Mystery Science Theater 3000, Show 316: "Gamera vs. Zigra"
1)Joel and the Bots are having a root beer kegger. Magic Voice has had a little too much.
Mads: Three Stooges guns
Joel and the Bots: Crow-kebabs
3)The Bots have created a model of Gamera's insides.
4)Joel and the Bots have created shoebox dioramas representing their reactions to the Gamera movies.
5)The Satellite of Love is visited by Kenny and Helen (Michael J. Nelson and Bridget Jones). They are badly dubbed.
6)Joel, the Bots and the Mads each do their own versions of the Gamera song.
Post-Credits: Fish Guy: "Big shot - just who does he think he is? Hotel manager - I showed him! Huh?"
"I didn't know you had any fleshy parts to do that." "I don't."
"Will Wayne Newton keep the fish? Stay tuned!"
"Fish Argument Theater will be back, but first, a scene from Plot Convenience Playhouse."
"You look at it, I'm bitter."
"Porn on the radio, I don't think it's going to work."
"Kenny!" "Helen!" "George!" "Heathcliff!" "McCloud!"
"I don't think you should have a paunch when you're six."
Some name changes here - Kenichi becomes "Kenny" and the Ishikawas go from Yosuke and Hiroko to "Henry and Catherine". Chikako Sugawara becomes "Lora Lee Walla".
Original Japanese Trailer.
This is one of my favorite episodes of MST3K, ever. If you were trying to give someone a sense of what the show was like, this would be a good episode to pick. On a side note, this episode first aired on October 19th, 1991, and there was Charlie Sheen joke in it. Hadn't realized we'd been laughing at that guy for nearly twenty years.
Now, as it happens, I had always been under the impression that Gamera vs. Zigra was the last Showa Era Gamera picture. It turns out, I was wrong about that, and didn't know better for many years. What happened was the next Gamera films was scheduled to be called Gamera vs. Garasharp, and would've featured Gamera fighting something that looked like a giant cobra. Alas, Daiei went bankrupt and Gamera vs. Garasharp was consigned to Morpheus' DVD closet. But in 1980, there was another Gamera picture made during the Showa Era, one I never even heard of until many years later. To this day, I've never seen it. But I have obtained a copy of it, and hope to view it very soon...
Uchu Kaijū Gamera (1980)
This picture was known in the U.S. as Gamera: The Super Monster.
Directed by Noriaki Yuasa.
Mach Fumiake played Kilara, Space Woman and pet shop owner. Fumiake was a pro wrestler turned actress, which explains why she gets most of the acting scenes.
Yaeko Kojima played Marsha, Space Woman and car dealership employee.
Yoko Komatsu played Mitan, Space Woman and kindergarten teacher.
Keiko Kudo played Giruge, henchwoman of the evil Zanon.
Koichi Maeda played Keiichi, a small boy who plays the organ real well.
Toshie Takada played Keiichi's mother.
We begin with a narrator talking about how big space is, and then are told about the evil space pirate Zanon, who travels through space in a knock-off of an Imperial Star Destroyer, plundering planets. Zanon, we are told, is planning to attack Earth. We then cut to Earth, where we are introduced to the three Space Women, Kilara, Marsha and Mitan, who are survivors of a world plundered by Zanon, and who are hiding on Earth disguised as ordinary women. Zanon announces that he knows they are hiding on Earth and resistance is useless and so on and so on. Zanon's agent Giruge beams down to Earth to find the Space Women and destroy them. Next we meet Keiichi, a young boy, whom Kilara befriends and to whom she gives a free turtle. Meanwhile, Zanon makes a volcano erupt, and we see the research team from Gamera vs. Gyaos get shot down again, the unlucky dopes. The jets that got shot down in Gyaos get shot down again, too. Elsewhere, Keiichi's mom talks him into letting the turtle go free. It obtains that Giruge cannot locate the Space Women when they are in their human forms, so they adopt the tactic of hiding from her. Keiichi goes to see Kilara, and apologizes to Kilara for setting his turtle free, and ends up inspirng them to team up with Gamera. Gamera appears, and Keiichi becomes convinced the Gamera is the turtle he set free, somehow transformed. Giruge senses that Keiichi is connected to the Space Women. As she begins to stalk him, we see Gamera fighting Gyaos. Zanon nags Giruge, and she teleports Keiichi to the seaside, where we witness Gamera fighting Zigra again. Keiichi begins to suspect Giruge's motives and runs away from her. Kilara beams him to safety. increasingly unhappy with Giruge's job performance, Zanon sends Viras down to fight Gamera, with familiar results. Elsewhere, Keiichi dreams of Gamera encountering the Yamato out in space. As Giruge closes in on the Space Women, we see Gamera fight Jiger again. Desperate to save her job, Giruge plants a control device on Gamera and commands him to attack humanity. Footage is re-used from Gamera and Gamera vs. Barugon. They cover up the fact that some of it is in black-and-white by the expediency of having our heroes watch the destruction on an old black-and-white TV. there's also a gag where Gamera knock over a poster for a Godzilla movie. Kilara uses herself as a decoy and tricks Zanon into inadvertently destroying the control device, freeing Gamera. Giruge confronts the Space Women, and she and Kilara have a fight scene, which ends with Giruge accidentally wounding herself. Kilara refuses to kill Giruge, and gives her her gun back. The remorseful Giruge goes to kill herself, and Kilara stops her. We then see Gamera flying to "the planet where the evil monsters are kept", where he fights Guiron. On his way back, he passes the Galaxy Express 999 in space. Giruge wakes up in Keiichi's room, to find that he has been watching over her. We then see Gamera battle Barugon again. Giruge takes a laser beam meant for the Space Women, and dies heroically. Gamera rams himself into Zanon's ship, to their mutual destruction. Keiichi is heartbroken, but the Space Women console him, and he flies off with them to see the world.
Space Women Facts: They can fly, and teleport, and shrink down to six inches in height.
What'd I Think of the Film?: Well, it was bad, but not quite as bad as I had feared. While it's never explicitly stated, there are hints in the dialogue that suggest that maybe none of this is actually happening, and it's all actually Keiichi's dream. Worth a look if you have 90 minutes to kill.
Gamera: Daikaijū Kuchu Kessen (1995)
This picture has been known in the U.S. as Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.
Directed by Shûsuke Kaneko.
Tsuyoshi Ihara played Yoshinari Yonemori, some kind of scientist or something. Ihara played Baron Nishi in Letters from Iwo JIma.
Shinobu Nakayama played Mayumi Nagamine, a zoologist. Nakayama was in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993), making her a rare Godzilla/Gamera double-dipper.
Akira Onodera played Naoya Kusanagi, a scientist and Yonemori's superior.
Ayako Fujitani played Asagi, Naoya's daughter. In real-life, Fujitani is the daughter of "actor" Steven Seagal. Apparently, she's something of a writer, too. I shall have to see if anything of hers has been translated into English.
Yukijirô Hotaru played Inspector Osako.
Hirotarô Honda played Mr. Saito, a government guy who's wrong about everything.
Kojiro Hongo, who was in several of the Showa Era films, appears as a Coast Guard captain.
We begin all at sea, as a coast guard ship is escorting a plutonium transport. The transport runs aground in water where it should be too deep, They discover a large floating "atoll", which moves away on its own. Several other ships subsequently collide with the object. We then see Nagamine, a zoo worker, who does not want to go on Professor Hirata's expedition to Himegami Island. On the island, we see two sailors being pursued by what they call a "bird". It does not end well for them. We cut to Kusanagi's house, where Yonemori is talking with Kusanagi's daughter Asagi, about how he and her dad are looking for this "atoll". Meanwhile, Inspector Osako convinces Nagamine to go down to the island with him, where they discover Professor Hirata's personal effects in an unusually large pile of ...well... guano, let's call it, making this the first kaiju eiga that I can recall that actually tackles the issue of monster droppings. Anyway, it's gross. Nagamine spots the "bird", which is an immature Gyaos. They follow it on a helicopter, until it starts following them, but Nagamine discovers that the flash from her camera frightens it off. They spot several other Gyaosim. Elsewhere, Yonemori and Kusanagi have found the "atoll". They find it littered with magatama. At the same time, Osako takes Nagamine to see some bigshots, who want her advise on how to capture a Gyaos. On the "atoll", Yonemori has found a carved slab, which disintegrates as the "atoll" moves away. Osako comes up with aplan to capture a Gyaos in Fukuoka Stadium, which has a retractable dome. They lure three Gyaosim into the dome with meat, and shoot them with trank guns. As they start to close the dome, Yonemori arrives to warn them that the "atoll" is coming. One Gyaos escapes, but Gamera kills it. The turtle Gamera attacks the city, heading for the dome. The two caged Gyaosim free themselves and fly away, Gamer agiving chase. Yonemori has dinner at the Kusanagis. Yonemori give Asagi one of the magatama, which glows when she touches. It apparently is made of an unknown metal, which makes it a great gift for a kid. Nagamine goes back to the island, where she finds a dead Gyaos. Yonemori and Kusanagi go looking for Nagamine in the mountains. Nagamine and Yonmori get caught on a suspension bridge while trying to save a kid from Gyaos, but Gamera saves them. Gamera chases Gyaos, and the SDF goes after Gamera. Asagi takes a cab to where Gamera is, and whenm the now much bigger Gyaos attacks Gamera, she receives similar wounds, because she is now somehow psychically linked to Gamera. Yonemori and Nagamine argue with the bigshots as to whether Gamera or Gyaos is the bigger menace. They have discovered that Gamera and the Gyaosim are products of an ancient civilization. When Gyaos attacks and train, the bigshots agree to go after Gyaos. However, all they manage to do is knock down Tokyo Tower, which Gyaos uses as a nest. Gamera and Gyaos fight, ascending to the edge of space, before crahsing back to Earth. Gyaos severs its own foot to escape from Gamera. Gamera blows Gyaos' head off. It heals Asagi, before wandering off.
Gamera Facts: Heisei Era Gamera exhibits pretty much the same powers as Showa Era Gamera did. It has retractable claws on its elbows.
Gyaos Facts: Heisei Gyaos has a cutting beam like its Showa counterpart. It's nocturnal, but sunlight doesn't kill it. It does not seem to have a fire-suppressing mist.
What'd I Think of the Film?: I liked it. It was good to see how Gamera looked with a decent FX budget. An effort was obviously made to have Gyaos behave like a real creature, instead of just a "monster".
Gamera Tsū: Region Shūrai (1996)
This picture has been known in the U.S. as Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion.
Directed by Shûsuke Kaneko.
Miki Mizuno played Midori Honami, a scientist.
Toshiyuki Nagashima played Colonel Watarase, a scientist.
Mitsuru Fukikoshi played Obitsu.
Yukijirô Hotaru returns as ex-Inpector Osako, now a night watchman.
Ayako Fujitani returns as Asagi.
We begin in Hokkaido, where Honami - who works at the Sapporo Science Center - is overseeing a school astronomy field trip. They witness a meteor crash to Earth. When the SDF is sent to investigate, they are unable to find it. At the SSC, they are swamped with computer problems and calls about a green glow in the sky. Honami and a colleague go out to investigate it. Their car stall, and they meet Col. Watarase's men, who re-start it. We know ex-Inspector Osako, who is now a night watchman in a beer warehouse, the stress of the Gyaos business having been all too much for him. He and a co-worker do some comedy cowardice as they witness a swarm of giants insects in their warehouse. Meanwhile, the SSC folks have noticed that their fiber optic cables have disappeared. Honami goes to the warehouse, and notices that the glass was dissolved, but the beer was untouched. Honami comes to think that something alien landed with the meteor. In Sapporo, a subway train is attacked, and all the glass is eaten. A police team goes down to investigate, and is slaughtered. On the surface, a giant plant starts growing out of a building. An SDF team goes down into the tunnel and find ssome survivors, and notices that the oxygen level is very high. At HQ, the SDF discusses how too much oxygen is a bad thing, and the plant must be destroyed. Honami works out that the plant and the insects are all part of one symibotic life form. The SDF attacks the plant's roots, and Gamera shows up and attacks the plant from above. As the insects swarm over Gamera, a soldier names the alien "Legion", afte rthe malign spirit in Mark 5:9. As Gamera collapses near a power station, some of the insects are drawn to the electircity. Gamera manages to fling the rest of them off by spinning. A giant bug thing emerges form underground, and the SDF attacks it. We see Asagi going on vacation with a buddy, as Honami looks Asagi up on-line as someone who has a connection to Gamera. At the University, Honami works out that Legion eats silicon and gives off oxygen, and that it would be attracted to large cities, as they would have lots of electronics, and therefore lots of silicon. A new pod appears in the city of Sendai, and Honami and Asagi are among those being helicoptered to safety when Legion shows up. Gamera battles Legion to buy time for the helicopter to escape. Gamera then attacks the pod, which blows up, taking most of Sendai with it, and crisping Gamera.(It's a little weird seeing Sendai destroyed, as it's where the "real life" earthquake and tsunami did much damage back in March.) It is assumed that Legion will attack Tokyo next, and Honami and the SDF try to prepare. Honami is sent home as the SDF deploys, and she and Asagi go north to where Sendai used to be, and witness as Gamera revives. Lwgion attacks, and things don't go well for the SDF. Gamera attacks the big Legion creature. It summons the swarm, but Honami's colleague Obitsu works out a way to draw the swarm to a power plant, where the SDF destroys it. Gamera battles the large Legion creature, and manages to destroy it with a super energy blast. Gamera flies off, victorious.
Gamera Facts: Gamera demonstrates the ability to morph its forelimbs into flippers, like those of a sea turtle.
Gamera fires a sort of "wave motion gun" type super energy beam from its chest cavity.
Legion: Legion appears to be several different life forms living in a symbiotic relationship. The plant form propagates the species by launching seeds into space. The insect-like swarm appears to gather nourishment. The "giant insect" form acts as a sort of guardian for the plant. The giant form can fire energy beams and shoot energy whips, as well as project a defensive force shield. Legion eats silicon, and gives off large amounts of oxygen.
What'd I Think of the Film?: I liked this one alot, better even than I remembered liking it. The story ticks along nicely, as we are given various clues as to the nature of the creature and we get to watch the characters figure it out. And again, more thought seems to have been given to making Legion a creature with natural reasons for being what it is, instead of just a "monster".
Gamera Surī Jyashin Irisu Kakusei (1999)
This picture has been known in the U.S. as Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris
Directed by Shûsuke Kaneko
Shinobu Nakayama returns as Nagamine, a scientist.
Ayako Fujitani returns as Asagi.
Ai Maeda plays Ayana Hirasaka, a teenaged girl.
Senri Yamazaki plays Asakura, a mystical nihilistic loon.
Tooru Teduka plays Kurata, also a mystical nihilistic loon.
Yuu Koyama plays Moribe, a teenaged boy.
Yukijirô Hotaru returns as ex-Inspector Hotaru.
We start with Nagamine somewhere near the Equator, being shown a dead Gyaos. Meanwhile, a submersible off the coast of Japan finds an underwater Gamera's graveyard. We then flash back to Ayana in 1995 Tokyo, watching as Gaemra smashes the building her parents are in. We then see her awake in 1999, where she's living with an aunt and uncle who are pressuring her to take their family name. Elsewhere, we Asakura and Kurata checking out a collection of magatama, all of which are damaged. We also find out that Asagi went abroad to study. Some mean girls make Ayana go disturb some sacred stone in a shrine so that they'll leave her little brother alone. Moribe, whose family owns the shrine, goes in after her. No one knows exactly what will happen if the sotne is disturbed, but it has been. Later, Nagamine is out walking and sees Osako, who has been reduced to selling magazines by the roadside. He pretends not to know her. Nagamine goes to a Monster Damage Control Meeting at which not much is accomplished. Osako, drinking his dinner with some other gentlemen of leisure, sees Gamera fighting some Gyaosim. Gamera is not being too careful about whether or not humans ar ehurt in the process. After hearing of this battle, Ayana goes back to the shrine to find that the "sacred stone" has hatched. She also finds an intact magatama. Moribe's grandma gives him the sacred dagger and tells him that he is the new guardian of the shrine, but that all will be well as long as the stone is not disturbed. Oops. Moribe finds Ayana out in the woods with a critter she has named "Iris" and which she intends to raise up to seek vengeance on Gamera. As the SDF fights Gamera, Gyaosim are reported around the world. As Asagi calls Nagamine to find out what's going on, Ayana finds that Iris has mutated and grown. Iris envelops Ayana, Asagi and Nagamine get together and discuss environmental imbalance. Moribe uses the sacred dagger to take Ayana out of Iris, and calls an ambulance. Nagamine buys Osako a beer and convinces him to help. They go to the mountains, where they find what seem to be victims of Gyaos. Nagamine quizzes Moribe, and Asagi decides she wants to meet Ayana. Asakura and Kurata take Ayana to Kyoto. Elsewhere, Iris attacks some campers. The SDF fights Iris. It doesn't go so well. Nagamine and Asagi meet Kurata at Kyoto Station and have a discussion about Gamera's purpose. Nagamine insists on taking Ayana away from Asakura. Osako and Moribe decide to go to Kyoto to try to help Ayana. A sudden typhoon traps Nagamine, Asagi, Ayana, Kurata and Asakura at Kyoto Station. The SDF fights both Gamera and Iris in the air. Gamera is shot down. Iris and Gamera confront one another in Kyoto. Moribe goes to the station while Osako distracts a policeman. Gamera and Iris fight in Kyoto Station. Iris wounds Gamera. Asagi appeals to Ayana to try to get Iris to stop. Asakura and Kurata are both killed. Moribe arrives at the station and throws the sacred dagger at Iris. It bounces off and accidentally cuts Ayana. Iris brushes him aside and envelops Ayana again. Ayana has a freaky vision in which she relaizes that her parents' deaths were not Gamera's fault. Gamera attacks Iris again, and Iris impales Gamera's forepaw. Gamera blows his own hand off, and frees Ayana. Gamera kills Iris and returns Ayana to her friends. Elsewhere, the SDF gets reports that large numbers of Gyaosim are converging on Japan. Though badly hurt, Gamera goes forth to fight them.
Gamera Facts: When he loses his hand, Gamera creates a new "hand" out of fire.
Iris Facts: Iris can fly.
It can suck the life out of living beings with its tentacles.
What'd I Think of the Picture?: I thought it was pretty good. I'd forgotten about Osako's character arc - I'd known Asagi was in all three pictures, I hadn't remembered that he was, too.
Chīsaki Yūsha Tachi ~Gamera~ (2006)
This picture's English language title is Gamera the Brave.
Directed by Ryuta Tazaki. Tazaki seems to have mostly directed kid's stuff - Kamen Rider and various "Super Sentai" pictures.
Ryo Tomioka played Toru Aizawa, a small boy.
Kanji Tsuda played his dad, Kosuke.
Kaho played Toru's friend and neighbor, Mai.
Shingo Ishikawa played Toru's friend Ishimaru.
Shogo Narita played Toru's friend Katsuya.
We start out in 1973, in the coastal town of Shima. A little boy named Kosuke watches as Gamera battles a flock of Gyaosim. Gamera destroys itself in order to stop them. We then move to the summer of 2006, where a now-grown Kosuke and his son Toru are visiting the grave of their wife and mother, who was killed in a car crash. Toru notices a light flashing out on the island where Gamera died. We return to the pub that Kosuke runs, which has just re-opened after his wife's death. We see Toru interacting with his neighbor, the teenaged Mai. She lends him a copy of the latest volume of Sgt. Frog. Though Toru is unaware of it, Mai is going to be having a heart operation soon. Toru swims out to the island, where he finds that the flashing light was a glowing stone under an end. The egg hatches into a turtle, which Torubeigns home and names "Toto", which was his mother's nickname for him. The next morning, Toru finds that Toto has gotten bigger and can fly. He takes it down to the beach and releases it, but it follows him home. Toru causes comedy havoc in the restaurant, and demonstrates the abiltiy to breathe fire. At sea, we see a shipwreck survivor being pulled under and killed by something. Back on land, Mai believes that Toto is a baby Gamera. Toru emphatically doesn't want to believe it. Toto has grown too big to hide at home, so Toru and his buddies take it down to an old fishing shack. (Funny, I thought the old fishing shack burned down when Laura Murdoch disappeared!) Toru learns of Mai's operation and giver her the stone that was under Toto's egg. Later, we see Toto looking distractedly out to sea, as in Mai's room in the Nagoya General Hospital, the stone begins to glow again. When Toru goes to the shack, he finds Toto is not there. Toru and his buddies Ishimaru and Katsuya look for him in vain. A monster appears and starts eating people. Toto - now much larger but still small compared to the new critter - appears and manages to drive the new monster away. The SDF takes Toto into custody and takes it to Nagoya. The government names the new monster "Zedus". Mai's operation goes well, but her mother reports that she keeps saying "Toto needs it". Toru deduces that Toto needs the read stone he gave to Mai, and he and his two pals hop a train to Nagoya. Kosuke find a note that Toru left him and follows. Toru and company arrive in Nagoya just as Zedus attacks the city. Toto and Zedus fight, and Toto is generally getting his tail kicked. The three boys get to the hospital, only to find it has been evacuated. Kosuke catches up to Toru, who insists on trying to help Toto. Elsewhere, Mai sees the monster fight, and tries to get the stone to Toto, but she's still too weak from surgery. She passes the stone to a little girl, woh passes it along to another child. The stone passes from kid to kid, in a sort of bizarre relay race. Eventually, the stone reaches Katsuya and Ishimaru, who bring it to Toru. By this time Zedus has lodged Toto into the side of a building. Zedus starts spanking Toto, but Toru and Kosuke work together to get the stone to Toto, who eats it. Toru urges Toto not to blow himself up. The stone perks Toto up, and Toto frisbees himself into Zedus. He then rips Zedus' tongue out, and crisps him with a fireball. The government wants to arrest Toto again, but the kids won't let him. Toto flies off, and Toru says good-bye to him, calling him "Gamera" for the first time.
Toto Facts: Toto is much smaller, and more rounded and less fierce looking than either the Showa or Heisei Gamerae. It doens't use the tradtional Gamera roar, either, sounding more like Spot from The Munsters.
Zedus Facts: Zedus looks sort of like a giant frill-necked lizard. It's agile and fast, and has a spear-like tongue.
What'd I Think of the Film?: I liked it. It's a return to being a kiddy film, but the kids are more "real" than the kids were in the Showa Era films.
Bumping this up to the top to complement the larger MST3K discussion (currently underway) as well as to supllement my own rewatching of the Gamera movies at this time.
GAMERA vs. BARUGON: As has already been noted, how do they get away with calling this a Gamera movie? No Kenny, no Tibby and damned little of Gamera!
Also, I'll bet the legend of unicorns farting rainbows was based on Barugon.
I have seen Gamera vs. Gaos (Gyaos, whatever) before, but I’ve never seen the MST3K version until now. I remember watching the “real” movie on TV one time with my two roommates and a couple of friends. It was just like MST3K, years before MST3K. Everytine I watch MST3K now it reminds me of that day.
“(Why is doesn't fly off when it begins to spin is beyond me)”
I would say that its appetite for blood outweighed its instinct for self-preservation.
The premise for True Blood (the HBO vampire show and Sooki Stackhouse novels) is that vampires “come out” (as it were) when the Japanese invent a synthetic blood substitute that they can subsist on. I’ll bet a lot of the groundwork for “True Blood” (the beverage) was laid combatting Gaos.
Be funny if the company that made the synthetic blood had a little chibi Gyaos as their mascot.