Why no Gamera 4?

Spinning flame-jetted turtles, space birds being chopped up like bologna, kids in shorts screaming for help...the original Gamera series was a strange mix of wacky fun!! The 90's Gamera films set a standard that other kaiju films are measured against! Discuss Gamera films here!!

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Why no Gamera 4?

Postby Gojizilla » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:30 pm

They set up a sequel at the end of Gamera 3 with the flock of Gyaos, so why didn't they make a G4?
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby Benjamin Haines » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:30 am

That wasn't a setup for a sequel. It was meant as the definitive ending of both the movie and the entire trilogy. The development of Gamera's relationship with humanity, the personal journeys that Asagi, Dr. Nagamine and Ayana went through and the overarching themes of the trilogy all culminate at the end of Gamera 3.
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby daikaijusaurus » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:54 pm

Wasn't there a Gamera 4 fan film made a while back? Would love to see this someday. I also heard that Daei was so impressed with the fan film that they even planned to screen it in theaters. But have no idea how true this was and if it ever happened.

I remember there was an interview with the director of Gamera 4 on ScifiJapan TV, but don't remember which episode. It was really cool and interesting, in the interview he showed off his kaiju models that he made himself.
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby klen7 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:17 pm

It still gets occasional screenings, but it's not allowed to be distributed. Shinpei Hayashiya, the director is a famous performer in Japan, but is a big fan of tokusatsu. He also made Reigo and Raiga which are getting US releases shortly.
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby Russzilla » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:59 am

With the popularity of kaiju movies exploding these past few years, I’m still kinda surprised we never even got a sniff of a new Gamera movie. What might’ve been.
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby kiryugoji04 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:34 am

Benjamin Haines wrote:That wasn't a setup for a sequel. It was meant as the definitive ending of both the movie and the entire trilogy. The development of Gamera's relationship with humanity, the personal journeys that Asagi, Dr. Nagamine and Ayana went through and the overarching themes of the trilogy all culminate at the end of Gamera 3.


Can I just add that, intentionally or not, Kaneko made THE most relevant kaiju movies to the current climate crisis? For all its lip service to climate change, the newest Godzilla movie is nowhere near as thematically on point.
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby lhb412 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:35 pm

The trilogy feels so complete I wouldn't want anything added to it. It's fine the way it is.

... of course, another reboot of Gamera would be appreciated. Bring back the turt!
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby H-Man » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:02 pm

IMO no kaiju film made since the conclusion of this trilogy has come close to matching the quality of any of the three.

It's worth noting that Kaneko claims a fourth film would have been greenlighted had the third film grossed one billion yen. (Wikizilla, which cites Kiridoshi, Risaku. Tokusatsu Apocalypse 1995-2001.)
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Re: Why no Gamera 4?

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:16 pm

kiryugoji04 wrote:
Benjamin Haines wrote:That wasn't a setup for a sequel. It was meant as the definitive ending of both the movie and the entire trilogy. The development of Gamera's relationship with humanity, the personal journeys that Asagi, Dr. Nagamine and Ayana went through and the overarching themes of the trilogy all culminate at the end of Gamera 3.


Can I just add that, intentionally or not, Kaneko made THE most relevant kaiju movies to the current climate crisis? For all its lip service to climate change, the newest Godzilla movie is nowhere near as thematically on point.


Definitely. The climate change symbolism in Godzilla: King of the Monsters is mostly subtext while in the Gamera trilogy it's straight-up text.

I think that Kaneko's Gamera films have been a major influence on the content of Legendary's Godzilla movies, although I doubt that any of the writers or directors would publicly admit it. It's fitting after Yoshimitsu Banno got the ball rolling on the Monsterverse, since Godzilla vs. Hedorah shows a lot of influence from the Gamera flicks of the time.


H-Man wrote:IMO no kaiju film made since the conclusion of this trilogy has come close to matching the quality of any of the three.

It's worth noting that Kaneko claims a fourth film would have been greenlighted had the third film grossed one billion yen. (Wikizilla, which cites Kiridoshi, Risaku. Tokusatsu Apocalypse 1995-2001.)


Agreed. The Gamera trilogy is still the gold standard for giant monster movies in the age of CGI. Each entry stands on its own and tries new things while still building on what came before. All three films complement each other perfectly and represent the best of what the genre can offer.

I wish there was a way to verify that Wikizilla citation besides obtaining and translating that Japanese book. Still, I don't doubt that Daiei would have plunged ahead with a fourth film if G3 had been that successful. Looking at Toho Kingdom's box office figures, G1 grossed ¥520 million and then G2's audience grew by over 34% to ¥700 million. For G3 to break ¥1 billion would have meant surging another 42% but it ended up selling ¥600 million in tickets, a light 15% drop from G2's peak.

It's a shame that Kaneko's Gamera films played to such relatively small audiences compared to the Heisei and Millennium Godzilla movies. Even the ones that disappointed Toho like Biollante and Megaguirus still managed to top ¥1 billion at the Japanese box office.


daikaijusaurus wrote:Wasn't there a Gamera 4 fan film made a while back? Would love to see this someday. I also heard that Daei was so impressed with the fan film that they even planned to screen it in theaters. But have no idea how true this was and if it ever happened.


Yes indeed. It even had actor Yukijiro Hotaru reprising his role as Inspector Osako. Here are a couple of archived articles from Henshin!Online and Monster Zero News that covered Shinpei Hayashiya's fan film Gamera 4: Truth back in 2003.

Henshin!Online wrote:07/10/2003
Gamera's Limited Return!
The lowdown on one fan's blood, sweat and tears for Gamera.
Author: Bob Johnson & John Cassidy
Source: Uchusen Magazine & Shinpei Hayashiya

After putting a new "spin" on the Gamera mythos with a highly acclaimed trilogy of films (1995-1999), director Shusuke Kaneko and Daiei Motion Picture Company went on to other projects. While Gamera's story had been told and the saga completed, fans still clamored for more. Now, after a four-year hibernation, the fire-breathing reptile is back in a short film that is seeing limited release in Japan.

GAMERA 4: TRUTH (the official title) is an original story. It was written, produced, edited and directed by a traditional Japanese storyteller (Rakugaka), Shinpei Hayashiya.

Hayashiya, one of Gamera's most enthusiastic fans, took it upon himself to create this fan-made featurette. He loved the Heisei Gamera series, but was unsatisfied by the way it ended, with Gamera heading off to face a hoard of approaching Gyaos. There were many Gamera short stories on the Internet, but no actual films, so Hayashiya took it upon himself to create one.

Although the budget was miniscule, the results were heralded as impressive; not only by fans, but also by many of the people who worked on the official Daiei versions! Hayashiya's Gamera and albino Gyaos suits were made out of cardboard and the effects done on a computer. He also elicited the help of Rapid Progress, a group of fans that were responsible for the independent series LINE. Line was a giant superhero that battled creatures ala Ultraman in direct-to-video, low-budget episodes in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Together they turned out a 45-minute film on a budget of roughly $2500.00.

To give this a feel of an actual sequel, Hayashiya was able to recruit actor Yukiro Hotaru, who among his many roles, appeared in all three Gamera films. In Gamera 4, he returns in the same role that made him a fan favorite.

A preview of the film was held at the Tokyo E.R.O. Hall. Fans, as well as some of Gamera's original filmmakers attended the screening. A surprise appearance by Kazuo Yagi, who played Gamera in the Daiei movies, along with the actual suit from GAMERA 2: ADVENT OF LEGION thrilled attendees.

Everyone spoke highly of GAMERA 4 and were quite surprised that one individual, on such a small budget, could create something this good. After the show, there was an interview session with many of the people who worked on the Gamera trilogy. Many were worried that after this, fans would have much higher expectations if Daiei ever did decide to make an official GAMERA 4.

GAMERA 4 also showed at the Miyazaki Film Festival (June 28, 2003) and will be showing at the Japan SF Festival on July 19, 2003. Although this was not an official Daiei Gamera film, it will reportedly be released on video under the Daiei-Kadokawa label.

Following is a journal by Shinpei Hayashiya called, THE NEW CUT MADE PUBLIC, translated by John Cassidy. It reveals some of the details on this amazing independent feature.

Throughout the world, a huge flock of Gyaos have broken out, and set their sights on Japan, to which they fly. Under the circumstances, the general of a fighter squadron changes his target from Gamera to Gyaos. Thus a dogfight ensues. The first to challenge Gyaos is the Phantom Unit. Now, will any of the jet fighters emerge victorious?

The Eagle Fighter has arrived to back up the Phantom Fighter. We may yet see what kind of fight ensues.

Ah! It's been caught!

On this side are Gamera's remains, a relay is sent from the Gamera Graveyard. Well, in any case, do you think this scene speaks for itself? Live-action techniques are also added to the new take, and add perfection to the super-complete edition.

4/19/2003
So far, with most of the dogfights done (but ground fights had to be supervised and edited, too, right?), I wanted to do the editing by myself like this. The live-action scenery was there, and was good. Even in the dogfight scene, the live-action scenery was just the setting I wanted. By the way, when I missed the bank of clouds, it took one month at least to keep them still on my computer.

This was hard to combine. Although I got all the local buildings I needed together, and a suburb within, I sent the raw material I got in a rapid process.

4/29/03
A Simple Plasma Fireball Shot!

How many times have I drawn this attack pattern?? Nevertheless, those cuts and the angle devices came along just the way I wanted. This time, I did the "gugutt" and the gust of wind in one cut!

This is the junior Albino Gyaos, and with one Heavy Sonic-Wave Attack, it renders Gamera's technology weak, so I tried making Gamera's Plasma Fireball ineffective in this situation.
1.) The huge, opened wings oscillate into a chopping force.
2.) Because of the wings' friction with the atmosphere, they become a white light.
3.) Of course, with the oscillation from in the atmosphere, radiation increases from it.
4.) This becomes a Heavy Sonic-Wave Barrier, and can pulverize Gamera's Plasma Fireballs.
Furthermore, as for this barrier, it's not just a defense discharge, but also a small Heavy Sonic-Wave Needle is also fired as a weapon. Here, Gamera cannot rely on his plasma weapons. He must use just as powerful a weapon to blow away the barrier . . .

4/29/2003
I was finally finished in April. At the end of the month, how do you think I did Gyaos' weird facial movements? The eyes, mouth and wings were glowing. I had to come up with a challenge against the attack that inflicted pain on Gamera.

The beaten Gamera draws blood! He shows a brief expression of pain. But there is a sudden change in his condition, that technique is unmistakable!

"Final Sword Flash!"

Monster Zero News wrote:Gamera 4: Truth

John Lipartito, September 1, 2003
Source: With additions and photographs by Norman England

John Lipartitio reviews Gamera 4: The Truth, a unofficial fan made sequel to the Gamera trilogy.

As giant Japanese monsters are partly to blame for leaving my home country (America) and taking a job halfway around the globe (Japan), I always make good to see anything related to the genre. And so, when Gamera 4: Shinjitsu (Gamera 4: The Truth), an unofficial, fan-made sequel to the acclaimed Gamera trilogy was announced a few months back, I made it a personal mission to track down one of its sporadic showings. Successful, I caught it not once, but twice! First on August 16 and then again on August 26, 2003.

To start with, both showings were free. While G4 has been given support by Daiei, this is not meant to infer that it is an official sequel to their Heisei Gamera series. For this reason, Daiei is strict about not allowing director Shinpei Hayashiya to profit from the film. However, the good news is that while strict in this sense, Daiei is not preventing Hayashiya from sharing his video vision of events following Gamera 3’s Kyoto Station battle with interested fans. Kudos should be given to Daiei for allowing enthusiastic fans the space to be creative with their material!

At the first showing in Nakano, Tokyo, the screening room--if that's what you can call it--seemed geared more toward Power-Point presentations than kaiju film experiences. The room had a staggered seating area that fit roughly one hundred people. As this film has generated much fan interest, the turnout was high, with about twenty extra people squatting on the floor alongside and in front of the seating area. My friend Hiro and I slid into an open space in front of the 8x8 video projection screen and lay before it, making ourselves at home as if it were a big-screen, living room TV.

Mr. Hayashiya produced a wonderful poster for the film, too, which stood to a side of the screen. Using classic Ukiyo-e style, it depicts the film's battle between Gamera and the Albino Gyaos. I was able to snag a T-shirt after the show with this impressive art printed on the chest area.

My second viewing was held at Loft Plus One. A bar in Shinjuku, Loft Plus One is a Mecca for kaiju fans as the venue regularly hosts events revolving around the genre. The place itself is not large. But that works to its advantage: Loft is intimate.

As with the previous screening, the place was filled almost beyond capacity by the time Hiro, Norman, and I arrived. Thus, our off-to-the-side seats gave us a perfect view of a wood beam. Blocked were the front stage where the guests sit and the 8x8 projection screen hanging behind them. Fortunately, the staff of Loft Plus One is mindful of the room’s obstacles and has outfitted various corners with TV monitors that display a live feed from a video camera pointing at the stage. This was fine by me, as I don’t like the faded, washed out image of a video projection screen. I was more than happy to watch the shot-on-video Gamera 4 on what I think it was meant to be seen: a TV screen.

One notable feature of the Loft screening is that Gamera actor Yukijiro Hotaru (Inspector Osako), Gamera suit-maker Tomoo Haraguchi, and Gamera director Shusuke Kaneko turned out for the show. Before the screening, all took to the stage and engaged in a talk about Gamera, kaiju in general, and the buzz created over G4. Sitting next to Mr. Kaneko, G4 director Hayashiya was visibly excited by the presence of the director who inspired his work, and he constantly thanked Mr. Kaneko for his attendance. In turn, Kaneko related a recent trip to the US where he said that word on G4 has reached Western shores, with fans there often asking him when they could expect to see the film.

The screening started with three short animation films called "Gametaro," (as in, Gamera-taro) a spoof on the infamous Hamutaro, the hamster cartoon that has run as a double-bill with the last two Godzilla films. The Gametaro shorts feature popular Gamera monsters as cartoons and set in simple but humorous scenarios that overflow with Gamera inside jokes. There was also a trailer for G4. A nice touch at the trailer's end is an advert for some (nonexistent) G4 phone straps. Hayashiya perfectly captures the feel of Japanese film trailers and that they all inevitably end with some goofy giveaway item. Hilarious stuff, it had the crowd roaring with approval.

Before moving on to the review, let me remind readers that this film cannot be evaluated as would a real Gamera film. The Heisei Gameras had budgets in the millions of dollars with hundreds of crew working day and night, their salary paid for by a company interested in turning a profit. In contrast, G4: The Truth is a film put together by some fans and semi-pro filmmakers in their spare time at a meager budget less than one percent the cost of a single film of the Heisei Gamera trilogy. Also, given its short running time, about 45 minutes, be warned: it's difficult to hold back on spoilers. But since its release may not be as inevitable as originally thought, I feel it appropriate to summarize the story through to the end for those who may never see it.

Despite limited running time and budget, Gamera 4: The Truth tries its best to tell a tale as broad, complex, and exciting as anything Gamera screenwriter Kazunori Ito ever penned. The story starts right where Gamera 3 ends, with the JSDF rushing to confront the swarm of Gyaos invading Japan. Squadron after squadron, jets dogfight with the Gyaoses, only to be mercilessly defeated by the monsters. A wounded Gamera takes off from the burning ruins of Kyoto to join the midair battle, where he spins off wild mana shots that pick off a few Gyaoses. Ganged upon by his malevolent opponents, Gamera's troubles are complicated when the swarm is joined by Albino Gyaos, a larger, souped-up, all-white version of the Hyper-Gyaos. Finally, all take aim and fire their super-sonic beams on Gamera, plunging him to a watery grave.

This opening sequence, done entirely in CG, is quite exciting. While the rendering is somewhat amateurish, the movements of the monsters and jets are fluid and lifelike enough to carry the story. Gamera employs some creative aerial techniques, such as spinning the surrounding clouds to produce a whirlwind that sucks in many of the Gyaos swarm.

Following the battle, the Japanese government enlists the help of Nagamine and Osako to help the military search for the new monster. After locating it, the JSDF deploys a large force of tanks, rocket launchers and helicopters, but the A-Gyaos proves too strong for them. Later, the A-Gyaos attacks the hotel Osako is staying at, and he is presumed dead in the rubble. Finally, the military pits a heat ray tank, the SGPM-2, against Gyaos, but it, too, fails miserably.

The first human character we meet is Saito, the cabinet minister from G1 & 3. The real actor (Hirotaro Honda) could not be obtained, so G4 director Shinpei Hayashiya takes his place. With thick black glasses and a stern expression, Hayashiya plays him well enough. One nice touch, and one that typifies the understanding Hayashiya has for the entire Heisei Gamera series, is how he not only mimics the character, but how he develops him. I'm referring to the character’s progression from non-Gamera supporter at the start of Gamera 1, his hinted turn around in G3, and now for G4, his transformation to complete “Gamera believer”.

Of course, Shinobu Nakayama was unavailable for the movie, so ornithologist Nagamine is portrayed by an amateur actress. While not as attractive as Shinobu--few women are--she is made up well enough to invoke the original character, and she does a surprisingly good job of imitating Shinobu’s mannerisms.

The only professional actor in the bunch is Yukijiro Hotaru, who is, as always, fantastic. He plays the character of Osako with as much pizzazz and skill as he did in the Kaneko trilogy. In G4, he continues with the southern-Japanese dialect, a trademark of the Osako character that he pulls off despite being a Tokyo native. It is clear that Hotaru is a true artist of an actor, for whom the budget of the project (and hence, the size of his paycheck) matters less than the importance of doing a good job.

Back to the story: One of the ancient Gamera skeletons is given mana power from the earth and regenerates into a new Gamera! Landing in Yokohama Bay, Gamera lays waste to everything in sight. A-Gyaos arrives to attack Gamera, and the two engage in a climactic clash. The new Gamera eventually prevails over his arch nemesis, yet does not return to the sea. Instead, he continues on a rampage, stomping and burning everything from Yokohama to Shinjuku. The JSDF launches a last ditch offensive in Shinjuku using heat ray tanks, but Gamera easily thwarts the attack. Suddenly, a huge explosion erupts from Gamera, and central Tokyo is reduced to smoldering ruins.

In the above sequences, the drama recedes into the background and what we get is about fifteen minutes of raw action. Again, considering the limited resources of the production, the effects are amazing. Whereas previous scenes were either completely CG or completely suitmation, those in the climatic sequence alternate between the two. Of course, no such transition is seamless, but at least the cuts are relatively smooth.

The battle techniques used by the monsters are very creative. Both A-Gyaos and Gamera come up with their share of original techniques. Gamera now uses plasma fireballs and a continuous flamethrower stream reminiscent of the original Gamera's breath. Gyaos is able to deflect blasts of this sort with a supersonic shield, which Gamera overcomes with plasma sabers from the tips of the largest claw on each of his arms. In essence, despite a budget with severe limits, these bits go far to show that the filmmakers' imagination had no limits.

G4 also shows touches of GMK, Kaneko's entry into the Godzilla series. Questioned after the show, Hayashiya admitted that one of his goals was to link as much of Kaneko's work as he could. Thus, the setting in Yokohama and the SGPM-2.

No doubt some people are wondering why the new Gamera is so mean spirited. His acts of destruction near the end are extremely violent, as if powered by a deep hatred. But the last scene, a sort of epilogue, answers some questions and, in true Gamera style, raises more:

Soon after the climatic action sequence, we see Osako is still alive in Okinawa (as far away from Tokyo as possible), wondering how he always manages to survive such calamities. As he hobbles away, we hear a news broadcast. It turns out that the new Gamera opened a crater one km wide and four hundred meters deep in the center of Tokyo. The Japanese and US military found many unclassified prehistoric eggs deep within the crater. And so we are left to wonder if that was Gamera's real target. This is an interesting resolution that clearly leaves room for Hayashiya to continue his thread of the Gamera saga if he so chooses.

Regarding the music, all tracks were lifted from different Gamera movies. Most are Otani's from the Heisei Gamera trilogy, but a few scenes, like Gamera's attack on Shinjuku, are graced by an older-sounding march, which I believe comes from the first Gamera film. Overall, the themes are in the right places, and do a good job boosting the excitement of the low-budget effects.

One thing of note is that the two cuts I saw were slightly different. At the Loft show Hayashiya mentioned that he “tweaked” the film a bit between the two screenings. This suggests that the film is a work-in-progress and may yet undergo further trimming or additions.

Of course, as a "real" movie, Gamera 4 is not very good. It is not long enough to develop key plot points, the budget is woefully inadequate, and all involved in the production are obviously struggling with the medium. But this film is not trying to be a "real" movie. As Hayashiya mentioned during the show, "If you want to make something, go ahead and make it." That’s the point. And that's what he did. He took himself to task to answer the question of what happens when the swarm of Gyaos makes it to the wounded Gamera stumbling out of the ruins of Kyoto Station at the end of Gamera 3.

At the end of the Loft Plus One showing, Hayashiya worked up the nerve to ask Mr. Kaneko once and for all, "Gamera 4—Yes, or no?" At first Kaneko was hesitant, responding with a guarded, "I'm not sure I understand the question." (Lots of laughs from the audience.) Finally, the undeterred, standing-at-attention Hayashiya shouted, "Kaneko-san! Is Gamera 4 good or bad?" Kaneko turned a slight red, then let out a, "good". To this, applause erupted from the audience. I must say that I agree. G4, while a low-budget, amateur entry, demonstrates the exciting potential of what fans and passion can produce.

Footnote: Many Western fans are wondering when this fan-made semi-feature will be available for their viewing. Good question. Due to copyrights, Hayashiya is prevented from releasing G4 commercially, such as on DVD or Video. The most likely would be to make it available for download from a website, as with the plethora of Star Wars fan films. For now, this is still up in the air. Information will be forthcoming when it breaks.
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