Welcome back to Anime Horrors – a column dedicated to exploring new and classic works of anime and manga.
Godzilla adapted into an anime – animated by studio Bones nonetheless- sounds like an excellent idea. Given the release of Godzilla vs. Kong earlier this year, Godzilla: Singular Point comes at a perfect time to satiate the need for those wanting more Kaiju action. And yet, Godzilla: Singular Point is brutally disappointing.
As far as positives go, the show has stunning visuals. From the environments to the characters and monster designs, everything looks great. The monsters in particular look rad – with the most interesting being that of the titular Kaiju himself. The style of this titan pulls inspiration from the likes of Shin, King of the Monsters, and even a little bit of the 1998 Godzilla. There is even some interesting mystery and action within the narrative. That said, all the intrigue and thrills are short lived.
The show follows Yun Arikawa and Mei Kamino – a handyman and a graduate student respectively – and the events that take place around them. Not too long after each comes across a mysterious song, monsters begin invading their world. At face value, this is a neat premise to set up the overall story of a monster invasion. Instead though, that monster invasion gets bogged down by horrendous pacing, vapid characters, and a bloated, monotonous story.
From the start, Singular Point leans in hard with sci-fi exposition dumps. Within an episode there will be at least one mention of a scientific concept; once this comes up, characters go off on monologues that overstay their welcome. Exposition – in careful use – can help further connect an audience to a story and characters; yet Singular Point puts a lot of emphasis on explaining high-concepts, providing little attention to its characters. Because while the characters have their moments of charm, Singular Point also suffers from the same dilemma that many of the MonsterVerse projects have – no one is that interesting and lacks any sort of emotional depth.
As one continues their way through the show, it becomes clear that the main cast are only present to discuss sci-fi/philosophical ideas and wait for things to happen. It’s so bizarre, because Singular Point spends so much time with its human characters, yet makes them as interesting as a plain piece of paper. It reminds me a lot of 2014’s Godzilla, which – when compared to this anime – comes across superior. While some of the MonsterVerse movies are noted for their weak character writing, Singular Point has it worse due to its runtime. You can almost forgive weak characters within a two-hour movie that has awesome monster fights – but in a five-plus hour anime, especially where epic moments are hindered by a sluggish pace – that’s a hard loss.
Over the course of the show, several different kinds of monsters make an appearance. As the monster invasion ramps up with the story’s progression, the latter portion of the 13 episodes is the more exciting when it comes to action. The moments with Godzilla towards the end are cool, they are just a significantly small part of the overall story. But to get to any action sequences, the audience must be willing to endure the slog of dialogue that makes for the core presentation of the show.
Singular Point’s greater focus is that of the mystery element behind the monster invasion. The mystery starts out intriguing, some of that philosophical banter even serviceable in stirring the audience’s curiosity. It’s just that the show gets up its own ass in that banter, that one may feel like they’re in a college lecture instead of experiencing a riveting thriller. The dialogue doesn’t help move the narrative forward that much, so in a way, the audience just lingers among the conversations until a monster attacks a city.
It is sad how rough Godzilla: Singular Point turned out. Even if its first couple episodes set up a lot of intrigue, that momentum comes crumbling down – the narrative bogged down by exposition, dull characters, and pacing issues. These elements work together to chip away at the narrative mystery and moments of intense action, resulting in a show that has more of a means to burn out a viewer than excite. Even if you’re a diehard Godzilla fan, this is a show you can comfortably skip.
Godzilla: Singular Point is now streaming on Netflix.