Kaiju Profile: Baragon – By Jordan Garren

Baragon’s Stats:

Height: 25 Meters (82 feet)

Mass: 250 metric tons (275 tons)

Weapons/Abilities: Nasal Horn, flame blast from mouth, and the abilities to burrow underground and leap 100 meters!

First Appearance: Frankenstein vs. Baragon (a.k.a. Frankenstein Conquers the World)

Baragon’s Complete Filmography: Frankenstein vs. Baragon, Destroy All Monsters (brief cameo), and Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack (or GMK for short).

Origin: Scientists believe that Baragon was a dinosaur that burrowed deep underground to escape the Ice Age.

Baragon is one of the smaller beasts from Toho’s kaiju stable and has quickly become a fan favorite. First appearing in Toho’s “Frankenstein vs. Baragon” in 1965, this lesser kaiju battled Frankenstein’s monster, or rather a gigantic mongoloid with a huge brow. In this film, Baragon is actually the villain, burrowing about the Japanese countryside and devouring human beings and livestock. All of this is of course blamed on Frankenstein’s monster. As the military continues to seek out and destroy the misunderstood mongoloid kaiju, Baragon continues to run rampant. Eventually the two titans meet and a hilarious kaiju battle takes place. Despite Baragon’s amazing leaping power and ability to spit blasts of fire, the voracious kaiju meets defeat at the hands of Frankenstein’s monster. At the film’s conclusion, both creatures sink into the ground during an earthquake.

A year after that, Daiei Pictures released “Gamera vs. Barugon” in which the terrapin titan battles an ice-breathing lizard. Make no mistake, this Barugon is nothing like Toho’s kaiju and is in all ways inferior! To defeat this imposter, Gamera drags the cheap-looking beast into the sea and drowns it. Fitting punishment I say! Luckily the real Baragon would return in 1968 alongside the likes of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, and others in “Destroy All Monsters.” Unfortunately, Baragon is seen twice in two very brief scenes, getting barely more screen time than Varan. There’s also a mistake in the film in which a news anchor reports that Baragon has invaded Paris just moments after see Gorosaurus tunnel up from underground and destroy the Arc de Triomphe.

After this film, Baragon’s appearances were solely in video games and novels. “Godzilla: Monster of Monsters” and “Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters” for the original Nintendo both feature Baragon as one of your foes. In “Monster of Monsters” you must guide both Godzilla and Mothra across different planets, battling aliens and other daikaiju. The game boasts and impressive roster of enemy monsters including Gezora, Mogera, Baragon, Varan, Hedorah, Gigan, Mechagodzilla, and King Ghidorah. In the sequel, “War of the Monsters,” you actual command a military force and battle against Godzilla and other daikaiju. Baragon is one of your lesser foes but manages to be a difficult foe as he constantly burrows underground to escape your attacks.

More recently, Baragon has been featured in a Godzilla novel written by Marc Cerasini. In “Godzilla vs. The Robot Monsters,” Baragon is revived after an explosion in a mine and goes on a rampage in the Western United States. Cerasini does an excellent job in making Baragon an extremely deadly creature with a seemingly insatiable hunger. Eventually, the mighty Mechagodzilla (created by the U.S. government) marches in and defeats Baragon who burrows back underground to lick his wounds. This seemed to be Baragon’s last hurrah until Shusuke Kaneko made “Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack” in 2001. For the film, Baragon’s design was revamped a bit. The kaiju’s tannish-brown skin color was changed to a red tint and its size was increased in order to be more of a challenge for Godzilla. Despite these upgrades and the tenacity of a bulldog, Baragon does not fare well against the King of the Monsters and is incinerated completely about halfway into the film.

Over the years, Baragon has built up a small following and has rapidly become one of the most requested monsters to appear in further Godzilla adventures. Since Godzilla is supposed to be officially retired for at least a decade after “Godzilla: Final Wars,” I wonder if Toho will begin to focus on bringing some of their other creatures into the limelight. I think that Baragon should have his own movie and perhaps even get a rematch against Frankenstein’s Monster. Until then we all may get a chance to play as Baragon in Atari’s upcoming game “Godzilla: Save the Earth” which is a sequel to “Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.” The game boasts more than eighteen classic monsters, several playing modes and mini-games, better graphics, and more cities to destroy! (The game is set to come out this fall for both the X-BOX and PS2 and will probably retail for around fifty dollars.) Just keep your fingers crossed and maybe, just maybe we’ll be seeing more of Baragon!

Images courtesy of Toho Kingdom.