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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Arrow Video Blu-ray Review: Gamera Collection

Gamera, Toho, Arrow Video, sci-fi, Kaiju,


Reviewed By Jason Lockard

Kaiju films! I have loved them ever since I first saw Son of Godzilla as a kid. The monsters of Japan wrecking havoc, man. Ever since I have tried to see more Kaiju film every time I get the chance.

So you can imagine my excitement when Arrow Video announced the release of the Complete collection of Gamera. I had to check this one out.

Gamera has been collected on single DVDs, Blu-rays and collections of the movies on Blu-ray in years past. But this is the first time all the Gamera films are together on Blu-ray in one place. Let's take a look in this epic collection.

Movie Rating:
****=Don’t Miss it!
***=Worth a look.
**=An Ok way to spend an evening.
*=You haven’t missed anything.


Disc 1:

Gamera: The Giant Monster (1965)
From out of the arctic comes a gigantic flying, fire-breathing turtle that sets its sights on destroying Tokyo. **

Bonus Features:
  * Audio commentary by August Ragone
  *  Introduction by August Ragone – A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone (1080p; 00:13:12)
  *  Gamera the Invincible – The American theatrical version of the film, with English dubbing and additional scenes directed by Sandy Howard.
  *   US Theatrical Trailer
  *   Theme Song
  *  Remembering the Gamera Series (1080p; 00:23:12) – This retrospective documentary form 1991 features interviews with the crew members including director Noriaki Yuasa and writer Nisan Takahashi, as well as a look at the unmade film Gamera vs. Garasharp.
  *  Interview with Noriaki Yuasa (1080i; 00:13:11) – Filmed by Jörg Buttgereit in 2002 at Daiei Studios.
  *  Gamera Special (1080p; 00:58:11) – This “best of” compilation, showcasing selected fight scenes and trailers for the first eight films, was supervised by Noriaki Yuasa and released on VHS in 1991.
  *  Alternate English Credits
  *  Original Japanese Trailer
  *  US Video Promo
  *  Image Gallery


Kaiju, Gamera, Arrow Video, Bluray, scifi, movie,

Disc 2:

Gamera vs. Barugon (1966) A giant monster that emits a destructive ray from its back attacks Japan and takes on Gamera. **

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by August Ragone & Jason Varney
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:07:55) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  War of the Monsters – The 88-minute American version of Gamera vs. Barugon, missing 12 minutes and retitled War of the Monsters, offers a more streamlined, faster-paced version of the film.
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Theatrical Trailers
 *  Image Gallery

Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
A
mysterious bat-like creature is awakened by a volcanic eruption and it's up to Gamera to save Japan. **

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:09:12) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Theatrical Trailers
 *  Image Gallery


Disc 3
:

Gamera vs. Viras (1968) Gamera the Flying Turtle falls under the spell of evil aliens, but two children free him and he returns to fight the aliens' monster, Viras. **

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Carl Craig & Jim Cirronella
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:11:14) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  Gamera vs. Viras – 52 Years Later (1080i; 00:12:29) – In this newly filmed featurette by Jim Cirronella, actor Carl Craig shows us his souvenirs from the filming, including original props.
 *  G-Fest 2003 Highlights (720p; 01:00:58) – Noriaki Yuasa and Carl Craig were guests of honor at the 2003 edition of the annual kaiju-themed G-Fest convention in Chicago. These are filmed highlights from the convention, shot by Mike Tynus and Laura LaRocca of Tynuson Productions.
 *  The 4th Nippon Jamboree (720p; 00:06:18) – Edited highlights from a promotional film for the Boy Scouts of Japan made by Noriaki Yuasa in 1966, shortly before the production of Gamera vs. Viras.
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Theatrical Trailers
 *  Image Gallery

Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
Aliens kidnap two children and take them to another planet for the purpose of getting knowledge from their brains, but Gamera follows and tries to rescue them.**

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by David Kalat
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:11:24) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Theatrical Trailers
 *  Neptune Media Archive Gallery

Kaiju, Gamera, Arrow Video, Bluray, scifi, movie,

Disc 4:

Gamera vs. Jiger (1970) A Triceratops-like monster goes to Japan in pursuit of the statue and ends up battling Gamera, the giant flying turtle. ***

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Edward H. Holland
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:08:39) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Original Japanese Trailer
 *  Original German Trailer
 *  US TV Spot
 *  Image Gallery


Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
Space aliens arrive on Earth with their giant shark and intend to take over the planet but they must first destroy Gamera. **

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Sean Rhoads & Brooke McCorkle
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:08:22) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Original Japanese Trailer
 *  US Video Promo
 *  Image Gallery


Gamera Super Monster (1980) A
lien forces send all the monsters Gamera has faced in one epic battle to rid the planet of its last hope. **

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Richard Pusateri
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:06:05) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  Alternate English Credits
 *  Theatrical Trailers
 *  Image Gallery



Kaiju, Gamera, Arrow Video, Bluray, scifi, movie,

Disc 5:

Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe (1995)
A hibernating species of giant carnivorous birds is awakened on a Japanese island shortly after the military encounters an unidentified mass moving beneath the water off-shore. ***

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Matt Frank

 * 
Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:04:34) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone

 * 
A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 1 (720p; 01:55:46) – The first installment of an epic three-part documentary from 2010 interviewing the cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy.

 * 
Interviews with Shusuke Kaneko & Shinji Higuchi (720p; 00:35:47) — These interviews with director Shusuke Kaneko and FX director Shinji Higuchi were filmed by Jörg Buttgereit in 2002 at Daiei Studios.

 * 
SFX Interview with Shinji Higuchi (720p; 01:32:42) – This in-depth interview with FX director Shinji Higuchi, looking at how the trilogy’s effects sequences were achieved, was produced in 2001.

 * 
Behind the Scenes (720p; 00:16:01) – Archive featurette containing on-set footage and interviews with the filmmakers.

 * 
Production Announcement (720p; 00:05:05) – Watch as the film is formally announced at Daiei Studios on April 25th 1994.

 * 
Backstage Clip: The Legend (720p; 00:04:16) – A compilation of behind-the-scenes footage set to music
.
 * 
Yubari Film Festival (720p; 00:06:13) – Watch as the filmmakers unveil the film at the Yubari International Fantastic Adventure Film Festival in February 1995.

 * 
Hibiya Theater Opening Day (00:02:55) – Watch as the cast and crew present the film on its opening day at the Hibiya Theater, Tokyo on March 11th 1995.

 * 
Alternate English Credits

 * 
Trailers & TV Spots

 * 
Image Gallery


Disc 6:


Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
A meteor shower carries hostile insectoid creatures to Japan, where they rapidly reproduce. ***

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Kyle Yount
 *  “Lake Texarkana” Comedy Dub
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:04:20) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone
 *  A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 2 (720p; 02:01:44) — The second installment of an epic three-part documentary interviewing the cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
 *  Behind the Scenes: Production Footage (720p; 00:59:54) – An on-location look at the ‘main unit’ scenes being filmed.
 *  Behind the Scenes: SFX Footage (720p; 00:39:46) – An on-set look at the scenes being filmed by the special effects unit, after the main production had wrapped.
 *  Production Announcement (720p; 00:06:34) – Watch as the film’s production is formally announced at Daiei Studios on November 27, 1995.
 *  Backstage Clip: Sky (720p; 00:03:11) – A compilation of behind-the-scenes footage set to music.
 *  Promotional Events (720p; 00:05:15)
 *  Hibiya Theater Opening Day (720p; 00:03:58)
 *  Additional English Credits
 *  Comedy Dub Outtakes
 *  Trailers & TV Spots
 *  Image Gallery

Kaiju, Gamera, Arrow Video, Bluray, scifi, movie,

Disc 7:

Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
In a small Japanese village, a young woman discovers the means for her revenge, while Gyaos birds are sighted around the world and humankind debates Gamera's allegiance. ***

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski
 *  Commentary by “Gamera, Iris & Soldier 6”
 *  Introduction by August Ragone (1080p; 00:04:13) — A newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert August Ragone.
 *  A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 3 (720p; 02:14:31) — The final installment of an epic three-part documentary interviewing the cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy.
 *  DNA Tonkatsu Exhibition (1080p; 00:10:46) – A newly filmed interview with Kaho Tsutsumi from the DNA Tokusatsu exhibition in Tokyo by kaiju historian Edward L. Holland.
 *  Publicity Announcement (720p; 00:03:50) – From Tokuma Hall, Tokyo on July 9, 1998.
 *  Photo Op (720p; 00:00:55) – August 10, 1998 – Daiei Studio, Tokyo.
 *  Backstage Clip: I Want You to Teach Me Again (720p; 00:04:41)
 *  Shibuto Cine Tower Opening Day (720p; 00:05:59)
 *  Deleted Scenes (720p; 00:10:18)
 *  The Awakening of Irys (Remix) (720p; 00:37:34) – A montage of behind the scenes footage and work-in-progress special effects shots.
 *  Storyboard Animation (720p; 00:06:08)
 *  Special Effects Outtakes (720p; 00:02:19)
 *  Comedy Dub Outtakes (720p; 00:03:23)
 *  Additional English Credits
 *  Trailers & TV Spots
 *  Image Gallery


Kaiju, Gamera, Arrow Video, Bluray, scifi, movie,

Disc 8:

Gamera the Brave (2006) Thirty Three years after Gamera sacrificed his life to save the world, a small boy finds a mysterious egg. From it, hatches a small Turtle. He and his friends raise the turtle. Than a new man-eating creature named Zedus shows up in Japan. It's up to the new Gamera to save the world. ***

Bonus Features:
 *  Commentary by Keith Aiken & Bob Johnson
 *  How to Make a Gamera Movie, a featurette hosted by director Ryuta Tasaki (720p; 00:37:14) – in this archive featurette, the film’s director presents an informative look at how the film was made.
 *  Behind the Scenes of Gamera the Brave, an all-access on-set documentary (720p; 01:03:38) – An archive all-access look into the shooting of the film, including the film’s special effects sequences.
 *  The Men That Made Gamera, a documentary looking back at the series from start to finish, featuring interviews with cast and crew (720p; 00:43:15)
 *  Opening Day Premiere, a featurette showing the cast and crew presenting the film at its first showing (720p; 00:05:00) – The cast and crew present the film at its first public screening at Marunouchi Piccadilly, Tokyo, on April 29th, 2006.
 *  Kaho’s Summer, an interview with the film’s young star (720; 00:10:02)
 *  Special Effects Supercut, a montage of effects shots overseen by FX supervisor Hajime Matsumoto (720p; 00:32:32)
 *  Trailer and image galleries

While the films are not Godzilla, that does not mean these films are not a lot of fun to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. I love the English overdubs as I grew up on those and I am so glad that Arrow Video included them in these sets. For Kaiju fans there is the original Japanese language and English subtitle option.

As for the film transfers these films look and sound astounding! I have been impressed with Arrow Video Blu-rays, but the work and the love that went into this release. I am shocked! Arrow Video deserves major props.

Now this alone would make this Blu-ray collection an absolute must add to any kaiju fan's collection. But Arrow Video went so far above and beyond with this set and added so much more content. Take a look at this additional material.


  • Limited collectors edition packaging, housed in a large-format rigid box, fully illustrated by Matt Frank
  • All twelve uncut original Japanese versions of the films in high definition, with lossless Japanese and English audio 4K restorations of the critically acclaimed Heisei trilogy (Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris)
  • Hours of new and archive bonus features, expert commentaries (including August Ragone, David Kalat, and Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski), interviews with cast and crew, and the worldwide Blu-ray premiere of Gammera The Invincible (the American theatrical version of the first film)
  • Hardback 120-page comic book including a full-color reprint of the four-issue Gamera comic series originally released by Dark Horse Comics in 1996, and the first-ever English-language printing of the prequel comic The Last Hope by Matt Frank and Joshua Bugosh
  • Perfect-bound 80-page book including a new retrospective on the series by Patrick Macias, kaiju X-ray illustrations by Jolyon Yates, and much more!




  • So as you can see this set is something really special. So if you love Kaiju films as much as I do, Gamera is an absolute must own! These set is the absolute best collections produced this year! If you want your copy get one before they are gone by heading over to Amazon.com.





    Out of 4 Film Reels we would score Arrow Video's Blu-ray release of Gamera the Complete Collection....
    (It deserves all four reels and more. It is that good of a release.)

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