The Atlanteans (超古代文明 are an advanced race of super-ancient humans. Similar to the people of Chō Kodai Bunmei, lit. Super-Ancient Civilization)Mu and Lemuria, the Atlanteans are said to have possessed a powerful and scientifically advanced civilization that was abruptly wiped out and all traces of it disappeared. The Atlanteans are an important part of the backstory behind Daiei's Heisei Gamera trilogy.
This race is usually just referred to as a "super-ancient civilization" or the Ancients (古代人 throughout the Gamera trilogy. In Kodaijin, lit. Ancient People)Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Naoya Kusanagi states that this civilization is the origin of the myth of Atlantis, which spread across many cultures and took on many different names. Western fans usually refer to the civilization as either the Atlanteans or the Ancients.
Thousands of years ago, the Atlanteans - a culture similar to the Etruscans of ancient Italy - genetically engineered the perfect organism, Gyaos, possibly as a weapon. However, the Gyaos began to reproduce out of control and turned on their creators, feeding on them and destroying their civilization. As a last-ditch effort to stop the Gyaos, the Atlanteans created Gamera, a benevolent creature with the sole duty of destroying the Gyaos and defending the planet Earth from any threats. Gamera successfully destroyed most of the Gyaos, but the Atlantean civilization was completely destroyed. Before the Atlanteans were wiped out, they sealed Gamera in an atoll with a prophetic tablet, knowing that if the Gyaos ever returned, Gamera would arise to stop them. In the present day, damage to Earth's environment by human activities caused clutches of Gyaos eggs to hatch, and three Gyaos appeared off the coast of Japan. Gamera was awakened and attempted to destroy the creatures, but the JSDF mistakenly considered him the bigger threat and attacked him. Meanwhile, the teenage Asagi Kusanagi developed a telepathic bond with Gamera after touching one of the Atlantean magatama recovered from Gamera's atoll. Gamera managed to kill two Gyaos, but the third evolved into Super Gyaos and created a nest on the Tokyo Tower. Gamera arrived in Tokyo and destroyed the nest, and after a long battle managed to kill Super Gyaos. Gamera then returned to the sea, ready to fight against any future threats.
The next year, Gamera was seemingly killed while battling the Legion. Gamera was forced to sever his link with Asagi, and therefore all of humanity, and was revived by absorbing a large portion of Earth's Mana, the energy of all life. Gamera destroyed the Legion, but had to absorb all of Earth's Mana to do so.
As thousands of evolved Hyper Gyaos appeared around the globe due to Gamera's use of all Earth's Mana to destroy Legion, another monster with ties to the Atlanteans, Iris, was awakened from a shrine in Asuka and raised by Ayana Hirasaka, a vengeful orphan who blamed Gamera for her parents' deaths. Japanese Cabinet Secretary and Shinto occultist Mito Asakura claimed to be descended from the Atlanteans, genetically and by her occult practices being descended from the methods the Atlanteans used to create and bond with the monsters. Finding out about Ayana, Mito and her accomplices kidnapped her and took her to Kyoto after she'd been hospitalized due to Iris attempting to fuse with her. The Atlantean magatama Ayana had which was tethered to Iris alerted the now-giant monster as to where Ayana was. While Gamera struggled to battle the Hyper Gyaos all across the planet, Iris wiped out an entire village and terrorized the Japanese countryside. After eradicating a JSDF platoon, Iris flew to Kyoto to again fuse with Ayana, but was intercepted by Gamera. With a recovered Ayana's command for Iris to attack Gamera, the two monsters battled in Kyoto. Mito, believing Gamera to be an evil spirit the Atlanteans regretted creating, stole Ayana's magatama and tried to call out with it for Iris to fuse with her instead. While the magatama did activate, Iris ignored the command and continued to battle Gamera ignorant of Mito's presence, causing her death via crushing when the two battling kaiju smashed into the station she was standing on. Iris gained the upper hand after impaling and seemingly defeating Gamera, giving it time to try and to merge itself with Ayana. However, intervention by Tatsunari Moribe helped Ayana come to her senses just as she was forcefully absorbed by Iris. After a repentant Ayana called out for help, Gamera recovered, stopped the fusion and tore her out of Iris. Gamera then destroyed Iris using his Mana manipulation powers, at the cost of one of his arms. Stomping on Iris' corpse and setting Ayana down, Gamera then prepared to face a swarm of thousands of Hyper Gyaos approaching the city.
The Atlanteans are proficient at genetic engineering, having bred the genetically perfect Gyaos as well as Gamera. The Atlanteans are also likely to have been skilled at harnessing and manipulating Mana, given Gamera's connection to it. The Atlanteans also created special magatama which allow the development of telepathic bonds between monsters and humans.
The Atlanteans are featured on the stage "Atlantis Rises from the Deep" in the game Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash. In this stage, crystals sent to Earth by SpaceGodzilla raise the city of Atlantis to the surface. On this stage, the player's monsters must battle against the Atlanteans' vehicles and weapons, and also battle against Manda and the Gotengo. The Atlanteans in this game are more similar to the Muans from Atragon, due to being hostile to the surface world and controlling Manda.
An illustration of the Atlanteans by designer Mahiro Maeda in a making-of book for Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
- The Atlanteans' connection to the monster Iris in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is not entirely known. A black Atlantean magatama similar to the ones found with Gamera is located in Iris' shrine, and creates the telepathic link between Ayana and Iris. In the film, it is suggested that Iris is simply the ultimate evolution of the Gyaos, due to sharing most of its DNA with Gyaos. A much darker suggestion is offered by the character Kurata Shinya. According to him, the Atlanteans may have intentionally created Iris to kill Gamera, either to prevent him from ever becoming evil or to actually allow the Gyaos to wipe out the human race. In addition, another theory is provided which suggests that Iris is the spiritual opposite to Gamera, being the equivalent of the Vermilion Bird and the "Guardian of the South." No theory about Iris' origin is ever proven, but it is certain that Iris possesses a link to the Atlanteans and is related to the Gyaos.
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