“The aliens planned for the spaceship to bring the boys to their planet… to learn about humans… ok, they wanted to know if they were safe to eat. No, it’s not a joke…”
The Kaiju Fan Network’s Showa Gamera expert, The Real McCoy, reviews the original Japanese version of Gamera vs Guiron:
This movie is pure MST3K GOLD. Everything about this one screams cheese! A monster with a knife for a head?
In all seriousness, this is not the worst of the series, but it’s definitely not the best, either. Once again, aliens are the main theme of the story here. For Gamera’s fifth outing, he travels to a distant planet in hot pursuit of two young boys in distress after they enter a spaceship and push all the wrong buttons (it’s a Gamera movie, what’d you expect?). Gamera shows up early to follow the boys through space, but this movie suffers yet again from a void of giant turtle action. While the boys are on the planet Tera, we get some shots of Gamera traveling through space, and when he shows up on the planet, he has a brief encounter with the title monster, Guiron, before easily being defeated and sinking unconsciously to the bottom of a lake. Gamera again shows up near the end of the film to take care of Guiron.
Guiron is a weird-looking monster, a trend which has started to take form in the latter part of the series. A quadruped monster; Guiron has a knife-shaped head, which can reflect most attacks and cut through the toughest of materials, even Gamera’s shell. To compliment his main line of defense, he can fire several ninja-stars from a round hole on either side of his head, and the stars can return to their ports if a target is hit. The encounters between Gamera and Guiron are enjoyable, and at times funny; Gamera deflecting Guiron’s stars with a cone-shaped rock, stuffing ice into his wounds, and he also does some acrobatics here as well. Actually, their first encounter is the more enjoyable with the final encounter holding the title of “stale.” Guiron is defeated in no-time, with a missile to the head of all things, ending up blown in half.
But the time in between leaves us with the human vs. alien drama, and doesn’t deliver quite as well as in previous installments. The aliens planned for the spaceship to bring the boys to the planet… to learn about humans… ok, they wanted to know if they were safe to eat. No, it’s not a joke. The main characters, the two boys, Akio and Tom, are where the kids really start to get annoying. Tom is just along for the ride, while Akio is a bit of a loud-mouth, who knows everything about spaceships and sound waves, and he really hates wars and traffic accidents (watch the movie; you’ll get the joke). The other characters I personally found more enjoying than the leads. Akio’s younger sister, Tomoko, is teased by her brother but desperately tries to get the grown-ups to listen to her when he is carried away. And it’s corny but I have to say it; she is absolutely as cute as a button. She tugs at your heart strings as she tries to make her mother and her “Aunt” (Tom’s mother) believe her story, bringing me to the last character worth mentioning: Officer Kondo, a goofy police officer who Tom and Akio aren’t fond of. Tomoko, however, confides in him when she can’t get anyone else to believe her, and he promises to help her. Those two are too fun not to like.
Weird science again, which has now become a regular occurrence in these films. Upon arriving at the planet Tera, they encounter Guiron and run to the nearest teleport station, which they automatically knew what it was and how to work it. After being captured the second time, they are placed in a cage in the control room while the alien women try to fix the spaceship (which consisted of pulling out a couple of large triangle shaped blocks out of a…computer console?). Trying to escape, they use Tom’s dart gun to fire at the control panel buttons. They succeed only in freeing Guiron, and the monster slices the ship in half. After Gamera defeats Guiron, he picks up the spaceship and welds it together with his flame breath. He then scoops up the boys, puts them in the ship, and carries the ship back to earth.
One thing I want to address is, as in previous reviews, I have noted that these movies are known for their gore, despite being children’s films. One scene in particular was actually cut from an American release; when the boys land on Tera, they witness a \n attack by a Space Gyaos; a silver-colored version of the original. When Guiron appears, he attacks the Gyaos, slicing his wings and head off. Not something you would expect from a children’s film, is it?
Well, I hate to say it folks, but it’s getting to the point in the series where it’s not even worth it to rate these films critically, so now I’ll have to rely on entertainment value. These movies are not meant for the casual fan who expects any level of reality in their monster flicks (I know, reality? In a monster movie?). I give this one a two-point-seven-five, just because I can’t bring myself to give it an even three, or give it as low as a two and-a-half, for that matter.
– The Real McCoy