Bagan バガン [Unused Character]

Bagan (2nd Version)

Conceived By : Koichi Kawakita, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Kazuki Omori & Shinji Nishikawa / Koichi Kawakita, Kazuki Omori, Yasushi Nirasawa & Minoru Yoshida

Powers / Weapons

[1st version] Can change between a land-based Spirit God Beast form, a flying Dragon God Beast form, and a Demon God Beast form
[2nd version] Light Ray fired from forehead horn; arm-mounted wings which enable flight; can discharge invisible energy from claws; adept swimmer; can create multiple water vortexes while underwater; extraordinary jumper; whip-like tail; black armor covering its body makes it highly resilient to physical attacks


[2nd version] Mothra's poisonous powder


Mothra vs. Bagan (1990); Mothra vs. Godzilla (1990); Godzilla 3 (1991); Godzilla vs. Bagan (1991); Godzilla vs. Bagan (1994); Godzilla vs. Bagan (1995); Rebirth of Mothra (1996); Rebirth of Mothra II (1997); Yamato Takeru II (1997); Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)

Series // Unused Character

Official concept artwork by Yasushi Nirasawa


Toho's most well-known failed creation, who was up for a number of screenplays as well as being featured alongside some of the 1990's Godzilla merchandise. Although considered for ten films, there are three distinct versions of the character.

The first iteration of Bagan began in the late 1970's for the scrapped project Yamatai Kingdom, a movie intended to follow up on the mythological story of The Three Treasures (1959). Here, it went under the name "Bakan" and was a magical creature capable of transforming into a Monkey God Beast, Water God Beast, and Dragon God Beast. Down the line, Bakan would return in a proposal by Tomoyuki Tanaka for a "Resurrection of Godzilla" story, as well as in Hideichi Nagahara's draft, the latter of which giving the monster a combined Demon Beast "totem"-like form. As Bakan, this monster would have fought against Godzilla, but would have eventually fallen after a fierce battle.

The next revision of the monster occurred following production on Godzilla vs. Biollante in 1989. Toho felt it was time to resurrect their second-most popular kaiju, and one of their most recognizable characters: Mothra. For this perceived project, the firm decided to pit the deity against an all-new foe for her big screen reappearance. Conceptually, this version of Bagan started off as a revival of the shapeshifting Bakan, only with a minor name change, while still being a monster consisting of three forms: a mammalian Spirit God Beast form, equivalent to Bakan's Monkey God Beast form; a Dragon God Beast form, which fused aspects of the Dragon God Beast and Water God Beast forms of Bakan; and a Demon God Beast form, which replaced Bakan's Water God Beast form entirely. Like its original rendition, Bagan would have been able to transform into these three forms, but unlike its old concept, there is no indication that it would have had a fourth and final "totem"-like form.

However, as the script neared completion and the various mythological and Chinese-inspired aspects of Bagan became more prominent, Koichi Kawakita decided that it having three forms was unnecessary, resulting in its second and final redesign for the movie – paralleling its abilities from its previous depictions, Bagan was created as a singular titan with mastery over land, sea, and air, and was even given the "Demon Beast" subtitle used for Bakan's final form. Bagan was equipped with large arm-mounted wings to fly akin to its flying forms, was adept at swimming like its aquatic forms, and was predominately a melee fighter similarly to its land-based forms. While it lost the shapeshifting element, it was given other abilities to compensate, such as a Light Ray it could fire from its forehead horn and the ability to discharge invisible energy from its fingertips. The demonic monstrosity carried the title "god of darkness," and was made to be the antithesis of Mothra, whom is described in the film as being the guardian deity of the forests.

Unfortunately, the ambitious movie, titled Mothra vs. Bagan and slated for a 1990 release, never came to pass, even though producer Tomoyuki Tanaka had given the project his blessings. The production's cancellation lay in the fact that Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) didn't meet Toho's expectations at the box office, and creating a larger-budgeted Mothra picture was deemed an unwise move by the company, as was the idea of featuring an entirely new monster. Likewise, a planned 1991 release tentatively named Godzilla 3, which would have gone more into Bagan's background, was also quietly discarded.

Not long after Mothra's movie was shelved, a totally new draft was created in 1990 by Kazuki Omori titled Mothra vs. Godzilla that may have featured Bagan, though by that time Mothra was being put on ice in favor of Godzilla returning to the big screen. A year after the cancellation of Mothra vs. Bagan, Omori started work on a number of new screenplays, one of which was Godzilla vs. Bagan, though they were eventually set aside in favor of resurrecting King Ghidorah for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) to commemorate Toho's 60th anniversary as a company.

While Mothra vs. Bagan never saw the light of day, many elements were eventually reworked into 1992's Godzilla vs. Mothra, including characters, the message of environmental destruction, and the plot. The part of Bagan was rewritten to incorporate the "evil Mothra" Gigamoth from the scrapped 1992 movie Godzilla vs. Gigamoth, and the concept of Gigamoth would eventually evolve into the "Battle Mothra" Battra.

This didn't mark the end of the demon beast, however. Sometime in 1990, development began on a video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and the role of the game's final boss was handed over to Bagan. As development on the game progressed, Yasushi Nirasawa's intended movie design for Bagan was instead swapped out in favor of one of Minoru Yoshida's unused concepts, a design more influenced by Chinese mythology, thus finally giving Bagan an official look. The video game, titled Super Godzilla, saw a release in late 1993 in Japan and a mid-1994 release in North America.

The following year after the release of the game in Japan, an ambitious project intended to send off the Heisei run of movies was pitched. Seemingly influenced by the video game, Bagan would have been an unstoppable alien threat that required the likes of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan to take down. When this proved fruitless, Super Godzilla would have emerged to fight the beast. This pitch, too, was rejected, as TriStar's American Godzilla movie saw another delay in production, giving Toho enough time to release an additional movie after 1994.

Come 1995, the name of Bagan once again resurfaced. With TriStar's GODZILLA (1998) looming on the horizon, Toho decided it was now time to properly wrap up the Heisei VS series and started work on the final Godzilla film of the '90s. Whispers of a movie production titled Godzilla vs. Bagan began to circulate, one of several ideas floating around to act as Godzilla's theatrical send-off into temporary retirement. However, Bagan's big screen appearance was not in the cards. An entirely new monster named Barubaroi was instead created, a shapeshifting monstrosity with ties to the original 1954 film. Over time, the concept of Barubaroi would evolve into Destoroyah, with the last Godzilla film of the Heisei era becoming Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995).

Despite Godzilla going on hiatus, Tomoyuki Tanaka continued to act as one of Bagan’s biggest advocates, as he still greatly favored the monster since its conception in the late '70s. Plans were made to include the demon beast in Yamato Takeru II, which would have featured Bagan teaming up with a revived Orochi to fight Yamato Takeru. However, as the first movie ended up performing poorly in theaters, the second film was canned. During this time, Mothra was seeing a fairly successful revival in her own trilogy of films, and the idea for Bagan to be included in the series was considered by Koichi Kawakita. But once again, luck was not on Bagan’s side, as the final Mothra movie premiered in 1998 featuring King Ghidorah as the primary antagonist.

Bagan gave his last hurrah before the turn of the millennium when he was officially featured alongside Dogolas in the CD-Rom game Godzilla Movie Studio Tour, which was released in Japan in 1996 and in the US in 1998. The disc featured a variety highly detailed, full-color and poseable character renders centered on a sculpt by Minoru Yoshida, and also included a printable sumo wrestling tabletop game that used the models for both Godzilla and Bagan as combatants. Some marketing touted Bagan and Dogolas as "new" monsters to incentivize interest in the game. Following the Japanese release of this game, Bagan's greatest supporter and original creator, Tomoyuki Tanaka, would pass away in 1997, and subsequent pitches for the monster would cease altogether.

Despite promising beginnings in 1980 and a somewhat constant push throughout the Heisei era, Bagan would enter a sleep that would last almost three decades. The dormant Demon Beast would then be revived in 2022 in the most unexpected way: co-starring alongside Mothra and Battra in a special "Mothra vs. Bagan"-themed episode of the live action puppet Japanese web series, Godziban, released on DVD and Blu-ray. Eventually, the special would find its way into Japanese theaters, having limited screenings from late 2022 into early 2023, thus marking Bagan's "debut" on the silver screen.


  • The "Bagan (2nd Version) Model" in the gallery was created by digital artist dopepope using Yasushi Nirasawa's concept art as a basis and commissioned for use on Toho Kingdom by staff. More images of this model can be viewed on dopepope's ArtStation and deviantArt pages.
  • The pictures seen above of Bagan (2nd Generation) were taken from the Godzilla Movie Studio Tour CD-Rom. Interestingly, while a majority of pictures in the program are saved as gif-like images with less than 128 colors, the monsters displayed in the Publicity Dep. have both 128-color images and fully-detailed non-gif renders saved in the files, the latter of which can be seen above.
  • In the Mothra vs. Bagan draft, one of the characters introduces Bagan by referring to the monster by its name in Kanji: 「馬銜」.
  • The finalized 2nd Version design intended to appear in Mothra vs. Bagan is credited to Yasushi Nirasawa. This detail and the various turnarounds in the gallery can be found in the 2002 Toho-published Japanese DVD release of Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).

    However, the "canonical" design was featured as the final boss in the 1993 Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) video game Super Godzilla, and was created by Minoru Yoshida. The Toho monster designer was given the idea to turn Bagan into a Chinese-like dragon after studying the contents of the Mothra vs. Bagan movie manuscript, with a variation of this design being prominently featured in storyboard artwork.
  • The three-formed 1st Version was largely illustrated by Shinji Nishikawa. Both Minoru Yoshida and Shinji Nishikawa created many illustrations for the 2nd and 1st Versions of Bagan respectively. A number of Nishikawa's Bagan designs can be viewed in his book, Shinji Nishikawa: Drawing Book of Godzilla (ISBN: 480030959X), while a majority of 2nd Version designs and other information can be found in the 2012 book Heisei Godzilla Perfection (ISBN: 4048861190).
  • The video game version of Bagan and Yoshida's black-and-red 2nd Version design are regarded as being one in the same by Toho, which is why the latter always appears in Super Godzilla-related material, despite the former having concept art created for it. The Super Famicom Super Godzilla Official Guide Book (ASIN: B00MISKFJ8) even notes Bagan having three claws, despite his in-game sprite having four, and utilizes a recolored version of Yoshida's artwork as a basis for the illustration. The video game design and black-and-red concept are also nearly identical in terms of abilities to Yoshida's unused white-and-green 2nd Version design, whose anatomy art can be seen in the gallery above.
  • In his book Shinji Nishikawa: Drawing Book of Godzilla (ISBN: 480030959X), Nishikawa mentions that of the three 1st Version forms, only the Spirit God Beast's design was specifically mentioned in an early draft of the plot, it having "a figure like an elephant."
  • In an article from Heisei Godzilla Perfection (ISBN: 4048861190), Bagan is stated as being one of Tomoyuki Tanaka's favorite monsters, ever since he incorporated it into his "Resurrection of Godzilla" draft from 1980. Tanaka was also the biggest influence for trying to push Bagan into various projects during the Heisei era, all the way up to his passing in 1997. The beast is referred to as Tanaka's monster "demon child" (鬼っ子 - Onikko).
  • A number of familiar Japanese designers have had a hand in the molding of Bagan's appearance over the years, including: Shinji Nishikawa; Yasushi Nirasawa; Hiroto Aragaki; Takashi Sonoyama; and Minoru Yoshida.
  • Kilazee Concept ArtOne of Bagan's concept designs was later reworked into the monster Kilazee (Japanese: シラリー) from the 1990's tokusatsu TV series Ultraman: Towards the Future (also known as Ultraman Great), while Bagan himself was used as a base for the Ultraman monster Reborn Birugamera (再生ビルガメラー - Saisei Birugamera), who was featured in the 1992 Japanese-only PC game Ultra Special Tactics Squad Go! (ウルトラ作戦 科特隊出動せよ! - Urutora Sakusen-ka Toku-tai Shutsudo Seyo!) with designer credits given to Shinji Nishikawa and Yoshihide Inada. The mention of Reborn Birugamera (pictured right, bottom image) can be found in an interview with Shinji Nishikawa conducted by Toho Kingdom in 2018, while that of Kilazee can be found in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" (ISBN: 1550223488). Special thanks goes to James McCleary of Delta Plasma for providing the scan of Kilazee's colored concept artwork (pictured right, top image).

    Reborn Birugamera Concept ArtOn the other hand, one monster commonly misconstrued to be Bagan is the Terrifying Space Beast, Reizaus. Featured in episode 2 of Toho's tokusatsu TV show Super Star Fleet Sazer-X, a clip from Reizaus's premiere episode was edited with black bars and no sound effects, then uploaded online with music from Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), in an effort to pass itself off as lost footage from the aforementioned movie. While later revealed to be a hoax, ironically, the similarities between Bagan and Reizaus may not be entirely coincidental: a paragraph in Heisei Godzilla Perfection (ISBN: 4048861190) mentions how a large number of designs featured in Super Star Fleet Sazer-X were directly inspired by kaiju from Toho's own library, and two of the monster designers attached to the show - Shinji Nishikawa and Minoru Yoshida - have had a hand in creating numerous concepts for Bagan in the past. While potentially inspired (both appearance- and power-wise) by the official design by Yoshida, Reizaus's specific inspirations remain unconfirmed.
  • The mention for the 1995 lost project Godzilla vs. Bagan can be found in an interview conducted with director Takao Okawara by David Milner in December 1995.
  • The video game monsters Balkzardan and Jyarumu from the 1998 video game Godzilla: Trading Battle bare striking similarities with Bagan's various unmade and canonical incarnations. Specifically, Balkzardan is equipped with powerful electrical abilities and its design is highly reminiscent to some Bagan concepts, while Jyarumu carries arm-mounted wings and a prominent face-horn, as well as being an extremely violent monster that was awakened from a tomb of ice due to global warming.

    Likewise, early concept artwork by Minoru Yoshida for the Rebirth of Mothra (1996) antagonist Desghidorah have the monster sporting three familiar horns on its face, and having it colored after Bagan's red-and-black 2nd Version design. Desghidorah was also said to have done battle with a clan of Mothra before being sealed away, details strikingly similar to what occurred to Bagan in the Mothra vs. Bagan storyboards.
  • For some of its later unused movie designs, Bagan's tail was intended to be incredibly long so to take advantage of its whip-like properties. This is best depicted with the design featured in the storyboard artwork for Mothra vs. Bagan.
  • Some of the 2nd Version designs created by Shinji Nishikawa have Bagan appearing like a giant armored beetle. This was done so to make Bagan more of a contrast Mothra, being a large insect herself.

    On the other hand, a handful of his standalone 1st Version sketches are much more radical than the rest. During the very early stages of Mothra vs. Bagan, as Bagan itself had yet to be described in the plot, Nishikawa drew a wide variety of designs ahead of time before the three-formed shapeshifting direction was decided. Nishikawa's comments regarding these two versions can be found in his books, Shinji Nishikawa: Drawing Book of Godzilla (ISBN: 480030959X) and Shinji Nishikawa Design Works (ISBN: 4768311504).
  • The mention of 1991's Godzilla vs. Bagan can be found in an interview with director and writer Kazuki Omori conducted by Brett Homenick in July 2006.
  • The 1994 send-off "Godzilla vs. Bagan" pitch can be found in issue #12 (Nov./Dec. 1994) of the quarterly fanzine G-FAN, in a "G-MAIL" column with J.D. Lees.
  • "Bagan" is also the name of an ancient city located in Myanmar, a region in Southeast Asia bordering China. The name in Chinese (霸岗) means "ruler" or "supremacy".
  • According to Godzilla: Monster Apocalypse (ISBN: 4041061814) author Renji Oki, he originally intended for the demon beast to appear in his first anime Godzilla tie-in novel. However, Oki thought it would have been impossible as he was unsure of Bagan's copyright status, so he opted to include another unspecified monster. His brief comment can be found in an interview published in Tokusatsu Hiho Vol. 8 (ISBN: 480031545X).
  • In an interview with Shinji Nishikawa conducted by Toho Kingdom in 2018, the head of the dinosaur Styracosaurus was used as a motif for Bagan (2nd Version) designs per Koichi Kawakita's request.
  • Its trademark icon can be found on the box of the US release of Godzilla Movie Studio Tour.
  • Images of its original Godzilla Movie Studio Tour sculpt can be found in the special features of the 2022 Blu-ray release of Godziban. The "stationery model" (ひな形の模型 - Hina Katachi no Mokei) is referred to as "Phantom Monster Bagan" (幻の怪獣バガン - Maboroshi no Kaiju Bagan).
  • In 2000, the fan film Godzila vs. Bagan: War of the Supermonsters by Omar Sayyah was screened at G-FEST 2000, which featured a battle centered around the Heisei Godzilla and Bagan using miniatures and suits. This footage was later repurposed alongside other short films by Sayyah and released as the 2022 movie, Dragon Lizard Lord Super Monsters. Naturally, all references to the Toho movies were axed, and any associated monsters were given brand new identities, with Bagan being referred to as "Zearon Nidhogg" (or "Lord Niddhogg"). Promotional material featuring Zearon Nidhogg also has the monster sporting an updated stylized design, though the suit in the movie remains unchanged from the original footage.
  • Former Toho assistant special effects director Yosuke Nakano (hereafter, Yo★Nakano) shared some of his personal experiences surrounding both his time at Toho and with the monster Bagan, though he points out the following information is within the scope of what he has been told by others and what he has heard for himself: After joining Toho, Yo★Nakano entered an apprenticeship under Koichi Kawakita, and they shared an almost familial bond as mentor and student. Unfortunately, Tomoyuki Tanaka was suffering from illness in his aging years and was largely wheelchair-bound, so Yo★Nakano was not able to interact with him directly. Despite this, Tanaka's vision for Godzilla and the direction of the series always remained clear, and Tanaka would actively attend planning meetings when he was able. (Kawakita was said to always speak nervously in front of Tanaka "like a newcomer" as the latter was so respected and exuded a powerful but wonderful presence.)
    It seemed that both Kawakita and Tanaka had strong confidence in this up-and-coming monster, Bagan, with Tanaka having a particularly deep attachment to the monster. However, following the release of Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Yo★Nakano rarely heard the topic of "Bagan" being brought up, as the two men were more focused on introducing newer concepts to audiences. As a result, Yo★Nakano did not have an opportunity to write proposals featuring the monster. Bagan was still considered too new a concept to be "rebooted" during the production of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), and staff opted to try coming up with other fresh monster ideas before returning to Bagan.
    Several years later, Tanaka passed away. Though Bagan was a consideration for several movies in the late '90s, Yo★Nakano believes that Kawakita felt that making a film with Bagan but without the involvement of Tanaka would come across as disrespectful: "[This is] in line with the idea of ​​deciding one's actions by the spirit of gratitude and respect for the great ancestors, which the Japanese consider to be a virtue."
    Special thanks goes to Yo★Nakano for sharing his experiences with Toho Kingdom staff.