Varan

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Varan™ copyright icon Toho Company, Limited Monster
Varan in Destroy All Monsters
Varan

Subtitle Giant Monster (大怪獣,   Daikaijū?),
Monster from the East
(東洋の怪物,   Tōyō no Kaibutsu?)[1],
Giant Monster from the East
(東洋の大怪獣,   Tōyō no Daikaijū?),
Giant Flying Squirrel Monster
(むささび怪獣,   Musasabi Kaijū?),
Winged Dragon
(有翼膜竜,   Yū Tsubasa Maku Ryū?)
Nicknames Baradagi-Sanjin, Baradagi, O-baki, Monster from the East, Giant Flying Squirrel Monster[2]
Species Giant Gliding Reptile
Height 50 meters[3][4][5]
Weight 15,000 metric tons[4][5]
Controlled by KilaaksDAM
Allies Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Baragon, Minilla, Anguirus, Gorosaurus, Kumonga, Manda, King CaesarGRoE, ZillaGRoE, Jet JaguarGRoE, KamoebasGRoE, TitanosaurusGRoE, SandaGRoE, GairaGRoE, KamacurasGRoE
Enemies King Ghidorah, GairaGRoE (At first), RodanGRoE, Trilopod, Magita
Created by Ken Kuronuma
Portrayed Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka
First Appearance Latest Appearance
Varan Destroy All Monsters
Roar(s)
More Roars

Varan (バラン,   Baran?) is a tri-phibian kaiju created by Toho that first appeared in the 1958 Toho film, Varan.

Name

Varan's name is most likely derived from either the genus name for monitor lizards, Varanus, or from the name of an extinct family of synapsids, Varanopidae. The villagers that worship Varan refer to him as "Baradagi-Sanjin" (meaning "Mountain God Baradagi") or just "Baradagi." In the American version of Varan's debut film, he is only called "O-baki." Varan is often given the title "giant flying squirrel monster" in various publications due to the gliding membranes underneath his arms, despite not actually being a flying squirrel.

Appearance

Varan is a primarily quadrupedal reptilian creature with thin membranes between his arms and legs, which he uses for gliding in a manner akin to that of a flying squirrel or sugar glider. Varan's eyes are small with large pupils, his head is round, and he has a short-muzzled face with a lumpy nose and a prominent upper lip. His teeth vary in size, but all of them are more or less conical in shape. He has a barrel-shaped torso with a large sternum. His neck is fairly long and thick and his limbs are relatively long and thin. Varan also has a pair of spiky, fin-like structures on the sides of his face and a single row of large spines that run down from the top of his head to the end of his long, prehensile tail. His hands and feet have five digits each and they have a slender, bony look to them. His spines are clear and translucent, having little to no real color to them, and his hide can be divided into two notable sections: the lowermost sides of his skin are smooth with a slightly baggy or wrinkled feel to them and are a light cream or tan-like sandy brown while the uppermost parts of his skin are covered with a multitude of bumpy, wart-like structures and are a much darker shade of brown. These two sections are separated by a series of wavy membranes on the sides of his torso, limbs, and tail that straighten to form Varan's gliding membranes.

Origins

Varan is an ancient reptilian creature known as a Varanopode, which lived from the Triassic through Cretaceous Periods. Varan escaped extinction and lived for millions of years at the bottom of a lake in the Japanese countryside. Villagers living near the lake saw Varan as a god, giving him the title of "Baradagi-Sanjin."

In Destroy All Monsters, Varan is one of the several kaiju living on Monsterland at the end of the 20th century. No details regarding his past are ever discussed in the film.

History

Showa Series

Varan

Varan in Varan
After a pair of rare Siberian butterflies were found in Japan, two scientists were sent to investigate the area where they were found, near a secluded mountain village. The scientists were killed by an unknown force, and another team was sent to investigate. There, they encountered the local villagers, who worshiped a mountain god called "Baradagi." The team went out to find a boy who was lost in the forest, but the villagers warned that they would anger Baradagi. One of the scientists persuaded the villagers to go out to find the boy, but Varan, the "Baradagi" the villagers worshiped, emerged from the nearby lake and attacked them. Varan killed the village priest and destroyed the village before returning to the lake he had come from. The JSDF arrived and surrounded the lake, and opened fire on Varan after luring him out with chemicals. The attack had no effect, and Varan chased two people into a cave. The JSDF fired flares to distract Varan, prompting him to climb to the top of a cliff. Varan opened large membranes under his arms and dove off the cliff, gliding across the sky and towards the ocean. The JSDF deployed countless destroyers and bombers to try and stop Varan before he could reach the Japanese mainland, but their attacks did little to slow the beast's advance. Eventually, Varan surfaced from Tokyo Bay and attacked Haneda Airport. The JSDF attacked Varan with all of their available artillery and jets, but still were unable to harm him. When Varan destroyed a truck containing experimental explosives, it triggered an explosion that seemed to visibly harm him. The JSDF quickly tied two of these explosives to flares and then dropped them from helicopters, knowing Varan would eat the flares. After Varan swallowed the flares, the first bomb exploded inside Varan, causing him to become weak. Varan limped back into the ocean and disappeared beneath the waves before the second bomb exploded, producing a small mushroom cloud over the water. The J.S.D.F then finally declared the creature dead.


Destroy All Monsters

In 1999, a juvenile Varan was living among Earth's other monsters on the human-monitored Monsterland. When the Kilaaks took control of the island and its inhabitants, Varan disappeared as the alien invaders' global assault was initiated. Whether Varan was ever used by the aliens to fight humanity is unclear, as he wasn't seen again until well after the humans used the Moonlight SY-3 to destroy the Kilaaks' Moon Base. After the Kilaaks' control was broken, Varan spectated alongside Baragon and Manda during the Earth monsters' fight against King Ghidorah at Mount Fuji. Once King Ghidorah and the Kilaaks were defeated, Varan and all the others monsters returned to Monsterland in peace.

Within the context of the film itself Varan is only seen gliding through the air prior to the fight against King Ghidorah, and in the last scene as a static model rather than as a suit.

Abilities

Varan gliding across the sky in Varan

Varan does not have any beam weapons in any of his film appearances, in common with many of the older kaiju. However, in the video game Godzilla: Unleashed, Varan has the ability to emit a sonic beam from his mouth, as well as what appears to be a ball of energy. His one special ability is gliding at around the speed of Mach 1.5,[3] like Rodan. In his debut film, he jumped off a cliff and glided to Japan. In Destroy All Monsters, he glides into view for the final battle, and later on Monsterland. Varan did not fight King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters.

Varan has never actually been seen in combat against any other monsters in a film. He used his tail to level buildings in his original film, which may indicate how he'd fight in combat. He also has spines which might possibly be of use against other giant monsters. Godzilla: Unleashed depicts Varan using acrobatics to fight, as well as his spines. His skin is covered with huge blisters or lumps. In amphibians, such blisters contain poison glands. In reptiles, lumps like these are usually osteoderms, which are armor plates. Also in the Marc Cerasini novel Godzilla 2000, Varan's lumps filled with helium and made him rise so he could glide. Osteoderm-like armor might make the most sense, since Varan was almost invulnerable to human weapons, and had to internally eat bombs before they affected him.

Filmography

Video Game Appearances

Varan was considered for Godzilla: Save the Earth, but was scrapped at some point. Varan appeared in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, but otherwise has not appeared in any games. He also appeared in Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender.

Varan made an appearance in the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender. He is given the ability to fire a sonic beam and a concentrated sonic energy ball. He has a gliding ability that works much like Rodan's flying, he can be unlocked by destroying the three purple objects on the Vortaak mothership while playing as an Alien. Varan himself appeared purple in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters.

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters

Appearing on the second world, Varan will assault Godzilla or Mothra with a variety of melee attacks, the most devastating attack of which is his punch, a move that has excellent range and does noticeable damage. Varan can also attack with his claws in rapid succession, which can score several hits against Godzilla or Mothra if in range. Varan may also attack his foes with a kick, or attempt to head butt them while advancing forward. Varan also has the ability to jump high into the air to avoid attacks. Despite a healthy amount of moves, Varan shouldn't cause much trouble for Godzilla or Mothra because of his lack of a projectile and his habit of reeling back in pain after sustaining heavy damage; furthermore, unlike other bosses, Varan will not trap the player in the corner but will stay just in arms reach if Godzilla or Mothra is backed into the corner.

Godzilla: Unleashed

Height: 50 meters
Weight: 15,000 tons

"Varan is an Earth Defender with special affinity for forested and hilly areas. Although not capable of true flight, Varan's extraordinary leaping capabilities and gliding capacity mean that he rarely, if ever, touches the ground for more than an instant. Although he naturally lives in solitude, Varan has developed very finely-honed sonic projection capabilities which can be used to communicate over vast distances. These same pinpoint sonic waves can be used in battle to disrupt an opponent's sense of balance. Varan is quite possibly the most mysterious of Earth's native monsters—first-hand sightings of him by humans remain relatively rare."

Bandai Namco's Godzilla

Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Varan.

Comics

Godzilla: Rulers of Earth

Varan first appears in issue #5 of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, appearing from China and traveling to a bunker where he fights Rodan and Gaira before vanishing into the ocean. He was also seen in a flash back when King Caesar and Megalon fought, appearing in the ocean with Ebirah to attack the escaping islanders. He was also seen on the mural in the Infant Island cave, where he was one of the Water monsters. It is unknown where Varan went after the battle with Gaira, as he was never present on the Monster Islands, but a Trilopod later appeared to fight Godzilla that had Varan's traits. Varan was being held in the Trilopod hive, but was freed by King Caesar along with the other kaiju. Varan then took part in the final battle against the Trilopods, helping Zilla kill the Titanosaurus Trilopod, and the massive Magita. After the threat was vanquished, Varan and the other monsters followed Godzilla out to sea.


Godzilla in Hell

A demonic version of Varan appeared in the second issue of the IDW mini-series Godzilla in Hell. The demon Varan emerged from the Eternal Ocean as Godzilla arrived there after falling from the ice following his fight with the demon Anguirus. The demon Varan and Godzilla immediately fought each other, but Godzilla dispensed of the demon with his atomic breath.

Gallery

Main article: Varan/Gallery.

Roar

Varan's roar is notable in that it was reused and edited for monsters such as Gorosaurus, Megalon, the Showa Baragon and various creatures from the Ultraman franchise. The roars are derived from those of the 1954 incarnation of Godzilla. Varan's roars were also recycled for the MagiDragon in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.

Varan's roars

In Other Languages

  • Russian: Варан

Trivia

  • Varan is a "tri-phibian" creature in that he can swim, walk on land, and soar through the air.[4] Numerous other kaiju are or have been described using this term, such as Gappa.
  • Varan was meant to be in The Return of King Ghidorah, a TV version of Varan, and Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, a proposed movie replaced with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. However, in the latter film, King Ghidorah's suit has facial fins similar to those of Varan in order to pay tribute to the monster.
  • Just as with the Baragon suit, the Varan suit was heavily damaged from water exposure and deterioration. Because of this, he could only appear in Destroy All Monsters for a few seconds as an immobile puppet. Varan's name is briefly mentioned in the U.S. version of the film, at least. Contrary to popular belief, Varan was not thrown in for a few seconds just to say the film had more monsters. He was to have a bigger role, but Toho chose not to repair the suit damage and so Varan was relegated to being part of the backdrop.
  • Varan is the only non-humanoid Toho kaiju to possess five digits on his hands and feet.

Videos

Wikizilla video page Kaiju Profile: Varan

References

This is a list of references for Varan. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Toho Special Effects All Monster Encyclopedia. Shogakukan. p. 20. 23 July 2014. ISBN: 4-096-82090-3.
  2. Bandai Namco Entertainment's Bandai Namco's Godzilla - Kaiju Guide: Varan
  3. 3.0 3.1 ゴジラ大怪獣超百科 (テレビマガジン デラックス20). Monsters of Terror Attacking Humanity; Page 61.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Official Godzilla Compendium. Profiles of the Monsters; Page 140.
  5. 5.0 5.1 ゴジラ完全解読 (別冊宝島 2207). The Monsters that Time Forgot; Page 104.

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Comments

Showing 11 comments. Remember to follow the civility guidelines when commenting.

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Titanollante

18 days ago
Score 0
Varan has 9 trillion subtitles for no reason.
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BigRandomKaiju

26 days ago
Score 0
Varan the Unbelievable, more like Varan the Unloved Kaiju by Toho, but you'll always will be one of my favorites
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Les

26 days ago
Score 0
I absolutely LOVE Varan and I honestly have no idea why. I just wish he was given more love
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Koopa

26 days ago
Score 0
Varan, the monster definition of 'better luck next time'. It's a shame he hasn't had any new appearances in a film for so long.
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MosuFan2004

27 days ago
Score 0
This is the kaiju that should appear in MonsterVerse! His design would perfectly fit the era I can already see his design being modified for MonsterVerse.
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Radionatix

2 months ago
Score 0
This kaiju needs to appear on MonsterVerse!
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Shin Varan

7 months ago
Score 0
Definitely one of the most underrated Kaiju in Toho's monster lineup, i hope he gets another chance to appear in a movie.
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Deathrock9

7 months ago
Score 0
I'd love to see Varan come back one day. I think he would look fantastic with the technology we have nowadays.
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Deathrock9

9 months ago
Score 0
This guy deserves to come back.
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Spinocroc123

9 months ago
Score 0
oh yeah.
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Garfzilla

7 months ago
Score 0
EXACTLY! THEN WHY DID THEY REPLACE HIM WITH KING GHIDORAH! NO GOOD REASON EXCEPT FOR STUPID MONEY! AAAAAAAGH! I WOULD LIKE TO SEE VARAN FIGHTING GODZILLA! BUT NOOOOOO!