Listen, I love dragons. I love all interpretations of dragons. I love tiny fuzzy dragons and enormous blob dragons, beautiful and elegant dragons and ugly wretch dragons. Part of the fun of the concept of dragons is that it’s so open-ended, and there’s no real-world basis for criticism or limits on what a dragon can be.
Today I want to look at some of the weirdest dragons in media that I have ever encountered – creatures that break the traditional mold to such a degree that maybe you wouldn’t have ever thought, “Oh, that’s a dragon!” upon seeing it.
Hydregion – Pokemon
The idea of a hydra, a multi-headed dragon, goes way back to Greek and eastern European mythology, but what makes Hydregion especially weird is that the secondary heads are distinct from the primary head and that they take the place of hands. The necks are even positioned where shoulders would be on a typical bipedal animal.
Phorrj – Dragon Booster
Dragon Booster is a 3D animated show about racing wingless dragons with a lot of interesting dragon designs. Phorrj is one of few bipedal dragons, but manages to avoid looking like “just another velociraptor” by having that almost Aliens-esque head crest and those tightly-curled little arms that are appear to have pronated wrists, which is more like human arms than real raptor forelimbs.
Punishment Dragon – Yu-Gi-Oh!
I love the sense of scale this illustration provides. This dragon has massive, tree trunk-like limbs with odd little tufted rings of fur/feathers, but more importantly, crazy kelp-like mane feathers and a whole bunch of fleshy whiskers which gives it the overall impression of an undersea landscape mixed with an alien jungle.
Darigaaz, the Igniter – Magic: The Gathering
I cannot honestly say I have ever seen head-mounted wings like this. It lends to such an intense, imposing, almost demonic creature. I love the fine, hair-like quills down the spine and the bruise-colored flesh which all lends to a sense of warped, almost mutated or even infernal biology. The head is also so abstract I can barely comprehend where the eyes are.
Azulongmon – Digimon
This dragon is a chained-up thundercloud with multiple little angel wings and an armored head with massive human-like facial hair. I really enjoy the lightning-bolt tail and the way those little wings lose their definition closer to the tail, as if they are also made of lightning. The face is just completely bizarre, that cobalt blue bird-like metal mask covered in golden lightning patterns, with the ice or chrome unicorn horn.
Atolm – Panzer Dragoon Saga
Panzer Dragoon Saga is a vastly underappreciated JRPG in which you are a gun-wielding rider on a shapeshifting laser-spitting dragon. Atolm is almost rat-like in silhouette, with a huge chitinous beetle shell revealing hints of exposed organic circuitry and a long pale tail trailing behind. I don’t believe, or at least could never see, if Atolm has legs, so I can only assume he remains airborne at all times. He does have a face, it’s just incredibly tiny at the very front tip of his body.
This may feel like a not-so-serious choice, but look at this thing. Adventure Time’s version of a dragon is a wacky lumpy orange eel with multiple inconsistent sets of wings and translucent purple gills like some kind of primordial amphibian. And of course, who can ignore those delightful, prominent little pink buttcheeks.
What are the weirdest examples of dragons that you’ve seen in books, movies, or anime?