Gamera (Heisei Trilogy)
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 the Guardian of the Universe)
Gamera was created by the ancient civilization of Atlantis thousands of years ago in order to combat their previous creation, Gyaos. Gamera wiped out most of the Gyaos, but Atlantis was completely destroyed in the battle. Gamera was sealed within an atoll and remained dormant until 1995, when three Gyaos appeared in the skies over Japan. Gamera awakened from his long sleep and traveled to Japan to destroy his ancient enemy. Gamera killed two of the Gyaos, but the JSDF interfered with his attempts to destroy the last one, which grew into the larger Super Gyaos. With the help of his human ally Asagi Kusanagi, with whom he was telepathically bonded, Gamera fought Super Gyaos in Tokyo and successfully killed it. In 1997, Gamera returned to Japan to fend off Legion, a species of extraterrestrial creatures which threatened all life on Earth. Gamera destroyed the Legion's symbiotic propagation device, a giant flower, but the Mother Legion relocated her kind to Sendai. Gamera tried to reach the new flower, but the Mother Legion badly wounded him before fleeing. The flower seeded, producing a catastrophic explosion which seemingly killed Gamera. Using energy he absorbed from the Earth itself, Gamera came back to life and fought the Legion once again, destroying them once and for all. By 1999, evolved Gyaos called Hyper Gyaos began appearing in huge numbers all over the world, pushing Gamera to the brink of his strength. In addition, a young woman named Ayana Hirasaka, who blamed Gamera for the deaths of her parents in 1995, found and raised a strange demonic creature she found in a shrine and named Iris to take revenge on Gamera for her. The JSDF had become fed up with the destruction Gamera caused in his crusade against Gyaos, and turned against him. When Iris reached maturity and traveled to Kyoto, Gamera followed it there and battled it. Gamera was able to kill Iris and free Ayana from its evil influence, but was badly maimed in the battle. However, with thousands of Hyper Gyaos descending upon the city, Gamera was ready to continue his eternal struggle with his ancient foe, knowing humanity was by his side once again.
Gamera's name comes from kame (カメ), the Japanese word for "turtle," and -ra, a common suffix in kaiju names. The "k" sound was most likely changed to the voiced "g" sound so that his name would not be "Camera" (カメラ. For the Heisei trilogy, the monster's English name was consistently spelled "Gamera," although packaging for Kamera)Bandai's Gamera: High Grade gashapon figures released alongside Gamera the Guardian of the Universe misspelled it as Gamara. In the films, Gamera's name is also shown spelled in fictional Atlantean rune characters, and this spelling is used for the title card of Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. The demonic Gamera seen by Ayana Hirasaka in her nightmares in Gamera 3 is officially known as Trauma Gamera (トラウマガメラ, although English-speaking fans often refer to it as Nightmare Gamera. Torauma Gamera)
Gamera is given multiple subtitles for the trilogy. The poster for Gamera the Guardian of the Universe gives him the subtitle Guardian Deity (守護神, while in the film proper the Atlantean obelisk found on his atoll refers to him as the Last Hope Shugoshin) (最後の希望. The English subtitle Guardian of the Universe comes from the English title for the first film of the trilogy, which was conceived by Saigo no Kibō)Daiei. This subtitle was later translated to Japanese for the Japanese release of Dark Horse's Gamera tie-in comic. In Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, he is given the subtitle Guardian Beast (守護獣. Shugo-jū)
In an early script of Gamera the Guardian of the Universe which predated the one by Kazunori Ito, Gamera is named after Gamēra (ガメーラ, the god who sleeps at the bottom of the earth and wakes to save the planet Gamēra) (地球を救うため地の底で眠り続ける神, whose name was spoken by a high priest at an ancient ruin in India. Chikyū wo Sukū Tame ni Chi no Soko de Nemuri Tsuzukeru Kami):237 Coincidentally, the Gamera in the 2015 short film GAMERA is titled the God of the Earth.
Gamera the Guardian of the Universe
For Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Mahiro Maeda of the animation studio GONZO was employed to redesign Gamera and Gyaos. Shinji Higuchi was also hired to help design the monsters, and went on to serve as the director of special effects for the entire trilogy.:12 Maeda and Higuchi initially wanted Gamera to resemble a "flying sea turtle," with the idea that both of his arms would flatten into fin-like wings during flight. Daiei, however, rejected the concept:12 and forced Maeda and Higuchi to base Gamera's appearance more on land turtles. They also turned down Higuchi's suggestion to give Gamera elbow claws to accentuate his elbows, but he snuck them in anyway by making them retractable and having Gamera unsheathe one of them in the film's climactic battle.
Higuchi produced a great deal of concept art for Gamera, some of which Maeda described as "very extreme,":13 as they tended to resemble Ankylosaurs with shells more than turtles.:15 Higuchi also considered several designs where Gamera's arms were shaped like fins even while not in flight mode, but these were rejected because they were felt to resemble the Godzilla monster Gigan and made Gamera look villainous.:13
Maeda's initial designs hewed closer to Gamera's appearance in the Showa series and realistic turtles. From there, Maeda played around with Gamera's shell and chest - making it more rounded or basing their shape on those of real turtles. He felt a smoother, circular shell would appear more aerodynamic. He was also interested in the idea of showing Gamera inhaling air before breathing fire. Considering the original Gamera was linked to "Eskimo" (Inuit) mythology in his debut film, he attempted to design the new Gamera to look like he came from ancient Chinese mythology, which he said had a similar motif, and the design of his shell was largely influenced by turtleback tombs. Aspects from ancient Chinese mythology were also used for Gyaos' design; designs of Chinese dragons from the Spring and Autumn period and Western dragons.:14-16
Gamera concept art by Shinji Higuchi
Gamera concept art by Mahiro Maeda, attempting to combine traits of real turtles with the Showa Gamera's design
Maeda's "decided design" for Gamera ended up differing from the appearance of the finished suits: specifically, the shapes of his arms and abdomen, as well as the balance between the sizes of his head and body.:13 During the modeling process, Tomoo Haraguchi and his team might have made these modifications due to the physical limitations of an actor in a costume. According to Maeda, he only illustrated the bird's-eye and side view concept artwork of Gamera after seeing the completed costume for public relations reasons.:13 A 3-shaku (Japanese foot) concept model was the basis for the suits, rather than any singular piece of concept art. Even so, the hands of the concept model still ended up different from the finished suits.:20
Takateru Manabe and Jun Suzuki were selected as Gamera's suit actors. According to Higuchi, shorter actors served several purposes: "I wanted to shoot a large amount of low angle footage of Gamera and Gyaos, and the only way to avoid having the ceiling of the set be seen in the footage was to have short actors play the monsters" and "If the monster actors are tall, the miniature sets must be large, but if the monster actors are short, smaller sets can be used. We saved money by using small sets because it costs more to construct and maintain larger sets than smaller ones. In addition, if the monster actors are short, only two people are needed to help them get in and out of their costumes."
Jun Suzuki in a Gamera suit during filming of Gamera the Guardian of the Universe
Takateru Manabe in a Gamera suit during filming
Takateru Manabe and Super Gyaos actress Yumi Kameyama during filming
A team of modelers led by Tomoo Haraguchi constructed three suits for Gamera, one apiece for action, close-ups, and water scenes.:21-22 The water suit's head and action suit's body were originally joined as one and unveiled at a press conference on April 25, 1994 — approximately two months before the start of filming.:20 This suit utilized capsules from gashapon toys for its eyes, and Tomoo Haraguchi stated that Gamera's eye color was made green so it would be complementary to Gyaos's red eyes.:20-21 The close-up suit's head was fitted with a remote control mechanism to open and close its mouth, outsourced to the Japanese company up.art. One of the suits also featured orange lights in its eyes, although they were only used in the special report trailer due to opposition from Higuchi and special effects cinematographer Hiroshi Kidokoro.:22 The water suit was often cut apart and repurposed during filming; its legs were at one point removed, and one of its arms was removed and modified to depict his hidden elbow claw.:22
In addition to the suits, a number of props were created for the monster. An upper body "muppet" made from the same mold as the suits was used to create movements and facial expressions which would have been impossible otherwise. The puppet's internal mechanism was constructed by Masayuki Kurahashi and was operated by wires. A variety of scale models were used to portray Gamera flying, including at least two 3-shaku models, one with a gas-spraying mechanism and one without, and four 1-shaku models for distant shots. The gimmicked 3-shaku model housed a compressed cylinder of freon gas which was sprayed out of its back to represent Gamera's propulsion, illuminated by a halogen light bulb. The smaller models instead used titanium tetrachloride to achieve the same effect, creating hydrogen chloride upon contact with the air. An additional model of Gamera's shell was created as reference for a CG model, which was used for his body's rotation during flight. Computer generated jets were also used. For Gamera's regeneration underwater, a stationary 3-shaku miniature was used. This was later modified to feature a moving head and arms and was used for certain shots during the JSDF's assault on Gamera at the foot of Mount Fuji.:23
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion
Shinji Higuchi once again employed the animation studio GONZO to design the monsters for Gamera 2: Attack of Legion. Mahiro Maeda was primarily in charge of creating concept art for Gamera and Legion. Rejected design elements from G1, such as a smaller head with sharper features and a high mobility flight mode where Gamera's arms transform into wing-shaped flippers similar to a sea turtle's, were adopted for Gamera's new design. The elbow claws which Daiei had rejected for the previous film were also made permanently visible in the new design. This began a trend of Gamera's appearance changing considerably between films. Maeda said he was satisfied with the suit design from the previous film and was at first hesitant to redesign Gamera too heavily, but he felt he could make several adjustments to make Gamera appear more aerodynamic. Maeda deepened Gamera's eye sockets and sharpened his nose in addition to reducing the size of his head, believing these would be adaptations to Gamera flying at high speeds.:54 The gap between Gamera's upper and lower jaws was increased, as was the left-to-right range of motion of his neck.
A clay maquette of Gamera's finalized design for G2 was created, and served as the basis for the suits.:63 As in the previous film, separate suits were created for "action" and "close-ups." Tomoo Haraguchi was initially in charge of modeling the suits, but after a certain point of development, modeling assistant Miki Takahama took over. Despite the changes to Gamera's head, the body was mostly unchanged from G1, though its dimensions were altered to better fit new suit actor Akira Ohashi.:50 Gamera's head was made of a polymer with latex skin pasted onto it. Tatsuya Abe of up.art designed an internal mechanism for Gamera's eyes which allowed them to move.:63 To depict Gamera covered in countless Soldier Legion, miniature models of the Legion with built-on hooks were attached onto the Gamera suit.:56 The heads of both suits were designed to be able to move to the left and right in conjunction with the movement of Ohashi's neck. New muppets of Gamera's head were constructed, and were designed to add greater mobility to his neck.:50
Miki Takahama created clay prototypes of Gamera's wing-shaped flippers to scale with those of the suit. Three flying Gamera props were created: 1-shaku and 3-shaku in length and a larger one to scale with the suits.:51 The cores of the flying Gamera props were constructed from fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). Some of the props employed compressed fluorine gas canisters to again portray the jet streams trailing behind Gamera as he flies.:63 A 1/3 scale Gamera prop was created for long shots, its arms operated with wires. Because it was meant to scale with a 3-shaku Mother Legion prop, this prop was made to be slightly smaller.:51
The water suit from G1 was repurposed and modified to portray Gamera's "carbonized" state following the explosion of the Legion Plant in Sendai.:22, 63 As it only consisted of Gamera's upper body and had no actor inside of it, it was propped up by its arms. The carbonized Gamera was also portrayed in long shots through a 3-shaku prop.:63
In addition to the various suits and props, Gamera was also portrayed through computer graphics in some shots which were difficult to accomplish with practical effects. Gamera's rotating disc flight mode and shots of the Soldier Legion swarming over Gamera were accomplished through the latest CG technology available at the time, such as full Computer Generated Imagery and motion capture. The NHK Enterprise 21 CG Room was responsible for at least some of the computer graphics used in the film, including the sequence of the Soldier Legion swarming onto Gamera.:62
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris
Mahiro Maeda was once again in charge of designing the monsters for Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. Shinji Higuchi also provided a great deal of ideas and input to the design process, so the final onscreen results reflect his intentions just as much as Maeda's. At the design stage, Gamera's final attack against Iris was not yet decided, and so the filmmakers considered having him reuse his Ultimate Plasma attack from the previous film. For this reason, some concept art showed the port on Gamera's plastron from which he fired the attack permanently being open. Maeda's concept art lacks the same degree of jaggedness to Gamera’s cheeks and jaws that is present in the final onscreen design, suggesting it was added during the modeling stage. Maeda compared the silhouette of the new Gamera design to the Ultra Series kaiju Bemstar, and described it as being more violent and ferocious than the previous designs. Higuchi provided detailed instructions to Maeda to make certain parts of Gamera's body sharper or have them "pop out." Maeda said he felt that the more "extreme," stylized designs Higuchi created for G1 were more or less brought back for the third film. For Gamera's standard flight mode, Maeda reinstated a concept that Daiei rejected for the first film, that being fin-like parts extending from Gamera's shell which act as air brakes. Maeda took advantage of new advancements in CGI when designing Gamera's rotating disc flight mode, specifically the ability to show Gamera's shell compressing and flattening as a result of centrifugal force when spinning.:109
A clay concept maquette of Gamera's final design was made to estimate the volume of the suit and ensure that it would be balanced given the likely weight of its massive shell. While the only photographs of the maquette are uncolored,:49 the maquette was painted the specified colors before it was completed.:109
Just as Gamera had evolved over the course of the trilogy and reached his ultimate appearance by the third film, so had the sophistication of how his suit was modeled. The G3 Gamera suit was now designed with the ability for the individual plates of his shell to move individually, giving it the appearance of armor. Gamera's shell being built by stacking individual independently-moving plates one after another had been a desire of lead modeler Tomoo Haraguchi from G1. This was finally realized in G3, adding more weight to Gamera's onscreen appearance.:109 While in the first two films Gamera's shell was constructed from the same latex material as the rest of the suit's body, in G3 the shell was created from individual vinyl chloride plates which were heat-pressed. Because of the different materials used for it, the weight of the Gamera suit increased dramatically to 70 kilograms, compared to the suits from the previous films which weighed 30 to 40 kilograms.:109 Gamera's head was reduced in size relative to his body, and his "cute" expression was gone and replaced with a far more ferocious and vicious one. The modelers created a clay prototype of Gamera's skin, while the skin applied to the suit was made of latex and attached to the suit's body. Tatsuya Abe of up.art designed an internal mechanism for the suit which allowed Gamera's head to have a full range of motion, controlled by the neck movements of suit actor Hirofumi Fukazawa.:109 Hirofumi Fukuzawa noted that these movements were inspired by snake-necked turtles.:176
An individual large model of Gamera's arm, roughly the same size as a person, was utilized for close-up shots.:109 A model of Gamera's leg suspended from a crane was dropped onto the set below to depict him touching down in Shibuya and crushing a bus.:56 A guignol or hand-operated puppet of Gamera's upper body was also utilized for some shots during the final battle with Iris in Kyoto Station.:58
The demonic Gamera seen in Ayana Hirasaka's nightmares, called Trauma Gamera, was portrayed using a modified G2 suit with a newly-modeled head.:110 Because of this, Akira Ohashi, who also played Iris in the film, reprised his role as Gamera for these scenes. The first version of the Trauma Gamera suit was rejected and designated the "NG" (no good) suit,:110 while the finished Trauma Gamera suit included more spikes on its body and was painted a more pale gray color compared to the bluish-green NG suit.
The skeletal "beta versions" of Gamera which appear just before the film's title sequence were also designed by Mahiro Maeda, who aimed for them to appear slightly mechanical in order to emphasize their biotechnological roots.:109 They were portrayed primarily using shells from Gamera model kits by M1 and Kaiyodo,:51, 57 though a miniature skull made from styrofoam and a hard skull model roughly in scale with the Gamera suit were also used for closer shots.:51
Much like in G2, computer graphics were applied extensively for G3 to accomplish shots which would be difficult or impossible to create with practical effects. This included both use of full CGI and digitally compositing different footage together. For CGI purposes, 3D data created from photographs of the Gamera suit was fed into a computer and used to create a highly-detailed and accurate CGI model for Gamera which was intended to be identical to the suit.:62 The CG model was created with a human skeleton inside of it, and completed with Gamera's details added to the surface so as to capture natural human-like movements, much like those of the actor wearing the suit itself.:62 The model did not include anything below Gamera's ankles since they would not be visible in the scene in which it was used.:62 The full CGI Gamera model was only utilized for the scene of Gamera standing amid the burning Shibuya as Hyper Gyaos approaches from above. However, CGI was also employed frequently to depict Gamera in flight. Gamera and Iris' air duel above the clouds was accomplished entirely through CGI.:62
Digital composition was utilized to composite characters such as Dr. Nagamine, Asagi, and Ayana into shots of the Gamera and Iris suits, as well as in flight scenes. Notably, the film's final shot showing Gamera wandering into the burning city of Kyoto was accomplished by filming the Gamera suit in front of a green screen, then compositing it into real footage of Kyoto combined with digitally-added fire and rain.:63
Gamera is a gigantic bipedal creature resembling a turtle, with a large shell covering the entirety of his body except for his head, limbs, and tail. Gamera's tail is longer proportional to his body than it is for most real-world turtles, and he drags his tail on the ground when walking. Gamera has five clawed digits on his hands and feet, with his hands resembling those of humans' and possessing opposable thumbs. Gamera's skin is a dark bluish-green color, and has the texture of reptilian scales. The carapace of Gamera's shell is ridged but smooth, while his plastron consists of an arrangement of ornate conjoined armored plates. Gamera has a crest of spikes atop his head, and possesses green eyes. Most noticeable about Gamera's head are the two elongated tusks which protrude from his lower jaw.
Gamera's appearance evolves and changes over the course of the trilogy due to his ability to manipulate his own chromosomes.
In Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera's head is relatively large in proportion to his body, while his eyes are also relatively large. His face is rounded, and the crest atop his head is not very pronounced. His face overall possesses a somewhat gentle and friendly appearance. His shell consists of ridged plates that do not move independently. Gamera's hands are also very human-like, with small palms and long fingers. While Gamera possesses sharp claws on his elbows, they are hidden underneath his skin and not visible until he unsheathes them in battle. While in his High Mobility flight mode, Gamera's arms do not shape and are simply held at his sides pointing forward.
In Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, Gamera's head is reduced in size in proportion to his body. His eyes are smaller and sunken into their sockets, while his nose is pointed rather than rounded. These adaptations serve the purpose of making Gamera more aerodynamic while in flight. Gamera's body does not change very much, although his elbow claws are now permanently exposed and his hands are larger with shorter fingers. Gamera also now has exposed calf claws. While in High Mobility flight mode, Gamera's arms flatten into flippers similar to a sea turtle's and are held at his side like wings.
In Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Gamera's cute and friendly appearance is completely replaced by a much more violent and ferocious one. Gamera's head is even smaller in proportion to his body, and his eyes are also much smaller. The spiky crest atop his head is much more pronounced and resembles a mohawk. Gamera also has a small crest of spikes on the underside of his chin which look like a beard. Gamera's shell is much larger in proportion to his body, and is composed of overlapping independently-moving spiky plates. The spikes from these plates extend over the edges of Gamera's shell, making them visible in his silhouette. Gamera's arms are more bulky and muscular, while his hands are considerably less human-like, with shorter digits and a greatly reduced thumb. His elbow claws are even larger and located closer to his hands. Gamera's legs are also much bulkier. Gamera's High Mobility flight mode now features smaller fin-like structures which protrude from his shell to act as air brakes.
The demonic Trauma Gamera which appears in Ayana Hirasaka's nightmares looks mostly like Gamera himself did in G2, but the most noticeable difference is his head. Trauma Gamera's head is covered in spikes, while his jaws are filled with jagged teeth. His eyes have no pupils and as a result appear emotionless and evil. Trauma Gamera's skin is a sickly grayish-blue, and his shell is covered in cascading uneven jagged spikes.
True to his intended purpose as a guardian for the Earth, Gamera is concerned with the well-being of all life and selflessly puts himself into harm's way to defend other creatures from threats. Because he fights for the greater good of all life on Earth, Gamera is not specifically concerned with just protecting mankind and as such often unintentionally causes collateral damage during his battles, such as when he first lands in Fukuoka in Gamera the Guardian of the Universe to hunt down Gyaos. This is taken to the extreme in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, when Gamera finds himself overextended by the rapidly increasing worldwide Hyper Gyaos population and fights desperately and recklessly to kill two of them in Shibuya, causing major destruction to the area and killing countless civilians. Even in such situations, Gamera will deliberately take action to save individual humans if he can. Examples of Gamera protecting individual humans or groups of humans include in Gamera the Guardian of the Universe when he defends Mayumi Nagamine, Yoshinari Yonemori, and a child from a Gyaos' sonic scalpel, in Gamera 2: Attack of Legion when he holds back the Mother Legion just long enough for the helicopter carrying Asagi Kusanagi and several civilians to take off, and in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris when he defends a boy in Shibuya from Hyper Gyaos and later when he rescues Ayana Hirasaka from Iris. Through the use of a magatama left behind by the civilization that created him, Gamera forms a telepathic bond with Asagi Kusanagi, granting him additional strength and a direct connection to humanity. Through this bond, Asagi remarks that she can read Gamera's thoughts, and repeatedly insists that he is deliberately fighting for all of mankind and other life on Earth. After Gamera is forced to sever this bond to defeat Legion, he seemingly becomes more reckless and less concerned with minimizing collateral damage, though as previously mentioned he still saves individual humans when given the opportunity.
Gamera is a guardian monster who was genetically engineered by the super-ancient civilization that spawned the myth of Atlantis. The Atlanteans are believed to have created Gamera by collecting the life energy of all life on Earth, known as "Mana," within a single vessel. When the Atlanteans' previous creation, Gyaos, went out of control and threatened to destroy their civilization, they created Gamera as a last-ditch effort to stop the creatures. While Gamera was able to eliminate most of the Gyaos and force the rest into hiding, he was too late to save Atlantis. However, in their last act the Atlanteans sealed Gamera away in an atoll with several magatama and an obelisk explaining his purpose, hoping that he would defend future generations should Gyaos reemerge and threaten the world again. In Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, the skeletons of several Gamera-like creatures are discovered on the ocean floor. The character Kurata Shinya proposes that these were "beta versions" of Gamera; failed prototypes that were discarded once the Atlanteans successfully created Gamera himself. The 2002 Gamera vs. Barugon manga, set between the events of Gamera 2 and 3, takes this notion further and explains that the Atlanteans created several other failed prototype guardians, including Barugon, Zigra, Jiger, and Iris, in order to defeat Gyaos prior to creating Gamera. This manga, however, is not necessarily held to be canon.
Matt Frank's The Last Hope, an officially-licensed prequel graphic novel to the trilogy, depicts Gamera's entire origin, explaining that the Atlanteans used Mana to engineer multiple Gameras to combat the Gyaos, which turned on them after defeating the Garasharp that menaced their civilization. All of the guardians were killed in the ensuing battle except for one last Gamera, who destroyed the Atlantean capital to ensure Gyaos would not return as a result of the city depleting Earth's Mana. The surviving Atlanteans then sealed Gamera within the atoll with the obelisk warning future generations about Gyaos' return.
While Gamera heavily resembles a giant turtle, director Shusuke Kaneko explained in an interview that "there are no turtles" in the universe of the trilogy, and as such no one recognizes Gamera as one, only calling him a "monster." A few oversights of this detail still make it into the trilogy, however; in Gamera 3 the topography of the ocean floor where the skeletons of the beta Gameras are located is compared to a "turtle's shell," while a turtle figurine is present on Masaaki Saito's desk later in the film. In addition, the English subtitles for G1 have Yoshinari Yonemori call Gamera a "giant turtle" at one point, although this oversight is not present in the Japanese dialogue. G3 also makes a connection between Gamera and East Asian mythology, suggesting that he is the Black Tortoise, one of the four guardian spirits held to protect the city of Kyoto.
While transporting plutonium off the coast of the Philippines, the Japanese freight ship Kairyu-Maru ran aground on a floating atoll, narrowly avoiding a disastrous radiation leak. The atoll then mysteriously floated away, prompting a joint investigation between Yawata General Insurance and the Japanese maritime authority to locate it. The investigation party, led by insurance investigator Naoya Kusanagi and Coast Guard officer Yoshinari Yonemori, finally discovered the atoll and investigated it. They found numerous magatama scattered about, along with a stone obelisk which they unearthed. When Yonemori touched the obelisk, he noticed that it was unusually warm and could hear a faint heartbeat. Suddenly, the obelisk shattered and the atoll split open. Yonemori was knocked into the sea, and could see a gigantic figure swim out of the collapsing atoll. Noticing that the creature was swimming directly toward Fukuoka, Yonemori quickly boarded a helicopter and flew to the city to warn the JSDF. When he arrived, he found the JSDF already undertaking an operation to trap three giant man-eating bird-like creatures inside the Fukuoka Dome. When the creatures finally arrived, two were successfully sedated and caged, while the third escaped through the still-open roof. As the creature flew toward the open ocean, the sea monster rose from the waves and smacked it with his hand, sending the creature crashing into a refinery which exploded and killed it. The monster then came ashore and made his way to the Fukuoka Dome, alerting the two caged winged creatures. They escaped from their cages utilizing their supersonic scalpel beams and flew away. The monster then jettisoned into the sky and began spinning like a flying saucer before soaring away into the night sky.
Yonemori visited Kusanagi at his home to discuss recent events. Kusanagi revealed that the magatama found on the atoll were composed of an unknown metal, which he believed could be the mythical orichalcum described in Plato's writings on Atlantis. While Atlantis was said to exist in the Atlantic Ocean, Kusanagi explained that the Atlantis myth may have been grounded in fact and simply spread across different cultures under different names. Furthermore, the rune characters on the obelisk matched those of ancient peoples of Japan, and were successfully translated. They spoke of "the Last Hope, Gamera," and expressed a desire that he awaken along with the "Shadow of Evil, Gyaos." If the giant monster that came from the atoll was Gamera, they realized, the flying creatures must be Gyaos. Yonemori allowed Kusanagi's daughter Asagi to keep one of the magatama, which began to glow when she touched it. Analysis of Gyaos' DNA showed that they possessed only two chromosomes, which were perfect in every way and could have only been the result of genetic engineering. Gyaos must have turned on the ancient civilization which created them, who created Gamera in return in order to stop them. To make matters worse, Gyaos had the potential to reproduce asexually, which could prove disastrous. When Gyaos was sighted in a Japanese village, Dr. Mayumi Nagamine traveled there to investigate. She found the village under attack, and attempted to help a young boy cross a bridge to safety. Yonemori arrived to help her, and as they crossed the bridge a Gyaos swooped down to try and eat them, only for a fireball to narrowly miss striking the creature. Gamera emerged from the forest, and promptly killed the Gyaos with another fireball. However, the last Gyaos flew overhead and fired its supersonic scalpel at the humans on the bridge, only for Gamera to block it with his hand. Gyaos fled, with Gamera giving chase. This proved to Nagamine, Yonemori, and Kusanagi that Gamera was on their side, but unfortunately the Japanese government deemed him the greater threat and insisted on capturing the last Gyaos alive. Gamera was shot down over Mount Fuji by the JGSDF while chasing Gyaos, then assaulted by tanks. Asagi felt strangely drawn to Gamera, and insisted that a cab driver take her to the scene of the battle. As she watched Gamera being struck by artillery, Asagi began to develop injuries corresponding to his. She begged Gamera to flee as Gyaos flew overhead and fired its supersonic scalpel at him. Gamera seemed to heed Asagi's warning, as he soon took flight and fled back to the ocean. Asagi collapsed and was brought to a hospital. Yonemori and Nagamine believed that the magatama Asagi had touched had granted her the role of Gamera's priestess, and psychically connected the two of them. Kusanagi was hesitant to believe this at first, but finally came to accept it. While Asagi slept in her bed, Gamera rested on the ocean floor, his injuries gradually healing.
In Gamera's absence, the last Gyaos was able to feed and grow unchecked, finally evolving into the 85-meter Super Gyaos. The winged creature flew to Tokyo, where it fed on the helpless populace. It fell dormant by daybreak, and the JSDF attempted a surprise assault against Gyaos, knowing it possessed an aversion to light. However, Dr. Nagamine pointed out that Super Gyaos had developed shield plates over its eyes, and it was able to evade the JSDF's missile strikes. Some of the guided missiles hit the Tokyo Tower, causing it to break in half. Gyaos then made its nest on the Tower's ruined observation deck. Kusanagi and Asagi soon arrived at the JSDF's base camp in Tokyo, and explained that Asagi could sense Gamera was coming. True to her prediction, Gamera emerged from underground and blasted Gyaos' nest with a plasma fireball, setting ablaze and causing its eggs to splatter on the ground below. Gyaos took flight with Gamera in pursuit, and the two monsters began a midair dogfight across Tokyo. Gamera was shot down by Gyaos, and the two monsters began a tooth-and-claw battle in the streets. Gamera extended his elbow claw and sliced Gyaos' leg, then knocked his foe into a building. Gamera took flight while Gyaos chased after him, with both monsters reaching the upper atmosphere. Gamera bit down on Gyaos' leg and began to free-fall back to Earth. Unable to free itself from Gamera's grip, Gyaos severed its own foot with its supersonic scalpel to escape. Gamera crashed into a refinery, and was consumed in a fiery explosion. Just as Gyaos seemed victorious, Asagi clutched her magatama and clasped hands with her father. All of the fire was absorbed by Gamera, who stared down Super Gyaos for a final showdown. Gyaos charged its supersonic scalpel, but before it could fire it, Gamera breathed an incredibly strong plasma fireball which decapitated Gyaos. Gyaos' headless corpse fell backward and exploded, leaving Gamera triumphant. Gamera looked at Asagi before returning to the ocean. Asagi remarked that she was no longer able to read Gamera's thoughts. Dr. Nagamine said it was likely that more Gyaos eggs had survived, and that Gamera might not be there to save mankind next time. Asagi replied that she was sure Gamera would come again.
In 1997, after Gamera defeated Gyaos, an alien species called the Symbiotic Legion planted a gigantic Pod in the city of Sapporo, which threatened to launch its seed into outer space and spread the species to other planets, taking out the city in the process. Gamera surfaced from the Sanriku coast and flew to Sapporo, touching down near the Legion Plant. Gamera breathed in the highly concentrated oxygen around the plant and used it to form a powerful high plasma fireball which he fired at the plant. He then approached the plant and uprooted it, then obliterated it with a second fireball. Enraged, countless Soldier Legion swarmed over Gamera, bringing him to the ground. However, the Legion were distracted by a nearby electrical transformer, which enabled Gamera to fly back into the ocean. When the Legion erected a second Pod in Sendai, Gamera flew to the city to stop it before it seeded. However, he was knocked out of the sky when the gigantic claws of Mother Legion burst from the ground and struck him. Mother Legion revealed herself and battled Gamera to buy time for her colony's plant to seed. Gamera held back Mother Legion from the two nearby helicopters that were evacuating civilians from the city, one of which was carrying Asagi. Mother Legion stabbed Gamera through his shell multiple times with her claws before the second chopper was finally able to take off safely. Legion blasted off part of Gamera's shell with her Microwave Shell beam fired from her horn, then burrowed back underground, leaving Gamera badly injured. Undeterred, Gamera made his way to the Legion Plant and uprooted it. Realizing he was too late to stop it from firing its seed, Gamera threw himself in front of the plant's flower, taking the full force of an explosion which leveled the majority of Sendai. Sendai was reduced to a crater, with Gamera sitting motionless and seemingly dead in the center.
Without Gamera to stop the Legion, the JSDF was forced to set up a defense line to prevent the creatures from reaching Tokyo. However, Mother Legion easily withstood the JSDF's onslaught and destroyed their forces with her Microwave Shell as she travelled south through the Kanto region towards her target. Asagi insisted that Gamera was still alive and would not let the Legion win, and travelled to the ruins of Sendai with Sapporo Science Center curator Midori Honami. There, they saw many other people who had gathered to pray for Gamera's return. As if answering those prayers, energy began to swirl above Gamera, taking the form of a magatama before flowing into his body. Gamera was revived as Asagi's magatama shattered in her hand, severing her psychic connection to him. Gamera took flight and travelled to Ashikaga in Tochigi Prefecture, where the JSDF was in a desperate struggle with the Legion. Gamera landed in front of Mother Legion and bombarded her with plasma fireballs, all of which she blocked with her Interference Wave Claws. He then tried to fight her, but was again overpowered. The JSDF began to support Gamera, opening fire on Mother Legion and severing several of her claws, disabling her ability to block incoming attacks. Meanwhile, an NTT engineer named Obitsu was able to prevent the Soldier Legion swarm from affecting the battle by luring them to a power substation, where they were eradicated by missile strikes. Gamera grabbed Mother Legion's horn and with all of his strength was able to tear it off. Mother Legion roared and collapsed to the ground, but her eyes suddenly turned red and she stood right back up. Mother Legion fired red strands of energy from where her horn once was, piercing through Gamera's body. As Mother Legion broke through the last defense line before Tokyo, Gamera summoned a huge amount of glowing energy into his body. The plastron of his shell opened and from it he fired a huge beam of plasma which incinerated Mother Legion, ending the Legion's threat to mankind. Gamera victoriously soared into the sky while the JSDF looked on and celebrated the victory they achieved with the help of Gamera. In the aftermath, Honami noted that Gamera was not specifically protecting humanity but rather all life on Earth, and hoped that mankind would never do anything to make Gamera its enemy.
By 1999, clutches of Gyaos eggs began to hatch all over the world, giving rise to huge numbers of larger evolved Hyper Gyaos. In addition, a graveyard of what appeared to be Gamera skeletons was discovered on the ocean floor off the coast of Japan. Gamera began to hunt down the Hyper Gyaos across the globe, tracking two of them down into Shibuya. Gamera struck one Gyaos with a high plasma fireball, causing it to crash into a railway station below. Gamera landed and approached the maimed creature, then executed it with a second fireball, causing an explosion that damaged the surrounding area. When the second Gyaos flew overhead and attacked, Gamera began recklessly launching fireballs to attempt to kill it, causing major damage throughout Shibuya. The Gyaos fired its supersonic scalpel, which nearly hit a little boy before Gamera shielded him with his hand. Multiple plasma fireballs connected with Gyaos in rapid succession, causing it to explode and rain chunks of burning flesh onto the terrified citizens below. In his desperate attempt to kill two Hyper Gyaos, Gamera caused thousands of casualties in Shibuya. In the aftermath of the disaster, Mayumi Nagamine met with Asagi Kusanagi, who had been studying abroad over the last three years to try and understand Gamera and the civilization that created him, now that her bond with him was severed. She explained to Dr. Nagamine that she had learned of a concept called Mana, which was the energy of all living things on Earth. She explained that Gamera drew power from Mana, and had depleted a huge amount of it to revive himself and destroy Mother Legion. Conversely, Gyaos thrived in environments where Mana was low, explaining why they had suddenly reappeared in force and why Gamera was so desperate to stop them. Even though she could no longer read Gamera's thoughts, Asagi still believed Gamera was on humanity's side and trusted him to do the right thing. The Japanese government did not feel the same way, however, and designated Gamera as the JSDF's primary target.
In the meantime, other parties had begun to plot against Gamera. Ayana Hirasaka, a high school student in the village of Minami Asuka in Nara Prefecture, blamed Gamera for the death of her parents during his battle with Super Gyaos in Tokyo four years earlier. In a shrine within the village said to house the demon called the Ryuseicho, Ayana discovered a strange creature that hatched from a stone egg, as well as a black magatama which psychically bonded her to it. She named the creature Iris after her dead pet cat and vowed to raise it to take revenge on Gamera for her. Iris escaped from the shrine and began feeding on animals in the forest, growing in size and then attempting to fuse itself with Ayana. While Ayana's classmate Tatsunari Moribe rescued her from the fusion, Iris proceeded to go on a rampage through the village, killing half of its inhabitants, including Ayana's adoptive family. Nagamine and her old ally Tsutomu Osako traveled to the village in the aftermath of the rampage and recovered tissue samples from Iris, which lab testing showed contained DNA identical to Gyaos prior to the fusion and completely new mutated DNA after. Nagamine determined that the creature must be a mutation of Gyaos, which caught the attention of Cabinet Secretary Mito Asakura and computer programmer Shinya Kurata, both of whom were of the belief that Gamera needed to die in order to save the world from human civilization and that Iris may be the key to killing him. They took Ayana from the hospital and brought her to a shrine in Kyoto, where Asakura tried to find a way to control Iris, believing herself to be a descendant of the Atlanteans. When Nagamine and Asagi learned about this, they traveled to Kyoto to recover Ayana and try to leave the city with her. They confronted Kurata, who argued that Gyaos existed as a means of population control and that Gamera stood in the way of that. He also discussed the Gamera skeletons that were recently discovered, suggesting they were "beta versions" of Gamera that the Atlanteans created before Gamera himself, who was a living vessel they infused with Mana. Kurata believed that, although Gamera was no longer psychically linked to Asagi, he was still connected to humanity, which was his weakness. Nagamine and Asagi took Ayana from the shrine and brought her to Kyoto Station, accompanied by Kurata and Asakura. However, travel was halted by a typhoon that was descending on the city.
The JSDF located Iris in the forest and attacked it, but their platoon was wiped out. Iris took flight and began heading toward Ayana in Kyoto, with the JASDF giving chase. As fighter jets pursued Iris through the air, they were interrupted by the arrival of Gamera. Gamera engaged in a dogfight with Iris, spinning like a sawblade and slicing into his enemy with his shell. Iris countered by firing a supersonic scalpel from its tentacles, drawing blood from Gamera. The order was given for the JSDF to switch its target from Iris to Gamera, and Gamera was promptly shot down. Iris descended into Kyoto unimpeded, preparing to reunite with Ayana. Gamera flew toward Iris and spat fireballs at it, which Iris deflected with its tentacles, setting the surrounding city ablaze. Gamera landed and faced off with Iris, their battle slowly making its way to the Kyoto Station. Ayana looked on from the station and commanded Iris to kill Gamera. Iris impaled Gamera with one of its arm blades, while Asagi begged Ayana to stop. Asakura grabbed Asagi's magatama and attempted to command Iris herself, but she was killed once both monsters crashed through the wall of the station. Kurata too was killed by falling debris, while Nagamine became trapped under a fallen girder. Iris knocked Gamera to the ground, where he lay bleeding profusely from the gaping hole in his body. With its foe seemingly defeated, Iris approached Ayana. Moribe reached the station and tried to stop Iris, but the creature threw him aside with its tentacle, then forcibly absorbed Ayana into its chest. Ayana saw Iris' rampage in the village from its point of view, and was horrified at what her hatred had unleashed. Just as things seemed hopeless, Gamera plunged his hand into Iris' chest and pulled Ayana free. Enraged, Iris impaled Gamera's hand with one of its arm blades and pinned it against the wall. Gamera watched as Iris drained his blood and began to form copies of his plasma fireballs. Left with no other option, Gamera severed his trapped hand with a plasma fireball, then absorbed Iris' fireballs with the stump of his arm, forming a fiery fist which he punched directly into Iris' chest wound. Iris shrieked in agony before its entire body exploded, blowing the roof and walls off of the station. Gamera walked over Iris' crushed carcass and set Ayana down gently. Nagamine attempted to resuscitate her, but to no avail. As Asagi looked desperately up at Gamera, he let out a loud roar, after which Ayana suddenly regained consciousness. Ayana asked why Gamera would save her, while Moribe ran to her and comforted her. Ayana began to sob and beg forgiveness for what she had done. Gamera turned around and began to walk out of the station. As he did so, a swarm of thousands of Hyper Gyaos began to descend upon Japan, prompting the JSDF to officially change their target from Gamera to Gyaos. As Gamera marched out into the burning city, Nagamine asked Asagi if she could read Gamera's thoughts. While she couldn't, Asagi said she still understood that Gamera would continue to fight, even if alone. Nagamine replied that Gamera wasn't alone as Gamera prepared to face down the Gyaos swarm, with humanity ready to fight by his side once again.
By fusing and compressing plasma energy and oxygen stored in his body within a chamber in his throat, Gamera ionizes the condensed energy and forms a Plasma Fireball (プラズマ火球, which he expels from his mouth in his signature attack. Gamera's Plasma Fireballs are highly charged with electricity, Purazuma Kakyū):10 instantly burn whatever they touch, and can be fired continuously. Gamera's Plasma Fireballs grow more powerful as the trilogy progresses; in G1 and G2 they are sufficient to destroy an entire building, while in G3 the Plasma Fireballs which Iris swats away with its tentacles each immediately ignite a large surrounding area. Gamera's Plasma Fireballs are capable of destroying an immature Gyaos in a single hit and killing a Hyper Gyaos with several shots, but are relatively ineffective against Mother Legion and Iris. Mother Legion can block Gamera's Plasma Fireballs with her Interference Wave Claws, whereas Iris can deflect them with its tentacles. Due to their incredible numbers, Hyper Gyaos cannot be easily destroyed by Plasma Fireballs, and are also capable of evading them.
Gamera can fire more powerful High Plasma (ハイ・プラズマ Fireballs which are emitted at an power output of 120% or more compared to his standard Plasma Fireballs. Gamera can form High Plasma Fireballs in multiple ways. In G1, he absorbs the energy from an explosion of an oil refinery and uses it to generate a High Plasma Fireball which instantly decapitates and kills Super Gyaos. In G2, Gamera amplifies his Plasma Fireballs with the surrounding high oxygen concentration created by the Legion Plant to generate High Plasma Fireballs which ignite and destroy the flower and generate a strong explosive shockwave. In G3, he kills a wounded Hyper Gyaos by blasting it with a High Plasma Fireball that incinerates a great deal of the area around Shibuya Station. In this case, the High Plasma Fireball is not formed by amplifying a standard Plasma Fireball with external energy, but rather through Gamera amplifying its explosive power by storing it in his mouth for a longer period of time before releasing it. While High Plasma Fireballs possess tremendous destructive power, they cannot be fired continuously and require time to charge before they are fired.
Gamera's most powerful attack is known as Ultimate Plasma (ウルティメイト・プラズマ, which Urutimaito Purazuma)Shinji Higuchi alternatively calls the indescribable, last, and one-off fireball which can't be conveyed with words (とても文字では表せない最後のたった一発の火球 Totemo Moji Dewa Arawasenai Saigono Tatta Ippatsu no Kakyū):260. Gamera summons forth a huge amount of Mana, which radiates from the sky and converges inside his body, where it is converted into plasma energy inside Gamera's Plasma Conversion Furnace. The energy is then charged to the limit at which Gamera's body can store it, after which the plastron of Gamera's shell opens and exposes the Plasma Conversion Furnace. A huge stream of plasma is then fired directly from the furnace, which is immensely powerful. Gamera only uses this attack once in his lifetime, in order to destroy Mother Legion in G2. Upon being struck by the attack, Mother Legion was forced backward before being completely obliterated in an instant. While incredibly powerful, Ultimate Plasma consumes a large amount of Mana, the life energy of the Earth, meaning its use can disrupt the planet's environmental balance. It is suggested that Gamera's use of this attack depleted the Earth's Mana to the extent that Hyper Gyaos were able to arise in massive numbers by the events of G3. According to Asagi, Gamera likely had to use Ultimate Plasma as a last resort when unable to defeat Mother Legion in any other way.
In G3, Gamera utilized a one-shot attack called the Banishing Fist (バニシング・フィスト or Banishing Sword Banishingu Fisuto) (バニシング・ソード to destroy Iris. With his right hand pinned against the wall of Kyoto Station by Iris' arm spear and Iris' tentacles about to fire fake plasma fireballs at him, Gamera severed his trapped hand with a Plasma Fireball and absorbed Iris' fake plasma fireballs on his stump arm, forming a flaming fist composed of plasma. Gamera plunged the Banishing Fist into the wound on Iris' abdomen that he had opened earlier with his Rushing Claw, causing the plasma to explode from Iris' body and kill it.
While not using within the films, Gamera also uses his traditional Flame Jet (火炎噴射 in tie-in works including the 1999 comic Gamera 3: Iris Awakening Kaen Funsha) and the 1995 video game Gamera the Guardian of the Universe. In the former, he used the attack to kill Iris by absorbing its Overboost Plasma Fireballs in place of his Banishing Fist.:287
Gamera also uses this attack in his franchise's collaboration with the mobile game Bahamut Greed, despite his design being based on that of the Heisei trilogy.
In later drafts of both Gamera 2 and Gamera 3, Gamera used Homing Plasma (ホーミング・プラズマ Fireballs that automatically pursued targets, enabling him to quickly shift his focus. Hōmingu Purazuma):253:263:267 In the 1997 video game Gamera 2000, he uses this technique as one of his fundamental attacks.:286
Gamera is covered in a defensive shell (甲羅. While it is resistant to Gyaos' supersonic scalpel, the shell is heavily damaged by Kōra)Mother Legion's Microwave Shell and easily penetrated by her Red Rod attack. Mother Legion is also able to stab through the front of Gamera's shell with her spear-tipped legs. Iris is also able to completely impale Gamera through his shell with one of its spear arms. Gamera's shell is also not resistant toward Iris' more powerful supersonic scalpel. JSDF missile strikes on Gamera's shell cause him to lose his flight stability and drop altitude, even if he does not completely fall out of the sky.
Gamera can use his shell in a maneuver called the Shell Cutter (シェル・カッター. During his air duel with Iris in Gamera 3, Gamera retracted into his shell and began to spin rapidly before ramming into Iris, slicing into his foe using the edge of his shell like a circular saw. However, this attack left him open to Iris' supersonic scalpel. The Shell Cutter was initially included in early drafts of Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, including the one before Sheru Kattā)Kazunori Ito joined the project. Gamera in Gamera vs. Phoenix uses this attack by shapeshifting the edges of his shell, although his design is based on the Showa incarnation.:261
Gamera's cells (細胞 grant him a remarkable healing factor. While Gamera's cells are vulnerable to damage, they regenerate completely in a relatively short period of time. After being severely wounded, Gamera usually enters a state of hibernation and inactivity, during which he directs his energy toward healing his injuries. He first does this in Saibō)Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, sleeping on the ocean floor to heal from the injuries he sustained from the JSDF's artillery and Gyaos' supersonic scalpel at Mount Fuji. In Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, after absorbing the full force of the explosion from the Legion Plant, Gamera ceases movement and his external cells carbonize and solidify. During this period of death-like stillness, new cells generate underneath the carbonized ones, allowing Gamera to finally resurrect through the power of prayer and absorbing a great deal of Mana. By Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Gamera's cells had adapted to become completely resistant to a direct strike from Hyper Gyaos' supersonic scalpel.
Thermal energy conversion
Gamera possesses an organ called the Thermal Energy Conversion Furnace (熱エネルギー変換炉 or Plasma Conversion Furnace Netsu Enerugī Henkan-ro) (プラズマ変換炉, which converts thermal energy such as flame and fuel such as plutonium, coal, and oil into plasma energy by fusing it with the electrons, protons, and atomic nuclei in his blood. Mana, the life energy of the Earth, can also be converted into plasma by this organ. Purazuma Henkan-ro)
Gamera's brain (ガメラブレイン, specifically his cerebrum Gamera Burein) (大脳, is designed in such a way that his eyes are unaffected by the high-speed rotation he experiences when in flight, thanks in part to the structure of his semicircular canal. Gamera is also highly intelligent, showing the ability to anticipate his enemies' attacks and discover ways to beat them. Gamera can sense threats quickly and seek them out on his own accord, shown in G2 when he locates and destroys the Legion Plants before they can seed and in G3 when he hunts down Hyper Gyaos around the world. Dainō)
Gamera's cerebellum (小脳 functions as his Telepathy Brain Shōnō) (テレパ・ブレイン, granting him the ability to communicate Terepa Burein)telepathically with Asagi Kusanagi through her magatama. Asagi is able to read Gamera's mind and provide him with warnings and combat advice. This is shown in G1 when she warns Gamera to flee from Mt. Fuji as Gyaos descends to attack him. Gamera's bond with Asagi grants him additional power, and in G1 allows him to absorb the fire from a refinery explosion and ultimately defeat Super Gyaos. As a result of this bond, Asagi experiences the same injuries that Gamera does and enters a similar state of activity, sleeping continuously while Gamera rests on the ocean floor to heal.
Gamera absorbs the explosion of a refinery thanks to his telepathic bond with Asagi Kusanagi
Gamera possesses immense physical power (怪力, allowing him to physically overwhelm his foes in direct combat. Through his sheer power alone, Gamera is able to tear off Mother Legion's horn. Gamera demonstrates the ability to control his power, as he can be gentle when needed such as when he rescues Kairiki)Ayana Hirasaka from Iris and sets her down safely on the ground in front of Asagi Kusanagi and Mayumi Nagamine.
Gamera has sharp claw-like Elbow Claws (エルボークロー on each of his arms. These claws were initially concealed under his skin in G1, but Gamera unsheathed one through his elbow to slash Super Gyaos' leg. From this point on, his Elbow Claws are both permanently exposed. Erubō Kurō)
Gamera has spiky Calf Claws (カーフクロー on each of his legs, though he was never seen using them in combat. Kāfu Kurō)
In G1, Gamera uses his hand in an attack called the Hard Slap (ハード・スラップ to knock a young Hādo Surappu)Gyaos out of the sky and kill it in the Fukuoka port, as well as to destroy buildings in his way.
In G3, Gamera tears Ayana free from Iris' chest cavity by slicing through its flesh with his claws, an attack called the Rushing Claw (ラッシング・クロー. Rasshingu Kurō)
Gamera can use his teeth and large tusks in combat in a technique called the Break Fang (ブレイク・ファング. After biting down on his enemy, Gamera holds on with strong jaws and does not let go. He used this attack in G1 to grab Super Gyaos and attempt to power-dive from the upper atmosphere. Unable to free itself, Gyaos severs its leg with its supersonic scalpel to escape. Gamera also uses the Break Fang during his air duel with Iris in G3. Bureiku Fangu)
Gamera's most unique and unusual ability is his capacity for flight. Gamera flies through the air by means of rocket propulsion from the arm and leg holes in his shell. Gamera possesses two distinct flight modes: High Mobility and Rotating Disc (回転ジェット kaiten jetto), between both of which he can seamlessly transition. In his High Mobility flight mode, Gamera tucks his legs and tail into his shell and flies through the air like a jet, with his head extended and his arms held at his side. In G1, Gamera's arms did not change shape while in flight, but by G2 he adapted to change the shape of his arms into flippers which acted as wings. Gamera had also evolved to reduce the size of his head and make his body overall more aerodynamic for this flight mode. In G3, Gamera developed fin-like projections which he sprouted from his shell while in High Mobility flight mode and which acted as air brakes.
Gamera's other flight mode, Rotating Disc, involves him retracting his head, limbs, and tail into his shell and firing jets from all four limb holes. Gamera is propelled into the air and begins to spin like a flying saucer, building up speed as he progressively spins faster and faster. Gamera's flight path is not as precise and accurate in this flight mode due to his head and arms being tucked away; however, he is still capable of navigation in this mode despite the rapid spinning and lack of visibility. Gamera's Rotating Disc flight mode also allows him to attack enemies, shown in G2 where he throws several Soldier Legion off of him by using this flight mode and in G3 where he uses the previously-mentioned Shell Cutter ability to attack Iris.
Gamera is an extremely adept swimmer, able to achieve speeds up to 180 knots, and can breathe underwater for extended periods of time in a hibernation-like state. He can also take flight directly from underwater, launching himself into the sky from beneath the waves.
Human wound healing
At the end of the film Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera instantly healed scars on Asagi Kusanagi's arm and cheek. After slaying Iris in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, he appears to revive Ayana Hirasaka after her heart stops by roaring. Coincidentally Tatsunari Moribe, who was also in a coma after being attacked by Iris, regained consciousness at the same moment Ayana revived. A fan theory holds that he manipulated Mana to resurrect her, although this is unconfirmed.
Communication with humanity
Gamera is able to form a telepathic bond with a human through a magatama, granting that individual the role of his priest or priestess. Using this connection, Asagi Kusanagi was able to order Gamera to retreat while facing a Gyaos at Mt. Fuji, and seemed to play a role in his use of a High Plasma fireball to destroy the same Gyaos. This connection does have drawbacks, however, as she experienced the same injuries as Gamera and maintains a similar state of being; when Gamera was resting at the bottom of the sea to heal, Asagi was constantly sleeping as well. Their connection diminished after Gamera defeated Super Gyaos, and he was forced to sever it entirely to revive himself following his first battle with Mother Legion, causing all of his magatama to shatter.
Like Gyaos, Gamera can alter his own chromosomes to make his body more suited to combat. While Gyaos' supersonic scalpel was able to pierce his skin in G1, by G3 his skin could deflect the same ray from a Hyper Gyaos.
- Gamera the Guardian of the Universe (1995) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Gamera: Gyaos Destruction Strategy (1995) - Nintendo Super Famicom
- Gamera 2000 (1997) - Sony PlayStation
- Gamera: Dream Battle (1999) - Sega Dreamcast VMU
- CR Gamera: The Battle Pachinko (2009) - Pachinko
- Gamera: Battle (2012) - GREE, Mobage
- City Shrouded in Shadow (2017) - Sony PlayStation 4
- Symphogear XD UNLIMITED (2020) - Android and iOS
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.
- Gamera the Guardian of the Universe (1995)
- Gamera (1996) #1-4
- Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
- Gamera 2: Attack of Legion COMIC VERSION (1999)
- Gamera vs. Morphos (1999)
- Gamera Gaiden Ver. 2.5 (1999)
- Gamera vs. Barugon (2002)
- The Last Hope (2018)
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 lead 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 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 and to wake up mad. 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 command of Dr. Greta Karbone, who held the Atlantean magatama, and through Viras' command 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 his 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. With the day won, Gamera flew away.
Shortly after destroying Mother Legion, Gamera was faced with a Gyaos, which he defeated. In the meantime, an archaeological expedition ventured into a deep underground cavern. Most of the expedition members were killed by traps in the cavern, but the survivors discovered a massive skeleton with a giant jewel embedded in its skull. Surrounding the skeleton were cave paintings of several Gyaos locked in battle with another monster. The expedition members soon turned on each other and attempted to kill their comrades, with the last remaining survivors extracting the gem. The gem turned out to actually be an egg, which hatched into a gigantic reptilian monster called Barugon, a prototype guardian created by the Atlanteans to exterminate Gyaos prior to the creation of Gamera. There were several other failed guardians in addition to Barugon, including Zigra, Jiger, and Iris. After hatching, Barugon made his way to Tokyo, eliminating the JSDF trying to attack him with his icy breath and rainbow death ray and plunging the city into an ice storm. Gamera flew to Tokyo to confront Barugon, but found that the creature had been empowered by the ice storm. Gamera fought a losing battle against Barugon, but managed to spin into him and knock him into the ocean. Barugon escaped, but Gamera was able to sever his tail with a Plasma Fireball. Gamera suffered serious injuries from Barugon's icy breath and was forced to retreat as well to recover. Barugon soon constructed a gigantic iceberg and made his lair atop it. After healing from the previous battle, Gamera returned and challenged Barugon to a final confrontation atop the iceberg. This time, Gamera was able to strike Barugon with a Plasma Fireball, which knocked the creature off the iceberg and to his death in the ocean below.
With Atlantis besieged by huge serpents called Garasharp, the generals of the city proposed a plan to engineer their own monsters to fight them off. The result was Gyaos, which while effective in eliminating Garasharp soon turned against their creators once their food supply was exhausted. Desperately needing a way to save themselves from their own creation, the Atlanteans chose to engineer a new guardian; one that would be connected to humanity and therefore unable to turn against it. Using their mastery of Mana, the life energy of the Earth, the Atlanteans developed multiple creatures called Gamera. The Gamera were linked to human priests and priestesses using special magatama that granted them a telepathic communication. When an army of Gyaos returned to Atlantis along with a gigantic Garasharp, the Atlanteans unleashed the Gamera to stop them. While the invading creatures were defeated, all but one Gamera were killed. The last Gamera understood that Atlantis' consumption of Mana was what drew Garasharp in the first place and was what would continue to attract Gyaos. He then took it upon himself to destroy the Atlantean capital, ensuring that future generations of humanity could know peace. The survivors of the civilization honored Gamera for this act and sealed him away in an atoll with the remaining magatama and a stone obelisk chronicling the event and explaining Gamera's purpose. They hoped that if Gyaos, the Shadow of Evil, should reemerge to menace humanity in the future, that Gamera, the Last Hope, would arise to defend mankind once again.
- The design of the Heisei Trilogy Gamera was used for the Gamera who appeared in Manga Boys Special Edition: Gamera. He is presented as the same Gamera from Gamera: Super Monster, resurrected with an artificial sun based on plasma energy technologies used by Atlantis, which also alters his appearance. Afterwards, he is sent to the past with a time machine to defeat evil kaiju and monitor humanity.
- A Gamera suit from Gamera the Guardian of the Universe appeared in two direct-to-video films by Noriaki Yuasa, who directed all but one of the Showa Gamera films. In the 1995 short film Cosplay Warrior Cutie Knight, Yuasa himself played a character who gives one of the heroines a device to summon a human-sized Gamera. Gamera returned in the next year's Cosplay Warrior Cutie Knight 2. Here, he passively kicks the kaijin Rudonko as the heroines hold him down, and ultimately flies away using stock footage of the Showa Gamera. In both movies, his subtitle is Capsule Monster (カプセル怪獣. Kapuseru Kaijū)
- In the early stages of Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera was planned to split his mouth open and emit lights from his neck when using his Plasma Fireballs, somewhat similar to Godzilla's atomic blast in Shinji Higuchi's later work Shin Godzilla.
- Toto in Gamera the Brave possesses biological features similar to the Heisei trilogy Gamera like telepathy and eyesight of 30.0.
- This Gamera is stated to be over 150 million years old, although this is inconsistent with the timeline of the downfall of Atlantis in the film.
- There were significant disputes over Gamera's character during the production of the Heisei trilogy among stakeholders. Shusuke Kaneko and Kazunori Ito wanted to avoid any connection between Gamera and children, with the character instead becoming a threat to humanity; they also envisioned a more "machine"-like Gamera who would emit mechanical sounds, produce bioluminescence, and sport shapeshifting body parts. However, many executives and Showa era staff, including Nisan Takahashi, were strongly against such ideas, causing delays in production. Noriaki Yuasa was especially displeased with the storyline of Gamera 3 and Kaneko's "provocativeness", including his disdain for the Showa Gamera. As Ito tried to exclude children from the films and depict Gamera as "not caring about humans at all, like how humans see ants," it was only due to strong demands from executives that such scenes appeared. Various ideas of Gamera killing humans unintentionally, such by landing in Shibuya, were also scrapped due to their requests. Seeing this, Kaneko requested to insert the scene of Shibuya in Gamera 3 of Gamera protecting a child from a Hyper Gyaos. This, along with the financial success of the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy largely influenced the production of Gamera the Brave; executives announced that they would not approve any Heisei trilogy-esque scenarios, and therefore one of the principal mottos of the 2006 film was to "give Gamera back to children." Toto's endearing appearance was a part of making the film an antitheses to the Heisei trilogy, while Avant Gamera and Original Gyaos were designed to appeal to fans of those films. Kaneko is aware of the sentiment against his trilogy, and is somewhat vocally critical of the 2006 film, commenting that "I'm the right one.":196-199:201-205:213
- As above-noted, Gamera was planned to possess robotic features, and some of these ideas were included in the final drafts of all of the three films including G3 where Gamera produces bioluminance, and his shell shapeshifts for respective purposes including to flatten during his flight, and Gamera's spinning jet becomes a disc-like mode and the jets unify to create a circle of energy, and so on.:99:267
- Both Legion and Iris were originally planned to be defeated by Gamera's melee attacks at some point as Kaneko and Higuchi felt that the usage of Ultimate Plasma was "too mechanical", but they had no other choice but to create variants of new "killer moves".:202
- While Kaneko believes Gamera prevailed against the Hyper Gyaos swarms after the battle of Kyoto, Ito is uncertain about Gamera's fate as he thinks the swarm of Gyaos seen at the climax of the film represented only the first wave of their attacks on Japan.:217
- The "Gamera graveyard" in Gamera 3 may have been inspired by the draft of Gamera the Guardian of the Universe which later became the basis for Gamera the Brave: an artifact-like object, which turned out to be Gamera's egg, was discovered in the sunken ruin of an ancient civilization where a skeleton of Gamera is also situated. Later drafts of Gamera 3 included sunken Atlantean ruins located next to the "Gamera graveyard", which functioned as an emotional support for Gamera.:237:264
- Gamera losing his right arm in G3 was conceived as his atonement for killing Ayana's parents and cat.:131
- There was a scrapped Gamera ability for G3 called Burner (バーナー where Gamera retracts his arms and emits extremely concentrated jets to create energy swords. This was later adopted for bānā)Gamera 4: Truth.
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