Iris... I named him Iris. I'm going to raise him. And then, he'll take revenge for me.
Iris was Gamera's final foe in the Heisei trilogy, and shares some sort of genetic connection to his arch-enemy Gyaos. A legendary demon referred to as the "Ryuseicho" by residents of Asuka in Nara, Japan, Iris was sealed away long ago inside a small shrine outside of a village. Iris remained inside a stone egg within the shrine for countless generations until it was discovered by a young woman named Ayana Hirasaka, who held an intense hatred of Gamera because she believed it killed her parents. Ayana's hatred caused her to form a bond with Iris, which hatched from its egg and began growing rapidly until it reached the size of Gamera himself. Iris followed Ayana to Kyoto and attempted to kill Gamera for her, then tried to forcibly merge itself with her. Gamera rescued Ayana from the beast, then destroyed Iris by plunging his flaming arm into a wound on its chest.
Name[edit | edit source]
Iris shares its name with a goddess from Greek mythology and also a genus of flower, although the goddess Iris' name is spelled slightly differently in katakana (イーリス than the monster's while the iris flower is known as ayame Īrisu) (アヤメ in Japanese. In-universe, Iris gets its name when Ayame)Ayana Hirasaka names it after her family's cat that was killed during the battle between Gamera and Super Gyaos in 1995. Prior to that, it is known by villagers in Asuka as the Ryuseicho (柳星張, a legendary ancient demon. As her cousin Shigeki Hinohara explains to Ayana in the film, the name Ryuseicho comes from three traditional constellations from Chinese astronomy. They are the Willow Mansion Ryūseichō) (柳宿, the Star Mansion Ryūshuku, Nurikoboshi) (星宿, and the Extended Net Mansion Seishuku, Hotohoriboshi) (張宿. All three of these mansions are identified with the Chōshuku, Chirikoboshi)Vermilion Bird of the South (朱雀, one of the Four Symbols, four mythical animals that the full Twenty-Eight Mansions are grouped under. Ayana asks him if the Suzaku)Black Tortoise of the North (玄武 and Vermilion Bird of the South are enemies. In the film's English dub the Black Tortoise and Vermilion Bird are are simply called "the guardians of the north and south." The character Genbu)Mayumi Nagamine refers to Iris as a "Gyaos mutation" (ギャオス変異体. Gyaosu heni-tai)
An alternate spelling of Iris' English name is Irys, which is used in most Japanese media and merchandise contemporary with the film, whereas in the West and more recent Japanese materials it has been phased out in favor of the former spelling.
Iris' first form is called the Original Form (素体 or Juvenile Form So-tai) (幼体 in the book Yō-tai)Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris Super Complete Works, which also refers to its second form as the Beast Form (獣化体. Jū-ka-tai)
Design[edit | edit source]
Iris' first form has a smooth, mouthless head with small black eyes, and several long tentacles which sprout from a snail-like shell. Although this form lacks a mouth, it can consume and absorb the life force of organic matter by stabbing them with its tentacle spears, leaving dessicated corpses in its wake. This form was realized on-screen by a remotely-operated puppet.
Iris' second form resembles the first form, but is larger and possesses more tentacles. Its shell has also opened up and developed a series of pointed plates. In this form, Iris is able to float in the air and emits light from the center of its chest.
Iris' third form is a gigantic bipedal creature with two hooved legs and retractable sword-like arms, topped by a head that resembles a pointed seashell, with a single eye in its center. Its back is a mass of saw-edged plates, and from its sides spring four tentacles thousands of meters long. Each of these is tipped with a bony spearhead, from which Iris can fire a supersonic scalpel beam similar to the Gyaos. Iris can still drain the life force from its victims through retractable blades in its arms, and in the case of Gamera it was able to absorb the monster's abilities and produce its own plasma fireballs. Its chest region is also covered in glossy, bio-luminescent patches. The center patch can suck things into its body.
Personality[edit | edit source]
As an infant, Iris is extremely docile and affectionate towards Ayana Hirasaka, allowing her to raise it like a pet. As Iris grows, it becomes more aggressive, actively killing small animals and later countless human beings in order to feed on their life force, though it remains loyal and harmless towards Ayana. It is revealed that Iris wiped out a large portion of the village of Asuka, including Ayana's adoptive family and the various people who antagonized and tormented Ayana. When Ayana refuses to allow Iris to merge with her after it attacks her friend Tatsunori Moribe, Iris forcibly absorbs her into its chest, showing her visions of it killing her adoptive family. Whether Iris was born as a malevolent entity and was simply using Ayana to increase its own power or if it was created as a benevolent guardian and corrupted and twisted by Ayana's hatred is never revealed, so the creature's true intentions are unknown.
Origins[edit | edit source]
Iris does not have a definitive origin, though multiple theories are put forth in the film. According to the legends of Nara, Japan, Iris is an ancient demon known as the Ryuseicho that, if awakened, will bring about the end of the world. According to Ayana Hirasaka's cousin Shigeki Hinohara, the Ryuseicho's name comes from three traditional constellations of Chinese mythology which are all identified with the Guardian of the South, represented as a giant bird, which battles against an enemy guardian from the north, represented as a giant tortoise. Shinya Kurata, a computer programmer who studied Gamera, Gyaos, and the Atlanteans closely, proposes that Iris may have been created as a failsafe measure by the Atlanteans for the sole purpose of killing Gamera if he ever became too powerful or no longer served the planet's best interest. Analysis of Iris' DNA showed it to be genetically identical to the Gyaos, only with the ability to alter its own DNA to a much greater degree, leading to the theory that it is either a mutation of or the ultimate evolution of the Gyaos. Iris' genetic connection to Gyaos and the presence of black Atlantean magatama in its shrine that telepathically link Ayana to it (a dark reflection of Gamera's bond with Asagi Kusanagi) confirm that Iris has some kind of connection to the Atlanteans and is related to the Gyaos, however the exact specifics of what Iris is and how and why it was created are never definitively confirmed.
History[edit | edit source]
Iris began its life as a stone egg, sealed within a small underground temple in the village of Asuka, Nara and guarded over by a family line named Moribe. Local legend said it was the resting place of a demon called Ryuseicho. A stone of unknown origin is said to keep the demon dormant as long as it's not moved.
A young girl named Ayana Hirasaka, left an orphan by the 1995 Gamera and Gyaos battle and blaming Gamera for her parent's deaths, entered the cave on a dare and moved the stone. In the process she and the latest son of the Mirobe line discovered both the egg and a magatama, similar to the one that linked Asagi to Gamera in 1995. The egg later hatched into Iris' first form (第1形態. Dai ichi keitai)
Ayana gained a link to the creature via the magatama and felt a kinship with it, stating at one point "Gamera killed its family too." Driven by total hatred for Gamera, she raised Iris, naming it after her dead pet cat, in the hope that it would become strong enough to kill Gamera for her. It was shown to have an affectionate nature toward Ayana, though it preyed upon woodland animals and drained their blood for food.
It is not long before Iris, now grown into its second form (第2形態, attempted to merge with Ayana by sealing her in a cocoon. Moribe discovered her and cut her free. She was then taken to a hospital. While Ayana was gone, Iris grew into a giant monster in the woods as it preyed upon several villagers, including Ayana's adoptive family. Shortly after, the monster grew into its third form Dai ni keitai) (第3形態, continuing to feed on any humans unlucky enough to stray too close to its location among the trees. Dai san keitai)
The JSDF quickly deployed and surrounded Iris as it slept, attempting to take it out with machine guns and bazookas. The weaponry only seemed to irritate the creature. During the fight, in which several of the soldiers were killed and several more were severely injured, Iris took to the sky and headed for Kyoto, where Ayana had been transferred earlier. The JASDF sent two F-15 Eagles in an attempt to shoot Iris down, but it was able to evade them and almost destroyed them after getting in position behind the aircraft to counterattack. Before Iris could do so, the fighter pilots were saved by the sudden arrival of Gamera, who engaged Iris in a mid-air battle. As the JSDF had been given orders to attack Gamera should he appear again following his battle with the Hyper Gyaos in Shibuya, MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile launchers shot at Gamera and slowed him down, inadvertently allowing Iris to continue on to Kyoto.
Soon, Iris landed in Kyoto with Gamera in pursuit. Iris battled Gamera through the city towards Ayana's location at Kyoto Station, all while Ayana watched and commanded it to kill him. Iris managed to impale Gamera with its arm blade, leaving him incapacitated, and then attempted again to merge with Ayana. When Moribe intervened, the creature swatted him aside and sucked Ayana into its body against her will. While inside, Iris presented Ayana with recounts of its memories of killing her adoptive family. After witnessing this, Ayana realized that she fueled Iris' destruction with her hatred, and recalled the events that led to her becoming an orphan as they actually took place. Contrary to what she had believed, Super Gyaos instead of Gamera was the one who killed her parents. All seemed lost until Gamera suddenly punched through Iris' chest and ripped Ayana out.
Infuriated, Iris pinned Gamera's hand to a wall with its spear hand and began to absorb Gamera's energy. Its tentacles began to form plasma fireballs, but Gamera quickly used a plasma fireball himself to sever his own hand. Iris fired the absorbed plasma fireballs at Gamera who used his stump to turn the plasma into the Banishing Fist. Gamera then used the fist to punch Iris through the wound it had made by retrieving Ayana, discharging incredible amounts of energy into Iris's body. Iris shrieked in agony, before becoming consumed in a massive explosion that blew apart most of what remained of Kyoto Station's concourse. Victorious, Gamera stood atop what was left of Iris's body, and set down the capsule that held Ayana.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Gene Snatcher[edit | edit source]
Iris has a bioluminescent area in the center of its chest called the Gene Snatcher (ジーン・スナッチャー, which it can use to absorb targets for fusion. It attempted to absorb Jīn Sunatchā)Ayana Hirasaka into its Gene Snatcher twice, but was stopped by Moribe and Gamera, respectively.
Tentaclancers[edit | edit source]
Iris has a total of four tentacles, known as Tentaclancers (テンタクランサー. They are each tipped in sharpened arrow-shaped ends which Iris can use as stabbing weapons. The ends of Iris' Tentaclancers can open and fire the same Supersonic Scalpel beam used by Tentakuransā)Gyaos, or even copies of Gamera's plasma fireballs after Iris has drained his energy. Iris can use its Tentaclancers to deflect attacks such as Gamera's fireballs. Iris can also drain the blood of other organisms through its Tentaclancers.
Flight[edit | edit source]
Iris can split its Tentaclancers in two, resulting in eight tentacles with connecting membranes between them that can be used as wings, granting him flight at a speed of up to Mach 9. Despite Iris's large size, it is especially nimble in the air even at lower speeds, and is able to outpace F-15J Eagle fighter jets and perform evasive maneuvers to avoid incoming missiles. Iris can recombine some of its Tentaclancers for aerial combat, allowing him to fire Supersonic Scalpel beams and remain in flight. Twice they demonstrated this ability, once in an attempt to shoot down two F-15J Eagles in retaliation for a warning shot and again to defend himself from Gamera's shell cutter attack.
Supersonic Scalpel[edit | edit source]
Iris can fire a Supersonic Scalpel (超音波メス beam from the ends of its Tentaclancers. This beam is superior in power to the one fired by the Gyaos, and can be fired in four directions simultaneously thanks to the function of Iris' Tentaclancers. These Supersonic Scalpel beams were fired at Gamera in the air, piercing his flesh. Chōonpa Mesu)
Anti-Plasma Field[edit | edit source]
Iris can use a technique called the Anti-Plasma Field (アンチ・プラズマ・フィールド to deflect Gamera's plasma fireballs, accomplished by swatting the fireballs away with its Tentaclancers. The fireballs repelled by the Anti-Plasma Field set much of the city of Kyoto ablaze. Anchi Purazuma Fīrudo)
Spear Absorber[edit | edit source]
Iris has retractable blades located on its arms called Spear Absorbers (スピア・アブソーバ. The blades can pierce Gamera's shell and drain his blood, granting Iris the ability to copy his abilities. Iris can adapt to its environment by incorporating any DNA it has absorbed and can manipulate its own chromosomes in a similar fashion to the Gyaos, allowing it to evolve rapidly into its adult form. Iris was able to fire copies of Gamera's fireballs after absorbing his DNA. Iris attempted to pin Gamera's hand against the wall of the Kyoto Station with its Spear Absorber, though this ultimately ended in its defeat when Gamera severed his own hand and formed the Banishing Fist. Supia Abusōba)
Overboost Plasma[edit | edit source]
After absorbing Gamera's blood through its Spear Absorber, Iris gained the ability to fire its own Overboost Plasma (オーバーブースト・プラズマ fireballs, also known as Fake Plasma Fireballs Ōbābūsuto Purazuma) (偽プラズマ火球, from the ends of its Tentaclancers. This proved to be Iris' downfall when Gamera absorbed the Overboost Plasma into his stump arm, forming the Banishing Fist which he used to destroy Iris. Nise Purazuma Kakyū)
Durability[edit | edit source]
Iris has a hard carapace much like Gamera's own shell, granting it impressive durability. Its only vulnerable point seems to be its chest area around its Gene Snatcher, which Gamera successfully exploited to both free Ayana from Iris' clutches and ultimately destroy it with the Banishing Fist.
Psychic connection[edit | edit source]
Like Gamera, Iris has its own Atlantean magatama through which it forms a psychic bond with Ayana Hirasaka, strengthening him. By physically absorbing Ayana into its Gene Snatcher, Iris attempts to become even more powerful.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
Video games[edit | edit source]
Iris in Gamera: Battle
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Iris/Gallery.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The initial source of inspiration for Iris's design was a 1995 Magic: The Gathering card, Blinking Spirit.
- Although Mother Legion is the tallest opponent Gamera has faced, Iris is easily the longest, with its adult form's tentacles being nearly 2 kilometers long when fully outstretched.
- Like SpaceGodzilla from the Godzilla series, Iris' origin is contested. While it is assumed that like Gamera and the Gyaos, Iris was created by the Atlanteans, it is also suggested that Iris is the Guardian of the South in East-Asian Mythology, corresponding to the real Vermilion Bird constellation. Furthermore, Mayumi Nagamine proposes that Iris is simply a mutation of the Gyaos. All that is known is that Iris is genetically related to the Gyaos, and has some kind of connection to the Atlanteans. Whether they in fact created Iris and why they did is unknown.
- Iris is the sole monster in the Gamera series who has no mouth. However, this doesn't hinder its communicative abilities. As a baby, Iris makes light chirping noises, while as an adult, it makes loud droning and humming sounds.
- Iris' adult form was portrayed by suit actor Akira Ohashi, who played Gamera himself in the previous film, Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion. Ohashi also plays Trauma Gamera in Ayana Hirasaka's nightmare sequence in the film, since it is portrayed using a refurbished Gamera suit from Gamera 2.
- The 2003 ADV Films DVD release of Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris included a feature-length "gag extra" where Gamera and Iris do an audio commentary together, speaking in pure human English throughout, with Gamera portrayed as a man with a stereotypical British thespian voice, and Iris, probably due to its connection with the vampiric Gyaos, portrayed as a woman with a thick Eastern European accent.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Iris. 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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