back in 1954 because of "Dr. Serizawa's sacrifice."
- It should be noted that even though many weapons have been created to kill Godzilla, the Oxygen Destroyer is the only man-made weapon to accomplish this task.
- The Oxygen Destroyer prop is the oldest remaining Godzilla prop known, first being used in 1954 and recently seen in 2013, being displayed at the Godzilla Encounter, making the prop over 60 years old.
List of appearances
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Mentioned)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Stock Footage)
- Godzilla (2014 video game) (Mentioned)