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Gamera:  The Box 1965 - 1968
Box Set (Region 2)
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Box Front
Includes:  Gamera, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, and Gamera vs. Viras
DVD 4-Disc Box Set Released By:  Toshiba / Daiei Video (Japan)
Region: 2
Format: NTSC
Packaging: Four discs in keepcases, and a book, housed in a box big enough to hold all eight Showa Gamera DVDs.
MSRP: 20,000 yen
UPC #: 4988008040081
Catalog #: TKBU-5075
Status:  Out of print


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Review: The Gamera:  The Box 1965 – 1968 Box Set includes the first four Showa Gamera films, each on their own disc and packaged in keepcases.  The box is big enough to hold all eight Gamera DVDs.  (The latter four entries in the series are available separately, or in their own box set.)  The extra space in the box is taken up by a cardboard insert, which has Japanese writing on it. 

The box itself is very sturdy.  The cardboard is thick and more substantial than most DVD set boxes.  It features striking full-color artwork by Shinji Higuchi, the special effects director of the
Heisei Gamera series.  This colorful wraparound collage features Gamera and all of his adversaries in one spectacular scene of destruction.  This is one of the best-looking DVD sets ever!

Following are brief synopses of the included films.  For your convenience, the “Final Analysis” of each disc is also included.

Gamera (1965): An atomic explosion in the Arctic releases Gamera from eons of slumber beneath the ice.  He causes mass destruction across Japan until being launched into space by the Z-Plan.  A solid monster movie.  Final Analysis: Except for some video issues, this disc is a good presentation of the very first Gamera movie.  Final Grade:  B

Gamera vs. Barugon (1966): A jewel recovered from a tropical island turns out to be the egg of a monster.  It hatches a lizard-like creature with freezing breath that can stop Gamera cold.  One of the best films in the original series.  Final Analysis: Excellent presentation of one of the best films in the Showa Gamera series.  Highly recommended.  Final Grade:  A

Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967): The flying monster Gyaos emerges from a mountain to dine on Japanese villagers.  When it goes too far by trying to eat a young boy, Gamera arrives for a showdown.  Possibly the best film of the original series.  Final Analysis: Excellent presentation of one of the best films in the Showa Gamera series.  Highly recommended.  Final Grade:  A

Gamera vs. Viras (1968): Squid-like aliens abduct two resourceful boy scouts.  They attempt to use the hostages, and a mind-control device, to make Gamera their slave.  Stock footage and a lackluster enemy monster make this one of the poorest Gamera films.  Final Analysis: Excellent presentation of what is unfortunately one of the low points of the Showa Gamera series.  Recommended for fans of the film and completists.  Final Grade:  B

Please refer to the individual reviews for detailed specs and features of each disc. The individual discs are very consistent.  In general, they present the movie in anamorphic widescreen and Japanese 2.0 mono, with optional English subtitles.  Extras include theatrical trailers, monster anatomy, and interviews with director Noriaki Yuasa.

This box set also includes a book,
Complete of Gamera 1965 – 1980.  The cover is about the same size as a DVD case, so it fits nicely in the box, even with all eight DVDs.  The book is 79 glossy pages, some full color and some black & white.  The text is all in Japanese.  It starts off with pictures of the various Gamera suits and props, and a map showing where each monster battle took place.  Each of the eight films has a “Story Digest” which includes pictures of the characters and the monsters.  The “Story Digest Extra” section has a page each devoted to Daigunju Nezura (“Swarm of Rats”), an aborted Daiei production that preceded the original Gamera; and a proposed (but unmade) Gamera film, Gamera vs. Garasharp.  Next, there are two pages on the women of the Gamera series.  An extensive production section includes interviews with director Noriaki Yuasa and other members of the crew.  There are also behind-the-scenes photos of the sets and monster suits, and concept artwork.  The final couple of pages are a gallery of posters and other publicity materials, lobby cards, books, and toys.  Even for fans that can’t read Japanese, this is an interesting book.  It makes a great addition to the set!

The Showa Gamera series suffers a reputation as cheap, shoddy films.  However, this is largely due to their typical substandard presentation in the West.  Fullscreen transfers don’t do the widescreen cinematography justice.  Faded, grainy video images can make any film look cheap.  While undeniably low budget by American standards, most of the Showa Gamera films are bright, colorful, and well-crafted.  Seen in the proper light, they are genuinely fun; not just campy films to be derided and laughed at.  The individual discs are high quality; the design of the box itself and the book are first-rate.  While the set is expensive, there is no better way to enjoy and appreciate these films.  The
Gamera:  The Box 1965 – 1968 Box Set is very highly recommended.  Grade for the Set:  A
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Additional Images
(Click For Larger Images):
The Total Package!
The Total Package! The Total Package!
The Total Package!
Front Cover Back Cover
Complete of Gamera 1965 - 1980 Front (Left) and Back (Right) Book Cover
The Complete Showa Gamera DVD Collection! The Complete Showa Gamera DVD Collection!
The Complete Showa Gamera DVD Collection!
Add Gamera:  The Box 1969 - 1980 Box Set (sold separately) to your collection, and this is what you get!
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