Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (ガメラ２ レギオン襲来 is a Gamera Tsū: Region Shūrai)1996 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Shusuke Kaneko and written by Kazunori Ito, with special effects by Shinji Higuchi. Produced by Daiei, NTV Network, Hakuhodo, Fujitsu, and Nihon Shuppan, it is the 10th entry in the Gamera series as well as the second in Shusuke Kaneko's Heisei Gamera trilogy. It stars Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, and Ayako Fujitani. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on July 13, 1996. ADV Films released the film to DVD in the United States in 2003.
Following the impact of a meteor shower over Hokkaido, strange events begin to occur, culminating in an attack on a subway in Sapporo by a swarm of giant insectoid creatures. The JSDF moves to obliterate the creatures and their huge flower nest, but Gamera arrives to fight them as well and destroys the nest himself. However, he finds himself swarmed by the creatures as their colossal queen emerges from underground and takes flight. It becomes clear that these creatures, dubbed Legion, have come to Earth in the meteor and aim to launch a seed into space to further colonize other worlds. Gamera stops their flower from seeding in Sendai, but at the cost of the entire city and apparently his own life. Now, the JSDF forms a final line of defense across the Kanto region to prevent the Legion from reaching Tokyo and launching another seed, but may not stand a chance against the extremely powerful Mother Legion. Fortunately, Gamera may not be dead after all...
In 1997, NASA scientists suddenly detect a massive meteor shower unexpectedly hurtling toward Earth. As it is too late to initiate preparations for impact, NASA simply makes a press release about a "freak meteor shower." Interest in the strange event rises across Northern Japan, and citizens gather at night to witness the incoming shower. One particularly large meteor crashes near Lake Shikotsu in Hokkaido, and in its aftermath a strange aurora appears in the night sky over the area. Immediately the JSDF's chemical protection platoon scrambles to investigate the impact site. Also investigating are the Sapporo Science Center curator Midori Honami and director Akio Nojiri. As they approach the Lake, their vehicle suddenly breaks down. Honami flags down the nearby JSDF soldiers and recruits them to help start their car. Honamu and Nojiri begin discussing the meteor with Colonel Yusuke Watarase and First Lieutenant Hanatani, who reveal that in their investigation found no sign of the large meteorite, only an impact crater. Honami proposes that perhaps the meteor somehow moved under its own power, as unlikely as it sounds. Watarase and Hanatani realize it may be a possibility, as the impact crater shows skid marks as if the meteor was slowing down before landing. In the outskirts of Sapporo, more strange phenomena begin occurring over the next several days. Security guards at a brewery witness a strange human-sized insectoid creature rummaging through the bottled beer. Obitsu, an engineer at NTT Hokkaido's network operation center, discovers that the network's fiber-optic cables have mysteriously disappeared. As each incident occurs, they happen closer and closer to the city limits of Sapporo. Honami investigates the brewery with Watarase and Hanatani, and discovers that all of the bottles have seemingly been disintegrated while their contents were left behind. She next views a police interview tape with one of the witnesses, Tsutomu Osako, who describes seeing a huge creature disintegrating the bottles. Watarase explains that the police were hesitant to believe Osako's story, as he was the first reported witness of Gyaos the year before while he was a detective with the Nagasaki Police Department. Hanatani shows Honami that silicon powder was recovered from the scene, suggesting that the bottles were all broken down into silicon powder.
Five days after the meteor impact, a subway train in Sapporo is attacked by the same type of creature that was seen in the brewery. In addition, a gigantic flower erupts from the buildings in the center of town. The Sapporo police rescue several survivors of the attack and close the subway off, but Watarase's platoon arrives to take over the situation. Curiously, some of the subway passengers were spared while others were killed by the creatures, seemingly at random. Watarase and his men travel into the subway and witness several of the creatures crawling around the tunnels, which Watarase describes as neither crustaceans nor insects. Honami proposes that the creatures, or "Colony," are in a symbiotic relationship with the plant, or "Pod," and they both arrived together from outer space in the meteor shower. She compares them to leafcutter ants, which cultivate a fungus in order to maintain their nest. In this case, the Colony breaks down silicon and feeds it to the Pod, which gives off high amounts of oxygen. Watarase attends a meeting of JSDF personnel to discuss their findings, and at this meeting it is determined that the alien creatures cannot possibly co-exist with humanity, and that they must be destroyed before they can destroy mankind. The JSDF prepares to destroy the Pod, which is now in flower, by planting explosives on its roots in the subway, assuming that the blast will be amplified by the heightened oxygen levels and completely destroy it. Honami believes that the Colony must spread to other worlds by making the Pod launch a seed into outer space, and convinces Obitsu to run a simulation using NTT's computers showing the projected damage should the Pod seed. To their horror, the simulation shows that everything in a six mile radius would be wiped out by the explosion produced when the Pod seeds. Obitsu tells Honami that they should run, but she points out that they would never be able to outrun that explosion.
As the JSDF prepares to blow up the Pod, Gamera surfaces from the Sanriku coast and flies to Sapporo. Gamera lands and inhales the increased oxygen around the Pod, then blasts it with a particularly powerful plasma fireball, disabling it. Gamera then approaches the Pod and uproots it, throws it aside, then destroys it with another fireball. Just as Gamera seems victorious, thousands of the alien creatures pour out of the subway tunnels and climb onto him, biting through his flesh. As Watarase and Hanatani watch the creatures swarm over Gamera, Hanatani quotes a passage from the Bible: "And he asked him, 'What is thy name?' And he answered saying, 'My name is Legion, for we are many.'" Gamera struggles unsuccessfully against the creatures covering him, and finally collapses to the ground. However, several of the creatures are distracted by a nearby electrical transformer and climb off of Gamera and onto it. Gamera seizes the opportunity and flies back to the ocean, dislodging the rest of the creatures on his skin. Shortly afterward, a gigantic winged creature bursts from the ground and flies away. F-15J fighter jets are scrambled to shoot the monster down, and successfully strike it with missiles over the Tsugaru Strait. However, only a severed wing is recovered, and the monster is still unaccounted for. Several carcasses of the smaller creatures are located on the beach near where Gamera plunged back into the ocean. One of the carcasses is dissected, from which it is determined that the creature move through the use of pressurized gas in their limbs in place of muscles. Watarase and Obitsu meet with Honami at her home to discuss the ecology of the creatures, which are now being called "Symbiotic Legion." They determine that the Legion communicate through the use of electromagnetic waves. Watarase shows the others that all of the subway passengers who were killed by the Legion were carrying electronic devices such as pagers and radios. They come to the conclusion that the Legion must see any electrical signals which interfere with their communication as a threat, explaining why they would attack humans carrying such electronic devices and why they swarmed off of Gamera to climb onto an electrical transformer. This also means, they realize, that the Legion must be drawn to large cities due to the high concentration of electromagnetic waves.
True to their prediction, a second Pod appears in Sendai. Due to Sendai's warmer climate, the Pod flowers much faster and is preparing to seed before the JSDF has time to respond. Evacuation of the city begins immediately, with civilians boarding helicopters at an airfield just outside the city. Honami is escorted to one of the choppers, but before she boards Gamera is seen flying overhead. As he approaches Sendai, two colossal spear-tipped claws burst from the ground and knock him from the sky. The civilians panic and begin rushing into the helicopters, knocking down a young woman on crutches. Honami and the girl's friend help her into the helicopter, and watch through a window as the gigantic Mother Legion emerges from underground and attacks Gamera. When Honami sees the friend of the girl she helped watching the battle and clutching a magatama, she realizes that she is Asagi Kusanagi, the girl who communicated with Gamera. One of the helicopters successfully takes off, but the other one is unable due to the shaking of the ground caused by the monsters. Gamera tries his hardest to hold the Mother Legion back and allow the helicopter to safely take off, with his enemy stabbing through his shell with her legs. The helicopter finally takes off and escapes, but Mother Legion is determined to hold Gamera off long enough for the Pod to launch its seed. The horn on her head splits open and fires a beam which obliterates surrounding buildings and blasts off a corner of Gamera's shell. Gamera is severely wounded by Legion's assault and collapses to the ground. With her enemy defeated, Mother Legion burrows underground and vanishes. Gamera weakly gets back to his feet and limps into downtown Sendai to try and stop the Pod. He knocks the Pod on its side and throws himself in front of it just as it launches its seed, triggering an explosion that reduces the majority of Sendai to a crater. Amid the ruins, Gamera sits lifeless, appearing to have perished in the explosion.
The JSDF convenes a meeting with Watarase and Honami to discuss further countermeasures. Honami says that after failing twice to fire their seed into space, the Legion will be desperate and likely head to Tokyo next. With Gamera no longer around to stop the Legion, the JSDF sets up a defense line outside of Tokyo in an attempt to preempt their arrival. Honami brings Asagi to an airport so she can fly home, but Asagi insists that Gamera is not dead and won't let the Legion win. Honami decides to go with Asagi to the ruins of Sendai, where many people have gathered around Gamera's body. Meanwhile, the Mother Legion appears at Ashikaga. Despite the JSDF's all-out assault from both air and land, their attacks fail to harm the monster which easily breaks through the first defense line as she makes her way to Tokyo, and nears the second defense line, situated in the centre of the city. Back in Sendai, the congregated people begin to pray for Gamera to return, and as if answering that prayer golden light begins to swirl into the air around Gamera. The energy takes the form of a magatama before flowing into Gamera's body. Asagi's magatama shatters in her hand just as Gamera awakens and takes flight. As Gamera approaches Mother Legion's location, Hanatani tells the division chief that they need to support Gamera as he cannot stand alone against the Mother Legion and her Soldiers. Gamera lands and spits plasma fireballs at Mother Legion, who deflects them with her interference wave claws. Gamera tries to attack Mother Legion, but is once again wounded by her microwave beam and outmatched against her greater size and strength. Finally, the division chief gives the order for the remaining troops to support Gamera and open fire on Legion. Artillery strikes Mother Legion's claws, severing some of them and disabling her ability to block Gamera's fireballs.
Obitsu puts into motion his own plan to stop the Soldier Legion from affecting the battle. He convinces an NTT substation in the area to begin broadcasting, causing the Soldier Legion swarm to be attracted to the power lines just outside the station. Obitsu arrives at the station and tries to evacuate the employee working there, but they are both menaced by a single Soldier Legion which has made its way inside. Fortunately, Watarase arrives and kills the Legion with his handgun and helps the other escape the station. Once they reach a safe distance, Watarase uses his radio to give the order for nearby helicopters to open fire. The helicopters launch missiles at the congregated Legion on the power lines, wiping them all out.
Gamera grabs Mother Legion's horn and with all of his strength tears it off. Mother Legion shrieks and collapses to the ground, but her eyes suddenly turn red and she gets back up. From the area where her horn once was she begins firing red strands of energy which penetrate Gamera's body and burn him. Mother Legion continues assaulting Gamera and breaks through the final defense line. Before his enemy can reach Tokyo, Gamera summons a huge amount of energy into himself and begins to glow brightly. Suddenly, the shell over Gamera's abdomen opens and from it he fires an extremely powerful beam of plasma which reduces Mother Legion to dust in a single strike. As the sun rises, the victorious Gamera takes flight while the JSDF looks on. The JSDF finally declares the operation successful and celebrates.
A few days later, Honami and Obitsu are walking through Sapporo. Honami says she believes Gamera is not specifically fighting to protect humanity, but rather fighting on behalf of all life on Earth. Obitsu wonders what would happen if Gamera deemed humanity a threat to other life on Earth, to which Honami replies that she would not want to be Gamera's enemy.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
- Written by Kazunori Ito
- Produced by Miyuki Nanri, Naoki Sato, Tsutomu Tsuchikawa
- Music by Kow Otani
- Cinematography by Junichi Tozawa
- Edited by Shizuo Arakawa
- Production design by Hajime Oikawa
- Director of Special Effects Shinji Higuchi
- Assistant Director of Special Effects Makoto Kamiya
- Theme song "Sky" performed by Ulfuls
- Lyrics and Composition by Tortoise Matsumoto
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Gamera 2: Attack of Legion/Gallery.
- Main article: Gamera 2: Attack of Legion/Soundtrack.
- G2 (abbreviated title)
- Gamera 2: The Real Guardian of the Universe (early English title)
- G2: Gamera vs. Legion (early English title)
- Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (English Japanese title)
- Gamera 2: Assault of the Legion (English Japanese title)
- Gamera 2: Assault of Legion (Japanese 4K Blu-ray English title)
- Gamera: Attack of Legion (U.S. DVD title)
- Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion (original U.S. Blu-ray title)
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion was projected to gross at least ¥1 billion after opening at the box office, but ticket sales stalled and the film ended up only grossing ¥700 million during its 1996 Japanese theatrical run. The film recorded an attendance of 1.2 million.
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion is considered one of the best Gamera films, and is highly favored by fans. The film has an audience percentage of 84%, with an average rating of 3.8 out of 5, on the movie reviewing site Rotten Tomatoes. It also has a score of 7.3 out of 10 on IMDb.
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion was the first film to ever win the Nihon SF Taisho Award. The Gamera series repeated at the annual Seiun Awards, with this film winning "Best Dramatic Presentation" after Gamera the Guardian of the Universe had won it the previous year.
|17th Nihon SF Taisho Award
|Gamera 2: Attack of Legion
|28th Seiun Awards
|Best Dramatic Presentation
|Gamera 2: Attack of Legion
Amuse Laserdisc (1997)
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Notes: Both a special edition and normal version were available. Also released along with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe as part of the Gamera Ultimate Box.
Daiei DVD (2001)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Notes: Also sold as part of the 2001 box set Gamera THE BOX (1995-1999) with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris and the 2005 box set Gamera 40th Anniversary Z-Plan DVD-BOX with Gamera the Giant Monster, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Guiron, Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra, Gamera Super Monster, Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. Reissued as an individual DVD by Kadokawa on October 26, 2007.
ADV Films DVD (2003)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (5.1 Surround), English (5.1 Surround)
- Special features: Interview with Shinji Higuchi (32 minutes), two press conferences (7 minutes), six trailers, 10 TV spots, behind the scenes footage (3 minutes), Yubari Fantasy Film Festival premiere (6 minutes), footage from the film's opening day in Japanese theaters (4 minutes), Gamera Promotional Events featurette (5 minutes), outtakes (4 minutes; dubbing gags rather than on-set mistakes), Lake Texarkana Gamera (13-minute gag dub of the film)
- Notes: A full-length version of the Lake Texarkana Gamera dub is available on a 2004 re-release packaged with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris in the Gamera Complete DVD Collection. Out of print.
Kadokawa Blu-ray / DVD (2009 / 2010)
- Region: A/1 (Blu-ray) or 2 (DVD)
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Notes: Also included in the Heisei Gamera Blu-ray Box with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, and Gamera the Brave. A digitally remastered DVD using the same master as the Blu-ray was released in 2010.
Mill Creek Blu-ray (2011)
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD HR 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1, ADV dub)
- Special features: Uncut Version of the Salvo Scene, Behind the Scenes of the Kasuminome Airfield Scene, Miki Mizuno's First Experience, The Subway Jerks to a Halt, The Police Block Off Odori Station, Identifying the Crater, Impressive Scream, Jumping Off a Jeep, On-Set in a Subway Tunnel, Shooting Groups of Legions, Safety First, How to Wear a Small Legion Suit, For Yukino's Fans, Creating the Costume for Legion, Legion with Damage, Civilian Houses Blasted, Explosion Shots in Kasuminome, Special Effect Explosions, Gamera Puppet Special Effects, Gamera Can Fly (all included only in The Gamera Trilogy set)
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe. The two films can also be found with Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris in The Gamera Trilogy set, which includes bonus features for all three films.
Mill Creek DVD (2014) [Gamera: The Legacy Collection]
- Region: 1
- Discs: 4
- Audio: Japanese (Stereo)
- Special features: None
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera the Giant Monster, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Guiron, Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra, Gamera Super Monster, Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.
Kadokawa Blu-ray (2016) [Heisei Gamera 4K Digital Restoration Blu-ray Box]
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 6
- Audio: Japanese (DTS HD 5.1 Surround and DTS HD 2 Stereo)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Two "Special Contents" discs consisting of over 760 minutes of bonus footage for all four Heisei Gamera films; 200-page "G I-III SFX & Art Photographs" booklet featuring 750 unreleased photos from the Heisei Gamera trilogy; 32-page "G I-IV Complement Books" booklet featuring interviews, plot summaries, Laserdisc cover artwork, and more for all four Heisei Gamera films.
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, and Gamera the Brave.
- The 1996 comic Gamera 2: Attack of Legion features Midori Honami's little brother Kaito as the human protagonist whose grandfather was killed by a flock of Gyaos including both Showa and Super incarnations. The Hokkaido University professor of veterinary medicine was also highlighted as a key character to name Legion and to invente an anti-Legion weapon called Diffusional Ion Cannon (拡散イオン砲 which is one of few super-weapons in the franchise. Kakusan Ion Hō):87
- The film's title sequence shows a burning cross which transitions into the me (メ) character of "Gamera" (ガメラ). This complements the film's other Biblical allusion, a passage from Mark 5:9 which is quoted as the basis for the Legion's name.
- The television variety series How Do You Like Wednesday?, which premiered in 1996, was influenced by the Heisei Gamera trilogy, especially Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, as it features Hokkaido as one of key locations. Ironically, this caused many viewers in Japan to believe that several music themes and trailer formats of the trilogy originated in How Do You Like Wednesday?.
- The scene where it is determined that the sediment left behind by the Legion is silicon powder is similar to a scene from an episode of Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero, which also shared this film's writer, Kazunori Ito.
- The building in Sapporo's Susukino district where the first Legion Flower appears is actually a real department store, currently known as La Fila. At the time the film was made, the store inside the building was Robinson's, though in the film it features a sign that reads "Banderas" (バンデラス instead. Banderasu)
- Akira Ohashi, who plays Gamera in this film, would go on to oppose Gamera as Iris in the final film of the trilogy. As the Gamera suit from this film was refurbished as Trauma Gamera for Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Ohashi wore the suit for its brief appearance in Ayana Hirasaka's nightmare.
- Ohashi and both of the Mother Legion's suit actors, Mizuho Yoshida and Toshinori Sasaki, would all go on to appear in Shusuke Kaneko's Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in which Ohashi portrays King Ghidorah, Yoshida portrays Godzilla, and Sasaki performs stunts for Baragon.
- While they each play half of the Mother Legion in this film, Yoshida and Sasaki play enemy monsters Zedus and Toto in the fourth Heisei Gamera film, Gamera the Brave.
- The three Soldier Legion suits used in this film were preserved and made an appearance at the New York Comic Con in 2015 to celebrate Gamera's 50th birthday.
- This film's tagline, "Who will be extinct, Japan or Legion?" (消滅するのは、日本か、レギオンか。, is similar to the tagline for Shōmetsu suru no wa, Nihon ka, Region ka.)GODZILLA: Planet of the Monsters, "Who will be eradicated, man, or Godzilla?" (滅びるのは、人か、ゴジラか。. Horobiru no wa, hito ka, Gojira ka.)
- Actress Aki Maeda appears in a minor role in this film as a little girl watching Gamera in the ruins of Sendai. She would go on to play Ayana Hirasaka during flashback scenes in this film's sequel.
- The brief interaction between Gamera and a pod of dolphins off Sendai is presumably a reuse of an unused idea for the previous film, which would have been one of the first direct encounters between Gamera and humanity and involved Yoshinari Yonemori.:246
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