|Gamera the Brave|
|Directed by||Ryuta Tasaki|
|Produced by||Yoichi Arishige|
|Written by||Yukari Tatsui|
|Music by||Yoko Ueno|
|Editing by||Shogo Hirasawa|
|Distributed by||Kadokawa Daiei Studio|
|Released||April 29, 2006|
|Running time||96 minutes|
|Preceded by||Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris|
Gamera for the boys, the boys for Gamera (ガメラは少年のために、少年はガメラのために)
Gamera the Brave, released in Japan as Chīsaki Yūsha Tachi ～Gamera～ (小さき勇者たち～ガメラ～?), is a tokusatsu kaiju film released in 2006, produced by Kadokawa Pictures. This is the 12th and final Gamera film and the first produced by Kadokawa Pictures after they purchased a percentage of the remaining assets of Daiei Motion Picture Company, the original company responsible for the Gamera films. This film is the the first and only Gamera film in the Millenium series. lit. Little Braves of Gamera
In 1973, Gamera self-destructed to kill a flock of Gyaos, which were attacking a small village. One of the survivors was a little boy. Thirty three years later, the little boy has grown up and owns a small restaurant in the Japanese coastal town of Iseshima. He has a son named Toru.
Toru's mother has recently died in a car crash, and this is his first summer without her. When playing on the beach with his friends, he sees a strange red glow emanating from a nearby rock formation. He decides to investigate it. Toru finds an egg lying on top of a strange red rock with patterns carved into it. When he picks up the egg, a baby turtle hatches. Toru names him "Toto", which is what his mother used to call him.
Toru takes Toto home but keeps him a secret from his father who doesn't allow pets in the house. The only people he tells are his friends and his next door neighbor, a girl named Mai who is slightly older than Toru and looks after him. Toto soon reveals himself to be no ordinary turtle, as he flies and shoots fireballs from his mouth. Mai begins to suspect that Toto is actually the son of Gamera and she tries to convince Toru that keeping him is not a good idea. Toru tries not to believe her, reasoning that Toto can't be a Gamera; otherwise he would be 200 feet tall.
Toru can't bear the thought that Toto might be a kaiju. But soon Toto starts to grow and quickly becomes the size of an adult turtle. Too large to hide, Toru and his friends move Toto to an abandoned shack on the beach to keep him. Unfortunately, one day Toru comes up to check on Toto and realizing he is gone, is devastated.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Iseshima, many bizarre shipping disasters have been occurring. No one knows what is happening, or what is causing the disasters. As Toru is sulking over the loss with his friends, tornado sirens begin blaring. Heavy stomping begin to be heard, and soon the dinosaur-like monster Zedus appears.
Zedus eats several people trying to run away. Out of no where, Toto appears and is much larger. Sporting tusks, Toto is ready for battle. Toto gets pummeled in his first battle, falling victim to Zedus' long, piercing tongue and the government shortly arrives to capture and investigate him. In order to combat this new menace, they hook Toto up to a machine which feeds him a liquid version of the strange red stone that Toru had found the egg laying on, which scientists theorize gives Gameras their power.
Zedus attacks again, and a newly revitalized Toto flies out to battle him. Zedus uses his agility and long kicking legs to his advantage to put Toto at a disadvantage. Toto needs to eat the stone his egg rested on if he is to truly become a Gamera. Unfortunately, Toru had given the stone to Mai earlier for good luck for her hospital operation. From a news report Mai also knows of the stone's power, and all these children create a courier service where one child delivers the stone to another, always repeating the words "For Toto!"
The stone eventually gets to Toru, who runs into the evacuated city to give it to Toto. His worried father catches up to him and tries to stop Toru out of fear that he will be killed if Toto self-destructs like his father did in 1973. Toru's father eventually decides they might as well continue as they are already in a perilous situation.
They go to the top of the building where Zedus had lodged Toto earlier, and after a short monologue, Toru throws the stone into Toto's mouth. Toto breaks out of the building, now a fully fledged Gamera. Toto then flies towards Zedus and tackles him, knocking him off the building. Toto tears off Zedus' deadly tongue, and blasts him with a fireball, killing him. The government surrounds Toto to study him, but Toru stalls them long enough for Toto to escape. The film ends as Toto flies into the sky and Toru says "Sayounara, Gamera".
- Ryo Tomioka as Toru Aizawa
- Kaho as Mai Nishio
- Himawari Ono as Girl carrying red stone
- Kanji Tsuda as Kosuke Aizawa, Toru's father and owner of Aizawa's Diner
- Susumu Terajima as Osamu Nishio, Mai's father and owner of Nishio Pearl Shop
- Kaoru Okunuki as Harumi Nishio, Mai's mother
- Megumi Kobayashi as Miyuki Aizawa, Toru's mother
- Shingo Ishikawa as Masaru "Ishimaru" Ishida, Toru's friend
- Shogo Narita as Katsuya Ishida, Masaru's brother
- Kenjiro Ishimaru as Professor Soichiro Amamiya, Nagoya University
- Tomorowo Taguchi as Councilor Yoshimitsu Hitotsugi, Giant Creature Committee
- Bokuzo Masana as Secretary Yuji Tobata
- Tetsu Watanabe
- Toshinori Sasaki as Avant Gamera / Toto
- Mizuho Yoshida as Zedus
Gamera the Brave was produced by Kadokawa to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Gamera and was initially targeted for a 2005 release date before being delayed into 2006. Kadokawa had previously unsuccessfully approached Toho in 2002 and proposed a crossover film pitting Gamera against Godzilla, with Toho declining.
The storyline of Gamera the Brave was based on "Konaka Gamera", one of the original scripts prepared for Gamera: Guardian of the Universe by Konaka brothers (Chiaki and Kazuya), prior to the script by Kazunori Itō.
Ryuta Tasaki, who had previously directed entries in both the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises, was chosen as the film's director. Because most of Tazaki's previous tokusatsu work was geared toward child audiences, he chose to return Gamera to his roots in the Showa series as a child-friendly monster. Tazaki distanced his interpretation of Gamera from Shusuke Kaneko's more gritty and frightening take and attempted to make a film which emulated the style of Noriaki Yuasa and Eiji Tsuburaya. Tasaki chose to establish Gamera as having appeared previously in 1973 and clearly established as a friend to humanity from the start, whereas in Kaneko's trilogy mankind initially designated Gamera as an enemy. He also had the film focus on Toto being raised by the protagonist, so as to establish a strong relationship between monster and man. Gamera the Brave would be the first film for screenwriter Yukari Tatsui.
The setting of Gamera the Brave consisted of two locations: Shima, Mie Prefecture and Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. The film's opening sequence set in Shima in 1973 was filmed in Toba, while present-day scenes were filmed in Shima proper as well as neighbouring areas in Mie Prefecture such as Ise, in combination with studio sets. Toru and his father's home was a real building, as was the Nishio Pearl Shop. For Toto and Zedus' battle in Shima, location shooting was performed at the then-under-construction Shima Pearl Bridge. Location shooting was also done in Nagoya, with two trucks of debris being brought into the city for filming. The majority of urban scenes in Nagoya were filmed in the actual city, while scenes set at the hospital were filmed in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture.
13 live African spurred tortoises were used to portray the young Toto, with the red pattern on their shells being painted on. For scenes involving Toto flying or falling, soft vinyl models were used instead. A 1 meter remote-controlled animatronic was used for Toto as he grew even larger. A full-size 5 meter Toto prop was created for filming and used extensively during advertising campaigns. The prop was present in Shima when the filmmakers put out live calls for extras. Most performers in the film were unpaid extras: approximately 3,000 extras were used in the film while over 10,000 applied. Press members who served as unpaid extras were rewarded with the opportunity to interview Tasaki, while other unpaid extras were rewarded with free t-shirts for the film. Elementary school students and local government officials were among the many extras used throughout the film.
Gamera the Brave was the first Gamera film shot using digital photography, which was intended to reduce costs and shorten the filming period. The film also made extensive use of digital compositing to accomplish many of its effects shots. The fictional island where Toru discovers Toto's egg was created by filming the real island of Kami-shima and digitally editing out surrounding ships and adding computer-generated scenery such as rocks. To depict the lighthouse on the island collapsing, multiple layers were composited together, including one with the lighthouse itself, one showing falling debris, and another showing fleeing civilians. Chroma key was utilized to composite footage of extras on the side of the road watching Toto being transported. Shots of Toto's head were composited over footage of the extras. The filmmakers were able to seamlessly composite this footage so long as none of the extras was wearing green and requested that any extras wearing green change their clothing. While there was no need for extras to wear certain clothing colours in scenes that did not utilize chroma key, they were specifically made to not wear green in any scenes that did require it. Chroma key was also used for the fight scenes between Toto and Zedus to place them into live-action footage of Shima and Nagoya. Any people present in the footage of the cities were digitally removed. Zedus' arrival in Shima was accomplished by combining actual footage of Shima with footage of Zedus filmed on an open set. Some shots of the live tortoises used to portray Toto were digitally enhanced with CGI to show them extending their necks or opening their mouths, as well as to create some of Toto's facial expressions. Shots of Toto flying near the end of the film were accomplished completely with CGI.
- During a scene involving Toto as a baby turtle exploring Toru's home, he wanders into the kitchen where Toru's father is feverishly cooking. As the father turns, he knocks a knife off of the counter and it lands with the bottom edge sticking into the ground and the point rising up above Toto's head, looking quite similar to a former foe of Gamera's, Guiron. He shoots a fireball at it with an angry expression on his face and wanders away, leaving Toru's father (who never saw the little turtle) to pick up his singed knife with a confused look on his face.
- The Twin Towers where Toto fights Zedus is located at Nagoya Station.
- Some of the roars used by Toto are from the same audio tracks originally used by King Kong in the 1976 remake.
- Eiga Hiho (映画秘宝), 2021, Vol.April
- Heisei Gamera Perfection (平成ガメラ パーフェクション), 2014, KADOKAWA/ASCII Media Works