We commit to the cradle of time the Last Hope, Gamera. May he awaken with the Shadow of Evil, Gyaos.
— Inscription from the obelisk found on Gamera's atoll (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe)
In his first onscreen appearance, Gamera was an ancient creature disturbed from his rest under the Arctic ice by a nuclear blast. Gamera came to Japan and rampaged across the nation, but was trapped inside a rocket and launched into space on a one-way trip to Mars. In the next film, Gamera vs. Barugon, after the rocket carrying him to Mars was struck by a meteor, causing an explosion that destroyed the rocket and freed him, Gamera returned to Earth, where he battled the monster Barugon. This quickly established Gamera as the lesser of two evils compared to the other monsters that would frequently menace Japan, such as Gyaos, Viras, Jiger and Zigra. Gamera would return several times to fend off these creatures, be they ancient reawakened evils or extraterrestrial invaders. He also developed a strong affinity for the children of Earth, coming to their aid whenever they were placed in danger by other monsters or alien invaders. Eventually, Gamera was seen as a full-fledged hero and friend to the children of the world instead of a rampaging monster.
The Gamera series was rebooted in 1995 with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. This time, Gamera was a guardian genetically engineered by the ancient civilization of Atlantis to defend the world from their previous creations: the man-eating flying monsters known as Gyaos. Gamera was able to keep the Gyaos under control, but the Atlantean civilization was completely destroyed in the struggle. Gamera remained sealed away inside a rocky atoll for thousands of years before rising again in the modern day to battle the Gyaos, which had been reawakened by humanity's rampant pollution of the Earth. While the human race feared Gamera at first, they eventually joined his side to battle Gyaos and the extraterrestrial Legion creatures that arrived on Earth a year later. By 1999, the Gyaos had begun to overrun the world, while an ancient demonic creature called Iris was awakened from its shrine by a vengeful young woman who blamed Gamera for her parents' deaths. To make matters worse, the destruction Gamera caused in his crusade against Gyaos led humanity to turn against him and deem him an enemy. In his darkest hour, Gamera was able to triumph over Iris and bring humanity back to his side, just in time to face an oncoming swarm of thousands of Gyaos.
Gamera's most recent onscreen appearance was the 2006 film Gamera the Brave. A stand-alone film, it told the story of a young boy named Toru who came upon a bizarre glowing egg on a small island, which hatched into a baby turtle he named Toto. As Toto grew and began demonstrating unusual abilities such as flight and the ability to spit fire, Toru realized that his pet was the reincarnation of Gamera, who sacrificed himself to kill a flock of Gyaos in 1973. Toto finally grew into the new Gamera just in time to confront Zedus, a man-eating reptilian sea monster that began terrorizing Japan.
Though a new film featuring Gamera has not formally been announced since the release of Gamera the Brave, the character was featured in a 2015 short film directed by Katsuhito Ishii, which was made to commemorate the character's 50th anniversary. Gamera has also made several appearances in non-film media such as comic books and manga, novels, and video games.
This is an overview page. To view information on specific incarnations of Gamera, please visit the Gamera incarnation subpages.
Name[edit | edit source]
Gamera's name comes from the Japanese word kame (カメ), meaning "turtle," and -ra (ラ), a common suffix in kaiju names. The "k-" sound at the beginning of Gamera's name may have been changed to a "g-" sound to avoid making the monster's name sound like the word "camera," which is spelled カメラ in Japanese. In the United States theatrical release of his debut film, Gamera's name was spelled as Gammera, with an additional "m." All subsequent American releases of Gamera's films dropped the second "m." Latin scriptwriting in Gamera's debut film and English-language materials for the film Gamera vs. Viras spelled his English name as Gamela. In Bandai's 1995 Gamera: High Grade toy line, Gamera's English name was spelled Gamara.
Design[edit | edit source]
Unlike any other species of turtle, Gamera has the habit of walking bipedally rather than on all fours, though he occasionally walks quadrupedally in the Showa films. Gamera is capable of using his upper limbs in the same manner as Godzilla, as his forelegs have appendages much closer in construction to hands than feet, and is capable of grappling with opponents and manipulating objects. His mouth is filled with teeth, unlike any living modern turtle (several types of extinct prehistoric turtle were toothed, however), with a pair of large tusks protruding upward from his lower jaw. Gamera is also usually seen with very large human-like eyes, adding intelligence to his overall appearance. In the Heisei trilogy, Gamera has retractable bone spikes in each of his elbows.
Personality[edit | edit source]
In his earliest film appearances, Gamera is portrayed as an aggressive and destructive creature that deliberately lays waste to Japan after being awakened. However, he is shown to not be truly malevolent, as he actively saves a young boy at one point. After defeating the much more dangerous monster Barugon, Gamera is gradually seen as a heroic defender of Japan against other monsters. Gamera begins to actively rescue children from other monsters and alien invaders, while fending off attacks on Japanese soil by enemy monsters. Gamera also no longer attacks human settlements, except when temporarily mind-controlled by the Virasians.
In the Heisei trilogy, Gamera is portrayed as being actively concerned for the well-being of the planet from the very beginning, consistent with his creation as a guardian of Earth. When given the opportunity, Gamera will actively protect humans, especially children. However, Gamera will show a disregard for destruction and death he causes as collateral damage when he is preoccupied with stopping a pressing threat. This is most pronounced in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe when he leaves a path of destruction through Fukuoka while trying to reach the Gyaos trapped in the Fukuoka Dome, and even more so in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris when he kills thousands of people while trying to stop two Hyper Gyaos in Shibuya. In the latter example, Gamera does take a moment during the battle to actively save a young boy from a Hyper Gyaos. Gamera never once retaliates against the military when he is attacked, even when he is actually injured by them. Asagi Kusanagi, who forms a psychic link with Gamera that allows her to read his thoughts, says that Gamera actively fights for all life on Earth, and humans are just one thing on that list. Gamera tirelessly battles against the Gyaos, as he was created to destroy them, and it is suggested in Gamera 3 that he has traveled around the world to hunt down and destroy all the Gyaos that have appeared. By the film's end, after he has been horribly maimed by Iris, Gamera prepares to face down a swarm of thousands of Hyper Gyaos.
Origins[edit | edit source]
In the Showa series of films, Gamera was a gigantic prehistoric species of turtle who fed on flames and other sources of heat, light and electrical energy, reawakened by an accidental atomic blast in the Arctic during a dogfight between American and Soviet fighters. In the original film, it is mentioned that Gamera had appeared before, from pictographs depicting Gamera and warning of his ability of flight. It is also suggested that Gamera was part of a species of gigantic turtles that inhabited the lost continent of Atlantis, though this is not explained in great depth. Gamera's original origins are largely unknown in the Showa era, as there is no indication that he was a mutation in his debut film. Gamera was already capable of flight and breathed true flames, rather than radioactive energy when he was reawakened, and while it was known that he fed on flames (and even radioactive materials such as plutonium, much like his counterpart, Godzilla), no explanation for these powers was given. It was also left unexplained as to why he attacked most of humanity in general, yet spared the life of (and indeed actively saved) a young boy who became central to the original film's plot. This later led to him being referred to as the 'friend to all children in the world' in future films.
In the U.S. version of Gamera's debut film, Gammera the Invincible, it is theorized that Gamera is not a carbon-based life form, but rather a silicon or metallic-based one; the sole multicellular biological survivor from a period in Earth's history where creatures did not require oxygen to live, and instead subsided on certain chemical compounds found in contemporary natural gas and petroleum, explaining his fire-eating characteristics, and (unintentionally at the time) his ability to survive in a vacuum environment, such as outer space.
In the Heisei trilogy, Gamera was given a new and much more directly heroic origin. In Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, it is explained that Gamera is a bio-engineered guardian of the Earth created by the lost civilization of Atlantis with the purpose of defeating Gyaos, another one of the civilization's ancient creations capable of killing all human life. In the modern day, Gamera is found floating adrift in the Pacific, encased in rock and mistaken for an atoll. Within the rock, investigators discover a large monolith explaining Gamera's purpose, as well as dozens of magatama, which allow a psychic link between Gamera and humans. In the third film of the Heisei era, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, an undersea graveyard is found with many other Gamera skeletons, suggesting that the Atlanteans created several other prototype guardians before finally creating Gamera. One character in the film refers to these skeletons as "beta versions" of Gamera, possible failures in Atlantis' attempts to create the final version. Another scene provides Gamera with a link to Asian folklore, with a character relating a story in which a giant tortoise is considered the Guardian of the North, with separate, rival creatures defending the East, West, and South.
Gamera's continuity was rebooted again in Gamera the Brave. The film begins with the original Gamera sacrificing himself to destroy a flock of Gyaos sometime in 1973. Decades later, a young boy named Toru finds a strange, glowing red rock near his home, with a small egg lying on top of it. A fairly normal-looking baby turtle soon hatches from the egg, but begins to grow at an alarming rate. The turtle, named "Toto" by his child owner, also quickly develops Gamera's traditional abilities to breathe fire and fly, and attempts to ward off another attacking monster called Zedus, but is too weak to succeed. Only after eating the glowing rock found with its egg does the new Gamera achieve its full power, defeating his enemy and flying off into the sky.
Incarnations[edit | edit source]
These are incarnations of Gamera that have their own pages or subpages devoted to them.
- Showa Gamera (Gamera through Gamera: Super Monster)
- Heisei Gamera (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe through Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris)
- Avant Gamera (Gamera the Brave)
- Toto (Gamera the Brave)
History[edit | edit source]
The Showa series of Gamera films is comprised of eight films, beginning with 1965's Gamera and concluding with Gamera: Super Monster in 1980. The series began as an attempt by Daiei to capitalize on the success of Toho's Godzilla films, but gradually developed its own identity as a series of kaiju films aimed towards children, an appeal the Godzilla series quickly tried to emulate in the 1970s. Despite director Noriaki Yuasa's interest in continuing the series following the 1971 release of Gamera vs. Zigra, the studio's bankruptcy brought the series to an untimely end. Daiei was later purchased and reorganized by publisher Tokuma Shoten and a new entry in the Showa Gamera series was released in 1980. Titled Gamera: Super Monster, the film's reduced budget forced the filmmakers to mostly rely on stock footage from the previous seven films, and it proved a critical and financial failure. The series was once again placed on hiatus.
During a dogfight between American and unidentified foreign planes in the Arctic, one of the foreign planes crashed and a nuclear bomb it was carrying detonated, the explosion causing the ice to split open. Gamera emerged from under the ice, destroyed a nearby research ship, and began approaching Japan. The JSDF developed a plan to temporarily freeze Gamera and then flip him onto his back using dynamite, believing that once that happened, Gamera would be helpless. The plan was put into action, and succeeded in flipping Gamera onto his back. Just when Gamera appeared to be doomed, however, he withdrew his head, limbs, and tail into his shell, while fire began to spew out from the limbs' holes. Gamera began to spin like a disc and took flight, flying deeper into the country. As Gamera laid waste to Tokyo, the JSDF developed a new plan to stop him, code-named "Plan Z." Gamera was baited with fire into a large rocket, which closed and trapped him inside. The rocket then took off and carried Gamera into space on a one-way trip to Mars, saving Japan from the monster's wrath.
Six months after being launched into space, the rocket carrying Gamera to Mars was struck by a meteor, causing an explosion that destroyed the rocket and freed the monster. Gamera flew back to Earth and landed in Japan, where he destroyed Kurobe Dam before taking off and flying away again. Meanwhile, an opal brought back to Japan by a thief was revealed to be the egg of a giant lizard called Barugon, which, after his hatching, grew even larger from exposure to an infrared lamp. Barugon then rampaged through the Japanese countryside, eventually attacking Osaka. Gamera was attracted by the creature's presence, and confronted Barugon near Osaka Castle. After a brief battle, Barugon froze Gamera solid with his ice breath, then left him for dead in the castle's moat. While Barugon engaged in several confrontations with the JSDF, Gamera thawed out and pursued his enemy. Gamera re-engaged Barugon near the ocean, overpowering him and dragging him into deep water, where Barugon finally drowned and dissolved. His enemy vanquished, Gamera flew away without causing any further destruction.
Gamera appeared during a volcanic eruption to feed on the flames. He then hid in a mountainside until the monster Gyaos appeared from a cave. Gamera fought Gyaos and drove him back into his cave, although his arm was almost cut off. He then saved the child Gyaos was trying to eat and flew him back home. He then returned to the sea to heal his wound. Gamera later returned to attack Gyaos as the creature was attacking a city. He fought Gyaos in the air before he was thrown into the water. He managed to bite off Gyaos' foot before the creature escaped. Gyaos was lured to a container of artificial blood by the JSDF, where the hoped to trap the creature until sunrise, hoping the light would kill the creature. The plan failed, and Gyaos destroyed the trap, producing a fire that attracted Gamera again. This time, Gamera overpowered Gyaos and dragged the creature into the crater of an active volcano, killing it. Gamera then flew away, leaving Japan safe.
A group of aliens known as Virasians approached Earth, intending to conquer it, but their ship was intercepted and destroyed by Gamera. A group of reinforcements arrived and attached a mind control device onto Gamera, forcing him to attack Japan. Two children sabotaged the mind control, and Gamera turned on the Virasians. The Virasians then combined into their collective form, the giant squid-like monster Viras. Gamera and Viras battled on land and underwater, with Viras eventually impaling Gamera's stomach with its pointed head. Gamera took flight and flew into the atmosphere with Viras stuck to his chest, where Viras began to freeze. Gamera then spun until Viras was detached and plummeted into the ocean below, where it exploded. Victorious, Gamera bid farewell to the children that helped him and flew away.
Gamera came to an alien planet called Terra after a pair of brain-eating aliens captured two boys in their spaceship. Shortly after the Terrans' guardian monster Guiron fought and killed a Space Gyaos, Gamera fought Guiron, and was considered dead after Guiron lacerated his temples with his shurikens. Ultimately, Gamera was revived and confronted Guiron once again. This time, Gamera flipped Guiron upside down, sticking his blade-tipped head in the ground, grabbed a rocket and lodged it into a hole in the side of Guiron's head, then ignited it with his fire breath. The rocket exploded, blowing off Guiron's head. Gamera helped repair the spaceship that brought the boys to Terra, then helped them get back to Earth.
Gamera appeared after a large statue called the Devil's Whistle was removed from Wester Island. Later, the female monster Jiger, awakened by the statue's removal, appeared from a volcano, and Gamera went over to fight her. Jiger fired quills at Gamera's arms and legs, keeping him from being able to withdraw into his shell (thus making him unable to fly) and allowing her to continue her rampage. Gamera painfully removed the quills and pursued Jiger, confronting her again in Osaka. Gamera held the upper hand in the fight until Jiger extended a stinger from her tail and stabbed Gamera in the chest. Gamera staggered away and fell headfirst into Osaka Bay, where his body slowly began to turn a deathly white. Jiger took the opportunity to toss the Devil's Whistle into the water and resumed her rampage across Japan. A group of children used a mini-sub to go into Gamera's body and find the cause of his discoloration. Inside, they discovered that Jiger had infected Gamera with her parasitic offspring. The children fought and killed the baby Jiger and escaped from Gamera's body. They then convinced the JSDF to revive Gamera using electricity. After being revived, Gamera flew to Expo '70 and battled Jiger once again. Jiger used all of her attacks to try and fight off Gamera, but Gamera body-slammed into Jiger and stunned her. Gamera then recovered the Devil's Whistle from the ocean and shoved the statue through Jiger's skull, killing her. Gamera then flew back to Wester Island with Jiger's carcass.
Gamera came to the rescue to save a pair of children from the alien invader known as Zigra and his brainwashed human slave Lora Lee. After Gamera saved the children, Zigra took matters into his own hands and revealed himself as a kaiju-sized fish creature. Zigra engaged Gamera in battle underwater, overpowering him with his superiority in underwater combat. Gamera was revived by a bolt of lightning and attacked Zigra again, throwing him onto land, where he was rendered helpless. Gamera used a rock to play his theme song on Zigra's dorsal fin like a xylophone, then killed Zigra by burning him alive with his fire breath.
As the captain of the spaceship Zanon approached Earth to invade it, a young boy on Earth purchased a pet turtle from a local pet store. Believing the turtle would be happier in the wild, the boy let his turtle go into the ocean. Miraculously, the turtle transformed into Gamera and prepared to stop the captain's plan. The captain sent his agent Giruge to sabotage the Spacewomen's attempts to stop him, while deploying an army of mind-controlled monsters to kill Gamera. Gamera took on and defeated the monsters deployed by the captain: Gyaos, Zigra, Viras, Jiger, Guiron and Barugon, while Giruge betrayed her superior and sacrificed herself to stop him. Gamera then flew into space and collided with Zanon, sacrificing himself to destroy the spacecraft and end its captain's scheme once and for all.
Following its failed revival with Gamera: Super Monster, the Gamera series remained on hiatus until the series' 30th anniversary in 1995. Daiei hired little-known director Shusuke Kaneko to direct a reboot to the Gamera series, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The film, distributed by Daiei's longtime rival company Toho, proved a remarkable success with critics and in the box office, and inspired Daiei to produce two sequels, each with more lavish budgets than the first film. Kaneko's Gamera trilogy became some of the most respected and popular kaiju films ever produced, despite budgets only a fraction of the size of the contemporary Godzilla films.
In the early 2000s, Daiei was acquired by the Kadokawa Corporation, who began production on a 40th anniversary film. The film, Gamera the Brave, was released in 2006 to a mediocre box office performance despite decent reception. The film's poor performance placed the series on hiatus for another decade. Despite being released in the 2000s and not sharing continuity with Kaneko's Gamera trilogy, Gamera the Brave is counted as part of the Heisei series.
The plutonium transport ship Kairyu-Maru ran aground on a floating atoll in the waters off Japan, narrowly avoiding a disastrous radiation leak. A joint government-private sector expedition was sent to investigate the atoll, discovering various small orichalcum beads and a large ancient tablet in the center of the atoll. Suddenly, the atoll began to shake and break apart, revealing the monster Gamera within it. Gamera swam to Fukuoka, where the JSDF had trapped two giant man-eating bat-like creatures called Gyaos, with one escaping. Gamera killed the escaped Gyaos as it tried to fly out over the ocean, then proceeded towards the Fukuoka Dome. The Gyaos sensed Gamera's approach and escaped, with Gamera taking flight and pursuing them. When the Gyaos attacked a village in the Japanese countryside, Gamera arrived and killed one with a fireball. The second Gyaos fought Gamera briefly before retreating. Despite insistence from witnesses that Gamera was trying to save them from the Gyaos, and the ancient prophecy on the tablet claiming he was destined to stop the Gyaos, the JSDF designated him as the larger threat and attacked him at Mount Fuji. As Gamera was attacked, the Gyaos swooped down and attacked him as well. Seriously wounded, Gamera fled to the ocean floor to recover. Asagi Kusanagi, a teenage girl that had formed a telepathic bond with Gamera through one of the orichalcum beads, claimed to be able to read his thoughts and insisted he was fighting to save the world. The last surviving Gyaos, meanwhile, evolved into Super Gyaos and descended on Tokyo, plunging the capital into a state of panic. After recovering from his wounds, Gamera traveled to Tokyo and destroyed Super Gyaos' nest, then engaged it in battle. After battling Super Gyaos in the city and in the skies, Gamera was sent crashing into a refinery and was consumed by flames. As Super Gyaos believed itself victorious, it witnessed Gamera absorb the fire and blast it with a giant plasma fireball, which instantly decapitated Super Gyaos. Gamera roared victoriously before swimming back out to the sea.
One year after Gamera defeated the Gyaos, an alien species called the Symbiotic Legion arrived on Earth in a meteor and planted a gigantic plant in Hokkaido. As the plant prepared to launch its seed into space, which would annihilate the surrounding area in the process, Gamera arrived and destroyed it. Enraged, the Soldier Legion swarmed Gamera, biting into his shell and drawing blood. Eventually, the Legion were distracted by nearby power lines, giving Gamera the chance to fly away and escape. The gigantic leader of the Legion, the Mother Legion, traveled with her swarm to Sendai and planted a new flower. The JSDF began evacuating citizens before the flower could seed, but the helicopters transporting the civilians were prevented from taking off when the Mother Legion attacked the Sendai airfield. Sensing his human counterpart Asagi Kusanagi was on one of the choppers, Gamera arrived and attacked the Legion, holding her off long enough for the choppers to escape. Legion gored Gamera with her sharp legs and blew his shoulder off with her laser beam, then left him for dead as the flower began to seed. Gamera limped to the flower and held himself in front of it when it seeded, preventing the seed from launching but falling victim to a nuclear force explosion that leveled the entire city. Gamera was apparently killed by the explosion, giving the Legion free reign to move on to Tokyo, which was still recovering from the previous year's battle. Several people, including Asagi, surrounded the fallen Gamera, praying for him to recover. Asagi held out the bead that bonded her to Gamera, which shattered in her hand as huge amounts of energy were absorbed by Gamera's body. Gamera was revived and flew to Tokyo to stop the Legion, while Asagi noticed that her bond with Gamera had been broken. Gamera engaged the Mother Legion outside of Tokyo while the JSDF trapped and annihilated the Soldier Legion. Despite his best efforts, Gamera was unable to defeat Legion. Now completely out of options, Gamera absorbed a large portion of Earth's mana energy, which gave him enough power to perform his ultimate attack: the Ultimate Mana Blast. Gamera's plastron opened and fired a huge beam of plasma that vaporized the Mother Legion. Gamera looked at the JSDF forces that had aided him before roaring victoriously and flying away. Realizing Gamera's dedication to defending Earth from any threat, humanity was left to wonder of the consequences if he ever deemed it a threat to Earth.
Gamera's use of Earth's mana to revive himself and defeat Legion severely depleted its presence on Earth, allowing clutches of Gyaos eggs across the globe to hatch and evolve into more powerful forms called Hyper Gyaos. Gamera, believing himself responsible for this situation, traveled across the globe aggressively hunting down and eliminating all of the Gyaos he could find. When two Hyper Gyaos appeared in Shibuya, Gamera arrived and caused horrific destruction and countless deaths in his attempts to kill them. The JSDF determined that Gamera was now their enemy and decided to hunt him down and kill him. Meanwhile, a girl named Ayana Hirasaka, who blamed Gamera for her parents' deaths during his battle with Super Gyaos in 1995, discovered a strange creature in a shrine, which she named Iris (after her dead pet cat) and began to raise in the hopes it would one day kill Gamera and take revenge for her. When its attempt to bond itself to Ayana failed and she was taken away, Iris rampaged through the village where she lived and killed countless villagers before escaping to the countryside. When Iris detected Ayana was in Kyoto, it began to fly there, attacking J.A.S.D.F. planes along the way. Gamera arrived and attacked Iris in the air, but was shot out of the sky by the jets, who still believed him to be the bigger threat. Iris arrived in Kyoto as a typhoon struck the city, intent on recovering Ayana. When Gamera touched down in the city, Ayana ordered Iris to kill him. Gamera and Iris battled in downtown Kyoto, setting the city ablaze. Iris impaled Gamera with its spear-tipped arm, and the two monsters tackled each other into the Kyoto train station. Gamera fell unconscious from his wounds and appeared dead, leaving Iris to bond with Ayana. Iris forced Ayana into its chest against her will, showing her visions of the people it had killed. Gamera regained consciousness and interrupted the fusion by punching into Iris' chest and grabbing Ayana. Iris reacted by impaling Gamera's hand against a wall with its spear hand, then drained his blood through it. Iris copied Gamera's plasma fireballs and prepared to fire them at Gamera. Gamera used a fireball to sever his own hand, then caught Iris' fireballs with the stump, using his mana manipulation powers to form a fiery plasma fist. Gamera plunged this fist into Iris' chest wound, causing the creature to explode from the inside out. Gamera set Ayana down in front of Asagi Kusanagi and her friend Mayumi Nagamine, who tried desperately to revive her. Gamera roared loudly, causing Ayana to awaken. Ayana wondered why Gamera saved her, then began to sob and beg for forgiveness. Sensing a swarm of thousands of Hyper Gyaos approaching, the wounded Gamera exited the station and waited for their arrival. Nagamine remarked that it appeared Gamera would continue to fight, even if alone, while Asagi stated that Gamera was not alone, knowing humanity was ready to fight by his side once more.
- Main article: Toto.
In 1973, Gamera appeared to save a Japanese village from a swarm of Gyaos. Gamera was severely wounded by the Gyaos' sonic beams and overwhelmed by their numbers, so he self-destructed, taking the Gyaos with him. Gamera's sacrifice was gradually forgotten - the country was now at peace after 33 years without any monsters appearing, and Gamera was seen as a memory of a time when Japan was constantly besieged by disastrous monster attacks. Over 30 years later, a boy named Toru discovered a turtle egg on a glowing red rock on an island near his home. The egg hatched into a baby turtle that Toru named "Toto," a nickname his late mother once called him. As Toto grew, he began demonstrating unusual abilities, including flight and the ability to spit fireballs. Toru gradually began to realize that Toto was a baby Gamera, and started to hide him in a barn as he grew increasingly larger. Eventually, Toto escaped, much to Toru's dismay. When a giant sea lizard called Zedus attacked Toru's village, Toto reappeared, now eight meters in height. Toto battled Zedus while Toru and his family escaped, but was brutally maimed and nearly killed by the more powerful Zedus. The JSDF captured the comatose Toto, believing him to be the reincarnation of Gamera and the only chance to stop Zedus. When Zedus attacked Nagoya, Toto escaped from the facility where he was being held and, now grown to 30 meters in height, attacked Zedus again. Toto was still no match for Zedus, and was tossed headfirst into a skyscraper. Toru ran to the building and approached Toto, begging for him to not sacrifice himself like his predecessor did 33 years before. Toru presented Toto with the stone his egg had been found on. When Toto ate it, he was re-energized and began to fly, slamming into Zedus and knocking him off the building. Toto and Zedus battled again in the street, with Zedus launching his tongue at Toto. Toto caught the tongue and tore it out, leaving Zedus reeling in pain. Toto then launched a fireball at Zedus, which collided with the beast's head and killed him in a fiery explosion. Toto then collapsed from exhaustion, and was surrounded by the JSDF. Toru and several other children blocked the JSDF from attacking Toto, giving him time to recover and fly away. As Toto flew off into the horizon, Toru tearfully said "Sayonara...Gamera."
In the 2015 short film first shown at the New York Comic-Con to celebrate Gamera's 50th anniversary, Gamera is shown killing a swarm of Gyaos in Tokyo 10 years in the past, at the cost of thousands of human lives. Ten years later, a new tentacled kaiju appears in Tokyo, and Gamera arrives to battle it.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
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Gamera's carapace (upper shell) is extremely resilient and strong. Missiles and other weaponry merely bounce off of it, along with most of his opponents' attacks. There have been a few times where his shell has faltered, most notably when Guiron hammered at the same spot several times and began cutting through. Gyaos' Supersonic Scalpel, Zigra's Paralyzing Beam, and Barugon's Rainbow Death Ray cannot penetrate Gamera's shell, shown in the films when he withdraws into his shell to avoid the attacks. Gamera's plastron (lower shell), however, is softer and not as resilient, and he has been cut and gouged in his stomach to the point of bleeding (his blood is blue in the Showa era films, but green in the Heisei era films). This is most visible when Viras impales his stomach with the tip of its head, and when Iris impales Gamera straight through his entire body by stabbing him through the stomach.
In the original film, it was said that Gamera's cellular tissue was so dense that conventional weapons were useless against him. However, in the Heisei series, tanks were able to injure Gamera to some extent, while he was easily knocked out of the sky by missiles.
In the Showa series, Gamera fed on fire and was attracted by other heat sources, such as power plants and Barugon's Rainbow Death Ray, and in his first movie he was lured into a rocket by fire. He could breathe intensely hot streams of flames from his mouth when caught in a dangerous situation. The Heisei version, on the other hand, could fire explosive plasma fireballs from his mouth, usually very quickly, and with varying accuracy. At the end of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera absorbs fire and fires a "Super-Powered" plasma fireball and in Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion, he breathes in the oxygen produced by a Legion plant and fires an "Oxygen-Powered" plasma fireball. The Heisei version could also absorb and manipulate "mana", or the living essence and energy of life on Earth, and release an extremely powerful stream of pure plasma and fire from an opened, organic "cannon" in his chest. In Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Gamera blasted his own arm off, absorbed plasma fireballs shot by Iris and used his arm stump to grow back his arm in a plasma form. From this, it appears Gamera has the ability to manipulate fire. However, as shown in this film, this ability to regenerate limbs in plasma form seems to be only temporary, as the plasma arm disappeared after defeating Iris.
Perhaps most famously, Gamera also has the ability to fly. Generally Gamera will pull his arms, legs, head, and tail into his shell, fire flames out of his arm and leg cavities and spin around like a Frisbee. This mode of flight had an added advantage in the later films, where he would use 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 his legs and/or tail in, fires flames from the leg cavities, and flies like a jet plane. In the Heisei era films, Gamera's arms would extend and stretch out into wings similar to the flippers of a sea turtle while 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 era 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 injured, Gamera can enter a coma-like state in order to heal himself, often after retreating to a location where he can avoid being detected, which can also trick his opponents into thinking they killed him, allowing Gamera to mount a surprise attack after he recovers.
Gamera's only major weakness is cold. The monster Barugon was able to achieve success against Gamera using his freezing spray, and scientists nearly defeated Gamera during his first appearance using special cadmium freezing bombs. This weakness was only shown in the first two Showa films (Gamera and Gamera vs. Barugon), and has not been explored since. Gamera's internal organs are also vulnerable to parasitic actions, as shown when he fainted and turned a deathly white when the baby Jiger was growing in his lungs.
Body Mechanisms (Showa)[edit | edit source]
- Oil Bag: Gamera can drink oil and similar liquids, which are stored in this organ.
- Coal Sack: Gamera can eat coal; like the Oil Bag, its contents are sent to the Melting Furnaces.
- Melting Furnaces: Gamera can ingest coal, oil, fire, magma and uranium and they are sent here to be burned.
- Thermal Energy Conversion Intestines: This is where burned material is converted into thermal energy.
- Thermal Energy Heart: Works like the hearts of other organisms, but because it was made for thermal energy it has extraordinary power in comparison.
- High Fever Muscles: Gamera's muscles can produce 10,000 times the force of any human, can withstand high temperatures (High Fever) more so than any conventional metal, and are very durable.
- Shell: Gamera's carapace (upper shell) is known for its invulnerability; the only known time it has been breached was by Guiron, who struck the same place over and over again. His plastron (lower shell) does not have this resistance, however.
- Electric Shell Spikes: Spikes on Gamera's shell can store and emit electricity.
- Poison Claws: Gamera's claws can emit poisonous liquid which stuns enemies.
- Tail: Gamera can use his tail to attack foes.
Body Mechanisms (Heisei)[edit | edit source]
- Cells: Because of his superior ability to regenerate, Gamera can recover quickly even when wounded.
- Shell: Compared to his Showa counterpart, its defensive abilities have fallen. It can withstand Gyaos' ultrasonic scalpel, but could not completely withstand the missile assault from the JSDF, resulting in him being knocked out of the sky. Legion was also able to damage it with its attacks.
- Power: Gamera possesses superhuman strength; with physical strength alone Gamera was able to tear off Legion's nose horn.
- Gamera's Brain: Gamera's semicircular canal was developed to withstand his rotation; even in disk flight his eyes and brain are unaffected by the rapid spinning. Gamera was also made to be very intelligent.
- Telepathy Brain: Gamera was created to communicate with people using the jewels left behind by the ancient civilization. With these, he could sense Asagi Kusanagi's spirit.
- Thermal Energy Conversion Reactor (Plasma Conversion Furnace): Gamera's blood can absorb heat, flames, high voltage current and nuclear fuel. These energies are converted into electrons, protons and atomic nuclei and stored as plasma energy to be used. Life energy from the Earth, mana, can be converted as well. The power level of the total release of plasma is unknown.
- Elbow Claws: Sharp nails on both elbows; they are strong enough to tear into the flesh of a Gyaos. In Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion they could also damage Legion, who lost her Egg Chambers to them. Originally they were tucked away inside the body, in the second movie they were always out by default and in the third movie they had two tips for extra damage.
- Chromosomal Manipulation: Like the Gyaos of the Heisei era, Gamera could manipulate his own genetic structure to adapt to his environments. Although his mass never changed, his appearance altered over the course of the three movies as his body evolved for combat.
Techniques (Heisei Gamera trilogy)[edit | edit source]
- Hard Slap: Hand strikes mainly used in dogfights.
- Lashing Claws: An attack to tear into the flesh of the opponent using his sharp claws. Used to take Ayana out of Iris' body.
- Break Fang: A bite attack using sharp fangs and a strong jaw. The grip is so secure Gyaos had to cut off its own leg to free itself.
- Shell Cutter: A body attack using the rotating shell and the shell's sharp edges; used against Iris.
- Plasma Fireball: Gamera's special signature move; in the throat oxygen and plasma energy from the body's chamber are combined and compressed together. The condensed energy is ejected from the mouth as a fireball with an Ultra Discharge phenomenon.
- High Plasma: A Plasma Fireball shot at an output of at least 120% its normal power. It was used in the first film after absorbing fire from the explosion in the oil refinery and in the second after inhaling the oxygen-rich atmosphere made by a Legion Plant. The second instance showcased Gamera's lung power, as his inhalation created hurricane-force winds.
- Ultimate Plasma: Gamera summons energy from Earth, called mana, and absorbs it into his body, pushing the limits of his Plasma Furnace to the point that Gamera's plastron (lower shell) opens and the energy is expelled outward. It is said it can only be used once during Gamera's lifetime; whether this is because of the strain on his body or the effects on Earth is unknown. Due to the large amount of mana absorbed, the technique has adverse affects on the global ecosystem, resulting in the outbreaks of Gyaos worldwide.
- Banishing Fist: A one-shot technique used against Iris, Gamera absorbed the plasma Iris fired and used the stump of the hand he blew off to create a fist of plasma by manipulating the energy.
- Human Wound Healing: At the end of the Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera instantly healed scars on Asagi Kusanagi's arm and cheek.
Techniques (Gamera the Brave)[edit | edit source]
- Fireball Ejection Suicide: Avant Gamera overloads his internal furnace until he explodes; used to destroy the Gyaos.
- Fireball Ejection: Toto emits a powerful fireball from his mouth, overloading his furnace in a similar manner as the Fireball Ejection Suicide. This attack completely destroyed Zedus.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Gamera (1965)
- Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
- Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
- Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
- Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
- Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
- Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
- Gamera: Super Monster (1980)
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
- Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion (1996)
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
- The Great Yokai War (2005) [mentioned]
- Gamera the Brave (2006)
- GAMERA (2015) [short film]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Gamera: Gyaos Destruction Strategy (1995) - Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Gamera: The Time Adventure (1995) - Bandai Playdia
- Gamera: 2000 (1997) - Sony PlayStation
- CR Gamera (2009) - Pachinko
- Gamera: Battle (2012) - iOS
- Monster Gear (2015) - Android, iOS
- City Shrouded in Shadow (2017) - Sony PlayStation 4
- Symphogear XD UNLIMITED (2020) - Android
Gamera is featured in the survival RPG City Shrouded in Shadow developed by Granzella and Bandai Namco for the PlayStation 4. Gamera appears on the game's second stage, the second part of the 10th stage, and the 16th stage. On the second and 16th stages, Gamera deals with a swarm of Soldier Legion and a Legion Plant, while on the second part of the the 10th stage, he exterminates young Gyaos.
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Manga Boys Special Edition: Gamera (1995)
- Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe (1996)
- Gamera vs. Barugon (2002)
- Gamera 2006: Hard Link (2006)
- The Last Hope (2017)
In this manga, Gamera fights a selection of monsters both old and new in a baseball stadium.
One year after defeating Super Gyaos, Gamera was sleeping in the ocean as a shark swam toward his closed eye. However, sensing a Gyaos attack, Gamera awoke, scaring away the shark, and flew up from the ocean to Guanajota, Mexico. Upon locating Gyaos, Gamera flew up behind the beast and blasted it with a fireball. The creature turned around to face its aggressor and returned fire. Gyaos then sprang on Gamera, and knocked him to the ground. Gamera however, was able to use one of his tusks to stab Gyaos' shin, which caused it to retreat long enough for Gamera to stand back up as the frightened people fled the ruined city.
Gyaos charged at Gamera with a headbutt, but Gamera grabbed Gyaos' shoulders and led it into a roll that Gamera used to slam Gyaos into the water. Gyaos managed to get back up, but it then saw Gamera blasting through the air toward it. Gamera tackled Gyaos so that it fell backwards into a tanker ship in the harbor, and then blasted upward and spat his fire blast at Gyaos, igniting the oil in the tanker and bringing the entire Guanajota Harbor to a boil. Gamera sustained the blast on the harbor, and the helpless Gyaos clone was effectively obliterated. With his job done, Gamera then turned around and began flying out over the Pacific Ocean. While flying, Gamera became aware of the alien fish Zigra attacking an envoy of French warships, and took action against it. Gamera blasted Zigra with a fireball, and began to speed toward it for an attack, but Zigra hit Gamera with its Tri-Color Ray Blast, and Gamera was incapacitated and began to sink into the ocean.
Before Gamera hit the bottom, a French submarine fired at his head, causing him to wake up. Gamera burst through the surface of the water faster than Zigra could react, and bit the beast in its throat. Gamera then flew away with the helpless Zigra in his jaws. When Gamera reached the Pacific Ring of Fire, he dropped Zigra into an active volcano. Later, in Paris, France, Gamera flew in under the mental command of Dr. Greta Karbone, who held the Atlantean magatama and, through Viras' commands, could use it to control Gamera. Gamera then began to fly into planes and missiles and other types of fire in order to defend Viras during its destruction of the city.
Gamera continued to defend Viras, and flew headfirst into a fighter jet, the impact from which caused Gamera to bleed from his mouth. Gamera willingly threw himself into the onslaught of incoming fire until Karbone was separated from the magatama. Then, with his shell smoking from him defenselessly having sustained endless attacks, he turned around in the air and prepared to blast fire at Viras. However, Viras shot its electric ray at him, and the weakened Gamera went down. He began to try to crawl toward his adversary, but was too drained to continue. However, a man by the name of Gusano, out of love for the possessed Karbone, tore out an alien spaceship thruster that was about to explode, and threw it at Gamera, warning him that the fire he needed to survive was as dangerous and all-consuming as Gusano's love for Karbone had been. Gusano died in the explosion, but it proved to be just what Gamera needed. Reinvigorated, Gamera picked up a building and threw it at Viras, despite its attacks. Gamera then bit one of Viras' tentacles and with one flip of his head, sent the beast flying. It landed on one of the steeples of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and was impaled. With the day won, Gamera flew away.
Gamera appears in the Gamera vs. Barugon manga, which takes place between the events of Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. The comic serves as a retelling of Gamera vs. Barugon to incorporate it into the Heisei timeline.
Gamera is being attacked by four Gyaos' laser beams. Gamera kills the first Gyaos with a fire blast at point-blank range and then stomps on its head. The three remaining Gyaos keep firing at Gamera, but Gamera gets into his shell and charges up a fire blast, which he fires at one of the Gyaos. Another Gyaos comes in and bites Gamera's arm, and Gamera throws it to the ground and fires at it, killing it. The two remaining Gyaos hover about, and Gamera fires another fire blast at one of them. From the smoke, the Gyaos flies toward Gamera and unleashes a flurry of beams. Gamera punches it to the ground; however, the Gyaos continues its onslaught of beams just as the other Gyaos turns out to have survived and flies over to Gamera. Gamera begins spurting blood, and the two Gyaos feast on Gamera's entrails. Gamera, acknowledging he has been defeated, triggers his Fireball Ejection Suicide, killing both him and the two Gyaos.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Gamera/Gallery.
Sightings[edit | edit source]
- See also List of homage and spoof characters.
- Gamera, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Guiron, and Gamera vs. Zigra were riffed twice on Mystery Science Theater 3000, first during the show's debut on KTMA-TV, then again in its third season on Comedy Central. RiffTrax, one of several later riffing projects by the show's writers, released Gammera the Invincible as a video-on-demand title in 2018.
- Two turtle monsters in World of Warcraft are named after Gamera: Ghamoo-ra, a guardian beast in the Blackfathom Deeps dungeon, and Gammerita, a smaller tortoise who patrols the eastern coast of the Hinterlands and is the focus of two separate quests.
- In the broadcast version of Episode 10 of Ultraman Max, "Prophecy of Baradhi", two kids make a GMKGoji Godzilla figure and a 1999 Gamera figure fight. They are interrupted by the arrival of Antlar, and run away carrying their figures. This episode was directed by Shusuke Kaneko, who had directed all three of Gamera's Heisei films, as well as Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001).
- Gamera, along with Godzilla and some other kaiju, appears in side stories of Doctor Slump.
- An episode of the animated series Justice League Unlimited (S5E03 "Chaos at the Earth's Core") saw Supergirl, Green Lantern, Star Girl, and S.T.R.I.P.E. briefly battle a nuclear-powered giant turtle in Japan that was a homage to Gamera, right down to the flame-spinning flight.
- In an episode of Dragon Ball, Master Roshi summons a Baby Gamera to use as a means of transportation. It makes him dizzy. He later flies with Gamera to an island to put out a fire.
- Gamera has made frequent appearances in Akira Toryama's Shonen Jump mangas. He first appears in Doctor Slump as one of the kaiju that Doctor Monsters wants to play jump-rope with.
- "Gamera" is a bonus track on the album Millions Now Living Will Never Die by the post-rock band Tortoise.
- Gamera has made a few cameos on The Simpsons in various episodes, such as "30 Minutes Over Tokyo."
- A spoof of Gamera named "Cragera" made an appearance in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy TV film Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure.
- A robot resembling Gamera appeared in the Megas XLR episode "Breakout" (S1E7).
- In the Pokémon anime, the water turtle Pokémon Squirtle performs the move Hydro Pump in much the same way that Gamera flies through the air.
- The Digimon JumboGamemon is named after Gamera.
- The 2015 film Love & Peace features a man pressured into releasing his pet turtle, who eventually grows into a kaiju, recalling Toshio in the original Gamera.
- In the Detective Conan series, there is a parody of Gamera called "Gomera." It looks more like Godzilla rather than a gigantic turtle, however.
- In the rap song "Paragraph President" by Blackalicious, Gamera is mentioned in a line of the lyrics: "City burnin' like Gamera, scamina, blaze-up the space, plus I got it on camera."
- In the Cartoon Network TV show Johnny Test, Susan and Mary Test mutated a sponge that would have a monster form and it became an actual monster due to the mutation. Johnny quickly found a book of 1,000 monster names and he dubbed the monster Gameroid.
- In the episode Franklin in the Dark from the Franklin series, images of Gyaos and Barugon and Viras and Jiger appeared from Franklin's shell.
- In Episode 16 of MAD on Cartoon Network, Ridley had a roar similar to Gamera's.
- In the 2012 Tim Burton film Frankenweenie, a turtle named Shelly (who is, ironically, owned by an Asian character) is accidentally exposed to a growth formula, and the turtle mutates into a giant Gamera-like monster that rampages through a carnival.
- In Episode 17 of Yakitate!! Japan, when the examiner ate Japan No. 8, which is a Green Turtle Bread, he spins rapidly and breathes fire while doing so. This strongly resembles Gamera's spinning move. It also revealed Gamera as the Emperor of All Turtles, which is non-canonical, and actually just a parody.
- In Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), a boy in Vancouver throws a bipedal turtle figure into his fireplace after bashing it into a Kumonga figure and screaming "You loser!" at it.
- The Pachimon character dubbed Tobozu is taken directly from Gamera's original suit design, but altered with orange-colored skin, a complete absence of a back shell, bizarre fleshy spikes on top of its head, and extra elongated teeth protruding from its lower jaw.
- In GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse, the prequel novel to GODZILLA: Planet of the Monsters, the fourth Kamoebas in the timeline which washes ashore dead on Odo Island is actually stated to be a different species from the other Kamoebas individuals in the novel. It is described as being a 60-meter long monster which, among other injuries, had its right arm missing. This description, along with it being described as a "turtle-like" species, aligns with both the Showa Gamera's 60-meter height and the Heisei Gamera having his right hand destroyed in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.
- Gamera's skull makes a brief appearance in Pacific Rim Uprising, during the scene where Hermann Gottlieb examines PPDC records in search of a match for the image Mako Mori transmitted.
- Concept art for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) shows Gamera as one of the monsters surrounding Godzilla in the film's final scene, along with the likes of Anguirus and Kumonga. While Legendary considered licensing some or all of the Toho kaiju shown in this piece, it is unknown whether Gamera was ever considered for the film or was simply a placeholder.
- A MeToob thumbnail in Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #3 exclaims "FLYING TURTLES", accompanied by an image of Gamera in saucer mode.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- According to Gamera.jp, the Showa Gamera's favorite foods are oil, coal, high voltage electricity, missiles, and nuclear power. His least favorite foods are carrots and onions.
- As being written on Japanese Wikipedia articles of Gamera and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, there has been a widely accepted theory in Japan that Gamera revived Ayana Hirasaka and Tatsunari Moribe by summoning and giving mana to the unconscious two; Nagamine's life support had little or effect on Ayana until Gamera roared, waking Ayana and Tatsunari almost at the same time, and seeing Ayana's recovery, Nagamine looked at Gamera and muttered "could it be", and Asagi smiled at Gamera.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Gamera. 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: