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Daiei's Gamera Series
Gamera
Gamera
Species Giant Turtle/Tortoise
Alias Gamera the Invincible
Friend of all children
Guardian of the Universe
Avant Gamera
Height 60-80 meters
Weight 80~1200 tons
Air speed Mach 3
Origins Iceberg (Showa)
Atlantis (Heisei)
Relationships Atlanteans (creators in the Heisei series)
Asagi Kusanagi (spiritual connector)
Toto (Son)
The Children of the World
Major enemies Gyaos
Barugon
Viras
Guiron
Jiger
Zigra
Legion
Irys
Allies The Children of the World
Asagi Kusanagi
First appearance Gamera
Created by Yonejiro Saito
Portrayed by: Heisei series
Naoaki Manabe
Jun Suzuki
Akira Ohashi

Gamera (ガメラ) is a giant, flying turtle-like creature from a popular series of daikaiju eiga monster movies produced by Daiei Motion Picture Company in Japan. Created in 1965 to rival the success of Toho Studios' Godzilla during the kaiju boom of the mid-to-late 1960s, Gamera has gained fame and notoriety as a Japanese icon in his own right.

In the United States, Gamera attained prominence during the 1970s due to the burgeoning popularity of UHF television stations featuring Saturday afternoon matinee showcases like Creature Double Feature and later in the 1990s when several of his movies were featured on the cult television program Mystery Science Theater 3000. Despite being for kids, the monster action is filled with blood and gore (Guiron chops up Space Gyaos, Zigra slices Gamera open, Zedus gets his tongue ripped out etc).

AppearanceEdit

Gamera13

Gamera in 1995

Gamera

Gamera in 1996

Gamera 1999

Gamera in 1999

Unlike any other species of turtles, Gamera has the habit of walking bipedally rather than on all fours, though he occasionally walks quadrupedally in his first three films. Gamera was capable of using his upper limbs in the same manner as Godzilla, as his forelegs had appendages much closer in construction to hands than feet, and was capable of grappling with opponents and manipulating objects. His mouth is filled with teeth, unlike any living modern turtle (several types of extinct prehistoric turtles were toothed, however), with a pair of large tusks protruding upward from his lower jaw. Gamera is also usually seen with very large human-like eyes, adding intelligence to his overall appearance.

OriginsEdit

In the Shōwa era films, Gamera was a gigantic, prehistoric species of tortoise who fed on flames, reawakened by an accidental atomic blast in the Arctic during a dogfight between US and Russian fighters. The film mentioned that Gamera had appeared before, from pictographs depicting Gamera, and warning of his ability of flight. Gamera's original origins are largely unknown in the Showa era, as there is no indication that he was a mutation in his original film. Gamera was already capable of flight and breathed true flames, rather than radioactive energy when he was reawakened. And while it was known that he fed on flames (and even radioactive materials such as plutonium, much like his counterpart, Godzilla), no explanation for these powers was given. It was also left unexplained as to why he attacked most of humanity in general, yet spared the life of (and indeed actively saved) a young boy who became central to the original film's plot. This later led to him being referred to as the 'friend to all children in the world' in future films.

In the Heisei era films, however, the origin of Gamera was retconned, giving him a much more directly heroic themed origin: A bio-engineered guardian of the Earth created by the lost city of Atlantis with the purpose of defeating Gyaos, another ancient creation capable of killing all human life. The giant turtle is found floating adrift in the Pacific, encased in rock and mistaken for an atoll. Within the rock, investigators discover a large monolith explaining Gamera's purpose, as well as dozens of orihalcum magatama, which allow a psychic link between Gamera and humans. In the third film of the Heisei era, an undersea graveyard is found with many other Gamera skeletons, suggesting Gamera was not the only member of his kind created by Atlantis. One character in the film refers to these skeletons as "beta versions" of Gamera, possible failures in Atlantis' attempts to create the final version. Another scene provides Gamera with a link to Asian folklore, with a character relating a story in which a giant tortoise is considered the Guardian of the North, with separate, rival creatures defending the East, West, and South.

Gamera's continuity was rebooted again in the first (and currently only) film of the Millennium era. The film begins with Gamera sacrificing himself to destroy a flock of Gyaos birds sometime in the 1970s.

CapabilitiesEdit

Gamera's shell is extremely resilient and strong. Missiles and other weaponry merely bounce off of it, along with most of his opponents' attacks. There have been a few times where his shell has faltered, most notably when Guiron hammered at the same spot several times and began cutting through. Gyaos' sonic Beam, Zigra's Paralyzing Beam, and Barugon's rainbow ray cannot penetrate Gamera's shell, shown in the films when he withdraws into his shell to avoid the attacks. Gamera's stomach, however, is softer and not as resilient, and he has been cut and gouged in his stomach to the point of bleeding (his blood is blue in the Shōwa era series, but green in the Heisei and Millennium era films).

In the Shōwa series, Gamera fed on fire and was attracted by other heat sources, such as power plants and Barugon's "rainbow" ray attack,and in his first movie he was lured to a rocket by fire . He could breathe intensely hot streams of flames from his mouth when caught in a more serious situation. The Heisei version, on the other hand, could blast off mighty plasma fireballs from his mouth, usually very quickly, and with varying accuracy; they were highly explosive. At the end of G1 Gamera absorbs fire and fires a "Super-powered" plasma fireball and in G2 he breaths in the oxygen produced by a Legion plant and fires an "Oxygen-Powered" plasma fireball. The Heisei version could also absorb a great deal of "mana", or the living essence and energy of life on Earth, and release an extremely powerful stream of pure plasma and fire from an opened, organic "cannon" in his chest. In the final film of the Heisei series, Gamera blasted his own arm off and absorbed plasma fireballs shot by Iris and used his stump arm to grow back his arm in a plasma form. Theoretically, he could do the same to other body parts as well. Seeing this, he has the ability to manipulate fire. In the unofficial film Gamera 4: the Truth, the pyrokinetic chelonian apparently used this ability to enable himself to wield dual "fire swords" on each arm.

Of course, Gamera also has the ability to fly. Generally Gamera will pull his arms, legs, head, and tail into his shell, fire flames out of his arm and leg cavities and spin around like a frisbee. This mode of flight had an added advantage in the later films, where he would use the sharp edges of his shell to cut enemies while spinning, similar to a circular saw. He has a second way of flying, where he only pulls his legs and/or tail in, fires flames from the leg cavities, and flies like a jet. In the Heisei era films, Gamera's arms would extend and stretch out into wings similar to the flippers of a sea turtle while in flight, giving him added aerodynamics and control.

The Heisei films gave Gamera one more additional weapon: a pair of sharp spikes protruding from his elbows. In his first Heisei era appearance, these spikes were hidden during the majority of the film, extending only when needed in battle. In later appearances they were permanently extended.

When seriously or gravely injured, Gamera can enter a coma-like state in order to heal. This often fools his opponents into thinking that he is dead. This ability has been used in almost every Gamera film.

Gamera's only major weakness is cold. The monster Barugon was able to achieve success against Gamera using his freezing spray, and scientists nearly defeated Gamera during his first appearance using special freezing bombs. This weakness was only shown in Gamera's earliest films, and has not been explored since.

ProfilesEdit

Showa GameraEdit

  • Classification: Turtle
  • Age: 8,000 Years old
  • Withers Height: 60 Meters
  • Total Length: Unknown
  • Shell Diameter: Unknown
  • Carapace Minor: Unknown
  • Weight: 80 tons
  • Atmospheric Flight Speed: Mach 3
  • Underwater Dive Speed: 150 Knots
  • Stride: 20 Meters
  • Energy: Thermal Energy
  • Arms and Abilities: Flames Ejection, Jets, Superhuman Strength, Rotation
  • Habitat: Ancient Atlantis
Body MechanismsEdit
  • Oil Bag: Gamera can drink oil and similar liquids which are stored in this organ
  • Coal Sack: Gamera can eat coal, like the oil bag it contents are sent to the Melting Furnaces
  • Melting Furnaces: Gamera can ingest coal, oil, fire, magma and uranium and they are sent here to be burned.
  • Thermal Energy Conversion Intestines: This is where burned material is converted into thermal Energy
  • Thermal Energy Heart: Works like the hearts of other organisms, but because it was made for thermal energy it has extraordinary power in comparison.
  • High Fever Muscles: Gamera's muscles can produce ten thousand times the force of any human and can withstand high temperatures (High Fever), more so than any conventional metal and are very durable

Heisei GameraEdit

  • Classification: Unknown
  • Age: Estimated 150 Million years
  • Withers Height: 80 Meters
  • Total Length: Unknown
  • Shell Diameter: About 60 Meters
  • Carapace Minor: About 40 Meters
  • Weight: 120 Tons
  • Atmospheric Flight Speed: Mach 3.5
  • Underwater Dive Speed: 180 Knots
  • Stride: Unknown
  • Energy: Plasma Energy
  • Arms and abilities: Hard Slap, Lashing Claw, Claw Elbow, Break Fang, Calf Claw, Shell Cutter, Plasma Fireball, High Plasma, Ultimate Plasma, Vanishing Fist, Burner (Not Shown), Homing Plasma (Not Shown)
  • Habitat: Deep Sea Cave
Body MechanismsEdit
  • Cells: Because of his superior ability to regenerate, Gamera can recover quickly even when wounded
  • Shell: Compared to his Showa counterpart it defensive abilities have fallen. It can withstand Gyaos' ultrasonic scalpel, but could not completely withstand the missile assault from the Japanese SDF, resulting in him being knocked from the sky. Legion was also able to damage it with it attacks.
  • Limbs: Gamera's arms and legs are segmented at the elbows and knees, the segments used for releasing plasma for flight. Gamera's arms specifically are able to change shape to form "wings" that stablize his flight.
  • Power: Gamera possesses superhuman strength, with physical strength alone Gamera was able to tearn of Legion's nose horn.
  • Gamera's Brain: Gamera's semicircular canal was developed to withstand his rotation, even in disk flight his eyes and brain are unaffected by the rapid spining. Gamera was also made to be very intelligent.
  • Telepathy Brain: Gamera was created to communicate with people using the jewels left behind by the ancient civilization. With these he could sense Asagi Kusanagi's spirit.
  • Thermal Energy Conversion reactor (Plasma Conversion Furnace): Gamera's blood can absorb heat, flames, high voltage current and nuclear fuel. These energies are converted into electrons, protons and atomic nuclei and stored as plasma energy to be used. Life energy from the Earth, Mana, can be converted as well. The power of the total release of Plasma is unknown.
  • Elbow Claw: Sharp nails on both elbows, they are strong enough to tear into the flesh of Gyaos. In 2 they could also damage Legion who lost her Egg Chambers to them. Originally they were tucked away inside the body, in the second movie they were always out by defeault and in the third movie they had two tips for extra damage.
  • Chromosomal Manipulation: Like the Gyaos of the Heisei era, Gamera could manipulate his own genetic structure to adapt to his environments. Although his mass never change, his apperance altered over the course of the three movies as his body evolved for combat.
TechniquesEdit
  • Hard Slap: Hand Strikes mainly used in dog fights.
  • Lashing Claw: An attack to tear into the flesh of the opponent using his sharp claws. Used to take Ayana out of Iris' body.
  • Break Fang: A bite attack using sharp fangs and a strong jaw. The grip is so secure Gyaos had to cut of its own leg to free it self.
  • Shell Cutter: A body attack using the rotating shell and the shell's sharp edges, used against Iris.
  • Plasma Fireball: Gamera's special move, in the throat oxygen and plasma energy from the body's chamber are combine and compressed together. The condensed energy is ejected from the mouth as a fireball with a Ultra Discharge (Ultra photothermal) phenomenon. i.e the flames.
  • High Plasma: A plasma fireball shot at an output of at least 120% its normal power. It was used in the first movie after absorbing fire from the explosion in the oil refinery and in the second after inhaling the oxygen rich atmosphere. The second instance showcased Gamera's lung power as his inhale created hurricane force winds.
  • Ultimate Plasma: Gamera summons energy from the Earth, mana, and aborbs it into his body, pushing the limits of his Plasma Furnace to the point that Gamera's Plastron (the covering on his stomach) opens and the energy is expelled outward. It is said it can only be used once during Gamera's lifetime, whether this is because of the strain on his body or the effects on the Earth is unknown. Due to the large amount of mana absorbed the tecnique has adverse affects on the global ecosystem resulting in the outbreaks of Gyaos worldwide.
  • Vanishing Fist: A one-shot technique used against Iris, Gamera absorbed the plasma Iris fired and used the stump of the hand he blew of to create a fist of plasma by manipulating the energy.
  • Burner: Seen only in Gamera 4:The truth, Gamera draws any limb into his shell and creates a sword of energy from the ejection port.
  • Homing Plasma: Seen only in Gamera 4:The truth, a Plasma Fireball that tracks it target.

Millenium GameraEdit

  • Classification: Turtle
  • Age: Unknown (O years old)
  • Withers Height: 35 Meters
  • Total Length: 55 Meters
  • Shell Diameter: Unknown
  • Carapace Minor: Unknown
  • Weight: 1,200 Tons
  • Atmospheric Flight Speed: Unknown
  • Underwater Dive Speed: Unknown
  • Stride: Unknown
  • Energy: Thermal Energy 
  • Arms and abilities: Fireball Ejection Suicide, Fireball Ejection
  • Habitat: Unknown, assumed to be Volcanic Region
TechniquesEdit
  • Fireball Ejection Suicide: Gamera overloads his internal furnace until he explodes, used to destroy the Gyaos.
  • Fireball Ejection: Gamera fires a fireball from his mouth, he can overload his furnace in as similar manner as the Firebal Ejection Suicide, to fire a highly condensed and powerful fireball.

HistoryEdit

Shōwa HistoryEdit

Gamera showa 001

The Showa Gamera from Gamera.

Gamera made his first appearance in 1965's Gamera, which was also the only Gamera film to be in black-and-white. This film also was the last 'giant monster' movie to be in black and white. Subsequent films, usually directed by Noriaki Yuasa and written by Nisan Takahashi, quickly became a big hit with children, who loved watching Gamera fight monsters Barugon, Gyaos, Viras, Guiron, Jiger, and Zigra. A seventh sequel was slated for a 1972 release, tentatively titled Gamera vs. Garasharp. Gross mismanagement of Daiei, however, put the company into bankruptcy, and the Gamera films were forced to cease production.

After Daiei was purchased by Tokuma Shoten in 1974, the new management wanted to do a new Gamera film in 1980, so Gamera: Super Monster was produced. The majority of the film used stock footage (with limited new scenes of Gamera flying), and acted as a "recap" of Gamera's history. However, Yuasa and Takahashi felt that they had done all they could with the monster, so they respectfully killed off Gamera at the end of the film.

Through the years, on both sides of the Pacific, fans of Gamera or Godzilla have debated which monster is better. The latter would generally be considered the victor, in that Godzilla was considered to have "higher standards" than Gamera, who was just a monster for kids. The giant turtle thus often became the object of ridicule, especially on the American TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which lampoons B-movie's and featured five of the original seven Gamera films during their third season. (It should be noted though that the series also featured and mocked two Godzilla films a year before).

Heisei HistoryEdit

Gamera Transition
This era began with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. During the course of the first film, three Gyaos are discovered on a remote island. The Japanese government discovers that they are all female, and decides that since they are the last of their kind, they should be captured and studied. So a trap is set for them. Meanwhile, a search has been assembled for a moving atoll in the Pacific. They find it, staying still and searching the surface, finding many small gems made of an unknown metal. They also discover a stone sticking up out of the center of it, and they attempt to dig it out. They manage to take pictures and collect some of the strange gems, but the stone crumbles and the atoll takes off towards Japan at high speeds. It ends up that the atoll is actually an ancient guardian of Earth, made by the Atlanteans, called Gamera. He attacks the Gyaos, killing two, but one escapes. It feasts on the other newly born Gyaos and grows to Gamera-like proportions. The two battle and Gamera manages to defeat it, heading back to the seas.

In Gamera 2: Advent of Legion, Earth was attacked by an alien force known as Legion.

New Gamera

The second Gamera from Gamera 4: Truth

In between Gamera 2: Advent of Legion and Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys, there was a Dark Horse comic series that showed more battles that Gamera waged.

In Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys, Gamera had to face hordes of Gyaos and the ultimate Gyaos, called Irys.

There was also an unofficial fan film named Gamera 4: Truth.

Millennium HistoryEdit

Brave1

Gamera in Gamera: The Brave

In Gamera: The Brave, Gamera returns to his Shōwa era roots, but with a modern twist. In the film, Gamera is first seen defending Japan back in the 1970's from the Gyaos, but sacrifices himself to destroy them by self-destructing.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 appearancesEdit

Gamera was a frequent whipping boy on the third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where five of the Shōwa era films were mocked.[1] The only original Shōwa films not featured on the program were Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera vs. Jiger. The Satellite of Love crew made up silly English lyrics to the Gamera theme:




(All) Gameraaaaaaaaaa! Gameraaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Gamera is really neat,
Gamera is filled with meat,
We've been eating Gamera!
Shell, feet, eyes, brain, claws, breath scales, fun!
(Tom Servo) Doctor Forrester is kind of a jerk,
and Frank is really dumb too!
(Crow) We have to take part in these lame experiments!
(Joel) But do we complain?
(Tom) No!
(Joel) No!
(Crow) Yes!
(Tom) Huh?
(Tom) So we hy-kee-ba all over the place
(Joel) and talk of the thousand wonderful days.
(All) Gamera is really sweet,
he is filled with turtle meat!
Now we have commercial siiiiiiign!


Show writer Mike Nelson even performed a variation on this song as erudite singer/pianist Michael Feinstein.[1][2] The five films riffed in season 3 were previously mocked years earlier on MST3K during the show's original incarnation on KTMA-TV in Minneapolis (the little seen "season 0" from 1988-89).

Future plansEdit

  • ThumbnailCACOQCF2

    Godzilla and Gamera face off

    Many fans have wondered if Gamera and Godzilla may appear in a film together (perhaps similar to King Kong vs. Godzilla), but Daiei Motion Picture Company and Toho Studios have no plans for a team-up. However in 2004, a rumor was posted on henshinonline that a Godzilla/Gamera film would happen, yet neither studio has made plans for it.
  • Gamera was, according to an inetrview with Simon Strange, considered for Godzilla: Unleashed. It is apparent that this idea was not accepted, but it may hint that Gamera could show up in the next Atari and Pipeworks game.

Comic BooksEdit

Gameracomic

Gamera in downtown Tokyo. From issue #2 of the Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe comic published by Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Comics published a four issue miniseries based on Gamera called Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe in 1996.[3]

Gamera has also made an appearance in Akira Toryama's Shonen Jump Manga, Dragon Ball, considerably smaller than he is portrayed in films or comic books. He is seen after being summoned to help the Muten Roshi traverse the ocean to Fry-Pan Mountain in volume 2.

GalleryEdit

RoarEdit

center

Popular cultureEdit

  • Gamera appears - under the name Ghamoo-ra - as a guardian beast in the Blackfathom Deeps instance dungeon in the World of Warcraft MMORPG. Additionally, a smaller tortoise named Gammerita is seen patrolling the eastern coast of The Hinterlands, and is the focus of two separate quests.
  • Gamera, along with Godzilla and some other kaiju, appear in side stories of Dr. Slump.
  • An episode of the animated series Justice League Unlimited (S5E03 "Chaos at the Earth's Core") had a team of superheroes consisting of Supergirl, Green Lantern, Star Girl, and S.T.R.I.P.E. briefly battle a nuclear-powered giant turtle in Japan that was a homage to Gamera, right down to the flame-spinning flight.
  • ThumbnailCAFH725Q

    Dragon Ball's Gamera

    In an episode of Dragon Ball, the Turtle Hermit Muten-Rôshi summons a Baby Gamera to use as a means of transportation. It makes him dizzy.
  • In the popular webcomic Megatokyo, Gamera has a descendant named Gameru who is an alcoholic that is constantly in and out of rehab (He's referred to as the "shame of the Gamera family" by Inspector Sonoda). He first appears in comic #359.
  • Gamera is a bonus track on the album Millions Now Living Will Never Die by post-rock band Tortoise.
  • Gamera has made a few cameo shots in The Simpsons.
  • Gamera made an appearance in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy movie "Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure" and his spoof Cragera appeared in "Giant Billy and Mandy All-Out Attack".
  • Dark Horse Comics, which also held the license for Godzilla, created a four issue mini-series based on Gamera, which took place between the events of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe and Gamera II: The Attack of Legion, and featured both Zigra and Viras as guest stars, with Viras being the principal adversary for Gamera in the series. The Gyaos also appeared.
  • Gamera has also appeared in the form of Japanese manga; examples being "Gamera vs Balgon", the recent "Gamera 2006 Hard Link", "Gamera Big Monsters Battle in Sky"(based on Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, and "Gamera 2 Invasion of Legion".
  • In a somewhat ironic twist, Gamera's trademark roar was utilized by Toho studios for the roar of the Godzillasaurus in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Godzillasaurus was the form of Godzilla before his mutation by exposure to an atomic bomb in 1944.
  • In the Detective Conan series, there is a parody of Gamera called Gomera. It looks more like Godzilla rather than a gigantic turtle, but it did had tusks pointing upwards.
  • ThumbnailCAUIIUW7

    Squirtle's Hydro Pump.

    In the Pokémon anime, the water turtle Pokémon Squirtle performs the move Hydro Pump in much the same way that Gamera flies- However, there is water being expelled from the holes, not fire. This is fair, since Godzilla has a look alike monster, the large Feraligator.
  • The Digimon JumboGamemon is a hommage to Gamera, with Game being short for Gamera.
  • In the Dav Pilkey book Captain Underpants and the Wrath of Wedgie Woman, George and Harold are seen watching a Japanese movie with the monster being a turtle.
  • In The Manga Version Of Yakitate Ja-pan Kuroyanagi Spins Around In Midair Like Gamera After Eating Azuma's Turtle Bread. And Dave's Helper Sings The Gamera Theme Song.
  • In the rap song "Paragraph President" by Blackalicious, Gamera is mentioned in a line of lyrics: "City burnin' like Gamera, scamina, blaze-up the space, plus I got it on camera"
  • In the cartoon network show Johnny Test, Susan and Mary Test mutated a sponge that would have a monster form and it became an actual monster (due to the mutation) and Johnny quickly found a book of 1000 monster names and he dubed the monster Gamaroid.
  • On youtube there are cartoons of Gamera fighting monsters from godzilla movies and the monster from 20000 fathems and Gorgo.
  • In the show South Park in episode 12 Mecha-Streisand, Barbra Streisand becomes the monster Mecha-Streisand a homage to Mecha-Godzilla. She then prosedes to go on a rampage and atacks south park. The boys team up with Leonard Maltain who transforms into a giant robot(A homage to Jet Jaguar and zone fighter). He then teams up with Sydney Pointier who transforms in to a Gamera looking turtle and flys to battle Mecha-Streisand with Malton. After two minutes of fighting they are both deafeated by Mecha-Streisand.
  • Unlike Godzilla, Gamera never teamed-up with other monsters.
  • Every monster that Gamera fought always causes him to bleed.
  • In the iPad game Demonsouls, a water demon that looked like a giant turtle is called water gamera.
  • In the 2012 Tim Burton film "Frankenweenie" a turtle named Shelly (who is ironically owned by an Asian character) is accidentally exposed to a growth formula, and the turtle mutates into a giant Gamera-like monster that rampages through a carnival.
  • The University of Maryland Gamera Human Powered Helicopter took its name from Gamera. Since the University mascot is a Diamondback Terrapin, the craft would be a flying turtle.
  • In July 2011, Washington State University Veterinarians successfully fixed a prosthetic caster onto an African spur-thighed tortoise named Gamera, who was a single amputee.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Mystery Science Theater 3000, "Gamera vs. Guiron" [312], closing credits.
  3. Pictures of the overs of all four comics

External linksEdit

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