Bakan バカン

Bakan
Bakan

Conceived By : Tomoyuki Tanaka, Akira Murao & Hideichi Nagahara

Powers / Weapons

Can change between a land-based Monkey God Beast form when touching the ground, an aquatic Water God Beast form when in the sea, and a flying Dragon God Beast form when in the air; fully regenerates when changing forms; able to merge all three forms into a larger Demon Beast form; (Monkey) flame attack from mouth; extraordinary jumper; (Water) liquid ray from mouth; adept swimmer; (Dragon) lightning beam from mouth; flight

Weaknesses

Cannot transform to regenerate when merged into its Demon Beast form; dies when its powers have been completely exhausted

CONSIDERED FOR

Yamatai Kingdom (1978); Resurrection of Godzilla (Tanaka Proposal) (1980); Resurrection of Godzilla (Nagahara Draft) (1984)

Series // Unused Character


Unofficial artwork (artist unknown)

History

The brainchild of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, Bakan was originally invented for Yamatai Kingdom, a project meant to follow in the footsteps of The Three Treasures (1959). A legendary entity found in Chinese myths, Bakan was known for its ability to transform into three different forms: a Monkey God Beast, which excelled at melee combat and could only be used on the ground; a Water God Beast, which was frequently used for water-based combat and could only be used in the sea; and a Dragon God Beast, which flew the skies on giant wings and could only be used in the air.

Though Yamatai Kingdom never came to be, Tanaka instead repurposed Bakan into his 1980 proposal for a "Resurrection of Godzilla" movie. The shapeshifting monstrosity could alter its cells to change its appearance, so long as it made contact with the appropriate elements. It wouldn't be until Hideichi Nagahara's 1983 manuscript for a "Resurrection of Godzilla" that a fourth and final form for Bakan would be created, a Demon Beast that fused the three pre-existing forms into one collective monster. In both movies, Bakan would have had a temporary victory over Godzilla, only to exhaust itself when Godzilla is revitalized by absorbing nearby nuclear energy, and would eventually die at sea.

Unfortunately, despite the very unique aspects of the monster, its ability to change into so many different forms was one of the contributing factors that would have driven production costs too high, which Toho was not comfortable with doing. As a result, Bakan was written out of future drafts that would eventually lead to the creation of The Return of Godzilla (1984).

Despite no longer being on the table yet again, Bakan was still not forgotten. Somewhere down the line, the monster would be renamed "Bagan", and would have been featured in the 1990 movie Mothra vs. Bagan as the titular antagonist against one of Toho's most popular monsters. Bakan's "transforming monster" concept would briefly live on in early stages of the movie, now in the forms of a Spirit God Beast (the Monkey God Beast equivalent), a Dragon God Beast (a mix of Bakan's Dragon God Beast and Water God Beast forms), and a Demon God Beast (a replacement to Bakan's Water God Beast). However, as development continued, Koichi Kawakita would later axe the shapeshifting aspect and instead consolidate the three forms into one monster, one not unlike Bakan's final Demon Beast form. This new breed of Bagan would share the many abilities that had been granted to Bakan's separate forms, while brandishing unique powers of its own - and it would gain the reputation as being Toho's most well-known unmade movie monster.


Images

Trivia
  • No known official concept artwork of Bakan exists. The sketches featured in the article picture were created by an artist in issue #7 of the fanzine Godzilla Resurrection Committee (Japanese: ゴジラ復活委員会), while the models in the gallery are 3D renditions of these sketches created by digital artist Digiwip. The black-and-white illustration featuring the "true" Demon Beast form of Bakan in the gallery was illustrated by Hurricane Ryu, while the colorized interpretation was done by artist hea777.
  • One of the most intriguing aspects regarding Bakan is the spelling of its name. A majority of publicized material have the creature named after its 1990's reinterpretation, Bagan. While Bagan was meant to be a revival of the 1980 concept, Bakan's name was slightly altered in the process, and it seems Toho has since retconned "Bakan" to "Bagan" ever since. Likewise, the Japanese spelling for both names is extremely similar: Bakan being バン, and Bagan being バン.

    While material containing Bakan's original name is scarce, three sources exist that specifically mention it: in issue #7 of the fanzine Godzilla Resurrection Committee (Japanese: ゴジラ復活委員会); in the Summer 1982 "Godzilla Special" No. 4 issue of Quarterly Magazine Cinema Eye (Japanese: 季刊誌「シネマアイ」); and in the 2010 book "Godzilla" Toho Special Effects Unpublished Material Archive: Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and His Era (ISBN: 9784048544658).
  • According to Tomoyuki Tanaka in the No. 4 issue of Quarterly Magazine Cinema Eye, Bakan's three forms would have been three different colors, one for each form. Only the Water God Beast's color is ever explicitly stated in his draft, the form being a "green slimy" sea dragon. Likewise, the size of Bakan's Water God Beast form is the only one indicated, being over 60 meters long.
  • As Bakan has been referred to as Bagan for many years, in order to differentiate it from its 1990's counterpart, fans dubbed the monster "totem Bagan", after the merged final form.
  • Its involvement in the unmade movie Yamatai Kingdom can be found in the pages of the 2005 Winter Special of Great Monster's Club (self-published). According to former Toho producer Fumio Tanaka, it was in Tomoyuki Tanaka's nature to not let an unused project remain on the cutting room floor: "If it is rejected at the time of submission, so long as the timing and conditions are right, even a dead project can return to life."