Jet Jaguar (ジェットジャガ, Jetto Jagā)
FIRST APPEARS IN:
Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
– coned head
– Michelin Man style arm rolls
– a bad-ass colour-combo of red, orange, silver and blue
– altering his size to suit occasions
– getting double-teamed by Megalon and Gigan
– floodlight eyes
– being awesome pals with Godzilla
Jet Jaguar’s conception differs from your typical gigantic monster, or in this case robot. Have a read this excerpt from Wikipedia:
Jet Jaguar was the result of a contest Toho had in mid-to-late 1972 for fans to come up with a new hero for them to use (to capitalize on the many tokusatsu and anime superhero and super robot shows that were all the rage at the time). The winner of the contest submitted the drawing of a robot called Red Alone. The robot resembled Ultraman, Spectreman, and Mazinger Z (all of which were very popular at the time). The robot was renamed Jet Jaguar and was set to star in a film vehicle for him, titled Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon, which pitted him against Megalon (a previously unused Godzilla villain). However, Toho figured Jet Jaguar would not be able to carry the film on his own, in screen appearance or marketing value, so during pre-production, even after doing some tests and storyboards, the project was shut down for several weeks, until screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa was called in to rewrite the script to add Godzilla and Gigan to have more marquee value. The resulting film, Godzilla vs. Megalon, paired Godzilla with Jet Jaguar against both Megalon and Gigan.
Jet Jaguar’s strange conception found him tossed into Godzilla vs. Megalon – an infamous film with the reputation of being the worst Godzilla film ever made. While it’s considered by most to be a laughable mess, personally, I’m quite a fan. Sure, it’s quite the disaster; characters appear out of nowhere (Gigan‘s entrance is hysterical), the human characters are gobsmackingly lame (in the best possible way), stock footage is used gleefully, and the final monster brawl takes place in an uninhabited desert. But damn it, good or bad, it’s entertaining from start to finish! Part of its entertainment value comes from the involvement of Jet Jaguar. Jaguar’s design is certainly a product of his time, essentially he is an amalgamation of everything that was popular in early 70s Japan. And being designed by a child certainly doesn’t help. Still, there’s something exciting about Jaguar’s look, perhaps simply because he brings to mind other beloved characters.
While Godzilla vs. Megalon is considered by most to be an unintentionally hilarious failure, it should be pointed out that a lot of fans really dig Jet Jaguar. Why? Well, I can’t speak for all Godzilla fans, but I can tell you why I appreciate Jaguar’s presence. It’s quite simple really: watching Godzilla fight alongside a giant robot with personality is a blast. Not only do they battle together, Jet Jaguar and Godzilla are fucking pals in this film. No shit, they actually shake hands after they’ve beaten the living shit through Megalon and Gigan. Watching two giant pals tag team wrestle two giant dicks (figurative dicks) is an amazing sight, instantly making Godzilla vs. Megalon a must see for everybody on the planet.
Jet Jaguar would never be seen in a cinema again, although I think he’s shown up in a few video games here and there. While I’m not exactly gagging for his return, I would welcome it with open arms if the Toho Gods allowed it to be. Thanks, Jet Jaguar!