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Gamera vs. Gyaos (Region 2)
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Box Front Japanese Title: Daikaiju Kuchusen:  Gamera Tai Gyaosu (“Giant Monster Air Battle:  Gamera vs. Gyaos”)
Original U.S. Release Title: Return Of The Giant Monsters
Alternate Titles: Gamera vs. Gaos (U.S. TV & video title), Gamera vs. Gaos:  Boy Eiichi And The Super Monsters (international title)
Director: Noriaki Yuasa (Gamera)
Original Release Year: 1967
Running Time: 86 minutes
Official Website: www.gamera.jp

DVD Released By: Toshiba / Daiei (Japan)
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: Japanese mono
Extras: Cast / crew filmographies (?), anatomy of Gyaos, theatrical trailer, interview with director Noriaki Yuasa
Subtitles: English
Closed Captions: None
Region: 2
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 19
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: 4,700 yen
UPC #: 4988008039887
Catalog #: TKBU-5073
Status: Available (individually, or as part of the Gamera:  The Box 1965 - 1968 Box Set).


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: There is a rash of seismic and volcanic activity in the area of Mt. Fuji.  Gamera is drawn to the flames and disappears into a volcano.  In a nearby rural area, a highway construction project has stalled.  The local villagers refuse to sell their land to the construction company.  By the advice of the village headmaster, they are holding out for more money.  The situation becomes even tenser when it is discovered that another monster is living nearby!  Concealed in a subterranean cavern that gives off an ominous green glow is the flying monster Gyaos, which emerges at night to feed.  Gyaos resembles a prehistoric flying reptile, and it emits a supersonic ray that can slice through almost anything.

When Gyaos threatens Eiichi, the village headmaster’s grandson, Gamera arrives to save the boy.  Gyaos retreats back into the mountain, and Gamera places the boy on his back and flies him to safety.  After forever cementing his position as “friend to children,” Gamera disappears into the sea to heal his wounds.

When the monsters next battle in the city of Nagoya, it is Gyaos who is wounded.  The flying monster loses part of a foot to Gamera.  Scientists examine the severed toes, and conclude that Gyaos isn’t just nocturnal by choice; it is damaged by ultraviolet light.  If Gyaos could be kept out in the open past dawn, sunlight would kill it.  A new plan is hatched, and even by kaiju eiga standards, it’s a doozy:  Artificial blood will be used to lure Gyaos atop a revolving platform.  By spinning the platform faster and faster, the monster will be kept in place.  Of course, it takes too much electric power to do this, and amid a shower of sparks the plan fails.  Now it is up to Gamera to exploit his foe’s weakness and triumph.

Gamera vs. Gyaos is perhaps the best film in the original series.  It benefits from exciting monster battles and good special effects.  Gyaos would prove to be Gamera’s most popular and enduring foe.  Despite the simplicity of its design and some stiff movement, the creature manages to “come alive” on film quite well.  Its sonic beam is a unique weapon that is well realized.  The miniature work is also excellent.  Eiich is the most authentic of the many young boys to co-star with Gamera.  He’s neither an introverted outcast nor a child prodigy.  In fact, he’s kind of a brat.  There is also some beautiful mountain forest scenery.  All of these elements combine to make Gamera vs. Gyaos an appealing and entertaining monster movie.  Grade:  A-

Video: The anamorphic widescreen image is crisp and clear.  It has bright colors, is free of grain, and there is extremely little print damage.  Judging by the transfer alone, the film almost looks like it was made this year.  Suffice to say, it has never (and unfortunately probably will never) look this good on region 1 video.  The only drawback is that a picture this sharp and detailed tends to reveal flaws in the special effects.  This film features two flying monsters, and thus a lot of wire work, which is sometimes quite obvious.  (Toho Video apparently realized this and reportedly performed some digital wire-removal on the Heisei Godzilla series for their DVD releases.)  However, it’s a small price to pay for quality.  Grade:  A

Audio: Audio quality is good throughout.  Japanese mono is the sole option, and all of the dialogue, music, and sound effects are reproduced faithfully.  There is no noticeable hissing, popping, or background noise.  The actors’ natural voices are a big improvement over the Sandy Frank dub that was previously available in the U.S. on VHS and subsequently ridiculed by Mystery Science Theater 3000Grade:  A

Extras / Menus: All of the extras are in Japanese, with no subtitles, and are consistent with other disks in the series.  First up, there are seven screens of text that appear to be cast and crew filmographies.  I can’t read Japanese, so I can’t tell for sure.  They can be cycled through back-to-back, or selected individually from their own submenu.  Next is an anatomical detail of Gyaos.  It includes a cut-away view of the monster, with eight text selections that highlight the corresponding organs in the picture.  There is some additional text on the screen which may be statistical data such as height / weight measurements.  The original Japanese theatrical trailer is included, in anamorphic widescreen.  There is more print damage in the trailer than in the feature itself.  Finally, there is a brief (1 ½ minute) interview with director Noriaki Yuasa.  This appears to be part of a larger interview that is spread across all eight Showa Gamera DVD’s.  All of the menus are still images with no music or sound.  Despite being entirely in Japanese, they are easy to navigate.  Grade:  B- (Higher if you can understand Japanese.)

Final Analysis: Excellent presentation of one of the best films in the Gamera series.  Highly recommended.  Final Grade:  A
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