Beginning as a manga in the 1970's, Barom-1 is a Tokusatsu superhero series fairly typical of its era, but one that fell quickly to obscurity compared to the likes of Super Sentai or Kamen Rider.
The Grisly Anatomical Fiends of Barom-1!
In fact, the only semblance of life this particular property still clings to is the ongoing popularity of its monster toys, which are actually still being made, bootlegged and remixed to this day as often incredibly pricey collectibles, and you can already see why - these are some pretty lovable goons already! I've actually known about this series since nearly the late 90's, and I've kind of always wanted to start reviewing its villains, but the fact that this is going up as a Halloween post should tip you off that I'm not just going to review any old monsters here.
No, we're going to be looking at a specific ten monsters that appeared in just the final episodes of the series...
Every monster in the series has a name that ends in "ruge," and up until the appearance of the mouth ruge, every monster was based on an animal or plant. With the exception of a rather plain bird creature and a monster based on an insect pupa, the final monsters of the series are all body parts, human or otherwise.
Kuchibiruge is a pretty simple and straightforward introduction to this theme; a humanoid whose whole head is just a very big set of lips and fangs. It's interesting that he also has long, greasy looking tangles of black hair however, and it's also interesting that he only has a single arm! Naturally, he has the ability to eat almost anything, and can devour human beings in practically one bite.
Tragically, Kuchibiruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him off a building.
...But by the next episode, we get the very monster that cemented Barom-1 in my memory so long, long ago. I've seen hundreds, maybe thousands of creature designs that focus on eyes in some fashion, but I've never seen a monster with giant eye as utterly HORRID as Hyakumeruge. First there's the fact that it still has the surrounding eyelid and skin, but twisted vertically into a much more Freudian orifice. Next you have the scratchy-looking little eyelashes that seem to wriggle out of the eyelid like a bunch of twitchy centipede legs. Then there's the fact that the actual eyeball itself is fairly small, the rest of the eyelid filled in with bloodshot, agitated-looking tissue and what appear to be some additional, smaller eyes growing just under that veiny membrane. Good god. My own woefully inferior eyeballs feel itchier and itchier the longer I look at her.
You also have to love that she's got an entirely different giant eyeball on her chest, though, and that it's covered over in a flap of skin she has to lift open by hand.
Naturally, Hyakumeruge has the power to take people's eyeballs.
Tragically, Hyakumeruge plummets to her death and explodes when Barom 1 pulls her head off and throws it down mountainside, then races it to the bottom and punches it in the eye.
While little can top the Hundred-Eyes Ruge, the Brain Ruge is a marvelously clever design as far as brain creatures go. At first glance, just a humanoid with a huge, faceless mass of brain tissue overgrowing its head and torso, until you notice that its weird, wrinkly little face is still present, all the way down by its left hip. It really gives an impression that this may have been something more human-looking at one time, until the brain expanded to take over as the "head."
And where you expect a face to actually be, the brain matter seems to be split open into an unpleasant pale blue, bisected fissure with a pair of deep, dark cavities that always read to me like ghostly eyes, but I don't think they were really intended to come across that way at all. I just like the effect, regardless.
Nougeruge has the power to absorb people's brain waves, which oddly enough causes victims to rapidly age.
Tragically, Nougeruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him down a flight of stairs.
Our next one is literally just a huge hand with a pair of legs, and doesn't have any particularly memorable powers other than an extending finger trick. It's the little touches that make it so horrific, however; the fact that it actually looks kind of "sliced off" and perhaps slightly cauterized at the wrist, where a fringe of hair also sprouts for good measure. The couple of fresh, red wounds in the palm. The dirt caked under the nails and in every crevice of the skin, and of course the eyeball in the tip of the index finger, which appears to be peeking out of another wound.
Add up that there's an eye inside a wound in a fingertip on a dirty giant hand and my own fingers are seriously feeling sympathetic discomfort.
Tragically, Udegeruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 ties his fingers together and throws him off a cliff.
The bone demon is, surprisingly, almost a disappointment. I coukldn't even find a better image of it, but it's just kind of a guy with a lizardy skull head and a bunch of little bones down his chest. The fact that there are still some scraps of reptilian-looking skin is fairly cool, but after what we've already seen and will still see to come, I would have expected this character to look more like one huge skull or even one big, broken femur or something. Maybe an "upside down" skeleton, with the pelvis for a head and skull for a pelvis? That kinda thing?
All skeleton monsters are still valid to some degree, I guess. Honegeruge has the ability to turn humans into skeletons, an ability all of us technically have with enough effort and patience.
Tragically, Honegeruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him off of a really big rock he was standing on.
This is the "Tusk Ruge," a very peculiar and goofy design as what appears to be a humanoid torso is just a pair of arm-like tusks sprouting from a fat, swollen set of lips with a goofy little conical head on top. It feels perhaps a little redundant with the existence of a Mouth Ruge, but it's also a little more creative. For whatever reason, this monster's ability is to transform children into evil, obedient "ghouls" with tusks of their own.
Tragically, Kibageruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him off a building.
But wait, holy hell. "Neck Ruge" is HIDEOUS, and that is not a word I normally use to describe a monster. Its torso looks like raw, skinless meat, and instead of a normal head it just has a huge, thick, roughly torn-off looking neck stump, and then it has a different ghoulish, long-haired head on each "arm," as if those are in fact two additional necks; as if this was a three-headed monster with some giant, central head that got severed at some point.
It's interesting that one of the two remaining heads, the more vampiric-looking blue one, is oriented so it's upside-down when the arm is at rest, but the other head is right-side up when dangling. I feel like that other head is also the creepier one, because it looks so much more like a normal person, like a pudgy grandma, except for beady little eyes and long nose.
Kubigeruge is apparently a sort of "peeping tom," and has hypnotic powers allowing him to enslave people. Tragically, he does not plummet to his death but he does explode when Barom 1 rips his arm off and later punches him.
This is honestly my favorite, but you'll probably find that unsurprising if you've picked up on enough of my favorite creature tropes. "Scales Ruge" is an explicitly non-human body part, resembling a big faceless lump of fish scales with arms and legs! Well, I guess with an arm, legs, and a fishy tail where another arm would be! My favorite part however is the gory patch on top, making two monster in a row that look "decapitated." What a WEIRD freaking concept for a villain, isn't it??
Not only that, but this nasty fish-scale blob has my favorite kind of creepy monster power - biological warfare! Urokoruge's whole gimmick is to taint the local water supply with infectious bacteria, and honestly, would you ever expect anything else from a guy who looks like this?
Tragically, Urokoruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him off of a cliff.
Coming right after the fish scale Ruge is this Crab's Claw Ruge, a pretty interesting design indeed; the body is just a single huge, chunky crab claw with the pincers on top, but there's also one eerie little human-like eye staring at us from the front. It also has a smaller clawed limb and six dangling, vestigial crab claws, another "Ruge" that looks as if a body part simply grew to absorb the rest of the creature.
Claw Ruge has no major powers to talk about, but it doesn't mess around, since he tries to crucify a bunch of kids and their teacher. They're okay, since he didn't use nails or anything.
Tragically, Hasamiruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 hurls him down a rocky hill.
Our very last body part monster is, fortunately, still one of the coolest looking ones we could end on. This thing is the "Hair Ruge," and it's a pretty unique creature, isn't it? Its entire form is like a big, long, black spike, so basically a single huge hair, but it also has those pale, fleshy scales down the front and a single weird eye part-way to its tip. It also has a "skirt" of hair where legs ought to be and a pair of arms ending in nicely grody hair tufts, which of course can extend to wrap around opponents!
The Hair Ruge has a plot to transform a normal human child into a new Ruge, but sadly, we never get to see what kind of new Ruge.
Tragically, Kamigeruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him off a bluff.
Let's just go ahead and cover the next two "Ruges," though, since "Thorn Ruge" is SORT OF themed around a "body part," right? A body part to a plant? Does that count? Maybe it doesn't. Great design, though, just a big green pod whose entire front swings open like a door, revealing am eerie eye in a fleshy red interior that can spit massive thorns!
Tragically, Togegeruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 impales him on one of his own giant thorns, then punches him off of a cliff.
Our very final "ruge" is the pupa-themed one I mentioned earlier. Also not a body part, but it's also not exactly a specific "animal," either? The Cocoon Ruge is a big, fat, segmented blob of chitin, like an insect's abdomen with stumpy bug-monster feet, but it also has a weird face on the front with beady eyes, a nose-like lump and a couple of stubby "arms" that might also be mandibles. There's also that peculiar, black and yellow striped hose on the top of its head, and it also has a couple of different, whispy antennae on top. It's almost like the abstract idea of moth and butterfly pupae, or something.
This monster has a pretty terrifying power, too; it can wrap people in red cocoons where they remain in a permanent stasis until Mayugeruge wills the cocoon threads to light on fire whenever he wants.
Tragically, Mayugeruge plummets to his death and explodes when Barom 1 punches him off a bridge.
Only two monsters now remain in the entire series; one is "Clown Ruge," who actually appears as a completely normal, human clown who can hypnotize people. The other is Doruge, the true big boss of the Ruge, whose shadow-demon form is honestly pretty damn cool. Very eerie, very ethereal, big fan of that! Still, I think the parade of monstrous kibbles and bits really stole the show, didn't they?
Maybe some day, I'll go back and review the long line of zoological Ruge the series featured before this final stretch, but I wanted to focus here on the last batch because they're so perfectly horrifying for one of our final articles of September 2020, and because you can consider this a little warm-up for this year's surprise October special: 31 days of the most horrifying Ultraman Kaiju!
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