Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
I will not forgive Gamera. (わたしはガメラを許さない。)
— Japanese tagline
Save the planet. Go green.
— American DVD tagline
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (ガメラ３ 邪神〈イリス〉覚醒 Gamera Surī Irisu Kakusei, lit. Gamera 3: Iris Awakening)[note 1] is a 1999 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Daiei, the eleventh entry in the Gamera series, the last of Shusuke Kaneko's Heisei Gamera trilogy, and the last to be released by Toho.
Three years have passed since the attack of the Legion, and the world is once again plagued by Gyaos attacks in diverse locations such as the Philippines. The flying monsters, thought to have been wiped out by Gamera, are now reappearing in increasing numbers across the globe and have been evolving out of control. Mayumi Nagamine, noted ornithologist, returns to aid the Japanese government in addressing this threat. A graveyard of Gamera fossils has been found at the bottom of the sea. Shadowy government agents Miss Asukura and Kurata Shinya, the former with occult beliefs and hinted by Kurata to be descended from the ancient advanced civilization that created Gamera and Gyaos, are meanwhile working to a different agenda, with Asukura believing Gamera to be an evil spirit that has to be stopped "to prevent Heaven and Earth's destruction."
Tragedy strikes, however, as the monsters take their conflict to the populated Shibuya district of Tokyo. Two Gyaos glide across the city skyline, relentlessly pursued by Gamera. He manages to blast one of them with a plasma fireball over the city, sending its flaming body into a collision with a crowded subway. Gamera bursts into the station in order to finish off his foe, incinerating the dying Gyaos along with several city blocks. Gamera then pursues the second Gyaos, firing several plasma fireballs at it until it is destroyed. Gamera then flies away into the night sky. An estimated twenty thousand human lives are lost in the battle, and the Japanese government orders Gamera's immediate destruction.
Meanwhile, a young girl named Ayana Hirasaka copes with the loss of her family, who were inadvertently killed by Gamera during his Tokyo battle with Gyaos in 1995. Consumed by a maelstrom of hatred and despair, Ayana finds friendship in the oddest of places: a stone egg sealed within an ancient temple in the village where she now lives. The egg hatches into a small tentacled creature, whom the girl names "Iris," after her dead cat. Iris becomes the focus of Ayana's quest for revenge, as she seeks to raise her own monster and take vengeance against Gamera.
Revenge comes at a price, however, as Iris attempts to absorb Ayana in the process of its growth. A young man named Tatsunari Moribe manages to free her from Iris' cocoon, but its taste for humanity is far from quenched. It escapes and kills the entire populace of the village. Iris then grows into his monstrous adult form and continues terrorizing the countryside.
Iris flies toward the city of Kyoto, but is intercepted in mid-flight by Gamera. The monsters engage in a high-speed battle in the night sky, Gamera using his saucer-like locomotion to batter Iris. The J.A.S.D.F. intervenes, however, knocking Gamera out of the sky with a tactical missile strike. Iris then proceeds unimpeded to Kyoto, where Ayana has been taken by Asukura and Kurata, with Asukura deliberately trying to use the girl to summon Iris. Nagamine and Asagi Kusanagi, the girl once psychically linked with Gamera, retrieve Ayana and attempt unsuccessfully to get her out of Kyoto. Kurata expresses a belief that Iris has been deliberately created to kill Gamera so that the Gyaos will wipe out modern humanity, a "decadent civilization."
Inside the train station in Kyoto, Ayana lends her will to Iris, as Gamera dives into the city and fires several plasma fireballs towards Iris. Iris easily bats them away with his tentacles, and the city erupts in flame. The two monsters engage in melee, but Iris easily gains the upper hand, impaling his foe and leaving Gamera for dead. Iris then makes his way to the train station, killing Asukura and Kurata and opening his chest to finally absorb Ayana.
From within Iris' body, Ayana experiences the monster's memories of killing her village, and realizes that her hatred and bitterness over being an orphan motivated the monster she raised. Just as she has her epiphany, however, Gamera smashes into the station and plunges his hand into Iris' chest. Gamera manages to wrench the girl free, robbing Iris of its human merge, but it counters this by staking Gamera's hand to the wall with one of his extendable, sword-like arms. Miss Nagamine and Asagi, trapped within the train station's wreckage, watch helplessly as Iris begins to siphon Gamera's blood, using it to create plasma fireballs with its tentacles. Before they can be launched, however, Gamera takes action, choosing to instead blast off his own impaled hand. Iris fires two plasma fireballs, but Gamera then points his stump arm toward the incoming attack, absorbs them, and forms a fiery plasma fist, then drives it into Iris' wounded chest.
Iris shrieks in agony and explodes, blowing the roof off the crumbling train station and obliterating Iris once and for all. The comatose Ayana still clutched in his fist, Gamera sets the girl down where Nagamine and Asagi are hiding. The women are unable to revive her, but Gamera lets out a roar and Ayana opens her eyes. Gamera leaves the girl wondering why he would save her life after all she had done, while Moribe runs to Ayana and comforts her. The four survivors watch Gamera leave the station and enter the ruins of Kyoto. Nagamine remarks that it appears Gamera will continue to fight even if he is alone, but Asagi states that Gamera is not alone, knowing that humanity will fight by his side once again. As Gamera roars in defiance, the Gyaos, thousands strong, descend upon Japan.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
- Written by Kazunori Ito, Shusuke Kaneko
- Produced by Miyuki Nanri, Naoki Sato, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Tsutomu Tsuchikawa
- Music by Kow Otani
- Cinematography by Junichi Tozawa
- Edited by Isao Tomita
- Special Effects by Shinji Higuchi, Makoto Kamiya
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Shinobu Nakayama as Mayumi Nagamine
- Ai Maeda as Ayana Hirasaka
- Yukijiro Hotaru as Inspector Osako
- Ayako Fujitani as Asagi Kusanagi
- Senri Yamazaki as Mito Asakura
- Tooru Teduka as Shin'ya Kurata
- Yuu Koyama as Tatsunari Moribe
- Nozomi Andou as Miyuki Moribe
- Kei Horie as Shigeki Hinohara
- Norito Yashima as Sakurai
- Yukijiro Hotaru as Osako
- Hirotaro Honda as Mr. Saito
- Aki Maeda as Young Ayana
- Hiroyuki Watanabe as Regimental Commander
- Yukie Nakama as Female Camper
- Kunihiko Mitamura as Ayana's Father
- Hirofumi Fukuzawa as Gamera
- Akira Ohashi as Iris and Nightmare Gamera
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
- Main article: Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris/Gallery.
- Main article: Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (Soundtrack).
- Gamera 3: Iris Awakening (Literal Japanese title)
- Gamera 3: Evil God Awakening (Alternate reading of Japanese title)
- Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys (Alternate English title)
- Gamera 3: Incomplete Struggle (English Japanese title)
- GIII: The Guardian of the Universe (Alternate English Japanese title)
- Gamera, Absolute Guardian of the Universe (United Kingdom)
- Gamera 3: Evil God Irys' Awakening (Gamera 3: Böse Gott Irys Awakening; Germany)
- Gamera: Revenge of Iris (U.S. DVD Title)
- Japan - March 6th, 1999
By June 28, 1999, Gamera 3 had gained $15,000,000.
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris has been widely praised by critics and kaiju fans as not only being the best of the Heisei Gamera trilogy, but also being the best of all the Gamera films, as well as one of the greatest kaiju films ever made. Stomp Tokyo.com gave the film a glowing review, stating that it's "The Finest Giant Monster Movie Made Since The Original Godzilla."
ADV Films DVD (2003)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (5.1 Surround), English (5.1 Surround)
- Special Features: Gag audio commentary, interview with Shinji Higuchi, press conference (4 minutes), five trailers, twenty TV spots, behind the scenes footage (5 minutes), Gamera Promotional Events featurette (1 minute), footage from the film's opening day in Japan (6 minutes), outtakes (4 minutes, dubbing gags rather that on-set mistakes)
- Notes: Also packaged with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion in the Gamera Complete DVD Collection. Out of print.
Mill Creek Blu-ray (2011)
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD HR 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Special Features: None
- Notes: Also packaged with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion in the Gamera Trilogy set. The English subtitles for Gamera 2 and Gamera 3 are incomplete and suffer from delay.
Mill Creek DVD (2014) [Gamera: Legacy Collection]
- Region: 1
- Discs: 4
- Audio: Japanese (Stereo)
- Special Features: None
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Guiron, Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra, Gamera: Super Monster, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion.
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: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, and Gamera the Brave.
- In an interview published shortly after the film was released, director Shusuke Kaneko elaborated on the film's cliffhanger ending, declaring that Gamera will survive his battle with the Hyper Gyaos.[page number needed]
- During this film, several characters can be seen interacting with Sega's then-new game console, the Dreamcast.
- Hideaki Anno, creator of the famous anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion and longtime friend of special effects director Shinji Higuchi, directed a documentary about the making of this film titled Gamera 1999. Anno and Higuchi would later collaborate on the 2016 Godzilla film Shin Godzilla.
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris received a fan-made sequel from director Shinpei Hayashiya titled Gamera 4: Truth, which features Yukijiro Hotaru reprising his role as Osako. This short film was screened several times in Japan in 2003, and was even distributed by Kadokawa. It has rarely been screened since, and has not yet been released in any form.
- Kadokawa published a tie-in manga for Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris in 2002, which is set between it and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion and as such is labeled Gamera 2.5. The manga is an adaptation of Gamera vs. Barugon, and adapts its events into the continuity of the Heisei trilogy. It also attempts to explain the backstory of Iris, suggesting he was a prototype guardian created by the Atlanteans to exterminate Gyaos, along with Barugon, Zigra, and Jiger. The manga's author has stated that it was never meant to considered canon to the trilogy.
- While Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is the last entry of Shusuke Kaneko's Heisei Gamera trilogy, it is not the last entry in the Gamera Heisei series. After acquiring the rights to Gamera, Kadokawa produced a film titled Gamera the Brave in 2006 to celebrate the character's 40th anniversary. While it is considered the fourth entry in the Heisei series, Gamera the Brave is not connected to the events of Kaneko's trilogy.
- Nanako Kaneko, the wife of Shusuke Kaneko, appears in a cameo in this film as an interviewer. She also made an appearance in the first movie as a zoo keeper.
- Several actors from this film would go on to appear in Shusuke Kaneko's next kaiju film, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Yukijiro Hotaro, who played Osako in this film, plays a minor role in GMK as a suicidal man in the Aokigahara. Ai Maeda and Aki Maeda, who play Ayana Hirasaka as a teenager and a child, respectively, cameo as a pair of twin girls who witness Mothra fly overhead in GMK as a reference to the Shobijin. Stuntman Toshinori Sasaki, who has an unspecified role in Gamera 3, performs stunts as Baragon in GMK. Lastly, Iris' suit actor Akira Ohashi portrays King Ghidorah in GMK.
- The kanji 邪神 is normally read as "Jyashin," meaning "Evil God." However, the katakana in parentheses next to the kanji in the title indicates that in this case it is read as "Irisu" (Iris).
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