Godzilla Singular Point – 02
OP: “in case…” by BiSH
Godzilla S.P is the Godzilla anime I needed and didn’t know I wanted. I’ve always loved the Godzilla franchise (the original film is a horrifically underrated masterpiece), but never really thought much about it coming to anime. And when anime did try and tackle it with mediocre results, that hardly served as motivation. But here we are, and thank goodness – because this series is the most interesting take on the Godzilla franchise I’ve seen since- well, since I can remember – in any medium. Writing really matters.
If Mars Red and Jouran serve as natural bedfellows this season, I think that could apply to Godzilla Singular Point and SSSS.Dynazenon. Both series are loving homages to staples of Japanese pop culture, written by folks who clearly know the mythology encyclopedically. Singular Point is a treasure trove of Easter eggs for kaiju fans (Mei is at the center of it – her room is a kind of shrine). The ED is non-stop references to the franchise’s history, and there are already videos out there cataloguing all the references in the first two episodes. I’m sure I’m whiffing on at least 90% of them.
It’s Rodan – or Radon as it’s called in the Japanese – rather than Godzilla who’s at the heart of the first two episodes, kaiju-wise. The name itself is complex – it’s a contraction of Pteranodon, and also corresponds to the name of a Greek mythical dragon. There’s also an environmental aspect to this, as in radioactivity – which Radon apparently gives off in the form of radon gas – just as there is with Godzilla (though not in his name, which is simply the Japanese for gorilla). And it’s Radom who’s menacing Yun and the small boy he’s protecting in the cliffhanger.
Jet Jaguar and Gorou arrive in the nick of time to save the pair, but the old engineer and his robot get their asses kicked pretty good by Radon. Piloting it remotely is a better option, but Yun needs to reboot it for the new command program to kick in, which leads to the longest 90 seconds of his life. Eventually, though, with some help from Truck-kun the mecha does reboot and eventually the pteranodon decides to bail. It then promptly drops from the sky stone dead, its skin burning to the touch, and a media frenzy begins.
In classic monster movie fashion, threads are unspooling all over the place, waiting to be tied together. At the observatory, the Director (Urayama Jin), sends the restless Satou (Azakami Youhei) off chasing ghosts in the “secret file room”. There’s a hilarious moment when Satou feebly tries to find a microfiche reader, having no idea what it is. A professor named Li has contacted Mei to talk about her notes, which Pero (Kuno Misaki) has compiled into a proper research paper and released (with himself as co-author). And the fiery Kanahoma Satomi (Takeuchi Ayako) has showed up at Outaki with instructions from the hospitalized Gorou to get cracking on fixing Jet Jaguar, as the shit is really about to hit the fan.
Exactly how Enjoe intends to tie all this together should be fascinating to see. I couldn’t help but notice that Professor Li works for the (ominously named) Shiva Foundation, and there was an India connection to the song playing on the crystal radio at the haunted house. We’re already seeing the red tide referred to by the local shrine myths, and more Radons are turning up all the time – dead. That’s not a patch on what’s coming, though (the huge flock of Radons is only the tip of the iceberg).
Damn, this is good fun – in the way that a good kaiju flick is always fun. When a really intellectual writer with a sense of humor (as Enjoe obvious is) tackles great pulp material, brilliant results often follow – it’s one of the most reliable formulas in fiction. The OP and ED are bangers. And happily my only complaint with the premiere, the CGI, was much less of a problem in this episode. There was a lot more of it (Radon played a much bigger role) but it was much more natural and convincing than what we saw last week. With Godzilla S.P, the evidence continues to grow that Netflix is figuring out this anime production thing, and that would be an extremely welcome development.
ED: “Aoi” by Polkadot Stingray
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