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Posts Tagged ‘Gamera’

31 Monster Toys #27: Gamera – Viras

October 27th, 2013 No comments

One of the less unlikely opponents of Japan’s favorite flying turtle, Gamera, was the space cephalopod Viras. Arriving in an interstellar craft resembling a ring of beach balls, Viras and his crew of creepy, glowing-eyed humanoids kidnapped a couple of children because, well, Gamera. When the turtle shit hit the fan, Viras sliced off the heads of his followers, revealing the squidlings hiding within. They merged into one giant space squid, therefore making it easier for Gamera to kick all of their asses simultaneously.

This vinyl figure was one of seven included in manufacturer Bandai’s 1999 Gamera Memorial Box. In case you were wondering.


Categories: Toys Tags: ,

31 Monstrous Failures #28: Zigra

October 28th, 2011 No comments

Japan’s terrible terrapin Gamera was the star of seven movies in seven years. You may be surprised to learn that they were not very good.

The last and least of his aberrant adversaries was a silver fish from beyond the stars, a finned freak known as…


He came to Earth to put human beings on his surf n’ turf platter, but he was literally defeated by a well-thrown boulder (seen above). Lodged onto Zigra’s spiky nose, the extra weight pinned him to the beach. Gamera picked up another rock to deliver the coup de grace, and…

…used Zigra’s fins as a xylophone. To play his own theme song.

If there is a sadder way to be defeated by a fire-breathing turtle, I have yet to hear of it.

Categories: Movies Tags: ,

31 (Japanese) Monsters #8: Gamera

October 8th, 2010 No comments

For every Coke, there’s a Pepsi. For every Betty, there’s a Veronica. And for every Godzilla, there must be a…


Monster Island Nickname Gammy
Hails From The Arctic
Movies Appeared In
(not counting stock footage)
12 (!)
Hobbies Befriending Children, Frisbee Golf
Quote “Raaaaaaauggh-auuggghh!”

Gamera is weird. There’s no getting around that. He’s not just a giant, prehistoric turtle; or a giant, fire-breathing, prehistoric turtle; or even a giant, fire-breathing, rocket-propelled, prehistoric turtle. Gamera is a giant, fire-breathing, rocket-propelled, prehistoric turtle who hangs out with kids.

At first, it wasn’t his idea. You see, there was this little boy who loved turtles. Everything was turtle this and turtle that until his folks–in a desperate attempt to fight off madness–ordered him to release his tortoise into the wild. Wouldn’t you know it, that’s when Gamera showed up. And naturally our chelonphiliac child assumed that the 60-meter-tall reptile who just smashed the lighthouse in which he was standing was his pet all growed up. There could be no other explanation.

And so began the relationship between a flame-belching behemoth and an entire generation of Japanese children in creepily short pants.

Other things of note about the Gamera films:

  • They were cheap, even by the standards of the giant monster subgenre.
  • They were gruesome. Gamera was frequently pierced, spewing geysers of blood. A favorite trick of his monstrous opponents was to impale his limbs, leaving him incapable of retreating into his shell.

In the ’90s, Gamera made a comeback in a surprisingly good trilogy of films. Reconceived as the bioengineered product of an ancient civilization, he was the guardian of Earth…but not necessarily of mankind.

31 (Japanese) Monsters #1: Guiron

October 1st, 2010 No comments

It’s October, which means that it’s time for another Halloween countdown!

Longtime readers (all two of you) and friends will know of my passion forĀ Godzilla and hisĀ friends. Through October 31, I’ll highlight some of the rubber-suited critters that have stomped their way into my heart!

It feels strange now, but when I was growing up I was kinda picky about my giant Japanese monsters. I found some of the ’70s Godzilla films less appealing because creatures such as the buzzsaw-chested Gigan or the drill-handed Megalon struck me as relatively unlikely even for a world in which the Frankenstein Monster grew 70 feet tall and fought a subterranean dinosaur. (See tomorrow’s post.)

That went doubly for the Gamera films. The giant turtle’s foes were especially outlandish, with only the vaguest resemblance to something found in nature. None more so than the first entry in 31 Japanese Monsters


Monster Island Nickname Ol’ Pointy
Hails From The Planet Terra (but it’s a different planet Terra)
Movies Appeared In
(not counting stock footage)
Hobbies Hitting Other Monsters with Shurikens, Scrapbooking
Quote “Rrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

Disliked by Young Dave for his inherent silliness, loved by Middle-Aged Dave for his inherent silliness, Guiron takes the Gamera foe’s tendency for built-in weaponry to its logical conclusion. As if being a crawling steak knife wasn’t enough, he also has the ability to fire shuriken stars from a hole on the side of his head.

Guiron is the guardian for two brain-eating alien women, but he is loyal only to himself. The moment their monster-control device gives out, he slices their fleeing flying saucer in half. That’ll learn ’em.