Godzilla Singular Point Anime Series: The Weird History of Jet Jaguar

Godzilla Singular Point, an anime series that is currently accessible on Netflix in dubbed form, is the most recent interpretation of Toho’s recognisable, structure-crushing reptile. This reworking of the King of Monsters takes place in the not-too-distant future and features a cast of human beings who learn about an impending terrible event in very peculiar ways. Now, a behemoth out to fight monsters and save the weak is the only thing that can save them.

Not Godzilla, please. He literally represents the end of the world. No, Jet Jaguar is the true hero in this story.

Yes, Jet Jaguar has earned his due at last.

a notion Jet Jaguar, who is now approaching 50 years old, is one of those characters that was initially destined for failure but has survived because to nostalgia and the brilliant idea that “I realise most people despised that thing from my childhood, but I guess I could make it excellent!” He was at most an awesome addition to the Godzilla mythology. He was, at worst, a stupid movie premise. Despite some true earnestness, he is primarily regarded as something silly that is ridiculed.

A corporate telephone game and a fan contest both inspired Jet Jaguar. In order to join the tokusatsu large superhero/robot show trend, Toho requested fans to create their own superhero designs back in 1972. Red Alone, a robot that is half man and half bird and has a long neck that resembles a stack of rings, won the competition. The idea was developed into a full-on rubber suit, but the colour palette was altered, upsetting the young winner. Later, they made the decision to simply throw away everything, stick with the colour scheme, and create a brand-new design. Jet Jaguar was thus created.

The 1973 film Godzilla vs. Megalon featured the superhero for the entirety of the picture. According to the urban legend, the studio had originally planned for this to be a standalone Jet Jaguar film, but toward the end, they simply lost faith in it and quickly threw in Godzilla and recurring Godzilla villain Gigan. Although the claim is questionable and unsupported, it is clear where the charges originate.

The entire film has a rushed feeling to it. Filming lasted a few weeks, while the entire production process only lasted six months. It was a last-minute replacement for another Godzilla movie that didn’t work out. Even the Godzilla suit was constructed quickly. Outside of the introduction, the preexisting elements (Godzilla and Gigan) aren’t included into the plot until around two thirds of the way through the film. It feels like the production crew is pressing the panic button in a Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon movie up to that point.

In Godzilla vs. Megalon, a scientist named Goro Ibuki, together with his younger brother Rokuro and closest buddy Hiroshi, is developing a robot dubbed Jet Jaguar. They become entangled in a plan involving some beings from Atlantis-But-Not-Really who are upset about all the nuclear bomb tests taking place nearby. They kidnap Jet Jaguar and employ him to direct their insect god Megalon to various cities in order to destroy them and punish humanity.

By taking control of Jet Jaguar, Goro and his pals may direct Godzilla to the location of Megalon. Then the Seatopians request some help from their spacefaring pals and ask them to send Gigan. Jet Jaguar is able to escape from all forms of control, completely develops its sentience, and reveals the capacity to transform into a gigantic. It develops into a significant tag team fight, best known for Godzilla delivering the dumbest dropkick you’ve ever seen, followed by another for good measure.

Jet Jaguar and Godzilla shake hands, part ways, and Jet Jaguar returns to the human heroes after shrinking back down once the enemies have fled. To wrap things up, he receives a cool theme music of his own.

The movie wasn’t very popular in Japan. The Godzilla series’ thirteenth instalment had the lowest sales to yet. The movie wasn’t grabbing people due to public exhaustion and poor quality. Having said that, it was released in the United States at the perfect time. It was presented in 1976, several years before the eagerly awaited King Kong remake. Even though the movie never actually takes place in the United States, the American movie poster for the film parodies the King Kong poster by showing Godzilla and Megalon fighting while each is perched on a different Twin Tower.

The movie would be shortened to 48 minutes a year later so that it could be shown on NBC in prime time, over an hour with commercials. The only reason I bring this up at all is because John Belushi, who was dressed as Godzilla, hosted the event, which regrettably vanished into the depths of lost golden media.

Returning to Jet Jaguar, the subject of this piece, I feel compelled to discuss Germany’s treatment of the translation of the film. They referred to him as “King Kong” rather than “Jet Jaguar.” Sure, why not, I guess. Even stranger, Germany once more referred to the gigantic robot as “King Kong” in the following two films that included fellow giant robot MechaGodzilla. Guys, I get what you’re trying to achieve here, but it’s not how it works.

In any case, Godzilla vs. Megalon was followed by Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and Terror of MechaGodzilla, which marked the end of the illustrious Showa Era of Godzilla films. Japan had to put Godzilla on hold as a concept for over ten years, which also meant that if Godzilla returned, it would be a remake or new “only the first movie counts” edition. Jet Jaguar was never a top candidate to be brought back, especially considering how much MechaGodzilla eclipsed him.

When Mystery Science Theater 3000’s second season included the Godzilla vs. Megalon episode in 1991, he would at least gain a little more notoriety. While a large portion of the episode is devoted to poking fun of one of the Seatopians for having Oscar Wilde-like features, there are also many jokes directed towards Jet Jaguar. Most notably, they “translate” the final line of Jet Jaguar, which mentions that his mother didn’t love him and that he resembles Jack Nicholson.

One of the rare MST3K episodes that is no longer legally viewable is Godzilla vs. Megalon because of licencing difficulties. Given that The Giant Gila Monster was eventually released in its place, the original MST3K Collection Volume 10 box set—which includes Godzilla vs. Megalon as one of the four films—does make for a valuable collector’s item.

The 1995 music video for Certain Distant Suns’ song “Bitter” features a bizarre use of Jet Jaguar. I definitely urge you to watch the video because of the finish, even though there isn’t much of a story other than the music being played, Godzilla vs. Megalon footage being displayed, and a few shots of men strolling around in Megalon and Jet Jaguar costumes. It definitely takes a turn that I didn’t anticipate.

Jet Jaguar made his subsequent public appearance in 1997 in yet another genuinely weird show. Three-minute segments of the Godzilla Island television series were broadcast in Japan. Even though it was only broadcast for a year, there were an incredible 256 episodes, or about 13 hours of material. Wow, nearly 13 hours of Godzilla content? If you’ve never heard of Godzilla Island, you might be asking yourself this question. Why aren’t people aware of this more?

Well, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that the kaiju action was performed with action figures rather than men in rubber suits. Yikes.

Jet Jaguar not only participated in these exploits, but they also treated him like a 90s superhero action figure. Godzilla Island provided us with Silver Jet Jaguar, Medical Jet Jaguar, and even Fireman Jet Jaguar, much like how they issued as many figures of Batman as they could for various crime-fighting scenarios. Gather them all up!

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was released by Atari in the early 2000s for the GameCube and Xbox. Although Atari intended to include Jet Jaguar, Toho objected, and instead other characters from the Godzilla mythos were used in the combat game. Megalon was at least a part of the game, though. Godzilla: Save the Earth and Godzilla: Unleashed are two of the sequels that would be released. Jet Jaguar was finally playable because, if there’s one thing you can bet on when working on numerous iterations of a nostalgic who’s who project, it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel.

In 2014’s Godzilla video game for the PlayStation 3 and 4, he would also make a comeback. The game’s creator had no intention of include him, but when he noticed that the programmers were already working on him, he simply shrugged it off. The boss character Jet Jaguar could only be called through a certain technique. You could unlock a bonus cinematic featuring Godzilla and Jet Jaguar shaking hands as a bewildered military woman wonders about their past by making it into three different Godzilla vs. Jet Jaguar battles and coming out on top each time.

IDW Publishing focused on producing a tonne of comic books under the Godzilla licence in the middle of the 2010s. Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth, which lasted for 25 issues, was their mainline series. Early on, during a battle between Godzilla and the crew of Gigan and Orga, Jet Jaguar abruptly materialised. Jet Jaguar flew into Orga’s throat in human size, grew to monster size, and the beast erupted. It was especially fantastic because it had the cliffhanger “Next: PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH!” text, which was a reference to the movie’s Jet Jaguar theme song.

Jet Jaguar appeared frequently in the series, giving the impression that he was Godzilla’s handler and designated driver. He appeared to be protecting Godzilla, but doing so required him to keep his violent ally on task (for example, calling attention to Gigan’s presence to prevent Godzilla from assaulting Jet Jaguar) and to use force when it was absolutely necessary.

This version emphasised Jet Jaguar’s mysticism more than anything else because, despite being mechanical, the only human figure that was aware of his origins perished before it could be revealed. Even one of the alien invader baddies looked at him on a screen and said, “Oh crap. This man is it! Nevertheless, he managed to defeat Godzilla, Gigan (the one with the chainsaw hand), and Destroyah, giving the impression that he was a complete badass.

But at one point he needed the 1998 American Godzilla to save him, which at least served to serve as a reminder to the robot hero that there are Toho figures who are far more despised than he is.

Jet Jaguar was used by Toho once more, albeit in sillier ways. They posted a preview for a Jet Jaguar movie on YouTube in 2019 as an April 1st joke. They also had him make a few appearances on Godziban, a children’s Godzilla web series that once more told its tales using dolls and action figures.

Jet Jaguar is now a significant component of Godzilla Singular Point. To discuss the plot in detail would be like describing advanced calculus, but in order to stay on topic, Goro Otaki created Jet Jaguar as a company mascot as well as a means of protecting against terrifying threats. King Kong was “kidnapped to be a corporation mascot” in King Kong vs. Godzilla, so perhaps the Germans had a point when they changed the name.

Anyway, instead of having to rely on making Jet Jaguar look like a human in a costume, this version of him is more mechanical in appearance. Jet Jaguar, who frequently sustains significant damage from the monsters, is there to defend the heroes from them. The robot continues to be repaired, growing stronger and more sophisticated until it can speak in a teenage girl’s voice and develop self-awareness.

I think I just assumed he would sound like Astro Guy from King of the Monsters, I don’t know.

The crucial thing to know is that Jet Jaguar develops into a full-fledged badass by the conclusion of the series, turns out to be a huge key to the plot, and has an absolutely epic fight with Godzilla. There is a significant, difficult-to-explain twist. In some ways, Jet Jaguar’s journey in Singular Point is very similar to actual life. From a silly notion that attracted to children, Jet Jaguar eventually gained respect as an important aspect of the Godzilla mythos. Something that at first seemed to embody the worst of the franchise turned out to be actually cool in the correct hands.

It’s now time for America to pay it forward. Once more, Jet Jaguar has good timing. Godzilla vs. Kong was released at the perfect time in the closing stages of the pandemic to be a huge success and keep the series continuing a little bit longer. The Monsterverse was on its way to the graveyard after the box office take of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. There aren’t many names in the toybox left to take out, but Gigan and Jet Jaguar should be at the top of the list right now.

Create it, Hollywood!

Netflix now has Godzilla Singular Point available for streaming.

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