Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hopelessly Devoted to Zagoran

He comes in many shapes, colours and sizes. He has been cast in vinyl by toy companies such as Target Earth, Marmit and Gargamel. He can be both small and cute or giant and menacing. He is the world's most popular one-eyed Kaiju: Zagoran, what what are his origins? "Zagora" is a kaiju character from a 1967 book written by Toshiya Nakaoka with original artwork by an artist named Kaijita. The book: Shin Sekai No Kaiju (New World Monsters), features Zagora and a cast of other fictional kaiju that were also made into toys, but not used in any tokusatsu programs.
The above manga exert shows the first image of the Zagoran we all know and love today. It is amazing to think that a single drawing could inspire years and years of popular Kaiju figures. When it was first released Zagoran was a Patchi-Kaiju figure, these figures were of a "cheaper" quality and cost much less money to buy. The average price for a Patchi-Kaiju figure would be around 300 yen. These figures were sold during the 70s-80s and were very popular not only because of their price, but because of the unique design of the Zagoran.

Fast-forward to today and you will find Zag all over toy shops in Japan and the U.S. as well as the internet. The figure has increased in quality and has changed a little based on who is casting the figure [Gargamel goes for a newer version of the Patchi-Kaiju version while Marmit's design is more true to the drawing] but the monster is still the same. I am the owner of 2 different varieties of the Zagoran figure [a few colours of each]. The first version is the Marmit Zagoran:

As was stated before, the Marmit Zagoran is pretty true to the original drawing showing the Kaiju in a realistic and menacing 12 inch vinyl figure. I have one of these in green [pictured] and another in orange. Both were pretty difficult to obtain, but were well worth the time invested in finding them. The other type I own is the "modern but classic" Zag made by Gargamel. This is by far the most popular Zag among collectors and to this day there have been well over 100+ different variations from 9 inch Zags, 4 inch Mini Zags, Zags in planes and Zags in tanks. This is easily my favourite Zagoran:

The one pictured is the Gargamel Paper-Craft insides Mini Zagoran. I also own the Blue Black and Gold Mini Zagoran as well as the Yellow GID 9 inch Zagoran. All were pretty easy to obtain, actually the Paper-Craft Zag was sent to me by mistake.

I look forward to what other varieties of Zagorans will come out in the future. I can only hope that he stays as popular as he has always been.

~C.M. Privitera