Rodan's egg was preserved deep underneath Mount Aso in Kyushu, Japan, for over 200 million years. Radiation from atomic bomb tests in the 1950's affected the creature's egg, causing it to hatch when its cavern was unearthed. The hatchling quickly matured and began terrorizing the skies across the globe, easily outmaneuvering fighter jets and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. When the monster touched down in Fukuoka and confronted the JSDF, its mate suddenly appeared as well to assist it, and the two Rodans decimated both the city and the JSDF's forces before returning to their nest in Mt. Aso. The JSDF enacted a plan to trigger the volcano to erupt while the Rodans were nesting using missiles, and successfully caused both Rodans to be submerged in the molten lava flows. While both Rodans apparently perished, a single Rodan emerged from the crater of Mt. Aso eight years later. Whether it was a surviving Rodan from 1956 or their offspring was unclear, but the creature soon flew to Yokohama, where he encountered Godzilla. Godzilla and Rodan clashed at Mt. Fuji, but were interrupted by Mothra, who pleaded with them to end their petty rivalry and help her to defeat the evil space monster King Ghidorah. The monsters eventually agreed, and their combined efforts sent King Ghidorah back into the vacuum of space. In the year 196X, Rodan was hibernating in a cliffside when he was abducted by the Xiliens and brought to Planet X alongside Godzilla to fend off King Ghidorah once again, who was now terrorizing Planet X. After the monsters defeated King Ghidorah once again, they were unleashed on Earth alongside King Ghidorah under the control of the Xiliens, who actually intended to conquer the Earth. Humanity managed to sever the Xiliens' mind control and defeat the invaders, and the now free Rodan and Godzilla fought King Ghidorah once again, tackling him into the ocean before he flew back to outer space. Neither Rodan nor Godzilla surfaced from the ocean after the battle, but both survived and by 1972 were living together on Monster Island. In 197X, nuclear testing in the Aleutian Islands triggered seismic aftershocks that reached Monster Island, knocking Rodan from his perch and tearing the island apart. At the close of the 20th century, Rodan had relocated to Monsterland with Earth's other monsters. The Kilaaks took over the island and sent its monsters to attack major cities across the globe under their mind control. Rodan attacked Moscow first before raiding Tokyo alongside Godzilla, Mothra, and Manda. Once the crew of the Moonlight SY-3 destroyed the Kilaaks' mind control device, Rodan assembled with Earth's other monsters in Aokigahara to assault the aliens' base at Mt. Fuji. He then took part in the ensuing battle against King Ghidorah, and after the space monster was killed he was attacked by the Fire Dragon. Once the Kilaaks were defeated for good, Rodan was returned to Monsterland to live in peace with his fellow monsters.
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. Toho eventually trademarked the name "Rodan," making it the monster's official English name.
The two Rodans that appeared in Rodan are referred to as First Generation Rodan (初代ラドン, while the Rodan featured from Shodai Radon)Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster onward is denoted as Second Generation Rodan (二代目ラドン, though it is possible that it is a surviving Rodan from the monster's debut film. In Nidaime Radon)Invasion of Astro-Monster, the Xiliens refer to Rodan as Monster Zero-Two (怪物０２ Kaibutsu Zerotsū).
While the finalized design for Rodan draws characteristics predominantly from the Pteranodon, early concept art for the monster more closely resembles Archaeopteryx, with large feathers protruding from its wings and a long, feathered tail, and assuming a more hunched, bird-like posture. This concept would ultimately be scrapped by director Ishiro Honda and a design closer to the final product was instead pursued, with a number of models created using said design, based on casts of clay prototypes sculpted by Teizo Toshimitsu. The first created model interestingly carries over the idea of Rodan possessing a long tail, however it is greatly altered and less so resembles that of a bird. A second model based around a seemingly identically molded chest to the first was also made, and is featured in some promotional materials.
A second Rodan model, seemingly based around an identical chest mold to the first
According to Yoshio Suzuki, the body of the suit for the first generation Rodan(s) was tailored to the measurements of suit actor Haruo Nakajima's body. The suit was immensely heavy at a weight of approximately 150 pounds (~68 kilograms), and thus its wings, constructed of Indian cloth and coated with liquid latex, would have been exceedingly difficult to support for long periods of time with nothing but the strength of the arms of its actor. To counteract this, lengths of bamboo rods were split up and bent using the heat from a charcoal fire, and inserted throughout between its shoulders and wings for support. The wings were further supported and operated with piano wires, however their movements were dictated entirely by Nakajima. This proved to not be the only inconvenience for Nakajima spawned from the build of the suit, however, as its knee joints were constructed to accurately reflect those of real birds, moving opposite to the joints of mammals. An upper-half hand puppet of Rodan with a movable head and wings was also made for close-up shots, such as when the monster unleashes its radioactive wind breath attack, and was said to have been occasionally operated by more than one person at a time depending on the scene.
For the scenes of the Rodan pair in flight, wire-operated practical effects models were made to portray them by Eiji Tsuburaya and his team, a technique which would continue to be used throughout the Showa era of Toho monster films, such as for Mothra; King Ghidorah; and Gigan, and beyond. Since these models would not need to walk through the miniature sets, a number of versions in different scales could be designed and produced to better emphasize a sense of realism (at least 5 different scaled versions are known to have been created, including 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/10, and 1/2 scales).
A 1/2 scale Rodan flying prop
For Rodan's first appearance in nearly 8 years and his foray into the Godzilla franchise, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, a completely new suit was modeled by Teizo Toshimitsu and the Yagi brothers, Kanju and Yasuei. According to Keizo Murase, the wings of the suit were originally intended to have the ability to collapse upon themselves when landing, in a manner similar to birds, at the request of visual effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, and a mechanism for this was actually created using a rubber hose. However, the latex used for the suit did not possess the needed elasticity for the mechanism to function properly and thus the concept was abandoned, with Tsuburaya commenting that the thing was "hopeless." In addition to the suit, brand new puppets and flying props were also created, including but not limited to a 1/2 scale horizontal airborne prop; an upper-half hand puppet, similar to the one employed for the monster's debut film; and an approximately 60 centimeter, semi-vertical, pole-operated puppet, which was used for nearly all of the scenes of Rodan fighting against Godzilla.
For the next year's Invasion of Astro-Monster, the then-newly created Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster suit was reused. Some repairs were made to the suit for this reappearance, notably the head was given a new beak made of FRP and the size of the wings was slightly increased. Some new scale models were also created specifically for the film, such as sleeping/incapacitated Rodan and Godzilla models, used for the scenes where the monsters are transported to Planet X; several models at varying scales for aerial shots; and mechanical puppets of all three featured monsters for long shots. Although Rodan himself would not appear again for another three years, a 1/2 scale Rodan miniature was altered and reused several times. In order, it portrayed Larugeus and Litra in the Tsuburaya Productions series Ultra Q, then the Giant Condor in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.
For Destroy All Monsters, the original second generation Rodan suit was once again used, but had to be greatly repaired, and was also partly remodeled by Teizo Toshimitsu. Among other changes, this updated suit was given a freshly-sculpted chest texturing and its wings, head, and legs were extensively repaired. A flying prop created for Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was also reused for the film, and a miniature prop was utilized during certain shots at the gathering at Aokigahara.
A flying Rodan prop created for use in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, which was subsequently reused until Destroy All Monsters
Rodan resembles a giant pterosaur that stands upright on two legs. Rodan possesses a spiky chest, two horns on the back of his head and a pointed beak on his face. In Rodan's debut film, its skin is a mahogany color, while in subsequent films it is brown.
In the original Rodan, the two Rodans are depicted as horrific and dangerous creatures who, despite their destructive nature, care deeply for each other and are unwilling to live without the other. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Rodan displays a great deal of personality, openly mocking Godzilla when the latter is covered in Mothra's silk, and shakes his head in an irritated fashion after Godzilla's atomic breath has no effect on him. According to the translation of the monsters' conversation by the Shobijin, Rodan agrees with Godzilla's sentiment that he only hates humans because they hate him. Rodan claims he has no obligation to protect human beings and prefers to continue his pointless fight with Godzilla. However, upon seeing Mothra bravely take on King Ghidorah by herself, Rodan joins with Godzilla to battle the extraterrestrial creature. In subsequent films in the Showa series, Rodan is seen as a loyal ally of Godzilla who assists him and the other Earth monsters in fighting off King Ghidorah.
Rodan is a Pteranodon that survived in an egg underneath Mount Aso for 200 million years. Radiation from nuclear testing seeped into the cavern containing Rodan's egg, and in combination with rising global temperatures and accumulated volcanic gases caused it to hatch once it was unearthed. The hatchling grew quickly by feeding on Meganulon in the cavern before flying out. A second Rodan also appeared around the same time, and mated with the other. It is never clarified exactly how Rodan became gigantic, as characters note that the creature is far larger than any Pteranodon on record. While nuclear radiation is believed to be responsible for awakening Rodan, it is never proposed that the radiation was responsible for causing it to reach gigantic size, at least in the Showa series.
In 1964, eight years after the Rodans were seemingly killed in the fires of Mt. Aso, the accumulation of volcanic gases in the volcano awakened a Rodan from the volcano's crater. The identity of this Rodan is ambiguous, and it is unclear if it is a surviving Rodan from 1956, or potentially one of their offspring. Maas Doulina Salno seems to suggest it is a surviving Rodan, as she claims the volcanic gases have resurrected it.
While assisting the JSDF in exterminating the Meganulon in the mine in Kitamatsu, Shigeru Kawamura was sent falling into a cavern underneath Mount Aso by a sudden avalanche. When Shigeru regained consciousness, he found himself in front of a colossal egg, and surrounded by countless Meganulon. Suddenly, the egg began to crack, and from it emerged the hatchling Rodan. The creature broke the rest of its eggshell with its wings and roared loudly before grabbing the Meganulon in its beak and eating them. Horrified by the sight, Shigeru went into shock, and was rescued sometime later by a group of villagers. Shigeru was left in a catatonic state, and the authorities could not gain any information from him regarding what he saw. In the meantime, Rodan began an aerial prowl across the Pacific Ocean, being sighted above China, the Philippines and Hong Kong. Eyewitnesses couldn't make out what they saw, labeling it simply a UFO. The JASDF tried to take down the UFO when it was sighted over Japan, but Rodan used its supersonic flight to evade its attackers and destroy them.
As Rodan's rampage continued, it attacked a young couple near Mt. Aso, though its victims did take a partial photograph of the beast before they were killed. When Shigeru emerged from his catatonic state and told his story to the authorities, Dr. Kashiwagi cross-referenced his story with the photograph and a piece of eggshell found near Mt. Aso, and determined that the UFO was actually a giant Pteranodon. Rodan emerged from the crater of Mt. Aso shortly afterward, and began flying to the city of Fukuoka. The JASDF engaged the beast in a dogfight, during which a F-86 Sabre crashed into the beast's wing, injuring it and causing it to lose its supersonic flight. Rodan touched down in Fukuoka, blowing away buildings and vehicles by flapping its wings. The JSDF deployed all its forces to attack Rodan, but they were blown away by the powerful winds. A second Rodan soon appeared over the city, and assisted its mate in fighting off the JSDF before escorting it back to their nest inside Mt. Aso.
As the two Rodans entered hibernation inside the mountain, the JSDF formed a last-ditch plan to destroy them: they would bombard the volcano with missiles, triggering an eruption and hopefully incinerating both monsters. Several Honest John Missile Launchers were stationed around Mt. Aso, and opened fire on the slopes of the volcano. The missiles triggered a small earthquake, which brought forth lava from the volcano and caused it to erupt. The two Rodans broke out of the mountain and began to fly away, but the intense heat caused one Rodan to fall into the lava below, where it began to burn alive. Unwilling to live without its companion, the other Rodan flew down into the lava flow next to its mate, where the two Rodans appeared to die together.
In 1964, eight years after the two Rodans seemingly perished in the eruption of Mount Aso, a mysterious woman claiming to come from Venus appeared in Japan and warned that a terrible disaster would soon occur at the volcano. While seismologists claimed that Mt. Aso showed no danger of erupting, the Venusian arrived at the volcano's crater and warned all the people there to flee. She claimed that accumulated volcanic gases would soon resurrect Rodan, only for the spectators to laugh at her. The Venusian's prediction came true however, when Rodan emerged from the volcano's crater and let out a terrifying roar. Rodan took flight and rose from the crater, causing the crowds to scatter and flee, and destroyed the buildings adjacent to the crater. Rodan then flew to Yokohama, where Godzilla had just surfaced from the harbor. When he saw Rodan flying overhead, Godzilla roared and followed him to the foot of Mount Fuji, where the two monsters began a titanic battle. Meanwhile, a meteor that crashed in Kurobe Valley split open and unleashed King Ghidorah, an evil space monster that had previously destroyed the civilization of Venus. As King Ghidorah terrorized Japan while Godzilla and Rodan battled, humanity turned to the Shobijin for aid. The Shobijin claimed that Mothra stood no chance against any of those monsters, but if she worked together with Godzilla and Rodan they may have a chance to fend off King Ghidorah. Mothra left Infant Island and arrived at Mt. Fuji, where she interrupted Godzilla and Rodan's ongoing battle. Mothra tried to convince Godzilla and Rodan to aid her, but the two monsters stubbornly insisted that the other apologize, and refused to assist humanity because humanity had always attacked them. Mothra tried to tell them that the Earth belonged to all creatures, and that it was their duty to defend it, but the monsters still refused. Mothra tried to take on King Ghidorah by herself, but was brutally overpowered by the space monster. Godzilla and Rodan were inspired by the larva's courage, and decided to put aside their differences to help her. Together, the three monsters gained the upper hand against their extraterrestrial foe. Rodan allowed Mothra to ride on his back and spit silk at King Ghidorah while Godzilla held King Ghidorah still from behind. Godzilla threw King Ghidorah off a cliff and pelted him with boulders, finally leading the beast to retreat back to outer space. Godzilla and Rodan then watched Mothra and the Shobijin swim back to Infant Island.
In 196X, astronauts Kazuo Fuji and Glenn arrived on the newly-discovered Planet X, where they encountered an intelligent alien race known as the Xiliens. The Xiliens' leader, the Controller of Planet X, informed the astronauts that their planet was under constant attack by a space monster known as Monster Zero, which was revealed to be none other than King Ghidorah. The Controller asked to "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan from Earth, knowing they successfully drove away King Ghidorah in the past. Glenn and Fuji said they would consider the offer, then returned to Earth. In secret, several Xiliens traveled to Earth and discovered the locations of Godzilla and Rodan. When the Xiliens' presence was discovered, they met with several of Earth's leaders and stated that they had the capacity to retrieve and transport both monsters to Planet X. After the Xiliens gained permission to take the kaiju, one Xilien UFO blasted away the side of a mountain, revealing Rodan sleeping inside. The UFO then brought Rodan to Planet X, with another carrying Godzilla. The monsters were released on the planet's surface, after which King Ghidorah arrived. Godzilla and Rodan worked together and eventually drove King Ghidorah off. The Controller thanked Glenn and Fuji, and provided them with a tape he claimed contained the cure for cancer. When the astronauts returned to Earth, they found that the tape was an ultimatum from the Xiliens, demanding that the Earth surrender and become a colony of Planet X. When humanity would not yield, the Xiliens released Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah, all of whom were under their control, to attack Earth's major cities. Thankfully, Fuji discovered that the Xiliens' mind-control rays could be severed by special light rays, and the JSDF constructed several A-Cycle Light Ray Guns to break the aliens' control over the monsters. In addition, the humans broadcast a sound that was lethal to the Xiliens, allowing them to be easily defeated by the JSDF's forces. After the Xiliens were defeated, the monsters regained consciousness, and Godzilla and Rodan again joined forces against King Ghidorah. After a brief battle, Rodan grabbed hold of Godzilla and flew into King Ghidorah, sending all three monsters toppling off a cliff into the ocean. King Ghidorah surfaced and flew back into space after a few moments, but Godzilla and Rodan disappeared. However, humanity was fairly certain neither monster had been killed.
By the end of the 20th century, Rodan and most of Earth's other monsters had been captured and contained on Monsterland, a human-monitored island in the Ogasawara chain. Rodan lived peacefully on the island, restrained only by a magnetic barrier that extended slightly past the island. As such, Rodan was able to freely fly over Monsterland and even over the surrounding waters, where he could catch and eat his fill of sea creatures. However, the peace would be disturbed when the Kilaaks seized Monsterland, taking control of the monsters and sending them to attack the Earth's major cities. Rodan first attacked Moscow, then later appeared in Tokyo alongside Godzilla, Mothra and Manda. After destroying Tokyo, Rodan reappeared in the area around Mount Fuji, where he attacked the Moonlight SY-3 before it escaped into outer space. When the Kilaaks' mind control over the monsters was severed, the monsters assembled in the Aokigahara near Mt. Fuji, ready to destroy the Kilaaks' base of operations. The Kilaaks then unleashed their trump card, King Ghidorah, and sent him to attack the monsters. Rodan flapped his wings to generate powerful wind gusts in an attempt to knock King Ghidorah off his feet, but the space monster fired a gravity beam that struck Rodan and launched him into the air. Rodan then simply watched as his allies overpowered and finally killed King Ghidorah. The Kilaaks then unleashed the Fire Dragon, which flew past Rodan and set him on fire before heading to Tokyo. The Moonlight SY-3 destroyed the Fire Dragon, and Rodan and all the other monsters were subsequently returned to Monsterland to live in peace.
In 1972, Rodan was living on Monster Island alongside Godzilla, Anguirus, Mothra, Minilla, Kamacuras, Kumonga and Gorosaurus. The M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens were planning to wipe out the monsters on the island, but their plans to invade Earth were foiled by Godzilla and Anguirus after they escaped the island.
In 197X, an underground nuclear test conducted near the Aleutian Islands produced far-reaching seismic anomalies. In addition to damaging the capital of Seatopia, the detonation caused an earthquake that tore apart Monster Island, causing Rodan to fall from his perch.
To try and dissuade her father from giving Titanosaurus' services to the Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens, Katsura Mafune reminded him of the destruction wrought by other kaiju, such as Rodan, King Ghidorah and Manda.
Rodan emerges and takes flight before several bystanders in Rodan
Rodan produces destructive shockwaves while flying, which can destroy anything below him, such as bridges and buildings.
Rodan destroys a car in Rodan
While on the ground or hovering in the air, Rodan can produce gusts of hurricane force winds by flapping his wings repeatedly. These winds are capable of destroying buildings and blowing away vehicles. These winds will also produce a cloud of debris around Rodan, making it harder for Rodan's enemies to hit him.
Rodan flaps his wings and creates powerful winds to destroy buildings in Rodan
In the character's debut film, the Rodans can fire a blast of radioactive wind from their mouths, which is capable of destroying objects in its path. This ability has never been used since.
Rodan is extremely durable, resisting all conventional weaponry that is fired at him. Rodan is also seemingly unaffected by both Godzilla's atomic breath and King Ghidorah's gravity beams, only shaking his head in annoyance when blasted point-blank with Godzilla's atomic breath. It is possible that Rodan survived being submerged in molten lava, if the Rodan that appeared in 1964 was in fact a surviving Rodan from 1956.
In addition to his speed, Rodan is a very physically powerful opponent. Rodan can knock enemies like King Ghidorah out of the sky by ramming them at full speed while flying. Rodan can also use his chest spikes and talons to attack opponents while flying. Rodan can lift objects and other living creatures, such as when he carried Mothra into the air to attack King Ghidorah or lifted a rock on Planet X to drop it on King Ghidorah, and even those in excess of his own weight, such as when he lifted Godzilla in his talons to slam him into King Ghidorah in Invasion of Astro-Monster.
Rodan carries Mothra on his back in order to attack King Ghidorah in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
Rodan carries Godzilla into the air and rams him into King Ghidorah in Invasion of Astro-Monster
Rodan is capable of surviving when submerged underwater, as well as swimming short distances. This is first demonstrated in his debut film when he dives into a river, then flies out of the water a short distance ahead. Rodan also survives after falling into the ocean at the end of Invasion of Astro-Monster, where he remains submerged underwater for a considerable length of time. In Destroy All Monsters, Rodan is shown diving into the water to catch food.
The two Rodans are both seemingly killed at the end of their debut film by burning to death after being submerged in molten lava flows.
- Rodan (1956)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969) [mentioned]
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) [stock footage]
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) [stock footage]
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) [stock footage]
- Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984) [stock footage]
- Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (1992) - Nintendo Entertainment System
- Godzilla: Battle Legends (1993) - NEC/Hudson Soft TurboDuo / PC Engine Duo
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Godzilla (2014) - PlayStation 4
- Godzilla: Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Battle Line (2021) - Android and iOS
Rodan appears exclusively in the PlayStation 4 version of Godzilla as a playable monster. He is based on his 1956 appearance from Rodan. Rodan has the ability to fly around the map far faster than the other flying monsters in the game, and can produce powerful sonic booms by clapping his wings together.
- One tap: Peck
- Two taps: Peck
- Three taps: Multi-Peck
- Tap: Kick Up
- Tap (Mid-Air): Double Kick
- Tap: Jump
- Hold: Hover
- Roar + Tap: Swooping Shockwave
- Tap (Mid-Air): Land
- Tap: Wing Shockwave
- Roar + Tap: Sonic Ram
- Tap (Mid-Air): Wing Shockwave
- Tap: Area Shockwave
- Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Rodan.
Rodan's Sprite in Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters
Rodan 1956 in Godzilla: Kaiju Collection
Rodan 1964 in Godzilla: Kaiju Collection
- Main article: Rodan/Gallery.
- The Second Generation Rodan's height of 50 meters is said to be 24 times that of a human, with his weight of 15,000 metric tons being equivalent to 3,750 elephants and his wingspan equal to 10 planes.
- In the 8th episode of Ultra Q, Terror of the Sweet Honey, stock footage from the 1956 Rodan film is used to depict the destruction of the mole monster, Mongular. In the final scene before the narration picks up, they show the scene of an erupting volcano. Due to this being stock footage lifted directly from the film, the two first generation Rodan can be seen burning in the lava flow.
- Rodan is referred to by name in the 10th episode of Return of Ultraman.
- Although a large portion of Japanese sources list the first generation Rodan's stats as the same as that of the second generation's, Rodan is said to have an estimated 270 foot wingspan and over 100 ton weight during dialogue in its debut film, and some sources, such as Encyclopedia of Godzilla (Mechagodzilla Edition) (p. 61), make note of this distinction. Godzilla vs. Biollante Great Encyclopedia doesn't make any clear distinction between the Rodans on page 56—listing the 2nd generation's height and weight, though it still says Rodan's wingspan is 81 meters on page 74. Additionally, in the American version of the film, Rodan's wingspan is instead estimated at "perhaps 500 feet."
- While the vast majority of Japanese sources list the second generation Rodan's wingspan as 120 meters in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Destroy All Monsters, some sources instead list his wingspan as 150 meters in Invasion of Astro-Monster, despite the fact that the same individual Rodan appears in all three films. The theater program for Invasion of Astro-Monsters lists Rodan's wingspan as 220 meters.
This is a list of references for Rodan/Showa. 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: 
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