I’m trying to remember to make a kaiju (Japanese Movie Monster) post in the second week of every month. This month I present one of the biggies: Gamera!
Gamera is a giant, flying turtle starring in films produced by Daiei Motion Picture Company in Japan. Created in 1965 to rival the success of Toho Studios’ Godzilla series during the monster boom of the mid-to-late 1960s, Gamera has gained fame and notoriety as a Japanese icon in his own right.
Gamera is similar to other turtles, having a resilient and strong protective shell into which he can withdraw his body. However,the resemblance ends there, as Gamera can then fly, with rocket blasts shooting from the holes for his limbs. He also has a mouthful of teeth and huge tusks, he breathes fire,and he walks on two legs.
In his first series of films, Gamera appears as an ancient giant specis of tortoise 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. In later movies, his background has been reassembled into that of a hero:a bio-engineered Guardian of the Universe,created by a company called Atlantis.
From Wikipedia: 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 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.
A second regeneration of Gamera occured during the Millenium Era, with the story circulating around a young boy finding an egg and taking it home to hatch it. A turtle hatches from the egg but then grows at an alarming rate.The turtle then develops the classic Gamera powers and begins fighting off monsters, but cannot gain its full power until ingesting the strange glowing rock the boy had found with its egg. The rock seems to have come from the site where Gamera is seen in a flashback at the beginning of the movie,sacrificing himself to destroy several Gyaos in 1973.
When seriously injured, Gamera can enter a coma-like state to heal. His only real weakness is to cold.