Varan

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Toho character
150x150 Varan as he appears in his debut film, Varan the Unbelievable.
Varan
Species Unknown
Alias Baradagi-Sanjin
O-baki (English version)
Height 10–50 metres
Weight 60-15,000 tons
Air speed Mach 1.5
Major enemies King Ghidorah
Major allies Godzilla
Mothra
Rodan
Baragon
Minilla
Anguirus
Gorosaurus
Kumonga
Manda
Controlled by Kilaaks
First appearance Varan the Unbelievable
Created by Ken Kuronuma
Portrayed by: Haruo Nakajima
Katsumi Tezuka

Varan (バラン Baran?) is a kaiju that first appeared in Varan the Unbelievable (1958). Physically, Varan resembles a giant pterosaur-like reptile with skin membranes between his arms and legs, allowing him to glide much like a flying dragon or flying squirrel; he also has a horned head.

Appearance and abilities[edit]

Eiji Tsuburaya and Akira Watanabe based Varan's design on that of a Draco lizard, Godzilla, and a kappa. The name Varan is derived from Varanus pater, or "Father of lizards."[1] In his film appearances Varan does not have any special abilities such as fiery or radioactive breath. He can however glide at speeds of Mach 1.5, and has a row of spines along his body which may afford protection.

Film Appearances[edit]

Film history[edit]

In his first appearance, Varan is a monster that lives in a saltwater lake within the Kunishiroshima valley, where he is known to the natives as Baradagi-Sanjin. He kills an expedition duo and then completely destroys a nearby village. After his home is invaded again, the monster proceeds to attack Tokyo and is seemingly unstoppable until he is tricked by the military into eating bombs. After a few detonate in his stomach, Varan is mortally wounded and escapes back into the ocean, but one final bomb explodes, apparently killing the creature.

Years later, Varan reappears in Destroy All Monsters living in Monsterland with many other monsters including Godzilla, Mothra, Kumonga/Spiga, Anguirus, Baragon, Minilla, Rodan, Gorosaurus,and Manda. Varan is seen, however, only in publicity photographs for the film, gliding in to join the other Earth monsters to fight against King Ghidorah, even though he does not actually take part in the fight. After King Ghidorah is driven away, Varan, along with the other monsters return to Monsterland. Within the context of the film itself he is only seen gliding through the air prior to the fight against Ghidorah, and in the last scene as a static model rather than as a suit.

Varan makes a semi-cameo in Godzilla: Final Wars using stock footage from Varan the Unbelievable during the narrative at the beginning, claiming that Varan was one of many monsters that arose due to the devastation that the World Wars brought, along with Gezora, Baragon, Gaira, Titanosaurus, and Megaguirus.

Lost Projects[edit]

In one of the early drafts of what would become Godzilla vs. Gigan, Varan was to have joined Godzilla and Rodan in defending the Earth against King Ghidorah, Gigan, and a new monster that had never been seen before with the name Mogu.[2] Shusuke Kaneko, director of the popular Heisei Gamera trilogy had originally considered Varan, along with Anguirus to star in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack as antagonists to Godzilla. Varan and Anguirus were however replaced with the far more popular Mothra and King Ghidorah.[3] The suit designer compromised by giving some of Varan's facial features to King Ghidorah.

Game appearances[edit]

Varan was considered for Godzilla: Save the Earth, but was scrapped at some point.

Varan made his first playable video game 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.

Action figures[edit]

Few figures of Varan have been issued compared to other kaiju. Bullmark released the first Varan vinyl toy in 1970. Bandai has only issued Varan in gashapon form as part of High Grade series 6, in promotion for the film Godzilla 2000. Y-MSF has also released a figure on the 6" scale in 2005. Other companies, such as CCP, Marmit, Trendmasters, and the modern version of Marusan have also released Varan figures.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Ragone, August (2007). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9. 
  2. ^ Rodan's Roost: Kaiju Scrap-yard: Return of King Ghidorah
  3. ^ Rodan's Roost: Kaiju Scrap-yard: Varan, Baragon, Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack - Godzilla 2002