Gamera: Revenge of Iris/irys 1999 Movie Review

Written by Barney Buckley

Email Address – bbuckley@triad.rr.com


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Movie Information 

  • Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
  • Produced by Miyuki Nanri, Naoki Sato, Tsutomu Tsuchikawa
  • Studio Daiei Film
  • Release Dates March 3, 1999 (Japan)
  • Running Time 108 Min.

Synopsis

Movie opens in an equatorial Jungle in 1999. The ornithologist from Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Nagamine is escorted to a remote jungle village. There she finds the remains of a young Gyaos rotting in the sun and being beaten by the mother the monster’s last meal. Ngamine now realizes that the Gyaos are back.

Segue to a submarine expedition off Okintorishima, Japan’s southernmost point. A research team piloting the robotic submarine, Kaiko, finds dozens of Gamera shells resting on the ocean floor. The team realizes that Gamera is neither unique nor the first of its kind to tread upon Japan.

At this point the title credits roll and feature flashbacks to action sequences seen in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The action then segues back to the pivotal battle in that movie between Gamera and Gyaos.  A professional photographer carries his daughter into the family car and then rushes back into their apartment to retrieve his wife. The father finds his wife trying to get the family cat, Irys out from under the bed.

The cat rushes out of the bed and into the living room, where she finds her husband recklessly taking photos of the battle between Gamera and Gyaos going on right outside their living room window. His indulgence turns out to a fatal mistake as Gamera is hurled into the building, destroying it before the daughter’s horrified eyes. Her last conscious moment is watching the Gamera looming over the freshly made tomb of her parents.

Open eyes wake the girl, Hirasaka, from the nightmares of her past, into the misery of her present. Hirasaka is living in the remote town of Minami Asuka, Nara Prefecture with her brother and uncle. She is very unhappy without her parents and continues to blame Gamera for her misfortune. Her uncle wants Hirisaka to move on and change her name to his family name. She does not want to do this at all.

Segue to military/corporate building where we see two mysterious figures, a man and woman, escorted into a classified storage area. Here the pair are shown several comma-shaped jewels collected by the Japanese government during Gamera’s visit to Sendai during Gamera 2: Advent of Legion. All of the jewels are decayed (perhaps because they need to be in proximity to either Gamera or the individual to whom Gamera is telepathically linked),

Segue to Ryuseicho temple where some girls dare Hirisaka to find a magic stone contained in the temple. If she finds the stone, they will leave her brother alone. Hirisaka finds the stone, which has markings that look similar to Gamera and another strange monster. The stone glows when she touches it. A boy, Moribe, comes on the scene and tells the other girls to shove off. Moribe meets up with Hirisaka, and tells her that she needs to return the stone she took.

Moribe tells his female friend, Miyuke, to stay put. Moribe and Hirisaka carry the Gamera stone back into the cave. Moribe explains that his family’s duty is to be guardians of the temple ruins and to safeguard the very stone Hirisaka has disturbed. The two try to replace the stone but it is too heavy and falls from their grasp, causing a strange wailing sound to issue from deep inside the temple. Hirisaka and Moribe look around and find a strange egg-shaped stone at the back of the temple. All the strange happenings freak out the young couple, who hasten out of the temple.

Her curiosity aroused, Hirisaka asks her cousin about the Ryuseicho. The cousin obliges her, relating to her a portion of Chinese mythology that tells of a Guardian of the South, Ryuseicho. The guardian is aligned with the constellation Hydra, the water snake. Her cousin tells her that a turtle (Gamera) guards the North, a tiger guards the West, and a dragon guards the East. Her cousin tells her that the Guardian of the South is the enemy of the Guardian of the North. This fact interests Hirisaka a great deal.

Segue to Tokyo, where Nagamine returns home and receives a mysterious package from a Shinya Kurata in Kyoto. Bird Lady also receives word from Kobayashi to go to the Monster Damage Control Committee meeting. Walking to the meeting, Nagamine encounters someone who reminds her strongly of the detective she worked with in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Osako. The man denies he is Osako and moves on.

Segue to Minami Asuka, Nara Prefecture. Moribe tries to start up a conversation with Hirisaka’s brother. Moribe learns that his parents accompanied Hirisaka into Tokyo from another town to be with her while she had her appendix taken out. So Hirisaka blames herself (and Gamera) for her parents’ deaths. Hirisaka shows up and puts a quick end to the personal history research. Moribe tries to tell Hirisaka not to hate Gamera, that the big turtle is a friend to humanity. Hirisaka tells Moribe to tell her dead parents that Gamera is a friend of humanity.

Segue to the Tokyo and the Monster Damage Control Committee. Nagamine finds the interior minister, another face from Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, at the proceedings. The minister points out the mysterious woman, Mito Asakura, to Nagamine. Turns out that she is the government’s chief “fortune teller”. Segue to evening in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Osako is hanging out with some other homeless people. Fireballs from Gamera lighting up the sky shatter his rest. Gamera is in pursuit of a Gyaos and unleashes a barrage of fireballs at the beast.

One fireball connects with Gyaos and it plummets into Shibuya, destroying a hotel. Gamera lands in pursuit, and goes after Gyaos with no regard for the people dying all around. Gamera incinerates the stricken Gyaos with a fireball that incinerates everything for a radius of several blocks. A second Gyaos arrives on the scene and attacks Gamera. Gyaos’ sonic beam obliterates several buildings. Amidst the chaos, a small boy is about to be killed by Gyaos’ sonic beam. Gamera shields the boy from the attack and obliterates the Gyaos with a fireball. Chunks of burnt Gyaos fall on Shibuya while the boy tearfully wonders if Gamera is good after all.

News reports flood in about the damage caused by Gamera’s battle with Gyaos. Hirisaka watches these reports and they confirm everything she knows is wrong with Gamera. Casualties hovering between 15-20 thousand people, high-level meetings on Gamera, military mobilizations, all these confirm Gamera as a threat that must be stopped. Hirisaka thus goes back to the Ryuseicho temple ruins, hoping to find something that can be used against Gamera. What Hirisaka does find is a strange jewel shaped like a comma that glows when she touches it, eliciting a strange sound from the surrounding cave.

Segue to Moribe being told by his grandmother that he will one day be guardian of the Ryuseicho and that it must be safeguarded at all costs. Moribe’s grandmother tells him that the Ryuseicho will bring great disaster and sorrow upon Japan if it released. However, nothing should happen as long as the guardian stone remains in place within the temple. Barring the stone, his only defense against the monster is a 10” dagger kept near the shrine.

The dagger can kill the Ryuseicho. He hasn’t quite told her that he has already failed miserably at his task. Moribe then follows a sinking suspicion back to the temple ruins and finds Hirisaka cuddling the infant Ryuseicho. Moribe’s desire to kill the young monster is curtailed by Hirisaka’s affection for the monster, which she names Irys.

Back in Tokyo, Nagamine decides to investigate the mysterious disk sent to her. The disc is a Dreamcast game that simulates environmental effects and civilizations. Shinya Kurata programmed the game. The game revolves around mana, or the planetary life force. The Gyaos attack Japan when it is low in mana, as it was in 1995 and is now in 1999.

Segue to Kyoto, where Shinya Kurata gets a call from Mito Asakura, who tells him that the Japanese government has authorized Gamera’s destruction. Segue to the Ryuseicho shrine, where Moribe I pulling out the 10” dagger to take care of Irys, when Hirisaka shows up with food for Irys.

Moribe confronts Hirisaka about Irys. Hirisaka tells Moribe that Irys and she are very much alike; both have had their families destroyed by Gamera. Moribe, chastened, grudgingly leaves Irys alone. Later, Hirisaka goes to visit Irys, but finds no sign of the creature. Hirisaka chases after Iris and finds the creature wasting away in the forest. Hirisaka comforts Irys, who seems to immediately grow stronger from the attention. Irys then enfolds Hirisaka into an embrace and the two proceed to bond symbiotically.

Segue to the Tokyo Natural History museum. Nagamine meets up with Asagi and the two compare notes on Gamera’s recent activities. Asagi also mentions the mysterious life force “mana”, relating to Nagamine that modern industrial nations drain mana from the earth and this attracts monsters like Gyaos and Legion.

Segue to the Ryuseicho shrine. Hirisaka’s family discovers that she is missing at dinner. They call Moribe to check in. This prompts Moribe to check out the temple ruins to see if anything is amiss. Something is very wrong there. Irys has drawn Hirisaka into a cocoon and is merging with her. Moribe uses the 10” dagger to cut the umbilicus and free Hirisaka. Unfortunately, Hirisaka remains comatose and needs to be sent to the hospital.

Segue to Kyoto, where Shinya Kurata listens to reports of more Gyaos attacks and news of a typhoon approaching Kyoto. Back in Tokyo, Nagamine reconnects with Osako. Osako relates how his life went down the tubes after his encounters with Gyaos and Legion. Nagamine and Osako watch TV report of Gyaos sighting near Minami Asuka in Nara prefecture. Osaki offers to help Nagamine and she immediately accepts his offer.

Nagamine and Osaki visit Nara and find widespread destruction. Unfortunately, the dead do not seem to be victims of a Gyaos attack. Nagamine and Osako learn that phone lines were cut near Ryuseicho temple, so they set off to investigate the temple. The pair visits the shrine and finds the remains of Irys’ birth. Nagamine send the tissue samples off to the National Genetic Research Laboratory to determine if the tissue comes from Gyaos, or another monster. Osako thinks the tissue may come from a new monster.

Just then, Moribe comes running up to the shrine and they learn about Hirisaka’s coma from him. Nagamine and Osako go to the hospital to see Hirisaka, accompanied by Asagi. They immediately notice the jewel on Hirisaka’s chest. Asagi is shocked at Hirisaka’s jewel telling Nagamine that it is like hers but black and larger in size. Nagamine questions Hirisaka’s doctor, who tells her that Hirisaka has an enlarged hippocampus, the brain organ that deals with memory and emotion.

Hirisaka and her condition come to the attention of Shinya Kurata and Mito Asakura. Nagamine get email from her geneticist friend, Sakurai. He tells her that Irys’ chromosomes are not related to Gyaos at all. Headlines appear in newspapers @ Gyaos appearing all over the work. Osako tells Nagamine he wants to question Moribe some more. Suddenly, Hirisaka’s brother shows up and tells Nagamine that Hirisaka has been taken away from hospital to Kyoto.

Segue to Kyoto, where Mito Asakura checks in on the comatose Hirisaka performing a ceremony where she invokes Irys against Gamera. This wakes up both Hirisaka and Irys, who then attacks and kills some campers in Nara.

Nagamine gets a call from the Interior minister, who reveals the location of Hirisaka and Mito Asakura. Nagamine and Asagi travel to Kyoto and are met by Shinya Kurata. They learn that she is linked to Irys and controls Irys. Shinya Kurata continues, telling Nagamine and Asagi how the Gyaos serves a noble purpose, weed out the human populations and restoring mana to the Earth. Nagamine and Asagi do NOT agree with Kurata’s worldview. Shinya Kurata goes on to say how Gamera is an earth vessel and how Gamera should satisfy the needs of the planets more than the needs of man. Kurata believes Gamera does not do this because it is still connected to mankind.

Segue to Nara prefecture, where a GSDF platoon discovers Irys. Irys discovers the GSDF platoon. Irys proceeds to annihilate the platoon in short order.

Segue to Kyoto; Nagamine and Asagi confront Asakura about Hirisaka. Nagamine then proceeds to liberate Hirisaka from Mito Asakura. Osako finds a moribund Moribe sitting alone outside the Ryuseicho temple. Osako tells Moribe to get off his ass and to go to Kyoto if he wants to help her. Nagamine, Asagi and Hirisaka arrive in downtown Kyoto, just as a typhoon hits.

Irys goes airborne and flies toward Kyoto. Irys is picked up by a JSDF AWAC plane, which dispatches JSDF fighter jets. Planes engage Irys but are too slow to hit Irys. Irys closes in on the jets with its tentacles, but ceases it attack with Gamera’s arrival. The two monsters battle in midair. Irys hits Gamera with its tentacle beams while Gamera pummels Irys with his saucer attack. As Irys is hurt, Hirisaka recoils in sympathetic pain. The JSDF intervenes in the battle, firing Patriot missiles at Gamera. These impact, letting Irys escape, but do no damage to Gamera. Gamera races off in pursuit of Irys, who approaches Kyoto. As Gamera approaches Kyoto, the girls encounter Shinya Kurata and Mito Asakura.

Shinya Kurata tells Nagamine, Asagi, and Hirisaka that Irys was created to destroy mankind before Gyaos could. Shinya also predicts Gamera’s defeat at the hands of Irys and that Irys will merge with Hirisaka to become even stronger. Hirisaka senses Irys’ arrival in Kyoto. Irys lands in Kyoto during the typhoon, like some dark god brought to life, and heads toward Kyoto train station – and Hirisaka. Shinya Kurata notes how Hirisaka moves to a balcony to be close to Irys as it approaches her. Mito Asakura looks on and he comments that, although she has the blood of a priestess like Asagi and Hirisaka, her bloodline is too thin to control Irys.

Gamera arrives in Kyoto and rains fireballs down upon Irys, who brushes the attacks aside and turns Kyoto into a raging inferno in the process. Gamera flies by Irys, lands and then moves on Irys. The two monsters face off. Irys is the bigger of the two. As the typhoon subsides, the battle begins. Moribe and Osako arrive in Kyoto and rush towards Kyoto train station, while Gamera and Irys battle one another.

Hirisaka feels the advantage is hers in this battle and orders Irys to kill Gamera. Irys complies by running Gamera through with an arm spike. As Gamera lies impaled on Irys’ arm, Nagamine and Asagi plead desperately with her for Gamera’s life. Mito Asakura then snatches away Hirisaka’s necklace, severing her link with Irys. Mito tries to control Irys herself, but cannot seem to do it. Finally, she manages to compel Irys to withdraw its arm spike from Gamera, but in so doing lets Gamera fall on Kyoto station, and her.

Shinya Kurata also dies at this moment. Gamera and Irys stumble through Kyoto station, destroying it. With Gamera fallen, a triumphant Irys meets up with Hirisaka once more, while Moribe tries desperately to get above Irys to hit him with the 10” dagger. Irys opens itself up to Hirisaka and invites her in. With no other option, Moribe hurls his dagger at Irys. The weapon bounces harmlessly off Irys, but hits Hirisaka, breaking her trance. Too late, she realizes that being sucked into Irys is a bad idea – as she is sucked into Irys. 

All is well with Irys until Gamera rises up yet again and attacks. Irys responds by slamming Irys against the wall of Kyoto station and impaling Gamera’s hand. Then Irys beings to drain Gamera’s life force from the wound it has created. Realizing that death is imminent, Gamera sacrifices its own hand by blowing it off to deny Irys power.

The confusion caused by this act of self-sacrifice allows Gamera to shove its good claw into Irys and remove Irys’ heart (Hirisaka). Meanwhile Asagi tries desperately to free Nagamine from wreckage in Kyoto station. Irys then readies a killing attack on Gamera with its tentacles. Irys fires on Gamera, but Gamera catches the blast in the stump of its hand and drives the energy right back into the exposed chest cavity of Irys.

This reflected energy shatters Irys from the inside out, along with the rest of Kyoto Train station. The girls are protected from the blast by Gamera’s bulk. Nagamine, Asagi and Moribe recover to find Gamera happily stomping on the smoking innards of Irys. Gamera returns a dying Hirisaki to Nagamine and Asagi. The girls try to revive Hirisaki but are unable to keep her from slipping away. Asagi looks up and pleads to Gamera to help Hirisaki.

Gamera accedes, bringing vitality back into Hirisaki with its mighty roar. Hirisaka revives, to the amazement of Nagamine and Asagi and the joy of Moribe. Hirisaka knows NOW that Gamera is not her enemy and not the cause of her parent’s deaths. Gamera moves away from Kyoto Station.

Segue to JSDF headquarters, where reports indicate thousands of Gyaos are descending upon Japan. The JSDF (FINALLY) orders attack orders switched from Gyaos to Gamera. With one last bellow, Gamera sets off through the flames of Kyoto to do battle with the Gyaos horde – mortally wounded, alone. Perhaps for its last battle.

What I like about This Movie

I have to say that this movie is perhaps the most technologically sound out all of the Heisei Series movie. No storyline it does come up short I really didn’t care too much for the storyline and then not saying it’s the worst, but it leaves you hanging just don’t know what happens to Gamera when all the Gyao show up recover in the last movie Gamera messes up the Earth’s energy and now everything is out of whack.

What I like about this movie clearly the suit is the best looking suit of all the Gamera. It has such an evil look than it looks really impressive. Let’s talk about Irys he goes through many stages and she is considered an abnormal or different version of a Gyaos. Like I said earlier many different stages to her final form truly awesome. What I didn’t like about the movie I would have to say I didn’t care too much for the storyline.

Closing Statements

This is a really good movie when it comes to special effects and sound as well. Gamera just looks truly awesome in this and this new monster Irys she does stand apart from all the other once that is for sure. The actual movie goes like this a young girl named Ayana is pissed off at Gamera because in the movie Gamera: Guardian of the Universe 1995 seems to her that Gamera till her parents. In this scene you see a completely different Gamera and it is called Trauma Gamera or Nightmare Gamera this is totally bad ass. I would love to see them doing movie with this suit it would be awesome if they get the storyline right.

Anyway she has a connection with Irys forces Irys to try to kill Gamera however we all know that’s not at work. Towards the end of the movie she realizes that her anger has consumed her rational thinking. Realizes that Gamera is a good guy and all is well in the end. This is one of the best of the best if you watch all of the Heisei Series Gamera movies then you definitely add this one to the list. In the end of the movie Gamera walked out of Kyoto station weary and exhausted with one less arm however you do see a tremendous amount of Gyaos storming in on him. This is where the movie ends however they did not pick up on that in the next movie to me is quite a disappointment because we go back through the child friendly Gamera.

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