Playmate publisher Tonoka dispatches several of his employees, along with scientists from Toto University, on an expedition to the South Seas to collect rare animals for an island resort. Daize is fishing one night when he sees a pair of massive yellow eyes underwater, just before the ship is rocked by what his crewmates believe to be an earthquake. They scoff at his story.
Shortly thereafter, the captain notices a volcano erupting on Obelisk Island, and they decide to begin the expedition there. Itoko, a photographer, spots a statue resembling those on Easter Island as they approach. The island turns out to be inhabited, and they are quickly surrounded by men wielding spears as they enter the village. Once they announce they’re from Japan, however, the chief sets off a raucous celebration. Another group from Japan promised to return many years ago, and they believe the new arrivals will please a being called “Gappa.”
A young boy leads Hiroshi, a scientist, and Itoko to the statue, but tries to prevent them examining it. As they argue, another earthquake strikes and the statue topples, revealing the entrance to a cave. There, they and Daize discover a massive skeleton and a large egg. A third earthquake causes it to hatch, revealing a docile bird-lizard. Over the village’s protestations, the expedition brings the young monster to Japan. Their fears are well-founded: after the expedition leaves, two full-grown Gappa emerge from the cave and pursue the islanders into the sea. An American submarine rescues them.
Tonoka is enraptured with Gappa, and makes plans to smuggle it into the country, the better to preserve the secret until it can be unveiled at his resort. Kurosaki is reluctant to see the creature so exploited, but realizes it’s the only way he can be studied. Upon internment at the Toto University lab, the baby Gappa grows dramatically in size. By analyzing his brain waves, Kurosaki concludes that his hypothetical parents would be able to track his location.
After bursting out of the water behind the U.S. submarine, the adult Gappa buzz Haneda Airport before making landfall in Atami. The JSDF deploys tanks to stop them, but the monsters quickly incinerate them with their heat rays. Fighter jets engage them as they smash Atami Castle and are equally unsuccessful. The Gappa then submerge in Lake Kawaguchi to rest.
The next day, Playmate runs the baby Gappa as its cover story, and issues fly off the shelves. During a defense meeting, Hiroshi recommends using a sonic attack to lure the Gappa out of the lake, exposing them to a missile barrage. While his theory proves correct, the Gappa are unfazed by the missiles. Flying out of the lake and flooding the nearby town, they advance towards Tokyo.
Even amidst all the destruction, Tonoka refuses to release the baby, fearing that he would be ruined if his role in the parents’ rampage was revealed. Ultimately, however, he is powerless to stop Itoko, Hiroshi, and the military from taking the baby themselves. Two blimps towed by helicopters transport him to Tokyo, where his parents are wreaking havoc at an oil refinery. The family joyfully reunites at Haneda Airport and begins the long flight back to Obelisk Island.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi
- Written by Gan Yamazaki, Ryuzo Nakanishi
- Produced by Eisei Koi
- Music by Seitaro Omori
- Cinematography by Muneo Ueda
- Edited by Masanori Tsujii
- Assistant directors Hiroshi Hashimoto, Isao Hayashi, Masaru Konuma
- Director of special effects Akira Watanabe
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Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Tamio Kawaji as Hiroshi Kurosaki
- Yôko Yamamoto as Itoko Koyanagi
- Yuji Okada as Daize Tonooka
- Kôji Wada as Mashida
- Tatsuya Fuji as George Inoue
- Keisuke Inoue as President Funazu
- Zenji Yamada as Captain of the Kamome-maru
- Bumon Koto as Chieftain
- Kôtarô Sugie as Reporter #1 (as Hiroshi Sugie)
- Saburô Hiromatsu as Hosoda
- Binnosuke Nagao as Commander Riku
- Masaru Kamiyama as The Professor
- Kokan Katsura as Saburo Hayashi
- Shirô Oshimi as Oyama
- Yoko Oyagi as Aihara
- Sanpei Mine as Islander #1
- Takashi Koshiba as Reporter #2
- Kensuke Tamai as Islander #2
- Minoru Sato as Reporter #3
- Kiyoshi Matsuoka as Islander #3 (as Seiji Matsuoka)
- Hiroshi Itoh as Reporter #4
- Mike Danine as Petty Officer
- Ruich Fidancer as Captain of the Sea Angels
- Paul Scheman as Professor
International English dub
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Burr Middleton as Hiroshi Kurosaki
- Carole Wyand as Itoko Koyanagi
- William Ross as Daize Tonooka
- Robert Dunham as Mashida
- Cliff Harrington as President Funazu
Weapons, vehicles, and races
Gappa was the fifth and final kaiju film project idea that Nikkatsu had come up with, after Giant Monster Gigant, Giant Squid Monster Arkitius, Giant Monster Momonra, and Reigon: Devil of the Seabed. Planning for all the unmade films was done by Hideo Kodama.
Principal photography on Gappa lasted for about 40 days, twice the time that director Haruyasu Noguchi usually took to shoot a film.
- Main article: Gappa (film)/Gallery.
- Main article: Gappa (Soundtrack).
- Colossal Beast Gappa (Literal Japanese Title)
- Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (United States)
- Gappa, the Triphibian Monsters (United States Video Title)
- The Monster That Threatens the World (El Monstruo Que Amenaza el Mundo; Spain)
- Gappa, the Descendant of Godzilla (Gappa, le Descendant de Godzilla; France)
- Gappa, the Monster of the Sea (Γάππα, το τέρας της θάλασσας Gáppa, to téras tis thálassas; Greece)
- The Triphibian Monster (Ang Triphibian Halimaw; Philippines)
- Gappa - Frankenstein's Flying Monster (Gappa - Frankensteins fliegende Monster; West Germany)
- Gappa - Invasion of the Flying Beasts (Gappa - Invasion der Fliegenden-Bestien; West Germany Re-Issue Title)
- Japan - April 22, 1967
- West Germany - 1968
- Italy - 1970
- Mexico - 1970
- France - 1973
- Poland - 1973
- Czechoslovakia - 1986
American International Television released the film directly to television in 1968, as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. The English dubbing was recorded by the Tokyo-based studio Frontier Enterprises. The international cut of the film runs six minutes longer than the Japanese release, with the majority of the furthered run time gained from the extension of the special effects sequences featuring the adult Gappas. The film's songs, "Colossal Beast Gappa" and "Don't Give Up, Baby Gappa!," were substituted with instrumental scoring, with the former replaced by an alternative orchestral piece.
Kaiju Productions VHS (1998)
- Tapes: 1
- Audio: English
- Notes: Letterboxed.
Tokyo Shock DVD (2000)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
- Special features: Four pages of liner notes by Guy Mariner Tucker
- Notes: Subtitles correspond to the English dub's script. Letterboxed and non-anamorphic. Edits the international version of the film to correspond with the Japanese version. Out of print.
Tokyo Shock Blu-ray / DVD (2020)
- Region: A (Blu-ray), 1 (DVD)
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese, English
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: None
- Note: Edits the international version of the film to correspond with the Japanese version.
In the United States, Gappa was long-assumed to be in the public domain. Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, the fullscreen English-dubbed version, was released on DVD by numerous companies starting in 2003, including Alpha Video, Retromedia, Sling Shot, EastWest, Pop Flix, DVD Cult Classics, RPH Productions, Image Entertainment, and PC Treasures.
- Although Gappa shares the basic plot of a child monster rescued from human civilization by its parent(s) with the earlier Gorgo, screenwriters Gan Yamazaki and Ryuzo Nakanishi claimed to have never seen the movie.
- Stock footage of the parent Gappas appears in an episode of the British sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf, "Meltdown", where they are enormous wax-droids roaming the Prehistoric World section of an abandoned theme park. Though intimidated, the mechanoid Kryten quips, "I can't believe how feeble and improbable those creatures were, sir. I've seen more convincing dinosaurs given away free with a packet of Wheaty-Flakes."
This is a list of references for Gappa (film). These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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