Well, it’s October, and we’re gearing up for another month of monsters, of Autumn, and of Martin Luther (it’ll make sense in context). And just as in the last couple of years, there’s going to be another list of mythical demons around Halloween. But today, we’ve got one particular figure to look at – and I’ve actually mentioned him before, but since a second toy came around, he’s worth another look: Belphegor.
Belphegor has two rock bands and a mathematical formula to his name, but just what is he supposed to be? Well, this demon’s history is yet another time when lack of scholarship and archeology made people weird. Belphegor is derived from Ba’al-Pelor – i.e. “The Ba’al of Pelor,” i.e. “The God of Pelor,” i.e. “Lord of the Gap.” It’s been said before, but “Ba’al” is not a proper name, just a title – “lord” with a lowercase l. It can mean anything from a god to a landlord, and often figured into people’s names. This was a god over the location of Pelor, and… that’s all we know. One difficult thing with archaeology is the fact that every nation had its own name for things, whether it was the Greeks renaming the pharaoh Khufu to “Cheops,” or this. Who was Baal-Pelor? Some god! I dunno!
More precisely, he is named in Numbers 25:3 as a god the Israelites got interested in, and were punished for. The implication is that his worship had something to do with sex – there were a lot of fertility gods running around at that time. But beyond this, we dunno. Rabbinic tradition firt stated that his name, which means “Lord of the Gap,” meant “Lord of the Butthole,” and thus worshipping him involved lots of pooping. Wow. Later European scholars went a little more bonkers, and decided that Belphegor was one of the Seven Demon Princes of Hell, and specifically ruled over sloth and laziness, enemy of Mary Magdalene, and ambassador to France. Because that isn’t arbitrary at all. His ost famous piece of classical artwork is the one above, from the Dictionnaire Infernal. See how he’s on a chair? Look closely. Note the hole in the seat. He’s on the toilet! And now you get it.
He’s got two toys: one from Demon’s Chronicle, which you have seen before, and one from Shin Megami Tensei, which is the new kid on the toy shelf. Though, to be honest, I suspect that his blue coloration in Demon’s Chronicle is because of Shin Megami Tensei, though in all other ways he’s designed to match his art. Also, notice the difference in “thrones” – the DC figure has a literal throne, whereas the SMT figure just admits that it’s a toilet and runs with it.
And what a toilet it is! It opens! It closes! It has swirly water! Seriously, it’s a pretty good accessory in and of itself – you can’t take it off the black base, though. There are extremely subtle indentations on the seat for Belphegor’s legs, though you really have to look hard for them, as they are unintrusive. He sits at a slight angle, like me in a tiny bathroom where my knees would hit the wall otherwise. Belphegor’s legs are going to fall asleep.
The figure is unarticulated and kind of an odd solid rubber that you see from time to time with Japanese figures – the paint feels a little clingy, though not sticky, and the rubber is flexible in odd ways. Don’t stress it too much, though his (removable) tail is pretty durable as a result.
In contrast, the DC Belphegor is a firmer PVC, and more or less in the 2″ range when not on that pillar of a base he has, while SMT Belphegor is big enough to hang out with GI Joe (now there’s a crossover).
Because of its larger size, the SMT Belphegor is clearly better-made – and both figures will run you somewhere in the $20-$40 range, though the DC one should go for lower if you find it, as it is not one of the rarer Demon’s Chronicle pieces. But the DC figure looks best as part of an ensemble with his buddies, while the SMT one is just a great talking-point to put on your shelf. Or in the bathroom. The Toilet Demon is Watching You Poop.
And that’s a wrap! Here, have one more picture – I managed to simulate a heat haze effect in the atmosphere just through lighting and it’s one of the ones I’m genuinely proud of for that reason.