WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 "A Distant Road Home" & Episode 2 "Midsummer Oni Festival," of Godzilla: Singular Point.
Godzilla: Singular Point is definitely keeping its cards close to the chest regarding what's triggering the kaijus' return to take the planet back from humanity. But while the series holds off on revealing Godzilla early on, off the bat his pal Rodan is introduced.
However, as much as it's a twist on the character, after the first two episodes -- which were briefly made available for Netflix Latam users -- it's hard to see Rodan's debut as anything but underwhelming.
Most of the premiere, "A Distant Road Home," focuses on science prodigy, Mei, and engineers from the Otaki Factory, Yun and Haberu, as they try to decipher a unique radio signal coming from a mysterious base. At the very end, Rodan, a red pterodactyl-like creature, arrives and sends the country into disarray, as people discover that these monsters of myth -- that they'd long since turned into plushies and merch -- are real.
This leads to Yun's boss, Gorō, using the robot Jet Jaguar to fight it, but rather than come off as the terrifying winged monster we know from the Toho films and Legendary's MonsterVerse, Rodan is nothing more than a scared dino a la Jurassic Park, especially with its basic design. It attacks a street festival in the second episode, "Midsummer Oni Festival," but as just a wild animal scrapping for survival, it falls flat.
Losing the fire demon aspect of the kaiju makes it way less intimidating and, when the heroes crash a bus into Rodan to knock it senseless, its defeat is a real letdown. Rodan isn't that big, so the impact badly wounds it, but the worst part is, when it tries to flee, it suddenly falls back to the Earth, dead. It's unclear whether Rodan got too scared or if its heart gave out or if the environment was too much, but it's anticlimactic to say the least.
However, what's worth noting is, from the research Mei's team uncovered, Rodan is actually what the ancient clans of Japan called these pterodactyls, and a prophetic painting suggests there'll be more coming to kill Godzilla whenever it rises up. This means that more of the species could turn up in the fierce light of Rodan's past, or maybe even that there's an "ultimate Rodan" capable of standing up to Godzilla.
More Rodan rise up from the red ocean to invade the mainland, but if they're to be a sinister invasive species, Singular Point really should have introduced them as such, rather than as what seems like infants who don't know how to survive.
Directed by Atsushi Takahashi and written by Toh Enjoe, Godzilla Singular Point arrives on Netflix (North America) in June.