Written by Barney Buckley
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Gamera is created by the Daiei Motion Picture Company and now is currently owned by Kadokawa pictures. The very first Gamera film was released in Japan in 1965 and it has spawned 12 films since then. This character has gained a lot of attention within Japan and perhaps all over the world. In the United States by the 1970s UHF television stations featuring Saturday afternoon matinee showcases would feature showcases such as Creature Double Feature this is where you would say the older Showa era type Gamera movies until the 1990s when they created the new Gamera trilogy which surpassed any Godzilla movie in special effects and in storyline. They made a mockery of the Gamera movies on a television program called Mystery Science Theater 3000.
What is Gamera you say well he is an extremely large fire breathing prehistoric species of a tortoise which fed on petroleum-based materials as you see in the original movie this is how he gets his fire breath, and also gives him the ability to ignite and retract his legs that allows him to spend in the air. In the Heisei series it contains three movies the first being called Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) the origin of Gamera has been tweaked to have him or trade name or heroic and yet Bioengineered Guardian of the Universe that was created by Atlantis for the purpose of beating the Gyaos. I will not elaborate on the synopsis of all the movies because I would create them on a separate page.
I will now talk about his capabilities and the weapons that he possesses. Let’s first talk about Gamera’s shell is extremely resilient and very strong. Missiles and other weapons merely to bounce off his shell there are special occasions where his shell was damaged like in the movie Gamera versus Legion and in the original series it was damaged by Guiron’s knife attack that would begin to cut through the shell. The flying monster Gyaos’ sonic beam, the alien shark Zigra’s paralyzing beam, and the mutant lizard Barugon’s rainbow ray cannot penetrate Gamera’s shell, shown in the films when he withdraws into his shell to avoid the attacks. Gamera’s underbelly, however, is softer and not as resilient, and he has been cut and gouged in his stomach to the point of bleeding. In the Showa series, Gamera fed on fire and was attracted by other heat sources, such as power plants and Barugon’s rainbow ray attack.
He could breathe intensely hot streams of flames from his mouth when caught in a more serious situation. The Heisei version, on the other hand, could blast off mighty plasma fireballs from his mouth, usually very quickly, and with varying accuracy; they were highly explosive. The Heisei version could also absorb a great deal of mana, or the living essence of earth, and release an extremely powerful stream of pure plasma from his chest. In the final film of the Heisei series, Gamera blasted his own arm off and absorbed plasma fireballs shot by the mutant Gyaos Iris and used his stump to grow back his arm in a plasmic form.
Gamera also has the ability to fly. Generally, Gamera pulls in his arms, legs, head, and tail into his shell, fires flames out of his arm and leg cavities and spins around like a flying saucer. This mode of flight had an added advantage in the later films, where he used the sharp edges of his shell to cut enemies while spinning, similar to a circular saw. He has a second way of flying, where he only pulls in his legs and/or tail, fires flames from the leg cavities, and flies like a jet. In the Heisei era films, Gamera’s arms would extend and stretch out into wings similar to the flippers of a sea turtle whilst using this form of flight, giving him added aerodynamics and control.
The Heisei films gave Gamera one more additional weapon: a pair of sharp spikes protruding from his elbows. In his first Heisei appearance, these spikes were hidden during the majority of the film, extending only when needed in battle. In later appearances they were permanently extended.
When seriously or gravely injured, Gamera can enter a coma-like state in order to heal. This often fools his opponents into thinking that he is dead. This ability has been used in almost every Gamera film.
Gamera’s only major weakness is cold. Barugon was able to achieve success against Gamera using his freezing spray and scientists nearly defeated Gamera during his first appearance using special freezing bombs. This weakness was only shown in Gamera’s earliest films.
Gamera made his first appearance in 1965’s Gamera, which was also the only Gamera film to be in black-and-white. In 1966, the movie was released in America as Gammera the Invincible. Subsequent films, usually directed by Noriaki Yuasa and written by Nisan Takahashi, quickly became a big hit with children, who loved watching Gamera fight monsters. A total of 7 films were produced between 1965 and 1971. An eighth entry was slated for a 1972 release, tentatively titled Gamera vs. Garasharp. Gross mismanagement of Daiei, however, put the company into bankruptcy, and the Gamera films were forced to cease production.
In an apparent friendly nod to the competition at Toho, Gamera destroys the “New Toho” theatre, and this is the only film in the series in which Gamera does not fight another monster.
Gamera is one big turtle that flies, and in the seventies his was a savior to all children, but in the 90’s Gamera is the guardian of the universe. Gamera is Kadawadeiei’s equivalent to Godzilla. They also are supposed to be doing a remake on the Daimajin series about the statue, but this is just a rumor right now. I would personally have to say by the mid-1960s, the Japanese films featuring giant beasts terrorizing the hapless citizens of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and other major cities is extremely popular then if not more today.
The first movie for the flying turtle started in 1965 with Gammera the invincible. “Can Plan “Z” Stop [Gammera the Invincible]” A warplane carrying an atomic bomb flies of course over the Arctic Ocean. Gamera shows up after the bomb test takes off for the coats of Japan saves a boy from falling off a lighthouse that he destroys, from that point on basically he is known as a Childs savior. Gamera shows up creating havoc in Japan. The Japanese have to go to plan z, and that is to trap Gamera in the nose of a rocket and then send him into space. But we all know what happens in the next movie huh …….
Gamera gone on to star in movies where battles is the strangest monsters. Barugon is one that has an odd weapon it is in a form of a rainbow. Barugon has one cool tongue that literally cools you off to the point of freezing. The Gyaos is perhaps the equivalent to Mechagodzilla, or King Ghidorah in the Godzilla series. The Gyaos is the most popular of these monsters in the Gamera series. Gyaos is a bird that has not changed much in time. It has a supersonic laser beam that shoot out of its mouth slicing through anything like butter.
There are other various creatures that Gamera has fought in the showa era. Like Jiger is a monster that does not like high frequency sounds or high pitch sounds. Viras is the strangest of them all he looks like an octopus with a pointy head. This suit looks like it is made out of a sponge like substance, and it looks really cheap.
Gamera vs Zigra is perhaps the cheesiest of all the showa Gamera movies. It has a shark from outer space that grows because of the atmosphere or climate here on Earth. Zigra’s design to me is not bad. Now Guiron is a monster with a giant blade like nose that can do damage. it chops off the head of a space Gyaos.
At this point in time somewhere in the seventies the Daiei Company went into bankruptcy. Alot of people were saying that we may never see Gamera again, but as the late eighties rolled around the start of the heisei era of monster movies were kicking into high gear. Apparently the Daiei Company conjured up enough cashola to make another Gamera movie. The Gamera movie they would be making would be taking very seriously in hopes of having a successful movie. To bring the company back on top. Well it worked Gamera guardian of the universe would only be the beginning of what I would call the most spectacular series of monster movies with the greatest special effects to date. Gamera has spawned to more great movies with Gamera looks changing through all three movies. In the first Gamera has this kind and befriended look suit. Where in Gamera vs Legion his looks are more serious. In the case of legion she is the most powerful of all the monsters within the Gamera series. Some say it is Iris, but I don’t think so. Here is the reason why I don’t think so.
Let me start out with the thought of what I think is a tough Kaiju a tough Kaiju is one that can defy just about anything, and still keep coming back. The Legion mother is one of those Kauji you might say and I would have to believe this next to Godzilla she is the toughest kaiju out there. The reason I say this is because if you see the movie she is very very resilient, Gamera threw all he could at her and what happens is nothing more than Legion laughing at Gamera. Gamera dies in this movie and is brought back to finish the Legion he tries to stop her but doesn’t even slow her down while fighting her. Gamera manages to break off her nose piece or mantels thought to be the end of her, but no no she comes back with a whip like laser that slashes through Gamera like butter. Butter I say (lol) exhausting Gamera even more well in the end Gamera manages to end her life force not by himself because he was not able to stop her.
Only himself with the earth force known as Mana blew her apart other than that this is without a doubt the toughest foe for Gamera to face. Iris is our highly tentacled friend from Gamera 3. The colors and design of Iris as she goes through her stages of growing are different in a positive way. Gamera in this movie has the best design I have ever seen on a monster. He looks like one mean nasty monster. The last movie is by a amateur director who created the last installment to complete the heisei series of Gamera movies. This is a fan film that some say was amateurish. It was even shown at a viewing with Shusuke Kaneko present at the showing of the film. He gave it a thumbs up on how good it was. I will end this with Gamera being my second favorite monster series to watch and my first when it comes to the special effects. Gamera vs Iris is without a doubt more supreme in special effects than any monster movie I have seen including GMK.