Gamera - The Guardian Of The Universe - 4 of 4 - Full (English)

Gamera is a giant, flying turtle from a popular series of kaiju (Japanese giant monster) 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's size rivals that of his famous counterpart, Godzilla. Unlike any other species of turtles, Gamera has the habit of walking bipedally rather than on all fours, though he occasionally walks quadrupedally in his first three films. Gamera was capable of using his upper limbs in the same manner as Godzilla, as his forelegs had appendages much closer in construction to hands than feet, and was capable of grappling with opponents and manipulating objects. His mouth is filled with teeth, unlike any other living modern turtle (several types of extinct prehistoric turtles were toothed, however), with a pair of large tusks protruding upward from his lower jaw. Gamera is also usually seen with very large human-like eyes, adding intelligence to his overall appearance.
In the Shōwa era series, Gamera was a titanic, fire-breathing antediluvian species of tortoise who fed on flames, 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. The narrative points out that Gamera had appeared in the past, revealed in an ancient stone etching. Gamera was already capable of flight and breathing fire (rather than atomic rays like Godzilla) when he was reawakened.
In the Heisei era series, however, the origin of Gamera was tweaked to make the theme much more directly heroic: 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 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.
Gamera's continuity was rebooted again in the only film of the Millennium era. The film begins with the original Gamera sacrificing himself to destroy several Gyaos in 1973. 33 years later, a young boy finds a strange, glowing red rock near his home, with a small egg lying on top of it. A fairly normal looking baby tortoise soon hatches from the egg, but begins to grow at an alarming rate. The turtle, now named "Toto" by his preadolescent owner, quickly develops Gamera's classic abilities to breath fire and fly, and attempts to ward off another attacking monster, Zedus, but is too weak to succeed. Only after eating the glowing rock found with his egg does the new Gamera achieve his full power, defeating Zedus and flying off into the sky.
Gamera's shell is extremely resilient and strong. Missiles and other weaponry merely bounce off it, along with most of his opponents' attacks. There have been a few times where his shell has faltered, most notably when the alien cyborg Guiron hammered at the same spot several times and began cutting through. The flying monster Gyaos' sonic beam, the alien shark Zigra's paralyzing beam, and the mutant lizard Barugon's rainbow ray cannot penetrate Gamera's shell, shown in the films when he withdraws into his shell to avoid the attacks. Gamera's stomach, however, is softer and not as resilient, and he has been cut and gouged in his stomach to the point of bleeding.
In the Showa series, Gamera fed on fire and was attracted by other heat sources, such as power plants and Barugon's rainbow ray attack. He could breathe intensely hot streams of flames from his mouth when caught in a more serious situation. The Heisei version, on the other hand, could blast off mighty plasma fireballs from his mouth, usually very quickly, and with varying accuracy; they were highly explosive. The Heisei version could also absorb a great deal of mana, or the living essence and energy of life on Earth, and release an extremely powerful stream of pure plasma from his chest. In the final film of the Heisei series, Gamera blasted his own arm off and absorbed plasma fireballs shot by the mutant Gyaos Iris and used his stump to grow back his arm in a plasmic form.
Gamera also has the ability to fly. Generally, Gamera pulls in his arms, legs, head, and tail into his shell, fires flames out of his arm and leg cavities and spins around like a flying saucer. This mode of flight had an added advantage in the later films, where he used the sharp edges of his shell to cut enemies while spinning, similar to a circular saw. He has a second way of flying, where he only pulls in his legs and/or tail, fires flames from the leg cavities, and flies like a jet. In the Heisei era films, Gamera's arms would extend and stretch out into wings similar to the flippers of a sea turtle whilst using this form of flight, giving him added aerodynamics and control.
The Heisei films gave Gamera one more additional weapon: a pair of sharp spikes protruding from his elbows. In his first Heisei appearance, these spikes were hidden during the majority of the film, extending only when needed in battle. In later appearances they were permanently extended.
When seriously or gravely injured, Gamera can enter a coma-like state in order to heal. This often fools his opponents into thinking that he is dead. This ability has been used in almost every Gamera film.
Gamera's only major weakness is cold. Barugon was able to achieve success against Gamera using his freezing spray, and scientists nearly defeated Gamera during his first appearance using special freezing bombs. This weakness was only shown in Gamera's earliest films, and has not been explored since.
Showa series
Gamera made his first appearance in 1965's Gamera, which was also the only Gamera film to be in black-and-white. Subsequent films, usually directed by Noriaki Yuasa and written by Nisan Takahashi, quickly became a big hit with children, who loved watching Gamera fight monsters. A seventh sequel was slated for a 1972 release, tentatively titled Gamera vs. Garasharp. Gross mismanagement of Daiei, however, put the company into bankruptcy, and the Gamera films were forced to cease production.
After Daiei was purchased by Tokuma Shoten in 1974, the new management wanted to do a new Gamera film in 1980, so Gamera: Super Monster was produced. The majority of the film used stock footage (with limited new scenes of Gamera flying), and acted as a "recap" of Gamera's history. However, Yuasa and Takahashi felt that they had done all they could with the monster, so they respectfully killed off Gamera at the end of the film.
Heisei series
This series began with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.
During the course of the first film, three Gyaos are discovered on a remote island. The Japanese government discovers that they are all female, and decides that since they are the last of their kind, they should be captured and studied. So a trap is set for them. Meanwhile, a search has been assembled for a moving atoll in the Pacific. They find it, staying still and search the surface, finding many small gems made of an unknown metal. They also discover a stone sticking up out of the center of it, and they attempt to dig it out. They manage to take pictures and collect some of the strange gems, but the stone crumbles and the atoll takes off towards Japan at high speeds. It ends up that the atoll is actually an ancient monster, made by the Atlanteans, called Gamera. He attacks the Gyaos, killing two, but one escapes. It feasts on the other newly born Gyaos and grows to Gamera-like proportions. The two battle and Gamera manages to defeat it, heading back to the seas.
In Gamera 2: Advent of Legion, Earth was attacked by an alien force known as the Legion.
In Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys, Gamera had to face hoards of Gyaos and his ultimate foe, Iris.
Millennium series
Gamera the Brave returns Gamera to his Showa roots, but with a modern twist. In the film, Gamera is first seen defending Japan back in the 1970s from the Gyaos, but sacrifices himself to destroy them by self-destructing. In the present, the child of a man who witnessed that battle finds a turtle egg that hatches into a baby Gamera that he names Toto. When a giant lizard monster named Zedus appears, Toto tries to fight the beast, but ends up being gravely wounded and taken by the military for study. He ends up escaping and growing to a larger size to try and fight Zedus again, this time succeeding against the monster.
In popular culture
Gamera appears (under the name Ghamoo-ra) as a guardian beast in the Blackfathom Deeps instance dungeon in the World of Warcraft MMORPG. Additionally, a smaller tortoise named Gammerita is seen patrolling the eastern coast of The Hinterlands, and is the focus of two separate quests.
Gamera, along with Godzilla and some other monsters, appear in side stories of Dr. Slump.
One of the bosses in Space Harrier 2 resembles a giant turtle hovering in its shell. Unlike Gamera, the turtle has three heads.
An episode of the animated series Justice League Unlimited had a team of superheroes consisting of Supergirl, Green Lantern, Star Girl and Stripe briefly battle a nuclear-powered giant turtle in Japan that was a homage to Gamera, right down to the flame-spinning flight.
In an episode of Dragon Ball, the turtle hermit Muten-Rôshi summons a baby Gamera to use as a means of transportation.
In the popular webcomic Megatokyo, Gamera has a descendant named Gameru who is an alcoholic that is constantly in and out of rehab.
Gamera is a bonus track on the album Millions Now Living Will Never Die by post-rock band Tortoise.
Gamera has made a few cameo shots in The Simpsons, for instance the episode 30 Minutes Over Tokyo.
Gamera made an appearance in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy movie Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure and his spoof Cragera appeared in the episode Giant Billy and Mandy All-Out Attack.
Dark Horse Comics, which also held the license for Godzilla, created a four issue mini-series based on the Heisei Gamera, which took place between the events of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (This One) and Gamera 2: Advent of Legion.
Gamera's trademark roar was utilized by Toho studios for the roar of the Godzillasaurus, a form of pre-Godzilla before mutation from the exposure of an atomic blast, in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
In the Detective Conan series, there is a parody of Gamera called Gomera.
In the Pokémon anime, Squirtle performs the move Hydro Pump in much the same way that Gamera flies.
The Digimon JumboGamemon is an homage to Gamera.
In the Mecha-Streisand episode of South Park, Sidney Poitier transforms into a Gamera-like monster to battle Mecha-Streisand.
Gamera appeared in the videogames Gamera 2000, Gamera: Daikaijuu Kuuchuu Kessen and Gamera, Gyaos: Gekimetsu Sakusen. These games were released only in Japan.
Five Showa-era Gamera movies, including the original, were featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
In The Shining Force 2 for the SNES a member of the shining force is a small bipedal turtle creature named Tort. When Tort gets promoted to Monster class he greatly resembles Gamera and attacks with a fire breath weapon.

Link: Gamera - The Guardian Of The Universe - 4 of 4 - Full (English)