Varan (バラン,   Baran?) is a tri-phibian kaiju created by Toho that first appeared in the 1958 Toho film, Varan.


Varan's name likely comes from either the scientific genus name Varanus, commonly known as the monitor lizard, or the extinct synapsid family name Varanopidae. The villagers that worship Varan refer to him as "Baradagi-Sanjin" or just "Baradagi." In the American version of Varan's debut film, he is only called "O-baki." Varan is often given the title "giant flying squirrel monster" in various publications due to the gliding membranes underneath his arms, despite not actually being a flying squirrel.



Varan has membranes between his legs, which he uses for gliding, like a flying squirrel. Varan also has a row of spikes on his back.


Varan's roar became very popular and it was reused for Gorosaurus, Megalon and the Showa Baragon. They then were recycled for the Ultraman show as well. The roars are basically roars that belonged to Godzilla from 1954. Varan's roars were also used for the MagiDragon in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.


Varan is an ancient reptilian creature known as a Varanopode, which lived from the Triassic through Cretaceous Periods. Varan escaped extinction and lived for millions of years at the bottom of a lake in the Japanese countryside. Villagers living near the lake saw Varan as a god, giving him the title of "Baradagi-Sanjin."

In Destroy All Monsters, Varan is considerably smaller than he was in his debut film, and is explained to actually be a juvenile in official books.



Varan in Varan

After a pair of rare Siberian butterflies were found in Japan, two scientists were sent to investigate the area where they were found, near a secluded mountain village. The scientists were killed by an unknown force, and another team was sent to investigate. There, they encountered the local villagers, who worshiped a mountain god called "Baradagi." The team went out to find a boy who was lost in the forest, but the villagers warned that they would anger Baradagi. One of the scientists persuaded the villagers to go out to find the boy, but Varan, the "Baradagi" the villagers worshiped, emerged from the nearby lake and attacked them. Varan killed the village priest and destroyed the village before returning to the lake he had come from. The J.S.D.F. arrived and surrounded the lake, and opened fire on Varan after luring him out with chemicals. The attack had no effect, and Varan chased two people into a cave. The J.S.D.F. fired flares to distract Varan, prompting him to climb to the top of a cliff. Varan opened large membranes under his arms and dove off the cliff, gliding across the sky and towards the ocean. The J.S.D.F. deployed countless destroyers and bombers to try and stop Varan before he could reach the Japanese mainland, but their attacks did little to slow the beast's advance. Eventually, Varan surfaced from Tokyo Bay and attacked Haneda Airport. The J.S.D.F. attacked Varan with all of their available artillery and jets, but still were unable to harm him. When Varan destroyed a truck containing experimental explosives, it triggered an explosion that seemed to visibly harm him. The J.S.D.F. quickly tied two of these explosives to flares and then dropped them from helicopters, knowing Varan would eat the flares. After Varan swallowed the flares, the first bomb exploded inside Varan, causing him to become weak. Varan limped back into the ocean and disappeared beneath the waves before the second bomb exploded, producing a small mushroom cloud over the water. The J.S.D.F then finally declared the creature dead.

Destroy All Monsters

Varan in Destroy All Monsters

In 1999, Varan was living among Earth's other monsters on the human-monitored Monsterland. When the Kilaaks took control of the island and its inhabitants, Varan disappeared as the alien invaders' global assault was initiated. After the Kilaaks' control was broken, Varan spectated alongside Baragon and Manda during the Earth monsters' fight against King Ghidorah at Mount Fuji. Once King Ghidorah and the Kilaaks were defeated, Varan and all the others monsters returned to Monsterland in peace.

Within the context of the film itself Varan is only seen gliding through the air prior to the fight against King Ghidorah, and in the last scene as a static model rather than as a suit.


Glide speed

His one special ability is gliding at around the speed of Mach 1.5, like Rodan. In his debut film, he jumped off a cliff and glided to Japan. In Destroy All Monsters, he glides into view for the final battle, and later on Monsterland. Varan did not fight King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters.


His skin is covered with huge blisters or lumps. In amphibians, such blisters contain poison glands. In reptiles, lumps like these are usually osteoderms, which are armor plates. In the Marc Cerasini novel Godzilla 2000, Varan's lumps filled with helium and made him rise so he could glide. Osteoderm-like armor might make the most sense, since Varan was almost invulnerable to human weapons, and had to internally eat bombs before they affected him.

Physical abilities

Varan has never actually been seen in combat against any other monsters, and when not gliding normally travels at a plodding, slow gate. He used his tail to level buildings in his original film, which may indicate how he'd fight in combat. He also has spines which might possibly be of use against other giant monsters. Godzilla: Unleashed depicts Varan using acrobatics to fight, as well as his spines.

Sonic beam

Varan does not have any beam weapons in any of his film appearances, in common with many of the older kaiju. However, in the video game Godzilla: Unleashed, Varan has the ability to emit a red sonic beam from his mouth, as well as what appears to be a ball of energy, both of which are said to be able to disrupt an opponent's sense of balance.

Video games

Varan was considered for Godzilla: Save the Earth, but was scrapped at some point. Varan appeared in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, but otherwise has not appeared in any games. He also appeared in Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender.

Varan made an appearance in the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender. He is given the ability to fire a sonic beam and a concentrated sonic energy ball. He has a gliding ability that works much like Rodan's flying, he can be unlocked by destroying the three purple objects on the Vortaak mothership while playing as an Alien. Varan himself appeared purple in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters.

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters

Appearing on the second world, Varan will assault Godzilla or Mothra with a variety of melee attacks, the most devastating attack of which is his punch, a move that has excellent range and does noticeable damage. Varan can also attack with his claws in rapid succession, which can score several hits against Godzilla or Mothra if in range. Varan may also attack his foes with a kick, or attempt to head butt them while advancing forward. Varan also has the ability to jump high into the air to avoid attacks. Despite a healthy amount of moves, Varan shouldn't cause much trouble for Godzilla or Mothra because of his lack of a projectile and his habit of reeling back in pain after sustaining heavy damage; furthermore, unlike other bosses, Varan will not trap the player in the corner but will stay just in arms reach if Godzilla or Mothra is backed into the corner.

Godzilla: Unleashed

Varan is an Earth Defender with special affinity for forested and hilly areas. Although not capable of true flight, Varan's extraordinary leaping capabilities and gliding capacity mean that he rarely, if ever, touches the ground for more than an instant.

Although he naturally lives in solitude, Varan has developed very finely-honed sonic projection capabilities which can be used to communicate over vast distances. These same pinpoint sonic waves can be used in battle to disrupt an opponent's sense of balance.

Varan is quite possibly the most mysterious of Earth's native monsters—first-hand sightings of him by humans remain relatively rare.

— Varan Godzilla: Unleashed bio

Godzilla (2014 video game)

A relic of the dinosaur Varanus pater that lived in the Mesozoic Era. It is equipped with thin flying membranes between its arms and hind legs, which it can expand into wings to fly at Mach speeds. It is a formidable opponent against fighter planes that has a habit of swallowing things that glow. In its second appearance, in the film "Destroy All Monsters" (1968), it preyed on living creatures in Yamanaka, Iwate Prefecture, and was feared as the "Baradagi Mountain God" believed to be protected in Monsterland. It entered the battle with other earth monsters against King Ghidorah.

The full-body costume for the original Varan in "Varan the Unbelievable" (1958) could not be used due to deterioration from aging, necessitating the creation of a second version of Varan in "Destroy All Monsters" (1968)—a 90 centimeter flying puppet that appeared in the epilogue and a few other scenes.

— Varan Kaiju Guide bio


Godzilla: Rulers of Earth

Varan in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth

Varan first appears in issue #5 of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, appearing from China and traveling to a bunker where he fights Rodan and Gaira before vanishing into the ocean. He was also seen in a flash back when King Caesar and Megalon fought, appearing in the ocean with Ebirah to attack the escaping islanders. He was also seen on the mural in the Infant Island cave, where he was one of the Water monsters. It is unknown where Varan went after the battle with Gaira, as he was never present on the Monster Islands, but a Trilopod later appeared to fight Godzilla that had Varan's traits. Varan was being held in the Trilopod hive, but was freed by King Caesar along with the other kaiju. Varan then took part in the final battle against the Trilopods, helping Zilla kill the Titanosaurus Trilopod, and the massive Magita. After the threat was vanquished, Varan and the other monsters followed Godzilla out to sea.

Godzilla in Hell

A demonic version of Varan emerged from the Eternal Ocean as Godzilla arrived there after falling from the ice following his fight with the demon Anguirus. The demon Varan and Godzilla immediately fought each other, but Godzilla dispensed of the demon with his atomic breath.

In other languages

  • Russian: Варан


  • Varan is a "tri-phibian" creature in that he can swim, walk on land, and soar through the air.[1]
  • Varan was meant to be in The Return of King Ghidorah, a TV version of Varan, and Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, a proposed movie replaced with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. However, in the latter film, King Ghidorah has facial features similar to those of Varan in order to give tribute to the monster.
  • Just as with the Baragon suit, the Varan suit was heavily damaged from water exposure and deterioration, except in the latter's case, the damage was nigh- irreparable due to its dilapidated state. Because of this, he could only appear in Destroy All Monsters for a few seconds as an immobile puppet. Varan's name is briefly mentioned in the U.S. version of the film, at least.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Varan was not thrown in for a few seconds just to say the film had more monsters. He was to have a bigger role, but Toho chose not to repair the suit damage due to timing and budget constraints and so Varan was relegated to being part of the backdrop.

List of appearances


Video games




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Official Godzilla Compendium. Profiles of the Monsters; Page 140.
Film-based kaiju
Godzilla kaiju
King Kong kaiju
Mothra kaiju
Gamera kaiju
Other kaiju
Scrapped kaiju