Rodan

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Rodan
Godzilla film series character
Rodan (1956) headshot.png
Rodan featured in Rodan (1956)
First appearance Rodan (1956)
Last appearance Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Created by Ken Kuronuma
Portrayed by Shōwa series
Haruo Nakajima
Kōji Uruki
Masaki Shinohara
Teruo Aragaki
Millennium series
Naoko Kamio
Aliases Radon
Monster Zero-Two
Fire Rodan
Species Irradiated Pterodactyl

Rodan (Japanese: ラドン, Hepburn: Radon) is a daikaiju monster which first appeared as the title character in Toho's 1956 film Rodan. Though the character started off in its own stand-alone film, Rodan was later featured in the Godzilla franchise. IGN listed Rodan as #6 on their "Top 10 Japanese Movie Monsters" list,[1] while Complex listed the character as #15 on its "The 15 Most Badass Kaiju Monsters of All Time" list.[2]

Overview[edit]

Name[edit]

The Japanese name Radon is a contraction of Pteranodon.

It was changed to Rodan for English-speaking markets in order to avoid confusion with the element radon.[3] However, in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II, the English version of the film used the original name Radon.

Development[edit]

As with Godzilla, writer Ken Kuronuma turned to prehistoric animals for inspiration in developing the character, though unlike the former, whose species is largely left ambiguous, Rodan is explicitly stated to be a kind of Pteranodon.[3] Just as Godzilla was conceived as a symbol of an American nuclear threat, Rodan was seen as an embodiment of the same danger originating from the Soviet Union.[4]

Rodan's debut appearance was the first and only time the character was given a chestnut color, and its face was given a menacing face with a jagged fanged beak, which would disappear in later incarnations as the character became more heroic. Rodan was portrayed via a combination of suitmation and wire-operated puppets for flight sequences. During suitmation sequences, Rodan was portrayed by Haruo Nakajima, who almost drowned when the wires holding the 150 lb suit above a water tank snapped.[3] In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, the Rodan suit was of visibly lesser quality than the previous one, having a more comical face, a thick neck which barely concealed the shape of the performer's head within, and triangular wings.[5] The modification of the character's face was deliberate, as Rodan was meant to be a slapstick character rather than the tragic villain seen in its film debut.[6] A new suit was constructed for Invasion of Astro-Monster which more closely resembled the first, having more rounded wings and a sleeker face. The sleek face was retained in Destroy All Monsters, though the wings and chest area were crudely designed.[5]

Rodan was revived in 1993's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, this time portrayed entirely via a wire-manipulated marionette[7] and hand puppets. Having received criticism for his emphasis on battle sequences relying heavily on beam weapons, special effects artist Koichi Kawakita sought to make the confrontation between Godzilla and Rodan as physical as possible.[8]

MonsterVerse[edit]

In 2014, Legendary Pictures announced that they have acquired the rights to King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan from Toho to use in their MonsterVerse.[9] A casting call confirmed that Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah will be featured in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.[10]

Roar[edit]

The character's shriek was created by sound technician Ichiro Minawa, who sought to replicate the "contrabass technique" composer Akira Ifukube used for Godzilla, though layering it with a sped up human voice.[11] The sound would be remixed and reused for several other Toho monsters, including the second incarnation of King Ghidorah[12] and Battra.[13]

Appearances[edit]

A post-credit scene in Kong: Skull Island depicting cave painting of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah introduces the characters (except for Godzilla) into the MonsterVerse.

Films[edit]

Television[edit]

Video games[edit]

Rodan fighting King Ghidorah, as shown in Bandai Namco's 2014 video game Godzilla

Literature[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hawker, Tom (May 15, 2014). "Top 10 Japanese Movie Monsters". IGN. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ Josh Robertson, "The 15 Most Badass Kaiju Monsters of All Time", Complex (May 18, 2014)
  3. ^ a b c Harry Edmundson-Cornell (March 24, 2015). "Tsuburaya Does Colour: Rodan". Sequart Organization. 
  4. ^ Jess-Cooke, C. (2009), Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood, Edinburgh University Press, p. 38, ISBN 0748689478
  5. ^ a b Ryfle, S. (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. Toronto: ECW Press. pp. 116 & 124. ISBN 1550223488. 
  6. ^ Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7. 
  7. ^ Ryfle, S. (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 288. ISBN 1550223488. 
  8. ^ Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7. 
  9. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (July 26, 2014). "Gareth Edwards returns to direct 'Godzilla 2' with Rodan and Mothra". The Verge. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  10. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (May 31, 2017). "These Three Kaiju Appear to Be Confirmed for Godzilla: King of the Monsters". Dread Central. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  11. ^ Erik Homenick, "Biography: Part IX - Myths, Monsters and Laments", Akiraifukube.org (accessed May 30, 2016)
  12. ^ Ryfle, S. (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 272. ISBN 1550223488. 
  13. ^ Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7. 
  14. ^ "Manga: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  15. ^ "Book: Godzilla vs. Gigan and the Smog Monster". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  16. ^ "Book: Godzilla on Monster Island". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  17. ^ "Book: Godzilla Saves America: A Monster Showdown in 3-D!". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  18. ^ "Book: Godzilla Likes to Roar!". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  19. ^ "Book: Who's Afraid of Godzilla?". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
Notes
  • Miniatures by Stephen Dedman, Eidolon Magazine Summer 1996, Volume 5, Issue 3 (also known as whole number issue 20). Eidolon Publications, North Perth, Australia. ISSN 1038-5657.