"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Friday, August 1, 2008

Monster of the Month
Doruge Demon: OKOZERUGE

深海魔人オコゼルゲ 「超人バロム・1」より

©Saito Productions/Toei

Height: 2.2 meters • Weight: 100 kilos • Origin: Japanese Coast • Original Appearance: SUPERHUMAN BAROM-1 (1972) Episode 1 “The Devil’s Envoy: Deepsea Amphibian Okozeruge" • Design: Norio Maezawa • Fabricator: Keizo Murase • Voice Actor: Eiji Maruyama

The first of Doruge’s “Agents of Evil,” created to corrupt and enslave mankind. When infected with the “Dorgue Bacillus,” crossed with the cells of a poisonous Okoze (or Scorpionfish), the hapless Takaichiro Suzaki is transformed into Okozeruge. The monstrous mutant is able to spit a highly toxic liquid from its mouth which kills on contact, as well as infrared eyes allowing it night vision up to 1 km. Physically stronger than any mortal, this Dorugeman's only weakness is — besides Barom-1 — natural sunlight.

SUPERHUMAN BAROM-1 featured some of the most off-the-wall mutant creatures ever, who have recently created waves among Japanese toy collectors around the world, through a line of retro-styled vinyl figures from Rainbow Zoukei Kikaku. While Okozeruge is one of the more bizarre concepts for — ostensibly — a children’s television series, it is typical of the creative latitude prevalent in Japanese productions at the time (although complaints were lodged by the Japan PTA). Outwardly garish, Okozeruge is also suitably nightmarish.

I wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley. Would you?

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