Godzilla Singular Point (Kan Sawada)

Animated by Japanese studios Bones and Orange, and released on Netflix in the spring of 2021, "Godzilla Singular Point", was directed by Atsushi Takahashi, and written by Tô Enjo. Set in the near future, this story follows a scrappy young mechanic and a grad student in imaginary creatures who are both drawn to a mysterious audio signal, and must team up when Gojira (and a host of other Showa era creatures) begins attacking. The series deals with big sci-fi ideas, and has some strange but marvelous creature design. I'm not a regular anime watcher, and certainly not an expert in the decades-long history of Godzilla lore, but I was instantly drawn into this story, as a fan of sci-fi and creature features, and though by the end, the story gets quite convoluted, I still found it a pretty riveting journey.

Entering the fray was Japanese composer Kan Sawada, a composer I was unfamiliar with, but who has been steadily working on Japanese television and anime shows since the turn of the millennium. The Godzilla franchise has had a rich musical history, starting with Akira Ifukube's legendary score to the original 1954 film. Sawada here delivers a worthy entry into that legacy. The entire series' plot revolves around a musical MacGuffin, an old-timey folk tune of unknown origins, known as "Alapu Upala", which we first hear as sort of Slavic-sounding pop-folk waltz (performed by Annette Philip). Sawada here plays brilliantly with the use of diegetic and non-diegetic music, with this "source" cue eventually becoming the foundation of the score itself, taken from the song version to a full choral and orchestral requiem, that is epic in scope and utterly haunting and memorable. Alongside this aspect, there is plenty of rowdy orchestral mayhem (including a cue with hilarious but awesome Morricone-esque choral chants), a tune for an AI character that is by turns adorable and obnoxious, and a heroic theme for the robot Jet Jaguar. Sawada also tips his hat to Ifukube's original theme, but unlike other productions which just wholesale needle-drop re-recording of this theme (like in the recent "Minus One"), here Sawada ties that melody fully into his kaiju scenes, fully stating the theme a few times in majestic form, but also brilliantly deconstructing it, extracting rhythms and hooks from it and tying those into his own new compositions in a way that probably the smartest use of that material that I've heard. Ultimately, this score was a complete surprise for me, but one that delivered in scope and intelligence that was completely unexpected, and became one of my top scores from 2021.

The original album was released by Toho, with an additional album of bonus cues available as a special edition. Waxworks Records also released a vinyl edition of the original album content. I was able to find some cool artwork that compliments the show better than the rather non-descript original album cover. I present a total of twelve new covers here to choose from, with the first eight being from official artwork, and the last four being fan art that I discovered online.

Editing on these was relatively simple, and I was able to move through this project much quicker than many others, which was a nice change. For Cover 4, I mostly just had to shift the character of Mei higher up in the image and blend her back into the background. For Cover 10, I had to cut out Jet Jaguar and shift him significantly up in the image, so as to keep all the monsters present, and then paint in the bottom behind him. Otherwise, these were largely painless. I did create a slight customization to the title logo by capitalizing the English "Singular Point", perhaps that lowercase "p" is part of Japanese Romaji sentence structure? But either way, as an English reader, this just flows better for me with consistent capitalization. 

As to the fan artwork, Covers 9-12 feature artwork by: Christian Willett, Alex Alcanter, LilTherapod, and Thomas Johnson

Hope you enjoy, let me know your favorites, and definitely check out the soundtrack if you're not familiar with it!

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