The Monsters from the Heisei Gamera Films

The Monsters from the Heisei Gamera Films

Back in the 1960s, two titans duked it out in the Japanese cinema, Godzilla and Gamera. Where Godzilla began as a symbol of the frightening power of the atomic bomb, Gamera quickly appealed himself to the hearts of children. Even during his first film, where he seemed to go on a rampage in Japan, the kaiju protected a human child. His later films quickly followed this up to make Gamera the friend to all children around the world. With his reputation as a child-friendly monster, his films quickly gained popularity, which led to Godzilla also taking a more friendly, fun tone as well.

Unfortunately, Daiei could not continue to compete against the financial might of Toho. By the end of the 1960s, Gamera’s films already showed signs of the impending fiscal crisis as Daiei heavily relied on stock footage. Then, the company filed for bankruptcy in 1971, ending the Gamera run during the Showa era. While Gamera made a brief re-appearance in 1980, he did not break out into a full-blown new series like Godzilla’s return in 1984.

Thus, fans became ecstatic as Gamera came out of retirement to star in some of the giant turtle’s greatest adventures during the 1990s. Unlike the Showa era films, Gamera’s films gained a darker, more mature tone. Barely any children appeared in his films, testifying to his more adult nature. The films also brought back one of the major villains from his original films, Gyaos. Moreover, they introduced several new creatures for fans to latch onto.

Presenting the Monsters from the Heisei Gamera Trilogy from the 1990s and Gamera: The Brave

Gyaos/Super Gyaos

Gyaos/Super Gyaos

Like his original incarnation, Gyaos remained a monster that feasted on the human population. However, the origins of the Gyaos species became intrinsically intertwined with Gamera. Centuries ago, an advanced civilization, that some refer to as Atlantis, experimented with creating the perfect organism. They successfully created an asexual creature that had only one set of chromosomes. While they hoped to use these creatures as weapons, they soon discovered that they could not control the ever-hungry birds, especially as they multiplied. So, the civilization decided to create the ultimate weapon to defeat the Shadow of Gyaos, Gamera.

While the Gyaos took down the Atlanteans, their final hope, Gamera eradicated the species so that it could not doom the rest of the planet. Unfortunately, Gamera never located scattering of eggs around the globe. One of these clutches hatched near Himigami Island thanks to the pollution and terrible climate of the modern age. As these three Gyaos woke to the modern world, they soon began to feast on the island’s population during the night, for their eyes could not stand the light.

Realizing the Gyaos’s weakness to light, ornithologist Mayumi Nagamine helped the government trap the birds in the Fukuoka Dome baseball stadium. While the plan initially succeeded, Gamera’s arrival confused the military as the birds used their sonic beams to slice through their cages. Even though the birds continued to eat humans, the Japanese government concentrated their eradication efforts on Gamera, who posed a larger threat.

Even though Gamera successfully hunted two Gyaos down while they were young, one survived to become a massive giant, like Gamera. It also developed shields to protect its eyes from the sunlight. This Gyaos choose Tokyo as the chosen spot for its nest before Gamera arrived to eliminate it.

Legion Soldier

Legion Soldier

A year after Gamera saved Japan from the menace of Gyaos, a new species arrived to wreak havoc on the Earth. This time, the creature arrived via a meteor that crashed outside Sapporo, Japan. Since they originated from a planet far outside of our solar system, even our galaxy, they needed an oxygen-rich atmosphere to survive. Even though Earth did not have the right atmosphere for them, they had an organic system to terraform the planet with. For, each time they traveled to a new planet, this species hitched a ride on the seed of the plant that helped create their perfect atmosphere.

These two species shared a symbiotic relationship where the planet helped move the Legion insectoids throughout the galaxy. Meanwhile, the creatures protected and cared for the plant, allowing that species to flourish as well. Without either part of their partnership, the other species would inevitably die off.

The Legion Soldiers were the first wave of protection for the hive and the plant. While these creatures were small, standing not much taller than a standard human, they quickly overwhelmed their enemies with sheer numbers. Since the Legions quickly populated their species, they were able to build a strong soldier unit. As a united team, these soldiers even completely coated Gamera from head to toe. As they overwhelmed the turtle, they used their claws and piercing horns to pierce his hide and shell.

However, even the most coordinated of soldier units could not handle a threat to the colony like Gamera. Luckily, the Legion species had one more trump card up their sleeves.

Legion

Legion (Queen)

When Gamera destroyed the first plant, the Legion colony began to move to a new city. Likewise, a new member of their species emerged to protect the colony, a massive queen member of the Legion species. Unlike the soldier units, this queen towered over Gamera, at 140 meters in height. She also had a wide array of bioelectrical attacks at her disposal, making her a dangerous adversary.

Initially, the Japanese defense forces tried to take care of the queen by hitting it with missiles. While the army assumed they killed her, she had burrowed back underground to await the next big threat to the colony.

As the Legion began to nourish a new plant to maturity in Sendai, Gamera once again tried to eradicate the invaders. However, this time he faced the Queen, who easily injured him with her arsenal of razor-sharp limbs. Her EM beam also contended against Gamera’s signature fireballs. While Gamera managed to prevent the flower from launching its seed, both he and the city suffered severe damage.

Once again, the Legion tried to rear a flower to full maturity at the base of Mt. Akayuka, where the final battle between Gamera and the Legion occurred. Even though Gamera attempted to remain out of the queen’s reach with an assault of fireballs, he could not penetrate her electromagnetic shield. Luckily, the military created the opening Gamera required to begin damaging the queen. When she tried to fire her EM beam, he ripped apart her horn. Still, the queen managed to attack with energy blades.

In the end, Gamera could only defeat Legion by calling upon the planet’s mana. By gathering mana from around the area, Gamera generated a massive plasma beam from the center of his body, which blasted away the queen.

Hyper Gyaos

Hyper Gyaos

Years after the first trio of Gyaos birds hatched, more clutches of eggs began to hatch around the world. While these creatures were mostly the same as the first set of Gyaos, they gained a more sleep appearance. Thus, this variant of the species became known as Hyper Gyaos.

While the Hyper Gyaos remained a threat, none of the species managed to eat enough to gain the size of the one from 1995. Still, the Japanese felt the impact of this species as they fought against Gamera in Tokyo. While the Hyper Gyaos flew around the Shibuya district, Gamera relentlessly hunted them down. This fight against the two species led to thousands of dead humans, mostly thanks to Gamera’s fireballs.

As the Hyper Gyaos bobbed and weaved around Gamera’s flames, he unintentionally hit buildings and the street around him. One of his blasts even went straight through a crowded office building. Gamera’s apparent rampage did not even show mercy as a Gyaos crawled on the ground, mutilated and barely alive.

At the end of the third film, the military spotted the impending threat of the Hyper Gyaos. Just as Gamera left Kyoto after eradicating Iris, Japan’s radars began to pick up a massive flock of Gyaos that were heading straight toward the nation. Unfortunately, the official follow-up to this revelation never occurred. So, we will never know if the flock of Gyaos spelled doom for Gamera.

Iris

Iris

As Gamera focused his efforts on eliminating every Gyaos that he could find, another creature hatched from a stone egg in a secluded temple near Nara village. The creature that hatched from the temple’s stone egg seemed cute and innocent as an infant.

With its shell and tentacles, the creature shared no resemblance with the phoenix that Ayana Hirasaka expected to locate. Still, she became determined to help it grow strong, especially since she shared a psychic bond via the dark amulets in the area. Moreover, as she believed that Gamera killed Iris’s parents as he did hers, she hoped that Iris would grow strong and take out Gamera.

Meanwhile, the temple’s caretakers knew that a demon that they called Ryu-Sei-Cho rested in the temple. Ayana’s friend, Moribe, became concerned as he watched Iris drain food with its tentacles. Luckily, he realized the threat of Iris in time to save Ayana from fully merging with Iris inside the creature’s cocoon.

As government agents took in Ayana, bringing her to Kyoto for care, they hoped to lure Iris to the city. Thus, a fully grown Iris took out the military with the hypersonic beams from its tentacles before it flew to Kyoto. There, the creature faced Gamera, as the turtle realized the threat that Iris represented.

Despite Gamera’s best efforts, he could not keep Iris away from Ayana. However, as the two began to merge once more, Ayana realized that Iris murdered those around her village. As Gamera plunged his claws into Iris’s abdomen to save Ayana, the creature stabbed through Gamera’s right hand and begin to absorb his energy. Even though Iris began to absorb Gamera’s abilities, it could not stop the turtle from blowing off its arm before gathering the fired flames into a new arm.

Gamera

Gamera

Centuries ago, an ancient civilization used their technology to create what they hoped would become the perfect organism. Instead, they released a shadow of evil, Gyaos, on their people. Before they perished from existence, these ancients devised a plan to create a guardian that would protect future generations. While they successfully created Gamera, they did not save themselves.

As human civilization grew during the 1990s, the pollution and waste from their activities began to create the perfect environment for Gyaos’ return. Luckily, just as the Gyaos began to encroach on human civilization, Gamera awoke from his slumber. Also, the scientists who studied Gamera’s resting spot discovered the amulets that would allow a girl, Asagi Kusanagi, to become his spiritual conduit.

Thanks to Gamera’s immense size, the Japanese government feared the turtle, as he could easily devastate cities as he fought against the Gyaos. So, the military initially focused their attention on him while the Gyaos grew in size and strength. Still, Gamera arrived in Tokyo to save the world from the threat of Super Gyaos.

Gamera’s arsenal included a large array of weapons. Not only could he shoot giant plasma balls, but he also could pull on the Earth’s mana to create a plasma beam from his core. The turtle also could transform and take flight. For instance, he could pull in all his limbs to become a spinning flying saucer. Otherwise, his front arms transformed into fins as he jetted through the air. With all his power, he was able to fend off Gyaos, Legion, and Iris.

Zedus

Zedus

After Daiei retired Gamera once more, the turtle returned to the silver screen in a new adventure in 2006. Unlike the prior series, this entry once again strongly cemented Gamera as the friend to all children. Meanwhile, his foe for this film was Zedus, an aquatic saurian who ate men. While Zedus suddenly appeared to terrorize Japan, no one in the film ever knew where this creature came from. However, his only goal appeared to feast on humanity as it rampaged through the city.

Zedus easily zipped through the city, even climbing up tall buildings. His jumping skill allowed him to clear great distances with ease. He was also a very strong adversary, especially for the young Gamera. His arsenal included a spear-like tongue, claws, and teeth. While most of Zedus’s abilities required close combat, his tongue could strike opponents up to a hundred meters away. Moreover, Zedus could produce acid on the tip of his tongue and claws.

While Zedus initially had the upper hand against Toto, eventually the turtle gained the power to unleash his full strength. Even though Zedus speared Gamera with his tongue, the turtle ripped his tongue in half. Then, he eliminated the saurian in a ball of flames that blew his body to pieces.

Gamera/Toto

Gamera/Toto

Back in 1973, the original Gamera for this the Brave’s timeline perished as he fought off an onslaught of Gyaos. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, Gamera decided to take them out with a self-destruction explosion. However, he left one thing behind, an egg that sat on an energy-filled red rock.

Decades later, Toru Aizawa found this egg when he investigated a strange red glow on the beach. When he picked up the egg, a baby turtle hatched, which he decided to bring home. Since his recently deceased mother once called him “Toto”, Toru decided to name the baby turtle that. However, he could not let his father know he had a pet, for the man did not allow pets.

In no time, Toto began showing signs that he was not an ordinary turtle. The little guy began flying around and shooting small fireballs. So, Toru’s friend, Mai, became convinced that Toto was the son of Gamera. Despite her insistence, Toru rejected the notion because Gamera was a giant while he could easily hold Toto. Toto did not remain small for long, though, for he began to quickly grow too large for Toru to keep him hidden.

After disappearing for a time, Toto returned to protect the city against Zedus, now towering over humans. With his immense size and tusks, Toro could no longer deny that Toto was a member of Gamera’s family. However, Toto required one last thing to stand a chance against Zedus, the energy from the red rocks that his egg once rested on.

Even though the recently hospitalized Mai held the last shard of Gamera’s stone, the children of the city banded together to get the stone to Gamera. Thus, the turtle was able to defeat Zedus with a powerful fireball.

Who were your favorite monsters from the Gamera films?

Gamera has faced many great creatures both in the Showa series and the Heisei series. While some prefer the creatures from the latest movies, the creatures from the sixties still helped to define Gamera. So, we would love to hear from you. Who are your favorite monsters from the Gamera movies? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you have old and used Gamera or Godzilla toys?

If you have a collection of old and used toys, you can turn those toys into cash. There is no reason to let those old toys collect dust. Contact us today to sell your Gamera and/or Godzilla toy collection.


Made in collaboration with:

Chris Ingledue 

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Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

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