Rodan (Heisei) / Fire Rodan

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Rodan Incarnations
Showa Rodan
Heisei Rodan
Millennium Rodan
Rodan copyright icon Fire Rodan copyright icon
Rodan (Heisei) /
Fire Rodan
Rodan in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
Fire Rodan in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
Alternate names Radon, New Rodan
Subtitle(s) Giant Monster of the Sky
(空の大怪獣,   Sora no Daikaijū)[1]
Pterosaur Monster
(翼竜怪獣,   Yokuryū Kaijū)[2]
Crimson Monster Bird
(紅蓮怪鳥,   Guren Kaichō)G:TB
Species Irradiated Pteranodon
Height 70 meters[3][4]
Wingspan 150 meters[3][4][note 1]
Weight 16,000 metric tons[3][4]
Forms Rodan, Fire Rodan
Relations BabyGodzilla (Surrogate brother)
Allies BabyGodzilla
Enemies Godzilla, Mechagodzilla /
Super Mechagodzilla
Conceived by Ken Kuronuma, Ishiro Honda,
Tomoyuki Tanaka, Takao Okawara, Koichi Kawakita
Written by Wataru Mimura
Designed by Shinji Nishikawa, Ryu Hariken (Unused),
Minoru Yoshida
Modeled by Shinichi Wakasa, Rikuo Mikami,
Yukihiro Kanetsuna, Takuji Yokoyama, Shigeaki Ito, Masayuki Kurahashi
Portrayed by Puppets, Koichi Kawakita (Hand puppet)
First appearance Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
Roar(s)
More roars
Kunio Katsuragi: “What the hell is that?
Hiroshi Omae: “Rodan.
Kunio Katsuragi: “Rodan?
Hiroshi Omae: “It's a giant pteranodon.
Azusa Gojo: “You think it's from that other egg?
Hiroshi Omae: “I'm certain. It's been irradiated. That's why it's so enormous. The same thing happened to Godzilla.
― Kunio Katsuragi, Professor Hiroshi Omae, and Azusa Gojo react to Rodan's appearance on Adonoa Island (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II)

Rodan (ラドン,   Radon) is a giant Pteranodon kaiju that appeared in the 1993 Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.

A Pteranodon mutated by nuclear waste, Rodan was living in his nest on Adonoa Island, watching over the egg of BabyGodzilla. When a team of scientists arrived on the island and tried to take the egg, Rodan attacked their camp, only for Godzilla to arrive and attempt to claim the egg as his own. Godzilla seemingly killed Rodan in the battle, allowing the scientists to escape with the egg. However, Rodan was soon revived as Fire Rodan (ファイヤーラドン,   Faiyā Radon) and traveled to Japan to recover BabyGodzilla. Rodan was attacked by Mechagodzilla and seriously wounded, then sacrificed his life to revive Godzilla and allow him to destroy Mechagodzilla and raise BabyGodzilla in his place.

Name

Rodan's Japanese name, "Radon," is a truncation of "Pteranodon." It may also have been chosen to suggest radiation. The name was changed to "Rodan" in English-speaking markets in order to avoid confusion with the element Radon.[5] Toho eventually trademarked the name "Rodan," making it the monster's official English name. However, in the international English dub for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Rodan is still referred to as "Radon" for the entirety of the film. After being revitalized, Rodan attains a red-skinned form officially dubbed "Fire Rodan" (ファイヤーラドン,   Faiyā Radon), though this name is never used to refer to the creature at any point during the film.

The Heisei Rodan is sometimes referred to as New Rodan (新ラドン,   Shin Radon) in sources contemporary to the Heisei Series in order to distinguish it from the Rodans of the Showa era.[2] He is alternatively called Rodan (New) (ラドン(新),   Radon (Shin)) in the publication Godzilla Dictionary and its updated version Godzilla Dictionary [New Edition].[6] In the mobile game Godzilla: Kaiju Collection, Rodan was erroneously called Rodan (MogeGoji) (ラドン(モゲゴジ),   Radon (Mogegoji)), though this was later corrected to Rodan (Heisei) (ラドン(平成),   Radon (Heisei)).

This incarnation of the character retains the Showa Rodan's subtitle of Giant Monster of the Sky (空の大怪獣,   Sora no Daikaijū),[1] though he is also uniquely titled Pterosaur Monster (翼竜怪獣,   Yokuryū Kaijū) by some official sources.[2] In the 1998 video game Godzilla: Trading Battle, Fire Rodan is instead fittingly referred to as Crimson Monster Bird (紅蓮怪鳥,   Guren Kaichō).

Development

Rodan's finalized design and color scheme by Minoru Yoshida

In an early draft for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, a pair of Rodans, a male and a female, lived on Adonoa Island rather than just one, similar in concept to the character's debut film. Shinji Nishikawa created several pieces of concept art for the pair, giving the male Rodan a large crest on its head in order to denote its gender, as well as a white- and blue-skinned variant of the female Rodan aptly named White Rodan, which served as a sort of precursor to Fire Rodan.[7] Within the draft, the mates would have been attacked by Mechagodzilla on Adonoa where the male would be fatally wounded and the female would escape into the ocean with damage sustained to one of its eyes. Upon encountering a nuclear submarine underwater, the female would destroy it, absorbing the radiation given off by it and transforming into White Rodan.[8] The outline also featured an opening scene set in the Cretaceous period, consisting of a battle between a Godzillasaurus and Pteranodon, though this would be written out due to budgetary concerns.[9] Later drafts instead replaced the pair of Rodans with Pteranodons, with the female evolving directly into White Rodan.[8] Though none of Nishikawa's concepts would be used in the final film, his female Rodan design was used by Noriyoshi Ohrai on the latter's advance poster for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, along with Transforming Mechagodzilla. Further concept art for Rodan was submitted by "Hurricane" Ryu Hariken, bearing a striking resemblance to the Showa era Rodan which appeared from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster through Destroy All Monsters.[2] However, Rodan's design would ultimately be finalized by artist Minoru Yoshida, who experimented with a number of color schemes and pattern designs in the process, including variations on Shinji Nishikawa's White Rodan. He finally arrived on a dark brown and red coloration for Rodan and Fire Rodan, respectively.[10]

Main article: Rodan/Gallery#Concept Art.
Shinichi Wakasa (2nd from right) and staff members from MONSTERS, Inc. pose with the completed full- and 1/2-size Rodan models

Though the idea of having the monster be portrayed through suitmation was considered as far back as Shinji Nishikawa and Ryu Hariken's concept designs,[2][7] the Heisei Rodan would become the only incarnation of the character to date to be portrayed entirely by props. Rodan was modeled under Shinichi Wakasa and employees of his company MONSTERS, Inc., including Rikuo Mikami, Yukihiro Kanetsuna, Takuji Yokoyama, Shigeaki Ito, and Masayuki Kurahashi. At least 4 props were used to portray the monster, including a full-scale "main" model, 1/2-size model, a bust for close-up shots, and models of its legs.[10][11] The Rodan models' horns and back spines are constructed of a translucent FRP.[12] The bases of their wings are made of a hard polyurethane​,[12] while softer urethane which was stretched and coated with liquid latex forms the membranes, and steel pipes are used to simulate bones.[10] The full-body and close-up models also featured some radio control mechanisms, such as to control the opening and closing of their mouths and movement of their necks in the former,[12] and blinking of the eyes in the latter.[10] Fire Rodan was portrayed using the same props, only repainted its signature deep red color.[11]

Design

Like the Showa Rodan, the Heisei Rodan resembles a gigantic pterosaur that stands upright on two legs. However, while technically twenty meters taller than the Showa incarnation, the Heisei Rodan is considerably smaller than the Godzilla he appeared alongside. Rodan's wings also appear somewhat larger in proportion to the rest of his body. His wings have visible blood vessels running through them. Rodan possesses three spikes on the back of his head instead of two, and to date is the only incarnation of the character with this trait. In addition, he has a row of pointed spikes running down the length of his back, as well as a thin, pointed tail. Rodan's skin is initially brown in color, but after he becomes Fire Rodan it is red.

Personality

The Heisei Rodan sees BabyGodzilla, an infant Godzillasaurus, as his younger brother due to his egg being located in the same nest where he hatched, and will go to great lengths to protect him. Rodan attacks a group of humans when they try to take BabyGodzilla's egg, and later attacks Godzilla when he tries to claim the egg. Once he is revived as Fire Rodan after being nearly killed by Godzilla, Rodan immediately flies to Japan to try and recover BabyGodzilla. When Godzilla is nearly killed by Super Mechagodzilla, Rodan willingly sacrifices his life to save Godzilla so that he can raise BabyGodzilla in his place.

Origins

Rodan is a Pteranodon whose egg survived past the Cretaceous extinction in a nest on Adonoa Island in the Bering Sea. Rodan was exposed to nuclear waste dumped on the island by the Russians, irradiating him and causing him to grow to gigantic size. A Godzillasaurus egg was also located in Rodan's next, and he came to view it as his younger brother, keeping constant watch over the nest in order to protect it.

History

Heisei Series

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

When a team of scientists led by Hiroshi Omae arrived on Adonoa Island and discovered an intact egg in a Pteranodon nest, they prepared to load it onto a helicopter so they could bring it back to Japan. As they were doing so, Rodan flew overhead and destroyed their campsite. Omae stated that Rodan was an irradiated Pteranodon that must have hatched from another egg in the same nest. Rodan landed on a cliff overlooking the sea, which began to suddenly flash. Rodan stared into the water, only for a beam of Godzilla's atomic breath to shoot out of the water and strike the cliff. Rodan took flight and flew out over the water, producing shockwaves on the surface of the water. Godzilla fired his atomic breath at Rodan, with one blast striking his wing. Godzilla came ashore on the island, only for Rodan to fly behind him and strike him with the spikes on his chest. Rodan began pecking Godzilla in the back of the head with his pointed beak. Godzilla's dorsal plates began to flash, leading Rodan to fly away as Godzilla fired his atomic breath at him. Rodan circled around Godzilla, then flew directly at him and knocked him to the ground with his wing. Rodan dove onto Godzilla and began pecking at his face, but Godzilla managed to grab Rodan by the throat, choking him until blood began to pour from Rodan's mouth. Godzilla threw Rodan off of him and blasted him with his atomic breath, only for Rodan to fly back at him and knock Godzilla headfirst into a mountain, which collapsed onto Godzilla and buried him in rubble. Rodan flew overhead, but Godzilla's tail knocked Rodan out of the sky. Godzilla rose from the rubble and blasted Rodan with his atomic breath, then stomped on his back. Rodan tried to take flight, but Godzilla blasted him twice at point-blank range with his atomic breath, sending Rodan crashing into a rocky slope and leaving him seemingly dead. In the confusion, the scientists had managed to escape the island with the egg, with Godzilla following after them, intent on recovering the egg for himself.

Fire Rodan

When a choir of psychic girls sang a song to BabyGodzilla, the creature that hatched from the egg found in Rodan's nest, Rodan heard it all the way back on Adonoa Island. Rodan was revived as Fire Rodan (ファイヤーラドン,   Faiyā Radon) and immediately flew to Japan to rescue his surrogate brother. When Fire Rodan arrived, BabyGodzilla was being airlifted via helicopter to the Ogasawara Islands, where G-Force hoped to lure Godzilla so he could be killed by Mechagodzilla. Fire Rodan intercepted the chopper while it was still flying over Japan, destroying it and grabbing the canister holding BabyGodzilla and his surrogate human mother Azusa Gojo. Fire Rodan touched down in a nearby city and attempted to break open the canister with his beak. G-Force deployed Mechagodzilla and the Garuda to defeat Fire Rodan. Fire Rodan took flight and managed to bring down the Garuda by slamming his chest spikes into it, sending it crashing into a nearby building. Fire Rodan turned his attention to Mechagodzilla, firing his new uranium heat beam at the mecha and attacking it up close with his beak. Fire Rodan managed to destroy Mechagodzilla's right eye with his beak, but Mechagodzilla used the plasma it had absorbed from Fire Rodan's beam to blast him with its plasma grenade, shredding Rodan's chest and sending him flying into several buildings.

With Fire Rodan seemingly dead, Godzilla unexpectedly appeared in the city and engaged Mechagodzilla in battle. Mechagodzilla combined with the Garuda to form Super Mechagodzilla, and crippled Godzilla by destroying his secondary brain with its G-Crusher system. At this point, BabyGodzilla broke free of the canister and cried out, gaining the attention of the wounded Fire Rodan. Fire Rodan took flight, only to be shot down by Super Mechagodzilla's mega buster. Fire Rodan fell on top of Godzilla, and began transferring his life force into him. As Fire Rodan faded away, Godzilla's secondary brain was regenerated, and he rose back to his feet. Empowered by Fire Rodan's energy, Godzilla destroyed Super Mechagodzilla and left Japan with BabyGodzilla.

Abilities

Supersonic Flight

Fire Rodan's creates destructive shockwaves as he flies.

Rodan can fly at speeds of up to Mach 3. When flying, Rodan produces powerful shockwaves and wind gusts, which are capable of blowing away debris and damaging buildings.

Chest Spikes

Fire Rodan rams the Garuda with his chest spikes, causing it to crash.

Rodan possesses rows of sharp spikes on the armor plating on his chest. When flying, Rodan can ram opponents with these spikes. Rodan uses these spikes to injure Godzilla, and later to cause the Garuda to crash.

Physical Abilities

Fire Rodan pecks Mechagodzilla with his beak.

While primarily a speed-oriented combatant, Rodan is capable of holding his own in up-close combat. Rodan uses his beak to attack both Godzilla and Mechagodzilla, even managing to temporarily disable the latter's right eye. Rodan can also use his wings in combat, shown when he hits Godzilla with his wing while flying past him and knocks him to the ground.

Durability

Rodan demonstrates a fair degree of durability, surviving multiple direct hits from Godzilla's atomic breath and Mechagodzilla's plasma grenade, although repeated strikes from these attacks do eventually severely injure him. Rodan also withstands Godzilla's physical attacks, such as being strangled, stomped on, and struck by his tail.

Uranium Heat Beam

Fire Rodan fires his uranium heat beam at Mechagodzilla.

As Fire Rodan, Rodan can spit a radioactive heat beam similar to Godzilla's atomic breath from his mouth. It was not able damage Mechagodzilla, due to the machine's synthetic diamond coating which absorbed it.

Energy Transfer

Fire Rodan transfers his life force into Godzilla.

Fire Rodan can transfer his life force into other beings, healing severe injuries and providing them with a huge boost in power. Rodan demonstrates this ability only once, when he revives Godzilla and heals his second brain, as it kills him in the process. Not only are Godzilla's second brain and ability to walk restored, but he gains a powerful new ability, the red spiral heat ray, and he emits temperatures high enough to melt Super Mechagodzilla's synthetic diamond armor.

Telepathy

Rodan can communicate telepathically with his surrogate brother, BabyGodzilla, allowing him to locate his exact location and come to his rescue whenever he is in distress. Rodan also derives power from the song that the psychic girls were able to derive from the ferns found growing on BabyGodzilla's egg.

Weaknesses

Fire Rodan bleeds from the mouth after being blasted by Mechagodzilla's plasma grenade.

Rodan is considerably smaller and weaker than both Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. While he is able to hold his own in physical combat with both enemies, he is severely injured when they begin using their beam-based attacks against him. Rodan is also overpowered in up-close combat against Godzilla, who simply grabs Rodan by the throat and strangles him when Rodan tries to peck him in the face. Fire Rodan's uranium heat beam proves useless against Mechagodzilla, who simply absorbs the plasma from it and uses it to power the plasma grenade, which opens a fatal wound on Fire Rodan's chest. Rodan is finally killed when he transfers his life force into Godzilla.

Filmography

Video Games

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee

The Heisei version of Rodan is playable in Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, where he also possesses Fire Rodan's uranium heat beam.

Godzilla: Save the Earth

Rodan returns in the game's sequel, where he retains the same design and abilities.

Godzilla: Unleashed

Fire Rodan in Godzilla: Unleashed

Rodan reappears in the third Atari/Pipeworks Godzilla video game, Godzilla: Unleashed, for both the PlayStation 2 and Wii. In this game, he is called "Fire Rodan," coinciding with the use of his uranium heat beam. Rodan is part of the Earth Defenders faction, and is one of the fastest fliers in the game.

Height: 70 meters
Height: 24,000 tons

"Fire Rodan is Earth's largest flier. His element is the air, the clouds, and the wind-swept mountain peaks that scrape against them. Nesting in the tops of active volcanoes, Fire Rodan is virtually immune to heat and lava-based attacks. Rodan is the fastest of all monsters while in the air, and prefers to confront challenges from a lofty height. His great speed also makes him a fierce hand-to-hand combatant, with savage claw, talon, and beak attacks. Fire Rodan defends the Earth's atmosphere - eliminating all airborne threats to the planet's well-being."

Gallery

Main article: Rodan/Gallery.

Roar

Rodan's roars in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

Video

Wikizilla: YouTube Kaiju Profile: Rodan
(Heisei & Millennium)

Notes

  1. While most sources generally agree on the Heisei Rodan's wingspan being 150 meters, the Japanese publication All Toho Monsters Pictorial Book (p. 274) erroneously states its wingspan to be 120 meters, the same as the second generation Showa Rodan.

References

This is a list of references for Rodan/Heisei. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works. Shogakukan. p. 41. 1 January 2000. ISBN: 978-4091014702.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Encyclopedia of Godzilla (Mechagodzilla Edition). Gakken. pp. 65, 111. 10 December 1993. ISBN: 405600174X.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.D. Lees, Marc Cerasini. The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House. p. 138. 24 March 1998. ISBN: 0279888225.
    Compendium28.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Godzilla Completely Deciphered. Takarajimasha. p. 76. 26 June 2014. ISBN: 4800228964.
  5. Harry Edmundson-Cornell (March 24, 2015). Tsuburaya Does Colour: Rodan. Sequart Organization.
  6. Godzilla Dictionary [New Edition]. Kasakura Publishing. p. 299. 7 August 2014. ISBN: 9784773087253.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Nishikawa, Shinji. Shinji Nishikawa: Drawing Book of Godzilla. Yosensha. p. 49. 9 June 2016. ISBN: 978-4800309594.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Making Special." Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II Toho DVD Masterpiece Selection. Toho. 15 June 2016. ASIN: B01DFAZUUQ
  9. Kaiju Conversations - Wataru Mimura Interview by David Milner.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II Super Complete Works. Shogakukan. pp. 78-79. 1 December 1993. ISBN: 978-4-09-101439-9.
  11. 11.0 11.1 All Toho Monsters Pictorial Book (4th Edition). Yosensha. p. 247. 4 September 2016. ISBN: 978-4-8003-0362-2.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 The Pictorial Book of Godzilla 2. Hobby Japan Co., Ltd.. p. 170. 1 December 1995. ISBN: 978-4894251175.

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