Gappa (1967)

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Image gallery for Gappa (film)
Credits for Gappa (film)

The Japanese poster for Gappa
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Colossal Beast Gappa (1967)
Flagicon United States.png Monster from a Prehistoric
(TV 1967)
See alternate titles
Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi
Producer Eisei Koi
Written by Gan Yamazaki, Ryuzo Nakanishi
Music by Seitaro Omori
effects by
Akira Watanabe
Funded by Nikkatsu, Manson Distributing Corp.
Production company Nikkatsu, Nippon Special Effects
Motion Picture Co.
Distributor Nikkatsu,JP AITVU.S.
Rating Not Rated
Budget ¥500,000,000[1]
Running time 84 minutesJP
(1 hour, 24 minutes
90 minutesInt'l
(1 hour, 30 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1JP
1.33:1US TV
Rate this film!
(14 votes)

Gappa (大巨獣ガッパ,   Daikyojū Gappa, lit. Colossal Beast Gappa) is a 1967 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Haruyasu Noguchi and written by Gan Yamazaki and Ryuzo Nakanishi based on a story by Akira Watanabe, with effects by Watanabe. Funded by the Nikkatsu Corporation and the Manson Distributing Corporation, it was produced by Nikkatsu in association with the Nippon Special Effects Motion Picture Company. The film stars Tamio Kawachi, Yoko Yamamoto, Koji Wada, Tatsuya Fuji, and Masanori Machida. Nikkatsu released it to Japanese theaters on April 22, 1967.


Playmate magazine 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 are 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 appease 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 baby bird-reptile monster. Over the villagers' protestations, the expedition brings the young monster to Japan. Their fears are well-founded: after the expedition leaves, two adult Gappas emerge from the cave and pursue the islanders into the sea. A U.S. submarine rescues them.

Tonoka is enraptured with the baby 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 is the only way he can be studied. Upon internment at the Toto University laboratory, 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 Gappas buzz over 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 adult Gappas then submerge into 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 adult Gappas out of the lake, exposing them to a missile barrage. While his theory proves correct, the adult Gappas 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 Gappa, 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 Gappa 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 the parents quickly teach their baby how to fly, after which all three of them fly back to Obelisk Island.


Main article: Gappa (film)/Credits.

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Haruyasu Noguchi
  • Written by   Gan Yamazaki, Ryuzo Nakanishi
  • Based on a story by   Akira Watanabe
  • Planned by   Eisei Koi
  • Music by   Seitaro Omori
  • Theme song "Gappa"
    • Performed by   Katsuhiko Miki
    • Written by   Hikari Ichijo
    • Composed by   Masao Yoneyama
  • Cinematography by   Muneo Ueda
  • Edited by   Masanori Tsujii
  • Production design by   Kazumi Moike
  • Assistant directors   Hiroshi Hashimoto, Isao Hayashi, Masaru Konuma
  • Director of special effects   Akira Watanabe


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 Tonoka
  • 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

  • Burr Middleton   as   Hiroshi Kurosaki
  • Carole Wyand   as   Itoko Koyanagi
  • Robert Dunham   as   Mashida
  • Cliff Harrington   as   President Funazu
  • William Ross   as   Saburo Hayashi



Weapons, vehicles, and races


Main articles: Gigant, Arkitius, Momonra, Reigon: Devil of the Seabed.

Gappa was the fifth and final kaiju film project idea that Nikkatsu came up with, after Giant Monster Gigant, Giant Squid Monster Arkitius, Giant Monster Momonra, and Reigon: Devil of the Seabed. It was also the only one of the five that was actually made. Planning for all four of the unreleased films was done by Hideo Kodama.[2]


Principal photography on Gappa lasted for about 40 days, twice the time that director Haruyasu Noguchi usually took to shoot a film.[1]


Main article: Gappa (film)/Gallery.


Main article: Gappa (Soundtrack).

Alternate titles

  • Colossal Beast Gappa (literal Japanese title)
  • Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (United States)
  • Gappa (United Kingdom)
  • Gappa the Triphibian Monsters (U.S. DVD title)
  • Gappa the Triphibian Monster (UK theatrical release poster title, U.S. Blu-ray 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 reissue title)
  • Gappa - The Terror of King-Kong (Gappa - Le Terreur de King-Kong; French Belgium)
  • Gappa - The Horrors of King-Kong (Gappa - De Gruwelen van King-Kong; Dutch Belgium)
  • Gappa, The Monster (Gappa, O Monstro; Portugal)
  • Gappa - The Monsters of the Pacific (Gappa - Los monstruos del Pacífico; Mexico)

Theatrical releases

  • Japan - April 22, 1967
  • West Germany - 1968
  • United Kingdom - July 27, 1969[3]
  • Italy - 1970
  • Mexico - 1970
  • France - 1973
  • Poland - 1973
  • Czechoslovakia - April 1973

U.S. release

In July 1967, Gappa played at the Nikkatsu Theater in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Japanese with English subtitles.

American International Television released the film directly to television syndication, also in 1967, as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. The English dubbing was recorded by the Tokyo-based studio Frontier Enterprises. The international version of the film runs six minutes longer than the Japanese version, 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.

AITV's version of the film was re-released on home video in the U.S. by numerous different companies starting in 2003, all of whom assumed it was in the public domain. In 2000, Media Blasters licensed Gappa from Nikkatsu and released the original Japanese-language and international English-dubbed versions of the film on DVD through its Tokyo Shock imprint as Gappa the Triphibian Monsters. It re-released the film on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2020 as Gappa the Triphibian Monster.

Video releases

Kaiju Productions VHS (1998)

  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: English
  • Notes: Letterboxed.

Tokyo Shock DVD (2000)[4]

  • 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)[5]

  • 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.

Extralucid Films, a French company, plans to release Gappa to Blu-ray in 2023, with the French dub included.[6]

In the U.S., Gappa was long assumed to be in the public domain.[5]Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, the fullscreen English-dubbed version, was released on DVD by numerous companies starting in 2003, including Alpha Video, Sinister Cinema, Retromedia/Image Entertainment, Sling Shot, EastWest, Pop Flix, DVD Cult Classics, RPH Productions and PC Treasures.



Japanese Gappa trailer
International Gappa trailer
West German Gappa trailer
Fragment of the French Belgian Gappa trailer


Opening from the international version
Footage exclusive to the Japanese and international versions of Gappa
Example of the extended Gappa
scenes in the international version
Comparison between the 2000 Media Blasters DVD and the 2020 Media Blasters Blu-ray


  • Although Gappa shares the basic plot of a baby monster rescued from human civilization by its parent(s) with the 1961 British film Gorgo, screenwriters Gan Yamazaki and Ryuzo Nakanishi claimed to have never seen the earlier film.[1]
  • The Obelisk Island Bird prop and the head of the female Gappa suit reappeared in the 1972 Nikkatsu roman porno film Amorous Family: Like a Fox and a Racoon.
  • Stock footage of the adult Gappas appears in an episode of the British sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf titled "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."

External links


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: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Stuart Galbraith IV (1998). Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films. Feral House. p. 110. ISBN 0-922915-47-4.
  2. 番外篇『日活特撮の世界』
  3. Branaghan, Sim. "Monsters From An Unknown Culture: Godzilla (and friends) in Britain 1957-1980 - Part 3". Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  4. Gappa, the Triphibian Monster (2000) Tokyo Shock
  5. 5.0 5.1 RightStuf - Gappa the Triphibian Monster Blu-ray/DVD
  6. Extralucid Films (4 April 2023). "Extra-Pâques : le line-œuf ressuscité ! Toutes nos sorties à venir..." YouTube.


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