Toho’s April Fools Day Joke, Jet Jaguar the Movie Leads to a History Lesson

Toho’s Godzilla Channel released a teaser trailer for the return of Jet Jaguar; with this return being a 2020 feature-length film. However, it is nothing more than an interesting April Fools Day joke from Toho Studios that may hold some merit to the character’s origin and internet urban legends.

For those unaware, the character of Jet Jaguar made its debut in the 1973 film, Godzilla vs. Megalon. However, the character of Jet Jaguar, used to have a conflicting history as to whether he was meant to be the star of the actual film, or co-star alongside the King of the Monsters. This conflicting history was due to early mis-translations and mistaken documentation on how Jet Jaguar was created.

 

During the early 1970s, Seiyu (a supermarket company) held a campaign called the “Children Monster University” co-sponsored by Toho and Tsuburaya Productions where kids submitted designs and the winner would have their character be made into an actual suit. The grand prize was later extended to include that the winner’s design would be in Toho’s next Godzilla film, ultimately Godzilla vs. Megalon. However, this is where confusion and rumors formed, as some outlets reported the prize as the next Toho kaiju film. Thus leading to the urban legend of Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon, where Jet Jaguar would have flown solo in saving the world. In addition, other old rumors including that the “original” film was intended to be a pilot for a full length television series.

 

Now, Jet Jaguar is based on the contest winner, Masaaki Sano’s design of monster called Red Alone, which went through other names including Red Aaron, Jet Alone, and Aceman. The original suit bore a resemblance to the design, and made appearances at Seiyu events and on television shows. Then when production began on Godzilla vs. Megalon the design ultimately changed to resemble an Ultraman-like hero, but continued to feature a similar torso pattern and coloration.

 

Godzilla vs. Megalon would go onto premiere in Japanese theaters on March 17, 1973 and made 220,000,000 yen (roughly $11.2 million due to inflation) at the box office. Today, the film is either highly loved or hated by fans due to its very campy style compared to other installments in the franchise. It most notably remembered for airing as a part of the Syfy (Sci-fi) Channel’s Oh My Godzilla Marathon, or being riffed on a season two episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in North America. However, Jet Jaguar and his accomplice, Megalon continue to be loved by fans as they make various appearances as toys, and in comics as well as video games. Yet, they are not loved enough to gain an actual standalone film for 2020 as the teaser suggests. Nevertheless, this trailer is fun for fans of the character, and the legacy of its origin.

 

Source: Godzilla Channel

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