Gamera vs. Zigra
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2015)|
|Gamera vs. Zigra|
Gamera vs. Zigra (1971) Theatrical poster
|Hepburn||Gamera tai Shinkai Kaijū Jigura|
|Directed by||Noriaki Yuasa|
|Produced by||Yoshihiko Manabe
|Written by||Nisan Takahashi|
|Music by||Kenjiro Hirose (Gamera song only)
|Edited by||Yoshiyuki Miyazaki|
|Distributed by||Daiei Film (Japan)
Sandy Frank (US version)
Gamera vs. Zigra (ガメラ対深海怪獣ジグラ Gamera tai Shinkai Kaijū Jigura?, Gamera versus Deep Sea Monster Zigra) is a 1971 kaiju ("monster") genre film starring Gamera created by Daiei Film. Unlike previous Gamera sequels, Gamera vs. Zigra was not released by AIP-TV. Sandy Frank released the film to television and home video in the 1980s. It is one of five Gamera films featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Without warning, an alien spaceship attacks a Japanese moon base. Back on Earth, young Kenichi Ishikawa; his father, Dr. Yosuke Ishikawa; his friend Helen; and her father, Dr. Tom Wallace, witness the spaceship descending into the ocean. They go to investigate but are soon captured by a teleportation beam that brings them aboard the spaceship. Inside the spaceship, a human-looking woman appears to them and reveals that she is of a race called Zigra. By way of demonstrating Zigran technological prowess, she creates a gigantic earthquake that wreaks havoc in Japan. She previously caused two other earthquakes, one in Peru and the other in Arabia. She then tells her prisoners of Zigra's history and its great scientific advances—which, unfortunately, have resulted in the destruction of the planet; but in searching for a new home, Zigra has found Earth. The woman contacts authorities on Earth and orders them to surrender or she will kill her prisoners. Tom declares that the Zigran woman is insane, and, in anger, she sends the two men into a hypnotic trance. Kenny and Helen take action, successfully using the ship's control console to escape. Enraged, the Zigran overlord—a strange, shark-like being—orders the woman to go to Earth and kill the children. She says it would be simpler to kill all the people of Japan, but the great Zigra tells her that humans must be preserved so they can be used for food. Now, Gamera, intent on discovering the identity of the alien interloper, flies in to save the day and rescues the children and their fathers. The UN authorities, after questioning Kenichi and Helen, resolve to attack Zigra. The Defense Force jets scramble, but the Zigran spaceship makes short work of them with its powerful lasers. The alien woman, disguised as a normal human, arrives on earth and begins her search for Kenny and Helen. She hitches a ride with the Sea World dolphin trainer back to the facility, which the military is now using as its center of operations. She finds the two children, but before she can catch them, they call out for Gamera, who obediently appears.
Gamera begins an underwater assault on the Zigran spaceship—which, when hit with Gamera's flamethrower, transforms into the giant shark-like monster. Zigra grows larger and larger, and finally halts the heroic turtle with a ray that suspends its cell activity. Enervated, Gamera sinks into the sea. Zigra then makes contact with the people of earth, saying that they should give up and surrender all the seas to him. Back at Sea World, the dolphin trainer and the facility's scientists discover a way to break the alien's hypnotic control with sonic waves. Thus, they manage to disable the Zigra woman, only to learn that she is actually a woman named Lora Lee(Chikako Sugawara in the Japanese version), who had been in a moon rover during the initial lunar attack and was captured and used by Zigra. Drs. Wallace and Ishikawa employ a bathyscaph in an attempt to wake Gamera, only to find that Kenichi and Helen have stowed away on board. Zigra suddenly attacks them and again demands the immediate surrender of the earth or he will destroy the bathyscaph. The UN commander reluctantly agrees to the alien's terms.
An electrical storm approaches the bay, and a bolt of lightning revives Gamera, who snatches the bathyscaph from Zigra and returns it to the surface. Gamera and Zigra face off a final time, and Zigra, using its superior versatility underwater, slices Gamera's chest with its blade-like dorsal fin. Gamera takes hold of Zigra, flies into the air, and then drops at high speed, slamming the alien monster against the earth. Gamera further incapacitates Zigra by jamming a boulder over its nose, pinning it to the ground. Gamera grabs another boulder and uses it, like a hammer on a xylophone, to play the Gamera theme on Zigra's dorsal fins. Finally, Gamera ends Zigra's existence by setting its body on fire, reducing it to ash in a massive conflagration.
Zigra is a deadly opponent whose appearance is similar to that of a goblin shark, possessing a silvery gray, armor-plated hide; a pointed nose; a row of sharp fins on his back; and long, sharp pectoral fins.
Unlike most kaiju, Zigra is intelligent and capable of speech, presumably by telepathic means. It is an alien from an unknown planet that landed on earth via a small spaceship shell (the ship sports the same dorsal fins). For much of the first half of the film, it uses a captured human female as an extension of its will to infiltrate human society. The agent (Lora Lee), is in a symbiotic relationship with the ship and also can put humans in a trance by eye contact and snapping her fingers. After the agent was subdued, the shell was destroyed by Gamera, revealing Zigra's full form. Due to differences in earth's environment to its native planet, Zigra grew in size to match Gamera's.
Zigra's combat style, like many Gamera monsters, is geared towards melee combat. A brutal opponent, it is capable of firing a silk-like spray that can paralyze an opponent and then following with vicious slashes of its sharp fins. Despite its fish-like appearance, it can exist out of the water, albeit with some difficulty (it was immobilized on the beach until it improvised an awkward standing posture with its tail fins).
Zigra invaded earth with the intention of enslaving the human race and raising them like cattle—it came from a planet where instead of people eating sea animals, its sea animals ate land animals. As Viras had attempted in its earlier film, Zigra held a pair of human children hostage in order to force the human race to conform to its plan, but Gamera engaged it in battle.
In the final Showa Gamera film Gamera: Super Monster, Zigra once again fought Gamera through the use of stock footage. When Gamera hits his back with the rock, rather than the Gamera theme song, a new, simple tune is played.
It has been announced that a Los Angeles-based entertainment company, Shout! Factory, acquired the rights from Kadokawa Pictures for all eight of the Showa Gamera films and they will be issuing the uncut, Japanese versions on DVD for the first time, ever in North America. These "Special Edition" DVDs are being released in sequential order, starting with Gamera: The Giant Monster on May 18, 2010. The first sequel, Gamera vs. Barugon (1966) followed on July 6, 2010. The subsequent films followed shortly thereafter, with Gamera vs. Zigra being released on March 15, 2011 on a double-bill with Gamera: Super Monster. The DVD for Gamera Vs. Zigra contains both the Japanese-language version and English dubbed version.
- Gamera web archive (Japanese)
- Gamera tai Shinkai kaijû Jigura at the Internet Movie Database
- Gamera vs. Zigra at AllMovie
Mystery Science Theater 3000
- "Mystery Science Theater 3000" Gamera vs. Zigra (TV episode 1988) at the Internet Movie Database
- Episode guide: K07- Gamera vs. Zigra