Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

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Gappa the Triphibian Monster
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHaruyasu Noguchi[1]
Produced byHideo Koi[1]
Screenplay by
  • Iwao Yamazaki
  • Ryuzo Nakaishi[1]
Story byAkira Watanabe
Music bySaitaro Omori[1]
CinematographyMuneo Ueda[1]
Edited byMasanori Tsujii[1]
Release date
  • April 22, 1967 (1967-04-22) (Japan)
Running time
81 minutes

Gappa the Triphibian Monster (大巨獣ガッパ, Daikyojū Gappa) is a 1967 Japanese kaiju film directed by Haruyasu Noguchi.[1] The film is about a group of Japanese reporters who discover an infant monster called a Gappa on Obelisk Island. The reporters cage the creature and take it to Japan where it becomes a media attraction. This angers the natives of the island and Gappa's full-grown parents, who head toward Japan to find their child. Its plot virtually duplicates that of the 1961 British film Gorgo.

The film was released theatrically in Japan in 1967, but only received release on television in the United States as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. It received positive reviews from Variety and Phil Hardy.

Certain shots of the Gappa attacking Japan were used in the 1991 Red Dwarf episode "Meltdown".[2]


An expedition from Tokyo heads to Obelisk Island, which the greedy Mr. Funazu, president of Playmate Magazine, wants to turn into a resort. The natives of Obelisk welcome the expedition, but two members, Hiroshi and Itoko, venture into a forbidden area, despite the pleas of a native boy named Saki. They enter a cavern blocked by a fallen statue and find a giant egg, out of which hatches a baby monster, a "bird-lizard", referred to as a "Gappa". The natives plead with the skeptical scientists not to take the baby away, lest it anger the baby's parents. Sure enough, they take the baby away, and soon, inside the caverns, its two parents rise from the underground waters beneath the volcano, destroying everything in their path. Saki, the only survivor, is rescued by an American navy fleet and brought back to Japan.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, the baby "bird-lizard" is making world headlines, not to mention being experimented on by scientists. To the shock of the expedition members, there is news of two giant flying creatures appearing over Sagami Bay. The Gappa parents ravage cities looking for their offspring and are impervious to military weapons. Hiroshi, Itoko and Professor Tonooka (a scientist from the expedition) realize that the "Gappas" are not a legend after all. They, and Saki, try to convince the headstrong Mr. Funazu to let the baby go and return it to its parents.


Gappa the Triphibian Monster was the only kaiju eiga from Nikkatsu.[3] The monster effects in the film were created by Akira Watanabe, a former member of Toho.[3]


Gappa the Triphibian Monster was released in Japan on April 22, 1967 as Daikyojū Gappa.[1][4] The film was never released theatrically in the United States.[5] American International Television had the film shown on television where it premiered in 1968[1] as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet.[6][7]

Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films described the American version of the film as poorly dubbed and that home video versions prior to 1994 are poor dupes taken from a 16mm television print.[5] The film has been released on DVD by various companies including Alpha Video, Mill Creek Entertainment, Tokyo Shock and Image Entertainment.[8]


In contemporary reviews, Variety stated that the creature Gappa makes an "auspicious debut and reveals himself as "best monster" so far".[9] Variety concluded that "these are the only Japanese monsters one might like to see again" and that "Most effects are well done, a few superb" noting the destruction of Atami as one of the highlights.[9]

In retrospective reviews, Phil Hardy discussed the film in his book Science Fiction (1984).[10] The review complemented the film, noting that "the effects are excellent and the script is worthy of a witty children's comedy."[10] Stuart Galbraith IV described the film as an unauthorized remake of the 1961 British film Gorgo.[11] Galbraith described the human characters as "colorless reporters and scientists" and that "none of the actors is especially appealing."[3] Galbraith commented on Akira Watanabe's effects, opining that they were "okay but lack the perfectionist drive of Eiji Tsuburaya's work."[3]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Galbraith IV 1994, p. 314.
  2. ^ "In the Stocks". Red Dwarf. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Galbraith IV 1994, p. 146.
  4. ^ "大巨獣ガッパ" (in Japanese). Nikkatsu. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Galbraith IV 1994, p. 147.
  6. ^ Lee 1973, p. 156.
  7. ^ "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)". AllMovie. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)". AllMovie. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Willis 1985, p. 217: "Review is of 90 minute Japanese-language version previewed in Tokyo. Review dated April 11, 1967"
  10. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 262.
  11. ^ Galbraith IV 1994, p. 315.


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