When a mysterious song begins being broadcast across Japan, a group of young individuals investigating inadvertently find themselves drawn together as the transmission brings the giant flying monster Rodan down upon the people of Japan, bringing with it a strange red dust and whole host of new mysteries.
An absent-minded young science prodigy assisted by her plucky AI companion, desperately trying to prove herself. A pair of street smart mechanics in the employ of a half-mad old robotics master working on the ape-like hero Jet Jaguar in their run down garage. In their search for answers, these unlikely heroes encounter monsters, face powerful forces, and discover the secrets behind the kaiju-attracting signal, the strange red dust, and the skeleton of a gargantuan creature hidden deep in the bowls of a secret facility.
“Godzilla Singular Point” is the latest addition to the ever expanding franchise of the King of the Monsters, and perhaps more than any other entry since 2016’s stunning “Shin Godzilla,” it strives to shake up the formula. Netflix previous y gave us three CGI animated Godzilla films, dystopian science fiction affairs of doom and desolated worlds, and these bridged the gap between releases of the massive budget American made “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and “Godzilla vs Kong,” both dark and foreboding stories of destruction and wrath on an apocalyptic scale in their own right. “Godzilla Singular Point” takes the relentlessly oppressive and dark world state and turns it promptly on its head, and this is both where it excels, and where certain Godzilla purists may scowl in distaste.
“Godzilla Singular Point” has a levity, a spring in its step and a bright colorful vibe that is apparent from the very first moment. There is no doom and gloom trudging along from the offset, and from the start things have the quaint, charming style more akin to a Ghibli film. The flourishing life, the people of Japan, the color of it all, its vibrant and fun. This isn’t to say that there is no peril or threat to our heroes, but that it has a different subtext than you might expect from a Kaiju disaster story. Conflicts with the attacking monsters here have more of an exciting tone than an intimidating one, almost like the build up to encountering a huge monster in a video game than the creepy atmosphere of a news report whispering of monsters lurking in the depths.
A large part of this vibrant feel is in the main characters that “Godzilla Singular Point” follows. These are not the usual characters of the genre, the hardened soldiers, the cold faced military generals, even the genius scientists. Our heroes this time are passionate students, quick thinking handymen, they’re far more everyday people. Instead of a story of warheads and armies controlled by globetrotting united nations we’ve got ragtag heroes piloting homemade contraptions in the streets of their home town. The smaller, more intimate scale makes it street level kaiju action going on here. Also explored is the street level retelling of events, flashes of television shows, public interviews, social media exchanges. It’s also worth nothing that for an anime production, “Godzilla Singular Point” may also feel like a bit of a slow burn for some viewers. If you like your kaiju stories to come swinging out the gate with a city-smashing battle, you may be disappointed at the often calm nature of the show. Kaiju of all sorts make glorious landfall throughout the show, and they sure as hell make of mess of things as expected, but if your favorite part of the genre is the destruction, “Singular Point” definitely isn’t a non-stop disaster fest.
While it is a great entry point for new fans to get into the world of Godzilla, it’s breezy and easy to watch, there’s also a lot to discover here for longtime fans of the franchise, with nods and references to characters and kaiju you know well, often in unexpected new forms. Just like the animation, there is a tight melding of the old and new to be found here, with drastic reinventions of some kaiju like Rodan, reimagined as an echo of real-world prehistoric horror Quetzalcoatlus, alongside old-school favorites like Anguirus, showing up with a stylish modern version of her classic design. The sound design as a whole is similarly great, with bombastic sound effects, snappy music, and the occasional sudden nostalgia hit of an original series music cue kicking in or a classic kaiju roar straight from a 60’s movie. The animation is a very tight blending of classic anime characters and backgrounds mixed with wonderful cel-shaded CGI kaiju. You might not guess it would work as well as it does, but it looks fantastic. The CGI monsters move smoothly, battle beautifully, and look organic against the animated backgrounds without sticking awkwardly out.
With its often camp, colorful and upbeat feeling, “Godzilla Singular Point” is a drastic departure from Netflix’s previous darkly serious anime Godzilla productions. There’s a hopeful positivity that the heroes here have in the face of kaiju attacks that is a joy to watch, and a far cry from the foreboding darkness thoroughly explored elsewhere in the genre.
“Godzilla Singular Point“ is streaming on Netflix now.