Review: GAMERA VS. GUIRON (1969)

Like the Wu-Tang Clan, Gamera is for the children. In GAMERA VS. GUIRON, the giant turtle is tasked with once again saving the day. This 1969 picture is directed by Noriaki Yuasa from a Fumi Takahashi screenplay and is the fifth entry in the series. It isn’t as condensed as GAMERA VS. VIRAS, but there is a fair bit of recycled footage involved. There is also a sweet new monster, a new planet known as Terra and a couple of cannibalistic space babes.

Akio (Nobuhiro Kajima) and Tom (Christopher Murphy) are buddies. They love space. One day, they spy a spaceship through their telescope. Together with Akio’s sister Tomoko (Miyuki Akiyama), they check it out. Naturally, the two boys get aboard the spaceship. Naturally, the two boys end up in space. After Gamera clears a path through an asteroid belt, the lads learn they’re not alone. Two alien women are aboard. They seem nice, but it is ultimately revealed that they want to eat the brains of everyone on Earth. Also, they have access to a knife-headed monster named Guiron.

guiron1

GAMERA VS. GUIRON is essentially a film for children and it reads like a Saturday morning cartoon. Gamera is a full-blown superhero turtle. He flies around saving kids the world over and even has his own theme song. The alien women, Barbella and Florbella, are aware of this and want to shut down the protagonist. They live on a planet not unlike Earth, but they’ve dispatched with anyone “useless” and are on a tear to find a more populated planet on which to feed. There’s a sociopolitical subtext there.

Also, the space babes claim to control the laws of nature through science. They can make the rivers run in reverse and can call upon Guiron whenever they want. Gamera, on the other hand, seems to have a will of his own. He does battle with Guiron and occasionally gets hurt when the beast lacerates the poor turtle. For the most part, though, this is a story about Akio and Tom as they navigate the inner workings of the spaceship and try to get home to their incredulous parents. But I’ll be damned if Gamera’s gymnastic routine isn’t the highlight.

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