Frankenstein (フランケンシュタイン?) is a Furankenshutainkaiju created by Toho in the 1965 Toho film, Frankenstein vs. Baragon, based on Frankenstein's monster from Mary Shelley's classic horror novel, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein's Japanese name is a rōmaji of his name in English, which was the surname of the monster's creator, Doctor Victor Frankenstein, in Mary Shelley's original novel. Frankenstein's name follows a trope that has existed since versions of the character debuted in film.
Frankenstein's appearance is primarily derived from actor Boris Karloff's iconic portrayal of the creature in the 1931 film adaptation of the novel. Toho's Frankenstein features the tall lanky physique of Karloff's version, along with the trademark tall forehead and flat-topped angular head. Unlike most other interpretations, Toho's Frankenstein seems to have normal human-looking skin with no signs of physical decay on his body and some body hair. Due to his size, Toho's Frankenstein also wears a large makeshift cloak presumably made of fur rather than normal clothing.
Frankenstein is portrayed as an innocent, childlike but still relatively intelligent creature, similar to the version of the monster that appeared in Universal Pictures' films featuring the character. Toho's Frankenstein is mute and unable to speak but does appear able to understand human speech. He is also somewhat feral but isn't hostile or dangerous towards humans as long as they don't try to harm him. Frankenstein shows compassion and loyalty towards Dr. Sueko Togami, the scientist that raised him. Even after escaping from the laboratory, Frankenstein visits Sueko's apartment. Frankenstein also takes it upon himself to fight Baragon when the creature threatens Sueko.
Many years ago, a German scientist named Victor Frankenstein created an artificial human from the pieces of several corpses and reanimated it using electricity. Though the creature appeared to die at several points over the next several decades, it always managed to return due to its immortal heart. By 1945, a scientist in Frankfurt Germany, Dr. Liesendorf, was experimenting on the heart of Frankenstein's monster, only for Hitler's Nazis to seize it. The Nazis, hoping to use the heart's secrets to create immortal soldiers, shipped the heart to Japan to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Allied forces. The heart was taken to a Hiroshima laboratory for study but was lost and seemingly destroyed when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on the city. Ten years later, a wild boy was discovered wandering the streets of the city. Scientists eventually captured and studied him, discovering that he was regenerated from the lost heart of Frankenstein.
Ten years after the bombing on Hiroshima, a wild boy was discovered wandering around the city of Hiroshima. Scientists captured and studied him, discovering that he was regenerated from the heart of Frankenstein. Frankenstein was well fed by the scientists, and in response to the protein-rich food, began to grow incredibly fast, reaching a height of 20 meters with extraordinary speed, forcing the scientists to incarcerate him in a cell. However, Frankenstein managed to escape his prison, his hand snapping off when his chains became too tight. Frankenstein returns to Sueko's apartment to see the doctor one last time before fleeing the city.
Frankenstein then fled to the Japanese countryside, sending all of Japan into a panic and being blamed for the disappearance of both livestock and people. It was later discovered that the people have been eaten not by Frankenstein, but by a new, burrowing kaiju named Baragon, who has eluded detection for quite some time. However, when Baragon threatened Frankenstein's former caretaker, Sueko Togami, the human-like monster attacked him to save her. A vicious battle ensued, ending with Frankenstein killing Baragon by breaking his neck. Frankenstein, however, did not have long to savor the victory, for the ground underneath him, which had already been weakened by Baragon's burrowing, gave way and sent Frankenstein into the bowels of the Earth. Sueko asked if Frankenstein was killed, but one of her colleagues stated that Frankenstein could never die and would return. Dr. Bowen, their other colleague, suggested that maybe it was best if Frankenstein did die, as a monster like him could never exist peacefully in this world.
It was later discovered that some of the immortal cells left behind in Japan by Frankenstein regenerated and took on lives of their own. One of these Frankenstein spawns, Sanda, was raised from childhood by a team of kind scientists before he escaped to the mountains and grew into a benevolent giant like his predecessor. The other, Gaira, grew up underwater surrounded by dangerous creatures and became a violent and hateful man-eating beast.
Due to his immortal heart, Frankenstein can never truly die. It's implied in the film that Frankenstein's heart not only survived being at ground zero when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but gradually regenerated into a human being over the next two decades. While still young, Frankenstein survived being hit by a car head-on without suffering any visible harm. Frankenstein is shown to be impervious to bullets as well. Frankenstein was able to withstand repeated strikes from Baragon's heat beam and eventually triumphed over his larger and more dangerous adversary.
Frankenstein's enhanced regeneration allows for virtually limitless healing that makes him essentially immortal. Not only did his heart regenerate an entire body, but he was later shown to instantaneously grow back his hand after it was severed during his escape. Dr. Liesendorf stated that Frankenstein's severed tissue is capable of taking on a life of its own, demonstrated when the severed hand began to move and search for food on its own, and later when the monsters Sanda and Gaira regenerated from samples of Frankenstein's flesh that were left behind.
Frankenstein is also highly intelligent. Despite not understanding human speech patterns when he was first captured, Frankenstein gradually became able to understand when his caretaker, Sueko Togami, spoke to him. In spite of his size, Frankenstein can stealthily feed on livestock during the night without arousing human suspicion. Frankenstein is also shown creating traps while hunting, utilizing his size to dig large holes and covering them with branches to trap prey. One of these traps was capable of stopping a tank. Frankenstein was able to create makeshift clothes presumably from animal fur and also build a large bonfire in a cave. Frankenstein later used this fire to light torches and utilize them in his battle with Baragon.
- In the alternate ending for Frankenstein vs. Baragon, after Frankenstein defeats Baragon, the Giant Octopus comes from the sea and fights Frankenstein. Frankenstein battles fiercely, but can't compete with the Giant Octopus's numerous and powerful tentacles. The Giant Octopus drags Frankenstein into the water, seemingly to his death.
- In Frankenstein vs. Baragon, Dr. Victor Frankenstein is referred to as "a German scientist." According to Mary Shelley's original novel, Victor Frankenstein was born in Naples, Italy, and was raised in Geneva.
- Many Toho films released after 1965 were released in Germany as Frankenstein films, many sporting the name in their titles.
- In the German release of many Godzilla films, it is explained that most of the monsters that Godzilla fights are created by Doctor Victor Frankenstein.
- Willis O'Brien originally conceived the idea for a film pitting King Kong against a giant version of Frankenstein's monster. When John Beck took this idea and sold it to Toho, they produced what ultimately became King Kong vs. Godzilla. Toho considered producing a sequel to the film featuring Godzilla doing battle with a giant Frankenstein, but scrapped the idea in favor of Mothra vs. Godzilla. Toho had also planned to produce a film where Frankenstein's monster would fight Toho's kaijin the Human Vapor as a sequel to their film The Human Vapor. Ultimately, Toho combined elements of these various unmade films to create Frankenstein vs. Baragon.
- In the original novel as well as the first films by Edison Studios and Universal, the monster was referred to as "Frankenstein's monster," "the Frankenstein monster," or just "the monster", but never "Frankenstein." The monster's name being "Frankenstein" has been a popular misconception that's been around for more than a century. Toho's version of the monster is explicitly called "Frankenstein," so in the context of Toho's films related to the Frankenstein monster, calling the monster "Frankenstein" is nonetheless correct.