Rodan is a fictional monster, introduced in Rodan, a 1956 release from Toho Studios, the company responsible for the Godzilla series. Like Godzilla and Anguirus, it is designed after a type of prehistoric reptile (The Japanese name "Radon" is a contraction of "pteranodon " and may also have been chosen to suggest radiation). Radon is usually referred to as Rodan in the United States, possibly to avoid confusion with the atomic element Radon; also, anytime his name is written in English in Japan, it is written as Rodan. He is occasionally portrayed as enemy of Godzilla but has allied himself with the King of Monsters on several instances against more dangerous threats.
Weapons and AbilitiesEdit
Rodan's primary weapons are his speed and agility; he can create hurricane-force winds in his wake by flying at supersonic speeds at low altitude. He also uses his beak and talons effectively in battle, the former being depicted as sharp enough to smash through rocks, and his wings, despite their delicate appearance, are quite durable. Rodan possesses great physical strength, able to lift and carry monsters heavier than himself, as seen in Invasion of the Astro-Monster, when he was shown to lift Godzilla high into the air, and knock King Ghidorah to the ground in a mid-air collision. He also could emit a blast of wind from his mouth in the 1956 movie, but this concept was never used again. In the Heisei film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Rodan becomes Fire Rodan and develops the ability to emit an atomic breath of his own from his mouth, after exposure to Godzilla and a radioactive waste disposal site. His beak is capable of breaking boulders. In the Millennium film Godzilla: Final Wars, he can make very strong supersonic waves to make the air pressure cause buildings to explode and turn into flames.
In Rodan, two Rodans, one male and the other female, were unearthed and awakened by mining operations in Kitamatsu along with a swarm of prehistoric insects called Meganulons. After devouring several people and reducing Sasebo to ruins, one Rodan is maimed in a bombardment of their nest in Mount Aso and falls, apparently fatally, into a volcanic eruption triggered by the attack. The other grief-stricken Rodan flies into the volcano to join the first.
Rodan went on to cross over into the Godzilla series, it is explained that this is the male Rodan from the 1956 film and he was resurrected by accumulated volcanic gas, appearing in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in 1964 when he broke out of the crust of the volcano and helped Godzilla and Mothra defeat King Ghidorah. In this appearance and all subsequent appearances in the Showa series Rodan is as tall as Godzilla with a wingspan a little wider than he is tall. Rodan appeared with Godzilla again in Invasion of the Astro-Monster, where both were mind-controlled by Xilians to destroy Earth's cities and later fought King Ghidorah again when the mind control was broken.
In Destroy All Monsters, Rodan was again used by aliens to wreak havoc on Earth, this time by the Kilaaks. Again the mind control was broken and the monsters fought King Ghidorah. Rodan would only appear again in the Shōwa series in stock footage used for Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Megalon, and Terror of Mechagodzilla.
Rodan was one of the only monsters not affected by Godzilla's atomic breath. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster Godzilla uses his breath against Rodan several times but the pterosaur seemed unaffected by it at all, only shaking his head in an annoyed manner. Rodan also shrugged off King Ghidorah's gravity beams; in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of the Astro-Monster. He was struck several times on his wings but showed no pain or reaction.
Rodan in the Heisei series appeared in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, where he sought to protect BabyGodzilla, whose egg was in the same nest as Rodan. Rodan played a vital role in the film's climax, sacrificing his own life to revive Godzilla by transferring his life-energy to him.
Heisei Rodan, while bigger and heavier than the Showa version, is notably much smaller relative to the larger version of Godzilla, standing only about 2/3 as tall as the other monster and having a wingspan 1/2 Godzilla's height. The prominent rows of spines on his belly are replaced with overlapping ridges of bone, and he has three horns on his head instead of two (the outer two curve outwards and the center curves up), as well as a wider beak, a more predatory face, and susceptibility to Godzilla's atomic breath.
After being defeated and left for dead by Godzilla, Rodan was revived by the psychic song of an ancient plant that had covered BabyGodzilla's egg. Godzilla's radiation mutated Rodan, changing his colors from brown and tan to brick red and light yellow/gold. Fire Rodan also gained a purple colored atomic breath similar to Godzilla's. His beak is powerful enough to break through boulders. Like the Showa version, Rodan seems impervious to Godzilla's breath but only to an extent. Being hit several times and not seeming affected until later in the battle.
In the 2004 film, Godzilla: Final Wars, Rodan is used as a weapon of destruction by an alien race called the Xiliens via mind control. He appeared alongside an all-star cast of classic Showa monsters, as they wreaked havoc on the major cities of the world and were sent to fight the mutant dinosaur Godzilla. Rodan attacked New York City, and later fought alongside the guardian monster King Caesar and the giant ankylosaurus Anguirus to fight Godzilla, when all three were killed by Godzilla near Mount Fuji.
- Rodan, appearing as Fire Rodan, is a playable character in the Godzilla: Battle Legends, Godzilla: Domination, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee and Godzilla: Save the Earth video games. Rodan is a very fast character, often with good combo abilities and extended flight time (his energy bar does not begin to drop until several seconds have passed or until Rodan uses his atomic breath, and even then it still drops much slower than King Ghidorah or Mecha-King Ghidorah's energy bars). His weapon rating is also good. On the negative side, Rodan's attacks are generally weak and his defense is low, meaning he is best playing a hit-and-run style of fight (or flight). Rodan, finally given his correct name Fire Rodan, is in Godzilla: Unleashed. Also in Save the Earth, Rodan's rage attack was countinously blasting his uranium atomic breath around in a circle three times with each time spreading out more.
- Rodan has appeared in some The Simpsons episodes: either alone (Simpsons Tall Tales) or alongside Godzilla (Lisa On Ice and Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo)
- He also appeared on The Colbert Report.
- In the Animaniacs cartoon series, Jack and the Beanstalk is being played. Soon, it goes to 'Gold Eggs and Meat' (a spoof off of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham) and in one scene, Yakko says 'Would you eat them in Japan? with Godzilla and Rodan?' Both monsters appear on either side of Ralph, playing the giant, who says, 'I would not, could not in Japan with Godzilla and Rodan!' Godzilla then burned him with his breath and Rodan smacked him away with his wings.
- The science fiction story Miniatures by Stephen Dedman is about a monster named "Rodin" which has Rodan's appearance, but which leaves behind works of statuary by Auguste Rodin at scenes of devastation.
- In the cartoon series Rugrats, the monster ally of Reptar is a Rodan-looking monster called "Dactar."
- In the premiere episode of the television show Pushing Daisies, the main character and his friend, as children, dress as Rodan and Godzilla respectively.
- In the Stephen King novel It, the shape-shifting monster at one point becomes a giant bird, and one character mentions the film "Rodan the flying monster".
- In the video Elephant Parts, Michael Nesmith spoofs his pop tune Joanne by changing the focus of the song from Joanne to Rodan.
- Secret Message of "Mothra" (Mosura) (multilingual trivia and links)
- 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.