In 2030, Yun Arikawa runs a ‘do-it-all’ shop, and begins an investigation into mysterious happenings in a long-abandoned house. Meanwhile, graduate student and cryptid enthusiast Mei Kamino begins her own investigation into strange signals coming from an observatory close by, after being sent there by her university professor. As these two geniuses cross paths, they become involved in a large threat that comes from the depths of the oceans. This is a battle that goes beyond any of their imaginations, so will they and their team be able to fight back against these giant monsters and save their home?
Godzilla Singular Point began airing on Netflix Japan on March. 25. 2021, followed by a Japanese TV release on April. 01. The show received a global release on June. 24. 2021. Overseen by Toho Corporation, it was co-produced by Bones (My Hero Academia, Eureka Seven, Space Dandy) and Orange (Beastars, Land of the Lustrous), written by Toh EnJoe (Space Dandy) and directed by Atsushi Takahashi (Blue Exorcist, Space Dandy). I had read about this show only recently, and had thought that sounded really interesting. I like the idea of present-day studios putting their own spin on landmark Japanese franchises like Gridman and Gatchaman, with anime shows like SSSS.Gridman (Trigger) and Gatchaman Crowds (Tatsunoko) releasing, both receiving positive reviews. Even Polygon Pictures (Knights of Sidonia) decided to do a 3-movie project of Godzilla, putting a very dark and futuristic spin on the franchise.
But what about Godzilla Singular Point? Both Bones and Orange are renowned studios with lengthy resumes, and so what would an original story have? Well instead of the grandiose Hollywood remakes that have dominated in the West, we are treated to something that is more akin to the kaiju movies of old. I could even see some similarities with the show Robotics;Notes here too; that show had the story of a high-school robotics club who decide to build their own giant robot, only to discover that rogue AIs are targeting them. Having reviewed one of the three Polygon Pictures movies for Japan Curiosity (found here), I definitely found it refreshing to see it return to its roots (sort of) and given a modern-day twist, as opposed to the bizarre and post-apocalyptic manner of before. The cheesy Japanese movies of the ’60s and ’70s all have a special place in kaiju fans, and I’m sure that they will find a lot to like here, especially with the return of Jet Jaguar.
Yun Arikawa is a quote unquote ‘handyman’ at a local engineer shop, Otaki Factory, who get contracted by companies to deal with a variety of engineering issues. The show sets the scene of him and fellow employee Haberu Kato investigating mysterious radio signals coming from an abandoned mansion; there they find one that turns out to be an Indian folk song running on a loop. Elsewhere, Mei Kamino is called to Misakioku, a radio monitoring station, where it seems that they are picking up the same thing. Yun and Haberu’s crazy boss puts out the idea that all of this is connected to SETI…because of course he does. But as Otaki Factory show off their new Jet Jaguar robot at a local festival, a flying creature, Rodan, appears out of the sky.
All of this sets the scene for the rest of the show; unnatural creatures seemingly arriving out of nowhere, rampant on destruction. Several theories are put out there; dinosaurs coming back to life, aliens, new species of life, mythological creatures, the apocalypse…everything. Unlike many other kaiju pieces, the monsters’ arrival isn’t really pinned down on just one sole thing, and shifts focus on what the general public think. One thing I liked watching as the show went on is how it added montages of various news stories, from crazy right-wing news anchors spouting conspiracy theories, to vox pop of elementary school kids wanting these monsters as pets.
As each episode passes, the threat becomes more and more serious, and the threat of global extinction becomes more ominous. Mei and Yun don’t really interact with each other, communicating only by text, which I found interesting. As a science graduate student, Mei uses all the knowledge she has to learn more about what these kaiju are and where they came from, while Yun and Otaki Factory work on Jet Jaguar and fighting the kaiju. And I know the fans will enjoy how Jet Jaguar finally returns, after so many Godzilla movies with him not appearing at all.
So what else can be said about Godzilla Singular Point? Well, the animation looks great for one thing, but I’m pretty sure some people might disagree with me. The overuse of the color red in the show is something that can grate on some, but I think it really suits it. Both Mei’s and Yun’s team try and work out what all this strange red dust is, and why the oceans are turning red. I think that without all of this excessive red coloring, the show would look very different, and would not have the impact that it has. We are drawn to all of the red we see on screen; it gives off connotations of energy and warmth, as well as war and danger. And as time goes by and as the kaiju continue their rampage, it’s something that sticks in our minds, and gives the show both the energy and excitement it wants to give out.
I will agree that Godzilla Singular Point starts on a very unusual way. We get sucked into all this science that not everyone looks for in a kaiju show, but the exciting fights we want come in time, and are worth the wait. Both our main leads, Mei and Yun, are different kinds of people though. They are both genius kids in their own way, and deliver different levels of scientific script. It can all be hard to get used to though, but I do think it’s an interesting thing to add to a kaiju show. You could call it the modern take that I spoke about earlier.
All of this scientific script can be seen as the glue that keeps the show together. The assorted theories, scientific explanations and expositional dialogue will definitely put off newcomers to the Godzilla franchise. But if all of that is something that doesn’t bother you in any way, then the show is a rewarding watch. When this show originally came out in Japan in the Spring season of 2021, I don’t think it was something viewers really expected to see. The show’s dialogue makes it divisive; you will either enjoy it, or find it annoying.
As for the English dub, well it’s good; in fact it’s really good. With a script as complicated and detailed as this, it was probably for the best not to go for a direct translation. So what they have instead done is combine both ‘easier-to-understand’ elements of the science from the show with far more natural conversation. Erica Harlacher, one of my favorite English dub actors, voices Mei, and the voice definitely fits the character. But as for Yun’s voice…well, it may be Johnny Yong Bosch voicing Yun here, but it’s rather monotone. Saying that though, Yun himself doesn’t exactly radiate much in the way of emotion like the rest of the cast do. I think that the English dub team did pretty well in creating what is otherwise a complicated script into something people can enjoy. However even saying all of that, it feels like it’s trying desperately to catch up with all the science that our characters bring up. And Yun’s monotone voice doesn’t help at all, so we often end up getting a better fill of ‘easier-to-understand’ science from the rest of the cast.
The opening theme is “in case…“, performed by BiSH, and the ending theme is “Aoi“, by Polkadot Stingray. There is also an insert song, “ALAPU UPALA“, performed by Annette Phillip. Here’s the Netflix trailer for Godzilla Singular Point:
A retelling of Godzilla on this level sounded cool on paper; the story of two young geniuses trying to figure out what the kaiju are, how to deal with them, and what the mysterious red dust and red seas all mean is awesome. The question however is whether everyone will warm to it. I do think that Godzilla Singular Point really is something to watch, and the kaiju animation doesn’t look forced. It is the level of scientific dialogue that can put viewers off, I think. This is dialogue that could have acted as a sideshow, and not be put front and center. The kaiju fans who love their battles don’t necessarily need to know how this works or how that happened; they just want to see Jet Jaguar kicking butt.
Despite how cool the animation is, Godzilla Singular Point is not a show that every kaiju fan will like. Its overemphasis on science, conspiracy theories and cryptozoology is something that can put a lot of viewers off, which is unfortunate. This is a show that demands your complete and full attention, either in the original Japanese or the surprisingly great English dub, but if you’re willing to put your thinking cap on while watching a kaiju show that doesn’t deviate too far from its original tropes, Godzilla Singular Point is something that can be really enjoyable and worthwhile to watch.