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Gamera vs. Zigra (Region 2)
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Box Front Japanese Title: Gamera Tai Shinkai Kaiju Jigura (“Gamera vs. Deep Sea Monster Zigra”)
Alternate Titles: Gamera vs. Zigra, Deep Sea Monster (international title)
Director: Noriaki Yuasa
Original Release Year: 1971
Running Time: 88 minutes
Official Website: www.gamera.jp

DVD Released By: Toshiba / Daiei (Japan)
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: Japanese mono
Extras: Cast / crew filmographies (?), anatomy of Zigra, theatrical trailer, interview with director Noriaki Yuasa
Subtitles: English
Closed Captions: None
Region: 2
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 25
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: 4,700 yen
UPC #: 498808040388
Catalog #: TKBU-5078
Status: Available (individually, or as part of the Gamera:  The Box 1969 - 1980 Box Set).


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Young Kenichi and Helen stow away with their fathers, who are Sea World employees conducting field research.  The childrens’ scolding is interrupted by a spaceship landing in the ocean!  As the foursome row out to investigate, Gamera appears in the skies overhead.  A strange ray from beneath the waves transports the entire boat inside the submerged spaceship.  There they meet a woman who claims to be from the planet Zigra.  If the Earth doesn’t surrender to her, she threatens to destroy the major cities of the world with powerful earthquakes.

While the adults are rendered unconscious, the children figure out how to reverse the ray and escape.  The shark-like alien Zigra (is he named after the planet, or vice versa?) orders the woman to kill them.  While she follows them back to Sea World, Gamera destroys the Zigran craft.  Zigra himself quickly grows to daikaiju proportions.  Gamera manages to bring the hostile alien ashore, but is knocked out by Zigra’s ray.  While Ken and Helen evade the spacewoman, scientists and the military hunker down in their Sea World HQ to figure out how to revive Gamera and deal with Zigra.

Gamera vs. Zigra is one of the weaker entries in the series.  It takes a while for the monster action to get started (almost 50 minutes), and the two lead children are annoying.  On the plus side, the underwater action looks good, and Zigra is a well-designed monster.  The music is also improved over the previous few entries, which tended to re-use the simplistic and annoying musical cues introduced in Gamera vs. Viras.  (The “chase theme” for the woman pursing the kids around Sea World is particularly groovy.)  All in all, Gamera vs. Zigra has its problems, but remains enjoyable for Gamera fans.  Grade:  C

Video: The anamorphic widescreen image is crisp and clear.  It has bright colors, and there is extremely little print damage.  There is one scene (the air force attacking Zigra) that is noticeably grainy, and is marred by occasional vertical lines.  It’s a very minor problem.  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.  (Personally, I prefer Zigra’s English-dubbed voice to the original Japanese.)  There is no noticeable hissing, popping, or background noise.  The Gamera song returns, with yet another slightly different set of lyrics.  Grade:  A

Extras / Menus: This disk has fewer extras than most others in the series.  All of the extras are in Japanese, with no subtitles.  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 Zigra.  It includes a cut-away view of the monster, with six 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.  Finally, there is a brief (2 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 fairly easy to navigate.  Grade:  C (Higher if you can understand Japanese.)

Final Analysis: Excellent presentation of a flawed, but enjoyable, movie.  It’s the last “real” Showa Gamera film, so enjoy!
Final Grade:  B+
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