As a Godzilla fan, I’ve been quite excited by the upcoming giant ape-vs.-nuclear lizard rematch. But I would happily throw away the incredibly expensive Hollywood blockbuster in the garbage if it meant I got to see the glorious Jet Jaguar, star of the 1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon, in action. Thanks to Netflix’s anime series Godzilla: Singular Point, I get to have both.
If you haven’t watched the movie, it might be tough to understand why Jet Jaguar rules. After all, he’s a very homely robot who looks like someone had two minutes to design an Ultraman knock-off. Of course, if you’ve seen Godzilla vs. Megalon, it might also be tough to understand why Jet Jaguar rules as well, because the movie is nonsense and is widely regarded as one of the franchise’s worst installments.
And yet, that’s what also makes the film — and Jet Jaguar, by proxy — amazing. This is a robot who is stolen by the aquatic Seatopians because they somehow need him to lead their giant cockroach, Megalon, to cities to crush. This is a robot who not only ignores his commands when he feels he needs to defeat kaiju, he also decides to grow very large, which inexplicably works. This is a robot that helps Godzilla do this:
And Jet Jaguar isn’t just polite enough to hold Megalon so a delighted Godzilla can drop-kick the monster a second time; after the fight, he even shakes Godzilla’s lizard-hand for a job well done.
Like Roger Moore’s increasingly goofy tenure as James Bond and the ridiculous Batman & Robin movie, some fans are starting to come around to the idea that not all of their beloved movie franchises need to be gritty and deadly serious all the time. Jet Jaguar is not only the apex of the silliest, most kid-targeted Godzilla film, he’s also the poster child — er, robot — for it. It’s absolutely perfect that he’s going to star in the very silly-looking Singular Point anime, especially as a robot controlled by a bunch of young scientists looking to take on kaiju threats by themselves.
In full disclosure, I am somewhat perturbed by Singular Point’s new design for the robot, which looks less like a bad Ultraman and more like the Iron Giant. His spindly arms and legs are unsettling, as is his face which looks inexplicably far more sinister than his live-action counterpart. But as the famous saying goes, a weird Jet Jaguar is still better than no Jet Jaguar. And you don’t need to be good-looking to hold an evil monster for Godzilla to drop-kick.