A huge turtle, Gamera suddenly appeared in the fishing village of Shima in 1973 to save its inhabitants from a flock of man-eating bat-like creatures called Gyaos. Gamera found himself outnumbered and outmatched and was forced to self-destruct in order to eliminate the Gyaos and defend the village. 33 years later, the next Gamera hatched near his final resting place and was raised by a young boy named Toru Aizawa, who named him "Toto."
To distinguish this version of Gamera from Toto, his successor, he is designated "Avant Gamera," referring to his status as the "original" Gamera.
Avant Gamera possesses light brown skin, in stark contrast to the greenish-blue skin of previous incarnations of the character. Gamera's head is relatively large, as are his eyes which are green. Gamera's teeth are very small, save for the two gigantic tusks on his lower jaw. These tusks jut out noticeably from Gamera's mouth, with his right tusk being broken. Avant Gamera has a noticeable overbite, with his lower jaw not extending forward very far. His arms and legs are covered in spikes, while his hands and feet each possess five digits with long claws. Gamera's shell is composed of ridged plates which extend partially beyond the width of his body.
Avant Gamera is a benevolent creature who selflessly intervened to defend the citizens of Shima from a Gyaos attack, even going so far as to sacrifice his own life to stop the monsters. In one of the novelizations, Avant Gamera intentionally avoided using fireballs and repeatedly tackled a Gyaos to allow humans to escape into a mountain.:13
Avant Gamera's origins are shrouded in mystery, as he simply appeared in 1973 and completely vanished after self-destructing. He is noted to resemble a gigantic turtle, but the specifics of what kind of creature he is remain a mystery. Humanity's knowledge of Avant Gamera's ability to fly indicates that the battle in Shima was not their first encounter with him; Gamera is never depicted flying in his appearance in Shima, and instead arrives from the sea in both the manga and novelization.
In 1973, the Japanese fishing village of Shima came under attack by a flock of four giant man-eating winged creatures called Gyaos. The inhabitants tried fleeing to safety, and it looked as if their village would be destroyed by the creatures. However, Gamera suddenly appeared from the nearby forest and killed one of the Gyaos with a fireball. The remaining three promptly attacked Gamera, striking him with their supersonic scalpel and knocking him to the ground. The Gyaos set upon the downed Gamera, biting and tearing off his flesh. Gamera began to glow bright red and generate intense heat. Just as the Gyaos realized what was about to happen, Gamera self-destructed, killing himself and all three Gyaos in a fiery explosion. However, Gamera's sacrifice had saved Shima, and the villagers rejoiced.
Following Gamera's sacrifice, strange red pearls were discovered around the village, which became a popular tourist item and helped boost Shima's local economy and put it on the map. Since many believed the pearls were connected to Gamera somehow, it was believed he had saved Shima in more ways than one. The Japanese government formed a task force for the investigation of monsters in the wake of Gamera's battle with Gyaos, and began gathering these pearls over the ensuing decades. By 2006, the monster task force was on the verge of being shut down due to a lack of any monster activity since 1973. However, Toru Aizawa, the son of a man who had actually witnessed Gamera's battle with Gyaos as a boy, discovered a turtle egg atop a mysterious red rock on a small island near Shima. Toru raised the turtle which hatched from the egg, naming it Toto. As the turtle grew rapidly and demonstrated unusual abilities such as flight and the ability to breathe fire, it became clear that Toto was another Gamera. Toto defended Shima from Zedus, a sea monster mutated by feeding on corpses of Gyaos, but was seriously injured in the battle. The government captured Toto and infused him with the energy extracted from the pearls the original Gamera had left behind, helping him grow larger and fight Zedus in a second battle in Nagoya. Toto finally triumphed over Zedus after absorbing the stone on which his egg had been found, and the new Gamera flew off over the horizon.
Avant Gamera can spit fireballs (火球 which are highly incendiary and deadly toward other monsters. This ability was utilized to kill one kakyū)Gyaos during Gamera's 1973 battle against the creatures. His aim is impeccable in the version of the battle included in the tie-in manga Gamera 2006: Hard Link, with all four fireballs he shoots hitting a Gyaos. In the novelization Friends: Gamera the Brave, a sonic ray from a Gyaos slices off his lower jaw, leaving him unable to use this weapon.
When overwhelmed in combat and left with no other option, Gamera can cause himself to self-destruct (自爆. Gamera overloads his internal furnace with fireballs until he begins to glow bright red and finally explodes, destroying everything in close proximity. Gamera used this self-destruction when overwhelmed by a flock of Gyaos, successfully destroying all three of them along with himself. jibaku)
Although neither Gamera the Brave nor Gamera 2006: Hard Link depict Avant Gamera flying, a webpage which Mai Nishio shows to Toru Aizawa briefly mentions that Gamera is known to fly. This form of spinning flight is called spinning jets (回転ジェット. kaiten jetto)
In the Gamera 2006: Hard Link manga, Avant Gamera finishes off a charred Gyaos by stepping on its head. Later in the battle, he hurls a Gyaos to the ground even as it blasts him with its supersonic scalpel.
In Gamera the Brave, Avant Gamera loses his footing after the Gyaos fire their supersonic scalpels at his shoulders and is quickly overwhelmed by them. Whereas in the manga, he endures dozens of rays powerful enough to pierce his chest and exit through his shell, only resorting to self-destruction when a Gyaos is in the process of ripping his throat out.
Humanity created a 99% accurate mimic of Gamera's DNA and confirmed throughout various tests that Gamera's DNA itself is a powerful counter against Gyaos' DNA. They infused this DNA into Toto in order to give him the strength to defeat Zedus.
- Gamera 2006: Hard Link (2006)
That year, a number of Original Gyaos attacked many urban areas over Japan and caused severe damage to the nation. The JGSDF lost 17% of its forces attempting to combat them. After arriving to defend the village of Shima, Gamera was attacked by five Gyaos' supersonic scalpels. Gamera shot the first Gyaos to charge him with a point-blank fireball, then killed it by stomping on its head. The three remaining Gyaos kept firing at Gamera, but he retracted into his shell and charged up a fireball which he launched at one of the Gyaos. Another Gyaos flew in and bit Gamera's arm, but Gamera threw it to the ground and killed it with a fireball. The two remaining Gyaos hovered about, and Gamera spat another fireball at them. From the smoke, one Gyaos flew toward Gamera and unleashed a flurry of beams. Gamera threw it to the ground, but the Gyaos continued its onslaught as the other Gyaos flew toward Gamera. Gamera began spurting blood as the two Gyaos feasted on his entrails. Gamera, acknowledging he had been defeated, triggered his self-destruction, killing himself along with both Gyaos.
After the battle, the Japanese government embarked on an expensive, 10-year project to recover the remains of Gamera and the Gyaos. Though its 100,000 employees found over 60,000 Gyaos samples, they were unable to locate a single cell or piece of skin from Gamera. Since the government was unable to confirm Gamera's death, it kept its anti-kaiju section (巨大生物対策審議会) funded for another 33 years, despite no further monster sightings during that time, but eventually decided to shut it down and concluded that gigantic monsters no longer existed.
After the incident, humanity launched a project to create a virtual model of Gamera's DNA and spent 22 years with the world's leading scientists. Using a large number of supercomputers to establish a pseudo-Earth-environment in the underground facility in Yokohama and the red pearls which appeared in Shima following Gamera's death, humanity managed to mimic the DNA of Avant Gamera with 99% accuracy to assist the growth of a young Gamera, Toto. Seeing the overwhelming outcome of the project, one of the 12 scientists was utterly "shocked" and was reported to have committed suicide.
- One of the novelizations notes that Avant Gamera was much larger than the 30-meter Toto, in contrast to film.:133:143
- Interestingly, the coloration of Gamera and Gyaos in Gamera the Brave reverse their coloration in the Heisei Trilogy.
- Both Avant Gamera and Toto were portrayed by stuntman Toshinori Sasaki, who played the back half of Mother Legion in Gamera 2: Attack of Legion. The front half of Legion was played by Mizuho Yoshida, who opposes Sasaki as Zedus in Gamera the Brave.
- As can be seen on a copy of the webpage which Mai Nishio cites, humanity initially speculated Avant Gamera's weight to be "40 tonnes but this could be underestimated." This data is more in line with Gamera's weight in previous films.
- The marks on the torsos of Avant Gamera and Toto may represent the Chinese character for "fire" (炎. Honō)
- The choice of Shima as the site of Avant Gamera's battle with the Original Gyaos may have been a reference to Gamera vs. Gyaos, in which the second bout between Gamera and Gyaos concluded in Ise Bay. In addition, one of the final drafts of Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris included a fight between Gamera and a flock of Hyper Gyaos around nearby Cape Irago.:261 While Daiō, the filming location of Gamera the Brave and the setting of the story, is known for the folklore of the legendary giant Daidarabotchi, it is unclear whether this affected the selection of Shima.:132
- The scene where Gyaos's Supersonic Scalpel initially strikes the foreground, then moves on to hit Avant Gamera, was based on a scrapped idea from battle of Shibuya in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.:89
Concept art of Avant Gamera in Gamera the Brave Super Complete Works.
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