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  Gamera vs. Guiron New From Ronco
Year: 1969
Director: Noriaki Yuasa
Stars: Nobuhiro Kajima, Miyuki Akiyama, Christopher Murphy, Yuko Hamada, Eiji Funakoshi, Kon Ohmura, Edith Hanson, Hiroko Kai, Reiko Kasahara
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: There have been reports of mysterious waves emanating from a faraway star which have reached planet Earth, but a scientist holds a press conference to reassure the public and press that there is not a chance of this being down to the presence of space aliens. Nevertheless, when young Aiko (Nobuhiro Kajima) and Tom (Christopher Murphy) peer through their telescope that evening at the night sky, they notice something very strange which they think is a spaceship landing in the nearby forest...

Only trouble is, they're not allowed to go and investigate because Aiko's mother will not let them. If you take a look at that title, you may be thinking that it's everyone's favourite giant turtle - well, apart from the one which carries Discworld - Gamera which has landed, but you'd be wrong. And it wasn't the named beast in the title Guiron either, he shows up later, no, it's an actual spacecraft which has come to rest there, and the next day it's still there, undisturbed until Aiko and Tom make their way to see it (after negotiating with a comedy policeman). Once they climb inside, the adventure can begin.

They leave behind Aiko's sister Tomoko (Miyuki Akiyama) who was unusual in the series for being younger than the hero, and not some older guardian and maternal stand-in, for their actual mother is part of the story - OK, they don't seem to have a father, but it's progress of a sort. The vessel takes flight and heads off into space, whereupon, yes, here he is, it's Gamera who flies alongside them and tries to stop the craft in its path, as if he somehow knows what possible fate awaits the boys. Before long they have landed on the surface of a world that has been apparently abandoned by its advanced civilisation, so they go exploring.

Therefore in another departure from the formula laid out by series author Nisan Takahashi, most of the action in this instalment took place on an alien planet, with regular updates to pad out a pretty short film, or if you prefer to keep us up to date on what is happening back home with Tomoko raising the alarm. Not that either Aiko or Tom's mothers believe her, smuggling in a message to any parents or grownups taking their kids to see this that they should always accept what their offspring are saying, no matter how outlandish. This presumably includes their claims of alien abduction, but when this takes in a couple of foxy space chicks who want to eat the boys' brains, maybe that's no bad thing.

But this was a giant monster movie, let's not forget, so when did Gamera get down to beating up his latest foe? Not before Guiron, for it was he, dispatches our old friend Gyaos, here painted sliver and less making a reappearance because he was a popular enemy, and more because Daei Studios who produced this didn't want to "shell" out for another costume. This is noticeable when Guiron, who sports a huge blade for a head, chops up the bat creature as if he were a carrot - will he be doing the same to our turtle pal? He's reckoned without his gymnastics. This time around, if he seemed rather ambivalent before, Gamera was undoubtedly a friend of children as he went out of his way to save Aiko and Tom, and taking quite a hammering in the process as he is inflicted with the massive chopper and throwing stars as well. But the boys do their best to help, and although they understandably needed a hand getting back, they were as much their own saviours as Gamera, a message of empowerment should you be kidnapped by alien brain-munchers. So say goodbye to traffic accidents. Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi.

Aka: Gamera tai daiakuju Giron, Attack of the Monsters
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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