Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)

gamera guardian of the universe poster 1995 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Will be interesting to see more of a planned story

So-so stand alone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe

Studio:  Daiei Studios/Hakuhodo/NTV Network

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

Release Date(s):  March 11, 1995 (Japan)/April 16, 1997 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

gamera guardian of the universe gyaos tokyo tower

I came. I saw. I conquered.

A strange floating island has appeared in Pacific…and a threat to Earth is discovered.  Meanwhile on an isolated island, a race of giant birds called Gyaos have begun attacking humans, but the Gyaos are expanding their range.  The Japanese Self-Defense Forces has a job to stop the threat to Japan and humanity itself.  A girl named Asagi Kusanagi (Ayako Fujitani) finds herself tied to Gamera…and the tie could be deadly.  Is Gamera or Gyaos the real danger and who is powerful enough to stop either of them?

Directed by Shusuke Kaneko, Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe (ガメラ 大怪獣空中決戦 or Gamera: Daikaijū Kūchū Kessen aka Gamera: Giant Monster Midair Battle) is a kaiju action-adventure film.  Following Gamera:  Super Monster in 1980, the film is the first of the Heisei period.

Gamera was always the joke version of Godzilla (which was already rather jokey).  The first of a trilogy, this film marks the start of trying to make Gamera less of a joke…but it still has that Gamera feel that cannot be overcome.

gamera guardian of the universe asagi kusanagi ayako fujitani

I love my soul mate Gamera!

The movie (for the most part) is serious.  There is a threat to the planet and the scientists think that both Gamera and Gyaos are equally evil.  Of course, Gamera is the friend of humanity and is needed to balance out the Gyaos.  The movie in typical kaiju fashion of course leads to a big fight between Gamera and Gyaos, so it is hard to really evolve the film into something new and different since it follows a pattern that has been used for so many years.

As in normal kaiju movies, the film doesn’t really circulate around Gamera but the humans tied to Gamera…and they aren’t very good.  Ayako Fujitani plays the young friend of Gamera and is better than some of the other Gamera “children” that have come over the years.  Shinobu Nakayama primarily deals with the threat of Gyaos (as an ornithologist brought in) while Shinobu Nakayama and Tsuyoshi Ihara are the male leads that are investigating Gamera.

gamera guardian of the universe ending turtle kaiju

Gamera always looks like a 45-year-old dad having a bad day

The movie still utilizes big monsters, but they are more cleaned up than the “classic” Gamera.  It steps up the effects of Gamera, Super Monster which was largely rehash of old Gamera movies, so Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe didn’t have a ton to live up to.  Despite low expectations, the filmmakers did improve the special effects (though not everyone can accept giant monster movies).  This is both good and bad.  The costumes are better looking, but it still doesn’t necessarily mix with the modern special effects.

It is odd watching Gamera or Godzilla films in the modern age that are made in the “modern” age.  They aren’t like the classic films that you know are goofy.  The new films shot in the old style aren’t following the same tone, and the tone is what helps make the movies…and makes them fun.  This film is the first part of a series, but it feels like it is taking the Star Wars approach…meaning this film doesn’t seem to have much bigger connotations.  The movie is what it is.  Gamera battles Gyaos…as a kaiju movie should be.  Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe is followed by Gamera 2:  Attack of the Legion in 1996.

Preceded By:

Gamera, Super Monster (1980)

Followed By:

Gamera 2:  Attack of the Legion (1996)

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.

Leave A Response