Name[edit | edit source]
Gaira's name comes from "kai" (海), a Japanese word for "sea," and "-ra" (ラ), a common suffix in kaiju names. In the script for The War of the Gargantuas, Gaira was given the name Sea Frankenstein (海フランケンシュタイン Kai Furankenshutain). In the international English export dub of The War of the Gargantuas, Gaira is called Gaillah, with the double-L sound pronounced as "Y" (STARZ's closed captions for the film spell it as Gaiya, however). In the U.S. English dub of The War of the Gargantuas, Gaira is called the Green Gargantua (グリーン・ガルガンチュア. Gurīn Garuganchua) The English subtitles for the Japanese audio on Classic Media's DVD release of the film spell Gaira's name as Gailah. In his stock footage appearance in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Gaira is called Bigfoot Gaira (人型巨大生物・ガイラ. Hito-gata Kyodai Seibutsu Gaira, lit. Giant Humanoid Creature Gaira)
Development[edit | edit source]
Following Frankenstein vs. Baragon, Toho began work on a direct sequel. Takeshi Kimura turned in the first draft of the script in January of 1966, titled The Frankenstein Brothers. Originally, Gaira was the grey-haired "Sea Frankenstein." Ishiro Honda, who directed both films and had a rare screenwriting credit on The War of the Gargantuas, felt that the new story would stand better on its own. The connections to Frankenstein vs. Baragon are diminished in the finished film.
Gaira and Sanda were designed by artist Tohl Narita, known most prominently for his work as art director on the Ultra Series. He partially based Gaira on the Gill-man from 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon, which Eiji Tsuburaya was allegedly a big fan of.
Teizo Toshimitsu prototyped and modeled the heads of the Gargantua suits, while the Yagi brothers Kanju and Yasuei, along with Eizo Kaimai, were responsible for their bodies. Kaimai stated that the suits did not use wetsuits as their cores, despite the film's extensive water scenes, as he believed the rubber material would be too restrictive to act in. Instead, they were based around boilersuit-esque garments with skin and fur directly applied. Both Gargantua suits also featured football shoulder pads to emphasize their agility and strength. For the scenes where Gaira holds people in his hands, a giant arm and hand prop was composited into the shots using a blue screen, a technique which would later be reused for King Kong in 1967's King Kong Escapes.
As the Gargantua with the most screentime, Gaira was played by Haruo Nakajima. Able to act with his eyes and wear a mask based on his own face, he would later call it his favorite role as a kaiju. As usual, he also handled the Gargantuas' fight choreography, taking inspiration from professional wrestling.
Toho reused the Sanda and Gaira suits for Go! Godman and Go! Greenman, though each featured a new headpiece. Gaira returned in the 2008 Go! Godman film, for which modeler Fuyuki Shinada created a completely new suit in the span of just four days. Inspired by the original Gargantua suits, he rigged the mask of the suit so that its jaw would move with that of suit actor Kenji Oka.
Design[edit | edit source]
Gaira resembles his "brother," Sanda, being a humanoid giant whose body is covered in fur. However, Gaira's skin and fur are a greenish color, and his fur somewhat resembles seaweed, loosely hanging on his body. The top of Gaira's head is flat, his nose is very large and wide, and he has a noticeable underbite, with two fangs on his lower jaw extending outside of his mouth.
In Go! Godman, Gaira has a new head, with no fangs on his lower jaw and a mane of brown hair around his head. In the follow-up series, Go! Greenman, Gaira's suit is worn and beginning to decay, and appears as a much darker color, with much of the suit's fur having fallen off.
In the 2008 Go! Godman film, Gaira was made to replicate his appearance in The War of the Gargantuas. This Gaira is nearly identical to his original appearance, with the exception of being a lighter shade of green.
Personality[edit | edit source]
In The War of the Gargantuas, Gaira is a brutal and violent monster that attacks virtually anything he comes into contact with. Gaira is fond of sinking ships and eating their crew, plus coming ashore to kill the helpless humans. The scientists who research Gaira suggest that Gaira became this way due to spending his life in a dark and dangerous underwater environment surrounded by hostile sea creatures, unlike Sanda, who was lovingly raised by humans.
In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Gaira is incredibly violent and despises humanity due to being experimented on by the Chinese military for several years. As a result, he attacks anything he sees after breaking free and even attacks his brother Sanda when the latter tries to stop him. Eventually, after living with his brother on the Monster Islands, Gaira becomes less aggressive and ultimately fights alongside the other Earth monsters to drive off the Trilopods in Los Angeles.
Origins[edit | edit source]
In The War of the Gargantuas, Dr. Paul Stewart proposed that Gaira was created when Sanda lost a piece of flesh at Lake Biwa. After it floated into the Pacific Ocean, it grew into Gaira by feeding on protein-rich plankton.
History[edit | edit source]
A fishing vessel under attack by a Giant Octopus found itself saved when Gaira appeared to drive off the cephalopod. Unfortunately for the crew, he then pursued and ate all but one of them. Gaira continued to menace the Japanese shores. The government contacted Dr. Paul Stewart, one of the scientists who raised a monster called Sanda, to ask if he and Gaira were one and the same. Skin samples from Gaira seemed to indicate that they were, although Stewart and his assistant Akemi found Sanda's footprints deep in the Japanese Alps. Before long, Gaira attacked Haneda Airport, devouring a woman before the sun emerged from behind the clouds, driving him back into the sea. After he attacked a nightclub in Tokyo, the JSDF began planning his demise. Helicopters lured him into the firing range of Trip Wire Cannons and Type 66 Maser Cannons, which chased him into an electrified lake. Writhing in pain, Gaira seemed doomed until Sanda came down from the mountains to rescue him.
Far from humanity, Sanda helped Gaira recover. After regaining his strength, Gaira began hunting humans once more, pursuing a group including Akemi, who stumbled off a cliff while fleeing from him. Remembering his old friend and surrogate mother, Sanda rescued Akemi, but broke his leg in the process. When he returned to Gaira and discovered evidence of his diet, Sanda battered him with a tree. Their short brawl led to Gaira retreating back to the ocean.
Having determined how Gaira emerged from Sanda, Stewart and Akemi urged the military not to launch an all-out attack against them, as it could potentially create millions of Gargantuas. Gaira, now associating lights with humanity, raided Tokyo in search of his next meal. He nearly ate Akemi again before Sanda arrived on the scene. After failing to reason with his brother, Sanda had no choice but to battle Gaira once more. Building after building fell as the JSDF joined the fray, concentrating its fire on Gaira. Eventually, their duel spilled into Tokyo Bay and out to sea. Helicopters rained explosives down on them, only to be outdone by nature. An underwater volcanic eruption soon consumed the two brothers, still locked in combat.
He of the Sun[edit | edit source]
Haruo Nakajima appeared as a suit actor named Tsunade filming a fictional kaiju movie in the second episode of the 1967 Toho television series He of the Sun, wearing the Gaira suit once more. His opponent was Kiyla, a villain from the original Ultraman.
Gaira also appeared in the Kyodai Hero series, Go! Godman where he was a rampaging beast. Once he was spotted by a group of small children, they called out in distress to their hero Godman. Zooming across the sky and descending directly in front of Gaira, Godman began to engage the monster in combat. After an exhausting duel, Godman eventually overpowered Gaira and destroyed him. Gaira was the nineteenth monster to battle Godman in the series.
Gaira too made an appearance in Go! Godman's follow-up show Go! Greenman, this time being created by Tonchiki to acquire the blood of children for his master Maoh. Similarly to his appearance in Godman, Gaira tormented a group of children before they summoned the eponymous hero, this time being Greenman. Soon, after Gaira was near defeat, the battle was halted when the monster altered his own size. Now taking on a much more giant stature, Greenman's defeat became eminent. However, Greenman was also able to grow and resumed their combat. After much more tiring attacks, Greenman summoned the Greenman Stick and destroyed Gaira with the weapon's explosive tip. Gaira was the fourth monster to battle Greenman in this show. The design is more dark colored and spiky than the original. The suit also appears to be heavily rotting, with a visible tear in the legs. In the show, Gaira has a modified Godzilla roar, with some of his original vocalizations mixed in.
Gaira emerged from a piece of Tsunozillas' destroyed body, and immediately threatened photographer Mika Ayase and traffic guard Koichi Matsushita. Koichi tried to fight him off using his signal baton to dismal results. Godman arrived to defend them, but soon found himself overwhelmed when Shilarji came to Gaira's aid. After one of his bracelets fell off, Mika returned it to him and used the Green Call to summon Greenman to the battlefield. Godman, invigorated, used a Supersonic Wave to blast both monsters to pieces.
Gaira is mentioned in the 2002 Godzilla film, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. When discussing the frequent attacks by kaiju on Japan following 1954, Prime Minister Machiko Tsuge mentioned Gaira's attack in 1966, and how Maser Cannons were implemented to battle kaiju for the first time, successfully defeating Gaira.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Physical abilities[edit | edit source]
Gaira demonstrated his strength by being able to shake a fishing vessel larger than himself violently and threw tank after tank to their doom. Like his brother Sanda, Gaira's tactics for fighting hand-to-hand include biting, strangling, kicking, and throwing.
Split-off biogenesis[edit | edit source]
Gaira has regenerative capabilities, due to being spawned by Frankenstein's immortal cells.
Intelligence[edit | edit source]
Gaira is shown to have a good deal of intelligence, but it is reduced by his violent and brutish nature.
Electrical powers[edit | edit source]
In a Japanese poster for The War of the Gargantuas, Gaira is depicted conducting electricity through his hands.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
In The War of the Gargantuas, Gaira has a strong aversion to sunlight, and will retreat whenever the sun rises. He was also highly susceptible to the JSDF's Maser Cannons, and would have likely have been killed by their electrified trap if Sanda had not saved him. Gaira also took damage from tank shells.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- The War of the Gargantuas (1966)
- He of the Sun (TV 1967) [episode 2; suit]
- Go! Godman (TV 1972) [episode 18]
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) [stock footage, erroneous]
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) [stock footage, erroneous]
- Go! Greenman (TV 1973) [episode 4]
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) [stock footage]
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) [stock footage]
- Go! Godman (2008)
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Godzilla Generations (1998) - Sega Dreamcast
- Collect Godzilla: Giant Monster Assembly (1998) - Sega Dreamcast VMU
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #5, 10-13, 20-21, 25 (2013-2015)
Gaira made his comic debut in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #5. Gaira appeared for the first time and rampaged years ago, but he was captured. He later was freed by Lucy Casprell so that he could fight Varan. At first, Gaira overpowers Varan. However, when Varan retreats to the ocean, Gaira grabs his tail and does not let go until he disappears into the sea along with Varan. Before disappearing, he saw his 'brother', Sanda, reaching out to him. Sanda then follows his 'brother's' trail as he and Varan crashed into the ocean. The two interrupted Godzilla's search for Manda, Gezora and Titanosaurus as well as scared away Godzilla's meal. Godzilla chased the twins through the ocean. Gaira, in a surprising turn, protected his brother from Godzilla's nuclear breath, running into the city for cover. It was not until Gaira's attempt to save Sanda from tank fire that the two resumed their constant battle. The battle was interrupted when the King of Monsters blasted the ground between them, and forcing the two to work together again. Later the two are seen on the new Monster Islands. Gaira was later seen coming to the rescue of his brother when the Trilopods attacked the Monster Islands, but was later captured along with Sanda and taken to the Trilopod hive with the other Earth monsters. Gaira was freed by King Caesar and joined the other monsters to assist the severely outnumbered Godzilla. Gaira and Anguirus managed to kill the Gezora-Trilopod. He later attempted to attack the massive Magita but was tossed to the side easily. After Godzilla killed Magita, Gaira, his brother, and the other monsters followed Godzilla out to sea.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Gaira/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Gaira's roars in The War of the Gargantuas are recycled roars of the Toho King Kong, while his growls are the same recycled lion growls used by Manda. Both roars and growls were made at a higher pitch. In the trailer for The War of the Gargantuas, both Gaira and Sanda possess a roar made from a combination of the roars of King Kong and Varan, although in some sections of the trailer, Gaira uses a modified Rodan cry instead. In Go! Godman, Gaira reused roars from the Ultra Series kaiju Tyrant.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- According to dialogue in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and books published for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Gaira and Sanda's appearance and battle in The War of the Gargantuas are part of that continuity of the Godzilla series.
- During the long hiatus between Terror of Mechagodzilla and The Return of Godzilla, Toho and UPA considered making a film in which Godzilla fought a Gargantua. This may have been one of the concepts they considered after Toho announced a new Godzilla film in 1978, under the vague title US-Japan Collaboration: Godzilla. Whether this would have been Sanda, Gaira, or a new monster is unknown. At some point, UPA owner Henry G. Saperstein also planned to produce a sequel to The War of the Gargantuas where Godzilla would battle a cyborg version of one of the monsters.
- Like his brother, Gaira is absent from the cave painting on Infant Island showing ancient monsters aligned with the four elements in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.
- The first draft of Destroy All Monsters included Gaira as a resident of Monsterland.
Video[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Gaira. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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