Name
 Baragon
Version Source
 Frankenstein vs. Baragon
Company: Bandai
Extras: Attached tag
   
Classification: Figure Reissue: No
Release: 1992 Height: 16 centimeters
Comments
Steve Johnson

I'm going to do something I've been doing more and more frequently these days and date myself as I begin this review. When I first began seriously collecting the Japanese Bandai Godzilla toys around 1996, the scene was very different than it was now. eBay was new and exciting technology, and the main place to get these figures were from Godzilla dealers who mainly thrived through mail-order business. Most, if not all, of those dealers have closed up shop, and while a dedicated few have remained to take their places, eBay seems to be the primary place to find new Godzilla items for your collections these days. But before you could log on and see if anyone anywhere in the world was selling the item you had, you had to get lucky and catch your dealer of choice when they just happened to have it in stock, and back then, with certain figures, this could be a once in a lifetime chance.

Each collector has his or her own "Holy Grail", if you will, but in the late 90's the rarest, most in demand figures in the modern Bandai Godzilla line went a little something like this, in no particular order. (And note that when I say the "modern Bandai Godzilla" line, I am speaking of the figures released in 1989 and after, when Bandai released multiple kaiju each year along with the new Godzilla films produced yearly from 1989-1995.)

1. Baragon
2. The "Closed Mouth" Godzilla, the standard sized release of Godzilla in 1991
3. Biollante
4. Mechani-Kong
5. Little Godzilla

It was very rare to catch any of these in any dealer's inventory, and one could expect to pay upwards of $200 apiece for any of them. Now, at least one of those five can usually be found on eBay at any given moment for a fraction of that price. Today we are going to take a look at what was at one time the most sought after kaiju in the entire line, the Showa Baragon released in 1992.

 
Source Comparison

Baragon stands in at approximately six and a half inches tall, and is roughly ten and a half inches long, from the tip of his tail to the point of his nasal horn, making him one of the smaller figures in the standard line. Appropriate, seeing as how the "real" Baragon was reported as being between 20 and 25 meters in height, half the size of Godzilla.

The sculpt of the toy is fairly unique for Bandai, as Baragon is presented standing on his hind legs and slightly hunched over, looking downward, as if preparing to pounce on a foe. Interestingly enough, it's not nessecarily a unique sculpt for Baragon himself, as despite being a primarily four-footed kaiju in Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), most Baragon toys I've seen depict him in a similar posture. Sadly, he cannot be placed in a convincing four-legged pose.

Baragon can be articulated at the neck, arms, legs, and tail....though as usual I fail to see the point of tail rotation, all it does is mess up the alignment of his dorsal ridges...but anyway, I'm picky. As for the actual design, I must admit that Baragon has one of my favorite facial sculpts of any Bandai toy. When comparing him to the actual suit from Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), it is spot on perfect except that the horn is down a little lower on the figure than it should be. This is hardly a huge complaint, however. Bandai even perfectly painted the eyes, with the iris and pupil mirroring the suit's quite nicely, as well as the often overlooked row of tiny spikes running between Baragon's ears. Speaking of the ears, sadly they cannot be posed like the 2001 Baragon's can, but they are nicely sculpted just the same.

   
Close Up

Baragon is a muddy brown color, fitting for the subterrainian kaiju, and is detailed with bumps along his arms and legs, a scaled underbelly highlighted in a silverish green, with golden highlights along his ridged back. While I cannot say if those colors are perfectly accurate, as the Baragon seen on film was often coated in dirt, they work well, so no complaints.

In fact, if I had to pick a complaint, it'd be that it is just about impossible to find a Baragon without a bit of paint wear on the tip of his horn, but this can be remedied by a collector with a steady hand and an eye for color with two strokes of a paintbrush. I'm yet to become that brave.

As you may've guessed, I love this figure. In the 1990's he was incredibly rare in America, likely because Baragon has always enjoyed FAR more popularity in Japan than here in the States, and I've heard from dealers and other collectors that he just wasn't a priority to import during his original release, as he was released alongside the huge (and pricey) boxed Biollante figure, as well as adult and larval versions of that year's new movie kaiju, Mothra and Battra, Guiron from the Gamera franchise, Minilla, and the Heisei Godzilla that would go on to be reissued twice more in the following years.

 
Head Shot

However, once anything becomes "rare", demand soon follows, and Baragon is now a favorite among many fans outside of Japan, and his appearence in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) probably didn't hurt matters. Baragon is much more attainable now than he was 10 years ago, and I encourage any fans to seek him out. You won't regret it. Baragon earns the incredibly rare rank of five stars from me. My only other passing complaint is one you can't hold against Bandai, but, that Baragon cannot really be posed to recreate any famous battles with his fellow kaiju...seeing as how this version only actively participated in one fight, with "Frankenstein". Bandai has never produced a standard figure of the "giant boy" who battled Baragon, and....well, let's say its a pretty safe bet they never will.

So, I guess your only option would be to pose him alongside Godzilla, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus, Mothra, Minilla, Gorosaurus, and anyone else I may've forgotten from Destroy All Monsters (excluding Manda, Kumonga, and Varan since we've yet to get them from Bandai as well.) But, you'd have to be some kind of....Godzilla collecting force of nature to have all those, wouldn't you?

Keep watching in 2009, fellow G-fans.

Rating: Star Rating