Gamera (Showa series version)

Real Name: Gamera

Identity/Class: Unknown (legendary being, might be mutant animal or mystical in origin)

Occupation: None - giant monster, tendency towards being a defender rather than a destroyer most of the time

Affiliations: None, but seemed friendly towards children

Enemies: Gyaosu, Barugon, Jiger, Zigra, Viras, Guiron

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Earth, specifically around Japan

First Appearance: Daikaijû Gamera (Daei 1965)

Powers/Abilities: Gamera is a large and seemingly intelligent triphibian - he is at home on land, in the sea, and shoots flames from his arm/leg shell-holes to fly at speeds of up to Mach 3. Gamera is very strong and breathes a powerful sheet of flame. He feeds off heat and is highly resistant to cold, even flying through the vacuum of space with no problems (though Barugon managed to temporarily freeze him). Whatever damage is done to him, he will regenerate it.

History: Gamera was a legendary creature known to the Eskimos, woken up by a nuclear explosion in the Arctic. He attacked Tokyo as part of an initial reign of terror, though he showed odd tenderness towards children, until a Japan/America/USSR joint plan called Plan Z was put in place - trapping him on a rocket aimed at Mars. Gamera returned to Earth shortly afterwards, attacking a hydro-electric dam to feed off the energy; however, this time round he was a saviour of sorts, battling the monster Barugon which was rampaging through Japan (the brightness and heat of Barugon's rainbow beam attracted him).

From here on, Gamera was a straight-out defender of Earth and friend to all children. He fought the terrors of Gyaos and Jiger, and the separate alien invasions of Zigra and the Viras. At one point, he travelled all the way to the planet Terra and fought the evil aliens there and their monster Guiron, simply because two children were in danger. It was this love of children a second Viras invasion force used to gain mental control of him, having him attack Japan for them; he broke free, saved the children they were threatening and destroyed the Viras.

Comments: Gamera was produced by Daei Studios as a lower-budget, child-friendly rival to the Godzilla series; his first movie is very much like Godzilla's debut. Every one of his movies (except his second) has had children as key characters.

There was an eighth Showa Gamera film planned - Gamera VS Garasharp, pitting him against a snake monster and having him protect its two offspring, thus showing he's truly the friend to all children. Daei went bankrupt before production started, however.

Thanks to Charles Ellis for this profile and images (both incarnations of Gamera)

Gamera (Heisei series version)

Real Name: Gamera

Identity/Class: Mutant animal (genetically engineered)

Occupation: Defender of the Earth

Affiliations: Atlantis, Asagi Kusanagi, JSDF, Earth itself

Enemies: Gyaosu, Legion, Iris

Known Relatives:

Aliases: The Last Hope

Base of Operations: Japan and the surrounding area

First Appearance: Gamera daikaijû kuchu kessen (1995)

Powers/Abilities: Gamera absorbs his power from the planet's mana and it makes him a force to be reckoned with, as well as making him heavily concerned about defending Earth. A true triphibian, Gamera is at home on land, sea and flies at Mach 3 speeds by the use of shooting jet-flames through the arm/leg-holes in his shell. He is incredibly strong and durable, able to heal away the most hideous wounds given time. His main weapons are plasma fireballs, while are highly explosive- these annihilate whole skyscrapers and blow up medium-sized Gyaosu. He can feed off flames & heat; he healed himself with the fires at an oil refinery in the battle against the Gyaosu. He can also do this with his own plasma; when Iris replicated his plasma fireballs, Gamera absorbed them into a "plasma fist" that took out the monster.

His greatest attribute is his ability to link psychically with humans. His greatest weapon is the mana beam, which can take out any threat; however, it is a considerable drain on the planet's mana and he only uses it sparingly.

History: The ancient city of Atlantis was destroyed by the Gyaosu, hideously destructive bat-like creatures that it had created. They created Gamera to defend them but they needed him to be able to use the power of the Earth (mana) to be effective; it took a while for them to achieve this and by then it was too late. They left Gamera as a way of defending future civilisations if the Gyaosu returned, as they would when mana was low (due to pollution and the like). Beads made of the Atlantean metal oryhalcyon were left at his resting place, which humans could use to form a psychic link to Gamera, giving him a connection to humanity.

In 1995, mana was indeed low and a clutch of Gyaosu eggs hatched at Himegami Island. Gamera awoke to battle the three new Gyaosu but, due to the damage caused when he first arrived, the JSDF viewed him as a greater threat than the Gyaosu and fired on him. The youthful Asagi Kusanagi gained a link with Gamera through the beads and this link helped prove Gamera was on mankind's side; with her help, Gamera took out all three Gyaosu.

Gamera returned in 1996 when the alien Legion swarm invaded the planet. He aimed to destroy the seed-pods they used to spread from planet to planet through explosive force; since each explosion would wipe out 6 kilometers of land, Gamera had to stop them. The first time, he succeeded but was badly wounded by the swarm. Second time, he was delayed and hurt by the queen Legion; he still stopped the seed launching but it exploded anyway, nearly killing him. Asagi was able to use her link to bring Gamera back to health, but their link was severed by this. Gamera engaged the Legion queen while the JSDF took out the swarm; nothing he did could penetrate Legion's forcefield and after taking heavy damage, he was forced to absorb a great deal of mana and redirect it into a beam, vapourising Legion.

In 1999, it became clear that drain of mana had caused the Gyaosu to awaken in vast numbers across the globe. Gamera appeared worldwide fighting them; the threat was high and with no strong link to humanity, Gamera was now no longer concerned about collateral damage. His destroying two Gyaosu in Shibuya killed 20,000 people and once again he was seen as a threat by the JSDF. Worse, the bizarre Iris monster was freed by the mana drain and formed an Asagi-style link with a hate-filled girl named Ayana. Gamera tried to take out Iris and save Ayana from being absorbed into it; he triumphed but suffered incredibly damage, losing a hand. With this battle done, he now had to face a final one - hundreds of Gyaosu, descending on Japan…

Comments: The 1990's Gamera trilogy was the creation of Shusuke Kaneko (director), Kazunori Ito (writer) and Shinji Higuchi (SFX director). Gamera was updated for the 90s and rivalled the 90s Godzilla movies in quality; many would argue, especially with Gamera 3, that it surpassed them.

Gamera's link to humanity is important - with it, he takes specific care to defend humans (both individual and groups) from harm and minimise the collateral damage. Without it, he goes all-out and causes incredible devastation. Even without it, he still shows some affinity for humans when directly confronted with them - he saved the life of Ayana in Gamera 3.


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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