While Bagan has never made a feature film appearance, he is particularly well-known for his numerous planned but ultimately scrapped film roles. The first proposed appearance of Bagan was Resurrection of Godzilla, a film proposed by Tomoyuki Tanaka in 1980 as a revival of the Godzilla franchise, which ultimately became The Return of Godzilla. This version of Bagan was an ancient shapeshifting god monster that took three different forms: the dragon-like Sacred Dragon Beast, the ape-like Sacred Monkey Beast, and the fish-like Sacred Water Beast. In the later 1983 revision of this proposal, Bagan eventually transformed into a huge totem-like amalgamation of all three forms, only to be defeated by Godzilla.
Another version of Bagan was proposed for the film Mothra vs. Bagan, a film starring Mothra that would have been set in the same universe as the Heisei Godzilla films. This Bagan was an ancient demonic beast that was sealed away in the Himalayas in ancient times, only to be reawakened in the modern day by global warming. Bagan would have fought Mothra in a final confrontation in Bangkok, being defeated by the combined efforts of Mothra and her larva. In the first version of the film, similarly to Resurrection of Godzilla, Bagan would have had three forms: the Spirit God Beast, Dragon God Beast, and Demon God Beast forms. Later, however, it was decided for Bagan to only have a single form. This same version of Bagan was planned to be further explored in the third entry of the Heisei series, Godzilla 3. When Mothra vs. Bagan was scrapped, this project was reworked into Godzilla vs. Bagan, which was itself eventually replaced with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Bagan was potentially considered for another film, also titled Godzilla vs. Bagan which, according to Takao Okawara, was an early version of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Finally, he was considered for Yamato Takeru II, an unmade sequel to Toho's 1994 fantasy film Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon. Though all of Bagan's film appearances were scrapped, he was featured as the final boss in the 1993 Super Nintendo game Super Godzilla, and also made an appearance in Godzilla Movie Studio Tour. Bagan finally made his on-screen debut in a direct-to-DVD and Blu-ray Godziban short in which he battles Mothra.
Name[edit | edit source]
According to some publications, the original version of Bagan featured in the 1980 and 1983 drafts for Resurrection of Godzilla is named Bakan (バカン). The majority of official publications make no distinction in name between "Bakan" and "Bagan," and refer to the original 1980-1983 incarnation of the monster as Bagan. The reason for this name change is unknown.
All of Bagan's forms have specified names. The 1980 Bagan had the Sacred Monkey Beast (猿神獣, Sacred Dragon Beast Enjin-jū) (龍神獣 and Sacred Water Beast Ryūjin-jū) (水神獣 forms. The 1983 version's additional totem-like form was known as his Demon Beast Suijin-jū) (魔獣 form. In the first iteration of Mothra vs. Bagan, Bagan's forms are referred to as Spirit God Beast Ma-jū) (霊神獣, Dragon God Beast Reijin-jū) (竜神獣, and Demon God Beast Ryūjin-jū) (魔神獣. Bagan has only one form in the second iteration of Mothra vs. Godzilla. In the film's storyboards, one of the characters introduces Bagan by referring to the monster by his name in kanji: 馬銜. Majin-jū)
The spherical form Bagan first takes in Super Godzilla is known as his Energy Form (エネルギー体 or Energy Sphere Form Enerugī-tai) (エネルギー球体, while the final form is simply known as Bagan, though the "Demon Beast" subtitle given to this form could be used to refer to the form itself. Enerugī Kyū-tai)
Development[edit | edit source]
Bagan was conceived for a new Godzilla film titled Resurrection of Godzilla, proposed by Tomoyuki Tanaka in 1980. Bagan would combat the JSDF in the early part of the film, shifting between his three forms before battling Godzilla once the latter arrived in Japan. Godzilla would defeat Bagan, then become the primary antagonist for the remainder of the film. Bagan was retained in Akira Murao and Hideichi Nagahara's 1983 proposal for the film, though with an added ability. After failing to defeat Godzilla with his three forms, Bagan would transform into the "Demon Beast" form, a totem-like amalgamation of his other forms. Despite this new ability, Bagan met the same fate in this draft. Eventually, Resurrection of Godzilla was reworked into The Return of Godzilla, which excised Bagan and focused almost entirely on Godzilla.
Bagan was brought back for a planned 1990 solo film starring Mothra, Mothra vs. Bagan. While at first Bagan was conceptualized as having three different forms for this movie as well (Spirit God Beast, Dragon God Beast and Demon God Beast), Koichi Kawakita axed the shapeshifting and Bagan's design and powers were ultimately overhauled. He remained an ancient evil creature, but had only a single form. Numerous different designs were created for Bagan by several artists, but this proposed film met the same fate as Resurrection of Godzilla. When Godzilla vs. Biollante did not perform as well as Toho had hoped at the box office, it felt making another film introducing a new monster was too big of a risk, and scrapped the project.
Design[edit | edit source]
The earliest version of Bagan from Resurrection of Godzilla had three separate forms: an ape-like Sacred Monkey Beast, a fish-like Sacred Water Beast, and a winged Sacred Dragon Beast. Each form could only be used on land, in the sea, and in the air, respectively. Also, each form was individually said to be a different color, with only the Sacred Water Beast's color being known through its description of having "green slimy skin all over its body, a face somewhat reptile-like with a wide-opening mouth, and hands with fish-like fins for swimming." For the 1983 draft, an additional fourth, totem-like form was written in. No official contemporary concept art exists of any of these forms.
Artwork of Sacred Monkey Beast, Sacred Water Beast and Sacred Dragon Beast Bagan for Resurrection of Godzilla (1980) from issue #7 of the fanzine Godzilla Resurrection Committee
The legendary shapeshifting monster was revived for Mothra vs. Bagan. In the first version of the movie, the monster would have had three forms, like in the original 1980 proposal. According to Shinji Nishikawa: Drawing Book of Godzilla, the only form which was specifically described was the Spirit God Beast (equivalent to the Sacred Monkey Beast), which was mentioned as having "a figure like an elephant." In addition, there were the Dragon God Beast and Demon God Beast forms (a mix of the Sacred Dragon Beast/Sacred Water Beast forms and a replacement of the Sacred Water Beast, respectively). Widely varying concepts were submitted by Shinji Nishikawa, Minoru Yoshida, Hiroto Aragaki, and Takashi Sonoyama, though little about these pieces seem to have been carried over to later designs. As development continued, however, special effects director Koichi Kawakita decided that Bagan would have only a single form. For this second version, Nishikawa and Yoshida continued submitting art with the addition of Yasushi Nirasawa. Yoshida and Nirasawa steered the direction of the monster's look, with one of Yoshida's concepts ("Bagan Design B") being used in storyboards, while Nirasawa's demonic-looking concept was decided upon as being the final design.
"Design A," stated to be Bagan's 'canonical design,' has a vaguely Godzilla-like shape. He has taupe- or black-colored and pinkish red armored skin, protruding structures from his shoulders and base of his tail with yellow orbs, yellow spikes on his jaw and elbows and running down his back, plus yellow nails, horns, and tail fur. "Design B" is white and green in coloration, sharing the general body shape of the "A"-type. This Bagan has three horns on his head as well, but the two horns on the sides are located on each jaw, and are black in color along with all of its extendable claws. This concept also has no spikes, instead having its tail tipped with a sharp pincer, blonde hair on his hands, feet, head, lower jaw and tail tip, and a prominent hunched back rather than shoulder protrusions.
Ver. 1: Spirit God Beast concept by Shinji Nishikawa
The red-and-dark brown "Design A" artwork from Mothra vs. Bagan commonly placed alongside information regarding the Super Godzilla incarnation of the creature (and even recolored to more accurately match the video game's sprite in Super Godzilla Official Guide Book) is not actually the exact source of his design. Another piece of concept art by Minoru Yoshida was recycled for Bagan's final form in Super Godzilla, though with different colors: an umber and light brown body coloration with yellow horns and spikes. Differences between the Super Godzilla design and the "Design A" Bagan, aside from coloration, include the lack of bulbous orbs in Bagan's legs, back and shoulders, and the shoulder and tail protrusions being more akin to spikes. Bagan's Energy Form is a brown, tangled pulsating mass that has a green aura. He resembles Biollante's nucleus.
Mothra vs. Bagan concept art by Minoru Yoshida recycled for the game
For Godzilla Movie Studio Tour, a highly detailed Bagan model was sculpted by Minoru Yoshida, and renders of this model were incorporated into the game. Generally, the model was based on the "Design A" look, but with major differences in coloration: light gray and reddish-brown armored skin rougher than the "A"-type, a dim gray chest, groin, and knee skin, taupe horns and spikes, spikes at the tip of the tail in place of hair or scythes, and purple shoulder orbs.
In Godziban, Bagan appears almost identical to the design featured in Godzilla Movie Studio Tour, although his shoulder orbs are yellow instead of purple.
Origins[edit | edit source]
Bagan is often referred to as being a mythical ancient monster, often said to be based on Chinese legends. His 1980 and 1983 incarnations are said simply to be legendary, magical Chinese beasts.
In Mothra vs. Bagan, he was an ancient creature that destroyed the world's forests. He was sealed away in the Himalayas long ago by a clan of Mothras, but was unleashed in modern times due to global warming. Godzilla 3 revealed that Bagan may have been created by aliens responsible for the ruins of the Nazca civilization in Peru. The Godzilla vs. Bagan (1991) and Godzilla vs. Bagan (1995) incarnations did not retain the extraterrestrial roots proposed in Godzilla 3, simply keeping Bagan an ancient creature.
The Super Godzilla Bagan was born in "super-ancient China" and brought through time from the past to the present day of 199X by unnamed aliens in an attempt to use him to conquer Earth. Finally, they enhanced Bagan's already huge power by splicing both Godzilla and King Ghidorah's cells into him, through a process influenced by the research of Anti-Monster Defense Forces member and G-cells expert Professor Ogata.
For Godziban, Bagan shares a somewhat similar origin as his Super Godzilla counterpart, being a monster fused with the cells of the Godzilla Clan and King Ghidorah to bring his strength to untold heights. Cells were collected by the Dorats and supplied to the Futurians, who travel from the future to the present age and release Bagan to cause chaos.
History[edit | edit source]
- Resurrection of Godzilla (1980; scrapped)
- Resurrection of Godzilla (1983; scrapped)
- Mothra vs. Bagan / Mothra vs. Godzilla (1990; scrapped)
- Godzilla 3 / Godzilla vs. Bagan (1991; scrapped)
- Godzilla vs. Bagan (1995; scrapped)
- Rebirth of Mothra trilogy (1996-1998; considered)
- Yamato Takeru II (1997; scrapped)
- Godziban (web 2019-) [episode 54; "Mothra vs. Bagan Prologue" special]
The first version of Bagan was a shapeshifter. He started out as an ape-like creature but became a dragon-like creature after being wounded. He later dove into the water and became a sea monster-like creature with a dragon-like creature attached to the top of his body. After Godzilla was awakened by nuclear dumping in the Pacific and drawn to Japan in search of more nuclear fuel, he fought and defeated Bagan.
The 1983 Bagan is nearly identical to the original, though with some major differences. Each time he changed form, he healed himself. Also, when he ran into Godzilla, finding that he could not defeat him in any single form, he transformed into a towering combination of his three forms. Bagan managed to temporarily defeat Godzilla in this stage, though he soon found out that he could no longer change shape, meaning he could no longer heal himself. This allowed a Godzilla revitalized by nuclear energy to rise back up and defeat the exhausted Bagan, who would die out at sea.
Set free from the frozen tomb in the Himalayas he was sealed away in long ago by a clan of Mothras due to global warming, Bagan began his savage attack against humanity. The legendary beast destroyed remote villages and the city of Calcutta, but was eventually confronted by Mothra. As the fight between the two monsters brought them to Bangkok, Mothra's egg hatched, the larva arrived to help its parent, and with their combined powers they were able to end Bagan's reign of terror. A mortally wounded Mothra then carried Bagan's unconscious body out to sea and sealed him away again before perishing herself.
The same 1990 Bagan was planned to go on to face Godzilla in the third entry of the Heisei series, Godzilla 3. It would reveal that Bagan was allegedly created by aliens who were also responsible for the ruins of the Nazca civilization in Peru.
Mothra vs. Godzilla (1990)[edit | edit source]
The scrapped Bagan was to face Godzilla in one of Omori's earliest scripts for a Godzilla vs. Biollante sequel. However, with King Ghidorah turning out to be one of the most popular monsters in polls among Japanese audiences and Toho's 60th anniversary rapidly approaching, the idea was dropped.
According to Takao Okawara, Bagan may have been planned for another film titled Godzilla vs. Bagan in 1995. Okawara stated that while Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was being planned, he had heard about a film titled Godzilla vs. Bagan, but did not know any details about the plot. Rumors at the time suggested the story would be very much like Godzilla vs. Giant Monster Varan—in which Varan is described as being a "harbinger for the end of the world," awakening in 1999 and dead set on ending all life, but ends up being defeated by Godzilla and LittleGodzilla—though not set in the future. Bagan took the place of Varan, with Mothra and the Gotengo from Atragon set to appear as well.
Rebirth of Mothra trilogy and Yamato Takeru II[edit | edit source]
According to the book Heisei Godzilla Perfection, Bagan was to play a role in the unmade sequel to the 1994 fantasy film Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon, alongside Yamata no Orochi. He was also considered by Koichi Kawakita to make an appearance in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy.
Some time following the death of mother Mothra and the birth of the twin larva Moshu-Moshu and Moshuu-Moshuu, a space-time portal suddenly opened in the sky, and Bagan was unleashed into the present by the Futurians. The Demon Beast laid waste to the forest by firing Destruction Rays from its three horns and a Light Ray from its nasal horn. The larva twins and Battra sprang into action, growing in size and strength by fusing with their respective Shobijin. However, being comprised of the cells of the Godzilla Clan and King Ghidorah obtained by the time-traveling Dorats, Bagan eclipsed the larvae in size and power and was completely unfazed by the twin Mothras' webbing and an all-out energy beam assault by Battra. Creating an electrical vortex in the sky, Bagan rained devastation upon the surrounding environment, and even managed to break the fusion between the larvas and their Shobijin. Just as all hope seemed lost, mother Mothra appeared from the space-time portal - a version of her before she died was able to use the portal to travel through space-time to rescue the larvae from Bagan's wrath. Mothra used her seal on Bagan, but unlike Desghidorah before him, Bagan remained standing. However, the seal had an adverse effect: having been fused with Godzilla's and King Ghidorah's powerful cells, the combative spirits of the two monsters began to go to war within Bagan, making him go haywire. As such, Bagan was recalled into the space-time portal by a golden flying saucer and disappeared back into the future.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Shapeshifting[edit | edit source]
The version of Bagan in the 1980 Resurrection of Godzilla was capable of shapeshifting into three separate forms by altering his cells while he was in contact with the correct elements, meaning he could only be in his flight-based form in the sky, his water-based form in the sea, and his land-based form on dry land. The Bagan from the 1983 version also had the added ability to heal himself when changing form, and an additional fourth form which lacked the ability to heal himself.
In Super Godzilla, Bagan starts out in his Energy Form. Once Godzilla approached him for battle, he emanated bursts of white light and transformed into his final form.
Flame attacks[edit | edit source]
- Bagan's Sacred Monkey Beast form in Resurrection of Godzilla possessed a fire breath attack simply known as Flame (火炎).
- In Super Godzilla, Bagan can fire a Flame Attack (火炎攻撃) from his mouth. Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works and the Japanese Super Godzilla manual call this attack Bagan's Mouth Beam or Plasma Beam.
Electric/light attacks[edit | edit source]
- In Resurrection of Godzilla, Bagan's Sacred Dragon Beast form could blast Lightning (雷光) from his mouth.
- In the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan, Bagan can fire invisible energy from his claws. This ability is mentioned in scene 15 of the story draft, where he crumbles a monastery just by pointing at it.[note 2] This was likely a precursor to the Super Godzilla incarnation's "Slasher Claw" attack.
- In the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan, Bagan can fire an intense light ray from his horn. This ability is mentioned in scene 37 of the story draft, where he destroys a building with it while attacking Kolkata, India.
- In Super Godzilla, Bagan fires a Plasma Beam, also known as the Mouth Beam (口ビーム).
- In Super Godzilla, Bagan can launch "arrows" of sharp energy from his claws, an ability known as the Arrow Attack (アロー攻撃) or the Slasher Claw.
- In Super Godzilla, Bagan could shoot white star-like objects from his horns. This ability is called either the Horn Laser (角レーザー) or the Diamond Storm.
- In the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan, Bagan fires a Light Ray (光線) from his forehead horn.
- Bagan has an unused ability in Super Godzilla called the Beam Horn (ビーム角), a beam fired from his prominent nasal horn.
- In Godziban, Bagan fires powerful Destruction Rays (破壊光線) from his three horns, which takes the form of explosive red- or blue-colored lightning. These rays are said to burn anything with their tremendous destructive power.
- In Godziban, Bagan fires a Light Ray (光線) from his nasal horn, which he tends to use in conjunction with the Destruction Rays from his other two horns.
- In Godziban, Bagan is capable of creating a giant vortex by firing lightning from his three horns into the sky. The resulting maelstrom ejects streaks of light that strike nearby monsters, exploding on impact.
Water attacks[edit | edit source]
- Bagan's Sacred Water Beast form in Resurrection of Godzilla can fire a Liquid Ray (液状光線).
- According to scene 117 of the story draft for the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan, Bagan can create whirlpools when rising from the ocean.[note 3]
Swimming[edit | edit source]
Bagan's Sacred Water Beast form from the 1980 Resurrection of Godzilla draft and his Dragon God Beast form from the first version of Mothra vs. Bagan are both adept swimmers. Bagan is also an adept swimmer in the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan.
Flight[edit | edit source]
Bagan's Sacred Dragon Beast form from Resurrection of Godzilla, his Demon God Beast form from the first version of Mothra vs. Bagan, and his "Decided Design" form from the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan all possess physical wings, giving him the ability to fly. Bagan's 1990 "Decided Design" possessed "wings like a bat" (コウモリのような羽) for flight. Storyboards for the film using Bagan's "Design B" depicted him projecting wings of light from his back, which granted him the ability to fly. This ability was carried over but left unused for Bagan's canonical "Design A."
Bagan's Energy Form in Super Godzilla is able to levitate.
Bagan spawns wings of light in a storyboard for the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan
Physical abilities[edit | edit source]
- Bagan's Sacred Monkey Beast form in Resurrection of Godzilla was mentioned to be an extraordinary jumper.
- Both Bagan's Design A and B from Mothra vs. Bagan possessed extendable claws, movable horns, and a whip-like tail (ムチのようにしなる尾). The Super Godzilla incarnation possessed these abilities as well, but they were left unused in the game.
- The version of Bagan that appeared in Super Godzilla possessed very high physical strength and durability, including an ability called "forceful tackle." Bagan's attacks were the strongest used by any enemy in the game.
Defensive capabilities[edit | edit source]
In the 1983 Resurrection of Godzilla draft, Bagan could heal himself when changing forms, though he could no longer change form and heal himself once it entered its Demon Beast form. Bagan's "Decided Design" from the second version of Mothra vs. Bagan had black armor (黒いよろい), which was highly resilient to physical attacks.
In addition to having the strongest attacks in Super Godzilla, Bagan had the most health out of any enemy in the game. Normal Godzilla's attacks would only cause a very small amount of damage thanks to Bagan's Hard Skin (硬質皮膚): bone-like hardened skin that covers not just his back and belly, but the entirety of his body, making it necessary for Godzilla to transform into Super Godzilla to defeat Bagan and complete the game. He could also generate a Force Field to block incoming attacks.
Body spores[edit | edit source]
Bagan's Energy Form can spawn four small, fleshy body spores. Bagan used these projectile spores to easily destroy Tokyo.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
The 1983 Bagan could no longer change form (and thus heal himself) once he morphed into his final Demon Beast form, allowing Godzilla to defeat him.
In Mothra vs. Bagan, Bagan was weakened by Mothra's poison powder.
In Godziban, the cells of Godzilla and King Ghidorah fused within Bagan's body began to go to war with one another due to their combative spirits, bringing Bagan's rampage to an abrupt halt.
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Super Godzilla (1993) - Super Nintendo Entertainment System / Super Famicom
- Godzilla Movie Studio Tour (1998) - PC and Mac
Bagan received a starring role as the final boss in the video game Super Godzilla. Supercharged by cells from Godzilla and King Ghidorah that his alien commanders had spliced into him, Bagan is easily the most powerful foe in the game, impossible to defeat as normal Godzilla, and still seen as a difficult opponent as Super Godzilla.
An easy tactic to use against Bagan is repeatedly using Super Godzilla's Super Punch to heavily stun Bagan in order to activate Super Godzilla's special attacks.
"This original super monster is making his first appearance in this game. The monster Bagan, born in a super-ancient China shrouded in legend and myth, rules over land, sea, and air. The aliens fused Godzilla cells and King Ghidorah cells with Bagan to create the strongest, most evil and ferocious monster. He has unimaginable destructive power. The Godzilla and King Ghidorah cells fused with him enable him to use the weapons of monsters past, such as fire breath attack and laser light from his horns and make those weapons even more powerful. The thick Bagan cells are even more indestructible than metal and his super-weight makes his body so sturdy that he does not even notice Godzilla's attacks." — Super Godzilla Manual (U.S.)
Bagan's last official appearance was in the 1998 Godzilla Movie Studio Tour alongside Dogolas and Godzilla in the Publicity Dep., where players can create mock posters for their custom movie, and even print out the resulting creation. A variety of angles are supplied for use. He also appears in the Kid's Shop in the form of a printable "Sumo Wrestling" tabletop game, with his opponent being Godzilla.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Bagan/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Bagan is one of only two monsters in the Godzilla franchise to be greater in weight than the final form of Biollante, who weighs in at a lesser 200,000 metric tons. The other one is SpaceGodzilla, whose flying form weighs a massive 720,000 metric tons.
- One of Bagan's designs was reused for the kaiju Kilazee from Ultraman: Towards the Future. Both creatures were designed by Minoru Yoshida.
- "Bagan" is Indonesian for blueprint or draft; a peculiar coincidence, given that none of the proposed films involving him were ever made.
- The 2022 film Dragon Lizard Lord Super Monsters includes footage of Bagan from the 2000 fan film Godzilla vs. Bagan: War of the Supermonsters, renaming him Zearon Nidhogg.
Video[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- While the instruction manual for Super Godzilla and Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works list Bagan's height and weight as 150 meters and 280,000 metric tons, respectively, the Super Godzilla Official Guide Book says Bagan is 130 meters in height and weighs 90,000 metric tons.
15 Giant black shadow looms over the temple / 15 黒い巨大な影なめの僧院
An arm from the mountain appears. Its claws gleam gently, extending to the temple. / 山から腕が出た。 その爪先がキラリと光り、 僧院にのびる。
With one nail, the temple crumbles noisily. / 爪の一かきに、 僧院、音をたてて崩れる。
117 Off the coast of the Strait of Malacca (Night) / 117 マラッカ海峡沖 (夜)
A large ship is proceeding. / 大型船が行く。
The quiet wavefront suddenly swirls into whirlpools and the seawater blows up. / 静かな波面が突如、 うずを巻き、 海水がふき上がる。
From among the whirlpools, Bagan appears. / その中から、 バガン、 現われる。
Bagan snatches the large vessel in its ferocious claws. / バガン、 大型船に凶暴な爪でつかみかかる。
The large vessel is destroyed like a toy. / おもちゃのように破壊される大型船。
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Bagan. 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: