Godzilla Singular Point: The Weird History of Jet Jaguar

The newest tackle Toho’s iconic, building-crushing lizard comes within the type of Godzilla Singular Level, an anime sequence now out there in dubbed kind on Netflix. Going down within the not-too-distant future, this reimagining of the King of Monsters includes a gaggle of human characters turning into conscious – by moderately weird methods – of a coming apocalyptic occasion. Now the one factor that may save them is a behemoth out to punch monsters and look out for the little man.

No, not Godzilla. He’s truly the apocalyptic occasion. No, our hero is none aside from Jet Jaguar.

Sure, it’s lastly time for Jet Jaguar to get his due.

An idea practically 50 years outdated at this level, Jet Jaguar is a kind of characters who was initially doomed to fail, however lives on on account of nostalgia and the golden notion of, “I understand most individuals hated that factor from my childhood, however I guess I might make it good!” At greatest, he was a rad addition to the Godzilla mythos. At worst, he was a dumb thought from a dumb film. For essentially the most half, he’s remembered as one thing goofy that will get laughed at, regardless of having some real earnestness.

Jet Jaguar was created from each a fan contest and a company sport of phone. Again in 1972, to leap on the bandwagon of tokusatsu big superhero/robotic exhibits, Toho requested followers to design their very own superhero design. The winner was a half-man/half-bird robotic with a prolonged neck resembling a stack of rings named Crimson Alone. The idea was became a full-on rubber costume, however they modified the colour scheme, which upset the younger winner. They later determined to simply scrap the entire thing, preserve the colour scheme, and make their very own new design. And so, Jet Jaguar was born.

The superhero made a whole one film look in 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon. Because the city legend goes, this was initially meant to be a standalone Jet Jaguar film that the studio simply didn’t think about in direction of the top they usually swiftly threw in Godzilla and recurring Godzilla villain Gigan. Whereas the declare is doubtful and unproven, it definitely is simple to know the place the allegations come from.

All the things in regards to the film feels rushed. Because the last-minute substitute for an additional Godzilla movie that didn’t pan out, filming took a number of weeks and manufacturing was a mere six months. Even the Godzilla costume was whipped up in report time. As for the story, exterior of the intro, the preexisting components (Godzilla and Gigan) aren’t thrown in till about 2/3 into the film. Up till that time, it seems like a Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon film with the manufacturing workforce hitting the panic button.

The plot of Godzilla vs. Megalon is {that a} scientist Goro Ibuki is engaged on a robotic referred to as Jet Jaguar, alongside together with his little brother Rokuro and his greatest good friend Hiroshi. They get wrapped up in a plot involving a gaggle of beings from Atlantis-However-Not-Actually, who’re aggravated in any respect the nuclear bomb checks happening of their neck of the woods. They steal Jet Jaguar and use him to information their insect god Megalon to completely different cities for the sake of smashing them up and punishing humanity.

Goro and pals get their arms on Jet Jaguar’s controls and use him to steer Godzilla to the place Megalon is. Then the Seatopians name some alien pals for a strong and have them ship in Gigan. Jet Jaguar is ready to break free from all management and turns into absolutely sentient, in addition to revealing the flexibility to show into an enormous. It turns into an enormous tag workforce battle, largely remembered for Godzilla doing the silliest dropkick you’ve ever seen, adopted by a second one for good measure.

The villains escape, Jet Jaguar and Godzilla shake arms, they go their separate methods, and Jet Jaguar reunites with the people heroes after shrinking again down. He will get his personal snazzy theme track to shut issues out.

In Japan, the film wasn’t all that profitable. Because the thirteenth title within the Godzilla sequence, it introduced within the worst returns but. Between public burnout and the film’s lack of high quality, it simply wasn’t grabbing individuals. That stated, it got here out at simply the proper time in the US. Launched in 1976, it got here out months earlier than the anticipated King Kong remake. The American film poster for the film even bit on the King Kong poster by that includes Godzilla and Megalon duking it out whereas every standing on a special Twin Tower, despite the fact that the film at no level passed off within the States.

A 12 months later, the film could be reduce down into 48 minutes so they may broadcast it on NBC in prime time, throughout an hour with commercials. The one motive I point out this in any respect is as a result of it was hosted by John Belushi sporting a Godzilla costume, which is unfortunately someplace within the abyss of golden misplaced media.

Getting again to Jet Jaguar – the subject of this text – I really feel the necessity to convey up Germany’s dealing with of the film’s translation. Moderately than name him “Jet Jaguar,” they referred to him as “King Kong.” I imply…positive, why not. Even weirder, when the following two motion pictures launched fellow big robotic MechaGodzilla, Germany as soon as once more referred to the robotic as “King Kong.” Guys, I do know what you’re going for right here, but it surely doesn’t work that method.

Anyway, Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and Terror of MechaGodzilla adopted Godzilla vs. Megalon and closed off the basic Showa Period of Godzilla motion pictures. Not solely did Japan have to relaxation Godzilla as an idea for practically a decade, however this additionally meant that each time Godzilla would come again, it was going to be some type of reboot or new “solely the primary film counts” installment. Jet Jaguar was by no means excessive on the checklist to be introduced again, particularly since MechaGodzilla utterly overshadowed him.

He would no less than get somewhat extra publicity in 1991 when Godzilla vs. Megalon was featured within the second season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Whereas a lot of the episode is spent making enjoyable of one of many Seatopians for wanting like Oscar Wilde, they toss loads of jokes at Jet Jaguar. Most memorably, they “translate” Jet Jaguar’s ending theme, which notes that his mom by no means liked him and he appears so much like Jack Nicholson.

As a consequence of rights points, Godzilla vs. Megalon is likely one of the few MST3K episodes that’s not legally out there for viewing. This does make the unique MST3K Assortment Quantity 10 field set (which included Godzilla vs. Megalon as one of many 4 motion pictures) a collector’s merchandise, because it was later discontinued and rereleased with The Big Gila Monster taking its spot.

A stranger use of Jet Jaguar comes within the type of Sure Distant Suns’ music video for “Bitter” in 1995. Whereas there’s not a lot of a story exterior of the band enjoying, footage of Godzilla vs. Megalon being proven, and some photographs of fellows strolling round in Megalon and Jet Jaguar costumes, I actually insist you give the video a glance as a result of ending. It definitely goes in a route I wasn’t anticipating.

In 1997, Jet Jaguar made his subsequent official look in one other frankly weird spectacle. In Japan, a sequence referred to as Godzilla Island appeared on TV in three-minute increments. Whereas it solely lasted a 12 months, there have been a whopping 256 episodes, which means nearly 13 hours of footage. For those who’ve by no means heard of Godzilla Island, you could be considering, “Wow, nearly 13 hours of Godzilla stuff? Why isn’t this extra well-known?”

Effectively, it most likely has so much to do with the truth that as an alternative of utilizing guys in rubber fits, the kaiju motion was performed with motion figures. Yikes.

Not solely did Jet Jaguar present up throughout these adventures, however they gave him the 90s superhero motion determine therapy. Very similar to how they launched as many figures of Batman as potential for various crime-fighting eventualities, Godzilla Island gave us Silver Jet Jaguar, Medical Jet Jaguar, and even Fireman Jet Jaguar. Gather all of them!

Within the early 2000s, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was launched for the GameCube and Xbox beneath the Atari model. It was a combating sport that includes numerous characters from Godzilla lore and although Atari needed to incorporate Jet Jaguar, Toho refused. Nonetheless, no less than Megalon was included within the sport. There could be two sequels within the type of Godzilla: Save the Earth and Godzilla: Unleashed. FINALLY, Jet Jaguar was playable, as a result of if there’s something you possibly can depend on, it’s scraping the underside of the barrel once you’re engaged on a number of installments of a nostalgic who’s who mission.

He’d additionally return in 2014’s Godzilla sport for PlayStation 3 and 4. The producer of the sport didn’t even plan on placing him in there, however he noticed that the programmers already had been engaged on him and simply shrugged it off. There was a particular trick to summoning Jet Jaguar as a boss character. By ending up in three completely different Godzilla vs. Jet Jaguar eventualities and successful all 3 times, you’d then unlock a particular cutscene of the 2 shaking arms whereas a confused army lady would surprise about their historical past.

Across the mid-2010s, IDW Publishing was all about releasing a bunch of comics with the Godzilla license. Their mainline sequence was Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth, which went on for 25 points. Early on, Jet Jaguar appeared out of nowhere throughout a struggle between Godzilla and the workforce of Gigan and Orga. In human measurement, Jet Jaguar flew into Orga’s mouth, then expanded into big measurement, inflicting the beast to blow up. Particularly superior was that it got here with the cliffhanger textual content, “Subsequent: PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH!” a reference to Jet Jaguar’s theme track from the film.

Jet Jaguar confirmed up repeatedly within the sequence, coming off as Godzilla’s designated driver good friend and handler. What I imply is that he appeared to be out to guard Godzilla, however that meant having to maintain his violent ally on process (ie. mentioning that Gigan was close by to cease Godzilla from attacking Jet Jaguar) and throwing punches when the state of affairs completely referred to as for it.

This continuity performed up Jet Jaguar as extra enigmatic than something, as though he was mechanical, the one human character who knew his origins was killed off earlier than it may very well be defined. Even one of many invading alien villains noticed him on a display screen and principally went, “Oh crap. It’s THIS man!” Regardless, he nonetheless got here off as a complete badass, successful fights in opposition to Godzilla, Gigan (the chainsaw-hand model), and Destroyah.

Then once more, at one level he wanted to be saved by the 1998 American Godzilla, which no less than proved as a reminder to the robotic hero that there are Toho characters much more hated than him.

Toho began utilizing Jet Jaguar once more, albeit in sillier methods. In 2019, as an April Idiot’s Day prank, they put up a teaser on YouTube for a Jet Jaguar movie. Additionally they had him seem a couple of instances on Godziban, a Godzilla net sequence for youths that, as soon as once more, used dolls and motion figures to inform its tales.

Now Jet Jaguar is a serious a part of Godzilla Singular Level. To get into specifics on the plot could be like explaining superior calculus, however to maintain on-topic, Jet Jaguar is the creation of Goro Otaki as each a strategy to keep at bay monstrous threats and as an organization mascot. Contemplating King Kong’s function in King Kong vs. Godzilla was “kidnapped to be an organization mascot,” possibly the Germans had been onto one thing with the rename.

Anyway, this model of Jet Jaguar is extra mechanical in look as an alternative of getting to depend on making him seem like a human in a fancy dress. Jet Jaguar is there to guard the heroes from the infinite provide of monsters, often taking some intensive harm. Nonetheless, the robotic will get rebuilt stronger and stronger and turns into superior sufficient to turn out to be self-aware and converse in…properly, the voice of a teenage woman.

I don’t know, I suppose I simply figured he’d sound like Astro Guy from King of the Monsters.

There’s an enormous hard-to-explain twist, however the principle factor to know is that Jet Jaguar turns into a full-on badass by the top of the sequence, seems to be an enormous key to the plot, and has a very kickass showdown with Godzilla. In a method, Jet Jaguar’s journey in Singular Level is so much like in actual life, going from a lame concept that appealed to youngsters and step by step being understood as a revered a part of the Godzilla mythos. One thing initially consultant of the worst of the franchise, confirmed to be one thing genuinely cool in the proper arms.

Now it’s time for America to return the favor. As soon as once more, timing is on Jet Jaguar’s facet. The Monsterverse was on its strategy to the graveyard after the field workplace consumption of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, however Godzilla vs. Kong got here out at simply the proper time within the tail finish of the pandemic to be an enormous success and preserve the sequence going somewhat bit longer. There aren’t too many names within the toybox left to tug out, however at this level, Gigan and Jet Jaguar must be excessive on the checklist.

Make it occur, Hollywood!

Godzilla Singular Level is obtainable to stream on Netflix now.

The submit Godzilla Singular Point: The Weird History of Jet Jaguar appeared first on Den of Geek.

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