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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Gamera: The Complete Collection' [Blu-ray]
(Eiji Funakoshi, Kojiro Hongo, Nobuhiro Kashima, Tsutomu Takakuwa, Eiko Yanami, et al / 8-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: The original hero in a half-shell returns! For the first time ever worldwide, all twelve tales of the adventures of everyone s favorite titanic terrapin are collected together in one deluxe Blu-ray boxset!

Blu-ray Verdict: This Limited Edition Collectors Set traces the decades-long evolution of Gamera, from the friend of all children in his more light-hearted earlier films, to the Guardian of the Universe in the groundbreaking 1990s reboot series, often hailed as three of the best kaiju films ever made.

Disc One: 'Gamera The Giant Monster' (1965) - An ancient gigantic prehistoric flying turtle is awakened from its centuries of slumber and embarks on the expected destructive rampage. Can an elite team of top scientists from all over the world figure out a way to stop Gamera before it's too late?

Director Noriaki Yuasa, working from a neat script by Nisan Takahashi, relates the cool premise at a steady pace, maintains a serious tone throughout, and stages the funky and exciting mondo destructo set pieces with real aplomb (the scenes with Gamera attacking Tokyo are not only very thrilling, but also surprisingly harsh and grim).

The cast play the material with admirable sincerity, with praiseworthy work from Eiiji Funakoshi as pragmatic zoologist Dr. Eiiji Hidaka, the fetching Harumi Kiritachi as Hidaka's faithful assistant Kyoko Yamamoto, Junichiro Yamashita as eager reporter Aoyagi, Jun Hamamura as the wise Professor Murase, and Yoshiro Uchida as lonely turtle-loving misfit kid Toshio Sakurai.

The special effects are pretty good and convincing; Gamera makes for an impressively huge, deadly, and fearsome fire-breathing beast.

High Definition (1080p) transfer of Gamera the Giant Monster, with lossless original Japanese and dubbed English mono audio, and optional English subtitles
Commentary and newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
High Definition (1080p) transfer of Gammera the Invincible (Blu-ray premiere), the American theatrical version of the film, with lossless mono audio and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Remembering the Gamera Series, an archive featurette from 1991, including interviews with director Noriaki Yuasa, writer Nisan Takahashi and others
Interview with Noriaki Yuasa, filmed by Jörg Buttgereit in 2002 Gamera Special, an hour-long best-of compilation supervised by Noriaki Yuasa in 1991
Alternate English credits
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Two: 'Gamera Vs. Barugon' / 'Gamera Vs. Gyaos' (1966/1967) - In the first of the two movies, 'Gamera Vs. Barugon' begins with the giant turtle being freed from the rocket he was trapped in at the end of Gamera, the Gigantic Monster and returning to Earth to wreak havoc on a dam.

He then disappears for a good 45 minutes while the movie follows a trio of treasure hunters to a tropical island on their quest to retrieve an opal the brother of one of the hunters hid in a cave during the Second World War.

Not to give away too much, but the procurement of this opal leads to the emergence of Barugon, in the middle of Japan, who Gamera (eventually) fights in typical Gamera fashion.

This probably is the most adult oriented of all the Gamera films mainly because it is the only film in the original series not to feature a child as the main human character.

However, I also think that it is the one of the weaker films in the series. The human characters aren't really that interesting and this is one of the flaws of the Gamera series.

At least with the Godzilla series (or for that matter Toho kaiju films altogether) the human characters, especially in the earlier films, are fully dimensional whereas in the Gamera films they are treated as more of an afterthought.

In the second of the two movies, 'Gamera Vs. Gyaos,' we get, in my humble opinion, the best looking rival of Gamera - namely Gyaos. In this movie, Gamera, as friend of little kids, also gets firmly established.

An ancient monster Gyaos awakes due to activity of Mt. Fuji. Gamera was sleeping near by and awakened by Gyaos' movement. In an effort to save a boy, Gamera challenges Gyaos.

Gyaos can fire ultrasound from its mouth that slices through almost anything. Being cut by Gyaos' ultrasound, Gamera retreats to the ocean. Gyaos is carnivorous, and nocturnal. It flies out at night to eat humans.

How will Gamera defeat Gyaos without being sliced by Gyaos' ultrasonic attack ?

Sadly, problems that existed in the previous Gamera movies are still present in this movie - namely poor integration of human related scenes with that of the monsters.

Compared to Toho's Godzilla movies that teamwork between directors Ishiro Honda, and Eiji Tsuburaya was seamless, this movie suffers poor matching of human related part of the story with the part kaijyu appears. But that's all, so come on in and enjoy regardless!

Also, fun fact, Kojiro Hongo who've appeared in 1995 version of Gamera vs. Gyaos (Gamera Guardian of the Universe) is the star of this move.

High Definition (1080p) transfers of Gamera vs. Barugon and Gamera vs. Gyaos, with lossless original Japanese and dubbed English mono audio, and optional English subtitles
Commentary on Gamera vs. Barugon by August Ragone & Jason Varney
Commentary on Gamera vs. Gyaos by Stuart Galbraith IV
Newly filmed introductions to both films by August Ragone
High Definition (1080p) transfer of War of the Monsters, the shorter American edit of Gamera vs. Barugon, with lossless English audio Alternate English credits for both films
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Three: 'Gamera Vs. Viras' / 'Gamera Vs. Guiron' (1968/1969) - In the first of the two movies, 'Gamera Vs. Viras,' the veering of the Gamera series towards the younger generation finally began with this fourth film in the series.

Released a speedy three years after the original hit Japanese theaters in 1965, even though the previous movie, the gleefully entertaining 'Gamera Vs. Gyaos' was also geared mostly toward children, it still had an element of terror and dread in it.

That is gone here and 'Gamera vs. Viras' is an unsuccessfully endeavor, sadly. However, that it is hardly due to the fact that it is being directed at little children and those who are still able to find the child deep within themselves.

The problem with this picture is, despite its wonderful beginning and wonderful ending, most of the middle is just shameless, lazy jigsaw-construction of its predecessors. In other words, it's mostly just stock footage reels, sorry.

The second of the two films on this disc, 'Gamera Vs. Guiron,' junior astronomers, Akio and Tom (Nobuhiro Kajima and Christopher Murphy) have detected a strange craft landing near their house, and set out to investigate.

This leads to their being whisked away to the ship's bizarre planet of origin. Upon their arrival, the boys encounter two brain-eating alien women and their gigantic, knife-headed monster, Guiron!

As should be expected, the "story" is secondary to the obligatory battle between the titular titans. Once everyone's favorite turtle arrives, the showdown begins!

But first, a flashback sequence gets us up to speed on Gamera's history as "friend to all children", and we check in back on Earth to burn up more screen time. But don't worry, it's worth the wait!

High Definition (1080p) transfers of Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera vs. Guiron, with lossless original Japanese and dubbed English mono audio, and optional English subtitles
Choice of three different versions of Gamera vs. Viras via seamless branching (72-minute Theatrical Version, 81-minute Director’s Version and 90-minute US Extended Version)
Commentary on Gamera vs. Viras by Carl Craig and Jim Cironella
Commentary on Gamera vs. Guiron by David Kalat
Newly filmed introductions to both films by August Ragone
New featurette with actor Carl Craig showing his souvenirs and props from Gamera vs. Viras
Highlights from the G-FEST X convention in 2003, featuring Noriaki Yuasa and Carl Craig
The 4th Nippon Jamboree, a promotional film for the Boy Scouts of Japan directed by Yuasa in 1966
Alternate English credits for both films
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Four: 'Gamera Vs. Jiger' / 'Gamera Vs. Zigra' / 'Gamera Super Monster' (1970/1971/1980) - In the first of the three movies on this fourth disc, 'Gamera Vs. Jiger,' the vicious behemoth beast Jiger attacks Japan during an annual science fair!

It's up to Gamera to stop the foul fiend. However, Jiger has injected the heroic flying prehistoric turtle with its parasitic offspring. Can two little boys save Gamera in time?

Director Noriaki Yuasa, working from a fairly dark and twisted script by Fumi Takahashi, relates the entertaining story at a constant brisk pace, maintains a generally serious tone throughout, and stages the fierce and lengthy monster fight set pieces with a reasonable amount of skill and flair.

Moreover, there are also pleasing moments of large scale mass destruction with Jiger demolishing a major city and surprisingly harsh bits of violence (Jiger cripples Gamera by shooting needles into all of his limbs and turns people into skeletons!).

In the second movie, 'Gamera Vs. Zigra,' which in truth, after 'Gamera Vs. Jiger,' this one is a definite upgrade to the level of previous Gamera movies.

A real charmer, 'Gamera Vs. Zigra' features an alien who controls humans with hypnosis to get what it really wants. The plot runs into two children, the girl, Helen, who, with her older sister Maggie, appears to be bi-racial, and Kennie, who have a psychic link to Gamera.

Avoid the non-Japanese print, this one is beautifully shot in widescreen that is completely lost in the TV cut version. Also, the acting is much more restrained than the horrible dubbing would have you believe!

It's sort of the ultimate expression of the Gamera idea.

In the third and final movie of the three on this disc, 'Gamera Super Monster' (which itself comes a decade after the last one mentioned!), well, yes, everyone has their own view of this movie, but unless you take into consideration the reason it was made and the target audience, you may find yourself giving it a lower review then it deserves.

'Super Monster Gamera' is MEANT to be a cheap, fun, lazy film. It's nothing more then a blending of the entire series sprinkled with a new plot to tie the battles together.

It's not meant to be taken seriously, it's not meant to deliver an important issue, and it's not meant to WOW the audience with late '80s special effects.

It's just a kid's film; no more, no less.

With that in mind, 'Super Monster Gamera' is by far my fav of the original Gamera series. Six monster battles, a catchy opening theme song, great music and very, very, VERY bad acting! What a perfect Saturday afternoon popcorn treat!!

High Definition (1080p) transfers of Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra and Gamera Super Monster, with lossless original Japanese and dubbed English mono audio, and optional English subtitles
Commentary on Gamera vs. Jiger by Edward L. Holland
Commentary on Gamera vs. Zigra by Sean Rhoads & Brooke McCorkle
Commentary on Gamera Super Monster by Richard Pusateri
Newly filmed introductions to all three films by August Ragone
Alternate English credits for all three films
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Five: 'Gamera The Guardian Of The Universe' (1995) - Reports were coming in as a trio of large, bird-like reptiles called Gyaos are going around eating people.

Gyaos are super weapons created by a civilization long forgotten (presumed to be Atlantis). Luckily, that same civilization created Gamera to destroy Gyaos and protect humanity, but with the military believing Gamera to be the larger threat, its up to a few scientists and a teenage girl (Ayako Fujitani, daughter of Steven Seagal!), who shares a link with the giant turtle, to help the Guardian of the Universe save the day!

This movie truly stands on its own with a good story, decent cast, cool special effects, and awesome action scenes. Its nice to see Gamera finally have a serious and dark role. Thankfully, there's no annoying kids ruining the show!

Instead, we get teen girl Asagi to share a bond with the monster, which helps appeal to a broader audience. The Gyaos have a menacing atmosphere to them, especially when they go hunting humans, while Gamera embodies a sense of power and nobility.

Some Gamera movies have the tendency to torture the poor green guy, but here, thankfully, he delivers plenty of punishment back. Now that's turtle power!

High Definition (1080p) transfer of Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, from a 4K restoration by Kadokawa Pictures
Original Japanese and dubbed English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio, with optional English subtitles
Commentary by Matt Frank
Newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 1, the first in an epic three-part documentary interviewing cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
Interviews with director Shusuke Kaneko and SFX director Shinji Higuchi, filmed by Jörg Buttgereit in 2002
Extended 90-min interview with Shinji Higuchi from 2001, focusing on the trilogy’s special effects
Behind the scenes featurettes tracing the film’s production from announcement to release
Alternate English credits
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Six: 'Gamera 2: Attack of Legion' (1996) - OK, now this film is definitely one of the best movies featuring this movie monster - and one of the few that rival the best that rival Toho Studios put out.

The story is rather suspenseful and very well written, even in dubbed form (nothing is really lost, as I have seen the original Japanese release in subtitled form as well).

The Legion creatures are interestingly made and very creepy to watch, especially in the scene in which they cover Gamera completely. The sight of the huge beast with an army of insectoids completely covering him and bristling with movement is just plain weird to watch.

In closing, 'Gamera 2' (for me) ranks right up there with the original Gamera movie and it's 1990s revamping. The rest of the series is definitely just for the kiddie crowd, but these three movies stand out from the rest, comparing easily with the best Godzilla movies of any period.

High Definition (1080p) transfer of Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, from a 4K restoration by Kadokawa Pictures
Original Japanese and dubbed English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio, with optional English subtitles
Commentary by Kyle Yount
Newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 2, the next part of the documentary interviewing cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
On-set footage from the shooting of the film’s main unit and special effects filming
Behind the scenes featurettes tracing the film’s production from announcement to release
Alternate English credits
“Lake Texarkana” comedic dub track
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Seven: 'Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris' (1999) - The Gyaos have returned, newly evolved and multiplying like crazy around the world. As if that isn't bad enough, a new foe has emerged, one who has been bred by the hate of a teenage girl who harbors a grudge against Gamera for accidentally killing her parents in the first film.

This new creature is called Iris (named after the girl's deceased pet cat), a mysterious armored, blood-sucking squid creature with immense destructive power and a genetic link to the Gyaos. With the military once again hunting Gamera, will all this be too much for the Guardian of the Universe?

The stakes are raised and so is the severity of the violence. Tons of people are laid waste as the monsters battle each other for supremacy, destroying everything in their path.

It's great. Gamera looks really fearsome, looking as if he will stop at nothing until all his monstrous enemies are destroyed. He even has some new tricks up his giant sleeve.

Iris is a fascinating creature, bringing a sense of both awe and dread to his presence, especially when he's flying. In fact, he reminds me of an Angel from "Evangelion".

Furthermore, it's nice seeing some of the old cast in this one like Gamera's human companion Asagi, who has really grown as a character. Some the new characters are interesting while others are strange, which is why sometimes I feel that this film may appeal to goths.

The star here is Ayana, whose backstory and hatred for the turtle and backstory allow her to stand out from the rest of the cast.

High Definition (1080p) transfer of Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, from a 4K restoration by Kadokawa Pictures
Original Japanese and dubbed English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio, with optional English subtitles
Commentary by Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski
Newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 3, the final part of the documentary interviewing cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
Newly filmed interview with Kaho Tsutsumi about the DNA Tokasatsu exhibition in Tokyo, by kaiju historian Edward L. Holland
Behind the scenes featurettes tracing the film’s production from announcement to release
Deleted Scenes
The Awakening of Irys (Remix), a montage of behind-the-scenes footage and work-in-progress special effects footage
Alternate English credits
Spoof commentary by “Gamera” & “Soldier No.6”
Trailer and image galleries

Disc Eight: 'Gamera The Brave' (2006) - Director Ryuta Tazaki comes from Japanese sci-fi action television with quite a resume with the Japanese Power Ranger Shows and never ending Kamen Rider series.

This film shows little of his TV roots as this film is very well directed, well photographed with some modest experimentation with visuals and sound design.

The film has a sort of naturalism that you don't usually get in a kaiju film. The hero just lost his mom to a car crash and his friend is afraid she won't live thru a heart operation in the hospital.

The parents are working class shop owners. A few moments of over-sentimentality and cuteness are here but the rest of the film makes up for it.

The special effects live up to the level of the Kaneko Gamera films with a couple of shots that are excellent. Tazaki doesn't have Kaneko's dramatic flair for the action scenes, but they are well done, nonetheless.

In closing, it's not as thrilling or suspenseful as 'Gamera Guardian of the Universe' or 'Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion' and it does not surpass most of the Godzilla movies in overall entertainment, but this is one of the better of all the Gamera films, in my humble opinion.

High Definition (1080p) transfer of Gamera the Brave
Original Japanese and dubbed English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio, with optional English subtitles
Commentary by Keith Aiken & Bob Johnson
How to Make a Gamera Movie, a featurette hosted by director Ryuta Tasaki
Behind The Scenes of Gamera the Brave, an all-access on-set documentary
The Men That Made Gamera, a documentary looking back at the series from start to finish, featuring interviews with cast and crew
Opening Day Premiere, a featurette showing the cast and crew presenting the film at its first showing
Kaho’s Summer, an interview with the film’s young star
Special Effects Supercut, a montage of effects shots overseen by FX supervisor Hajime Matsumoto
Trailer and image galleries

These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the collective Special Features of:

Limited collectors’ edition packaging, housed in a large-format rigid box, fully illustrated by Matt Frank
Casebound, fully-illustrated disc book containing eight Blu-ray discs
High Definition (1080p) versions of all twelve films, with lossless original Japanese audio and a complete collection of English dub tracks, including classic American International dubs on the Showa-era films remastered from original MGM elements
Hardback 130-page comic book including a full-color reprint of the four-issue Gamera comic series originally released by Dark Horse Comics in 1996, and the first-ever English-language printing of the prequel comic The Last Hope by Matt Frank and Joshua Bugosh
Perfect-bound 80-page book including a new retrospective on the series by Patrick Macias, an archive interview with Noriaki Yuasa by David Milner, kaiju X-ray illustrations by Jolyon Yates, Fangoria set reports on the Heisei trilogy by Norman England, and a viewers’ guide to the English-dubbed versions of the films
Double-sided four-panel poster of “Gamera’s Map of Japan” in both Japanese and English
Collectors’ art cards for each film, featuring new artwork by Matt Frank

'Gamera: The Complete Collection' - Arrow Video Channel Trailer HD

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