Rodan ラドン [Showa]


Rodan - Rodan (2nd Generation) - Character Analysis
Rodan [Showa Series]
Rodan

Height : 50 meters
Wingspan : 120 meters
Mass : 15,000 tons

Powers / Weapons

Flight at mach 1.5; radioactive gas; hurricane winds from wings

Appearances

Rodan (1956); Invasion of Astro-Monster (stock footage mistake)

Series // Showa

Sound Effect

Description

A species of pteranodon that once lived in the Mesozoic era, however, Rodan was mutated due to the horrors of the atomic age. This granted the ancient reptile feats far beyond other species that lived in this era.

In the 1950's, the creatures first emerged to terrorize humanity. Born beneath a coal mine in Kyushu, the irradiated monster shattered its enormous egg with a need to feed. Among the creature's first prey were a prodigious arthropod species the Meganulons. While the insects had plagued the local village, Rodan easily picked at them with its beak and consumed those Meganulon unfortunate enough to be in its cave.

Once the young reptile had fed, it soared into the sky while destroying the coal mine in the process. Slicing the air at supersonic speeds, the beast was picked up by radar instruments in Japan as it traveled. This led to an investigation by a F86F Saber Jet to discover the source. However, the aircraft's maximum speed of mach 0.89 was ill equipped to keep up with Rodan. In an instant, though, the aerial monster turned around and annihilated the jet fighter, cutting it with a shock wave left in Rodan's wake.

Rodan [Showa Series]The winged monster then proceeded to soar across the globe, sparking unprecedented reports of UFOs across two continents. At times, the UFO seems to be almost in two places at once, given the immense distance between recent sightings. The beast eventually returned to Japan, where it gained an appetite. Cattle and other animals were picked off by the monster, although its prey also included humans. Once such casualty was a newly wed couple, although they had managed to snap a photo of Rodan's wing before being attacked. This photo aided those investigating, leading to the theory that the threat was actually reminiscent of a pteranodon. Dubbed Rodan by professor Kashiwagi Kyuichiro, who devised the theory, it was calculated the creature was fast enough to leave sonic booms in its wake. As part of the theory, the beast's orgin was tied to nuclear testing, which contaiminated the very Earth where the creature was sleeping. Aiding the defense force, the professor also estimated that the creature was somewhere between the coal mines of Kyushu and Mount Aso.

Search parties are dispatched to the area, and it's not long before authorities discover Rodan at Mount Aso. As predicted, the identity of the menace is in fact the ancient beast that Kyuichiro theorized. The creature quickly becomes airborne, though, as the Self Defense Force scramble to meet the threat. Their first assault involves a squadron of F86F Saber jets that attack the fiend in the sky. The initial squadron is half destroyed as the beast flies over Sasebo. Reinforcements arrive, though, and the strike drives the beast closer to the ground, including a brief moment where it dives into the water near Saikai Bridge. The creature quickly becomes airborne again, though, and destroys the bridge while the jets continue their pursuit.

Despite their efforts, which do amount to the creature reducing its flight speed by half, Rodan eventually reaches Fukuoka city. The beast first flies over the metropolis, decimating the waterfront with a powerful sonic boom left in its wake. With the city in chaos, the winged monster flapped its wings to send debris flying and vehicles soaring to their destruction. Committed to defending the city, the Self Defense Force evoke another assault, this time by unleashing an arsenal of tanks and missile launchers. The units shell the creature, who defends itself with a combination of hurricane winds and by blasting its radioactive breath weapon.

Suddenly, a second Rodan appears, explaining the worldwide sightings. The second beast quickly flies over the city. United, the two titans take their leave for their home in Mount Aso. A desperate plan of action is soon concocted: a controlled eruption at their nest. The Self Defense Force deploy Honest John Missile Launchers, which pound the volcanic mountain and cause an eruption. As one Rodan escapes, the other is caught in a mixture of fumes and confusion over its situation. It eventually lowers down to the lava, setting itself ablaze by the molten rock. Its mate attempts to call out to the fallen monster, but its fate is sealed. Seeing its partner in agony, its mate joins its fallen ally in its dying moments by plunging into the lava as well, ending their reign.


Powers / Weapons
Flight at Mach 1.5

Flight at Mach 1.5

Rodan was able to fly at mach 1.5, reaching supersonic speeds.

As a result of its speed and body shape, Rodan would leave sonic booms in its path. This would take the shape of a strong, destructive blast that could level a city block. Other times the effect would create a cutting force, which was strong enough to cleanly slice off the front of a F86F Saber Jet.

   
Radioactive Gas

Radioactive Gas

The winged monster was able to expel a concentrated blast of radioactive gas from its mouth. This breath weapon packed immense force behind it, able to blow apart buildings and other objects exposed to it.

This ability was granted due to influence from the hydrogen bomb.

   
Hurricane Winds from Wings

Hurricane Winds from Wings

Rodan could flap its giant wings in order to produce hurricane level winds. Due to dust and debris turned up by the winds, this feat would often obscure vision around the winged monster.

Rodan could use this ability both when airborne or on the ground, although was more fond of doing it while hovering in the air.


Background and Trivia
  • The winged monster was portrayed by suit actor Haruo Nakajima.
  • Rodan's head was modeled by Teizo Toshimitsu while modeling the body was a team effort by brothers Koei Yagi and Kanji Yagi.
  • In the 2000 publication Large Picture Book of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World (ISBN: 4873765587), Rodan's powers are mentioned as "Beak" (くちぱし - Kuchi Pashi), "Shock Waves" (衝撃波 - Shogekiha), "Radioactive Gas" (ガス放射 - Gasu Hosha) and "Gust from Wings" (翼による突風 - Tsubasa ni Yoru Toppu).
  • During the climax, one of the Rodans catches fire from the lava coming from the volcano. According to Koichi Takano, who worked in the special effects department on the movie, this was not originally intended. During filming, one of the Rodan props had a wire break and it caught fire. After witnessing it, the crew agreed that it made for a powerful visual and incorporated it into the scene. This information is located in Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo (ISBN: 0922915474).
  • The 1993 book Everything About Godzilla Movies (ISBN: 9784054002166) mentions that Rodan is a mutated species of pteranodon that once lived in the Mesozoic era. While the movie hints that the creature was woken by nuclear tests, this would imply that the creature was changed due to these phenomenons. In fact, the Toho Special Effects: All Kaiju Illustrated Encyclopedia (ISBN: 9784096820902) mentions that the first generation Rodan developed its radioactive gas weapon as a result of the hydrogen bomb.
  • While filming one of the flying scenes, the pulley broke which caused the suit and actor, Haruo Nakajima, to plummet 30 feet. Luckily, a bit of water below and the suit itself cushioned the blow as to not seriously harm the suit actor. This account of events can be found in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • The staging of events change between the Japanese and American versions of the movie. In the original Japanese version the second Rodan appears only at the end of the Fukuoka attack as a surprise reveal. In the American version, though, the second Rodan appears from Mount Aso before the aerial dogfight and destruction of Saikai Bridge, both of which proceeded the attack on Fukuoka.
  • The sequence during Rodan's attack on Fukuoka, altered to Sasebo, is changed during the American cut. In this edit, the monster's radioactive gas power appears to have almost no effect. In fact, during its second use the breath weapon appears to just knock papers from the desk of the military before the monster itself breaks down the wall. This is in contrast to the weapon's use in the Japanese version, which is shown to be strong enough to completely rip apart smaller buildings.
  • Due to stock footage from Rodan (1956) being used, the original Rodan appears as a stand-in for the second generation one during some scenes of Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965).



Rodan (2nd Generation) [Showa Series]
Rodan (2nd Generation)

Height : 50 meters
Wingspan : 120-150 meters
Mass : 15,000 tons

Powers / Weapons

Flight at mach 1.5; hurricane winds from wings

Appearances

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964); Invasion of Astro-Monster; Destroy All Monsters; Godzilla vs. Gigan (stock footage); Godzilla vs. Megalon (stock footage); Terror of Mechagodzilla (stock footage); Bye-Bye Jupiter (stock footage)

Series // Showa

Sound Effect

Description

Eight years after the first Rodan attack, another member of the species would threaten Japan. Emerging from Mount Aso, where the earlier Rodans were destroyed, the winged terror took flight. As fate would have it, Godzilla appeared off the coast of Japan around this same time. Naturally, the two titans eventually crossed paths on mainland Japan. The monsters then proceeded to wage a fierce war across the nation in a series of stand still fights. However, while in the middle of a skirmish, the pair were interrupted by Mothra. Using her webbing, she was able to halt the two from fighting temporarily. The three monsters then initiated in a long discussion. The small larva desperately tried to convince the two to focus on a much more dangerous foe: King Ghidorah. Mothra's plea fell on deaf ears, however, as both Rodan and Godzilla desired to continue their fight.

Having failed her mission, the benevolent insect left the two monsters. She ventured off to do battle with the space demon alone. However, shortly after engaging with Ghidorah, both Rodan and Godzilla, having a change of heart, arrived on the scene to aid the small Larva. Together, the three combatants claimed victory over the space monster, who was sent into a hasty retreat back to space.

By 1965, Rodan and Godzilla had become well known for driving away the three-headed creature. So much so that when humanity visited the distant Planet X they received a request to borrow the two monsters. Greeted by the Xilien, the alien species were under siege by King Ghidorah and in need of a solution. As a result, they sent a plea to the astronauts who landed there. The Xilien sought to use Rodan and Godzilla to vanquish the three-headed monster, as the two had done on Earth. The terrestrial monsters were located at Washigasawa and Lake Myojin respectively, and the alien species sought permission to transport them to Planet X to battle King Ghidorah.

Rodan (2nd Generation) [Showa Series]However, despite requesting, the Xilien species arrived on Earth at Lake Myojin without approval. Although their sudden appearance stirred controversy, humanity let the aliens secure the two monsters. This involved blasting a mountain in Washigasawa with lasers, revealing a resting Rodan. The Xilien UFO levitated the flying monster and quickly entrapped it in an energy bubble. This placed the creature in a suspended state, ready for transport. The same process was done to Godzilla, who had been sleeping at the bottom of Lake Myojin.

With the two creatures in tow, the aliens ventured into outer space, traveling at incredible speeds toward Planet X. Arriving at the distant planet, it was not long before King Ghidorah emerged. The Xiliens quickly released Rodan and Godzilla from their suspended state, as they engaged in heated combat with the three-headed monster on alien soil. The dynamic duo prevailed, forcing King Ghidorah to retreat after a fierce confrontation. The astronauts, for whom the Xilien had taken with them, observed the victory and were given an advanced medical drug for Earth's cooperation.

Arriving back on Earth, the instructions for the drug were played, only to reveal that humanity had been tricked. Rather than a drug, the recording was an ultimatum to surrender. Shortly thereafter, the Xilien appeared on Earth, having at their disposal a mind controlled Rodan, Godzilla and King Ghidorah, whom they controlled all along. Eventually, the monsters were unleashed on Earth. Rodan and Godzilla fiercely attacked Japan, while the Xilien UFOs blasted away some of the defense forces. Thankfully, the control over these monsters was broken through the use of the A-Cycle Light Ray. As a result, Rodan once again joined his ally and repelled King Ghidorah, who returned into the cold void of space.

Eventually, Rodan would find itself on Monster Island in the South Pacific. There, the winged monster lived amongst a host of other beasts, including Kamacuras, Anguirus, Rodan's ally Godzilla and more. In 1973, though, nuclear tests devastated the island. Although the destruction caught and trapped Anguirus underground, Rodan was left relatively unscathed. The damage left the island in an almost uninhabited state as most of the monsters left, save Godzilla who watched over the destroyed land.

In the year 1999, Rodan was found once more peacefully living with his fellow Earth monsters, although this time on Monsterland. Located in the Ogasawara Island chain, the landmass was a man-made zoological preserve for the giant monsters. Among the island's inhabitants was a small Baragon, for whom Rodan acted as an adoptive parent. Although held against their will through a combination of gas and magnetic walls, the monsters were able to gorge on food, leaving them relatively docile.

Unfortunately, the tranquility of the island was eventually broken. Another terrible alien race, calling themselves the Kilaakian, laid siege to the island. Their initial attack involved powerful gas, which was released throughout Monsterland. The fumes were strong enough to knock out Rodan after prolonged exposure, who fell on top of Anguirus. With the monsters subdued, the aliens took control of the island and all of its inhabitants. Rodan was the first to attack under the control of his new masters, and rendered Moscow a ruined city. Some time thereafter, Rodan joined forces with Godzilla, Manda and Mothra in the annihilation of Tokyo. Luckily, though, humankind was becoming wise to the secrets of the Kilaakian. Using the spaceship Moonlight SY-3, the defense forces destroyed the transmitter on the moon and effectively severed the mind control. Humankind, now controlling the monsters, sent Rodan to fight against King Ghidorah. Engaging the three-headed monster for the fourth time, Rodan used his wings to creature hurricane winds to keep its opponent off balance. The attack was short lived, though, as King Ghidorah launched gravity beams, causing Rodan to take to the skies. The space monster, however, was attacked in a united assault from the other monsters, which included Godzilla, Anguirus, Gorosaurus, Mothra, Minilla and Kumonga. Their combined might not only defeated King Ghidorah, stopping the monster from retreating as it had in battles past, but killed the three-headed monster in the process.

Though it appeared as though Earth's greatest foe was conquered, the Fire Dragon, a conflagrant UFO, arrived and engaged Rodan in battle. Though Rodan failed to repel the craft, the Moonlight SY-3 extinguished this final obstacle. With its destruction, so went with it the last dreams of conquest from the Kilaakian. As the alien menace was stopped, the monsters, including Rodan and the smaller Baragon, were returned to their home on Monsterland where they were able to live out their days in peace.


Powers / Weapons
Flight at Mach 1.5

Flight at Mach 1.5

The winged monster could take flight at a supersonic speed of mach 1.5. Rodan could fly both inside Earth's atmosphere and also on Planet X.

The creature would leave shock waves in its path after flying, which would destroy objects below it. It was also fond of strafing opponents, ramming standing targets with its chest spikes or legs to knock them over.

   
Hurricane Winds from Wings

Hurricane Winds from Wings

Rodan was able to flap its massive wings to create hurricane winds.

This power was used to upturn trees, houses and blow away vehicles in its path. Due to the debris and rubble caught up in the winds, it was also able to obscure vision enough for tanks to miss landing shots against Rodan.


Background and Trivia
  • The second generation Rodan was portrayed by three different suit actors. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), the creature was portrayed by Koji Uruki. For Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), Masashi Shinohara played the character. In Destroy All Monsters (1968), Teruo Aragaki portrayed Rodan.
  • The birthplace of the second generation Rodan is stated as Mt. Aso (阿蘇山火口 - Asosan Kako) in the 1993 publication Everything About Godzilla Movies (ISBN: 9784054002166). This is the same location as the final scene in Rodan (1956) where the two giant flying monsters perished in the lava.
  • Rodan continued to grow after his initial confrontation with King Ghidorah. By 1965, the monster's wingspan actually increased 30 meters, growing from 120 meters to 150 meters. While many books cite the creature as being the same size throughout the Showa series, a few do state the growth. Examples include the Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works (ISBN: 4091014704) and the Large Picture Book of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World (ISBN: 4873765587).
  • In the Large Picture Book of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World (ISBN: 4873765587) the second generation Rodan's powers are listed as "Shock Waves" (衝撃波 - Shogekiha), "Beak" (くちぱし - Kuchi Pashi), and "Talons" (足のツメ - Sshi no Tsume). For his appearance in Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), a fourth power is mentioned: "Gust Attack" (突風攻撃 - Toppu Kogeki). For the character's appearance in Destroy All Monsters (1968), the "Beak" power is reworded as "Sharp Beak" (鋭いくちぱし - Surudoi Kuchi Pashi). It should be noted that the publication does not state that the second generation Rodan had the same breath weapon as the ones that attacked in 1956.
  • The same suit for Rodan was used across all three of his appearances in the 1960's. Originally created for Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), the suit was reused in 1965, although the wings were heavily modified. In 1968 the suit was used once more, although this time the head and wings had to be repaired. These details are mentioned in the 2012 book Toho Special Effects Movies: Complete Works (ISBN: 9784864910132)
  • Although the movie cites itself as occurring in 196X, the New Godzilla Walker - The New Legend of the King of the Monsters (ISBN: 9784048956321) lists the attack on Earth by Rodan, Godzilla and King Ghidorah during Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) as taking place in 1965.
  • Information related to Rodan raising Baragon comes from Everything About Godzilla Movies (ISBN: 9784054002166). The book does not specify which Baragon, although the logical conclusion is the one from Destroy All Monsters (1968) as it would have been easier for Rodan to have come in contact with it versus the one from Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965).
  • Rodan appears in Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984) via stock footage. This sequence involves Captain Hoger Kinn relaxing and watching the actual movie Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964). Although initially played as a projection, eventually full frame footage from the movie is shown of the climax involving the three Earth monsters against King Ghidorah. The version of the movie being watched would appear to be edited, since it goes from the opening title screen right into the final battle with Rodan and the others.