Dragons are powerful, often extremely dangerous creatures of myth. Different variations may do many different things from breathing fire and flight, to living under the sea or granting wishes. Most dragons are large, regal creatures who are looked at as either a blessing or a curse depending on which culture or version one would be looking at. In some stories, dragons are partners to people, helping or fighting alongside them as equals, while in others they are beasts who bring naught but ruin and need to be destroyed. For the most part, the dragon’s on this list… are not those dragons. Here we have some of the weirdest, oddest and downright nonsensical designs for dragons that we could get our hands on.
The dragons we have here, while we’re sure a lot of time and planning went into each one in the designs department, make next to no sense in regard to how this creature turned out to be labeled a dragon. Some of these are more reminiscent of piles of goo or weird looking animals like moles than anything close to looking like a dragon. Of course, the most infuriating thing about any of this is that these designs somehow made it to dragon status while others *cough*CHARIZARD*cough* somehow don’t make it. That notwithstanding, here are some dragons that are straight weird AF!
15 HYDRA (HERCULES)
They Hydra from Disney’s Hercules is one of the most similar characters on this list to a traditional dragon. In the movie, Hercules saves some “kids” from a landslide and inadvertently opens up the Hydra’s cave. Herc then has to fight the massive lizard and seems to have successfully won the battle when he slices off his head and the monster falls limp. Taking a small victory applause, Hercules is interrupted when he and Phil realize that the fight's not over and the Hydra sprouts 3 more heads.
What gives the Hydra a slot on this list is just how many heads he got up to before Herc figure out that maybe he should “stop with the head slicing thing.” When he gets to this point, Herc has a true WTF moment as he looks at what could very simply be his demise.
14 RAGE SHENRON
That’s right, folks, we have Shadow Dragons on the list. No, we’re not sorry. First one up to bat is Rage Shenron. It’s no secret the Dragonball GT is not well loved in the anime community, and characters like this helped to cement people’s sheer and utter disdain for it. When the Shadow Dragon saga arrived, people were expecting some badass dragons that Goku could face using his new Super Saiyan 4 transformation.
When we got characters such as Rage Shenron, a tiny little pterodactyl creature who didn’t even up to Pan’s knees, Obi-Wan Kenobi probably felt a great disturbance as millions sighed in agony. Rage not only should never have made it to the dragon category, he should have been nowhere near anything. His creation, let alone his appearance in Dragonball GT, put a stain on the entire series.
13 Haze Shenron
Dragonball GT once again gives us a deuce of a character in the form of Haze Shenron. The only redeeming quality about this disgusting frog-like creature is that his area of expertise was poison. His whole scheme was to poison the planet. Of course, a creature that looks as disgusting as Haze Shenron would be a logical choice in this situation, but why did it need to be called a dragon? The character could have very easily been a filler episode villain and it probably would have worked out better than giving us the first of a few very disappointing shadow dragons. Haze is in the same boat as Rage, if only for the utter disappointment that these characters could come out of anything Dragonball.
12 DEVON AND CORNWALL (QUEST FOR CAMELOT)
Devon and Cornwall are without a doubt the funniest and most developed characters on this list. In Quest for Camelot the main characters eventually stumble into Dragonland. Here, they come across Devon and Cornwall, a single fat dragon body with a stubby head and a long skinny head right next to it. Devon is the taller head who has dreams of being a Shakespearean actor, while Cornwall pretty much just wants nothing more than to be separated from his conjoined twin. While actually being a good character and the comic relief to the movie, the question remains, why the need for a conjoined twin dragon with pretty much none of the accompanying traits? Being conjoined, he couldn’t breathe fire or fly, while all of the other mean dragons could.
11 KINGDRA (POKEMON)
To preface this, we love Pokemon. As a whole, the series has brought much joy to many different people over the years and no one in their right mind would ever fault them on that account. With that being said, there are some Pokemon designs that very simply don’t make sense and enrage us to the point of wanting to hurt someone. Kingdra is one of these Pokemon for some.
A cute little seahorse turns into a larger angrier seahorse. That’s all fine and dandy. But why did they need to make the next evolution part dragon type? The design in part was obviously taken from the Sea Dragon, which is a real-life seahorse, but this feels like one that definitely could have gone another route.
10 NATURON SHENRON
Time to get back to the Shadow Dragons and let’s be real, you knew there would be more of these on the list. Naturon Shenron is a gigantic dope of a character who once again has no business being labeled as a dragon. This creature was designed off a mole, which is by far one of the weirdest creatures this world has ever produced.
To attempt to make a dragon based on the mole makes absolutely no sense, and even less sense when tried to be tied into the Dragonball franchise. The running theme for the Shadow Dragons was an affiliation with different elements depending on which dragon was in question, but they really couldn’t think of anything better than a mole to mix with?
9 RED DRAGON (HANNIBAL)
The Red Dragon from Red Dragon is a legitimate work of art in the real world by William Blake. The one used in the film is actually titled The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, and while being a truly masterful piece of art, in the movie it was the inspiration for all manner of unpleasantness.
The antagonist in the movie, Francis Dolarhyde, worshipped this painting. He felt that he was the Red Dragon and that he must do as voice of the dragon in his head commanded. While we got a stellar performance from Ralph Fiennes, it was the painting of the part human dragon, as well as the tattoo on Dolarhyde’s back that make us truly wonder wtf the painting had done to this man.
8 METEOR DRAGON (YU-GI-OH!)
This is a rock. Okay, it’s a meteor, but the design on this Yu-Gi-Oh! Card is no joke, a turtle meteor that they call a dragon. While the concept is okay and something that could have been more deeply thought out, the card actually has a much more realized dragon form in the case of Meteor Black Dragon.
While Meteor Black Dragon is a fusion monster with (at the time) impressive attack power, the original meteor dragon seems to have been made as an afterthought to his greater form. While the fusion does require a more fulfilled dragon to create (Red Eyes Black Dragon specifically), the big question here is simply, could they not have made it something better than a turtle?
To go along with the world’s incessant need to make everything cute, the mobile game Dragonvale was created. Much like many other games before it, such as Farmville, Dragonvale took over people’s lives by making them want to open up the game constantly to make sure that their weird little dragons were happy and healthy and producing even weirder crossbred baby dragons.
Dragons in the game were made specifically to cater to a mainly young female audience with their cute aesthetic and while this may have been successful for a time, like all of the other variations of this type of game, everyone stopped caring. While players could also apparently battle their dragons against each other, the fact that they had to make this game fulfill the same need as a ton of other games, simply changing from farming to dragons is a move to just make a quick buck.
6 ALTARIA (POKEMON)
Here we have another Pokemon design that proves the game developers will slap the label of dragon on almost anything. Altaria is a flying/ dragon type who is literally a bird surrounded by fluff. There is absolutely nothing even remotely resembling a dragon in the design, yet somehow, it’s a dragon?
Now, we’re not sure of anyone reading, but when we think dragon, we are definitely not thinking of a bird covered with what is essentially a cloud growing out of its body. This Pokemon should have stayed in the flying category and not strayed, then they would have been able to consider this a successful design. While Altaria makes the list, the creature is most definitely not Pokemon’s worst offender.
Technically, Bowser is considered to be a dragon. This falls into place with the princess locked in a tower trope, but of course the people who originally created Mario didn’t want to have the same old tired dragon in their game. They needed something with panache, something new, something… turtle.
While we are pretty sure the people who created Mario did so during some kind of fever dream, Bowser brought the game to a different level. We’re talking about a much-loved game where an Italian plumber journeys through the pipes to fight turtles, mushrooms and a large turtle dragon and save the princess to return her to the mushroom people which she ruled. Is there some connection between dragons and turtles we’re missing?
4 GOODRA (POKEMON)
Remember how we mentioned that Altaria wasn’t the worst offender in the Pokedex to call themselves a dragon? Allow us to introduce you to Goodra. Goodra is exactly as the name describes, a creature made of goo which for some reason is a dragon. When it starts its evolutionary path as Goomy, the Pokemon is a cute little slime ball, after it makes its first evolution to Sligoo, it starts to resemble a snail with curled up section on its backside. The next logical step would be for the Pokemon to turn into a large snail like creature in most likely the poison class, but that apparently seems to make no sense for the Pokemon game development team that created it, instead option for an upright dragon design, presumably for "reasons."
3 GRONCKLE (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON)
A Gronkle gets a slight pass because he comes from How to Train Your Dragon, where dragons of all different shapes and sizes roam free. He is literally surrounded by things that truly look like dragons, so in this context, the Gronckle was most likely made to look the way he does so that he wouldn’t just get lost in the realm of other dragons.
A Gronckle is also a dragon used by one of the main supporting cast in the movie/television franchise, and whoever chose the dragons for the cast were most likely also looking to create a dragon that would complement it rider. Fishlegs Ingerman in the movies is a large chubby character who spouts random dragon knowledge as if describing RPG characters, which made a Gronckle his perfect partner.
2 DRAGONITE (POKEMON)
While not the least dragon-like character on the list, Dragonite rates very high because of the sheer disappointment factor that came into play when the sleek, gorgeous Dragonair evolves into this tubby yellow powerhouse. The evolution of the Pokemon goes from the dainty and cute Dratini, into the aforementioned Dragonair which looks simply like a longer, more grown up Dratini. What would have made much more sense would have been for Dragonair to evolve into a dragon almost resembling Shenron from Dragonball Z with a different color scheme. Instead we are treated to a character who, while tank-like in power, looks like Dragonair decided it was past its prime and said “Well, that’s that I guess.” And drowned its sorrow in KFC and beer while remembering the glory days.
1 ELLIOT (PETE'S DRAGON)
When Disney recently remade its classic live-action/ animated film Pete’s Dragon they gave the dragon Elliot a much needed redesign. He went from a very similar design of Dragonite (maybe that’s where Pokemon got the idea!) to being a much closer representation of what a dragon should be. Although furry, the reimagined version of Elliot was a quadruped with a gigantic wingspan, but like the original, could turn invisible.
The original, cartoon version was bipedal mostly, had a weird pink tuft of hair, tiny wings, and wasn’t all that bright. Although definitely a dragon in the looks department no matter which version you look at, one version was definitely more successful from a design standpoint. That could very easily have just been blamed on the type of movie each variation was made to be.
What is your favorite dragon in pop culture? Let us know in the comments!