We're possibly going to continue with Tokusatsu monsters even after Halloween, and today's round comes to us from the Hundred Bouma Tribes, the villains of Kousoku Sentai Turboranger!
TOKUSATSU MONSTER DESIGN:
13 TERRIFYING BOUMA BEASTS!
LUMP BOUMALump Bouma has been one of my favorite Tokusatsu monster designs since the first time I ever saw this concept art, but we'll be looking at it first because its powers and abilities aren't all that remarkable; its design draws heavily from the yokai Nuppefuhofu, a creature formed from rotting flesh known for its horrible stench, an ability to absorb people in some interpretations, and meat that bestows immortality if consumed. Lump Bouma, however, has no powers other than high endurance; any physical blow only causes a temporary lump on its already lumpy body.
Design: A bumpy, wrinkly, lopsided, saggy glob of pale grey flesh, Lump has doughy mitten-like hands in cool looking sockets of concentric flesh-folds, a grimacing little mouth with many hooked teeth, a number of fleshy "drips" or "wattles" hanging off its face and eyes covered over in so much swollen flesh, they can barely be seen except for the sad, red crescent of the right eye, almost more like a thin wound. Throughout its surface are also yellowish "craters" with raised, pink rims where the creature has presumably suffered various strikes. As a monster who fights entirely by taking abuse, the design looks perfectly miserable, the entire creature bruised and swollen. It has a villainous personality and certainly some menace to it, but it's visually so sad you immediately wish it could catch a break. If only one Bouma could have switched sides, I'd have definitely nominated Lumpy first.
DOGU BOUMAA Dogu is, as you may know, a famous variety of ancient, clay idol, and the true meaning or purpose of it remains a subject of speculation. Dogu Bouma often appears in the form of the classic artifact, but becomes almost unrecognizable once its fleshy monster form breaks free from the pottery. Its only other powers are to fire energy blasts shaped like dogu heads, or firing a beam that creates sinkholes to bury people underground. You know, like an ancient artifact!
Design: In its true form, this Bouma's torso consists of the shattered remains of a dogu, a roundish fang-filled maw in the center of its chest. Its arms and legs are rubbery, white and boneless looking, like fleshy stalks, the arms also ending in clusters of tooth-like spines. Three more stalks surround the mouth, rows of thinner tubes wrap around its chest, and it only has a featureless lump of flesh where a head would be. Designer notes actually call it a "blob," in the sense of the monster movie, so it's like a slime hatching out of a meteor!
ONE EYED BOUMAThis Boma has the always classic ability to trap people in an illusionary world, fulfilling their desires or tormenting them with a simulation they cannot escape until they can differentiate it from reality, though the mechanics of it are an interesting twist; most monsters with this power simply put their victim to sleep or hypnotize them in some way. One Eyed Bouma actually superimposes the illusions over the landscape, its single eye functioning like a hologram projector! Victims are only lost in the delusion once they're lured into the mirage.
Design: One Eyed Boma has a simple, compact shape, but very cool and very alien. I'm pretty sure it's intentionally reminiscent of a water flea, its torso having a similar sort of pear shape that's split open in the front, where a sort of keyhole-shaped mouth, rimmed with golden fangs, houses a single eyeball with a horizontally lidded pupil. I also like that where the body is split open there are dense gill-slits, like the underside of a mushroom cap, and I also really love the thin, dark arthropod legs sprouting in a cluster from the side of its head, all pointed to the left like windswept "hair." Its shoulders and thighs are dark, chitinous armor, and its humanoid limbs are covered in more rubbery-looking pale exoskeleton. A very, very alien looking design, but for a final dash of humor, it also wears a monocle!
REAPER BOUMAReaper Bouma is actually a pretty common trope of Tokusatsu: a monster of the week whose power is to resurrect other, previously defeated monsters! There's not much more to it than that, other than the obvious ability to fight with a scythe, but "the necromancer" is always a fun gimmick.
Design: VERY stylish! Reaper's underlying body is a humanoid ghoul that almost looks formed from gnarled white wood, or like many bones fused together as flesh, whereas its face is a more blackish mummified skull with round, luminous red eyeballs and too many sharp little teeth to have been human. Most of its body is, however also draped in an organic looking blue "robe," heavily tattered and shredded with dangling webs of blue tissue. This flesh either forms or covers a pair of gnarled looking horns, and there are translucent yellow eyeball-like nodules grown throughout this cloak. For good measure, it also has a partially organic looking scythe; the back of the blade looks almost like the back of a condor's head, warty and scaly, with strands of yellow flesh stretching over the blade itself. This webbing also forms the appearance of an eye socket with a tiny little red eye!
These are all very traditional spooky ghoulie elements, a corpselike humanoid with horns and a shroud, but none of them look exactly like I've seen before, let alone together, and the color scheme is really eye-popping to me. It's even interesting how those massive horns don't necessarily look connected to the relatively small head, or perhaps the head is much larger than the small face we can see.
MINOKASA BOUMAThemed around an old straw hat and seemingly some sort of invertebrate, I'm not entirely sure what, this Bouma can battle by detaching the hat, which has its own claws and can fly through the air, but his true power lies in his "Time Reversal Jutsu," which somehow rewinds the era the victim thinks they're living in! Hit with this attack, you'll suddenly believe you're centuries in the past with the entire mindset you would have had back then.
It sounds like a recipe for hilarity, but just for an example, one use of the ability dial's a modern doctor's medical knowledge back to the days of "the only cure for an injured limb is to saw it off."
Design: I personally think this is the most badass and sinister design in the whole series! It has a simple humanoid torso covered in straw, with some blood red arthropod-like legs sticking out of the chest area. Its limbs look like porous pale wood with more tufts of straw and longer, needly looking tufts instead of hands. Instead of a face, it simply has a gaping, round, red mouth encircled by tiny, wicked teeth, like your typical sci-fi "leech" or "lamprey" monster, and then of course there's the broad straw hat on top, which has eight long, thin red legs ending in pincers! It's not specified (not even by designer comments!) but I'm getting pretty strong tick vibes here, and they do like to lurk in grass.
FOSSIL BOUMAThis one's made of dinosaur bones! Kinda! Fossil Bouma is in possession of a golden apple that allows it to generate a giant-size clone of itself, but this isn't a natural power, and it isn't any different from the fact that every other Bouma gets grown to kaiju-size by the villains anyway. Fossil Bouma's natural power is that it can project a bunch of thin tentacles from its arms, and it has one extra long, fat tentacle ending in a bizarre acid-spewing nozzle, which it actually ends up sending into the hero team's giant robot.
Design: At first glance a big, bulky triceratops skeleton with a lot of extra bones, four eyes, and the skulls of carnivorous dinosaurs for arms, but what's fascinating here is all that beautifully putrid looking organic tissue beneath the bones! The ribcage is completely filled with a gooey, warty organic mass, mottled in sickly shades of green, yellow and brown with multiple small, yellow eyes, tubular mollusk-like siphons and its own toothy mouth. The skull-hands are filled with more of this pustulated goo, stretching into writhing tendrils, and you can see the same flesh, along with the same yellow eyes, within the four eye sockets of the tricera skull. There are also a few patches of little green warts on the outside of the bone, especially surrounding the eyes. Just what is supposed to be going on here? What is this oozing, formless mass of rot puppeterring this ancient, amalgamated skeleton?!
Most bizarrely and disturbingly of course is that acid-spewing hose we mentioned. The tip of it swells into a yellowish knob with a few scattered little red cilia, but it has a wrinkly little tube under it, like a little fishy mouth, and it has four blue fleshy flippers encircling it. It's fascinatingly strange, reminiscent of some alien worm or eel, but, uh, it also kind of looks like something else. Like, if you showed me the artwork out of context, with the bonus illustration of the, uh, hose tip, my first thought wouldn't be that it's a weaponized tentacle from one of the arms.
But before you say I'm being juvenile: the way it's presented IN context is so terribly, hilariously, terribly worse.
GHOST BOUMAThis one does everything you might expect of a ghost, but it also wields a stone grave marker as an optional sword, and it can turn regular people into "ghosts" as well! Or at least pale skinned, violent ghouls with flowing cemetary gowns. I think they're still tangible? Maybe they think they're ghosts.
Design: WOW! This Bouma looks almost like a humanoid figure in a white robe, but you can see that the robe is just wrinkly flesh, and it incidentally just tapers like a fleshy tail despite looking like there might be legs or feet inside. The arms only protrude through the flabby sleeve-like mantle from the elbows up, with wonderfully knobbly hands. The thick neck doesn't look human at all, and the head or face is JUST a dangling shock of blue hair, with dimly glowing yellow eyes inside! Then there's the four thin, pointed grave markers, covered in red writing, that grow directly out of its shoulders. It's a simple, elegant, incredibly menacing design that doesn't even feel like a Tokusatsu foe, but like it would be the central threat of an actual, effectively atmospheric supernatural horror film. I'm not sure a biological looking kaijin could ever possibly scream "ghost" more effectively at just a glance!.
TWISTED BOUMAThis Bouma is mostly a physical attacker, but it can also render enemies powerless by absorbing them into its body through some kind of energy beam, then spitting them back out, minus any supernatural abilities they ought to have.
Design: Incredible. The shape of this monster is almost totally disguised when coiled up! Most of it is a wrinkly, fleshy grey mass that walks on two tapering stalks, like a pair of tree roots, which are simply folded backwards where it would have "feet." Protruding from this mass are what resemble the shiny, round black heads of beetles or millipedes, like differently sized "warts" or "boils" with tiny antennae and mandibles. Another of these forms the "head" where you'd expect on on a humanoid, but this sort of blends with a row of armor plates that become what resembles an entire trilobite beetle or firefly larva (both follow similar anatomy, and are closely related!) for a left arm but ends in a set of long, chitinous scissor-like forceps. The other "arm" is a much longer, tubular worm with its own colorful armor plates, again like a millipede or trilobite beetle. This is lined with short, pointed legs each accompanied by a fleshy tube, and the end of this worm-arm is just a gaping cavity filled with knobbly, pale fingers!
When the larger arm is curled up, it hides the front of the creature completely. Uncoiled, we see that it has a sort of yellowish, fleshy core or sphincter-like cavity in the center. Fandom wikis and other descriptions all refer to this as a "centipede" monster, but actually none of its elements come from a centipede at all. It may be mostly trilobite beetle or beetle larva, with some millipede and worm!
GUM GUM BOUMAA very unique one! This Bouma is usually stored in a small pot, and its true form is nothing but a red net-like membrane that can slither around and leap! But, anybody it attaches to takes on a grotesque and powerful new form, which can also attack by emitting jets of searing hot steam.
It's a really beautiful body-horror weirdo, and I believe its appearance is drawn from both certain nudibranchs and certain sea squirts! Incidentally, its name is also the only thing it can say. Haha.
DANGO BOUMAThis bouma is named after dango, those little gooey balls of rice flour, but isopods, at least those that can curl up into a ball, are sometimes called "dango bugs," so it's also an arthropod! It's a whimsical combination, but it has one of the most disturbing abilities in the series: it can merge still-conscious human beings together into tangled spheres that it considers "human dango," and intends to serve to its evil masters.
Design: Dango is a beautifully detailed humanoid arthropod, mostly white, finely detailed with overlapping chitinous plates and rows of little leg-tips, really looking like the paler underbelly of a woodlouse. It also has a novel design to its arms, each forearm a large sphere with four opposing jointed digits, but also an additional longer, thinner forearm and hand that can telescope out of the center! The head and face are also just plain precious, looking more ike a big, fat, bulbous group sitting on its shoulders, with a row of upper fangs but no other jaws or teeth, and a row of three very big, bulging blue eyeballs. It also has drippy, brown markings evocative of sauce! The entire design has all the alien coolness of any other arthropod monster, but it's also very, very cute with its big eyes, tiny teeth and huge forehead. It's also just so creative, I never even would have guessed it was an isopod, but now that I know it's an isopod, I can easily tell that's a part of the inspiration, too.
IMMORTALITY BOUMAThis monster's first gimmick is that its armor is truly impenetrable, its mouth its only weak point. Its second, more surprising gimmick is that it can trap people in giant eggs of an iron-like material that only its own weaponry can break, and in an evidently agonizing process, victims transform into complete replicants of the monster.
Design: this one has a motif of medieval knight armor, but like all Bouma Beasts, it's a lot weirder and more "biological" than that typically entails. Its left shoulder is an enormous rounded hump with many rocky looking knobs, while its somewhat smaller left shoulder is split open to accomodate an organic looking black pipe lined with thin slots, like a ventilation organ. The head is set deep in the neckless body, a circular cranium with a single wide, narrow, silvery eye peering through the five vertical slots of its visor, and a wide mouth below this with blunt, interlocking teeth. The chest has many different armor panels assymetrically overlapping one another, and a stomach area that appears more lumpy and fleshy but still metallic in color. The arms are tapering and segmented more like flexible crustacean tails than joined vertebrate limbs, with pointed fin-like fingertips on its armored hands. The legs, too, are like curving, segmented tubes with no "knee," and clawed feet that look bony and chitinous. Of importance is that there are absolutely know sharp angles or straight lines in the entire design; every single piece of its elaborately armored surface is shaped as organically as bone or seashell.
It's a monster with a "big bruiser" look to it, the plodding damage sponge you loathe to face in any given video game, but the details are so artfully put together, every shape so pleasingly naturalistic and delicately articulated, it makes most knight-themed monster designs look awkward and tacky in comparison. Then there's that replicating power, which is highly unexpected for this type of creature; it's so unique and special looking, it almost feels wrong for it to have a multiplying "zombie virus" gimmick!
NOPPERA BOUMAThis one's name is a pun! Noppera-bo is a well known youkai depicted as a person with no face, sometimes capable of stealing or blanking other people's faces! The Bouma Beast version adds a novel twist, however, in that it can switch people's faces. This does, however, destroy their sense of identity until their faces gradually fade away to nothing. The creature's unexpected weakness turns out to be an acne cream, and to add insult to injury, the heroes use their energy beam to briefly "draw" a face on the monster before killing it. RUDE.
Design: I actually saw all the Bouma concept art over a decade before writing this article, and this is another one whose design I've never forgotten. This humanoid has cream colored flesh, thinner and wrinklier at its joints. It has an unpleasantly lipless, almost scar-like mouth with tiny sharp teeth, and the rest of the head is mostly a very tall, smooth egg shape. It has a few stray bristle-like hairs at the top of the head, and many more scattered throughout its body. The upper torso is kind of like a fleshy, smooth organic chestplate, with a small pore (for breathing?) where each clavicle meets the thick, wrinkly neck. Its midsection and thighs are also covered in green-tinged humanoid faces, warped and stretched and fused to its skin, with only shallow pits instead of eyeballs. Most alarming are its arms, which flare into two large "cups" instead of hands. The concave interior of each cup is a meaty red color, and has a set of smaller pits resembling a human mouth, nose and eyes, basically so the victim's face will neatly fit into the giant sucker-like limb!
It's another disturbingly alien looking design, much more ghoulish and weird than "just" a faceless guy, but it also masterfully tells you what this creature does. Those sucker arms, visibly molded to adhere to your face, already give you a general idea of what you're in for, but the additional distorted faces growing around its body, everywhere but its actual head, really clinch the kind of spooky body horror this guy's all about.
We've got just one left, and it's one of the nastiest designs I've reviewed all season so far...even counting that review of stuff from Mad God!
PEROPERO BOUMAIt's not easy to hold off on reacting to this design, but since we're explaining the powers first: Peropero (basically "lickylicky") Bouma uses its horrible, extendable giant tongue to lick up anything filthy and toxic, not unlike the "filth licking" youkai akaname, though that's where their resemblance ends. Once Licky has licked up enough sludge, ooze and pollution, it excretes a Bouma Zombie formed from the material.
Bouma Zombies, in turn are not only made entirely of poisonous sludge but can emit poison, lash out with toxic tendrils, and climb walls with their sticky sucker-like fingers. The more wasteful and filthy people have been, the more material the Bouma has for its zombie army, even turning the pollution of an entire river into a horde of minions!
Design: I know, right?! This will necessitate the longest description yet. Its entire body is basically one giant, very strange head, its brownish upper cranium split open into a toothy maw so that, from above or behind, it would kind of look like a giant and very angry clam. Beneath the split of the forehead are two tiny, menacing pupil-less eyes, but below those are another couple of large, dark, closer set spherical eyes, more arthropod-like, with a row of tiny little white fangs sticking out beneath them!
This is all before we get to the actual "eye sockets" of the giant head, flaring open so wide they almost remind me of the ears of a Ferengi from Star Trek. Within these giant sockets are what resembles eyeball tissue, white and bloodshot with deep red veins, but then the monsters "arms" are erupting from the centers of those, and look bizarrely plantlike, like wood wrapped in green vines. These end in blackish eyeball spheres which also have small, thin fingers protruding from their sides, and yes, the costume can pull its arms in to retract those eyeballs into those sockets. There's also a fringe of woolly yellowish fur around the upper arms, so when the eyeballs do retract, there's hair sticking out around them. Lovely.
Now, between the giant arm-eyes is a broad, ridged humanoid nose, covering up the stomach of the costume design, and then we have the "star attraction" as it were: an oversized, elongated red tongue that emerges directly below the nose, exactly from the recesses of the costume's crotch. Read this monster as a giant head with limbs and it's not so bad. Take it in as a humanoid figure and it just appears to have a giant, slimy, dangling doodlewhopper between its legs, which have a tree-trunk design to match the arms and even roots for feet.
The "zombies" have a nice design too of course, albeit much simpler; just drippy, sludgy humanoids with sucker fingers, and their bubble-like red eyes are arranged asymmetrically on their heads.
I almost can't begin to parse the different ideas that went into their dad, though. Every single detail of this creature was made more abnormal than was ever even necessary, from the grisly exposed tissue of its split open head-mouth and multiple overlapping "faces" to its obscene tongue and seemingly arbitrary tree-root limbs. I've almost never been able to find a creature design actually "repulsive" but I can wholeheartedly understand someone being utterly disgusted by just how convoluted and mangled this thing appears, even before we get into the fact that it gives birth to slime people by sucking garbage juice through its groin. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEN I SAID!!!!!
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