The on-going experiment of reviewing the entire original Ultraman series has been an awesome ride, but it also has the weird side effect of pushing everything else back. I didn’t even review a Godzilla movie until we were halfway through the year! When Godzilla gets pushed back, of course Gamera also gets pushed back.
But no more! This month I’m checkin’ in with everybody’s favorite turtle titan by reviewing 2006’s overlooked Gamera the Brave. It’s an incredibly heartfelt little monster movie that sidesteps the continuity of Shusuke Kaneko’s prior, terrific Gamera trilogy (I’ve reviewed parts 1 and 2!)… while still kind of paying homage to it! It’s a fresh take on the character… that also feels like a spiritual successor to old school Gamera too!
We’ll dig into all that, plus GMK Godzilla’s secret presence in the film, Optimus Prime’s audio-only sorta-cameo, how it inadvertently spawned some obnoxious clickbait, and a whole bunch of other shit! I hope you’re feeling (the) Brave friend, because it’s gonna be A BANG UP WORK (62)!
Happy Kaijuly everybody! If you’re wondering what the fuck Kaijuly is, wonder no longer! (or do, it’s a free country)
Kaijuly is one of those weird internet holidays like May the Fourth or Zelda Month, except you know, about kaiju instead of space aliens or forest-dwelling adventurers.
Obviously The Legend of Zelda (above left) is about eerie interplanetary beings, and Star Wars (above right) revolves around cute woodland dwellers.
From what I can tell, Kaijuly got its start over on Tumblr as an art challenge: create and share an original kaiju (or fan-art of an existing one) for every day in July! It’s been broadening every year since, including month-long discussion challenges (I’m doing one! Just posted for days 1-3!), and El Rey Network (the coolest channel almost no one gets) has run a “Kaijuly Roarth” Godzilla marathon for the last couple years!
Welcome to Part Deux of my reveux of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe! If you haven’t read part 1, click here to massage your brain with all the appropriate words, pictures, and hyperlinks. Or don’t! It’s a free fuckin’ country, baby.
How about a little mood music to get you back in the swang of thangs?
Aw yeah, now we’re talkin’! In Part 1 I left us on a cliffhanger! Gyaos was on the verge of eating two of our leads (PLUS LITERALLY A RANDOM BABY), Gamera showed us his altruistic streak, and Asagi showed us the heavy toll she’d have to pay for that altruism! All that plus Roger Ebert’s weird-ass review and my stupid dick jokes await! What a time to be alive!
Looking back on the unmitigated diaper fire that is 2016, I noticed I’ve only done one Gamera review this year! I’ve got something ultra special planned for next month, so I had to squeeze in some more titanic turtle before the year is up! Being November, I naturally picked one where our chivalrous chelonian roasts some turkeys!
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (or its Japanese title Gamera: Giant Monster Midair Battle) was unleashed in 1995 and successfully rebooted the Gamera series. Directed by Shusuke “GMK!” Kaneko, scored by Kow “GM-FUCKING-K!!!!” Otani, with special effects by Shinji “did the fighter jet scene in GMK!” Higuchi.
I really really like GMK, and Gammy here is what most of that dream team was doing pre-GMK. If you’re playing a drinking game where you take a shot every time you read GMK, please call 911. If you’re still conscious, great! This movie is a ton of fun, gave Gamera the second chance he always deserved, and in a lot of ways outshined Toho’s Godzilla output of the time. Keep reading to find out how!
Hope you had a good (or at least not-shitty) Varantimes Day! I always like to try and tie my reviews to something current-ish, so this month I went hunting for a little giant monster romance! Last year worked out great with Rodan‘s star-crossed terror-dactyls. This year… let’s just say kaiju generally aren’t lovey-dovey creatures.
Gamera gets pragnent in this one! Implies a little hanky-panky, yeah? Except Gamera is a boy and there’s no sex, just a (non-erotic) shanking. Also two kids abort the murderous monster-baby. Hahaha, hoo boy. This is truly one of the craziest, most fun entries in the classic Gamera series, and that’s saying a lot considering we got shit like this in a previous installment.
So light some candles, put on some slow jams, and check yourself for ancient curses and/or monstrous parasites, because we’re talking about 1970’s Gamera vs. Jiger!
Gamera’s first feature is the only one to cast him as the villain, the only one in black and white, and the only one that doesn’t have the Gamster taking on an opposing monster. It’s the poster child for early installment weirdness, even more so than the straight-laced Gamera vs. Barugon. Even though O.G. Gamera is a city-smashing, crowd-roasting terror, that somehow doesn’t stop him from being crowned “The Friend of Children” which means this movie is populated with some seriously fucked-up human characters. It’s great!
We’ll talk about all that, plus how this movie started out as a failed attempt at a rat-attack horror movie. Load up on freeze bombs, eat some fire, sign off on Plan Z, and get ready to slam-era with Gamera!
That’s right dongers and she-dongers, I went to G-Fest earlier this month! “What’s G-Fest?!” I hear you sloppily sputter out in outraged confusion. Well, wipe the rage-saliva off your mouth and keyboard and phone and pots and pans and chairs and tables and electric screwdrivers and wigs and I’ll clue you in!
Here, this drawing of an exploding dragon flanked by names you’ve never seen before should explain everything.
G-Fest is the biggest convention for kaiju fans in North America, and probably the whole damn world. It usually clocks in at about 1000 attendees, but last year brought in around 3000 starry-eyed monster nerds (monstnerds?), and I wouldn’t be surprised if this year did that well or better! I’ve got all the sick deets plus about a brazillion pictures after the jump!
Last month I joked about not being able to find a giant monster movie that would be thematically appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day. To my knowledge, Japan (or anyone, really) has yet to film a 300 ft. tall Leprechaun pushing over Tokyo Tower. But then I got to thinking about the true meaning of St. Paddy’s, and suddenly King Kong vs. Godzilla seemed like a perfect fit: in that movie Kong’s a huge lush that loves to gets loaded on berry juice, and a major plot element is getting him black-out drunk so they can cart his sloshed ass off to Japan! But before I had a chance to study up on KKvG, helpful Reddit user TheRedBee chimed in with their suggestion, “Kaiju Leprechaun? I suggest Gamers vs Barugon. It’s got rainbows, treasure and booze.” And with that, the choice is made!
I’ve been itching to dig into classic, goofy Gamera, especially since I’ve already touched on serious Gamera in my review of Gamera 2: Advent of Legion. Gamera vs Barugon represents the Gamera series tentatively dipping its toe into campiness right before going full-on balls-out crazy. But the movie wants to have it both ways and be a clever monster thriller too: Barugon has some pretty adult themes, and there isn’t a single “Kenny” in sight. It’s a fascinating mess! Grab a drank and a giant opal, because it’s time to jam-era with Gamera!
This month I’m reviewing Gamera 2: Advent of Legion. A.K.A. Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, A.K.A. Gamera 2: Legion Invasion, A.K.A. The Color Purple. Why start a trilogy in the middle? Snow! More specifically, I love Christmas, and wanted to continue my theme of holiday-flavored reviews. That said, nobody’s made Santa vs. Gappa yet, so the most festive thing I could find in giant monster movies is snow. And it’s actually pretty rare! Kaiju are fine with showing up at night, during rainstorms, or in the middle of tidal waves, but it would appear they take most winters off. Son of Godzilla has an amazingly moving and tender snow sequence at the very end of the movie, but the majority of Gamera 2 takes place in Japan’s wintry wonderland. And really, I’ve been itching to talk Gamera for a while now. Not only that, but G2 is stuffed with incredible practical effects and puts Toho’s monster movies of the same era to shame in pretty much every way. So grab a sixer of Kirin, bundle up, and prepare yourself for Legion to attack! Or invade! Or advent!