Typical. You wait hours for one Rodan and thousands turn up all at once…
As we glide into the third installment of Singular Point, Godzilla’s latest foray into the world of anime, I couldn’t help but notice the show was already beginning to pick up some bad, Kaiju habits, with the stories and characters only really coming to life whenever a monster came along to give it a clawed boot in the butt. The cast were typical anime archetypes and the dialogue was regularly choked with line after line of inpenetrable science-speak, which basically meant that episodes tended to drag despite the short running time.
Much like one of those 70’s Godzilla movies where the titular lizard was portrayed as a villain-pounding saviour, we were left waiting for the arrival of some giant, destructive beastie to save the day – but when they do, you get an episode like this.
Thousands of Rodans have emerged from the sea like those idiot bathers from Jaws when those kids screw around with a cardboard fin and they immediately head straight for Japan to do a lot more than crap on people’s cars. In the panic, Yun correctly theorises that they’re being drawn inland by radio signals emitted by power lines and other electrical equipment and so, under the orders of their boss, Gorõ, Yun and Haberu try to draw the mass of pterosaurs away from populated areas by beaming a signal from their bike. However, this kind of works too well and eventually sees them trapped after taking shelter with a bunch of survivors of a bus crash.
Meanwhile, while the attack is going on, Mei is on a train to Tokyo to meet with Professor Li and is worried about her apartment getting trashed by giant flying lizards (uh, people are dying, Mei?), so her pet A.I., Pelops II remotely takes control of one of the repair robots from Otaki Factory (much to Satomi’s indifference) and inadvertently lends a hand.
Noting that these Rodan are smaller and slightly different than the one they fought with Jet Jaguar, Yun employs his intellect to try and give them the edge they need to try and escape, however, after a chase, the Rodans start suddenly dying just like the original did, but in their wake they’ve emitted large quantities of red, sand-like discharge. Do the Rodans need to start using a better brand of skin moisturizer, or is this a sinister harbinger of yet more monstrous shenanigans to come?
The huge, mysterious beast making it’s way through the ocean certainly suggests so…
While Godzilla: Singular Point has been a solid, but flawed entry to the Kaiju cannon thus far, I have to say that Episode 3 provides a very welcome shift in quality that starts to live up to my expectations to what an animated series set in the Godzilla universe could finally be. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the crisp animation, bold reimaginings and BiSH’s absurdly catchy theme tune just fine so far (I mean, if your opening credits don’t slap, are you even a proper anime?), but Tigerish is the first episode to properly click as all of its moving parts finally start pulling in the same direction.
True, there’s no real sign of Godzilla yet apart from a familiar looking skeleton, some similar looking designs on a mythical mural and a couple of blasts of Akira Ifukube’s original, iconic theme, but I wasn’t really expecting an appearance this early anyway. Thankfully the resolution of the Rodan plot holds the interest nicely as all the threads mostly come together rather neatly.
Haberu is still a sensitive lug, true, but Yun’s plan to use arrows to fire plastic bottles tricked with holes out to emit a certain pitch of sound as they whistle through the air is the perfect antidote to the character’s established stuffiness and Pelops II’s “bot-jacking” of some of Otaki Factory’s robo-tech obviously hints at maybe some sort of merging between it and Jet Jaguar at some point, thereby unifying both groups of main characters at some point. However, what really sells the episode is the well staged monster stuff which, oddly enough, plays more like a set piece from a Jurassic Park movie than anything from the Showa era of the Godzilla franchise and the monster threat vs. puzzle-solving nature of the script make you excited for future Kaiju encounters to be just as cerebral.
As a long-term Kaiju fan, my gut-feelings about the way the show now uses Rodan is slightly mixed – on one hand I’m glad that his colour scheme has gone from the bright red look of Godzilla: Final Wars to a more classic brown shade complete with horns. But while there is a precedent for there to be multiple Rodans (there were two in the original, 1956 movie), to have a legion of them makes him feel more like the Gyaos from the Gamera movies. It’s a petty grievance, I know, and I realise that the use of multiple Rodans will no doubt bear fruit later on, but can’t help but be a nerd at heart.
Even the random science conversations that’s slowed down the previous episodes actually have instant relevance here and even when the action has past and the story swings back to Mei and the strange cube she is given, it feels like another puzzle to be cracked, rather than an excuse for more verbal diarrhea – or at least, I hope it does.
And what of that huge beast seen in the closing moments? Could we be due a true Godzilla sighting so soon?
Well, probably not as this creature visibly has flippers (Christ, please don’t let Godzilla have flippers), but whatever it turns out to be, the scale of Singular Point is snowballing with each and every installment and surely the city stomping will begin very soon.
Best episode yet.