The Godzilla – Rodan Connection
(Originally published in G-FAN # 14 March/April 1995)
Rodan is the first Toho superstar to emerge after Godzilla and has returned in five sequels following 1956’sRodan. Just as paleontologists are trying to link birds with dinosaurs, it appears Godzilla and Rodan have a link of their own. Both are prehistoric creatures mutated by exposure to nuclear radiation. Both experienced increases in size, strength, and immunity to the lethal effects of radioactivity.
In the first Godzilla films chronology, Rodan never evolves beyond a very limited point. However, Rodan is the only monster ever to face Godzilla point blank and withstand a blast of his radioactive ray without suffering so much as a scratch (see Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster). The new series of films broke new ground but before treading there, it is necessary to indulge in a little (Star Trek style) techno-mumbo jumbo. Godzilla’s mutated system possesses what are called Uran pockets which produce uranium energy. Whenever Godzilla wants to shoot his atomic breath, he exhales forcefully, pushing the uranium energy from the Uran pockets into his internal atomic furnace. After super-heating (according to G-Force observations this process takes 1.26 seconds to complete), the blue hot beam is emitted through Godzilla’s mouth. The glowing of the fins is an external electrical manifestation of the enormous energy build-up within.
The system employed by Fire Rodan is somewhat different. Once again born from radiation exposure, Fire Rodan is bigger than the original and a step up in atomic power. After being hit several times by Godzilla’s ray, Rodan started evolving and even changing color, metamorphosing into Fire Rodan with the capability of emitting an oral beam of his own. Although similar to Godzilla’s, it is not of the same level because Rodan doesn’t possess the atomic furnace to amplify the heat. Rodan is much simpler: he possesses Uran pockets in his throat and the whole system is linked with the electricity of his brain, unlike Godzilla’s which is pushed by his lungs. This also explains the electric bolts that play over Fire Rodan’s spines and horns whenever his uranium heat ray is activated.
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1993) gave G-fans one of the most fascinating events in the entire Godzilla series: the death and resurrection of Godzilla and Rodan. Although there are legitimate differences of opinion on this matter, I believe Rodan never intended to land on Godzilla following the fantastic climax of Godzilla vs Super Mechagodzilla. As Godzilla went down for the count, Baby G started howling. This woke up Rodan who gathered up all his remaining strength in order to fly to Baby’s rescue. As he is about to pass over Godzilla, Rodan is shot down by Super MG and falls onto the big reptile’s lifeless body. Then his horns start to glow which indicates he is trying once again to rise by drawing on his last reserve of power.
Having been blasted at close range by Mechagodzilla’s Plasma Grenade, Rodan surfered injuries so severe his body is incapable of containing the flow ofuranium energy. It starts running wild and quickly begins dis- solving its source. As Rodan disintegrates into a radioactive mist, some of it penetrates Godzil1a’s body, refiring the atomic furnace which is stoked by uranium energy. As the flow of energy runs into Godzilla’s body, the G-cells’ fantastic regenerative property is reactivated, starting with his destroyed sec- ondarybrain. Inamatterofseconds, Godzilla is completely re-energized, even powered-up by this additional mass of nuclear energy .He rises more powerful than before: Super Godzilla vs Super Mechagodzilla.
From a completely different point of view, G vs MG is one of Toho’s best allegories; rarely has the message of Life vs Machine been delivered in such a flamboyant manner. Throughout the film the message is clear: nature is the stronger and will always find a way to survive man’s worst. As the numerous battles demonstrate, one-on-one each living monster defeats his artificial counterpart.
This is a strange and unusual climax as humanity is defeated by nature’s greatest beast of the past. Perhaps mankind deserved to lose for the monsters’ intentions all throughout the story were only to save Baby G from man’s so-called civilized world.
Article © 1995, 2006 Andre Dubois