Gammerama: The extended universe of Daiei’s most famous monster

When it comes to classifying kaiju pictures, I’ve noticed that guide books and merchandise lines tend to split things into more-or-less three buckets: Toho (with its Godzilla, Mothra, et al.), Tsuburaya (with Ultraman and associated creations), and everyone else. “Everyone else” is loosely defined, but usually consists of movies from Daiei (e.g. Daimajin, Yokai Monsters), Shochiku (The X From Outer Space), Nikkatsu (Gappa the Triphibian Monster), and occasionally Toei (The Magic Serpent, Daiyogen, even the Korean Yongary). Without a doubt, the biggest star of these collected also-rans is Daiei’s giant, fire-breathing, flying saucer/turtle monster, Gamera.

The Gamera franchise is very much the Pepsi cola to Godzilla’s Coke: Gamera has never been the ubiquitous cultural icon that Godzilla is, but very much fancies itself a rival, as can be seen in 1980’s Super Monster Gamera (okay, technically this is slamming something called “Dodzilla”):

Dodzilla

The two franchises have similar histories. Both began with cancelled projects opening a slot in the studio schedule, although Toho’s failed Thai co-production that allowed Godzilla to happen doesn’t sound nearly as awesome as Daiei’s giant-rats-running-amok project Nezula. (If that project had come to fruition, it would’ve been something along the lines of Bert I Gordon’s Food of the Gods on a massive scale, but it turns out that using electric shocks to coax hundreds of feral rats into performing for a movie, while filming in a massive metropolitan neighborhood, is… well, not a good idea. The production fell apart and all of the footage was destroyed. Still, it’s pretty cool that we got Nezula toys and model kits, nonetheless.)

nezula 1 nezula 2

Anyway, the similarities continue. Gamera was allegedly inspired when Daiei’s president, looking out of a plane window over the ocean, saw a cloud that looked like a flying turtle (with Godzilla no doubt on his mind), very much like when Tomoyuki Tanaka got the idea for Godzilla on an oceanic flight himself (with The Beast from 20000 Fathoms no doubt on his mind). Gamera’s first film, like Godzilla’s, was monochrome (despite it already being 1965), with Gamera as the sole antagonist, due to quickly reform and fight nastier monsters in color sequels (aping Godzilla’s heroic transformation). Both franchises eventually crashed in the 70s, then had triumphant reboots on their respective 30th anniversaries, eventually going back on hiatus in the mid-2000s. So what makes them different?

Tsuburaya actually had to delete this shot from their Ultraman Max DVDs.

There are certainly a few points that one could make distinguishing Godzilla from Gamera: The Godzilla series has much more anthropoid monster designs (i.e. actors not having to crawl around on all fours), more advanced sci-fi military hardware, higher budgets, less stock footage, less violence, and less pandering to small children (although, by the 1970s, Godzilla was definitely taking a page from Gamera’s book on those last few points). However, I think the key difference is that Godzilla was a part of a cinematic universe, while Gamera was not. Godzilla could meet other Toho creations, from Mothra to Rodan to Atragon to Matango, but Gamera never interacted with Daiei’s pantheon of creatures like Daimajin (though the character was originally conceived as the monster’s first enemy) or Warning from Space’s Pairans or Spook Warfare’s Daimon or, mercifully, anything from La Blue Girl (no matter what Iris looks like). Godzilla also quickly crossed franchises, encountering everything from King Kong to the Avengers to Hello Kitty, while Gamera… well, he sort of met the Galaxy Express 999 and Space Battleship Yamato in dream sequences once, but nobody likes to talk about it. (Oh, and maybe the Kaiju Quiz TV special with Ultraman and Godzilla, or that one Sailor Fight short, but really, who’s seen those?)

gamera vs yamatoGamera vs Sailor Fighter

So I guess that’s it, then: The King of the Monsters has a glorious canon of multimedia with unending complexities while the Gamera series is limited to a paltry twelve films, right? Well, not quite. Gamera certainly doesn’t have footprint that Godzilla does, but there are still a lot of interesting apocryphal adventures to fill out your collection. And that, to make a long story short, is what this retrospective will focus on.

Starting stuff at the beginning, there’s another similarity between Gamera’s lifeline and Godzilla’s, and that’s that each has a separate, Americanized version of their first film. Much like Godzilla: King of the Monsters added in new footage with Raymond Burr, Gammera the Invincible added new footage with Albert Dekker, and in both of those cases, studios didn’t really bother with giving the sequels similar treatment (King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla 1985 notwithstanding). Gamera gets one up on two counts against Godzilla in this regard, however: The original, untampered version of Gamera got an English language release before Godzilla did, and unlike Godzilla, Gamera’s name doesn’t suffer an irreversible pronunciation change from the localization.
Personally, the Maser Patrol crew aren’t really fans of the American version, but a lot of other folks really prefer it to the Japanese cut. At any rate, it’s in the public domain (for now), so it’s no trouble to acquire a copy and try it for yourself.

The brass at Daiei didn’t exactly have a lot of faith in Gamera at its inception, so the first film was given to Noriaki Yuasa, who’d only directed one film prior and was generally assumed to only be at the studio due to nepotism. When the picture exceeded expectations, Yuasa was replaced by veteran director Shigeo Tanaka for the much more lavish sequel, Gamera vs. Barugon (again, we’re ignoring the three Daimajin movies that also spawned from the Gamera sequel brainstorms). The second Gamera flick failed to live up to expectations, and the remaining five films in the original cycle were directed by Yuasa.

In 1971, Daiei was in financial trouble, and barely managed to complete Gamera vs. Zigra, even going so far as to inform the crew that they’d have to work weeks pro-bono to finish the picture. Even so, the creatives labored on, and planned another Gamera flick right up until Daiei’s bankruptcy and acquisition by Tokuma. According to Yuasa, the intention was to have the next monster be the equivalent of a King Ghidorah (keep in mind that this was when Toho was prepping The Return of King Ghidorah, which eventually morphed into Godzilla vs. Gigan) and early concept art depicts Gamera fighting a two-headed wyvern. However, what was settled on was Garasharp, a giant snake monster who’s pretty much Gamera’s equivalent of Toho’s Bagan. While Gamera vs. Garasharp was cancelled in pre-production (i.e. after the monster suit was made but before filming), the concept stuck around, eventually making it into a short compiled from storyboards and models in 1991 for the laserdisc set (now available on Shout Factory’s DVD of Gamera the Giant Monster!)

Unlike Bagan, however, both Garasharp and Marukobukarappa (which I believe was based on one of Viras’s concept designs, and also appears in the short) have had a lot of merchandise produced, elevating them to a nigh-mythical status of semi-canon. Keep these two in mind; we’ll get back to them in a bit!

Garasharp toy Garasharp toy 2 marutobukarappa garasharp toys marutobukarappa toy marutobukarappa toy 2

The end of an independent Daei wasn’t the end for Noriaki Yuasa, though. He had a prolific filmmaking career after (and even during) the production of the Gamera series, but despite it all, Gamera seemed very much to define him. In 1980 he returned to the monster for one last hurrah, to squeeze out the notorious Super Monster Gamera. That movie was not the highest note to go out on, a stock-footage piece meant to capitalize on Star Wars (also premiering a mere two weeks before Yuasa’s new show, Ultraman 80, hit!), but it seems that the director could never truly leave the giant turtle behind. Keen-eyed observers will still notice hints of Gamera popping up in Yuasa’s movies right up until the end of his career:

cosplay senshi cutie knight gamera cameocosplay senshi cutie knight gamera cameo 4
cosplay senshi cutie knight gamera cameo 2cosplay senshi cutie knight gamera cameo 3

So, when Daiei decided to relaunch the Gamera series for its 30th anniversary (like a certain other franchise), Yuasa would’ve leapt at the chance to be involved again, and Showa Gamera scribe Nisan Takahashi wrote a treatment for Yuasa to direct. Of course, if you know your kaiju history, you know that what we got in 1995 was not their proposed idea, but a revolutionary reboot from director Shusuke Kaneko and writer Kazunori Ito, the classic Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The Kaneko Gamera trilogy was indubitably the correct choice on Daiei’s part, since those films remain to this day the finest collective work the genre has ever offered (with the arguable exception of Godzilla 1954). Still, as fans and completists, we have to wonder just what the old team’s film would have been like…. or do we?

Takahashi wasn’t exactly thrilled to be cut out of the picture, considering that he *had* been given perpetual ownership rights to the character when the studio went bankrupt, a deal which was pretty much ignored later. Rather than filing his story away in a drawer somewhere and sulking, he instead went ahead and published Gamera vs. Phoenix as a novel in 1995. I admit, I’ve only read the brief synopsis (it’s the year 19XX, something’s hurting the ozone layer, the Nazca lines are magical, Gamera fights a phoenix), but there are some great illustrations from legendary Showa kaiju illustrator Shuji Yanagi:

  gamera vs Phoenix2  gamera vs Phoenix 3 gamera vs Phoenix 2 gamera vs phoenix 4 gamera vs phoenix 5

But anyway, back to Gamera’s lost years. The monster really didn’t do a whole lot during the hiatus between 1980 and 1995.

  • There was the occasional commercial:

  • A rock song by Blue Oyster Cult’s Buck Dharma (again, following in Godzilla’s wake):

  • Paleontology aside: A real-life Jurassic-era turtle was christened “Sinemys Gamera” in 1993, beating out the real-life Gojirasaurus naming by 4 years.

sinemys gamera

  • Extended gag cameos in Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump and Dragonball manga, extending to the anime and video game adaptations as well. Dragonball is possibly the most popular anime in history, so this very well might be the first, or only, exposure a lot of people in the world have had to the character.

babygamera dragonball

  • Speaking of people’s first exposure to Gamera, it would be irresponsible to omit the movie-riffing paragon, Mystery Science Theater 3000. They first showed the five Gamera films available to them during their first run on KTMA in Minneapolis in 1988, but it’s their redux episodes from 1991 that truly kept the Gamera name alive in American’s consciousness…. all the better to sucker-punch audiences when the 1995 film hit US theaters.

We’ve got one more thing to touch on before we hit the “Heisei Gamera” period (which, like Heisei Godzilla and Heisei Kamen Rider, doesn’t quite match up with the actual cutoffs for the Heisei era), and it’s a doozy: the 1994 Daikaiju Gamera manga drawn by Hurricane Ryu (the credited author is Kenichiro Terasawa, who, aside from sharing a name with the writer-protagonist of Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, I know nothing about). As you may remember, Hurricane, in addition to being a suit actor for most of Toho’s Heisei-era tokusatstu projects and most of Minoru Kawasaki’s filmography, is an accomplished mangaka of insane, hotblooded action comics. On this front Gamera does not disappoint:

gamera manga karate

There’s a whole volume to work with here, so while this isn’t the concentrated dose of insanity that say, Kaiju Senshi Godzilla is, there’s plenty to go around. The manga also digs deep into the franchise’s past, rewarding hardcore fans with lots of Easter eggs.

garansharp doublas futakobukarappa

Look sort of familiar? Say hello to Doublas, “Garansharp”, and “Futakobukarappa”. This is only the second page, btw. Later there’s another “Marugarappa”, who’s defeated by baseball (seriously!).

powered gyaos

Powered Gyaos, a fusion of all Gamera’s classic foes.

 

geboras

Seaweed monster Geboras

harinezura

Harinezura

totally not paira seijin

Okay, that’s a little Warning from Space.

gamera manga ride

Children ride Gamera. Villains ride Gyaos.

hurricane gamera guiron

And then the Kaneko movie hit, and changed the Gamera franchise forever. Heck, it changed the whole kaiju genre forever, and its effects are still being felt today:

“I got some inspiration for my man-eating giants from Gyaos in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.”
-Hajime Isayama, on the creation of Attack on Titan

So, it was a good move on ADV’s part to release Gamera, Guardian of the Universe across American theaters. Even though a Godzilla flick hadn’t seen a US screen for over a decade, the King of the Monsters was ubiquitous in the mid-90s, and Gamera rode that popularity into shops across the US, despite the movie getting rather limited theatrical play. Dark Horse Comics had recently wrapped a successful Godzilla comic line, and followed up with a four-issue sequel to Guardian of the Universe (never collected into a trade paperback, which is a pity). The comic, while very much a product of 90s American comic camp atonal to rest of the Gamera Trilogy, is fun, with colorful characters and redone versions of Zigra and Viras. Honestly, this comic is about the only thing I can think of where Viras actually feels like a credible threat.

Gam1-16

Gyaos cloning experiments

Gam3-05

American Zigra is hardcore

Gam2-24

Freena, everyone’s favorite jive-talking alien from Broomark. There was a cypher in the back of the issue to “translate” her speech.


Gam3-11

Gam2-04Gam4-20

Gam3-08

Viras dreadlocks

Gam4-10

 

 

And then Trendmasters, the St. Louis-based company who’d had a lot of success with their Godzilla toy licenses, released a line of figures re-imagining Gamera’s Showa foes (save Barugon) in Heisei/Trendmasters style:

Trendmasters_Gamera_Ad

Barugon might’ve been neglected in America, but he got a whole volume of manga to himself in 2003, in a comic retelling the events of Gamera vs. Barugon as an interlude between Guardian of the Universe and Gamera 2. Barugon gets a radical redesign, courtesy of Kazuhisa Kondo (one of the most prolific Gundam manga artists) but Zigra, Jiger, and even Iris make a cameo:

gamera vs barugon mangabarugon manga cameos

On the subject of gaiden manga, Mahiro Maeda, designer for the Heisei Gamera monsters, did a gorgeous 12-page full-color story about the destruction of the Mu/Atlantis, included in a making-of book for Guardian of the Universe.

gamera myth

There was also a one-shot manga named Gamera vs. Morphos in 1999. It was by Nenpei Moo, artist of the B-Fighter manga adaption, Mazinkaiser vs. Getter Robo, and more, and it was printed in Animage, but I’ve never actually read it and know pretty much nothing else. The two pictures I’ve seen imply that Gamera fights an evil twin, though:

gamera vs morphos

Perhaps the most ambitious of the non-cinematic Gamera projects was Gamera 2000, a Playstation game counterintuitively released in 1997. The format is that of a rail shooter, but the cut scenes (filmed in live-action and in English!) deal with alien invaders creating armies of mutant Gyaos, including the two-headed Neo Gyaos, Gyaos Man, Gyaos Armadillo, Gyaos Dog, Gyaos Ray, and Bionic Gyaos (maybe that’s where Hyper Gyaos and Iris actually came from!). There’s lots of weird alien mecha stuff to blow up as well, and diversity of levels as you play soldiers in planes and hover bikes. The gameplay is fun, but since the graphics are very much of their time, they don’t always fully realize the excellent design work.

neo gyaos Gyaos Man machine dred 7 quicksilver dolphind bionic gyaos 1

Eventually, Gamera 3 rolled around…by the way, have you ever watched Gamera 1999, the “Making of” documentary for Gamera 3? It was directed by one of Shinji Higuchi’s friends, this crazy otaku dude named Hideaki Anno. It probably didn’t have much influence on his own future movies or anything, though.

gamera 1999gamera 3 evangelion rebuild

…er, like I was saying, eventually Gamera 3 rolled around, a high watermark for the genre, completing Kaneko’s take on the character. The ending, while a conclusion in its own way, struck many as an unsatisfactory cliffhanger, including a certain rakugo celebrity/kaiju enthusiast by the name of Shinpei Hayashiya. Hayashiya set about making his own ending to the series, and by 2003 the result was Gamera 4: Truth (“Gamera” is all in kanji, in this case, at least on the poster). This is one of the most in-demand fan films of all time, with solid effects for a fan effort, an endorsement from Kaneko himself, and Yukijiro Hotaru reprising his role from the original trilogy. Unfortunately, Gamera’s new owners, Kadokawa Pictures, is sort of litigious, especially given Hayashiya’s current status as a professional movie-maker, and the film has only been viewable to the public on a dozen or so occasions (for the record, two members of this blog’s staff came super close to one of the screenings, but barely missed it). Still, it’ll be covered in some detail in the upcoming documentary Kaiju Gaiden.

gamera 4 truthgamera 4

By the mid-2000s, the interest in the kaiju genre was starting to fizzle. Gamera the Brave, released in 2006, was the last of the major, earnest Japanese giant monster movies, before the bulk of content moved into the direction of parody, deconstruction, and micro-budget student films. The movie did have one bit of tie-in fiction, a manga side-story titled Gamera 2006: Hard Link, which is entirely set during Gamera’s time in captivity midway through the picture. With our title character unconscious for most of the story, this comic (from Ark Performance, the mangaka duo behind Arpeggio of Blue Steel) is pretty much a character drama for the government scientists. Not the most interesting thing in the world, but then again, we haven’t bothered doing a full translation, either.

gamera 2006 hardlink

One of the most recent developments in Gamera-land is actually a 2012 mobile game, a sure sign of adapting with the times. Gamera Battle features the full movie monster roster (minus Zedus) in chibi-fied form, battling against military mechs which in turn are modeled after the monsters.

Gamera BattleGamera Battle Mechs

There’s been other stuff in rumors, such as an American animated series, but nothing substantial materialized of it. With the 2015 restructuring of Kadokawa, it seemed like Gamera’s 50th anniversary might go by without much fanfare. I mean, he did show up at the Chofu film festival:

…but it was looking like the only friendly giant turtle on the big screen in 2015 would be in Sion Sono’s movie Love & Peace.

Not quite the same thing, is it?

Fortunately, Kadokawa wasn’t joking when they announced plans for Gamera’s anniversary back in March of 2014.  A year and a half later, at NYCC, Kadokawa debuted a new “pilot movie” from the mad genius writer/director Katsuhito Ishii (A Taste of Tea, Party 7), who will be making a full Gamera flick due out in a year or two. Ishii is an eccentric filmmaker and not one I would have predicted (though, funnily enough, he has a history with the director of the upcoming Shin Godzilla; Ishii put Anno in Funky Forest, Anno put Ishii in Cutie Honey), but this pilot film is remarkably competent and captures the tone that I imagine most Gamera fans are looking for in a film. Will this be part of the final project, or an unrelated concept short like the “I am become death” Godzilla trailer with the centipede monster? Time will have to tell.

It’s hard to predict what the next 50 years will bring for Gamera, but I hope it entails more great movies, and even more curious extra-canonical knickknacks. And for the time being…. well, there always seems to be something Gamera-related to fill in the gaps.

Addendum: In response to requests for more Gamera 2000 images, here’re a few more!

gyaos armadillo baionic gyaos bionic gyaos 2 bionic gyaos 3 bionic gyaos 4 bionic pod gamera 2000 enemies

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14 Responses to Gammerama: The extended universe of Daiei’s most famous monster

  1. Wow, very nice write-up! I learned a few things from your write-up for sure! I didn’t know about the Gamera vs. Morphos one-shot, for example (maybe I can track it down…), but the kid looks a lot like the protagonist added to the Gamera 2 manga adaptation. It may be a coincidence, but they bare a strong resemblance :)
    I am trying to think if you missed anything. Of course there were some other Gamera video games you could have mentioned (there was one on the Super Famicom, for example), and of course the other Gamera manga adaptations. I just picked up a Gamera children’s picture book, but I think it might just be an adaptation of Gamera 3 of all things! Other than that, didn’t Godzilla and Gamera once appear on-stage together for some event? I can’t remember the details, but I remember hearing about the event somewhere… Anyway, fantastic job–better than I could have done :)

    • kevnder says:

      Thanks! Yeah, all I know of a TV special titled Kaiju Quiz from 1979; it had Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Ghidorah, Gamera, Gyaos, Daimajin, Ultraman, and Megaloman. Beyond that, I really don’t know much; I haven’t found so much as a screencap from the special, and aside from the Japanese wikipedia page, there’s not much to substantiate it.
      But in all of history, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the two monsters met at some other event or another!

      • kevnder says:

        Courtesy of Scifi Japan, I now know that there was a Godzilla vs. Gamera stage show at the 1970 Expo, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, and actor Kon Omura of Gamera vs. Guiron and Gamera vs. Jiger!

  2. Oh, yeah, and there was a Nezulla movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1306994/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
    I don’t know a lot about it, though.

    • kevnder says:

      It’s not related to the original Nezulla, as far as I know. It’s available on DVD in the US, so I’ve got a copy, and the plot is pretty different… aside from both movies having large rat monsters, that is.

  3. Eric Hurd says:

    Yet another outstanding article! I applaud your skills at finding obscurities, especially with one of my favorite daikaiju. Now, I too need to find more on this Morphos. Where did you find all the art from Gamera 2000 (and do you have any more)? I’ve only ever found screencaps from the game when researching it.

    • kevnder says:

      Thanks! I’ve been checking ebay and Mandarake for that Animage issue for a couple weeks, but no hits so far. If we’re vigilant, though, someone will luck out and find it. :)

      There’s actually a lot of concept art and making-of stuff in the Gamera 2000 Official Guide book. It’s going for a pretty penny on amazon right now, but I could certainly scan a few more pages if there are specific monster/mech designs you’d like to see. Also, there are a few play-throughs of the game on youtube, which give a pretty good sense of what it’s like.

      • Eric Hurd says:

        That’d be awesome. I was only mostly familiar with the game from the playthroughs on youtube and a couple mentions here and there. I got some of the names of the monsters from other sources, but they don’t seem to completely match up with the art you showed. (Side question: what specific search criteria are you using at Mandarake, etc.?)

      • kevnder says:

        Generally looking for the Animage issue at Mandarake, I’ve just been doing “アニメージュ 1999”, and looking for the January issue.

        I’ll try to rustle up a few more scans this weekend!

  4. Matt Ferrett says:

    Lots of cool info here! Who doesn’t love a little kaiju apocrypha? I knew the gist about Garasharp, but it’s nice to finally get a name and some context for Marukobukarappa! Super psyched for the new movie, love that terrible terrapin!

  5. John Summers says:

    Holy cow! This is amazing! I applaud you for bringing all this information about obscure Gamera knowledge to light! Thank you for that1 However, there are some other lost and obscure Gamera kaiju that you missed. I will elaborate in the following paragraphs and links.

    The first would be the Ice Men. These kaiju never made it past the planning stage and no official artwork of these kaiju were seemingly ever made (there is very limited fan art as well; maybe between 5 and 10 pieces at most), but the ice spraying ability was given to Barugon. Here are a couple of links with more information.

    http://enshohmacorner.blogspot.com/2012/02/gamera-vs-ice-men-from-outer-space-1965.html

    http://enshohmacorner.blogspot.com/2012/02/ice-giant-and-ice-men-sketches.html

    http://enshohma.deviantart.com/journal/KMAC-For-December-2012-Gamera-vs-The-Ice-Men-341181514

    The next unmade kaiju would be the double headed Wyvern which would apparently been able to breathe fire. Contrary to popular belief, Garasharp was not meant to be the “King Ghidorah” of the franchise; that role would have gone to this creature. You might have rumors of Garasharp being planned to have multiple heads at one point as well, but I believe that to be false because I have never seen anything to suggest that Garasharp would have had multiple heads. It seems that traits from the Wyvern somehow got mistakenly confused with Garasharp. Here are a couple of links. (I know Wikizilla, is not the most reliable source, but it is only one of the two places where I was able to find any information about this kaiju.)

    http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Wyvern

    http://gamera.wikia.com/wiki/Wyvern_the_Double-Head

    Another one would be Monga the squirrel like kaiju. Here are a couple of links. (Note the fish creatures you also see in these pictures are early versions of Jiger.)

    gamera.wikia.com/wiki/Monga

    http://enshohma.deviantart.com/journal/Obscure-Kaiju-Monga-503783244

    The final lost kaiju would be in the following picture.

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=11ux155&s=6#.VhxWrexVikp

    Look at the creature in the middle. It was supposed to be part of Yoshitsu Banno’s unmade “Gamera 3D”, which was basically take two at “Godzilla 3D”, with Godzilla and Deathla swapped out for Gamera and “Gaira”/”Namagon” (Let’s just call this guy Namagon since “Gaira” is already taken, and it is technically a new name since the slug-like kaiju that appears in Ultra Q is called Namegon.)

    Namagon was apparently a catfish who mutated into a monster after his river was polluted. His powers were never clearly stated but it sounds like he used toxic sludge in some manner and could shoot a ray from the lure on his head. He would’ve transformed into the red humanoid on the left (“Gaira II”) after feeding on more pollution. The green one on the right was a sort of purified form that he turned into after Gamera killed him- I think it might’ve even been referred to as an “angel”.

    I also found this other link to the website where Banno made his pitch.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20101114022732/http://www.aap-inc.jp/plan01.html

    Also, you mentioned Bionic Gyaos from that Gamera 2000 video game. I thought his name was Mecha Gyaos. Which is correct? Also, do you have any good in game pictures of him? I have only been able to find somewhat okay in game pictures of him from the following sources. For each of the following links scroll down towards the bottom where you see a lot of screenshots.

    http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Gamera:_2000

    http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/gamera/gamera.htm

    Oh, and just to note there was a deviantartist who made a 50th anniversary Gamera picture that did include part of Bionic Gyaos in it.

    http://wintergaia.deviantart.com/art/Gamera-50th-Anniversary-Full-511440978

    • kevnder says:

      Thanks!

      Yeah, I didn’t go into a whole lot on the various planned monsters that didn’t get made into toys or re-purposed for the manga, but obviously there were a lot of them (we should write to Iwakura and demand Monga figurines!).
      The talk about Daimajin being spun off from plans as Gamera’s first adversary was actually alluding to the Ice Giants concept, I just didn’t explain it very specifically, and there is a mention of the wyvern concept in passing during the Garasharp section. Yuasa has a very good interview about the whole Garasharp thing on the DVD where he talks about how they wanted the King Ghidorah analogue; but maybe they thought that it was too on the nose?
      I had not seen the Banno Gamera 3D pitch though, thanks for the info! Looking over it, it sounds completely crazy… the studios really ought to let Banno make another monster movie.

      The guide book goes back and forth between “Bionic Gyaos” and “Baionic Gyaos”, but I think we can chock it up to a typo. It has two forms (three if you count the container that it starts in). I don’t have the best of game caps, but I’ll dig out the guide book and scan a couple pages this weekend.

  6. Ted Johnson says:

    The costume from that 1989 commercial you linked to was the leftover costume constructed for “Gamera, Super Monster” (no such prints exist with the title “Super Monster Gamera”). Whether or not more footage was shot but discarded is unknown, but it does appear when Gamera (played by Toru Kawai) stomps past the Godzilla/Dojira poster.

    Also, lots of people don’t know this but Daiei was actually bankrupt in 1970. They didn’t declare it officially until December of 1971. It’s a miracle “Gamera vs. Zigra” was completed at all. When the workers at Daiei found out they’d been duped by the upper management and would never be paid, they rioted and destroyed everything at Daiei they could get their hands on. The stills and posters and such that we have today only exist because directors went in and tried to save as much as they could. Ever wonder why no props or suits exist from the Gamera or Majin films? That’s why.

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