Friday, June 25, 2010

Gamera


As a child, super heroes were the big thing for me and my sibs. We didn’t actually get into Sci-Fi (with the advent of Star Wars) until much later on.

However…

I suppose that the English dubbed Japanese Movies and Series we liked that dealt with huge monsters and giant robots were actually a form of science fiction.

One such character was the large prehistoric creature known as Gamera. To this day, I still have a fondness for that one and I'm not sure exactly why. Perhaps it’s because he’s a turtle…and a super sized one at that, since I always did like dinosaurs. (And wanted a pet turtle also!) I also think it’s because Gamera was always shown as protecting innocents…especially children.

Also, I was (and still am) a HUGE fan of the Hulk as a child. Around when I started college, I also became very interested in Iron Man (gadget geek here…remember!) because of the technology aspect of the character. And I once took one of those “What Kind Of Super-Hero Are You?” Quizzes and got pegged as Iron Man. So…with all that in mind, in the world of Japanese Monster Movies, Iron Man would be the giant technological Mecha ( like my favorite Mazinkaiser ) while Gamera would be the brute strength and savage Hulk.

I knew there would be a connection back to the Super Heroes!

The origins of Gamera have changed a bit since the original movies from the 1960’s Era.

As introduced, Gamera is a titanic, fire-breathing prehistoric species of tortoise who fed on flames and was reawakened by an accidental atomic blast in the Arctic during an aerial assault by US Fighters on Soviet Bombers caught crossing into North American Airspace. Apparently, Gamera had appeared in the past as revealed in an ancient stone etching. Gamera was already capable of flight and breathing fire when he was reawakened.

Later, the origin was tweaked to make the theme much more along the ancient heroic lines by saying that Gamera was a bio-engineered Guardian of the Universe created by 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 magatama, which allow a psychic link between Gamera and humans. In the third film of the new series, an undersea graveyard is found with many other Gamera fossils, suggesting Gamera was not the only member of his kind created. One character in the film refers to these fossils 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.

Although I have to admit that I have yet to see these newer, more modern features, the first Gamera movie I ever saw, and to this day is still my favorite one, is “Attack of the Monsters” in its US release, but called “Gamera vs. Guiron” in its original Japanese. I didn’t even realize it was the fifth movie of that series until many years later.



Here’s a plot summary of that story:

Two boys, Akio and Tom, spy in their telescope a spaceship that descends into a nearby field. With Akio's little sister in tow, they bicycle out the next day to investigate. The boys enter the spaceship and accidentally take off to an alien planet named Terra, while Tomoko is left behind, unable to convince any adults (except kindly but eccentric police officer Kondo) of the boys' misadventure. On Terra, the boys encounter two beautiful but sinister Terran Women and their monster Guiron, who battles Space Gyaos. Gamera eventually tracks the boys to Terra and destroys Guiron. The Terran women are defeated and Gamera takes Akio and Tom back to Earth.

I have to admit Guiron scared the crap out of me as a kid, especially since it looked like a large a butcher knife my parents used to cut meat with and that my sibs and I were ever forbidden from even looking at while in the kitchen.



Since the very first time watching that movie, there have been occasions that I was lucky enough to catch it on being broadcast on TV, but I recently found this movie online and went ahead and ordered the DVD. I am very much looking forward to seeing it on my HD TV.

I also went and ordered the Sci-Fi Revoltech Gamera action figure. That arrived today!




What’s cool is that you don’t have to actually open the box top to see inside, as it has a Velcro snap cover.



Here is a clearer view of what you see with the Velcro cover open:



I cannot even begin to describe how detailed Gamera is, but I shall try to do so with the following images:



There is lots of nice detailing on Gamera’s chest…



…and on its back!




I also really like how there is attention paid to the coloration of Gamera's eyes.



But besides the Gamera figure itself, the package comes with some really cool accessories.



They can be combined to display Gamera as flying…



Or spewing a flame blast...



…and to even have his fists open…or closed! (I am reminded of the Tamarian “Uzani, his army with fists open! Uzani, with fists closed! You MAY get a cookie IF you know what I am talking about…)



Gamera’s tail is also fully poseable. Again…great detailing here…



…and the same applies to its mouth as well!



Here is Gamera facing off against Gyaos. I really wish they made a Guiron figure along this scale!



In summary, the Sci-Fi Revoltech Gamera package is a very GEWD figure that I am totally glad that I purchased. It brings back some really nice child hood memories as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment