Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
Gamera vs. Zigra (ガメラ対深海怪獣ジグラ is a Gamera tai Shinkai Kaijū Jigura, lit. "Gamera vs. Deep Sea Monster Zigra")1971 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Noriaki Yuasa and written by Nisan Takahashi, with special effects by Yuasa. Produced by Daiei Tokyo Studio, it is the seventh entry in the Gamera series as well as the Showa series. It is also the last entry in the series to be produced by Daiei before its bankruptcy. It stars Eiko Yanami, Reiko Kasahara, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Koji Fujiyama, and Isamu Saeki. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Dainichi Film Distribution on July 17, 1971 on a double feature with a re-release of 1958's Suzunosuke Akado: The Birdman with Three Eyes. An English-dubbed version was distributed in the United States in 1985 by Sandy Frank through King Features Syndication.
Zigra, a gigantic fish-like alien from a planet where his race preyed upon humanoid terrestrial creatures, travels to Earth in a UFO planning to enslave and feed on humanity. Zigra's agent, X1, attempts to prepare the world for conquest, but she is foiled by a group of children at Kamogawa Sea World as well as the heroic giant turtle Gamera. Ultimately, Zigra emerges from his UFO in order to fight Gamera himself and leave the planet defenseless, with the monsters' battle raging from the sea and onto land. Daiei planned to follow Gamera vs. Zigra with a sequel tentatively titled Gamera vs. the Two-Headed Monster W, but development was abruptly halted when Daiei went bankrupt and closed down later in 1971. The Gamera series remained on hiatus until 1980 with the release of Gamera Super Monster, produced by Daiei's successor Daiei Film.
An alien spaceship attacks a moon base while abducting a rover. Two scientists, Dr. Tom Wallace and Dr. Yosuke Ishikawa, and their children Helen and Kenichi witness it dive into Japanese waters. After the ship transports them aboard, they meet a space woman, X1, who levels Tokyo with an earthquake to demonstrate the power of her master, the giant shark-like monster Zigra. He views the conquest of humanity as the only way to prevent Earth's oceans from suffering the same fate as those on his home planet. She hypnotizes the scientists, but the kids manage to outwit her and escape with their fathers. As the spaceship demolishes JSDF fighter jets, X1 travels to the surface to hunt down the kids, infiltrating Kamogawa Sea World, their fathers' workplace and the military's impromptu base of operations. While the kids outmaneuver her, Gamera arrives to battle the spaceship. He destroys it easily, but releases Zigra, who grows even larger due to the difference in Earth's water pressure. Gamera brings Zigra onto land, but is defeated when the shark unleashes a yellow ray, paralyzing him. Triumphant, he explains his plans to use humanity as a food source. The staff at Sea World discover that X1's hypnosis can be broken by shouting into a radio; they use the same technique to break Zigra's control over her. She reveals that she is human: an astronaut who was abducted by Zigra. Wallace and Ishikawa try and revive Gamera in a bathysphere, with Kenichi and Helen stowing away on the vessel. Unfortunately, Zigra finds them first and takes the bathysphere hostage. Gamera is instead revived by a lightning strike to the foot and rescues them while Zigra is resting. He challenges Zigra once more, this time humiliating him by playing the "Gamera March" on his back with a rock and burning him to cinders with his flame breath. As Ishikawa reflects on the importance of keeping the seas clean, Gamera flies away.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
- Written by Nisan Takahashi
- Executive producer Hidemasa Nagata
- Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
- Cinematography by Akira Uehara
- Edited by Zenko Miyazaki
- Production design by Akira Inoue
- 1st assistant director Masami Akise
- Director of special effects Noriaki Yuasa (uncredited)
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Eiko Yanami as X1 / Chikako Sugawara
- Reiko Kasahara as Kiyoko Ishikawa
- Mikiko Tsubouchi as Mrs. Ishikawa
- Koji Fujiyama as Dr. Tom Wallace
- Isamu Saeki as Dr. Yosuke Ishikawa
- Shin Minatsu as Kamogawa Sea World Staff
- Arlene Zoellner as Margie Wallace
- Gloria Zoellner as Helen Wallace
- Yasushi Sakagami as Kenichi Ishikawa
- Keiichi Noda as Zigra (voice)
Weapons, vehicles and races
- Main article: Gamera vs. Zigra/Gallery.
- Main article: Gamera vs. Zigra (soundtrack).
- Gamera vs. Deep Sea Monster Zigra (literal translation)
- Gamera vs. Zigra Deep Sea Monster (2005 Japanese DVD English title)
- Gamera versus Zigura (2016 Japanese DVD English title)
- Gamera versus Zigra - Frankenstein's Space Beast Strikes (Gamera gegen Zigra - Frankensteins Weltraumbestie schlägt zu; 2013 German DVD title)
Unlike the previous five Gamera films, Gamera vs. Zigra was not acquired by American International Television, possibly due to Daiei's bankruptcy shortly after its release. Instead, King Features Entertainment licensed it through Daiei Film and commissioned a dub in 1985. It first aired on American television in 1987, and was among the first films to be riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000 the following year.
King Features Entertainment VHS (1987)
- Tapes: 1
- Notes: Runtime is 91 minutes.
Shout! Factory DVD (2010)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Photo galleries
- Notes: Both versions of the film use the same Japanese video track. Packaged with Gamera Super Monster.
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. Jiger, 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. Jiger, 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 Sean Rhoads and Brooke McCorkle, introduction by August Ragone (8 minutes), opening and end credits from the Sandy Frank version of the film (3 minutes), Japanese theatrical trailer, American video promo, 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 the large number of special features in these sets, only the supplements pertinent to Gamera vs. Zigra are described above.
Daiei announced a follow-up to Gamera vs. Zigra, only given the placeholder title Gamera vs. the Two-Headed Monster W, shortly after the film's release. Noriaki Yuasa was set to return to direct the film, with Nisan Takahashi writing and Akira Inoue designing Gamera's new foe "W." However, Daiei declared bankruptcy that November, causing the film's cancellation and the entire Gamera series to be put on hold. After Tokuma Shoten acquired Daiei's assets in 1974 and established the successor company Daiei Film, it began development on a revival to the series. Gamera Super Monster was released in 1980, and though Yuasa and Takahashi returned to write and direct, the film was produced on an incredibly short schedule and limited budget, heavily reusing footage from the previous seven films. Dismayed at the direction of the film, Yuasa and Takahashi chose to have Gamera die at the film's conclusion and end the series for good. The two did reunite on the 1991 short film Gamera vs. Garasharp, released as part of the Gamera Permanent Preservation Plan LaserDisc set. The short is often mistakenly believed to be a condensed adaptation of the planned Gamera vs. the Two-Headed Monster W, but Yuasa clarified that the short was entirely original and created solely for the set.
- Gamera vs. Zigra was released by Dainichi Film Distribution Co., Ltd (ダイニチ映配株式会社, a short-lived subsidiary formed between Dainichi Eihai Kabushiki Gaisha)Daiei and Nikkatsu in 1970 to share distribution costs.
- Gamera vs. Zigra was released in theaters exactly a week before Godzilla vs. Hedorah, another kaiju film dealing with pollution and its effects on sea life.
- Gamera vs. Zigra was filmed on location at Kamogawa Sea World and around Kamogowa City. The special effects scenes were also filmed on a small set of the area around Sea World, with none of the miniatures destroyed.
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