Gamera: The Brave (Young Braves of Gamera (小さき勇者たち~ガメラ – Chiisaki Yūsha-tachi) is the only Shinsei Gamera movie so far – and a very unique, stand alone entry in the series.

I. Absolutely. LOVE. This. Movie.

brave1Man, oh man, where do I even start? To be honest, I’m not a huge Gamera fan. I like the dude and all, but not to the extent some of my fellow kaijufans do. But this film? It just clicks with me. I think it’s because it feels like a blend between a monster flick and an animated movie, two of my favorite cinematic treats. I love that it brings back that whole ‘Friend to All Children’ thing from the Showa series, but it’s not overdone. The “For Toto!” scene is pretty awesome. Just the right amount of corniness, it’s cheesy without pushing it. The intro is pretty spectacular too. The music really helps bring it to life, and it seems to give a nods to the Heisei films. It’s a nice gesture, acknowledging the previous films before going back to the character’s original call to fame. I hear a lot of people complain that Toto is too cutesy, and typically I’d agree. But the big-eyed toddler look ends up working pretty well for the movie. Considering the relatively light tone and fun attitude of the film, I really don’t mind the babyish design.

brave4Ah, and now on to the real fun- Zedus. I freakin’ ADORE Zedus. I don’t care how many people he ate, or how badly he was kicking around an infant monster, I just wanna give him a big hug. Easily my favorite Gamera foe and one of the best beasts to come out of any recent kaiju flick. The tongue is a nice homage to Barugon, with a new, deadly edge. Who needs to quick-freeze your prey when you can just skewer it? I really do enjoy Zedus’s simplicity. He’s basically a big therapod with some fancy features. But that’s just dandy for me. Not every monster needs to be a complicated piece of art. He’s also got a real nasty personality. Not many monsters have eaten crowds and beat down smaller foes with such style. When he flings Toto- who is tenaciously latched onto his tail- into that building by throwing himself into a somersault? HELL YEAH. Heh, look at me. I’m raving way more about the villain than the titular monsters. That just goes to show how much Zedus stole the show for me.

But now onto a less pleasant topic- the lack of Gamera’s trademark roar. I’m not sure why they didn’t use the classic cry, but it was sorely missed. It’s nowhere near a movie-breaking negative, but it would have been nice to have that traditional trumpet used instead of the generic roars and screams. It just seems odd. Even if the Gamera cry isn’t as famous as Godzilla’s, it’s still a pretty big part of the character.

brave6So, in closing, I truly do adore this movie, and highly suggest it. It’s a newer film, and I know a fairly large portion of the fandom (that I’ve experienced anyway) haven’t seen it. I can’t promise it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but how are you gonna find out if you don’t give it a look?”

– HayesAJones

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