- Karen: “Barugon. That's Barugon.”
- Keisuke Hirata: “What?”
- Karen: “Yes, it's him.”
- ― Karen and Keisuke Hirata react to seeing Barugon on a news broadcast. (Gamera vs. Barugon)
After a group of treasure hunters ventured into the forbidden Valley of Rainbows in New Guinea, one of them brought a giant opal with him back to Japan, not knowing the precious stone was actually the egg of Barugon. After being unintentionally incubated by an infrared lamp, Barugon hatched from his egg and came ashore in Kobe, tearing the city apart with his extending tongue and rainbow death ray and freezing entire blocks with the chilling liquid released from his tongue. Barugon reached Osaka and confronted Gamera, and defeated him after freezing him solid. After withstanding multiple failed attempts by the JSDF to destroy him, Barugon was attacked by Gamera once again, this time being dragged to the bottom of a lake to his death. In Gamera: Super Monster, Barugon was resurrected by the evil space criminal Zanon to fight Gamera, but was defeated once again.
Introduced in the second film of the Gamera series, Barugon was Gamera's first-ever opponent. Though he never returned in a film outside of stock footage, he was featured in a manga adaptation of his debut film published by Kadokawa in 2002, which placed its events into the continuity of the Heisei trilogy, between Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.
Development[edit | edit source]
Barugon was modeled by Ryosaku Takayama, with finishing details applied by Ex Productions. According to special effects director Noriaki Yuasa, Barugon's head was made especially large in order to hide the human figure inside the suit as much as possible. Furthermore, Yuasa took measures to avoid filming the suit's feet to better maintain the illusion. Takayama modeled the Barugon suit to be easy to move in, but it ended up being very easily damaged. The shooting was difficult as a result and the suit required repairs every day. Another consequence of the efforts to make the suit easier to use meant that it was quite lightweight; for Barugon's death at the climax of the film as the monster sinks into Lake Biwa, the suit was unusually buoyant and did not submerge into the water very easily. An initial attempt to mitigate this involved cutting the suit's stomach open with scissors and then filling it with water. When even this did not work, the suit was reduced to essentially only the head which finally achieved the desired effect. Children who were touring the studio at the time were reported to have laughed at the difficulties experienced in filming this sequence.
Takayama also modeled a prop of Barugon's upper body the same size as the suit which had a mechanism for extending its tongue. This mechanism was operated by three people. A fire extinguisher was used to portray the chilling liquid sprayed from Barugon's tongue.
A three-shaku (Japanese foot) hand-operated puppet or Guignol was created for the final battle at Lake Biwa, along with an equally-scaled Gamera Guignol. For the scene where Barugon hatches from his egg, a Guignol was employed with the puppet operator's hand inserted from below. Tobacco smoke was used in this scene, while the baby Barugon Guignol was covered in custom-made materials from the United States to depict the mucus-like substance covering the hatchling. Yuasa commented that Barugon's hatching was his favorite scene in the movie.
Design[edit | edit source]
Barugon is a gigantic quadrupedal reptile, with reddish-brown scaly skin, sharp teeth, a long horn on his snout, smaller horns above his eyes, and a long whip-like tail. He has two rows of short spikes running down his back, which begin to glow and pulse in sequence when the creature is ready to attack. Barugon also possess a very long, stiff tongue with a clubbed tip, and has purple blood. His eyelids open and close sideways rather than up and down. Overall, Barugon resembles a Jackson's chameleon.
Origins[edit | edit source]
Barugon is a reptilian monster who appears every thousand years, and had previously attacked New Guinea's remote villages many times throughout the island's history, being defeated by humans each time. During World War II, his egg was placed inside the Valley of Rainbows, a vast complex of caves in New Guinea's dense rainforest. Mistaken for a large opal by three treasure hunters set to retrieve it, the egg was transported back to Japan by Onodera, who betrayed the others and left with the egg. During the final part of the trip back to Japan, the egg was accidentally left under an infrared lamp Onodera was using to treat his athlete's foot infection. The electromagnetic radiation from the lamp induced the creature to hatch at a drastically increased speed, and also caused it to grow to an unusually large size within minutes of hatching.
In Kadokawa's Gamera vs. Barugon manga, Barugon's egg was found inside the skull of another Barugon located in a cave decorated with paintings of the monster fighting Gyaos. It is later suggested that Barugon was one of a series of prototype guardian monsters developed by the ancient Atlanteans to stop Gyaos before they finally created Gamera.
History[edit | edit source]
A monster who appears once every thousand years, Barugon was revered and feared in the myths and legends of New Guinea. Barugon's egg, which resembles a giant opal, was placed in a red sack and concealed in the Valley of Rainbows by Ichiro, a Japanese soldier, who found the egg during World War II. 21 years later, Ichiro resolved to obtain the priceless object, sending three treasure hunters, Kawajiri, Onodera, and his brother, Keisuke, to search for it. The three men made their way to New Guinea by posing as sailors on a merchant ship, with Keisuke also hired to pilot a helicopter to leave New Guinea once the gemstone was obtained. However, after Kawajiri located the ‘opal’, Onodera betrayed him and Keisuke, intentionally letting Kawajiri be fatally stung by a cave scorpion, then setting off explosive charges, hoping Keisuke would die in the resultant cave-in. Fleeing the cave with the egg, Onodera made it back to the ship, and began the return journey to Japan. During the voyage, Onodera developed symptoms of malaria and athlete's foot, which the ship's doctor began treating using an infrared heat lamp.
During the final leg of the trip, as the ship neared Kobe, Onodera accidentally left the egg under the heat lamp, which he carelessly neglected to switch off, and went to play Mahjong with the ship's crew. The lamp incubated the egg and it hatched into a baby Barugon. Barugon then rapidly grew to his full size, causing the boat to explode, before swimming to shore and making his way into downtown Kobe, levelling much of the city, before continuing onward to Osaka where he froze areas of the city solid with his Chilling Liquid, including the keep of Osaka Castle. As Barugon rampaged, the military attempted to destroy him with a missile strike, but Barugon destroyed the missiles and their launchers with his Rainbow Death Ray, blowing the launch facility to pieces. As this happened, Barugon's Rainbow Death Ray also happened to catch the attention of Gamera, who had recently returned to Japan from space to resume his quest for energy to consume. The two titans clashed in the castle's grounds, and just when Gamera got the upper hand, Barugon used his Chilling Liquid to freeze Gamera solid, though Gamera managed to cut Barugon's cheek with his frozen hand just before he was completely frozen. With the military and Gamera out of the way Barugon left Osaka and began travelling towards Tokyo.
After Karen informed the JSDF that Barugon's weakness was fresh water, the JSDF set up a plan to drown him in Lake Biwa north of Kyoto, utilising a large diamond from New Guinea that had been handed down through multiple generations to attract him, but the plan seemed to fail, as Barugon eventually lost interest. A week later, with Barugon kept from continuing on his journey east by artificial rain, a second attempt was put into motion, utilising a ‘Ruby Death Ray’ that imbued the diamond with infrared light. This time, Barugon continued following the diamond all the way to the shores of Lake Biwa. As the amphibious vehicle carrying the Ruby Death Ray sailed out into the lake, disaster struck when Onodera arrived on a speedboat and attacked the team, stealing the diamond from the JSDF. As Onodera attempted to make good his escape, Barugon used his extremely long tongue to ensnare both the thief and the diamond, and consumed both, before quickly getting back to the safety of the lake’s shore before he could be injured by exposure to the water.
With this plan a failure, the JSDF changed tactics, bringing in more helicopters to drop artificial rain to keep Barugon at bay. The next day, Keisuke and Karen arrived at the missile facility destroyed by Barugon during his attack on Osaka, and discovered that the wing mirrors of a jeep destroyed by Barugon’s Rainbow Death Ray remained intact, despite the rest of the vehicle having been completely disintegrated. Realising that this meant Barugon’s Rainbow Death Ray must have a weakness, he presented the mirrors to the JSDF and explained that mirrors could be used to reflect Barugon’s beam back at him. With this plan approved, the microwave antenna on Mount Kajika was equipped with giant panels coated in mercury, turning it into a mirror capable of reflecting the energy. A set of remotely-controlled tanks were then sent to the summit to be used to provoke Barugon into using his beam.
That evening, the plan, code-named ‘Operation Rear-View Mirror’, was set into motion. As the tanks fired on Barugon, he fired his Rainbow Death ray towards them, destroying the vehicles and striking the reflective surface of the antenna exactly as had been predicted. As the energy was shot back towards its source, it struck Barugon over his spine, blowing vast quantities of skin and muscle off and leaving the monster screeching and writhing in pain as blood freely issued from his wounds. However, the reflector, while extremely powerful, had failed to kill Barugon. Realising the humans had the ability to potentially kill him, he refused to use his Rainbow Death Ray again.
Just as all hope seemed lost, the areas of Osaka frozen by Barugon finally began to thaw. Revived, Gamera emerged from his icy prison and flew to Lake Biwa to fight Barugon. Though Barugon was a worthy fighter and capable of defending himself in close quarters, Gamera held the upper hand, and hurled him into the Biwako Ohashi Bridge. Barugon made it to the shore again, and attempted to subdue Gamera by knocking him down with his tongue and holding him against the ground with his legs, but Gamera remained in control, eventually hurling Barugon back into the lake. Barugon panicked and attempted to scramble out of the water, distracting him for long enough for Gamera to use his jaws to grab hold of Barugon by the neck, dragging him away from the shore and into Lake Biwa's interior. With his strength rapidly fading away, Barugon began to violently bleed, and sank below the lake's surface as Gamera pulled him down, eventually reaching the bottom. After Gamera let go of Barugon, the monster attempted one last, futile use of his Rainbow Death Ray, which rose above the surface, but faded before it could hit anything; Barugon had finally died.
Barugon would later make an appearance in Gamera: Super Monster as one of the monsters revived by the unseen captain of the Zanon, and was the last monster to engage in battle with Gamera. Like before, he was eventually defeated. Barugon's appearance in this film was realized entirely through stock footage.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Extendable tongue[edit | edit source]
Barugon possesses an incredibly long extendable tongue, which he can fire from his mouth as a rigid battering ram to knock opponents over or strike targets from a distance. Barugon's tongue also functions like that of a chameleon, and can attach to objects to pull them towards Barugon, as seen when he used it to retrieve a large diamond set out by the JSDF as a lure without having to touch the fresh water the military hoped would incapacitate him. The destructive force of Barugon's tongue is stated to be 200,000 times greater than the punch of professional boxer Fighting Harada.
Chilling Liquid[edit | edit source]
Barugon can release Chilling Liquid (冷凍液 at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius below zero from the tip of his extendable tongue. This liquid takes the form of an icy mist, and can freeze objects or opponents completely solid. Reitō-eki)Gamera was particularly susceptible to this liquid, as it left him frozen and immobilized for a period of several days. The Chilling Liquid has an impressive range and potency, freezing entire city blocks in mere moments.
Rainbow Death Ray[edit | edit source]
Barugon's most notable ability is a rainbow that he launches from the spikes on his back, known as the Rainbow Death Ray (殺人虹光線. This rainbow is actually an incredibly powerful attack that can destroy entire lines of missiles being fired at Barugon or damage buildings or tanks. Gamera is immune to the effects of the Rainbow Death Ray, and can draw energy from it instead. In addition, the beam is strong enough to inflict serious damage to Barugon's body if reflected by a large enough mirror. Satsujin Niji Kōsen)
Intelligence[edit | edit source]
Barugon is actually a deceptively intelligent creature, and uses his cunning to withstand two of the JSDF's attempts to kill him. When the JSDF used a gigantic mirror to reflect Barugon's Rainbow Death Ray back at him, Barugon realized his mistake and consciously chose to stop using the attack. Another plan involved luring Barugon into Lake Biwa with a diamond. However, Barugon used his extendable tongue to recover the diamond and avoided wading out into the lake.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Barugon's Rainbow Death Ray can be reflected by mirrors, and if reflected back to Barugon will severely injure him. Barugon's most critical weakness is to fresh water. While salt water appears to pose him no threat, as he managed to make it ashore after hatching with no apparent injuries, if Barugon comes into contact with fresh water, it will rapidly weaken him. In small amounts, fresh water interferes with Barugon's ability to use his Chilling Liquid, while in large amounts it burns his flesh and causes him to bleed profusely. The JSDF used artificial rainfall through dropping water from helicopters to keep Barugon restrained and at bay, and the monster was left temporarily unable to use his Chilling Liquid while exposed to the rainfall. Barugon is ultimately killed when Gamera drags him to the bottom of Lake Biwa and drowns him.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
- Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967) [stock footage]
- Destroy All Planets (1968) [stock footage]
- Gamera vs. Jiger (1970) [stock footage]
- Gamera: Super Monster (1980) [stock footage]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Gamera: The Time Adventure (1995) - Bandai Playdia
- CR Gamera (2009) - Pachinko
- Gamera: Battle (2012) - iOS
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Gamera vs. Barugon (2003)
An expedition headed deep into a cave, discovering Atlantean murals along the way depicting a reptillian monster. After a long journey they found a giant skeleton with a gem in its skull. The expedition force, already stressed from the journey and dark surroundings, had several members suffer insatiable greed and mania when the cave started to flood after the skeleton broke. One member tried to steal the gem and slashed his comrades with a knife, only to be shot in the face by another manic member of the party, which spilled blood onto the gem. The shooter managed to flee into the jungle and leave on a plane, leaving the only other survivor in the cave, where he experienced visions that implied Barugon was an earlier attempt at creating a counter to the Gyaos before Gamera. Aboard a ship, the gem quickly hatched into Barugon, and preyed upon the shooter before rapidly growing in size. He attacked a city, inducing mania in the populace before the JSDF confronted him. Barugon shot down their craft with freezing waves emitted from the tip of his long tongue. When warships came to attack him, he retaliated using his Rainbow Death Ray. Gamera, after learning from Asagi Kusanagi of Barugon's assault, came to fight. Gamera broke Barugon's tail using his plasma fireballs, but Barugon fought on. The former's icy blasts and the latter's fireballs created a temperature gradient that started producing large storms in the region. It was discovered that Barugon had a weakness to water when he tried to escape after being thrown into Tokyo Bay. He froze Gamera before going about freezing Tokyo. Eventually, Gamera thawed out, and the two fought again on an iceberg made by Barugon. Although Gamera was gravely wounded during the battle, Barugon was blown off the iceberg by Gamera's fireballs and sank into the sea.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Barugon/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- In the late 1960s, the Japanese toy company Nitto repurposed a rejected prototype mold of Barugon for a new model kit featuring Wanigon, an aquatic crocodilian creature and archrival of Gamaron, a frog monster incidentally created from a rejected Gamera mold.
- In 2000, the novelty toy company Amapro brought back Wanigon and Gamaron as vinyl figures alongside an accompanying VHS short film Wanigon vs. Gamaron. Both title characters were brought to life through puppetry against model sets.
- The horned turtle monster Kogan, created for Amapro's series of soft vinyl toys inspired by the Pachimon phenomenon, is directly based on Baragon, though the shell is a mix between Gamera and the Ultraman monster Skydon.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Barugon. 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: 
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