Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Baron Sting Loves Us All

Baron String (Young Boy, Gorma, and giant form) - Gosei Sentai Dairanger EP 1 "Let's Tenshin!" Japan 2/19/1993

Baron String (紐男爵) is a golden string-themed Gorma Minion and the first of his villainous kind to be seen in the series with his human form looking like a young boy wearing comically thick (and equally questionable by today's sensibilities) glasses.

An ancient Chinese sorcerer recently awakened after six thousand years of sleep, Baron String, went around Tokyo and captured various children with his rather nasty snake-like tentacles, temporarily devouring his prisoners, while also attempting to assassinate Ryo, the soon-to-be red leader of the mystical Dairangers.

Despite his efforts, the newly revealed Dairangers get the upper hand over Baron String, forcing him to regurgitate his hostages, all of whom run to safety as their gold captor then uses an Growth Bomb (a common device of The Gorma Tribe) to grow gigantic. Soon afterwards, Baron String was defeated by the dragon-based robotic warrior RyuseiOh.

If you're all wondering what's up with this article's bizarre title, that's because Baron String has a gimmick where he sings a lullaby, something to the effect that he earnestly loves his soon-to-be-slain victims.

While I'm not aware of any cultural significance behind Baron String's song, it gives him an interesting character quirk similar to ones given to colorful assassins seen in certain anime shows.

Baron String was among a team of returning Gorma Minions in the theatrically released Gosei Sentai Dairanger: The Movie (4/17/1993), resurrected from the dead by a deck of card-themed villain named The Duke of Trump (トランプ公爵)

Baron String was later adapted into the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as Pipebrain, a monster created from The Golden Pipe Trophy thru Lord Zedd's evil magic. Pipebrain's single appearance was in episode 74, "Missing Green" (10/3/1994).


Lastly, here's some concept art and magazine scans I found throughout Twitter: apologizes to those who originally uploaded these for I failed to save the source links.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Raijin God = Mecha-Daimajin?!

Raijin God - Sazer X EP 25 "A Recreated History" Japan 3/25/2006

Super Fleet Sazer-X (2005-2006) was a Toho production aping the Super Sentai and Metal Hero genres, though with a bigger emphasis on giant robot action whenever possible, likely due to Koichi Kawakita as the show's special effects director.

Raijin God (雷神ゴード) was the guardian deity of the descendants of the ancient Lighting Clan and was summoned by Lightning Shogun Thundera, the last living modern member of said clan (the cute alien gal in the tight blue pants), from the bottom of a lake.

The robotic giant was a fierce combatant, holding its own in a four-way battle with three other mecha opponents, until Thundera saw reason and sends God Raijin back into the lake, never to be seen again in the series, unfortunately.

As you can tell by God Raijin's appearance, choice of weaponry (The Divine Sword Godius神剣ゴーディウス ]), and overall iconography (the parting of the waves), he is a direct homage to Daimajin and his 1966 trilogy of fantasy films. If you're a fan of Daimajin, be happy to know God Raijin represents the demonic status of divine retribution quite well as, again, he was a real bruiser in the fight and could have won without a scratch had he not been returned to his aquatic sleep.

The character was played by television suit actor Shinya Iwasaki who mostly does work in the 2000s Ultraman franchise based on what I could find.


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Mad Monster Party Commentary?

Today's date, March 8th, was the original release date for MAD MONSTER PARTY? (1967), an animated horror-comedy from Rankin-Bass productions which also features IT, a giant King Kong-inspired gorilla monster who appears in full in the third act.

Unlike the film's other supernatural weirdos, IT was not deliberately villainous, even showing moments of kindness and mercy, but was a destructive menace who ultimately doomed Dr. Frankenstein's Island and almost every soul living there.

While on the subject of Mad Monster Party?: several years ago, me and my friends Wyn, Brayton, and KaijuNoir did a live-watch and Mystery Science Theater 3000-style commentary track for the film, which can be viewed on the following link:


Monday, August 22, 2022

Voyage to the Bottom of the Promotional Paintings!

Nothing major for today but I wanted to share the promotional artwork (possibly concept art) done for the television version of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-1968), featuring four giant sea monsters that never made it into the series proper.

Like my previous post on Tabby-Imago, I'm using self-created nicknames for the following creatures to simplify the descriptions and because I just want to (if every other Godzilla and Power Ranger fan gets to name the unnamed, why not me?).

The first creature, which I'm nicknaming The Clawed Chimera, appears to be a combination of several sea animals, but the prominent claws give the initial impression that it's a simple giant crab before noticing the rest of the aforementioned bodily features. To my knowledge, there are at least two crustacean-based monsters in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: a giant aquatic spider-like creature in "The Monster's Web" (February 27, 1966), and the titular human-sized antagonist of "The Lobster Man" (January 21, 1968).

Confusingly, the main villain behind "The Deadly Dolls" (October 1, 1967) is mockingly dubbed 'The Hermit Crab' by the show's heroes, even though the being itself is a highly advanced, energy-like machine intelligence from the distant future seeking to possess The Seaview (the show's iconic submarine) for its new physical form.

As for the second monster featured: I've always had a preference for plesiosaur-like kaiju and characters, so you know which one I like between these two otherwise nifty critters. However, the lack of two-out-of-four pictorial fins gives me hesitation about nicknaming him The Abyssal Plesiosaur, with the vague alternative of Abyssal Sea Serpent matching the odd design better.

Beyond that, the art itself is very good, especially the luminous backlighting, but I will admit the serpent's eerily calm face might turn off most monster and horror fans.

My least favorite monster in these paintings, Pink-Tooth the Sea Beast (if you can think of something better, please share), is probably my least favorite of the four, but the mudskipper-like shape and long grasping arm-like front fins positively reminds me of the Ichthyosaurus Mercurius from The Outer Limits episode "Tourist Trap" (December 23, 1963).

Last but not least is The Black Devil Dragon, who is probably the coolest-looking monster of the promotional paintings and the one that I would loved to have seen in a completed episode, possibly as some ancient and terrifying menace that The Seaview accidently awakens from an undersea volcano. Or an aboveground volcano, seeing how that's The Flying Sub firing beams at the opposing giant.

I rediscovered these paintings in my personal archives and combined the small files into slightly larger and more presentable collages above. I tried to re-locate the old Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea site I collected (stole) these from but to no avail. If I rediscover said website or stumble upon the real official names of the featured monsters, I'll gladly update this article in the future.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Tabby-Imago

The Pachimon Kaiju Showcase series returns with a vengeance! And this time, with kitties!

Pachimon is a modern slang term used to describe bootlegged and stolen versions of more famous kaiju, notably in regards to bromide cards and similar prints from the 1970s that reused and repurposed elements of pre-existing kaiju characters to create quote — unquote "NEW" monsters.

While the mainstream movie kaiju are the most recognizable examples (Godzilla, Gamera, Gappa, ect), the pachimon phenomenon is taken from multiple sources including-but-not-limited to: Ultraman and other tokusatsu characters, American movie and television creatures, vintage paleo-based artwork, real-life photography of animals and locations, science fiction illustrations, and lesser known manga and other foreign comic books.

Pachimon has garnered a cult following with modern Japanese otaku, toy collectors, independent filmmakers, and artists, often leading to limited edition and expensive vinyl figures based on these suspiciously familiar faces. FAR LESS so here in America, but obscure kaiju loving weirdos like myself try our best.

In the past, I've shared Pachimon who had an official name (as official as these illegal cons can muster), but there's also a larger number of these characters lacking such titles and it's about time I started highlighting them, starting with this adorable abomination.

Again, the monster lacks an official name (or a previous fan-made one), but I personally like to refer to this one as Tabby-Imago due to it being a young tabby cat spliced with colorful butterfly wings.

Sure, Tabbyra, like the moth monster Mothra, would have been the more obvious fan-moniker to adopt, BUT that would have been the obvious way out and Tabby-Imago has a better ring to it in my opinion.

According to the Japanese web-site Room103 and its Pachimon subsections (the site's very old, so beware its lack of security), today's feature was the first in the Iwata Pro Large Monster Edition, one of the latter-era series published and sold on the cheap (5 yen a piece, apparently).

As for the real-world location shown within the card image, that's the Nishinomaru-enokida gate of Nagoya Castle in Nagoya, Japan. The gate is probably most recognizable to American kaiju fans as one of Larva Battra's targets from Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for the Earth (1992), ripping its roof to shreds in a less-than-convincing composite shot.

I'll have another menace of Nagoya next week.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Barizogon: Hey! That's Not King Caesar!

I was originally going to add today’s entry into my Pachimon Kaiju Showcase series but, considering the long-after-the-fact-parody nature of this article's titular feature, I decided to keep it relatively separated.

Plus, there isn't much to say on the character beyond its origins and obvious appearance.

Amapro is a ridiculously small (seriously, there’s like two or three people running it) independent Japanese toy company that specializes in limited edition vinyl figures based on overlooked and obscure kaiju. In addition to those, Amapro also creates arguably weirder and sillier original characters.

Sitting between these two extremes are figures inspired by the aforementioned Pachimon, taking different elements from more famous movie and television kaiju,  haphazardly birthing supposedly new (rip-off) monsters in turn.

That said, Barizogon is basically King Caesar from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) but with condor-like wings and a third eye in place of Caesar's forehead jewel.

Based on what little I could find online (again, these guys are S-M-A-L-L), Amapro will often repurpose their toy molds to make variations by reincorporating different body parts from different figures like an interchangeable jigsaw. Barizogon seems to be their own King Caesar figure reworked with a pair of wings taken from their numerous other bird-based ones.

There's also the official Sailor Fight channel, based around the robotic heroine from a series of short films that also showcases these same oddball vinyl toys. This channel may-or-may-not have ties to Amapro, seeing how one of its two public faces hosts the aforementioned content.