By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Gojira has evolved with the times. Previous treatments during specific decades saw him as either a metaphor of systematic destruction, humanity’s relationship with nature, or simply be a reluctant hero. Ever since his introduction in 1954, the story direction had no definitive bible for future filmmakers to consult or even abide by. That eventually changed circa 1984 with Return of Godzilla (known as the Heisei era) where each film interconnects and again 1999 (Millennium). The ideas being offered per movie didn’t always pan out and the latest, starting with Shin Godzilla (2016) is getting way out there.
The series Godzilla: Singular Point depicts him as absolutely primordial. He is on an evolutionary path to destruction and rebirth. From a giant sea wurm to a dinosaur, he’s not to be reckoned with. Instead of a relic of a prehistoric age, he’s now a nexus point where all things (not necessarily human life) begin and end.
The jargon to explain this esoteric development can go well past many viewers’ heads. Unless they’ve gotten high grades in science class or have a PhD in nuclear physics and religion, much of the dialogue will go past many heads. My best guess is that these geniuses are talking about quantum entanglement and evolutionary theosophy. Even I had problems following along.
Mei Kamino, a budding cryptozoology type, is a touch more comprehensible than the others. She’s trying to figure out why “dinosaurs” are appearing in modern times. She gets help from her virtual assistant, a smart ass artificial intelligence named Pelops II (in the digital image of a canine). The two are looking into how to send them back to the stone age.
Yun and Haberu are engineers from the robotic firm, Otaki Factory, with a similar goal. Their boss, Goro Otaki, is a robotics genius and he’d rather fight them. These jack of all trades also deal with paranormal mysteries. After finding a strange signal from an old-style radio playing a tune in an abandoned home, the monster invasion begins. A huge pterosaur shows up! This species get quickly named Rodan, and the mystery of who they are, why they exist and what else is clawing its way out of the sea makes for a chaotic narrative.
This anime has to appeal to newcomers and somewhat succeeds at having two mascots rather than one! Pelops II is cute and Yung (Yun’s pet) eventually takes over the mecha, Jet Jaguar, for the ultimate fight against the giant reptile. The mad scientist (Goro) was all I needed to continue watching.
Had this series been more focused on John Dee’s secular teachings instead of Darwinism, I’d be sold. All I got from multiple watches is that Schrodinger’s cat might somehow be involved. Two macguffins to keep this series weird are pieces of Icelandic Spar called The Archetype (both are similar enough in new age uses). The Orthogonal Diagonalizer sounds like something only physicist Stephen Hawking would dream up and it’s the only thing to stop Godzilla’s appearance, which hails the destruction of the world (again). Chances are half and half if this giant beast is doing it for humanity’s sake rather than seeing nature reclaiming her world. I feel he represents the judge, jury and executioner in a oddball biblical sense. In the anime, Mei thinks of him as past, present and future rolled into one, hence the series title.
This series isn’t too different from Evangelion. The nuances don’t delve into anything meaningful as Anno’s seminal work. The characters lack punch. A few notes from the finale of Shin Godzilla are also used, but this season’s exploration regarding humanity’s relationship with the beast is not fully detailed. In contrast, the Shiva Corporation has their own plans for the world.
As for how long this series will run for, I doubt it’ll survive past season three. The finale is outlined. Season two will have to show if these multiple heroes can save the day or Shiva will. Although this company’s goals are rather twisted, they have a role to play. In Hindu mythology, she creates, protects and destroys–paving the way for beneficial change. She represents a cycle of renewal. Since that’s not Gojira’s role, somebody has to recreate the world anew.
3 Stars out of 5