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Rodak

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Rodak

He was scary in a different era...

Space Emperor Rodak
is the primary antagonist of the Japanese series, The Space Giants. In the original Japanese manga and later live-action tokusatsu series, Space Ambassador Magma, he was known as Goa. An alien overlord bent on conquering Earth, he is opposed by the forces of the Wizard Methuselah (named Earth in Japan), chiefly Goldar (known as Magma in Japan, and not to be confused with the Power Rangers villain ), his wife Silvar (Mol) and their son Gam, who was created in the image and likeness of their young Human ally, Miko Mura (Mamoru Murakami). The three warriors are living machines, who can transform into rockets. Goldar is gigantic, and the one who fights the giant monsters summoned by Rodak to attack the Earth. Miko is their watchmen, summoning them with a whistle given him by the wizard when he spies one of Rodak's schemes in progress. The series was created by mangaka Osamu Tezaku, also the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion (arguably the basis for Disney's The Lion King).

The manga and live-action follow the same basic plot and premise, and surprisingly little was changed between the original and the dub, the names being a notable exception. The series opens with Rodak drawing the Mura family and their home into a prehistoric jungle (through time or into another dimension, this is not made clear) and announcing his plans of conquest to them. He also makes the family an offer to be his vanguard, in exchange for great power and prestige in his new order. The Muras of course reject his offer, and are rescued by Goldar, who battles and destroys a dinosaur that is menacing them, before they are returned to the present anyway, as Rodak now wants them to spread the word of his arrival and power. Goldar takes Miko before Methuselah, who grants the machine couple's wish to have a child by creating Gam, who becomes Miko's best friend. Miko also takes the summoning whistle, which resembles Gam in his rocket form. Rodak wastes no time in beginning to carry out his threats.

The show's four-episode story arc format allowed Rodak's schemes to be a bit more complex and challenging than similar villains. While the major thrust of his strikes always relied heavily on a daikaiju attack ultimately repelled by Goldar, there was almost always a secondary scheme in play, usually pushed by his ninja-like agents, the Lugo Men (Modoki, or Mock Humans, in Japan). These creatures were made out of vegetable matter, and melted when defeated. They could take the place of Humans with ease, and successfully kidnapped Tomoko Mura, Miko's mother, who was not recovered until much later in the series. Miko and his father, Ito, often acted as unofficial agents aiding the ground-work of the space warriors, often uncovering Lugo Men posing as Humans in positions strategic and important. Rodak was not above occassionally confronting the heroes directly, powerful but hardly invincible. His schemes sometimes involved corrupting or destroying Humans on a personal level. One time, he added ingredients to major water resources that caused people to fall under his control. Another time, he unleashed a flesh-eating virus that could skeletonize the infected within a day. He once took advantage of a grieving grandfather whose hatred of automobiles unleashed a monster. On other occasions, the daikaiju he unleashed had a power that affected things like infrastructure, rather than simply smashing buildings (which they did as well). In addition to complex deceptions and misdirections, Rodak was not above using the most basic tricks imaginable, one time using a tape-recorded duplicate of Miko's whistle to draw Goldar away from a real threat, and ambush him as well. On the other side, Methuselah would openly reprimand someone from his side for not thinking things through. Like many Big Bads, Rodak would be ruthless with those who failed him, but was not foolish about it, and would improvise where needed, for all the good it did him.

Finally, it seemed Goldar had met his match with a monster named Gongon, able to deflect his best attacks and defeat him with ease. But Methuselah revealed that this had been part of his plan. Faced with no other choice, Rodak had merged with Gongon, to vastly increase his power. Methuselah gave up much of his own power to Goldar, having at last drawn Rodak into direct conflict. With their battle matched up, the more battle-hardened Goldar destroyed Gongon and Rodak with him.

Besides the tokasatsu version, the series saw a 1993 OVA anime lasting 13 episodes. As with the live version, Goa/Rodak was voiced by veteran seiyu Toru Ohira.

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