Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
Gamera vs. Jiger (ガメラ対大魔獣ジャイガー is a Gamera tai Daimajū Jaigā, lit. Gamera vs. Giant Demon Beast Jiger)1970 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Noriaki Yuasa and written by Nisan Takahashi, with special effects by Yuasa. Produced by Daiei, it is the sixth entry in the Gamera series as well as the Showa series. It stars Tsutomu Takakuwa, Kelly Varis, Katherine Murphy, Sanshiro Hono, and Franz Gruber. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Daiei on March 21, 1970 on a double feature with Invisible Swordsman.[note 1] American International Television released an English-dubbed version titled Gamera vs. Monster X to television syndication in the United States later that same year.
When a mysterious statue is removed from Wester Island, the giant demon beast known as Jiger appears and lays waste to Osaka. Gamera arrives to challenge Jiger, but finds himself infected by her parasitic young during the battle. Now, young boys Hiroshi and Tommy enter Gamera's body in order to save him while the JSDF tries to uncover the mystery of the statue and learn how to defeat Jiger. Gamera vs. Jiger was followed by Gamera vs. Zigra in 1971.
Young Hiroshi Kitayama is excited to get to visit the site of Expo '70, since his sister's archaelologist boyfriend Keisuke Sawada works there. The two travel to the Expo site, where pavilions are set up by all major countries to show off advancements in science in the space age. Keisuke explains that the theme of the Expo is world unity, and says that will be on display throughout the event. Suddenly, Keisuke is called to his office, where the cultural envoy from Wester Island, Gibo, is arguing with Expo workers. Gibo insists that if the statue from his island, known as the Devil's Whistle, is moved, it will bring a great curse. Keisuke explains to Gibo that they intend to display the statue at the Expo to further examine the mystery of the sinking of the continent of Mu. Gibo becomes enraged, only shouting the name "Jiger," before storming out.
On Wester Island, Dr. Williams is overseeing the removal of the Devil's Whistle. Helicopters attach lines to the statue and begin pulling it out of the ground only for Gamera to show up and begin flying around the choppers, blocking them from moving. Gamera lands, and catches the statue in his hand as the helicopters try to fly away. Dr. Williams orders the guards to open fire on Gamera, which distracts him long enough for him to let go of the statue. Suddenly, an earthquake strikes the island and causes the nearby volcano to erupt, leading Gamera to fly to the crater to consume the lava. Unimpeded, the helicopters fly the Devil's Whistle to the Nankai-Maru and deposit it there.
Not long after, the monster Jiger emerges from underneath where the Devil's Whistle once stood. Still on the island to feed on the volcano, Gamera flies down to the ground to challenge Jiger. The two monsters fight, with Jiger throwing a boulder at Gamera and then using jets located on her head to lunge at him. Gamera manages to avoid Jiger's strikes and grabs her, flying her high into the air and dropping her back to the ground. Gamera swims back to the island and begins pummeling Jiger while she is down, but she launches needles from her head that pierce Gamera's limbs, causing him to fall onto his back, immobile. Her enemy disabled, Jiger uses her jets to swim quickly away from the island. At sea, a large ship witnesses Jiger swimming toward it but cannot escape as the monster strikes the ship and splits it in half.
Back in Osaka, Dr. Williams has arrived with his son Tommy and daughter Susan, who are friends of Hiroshi. They watch as the Devil's Whistle is unloaded from the Nankai-Maru by helicopters, as the crew had taken ill and were unable to move it themselves. Suddenly, they see Jiger swimming toward the ship and watch as she destroys it. Jiger leaps after the statue as the choppers carry it, but cannot reach it and instead lands in the middle of Osaka. Jiger begins rampaging as tanks and artillery open fire on her. She fires a beam from her face that obliterates the attacking forces, then uses the same beam to wipe out a large portion of the city. Back on Wester Island, Gamera manages to remove the needles from his limbs and quickly flies to Osaka to intercept Jiger. The two monsters battle again, with Gamera gaining the upper hand. Just as Gamera has Jiger at his mercy, she grabs him and stabs him in the shoulder with a stinger located on the tip of her tail. Gamera immediately retreats and collapses headfirst into the sea, his arm and head becoming an incredibly pale white.
The following morning, Jiger is asleep in Osaka while Gamera is still in a death-like state. Hiroshi and Tommy head to the Expo site where everyone is discussing what to do next. Hiroshi suggests they find a way to revive Gamera, to which the scientists respond by taking X-ray photographs of the monster. The X-rays reveal that Gamera is being parasitized by Jiger's offspring, his pale color a result of the larva drinking his blood. To make matters worse, Jiger attacks the Expo site and finds the Devil's Whistle, then chucks it into the sea. Hiroshi and Tommy steal a communicator and board one of the mini submarines Hiroshi's father built for the Expo, using it to enter Gamera's body. They contact everyone at the Expo and explain their mission, to find and root out the cause of Gamera's weakened state. They ride the sub to Gamera's lung, where they find the baby Jiger. The creature attacks them, prompting Hiroshi to throw his communicator at the creature. To his surprise, the creature writhes in agony. He grabs the communicator and throws it again, this time killing the baby Jiger. The parasitic larva defeated, the boys return to land.
Dr. Williams and the other scientists determine that Jiger is weak to low-frequency waves, as she instead projects high-frequency waves. Thus, the communicator was able to kill her offspring while the frequency given off as wind passed through the Devil's Whistle kept her at bay. If they could replicate the sound of the Devil's Whistle and play it to Jiger, they may be able to weaken her. The plan, Operation Speaker, is put into motion while another plan is set in action to revive Gamera. Wires are run from the local power plant into Gamera's heart, with electrical current being sent through it. Gamera regains his color and is revived, then flies to the Expo site to engage Jiger in a final battle.
While Jiger is kept at bay by an array of giant loudspeakers, she resumes activity when a blackout caused by Gamera's revival shorts out the speakers. Fortunately, Gamera arrives to battle her. The two monsters fight one final time, with Jiger using her ray against Gamera. The high-frequency waves of Jiger's ray threaten to rupture Gamera's eardrums, but he grabs two nearby power poles and shoves them into his ears. He then fights back against Jiger, avoiding her attempts to stab him again with her stinger and using a club-shaped building to smash her tail until the stinger is dislodged. Gamera then bodyslams Jiger from a great height, lodging her underground, then flies into the ocean and retrieves the Devil's Whistle. He flies around Jiger, who tries leaping into the air to catch him unsuccessfully. As Jiger leaps at Gamera once more, he throws the statue which embeds itself into Jiger's skull. The beast falls to the ground and writhes before finally dying. Gamera then grabs Jiger's carcass and begins flying it back to Wester Island. Hiroshi and the others bid farwell to Gamera as he flies away.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
- Written by Nisan Takahashi
- Produced by Hidemasa Nagata
- Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
- Cinematography by Akira Kitazaki
- Edited by Zenko Miyazaki
- Director of special effects Noriaki Yuasa (uncredited)
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Tsutomu Takakuwa as Hiroshi Kitayama
- Kelly Varis as Tommy Williams
- Katherine Murphy as Susan Williams
- Sanshiro Hono as Keisuke Sawada
- Franz Gruber as Dr. Williams
- Sho Natsuki as Dr. Suzuki, National Institute of Science Director
- Junko Yashiro as Miko Kitayama
- Kon Omura as Ryosaku Kitayama
- Umenosuke Izumi as Gamera
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Gamera vs. Jiger/Gallery.
- Main article: Gamera vs. Jiger (Soundtrack).
- Gamera vs. Giant Demon Beast Jiger (literal Japanese title)
- Gamera vs. Giant Demon Beast X (ガメラ対大魔獣X Gamera tai Daimajū Ekkusu, early Japanese title)
- Gamera vs. Monster X (United States)
- Gamera Against Jiggar - Frankenstein Demon Threatens the World (Gamera gegen Jiggar – Frankensteins Dämon bedroht die Welt, West Germany) 
- Kinkong - the empire of dragons (Kinkong - L'impero dei draghi, Italy)
- Japan - March 21, 1970
- Italy - 1972
- West Germany - 1972
Gamera vs. Jiger was licensed by American International Television, which retitled the film Gamera vs. Monster X for television syndication in the United States, beginning in 1970. Bret Morrison directed the dubbing session, which was recorded by Titan Productions. It was the last Showa era Gamera film released by American International Pictures.
Along with Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera Super Monster, Gamera vs. Jiger was one of three Gamera movies not licensed by Sandy Frank Film Syndication in the 1980s. In 2004, Retromedia released an unlicensed "special edition" of the American version of the film on a double feature with Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. The Japanese version has been released on DVD by Shout! Factory and Mill Creek Entertainment, as well as on Blu-ray by the latter.
Shout! Factory DVD (2010)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Photo galleries
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera vs. Guiron.
Mill Creek DVD (2014) [Gamera: The Legacy Collection]
- Region: 1
- Discs: 4
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: None
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera the Giant Monster, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Guiron, Gamera vs. Zigra, Gamera Super Monster, Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.
Mill Creek Blu-ray (2014) [Gamera: The Ultimate Collection Volume 2]
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: None
- Notes: Packaged with Gamera vs. Guiron, Gamera vs. Zigra, and Gamera Super Monster.
Arrow Video Blu-ray (2020/2021) [Gamera: The Complete Collection and Gamera: The Showa Era]
- Region: A and B
- Discs: 8 (The Complete Collection] or 4 (The Showa Era)
- Audio: Japanese and English (DTS-HD Master Audio Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Audio commentary by Edward H. Holland, introduction by August Ragone (9 minutes), opening and end credits from the AITV version of the film (1 minute), Japanese and German theatrical trailers, American TV spot, and an image gallery. Gamera: The Complete Collection includes 12 art cards by Matt Frank, a map of Gamera's appearances throughout the world, and two books; the first collects A History of Gamera by Patrick Macias, a 1996 Noriaki Yuasa interview by David Milner, kaiju x-ray illustrations by Jolyan Yates, three Fangoria articles on the Heisei Gamera trilogy by Norman England, a guide to the English dubs of the Gamera series by James Flower, and information on the transfers presented in the set, while the second reprints the comics Gamera and The Last Hope.
- Notes: Gamera: The Complete Collection is out of print. Packaged with the other 11 Gamera films in The Complete Colection and the other seven Showa Gamera films in The Showa Era. Due to a large number of special features in these sets, only the supplements pertinent to Gamera vs. Jiger are described above.
- Most of the non-kaiju scenes in Gamera vs. Jiger were filmed at the 1970 World's Fair, also called Expo 70, held in Osaka, Japan. In real life, the event was held from March 15 to September 13, 1970. A "Godzilla vs. Gamera" stage show was also held during this event in March.
- This film introduced Jiger, the first female kaiju in the Gamera series. Gyaos was later portrayed as being able to switch between being male and female in the Heisei trilogy, but was referred to as male in the Showa series.
- This was the second of two films in which suit actor Umenosuke Izumi played Gamera. Gamera's suit actor was unidentified in the following film.
- The 1973 Italian fantasy comedy And So They Became the 3 Supermen of the West briefly used stock footage from Gamera and Jiger's first encounter to represent two lumbering dinosaurs as a pair of time traveling scientists watch from a safe distance.
- The upcoming 13th season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will riff Gamera vs. Jiger, making it the sixth Gamera film featured on the series.
- The fan-made series Mystery Science Theater 3000 vs. Gamera: Round II tackled the same film for their second episode which was uploaded to YouTube on November 21st, 2019.
- ↑ The Daiei filmography included in the publication Daiei Tokusatsu Movie Chronicle (p. 126) lists Invisible Swordsman's release date as March 15.
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