"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, January 2, 2009

Monster of the Month
Giant Fire Monster: ARON

大怪獣アロン 「マグマ大使」より


Height: 50 meters • Weight: 320 metric tonnes • Origin: Planet Pal • Original Appearance: Episode 13-16 of THE SPACE GIANTS (1966-67) • Design & Fabrication: Fuminori Ohashi

A shapeshifting monster (with a bizarre humanoid form) that can generate internal temperatures so high, they cause the conflagration of entire worlds. After laying waste to the pacifist planet Pal, which refused to surrender, the evil intergalactic conqueror, Rodak, sent Aron to the Earth. Moving at 250 km/hour, Aron was able to quickly cause widespread destruction in its wake. Fortunately for mankind, Goldar was ready to defend us—although the intense heat issued by the monster, drawn from solar energy, made effective retaliation against him seemingly impossible.

Created by artist and sculptor, Fuminori Ohashi, the monster suit for Aaron was originally built for the Japan Radio Pictures production of AGON: THE ATOMIC DRAGON (1964), a four-part mini-series held from broadcast until 1968. Ohashi, who worked under Eiji Tsuburaya at Toho during the 1950s (and later under John Chambers on PLANET OF THE APES), modified Agon for THE SPACE GIANTS, and added the sabertooth fangs. The new suit made a brief appearance in the first episode as "dinosaur," and then became the better-known "Aron" for Episodes 13-16 of the series.


Lee Merritt said...

August, can you tell me how tall Goldar was in the TV series "Space Giants"? I have a few episodes taped on VHS but it's hard to guess how tall he is. Thanks!

ARON is a very cool looking monster!

August Ragone said...

I can't seem to find any official stats for Goldar (aka Captain Magma) in the usual Japanese resource books. So, I would assume, in comparison to the monsters in the seris, that he would be approximately 40 meters tall—similar to Ultraman.


Prof. Grewbeard said...

i thought AGON: THE ATOMIC DRAGON was a pretty good show, but i had heard it was cut short at four episodes because Toho sued them over Agon's "resemblance" to Godzilla.

glad to see more monsters, i was fixin' to do a Japanese monster of the week feature at my blog but didn't want to swipe your idea!

X7 said...

what a great photo of the monster. that first episode of Space Giants has a brief shot of a stop-motion rhamphoryncus in it. i thought that was really cool. several other episodes had some stop-motion as well.

keep up the good work!


August Ragone said...

Thanks for the kind comments, everyone! Prof., AGON was conceived as a four-part mini series, and was blockaded by Toho after before it could air. According to Ohashi, once Toho discovered that it was he who designed and built Agon, they said, "Oh, it's you... Well, it's okay, then."