Godzilla Singular Point: Season 1 Review

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All 13 episodes of Godzilla: Singular Point are available to stream on Netflix.

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Netflix Original Anime Godzilla: Singular Point offers up a new spin on the King of the Monsters mythos, and sadly it’s a plodding, incomprehensible mess of metaphysics and exhausting exposition. Yes, despite some occasionally gorgeous art that resembles an awesome apocalyptic tapestry, this reimagining of Godzilla is a tiresome trudge featuring characters who never ever stop talking about the tedious faux science behind everything that’s happening.

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It’s been a running joke — one that’s been rekindled by Legendary’s MonsterVerse — that the Godzilla movies would be perfect if they only featured the monsters and dropped the human characters. It’s funny to indulge the idea but truthfully you need the “boots on the ground” characters to create an atmosphere that viewers care about other than rote destruction. It’s making those humans feel fun and vital and not corny that’s been the continuous challenge. Here, in Singular Point, it’s almost like they’re bending the joke backward so that the entire story is mostly people and the Kaiju are frustratingly an afterthought. It’s one thing to wait for a Godzilla reveal and it’s another to wait for more than half a season and then relegate the behemoth to a few minutes of background warfare per episode.

And all these human characters? The extremely large ensemble of heroes working to save the world from a mysterious invasion of alternate universe red dust that creates monsters and also an element that exists in both the future and the past? They’re flat, clinical, and serve as little more than unyielding spewers of scientific nonsense that drags each episode down into a monotonous spiral of monologuing.

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An enigmatic signal in the form of a song, the invasion of flying Pterosaurs (the “Rodan”), a rampaging armored dino-beast (the “Anguirus”), and a confounding cloud of crimson draw together science student Mei and smart guy Yun, a genius tinkerer at a company called Otaki Factory (who also happens to dabble in advanced A.I. and are building a world-protecting robot named Jet Jaguar). After meeting briefly, Mei and Yun will spend the rest of the season apart, texting each other from opposite ends of the world while they both explore separate yet equally uninteresting angles of the crisis. All the while, a folklore foretold world-ending Catastrophe (with a capital “C”) looms. One that’s connected to, but somehow isn’t, everything and everyone being attacked by gigantic monsters that are practically unbeatable because they can see into the future.

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This is a simplified summary of events that extend far above and beyond the realm of polite comprehensibility. Whether or not the scientific jargon being volleyed about is based on real theories or not isn’t the point (they may very well be). The point is that it’s all supremely tedious and, most of the time, completely irrelevant. The bulk of time in most episodes is spent discussing a space/time theory while monsters are raining havoc down on the planet. There’s mass destruction everywhere, but human casualties are never presented. Nor is the threat that anything bad is happening to, or will ever happen to any of the principal characters. More thought and care are put into over-explaining Archetypes (molecules from a different dimension that can transmit light into the past) and — kid you not — a MacGuffin solve-it-all called the “Orthogonal Diagonalizer.” It’s all so intricate and impenetrable that one feels it all must be based on real math, but again, that would hardly make it more interesting than freakin’ Godzilla.

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Animation studios Bones and Orange deliver wild and beautiful scenes when the Kaiju are allowed to create calamity, using the red of the multiversal dust to stain the sea and sully the air, shrouding the giant beasts with a plague-like atmosphere. When Godzilla, on rare occasions, is allowed to unleash atomic bio-weaponry, it’s stunning. There’s also some fun to be had with this series’ reinvention of Jet Jaguar, which as a robot defender who can go toe-to-fang with the smaller monsters carries the bulk of the action in Singular Point. However, the series spends way too much time presenting theories when it should be crafting compelling characters and streamlining the story.

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