Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)

gamera vs zigara poster 1971 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Kaiju fights

Not very inspired

Movie Info

Movie Name: Gamera vs. Zigra

Studio:  Daiei Film

Genre(s): B-Movie/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  July 17, 1971

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

gamera vs. zigra aliens

That’s right, we’re the Zigrans, you’re my prisoners, and I’m feeling sassy!

The Zigrans have targeted Earth for its vast oceans and the food that the humans can provide them.  With the ability to create earthquakes and a powerful beast named Zigra protecting the UFO, the Zigrans might be invincible.  SeaWorld employees Dr. Tom Wallace (Kōji Fujiyama), Dr. Yosuke Ishikawa (Isamu Saeki), Kenichi (Shin Minatsu), and Helen (Gloria Zoellner) witness the arrival of the Zigrans and face off against the Zigran woman (Eiko Yanami) aboard the ship.  Kenichi and Helen and their belief in Gamera could be the only hope for the world and the means to stop Zigra.

Directed by Noriaki Yuasa, Gamera vs. Zigra (ガメラ対深海怪獣ジグラ or Gamera tai Shinkai Kaijū Jigura aka Gamera vs. Deep-Sea Monster Zigra) is a Japanese kaiju movie.  Following Gamera vs. Jiger in 1970, the film is the seventh film in the Gamera series and was also featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K #4-16).

gamera vs zigra kaiju fight

Suck on this, Turtle-Boy!

Gamera lived in people’s minds as the knock-off Godzilla.  Though it is largely true, Gamera does have its moments…unfortunately, Gamera vs. Zigra isn’t one of the most memorable entries.

Like many of the kaiju movies, the real threat is an alien race that just happens to use the titled kaiju as their object of destruction.  Here the Zigrans use a swordfish type monster named Zigra to threaten humanity.  Of course in classic Gamera fashion, a couple of endangered children bring Gamera into the fray, and Gamera (after a few battles that are kind of close) manages to defeat Zigra, save the children, and in turn save the world…it isn’t very inspired, but it is what you’d expect.

What continues to be odd about the Gamera series is their attempts to Americanize them in a fashion that is more progressive than the more popular Godzilla.  Like the previous few entries, one of the endangered children is an American living in Japan.  The story also “swims” around SeaWorld and feels like it is almost cross promotion for the attraction in Japan.

gamera vs zigra underwater kaiju fight

You shall not hurt my tiny submarine friends!!!

Needless to say, the attraction of kaiju movies are the kaiju themselves, and the steadfast Gamera has a challenge in Zigra.  The monster resembles a fish who can sometimes stand, can swim, and can sometimes fly.  It pretty much is utilized however the story needs it to be.  He isn’t my favorite Gamera kaiju (I think that knifehead Guiron may still hold that title), and Zigra feels rather uninspired like the movie.

Gamera is second class to Godzilla.  You can argue that Godzilla films are no cinematic masterpieces, but Gamera movies are definitely a step down from them.  The Gamera series in general is a means to just capitalize on Godzilla, and as seen in other duplicated genres and series, the knock-off often feels like a knock-off.  Gamera goes into a bit of a hibernation after this movie and takes a few years off.  Gamera vs. Zigra was followed by Gamera, Super Monster in 1980 which finished off the Shōwa period of Gamera.

Preceded By:

Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)

Followed By:

Gamera, Super Monster (1980)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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