|Daiei's Gamera Series|
|Species||Dark Being/Evil God|
|Tentacle Length||1,999 metres|
|Air speed||Mach 9|
Ayana Hirasaka (adoptive mother/spiritual connector)
|First appearance||Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris|
Iris (イリス?) Irisu[note 1] is the main antagonist kaiju from the third & final film in the Heisei Gamera trilogy, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. Iris is the last, and possibly toughest, opponent Gamera fought in the Heisei Gamera Trilogy. Its physical appearance harkens back to the tentacled entities of the Cthulhu Mythos.
Form and abilities[edit | edit source]
The baby Iris has an armoured, mouth-less head with small black eyes and several long tentacles which sprout from a snail-like shell. It can absorb the life force of organic matter by stabbing them with its tentacle spears, leaving decayed corpses in its wake. The Behind The Scenes feature on ADV Film's DVD shows it was realized on-screen by a remotely-operated puppet.
The adult Iris is basically a bipedal creature with two hooved legs and retractable sword-like arms, topped by a head that resembles a pointed seashell. Its back is a mass of saw-edged plates, and from its sides spring four tentacles hundreds of meters long. Each of these is tipped with a bony spearhead, from which Iris can fire a sonic beam similar to the Gyaos. Iris can still drain the life force from its victims, and in the case of Gamera it was able to absorb the monster's abilities and produce its own fireballs. Its chest region is also covered in glossy, bio-luminescent patches. The centre patch can suck things into its body. Iris' blood is a neon-green hue.
Profile[edit | edit source]
- Height: 99 metres
- Weight: 199 tons
- Wing Span: 199.9 meters
- Tentacle Length: 1,999 meters
- Max Flight Speed: Mach 9
- Main Organs:
- Shell: On his Back Iris has a hard carapace similar to a turtle shell.
- Telepathy Brain: Like Gamera, Iris has his own orihalcum bead with which he can communicate with Ayana, strengthening him.
- Tentacles: Iris had four tentacles that can be used to absorb nutrients from other organism. They were also used to deflect Gamera's fireballs.
- Tentacle Tips: Each Tentacle is tipped by a bony arrow head shaped covering that can open. It can fire the same sonic beam as the Gyaos.
- Wings: Iris can form light emitting membranes on it tentacles to serve as wings for flight.
- Arms: Iris' arms sport one retractable blade on each, the blades can pierce Gamera's body like spears and absorb body fluids.
- DNA Analysis: Iris can analyse the DNA of any creature from the body fluids it absorbs via its arm blades.
- Chromosamal Manipulations: Like the Gyaos and Gamera Iris can manipulate its own chromosones to adapt and evolve to suit its environments. It can also adapt to incorporate any DNA it absorbed.
- Jet Propulsion: Like Gamera, Iris has jet propulsion for flight, using plasma to fly as well as it wings. However it is more dependent on it's plasma than its wings.
- Main Techniques:
- Sonic Scalpel: The same technique used by the Gyaos, Iris can fire this sonic beam from any one of its Tentacles via their bony tips.
- Overboost Plasma: After it had absorbed Gamera's DNA, Iris could then fire its own version of the mighty Turtle Plasma Fireballs. They were fired from it tentacle tips.
History within the film[edit | edit source]
Iris begins its life as a stone egg, sealed within a small underground temple in Nara village and guarded over by a family line named Moribe - local legend said it was the resting place of a demon called Ryu-Sei-Cho. (A character explains this name to be linked to Chinese mythology) A stone of unknown origin is said to keep the demon dormant as long as it's not moved.
A young girl named Ayana Hirasaka - left an orphan by the 1995 Gamera/Gyaos battle and blaming Gamera f
or her parent's deaths - entered the cave on a dare and moved the stone. In the process she and the latest son of the Mirobe line discover both the egg & an amulet, similar to the one that linked Asagi to Gamera in the first film. The egg later hatched, produced an infant Iris.
Ayana gains a link to the creature via the amulet and feels a kinship with the creature, stating at one point "Gamera killed its family too"; driven by total hatred for Gamera, she raises Iris (naming it after her dead pet cat) in hopes that it will become strong enough to kill him for her. It was shown to have an affectionate nature, but this is shown alongside the sinister way it eats and, later in the film, the woodland animals it leaves dead.
It is not long before Iris it attempts to merge with Ayana - and her actions show she's willingly letting it do so - by sealing her in a cocoon. Moribe discovers her and cuts her free. She is then taken to a hospital. While Ayana is gone, Iris grows kaiju-sized in the woods as it devours several villagers, including Ayana's adoptive parents and brother. Shortly, the monster grows into its adult form.
The Japanese Self Defense Force quickly deploys and surrounds Iris as it sleeps, attempting to take it out with machine guns and bazookas. Some of the soldiers are killed before Iris takes to the sky and heads for Kyoto, where Ayana had been transferred earlier. The JSDF sends two F-15s in an attempt to shoot Iris down, but it is able to evade them and almost kills them. The fighter pilots are saved by the sudden arrival of Gamera, who engages Iris in a mid-air battle. The JSDF ends the battle by shooting at Gamera, which slows him down and allows Iris to continue on to Kyoto.
Soon, Iris lands in Kyoto and fights Gamera on land with Ayana watching and commanding to kill it. Iris manages to knock Gamera down for the count and then attempts again to merge with Ayana; when Moribe intervenes, the creature swats him aside and sucks her into its body against her will. While inside, Ayana realizes that she fueled Iris' destruction with her emotions - it was her hatred that led to the death of her adopted parents, and Super Gyaos instead of Gamera actually killed her parents. All seems lost until Gamera suddenly punches through Iris' armor and rips Ayana out.
Infuriated, Iris pins Gamera's hand to a wall with its spear hand and begins to absorb Gamera's energy. Its tentacles begin to form plasma balls, when Gamera quickly uses a plasma ball himself to sever his own hand. Iris fires the absorbed plasma balls at Gamera who uses his stump to turn the plasma into a plasma fist. Gamera then uses the fist to slice through Iris' chest, killing it and ending its reign of terror.
Unconfirmed origins and motives[edit | edit source]
The origins of Iris are not explained, and instead the film presents Chinese mythology as explained by Ayana's adoptive brother, the beliefs of the Moribe clan matriach, the theories of government agent/misanthropic recluse Kurata Shinji and the actions of government agent & cultist Ms Asukara.
Grandmother Moribe states that the Ryu-Sei-Cho is a demonic creature that will destroy the world if it is ever released. In contrast, the mythology that the Ryu-Sei-Cho name comes from suggests that the being is the mythical "Guardian of the South", who will defend against a threat from the South; a tortoise (hinted to be Gamera) is said to be Guardian of the North and Ayana asks if the two Guardians are rivals (this was unconfirmed). 
Asukara, who (at the start of the Kyoto battle) Kurata refers to as a former shrine priestess and hints her bloodline goes back to the Atlanteans, believes Iris to be a saviour against the "evil spirit" Gamera who threatens to destroy Heaven and Earth. With Kurata's help, she has Ayana moved from hospital to Kyoto, where she's built a shrine and where she attempts to use Ayana & her amulet to deliberately draw Iris to Kyoto. She later seizes the amulet for herself to join with Iris against Gamera (calling it "the God Naibo") and the amulet does appear to react, but no serious connection is made and she's killed in the process.
Kurata's belief is that Iris was designed by "the ancients" (Atlanteans), as Gamera and Gyaos was, but with the specific intention to stop Gamera from saving humanity from the Gyaos - "there could be a worse future for Earth than our extinction" and Iris was created to stop that future. He theorises it will permanently merge with Ayana to gain power, similar to how Gamera bonded with Asagi but to a greater degree so it can overpower the guardian.  Here, Iris is basically out to ensure extinction of mankind (something he openly likes the sound of).
Kurata's belief fits in with what is shown of Iris and its actions: it is specifically awoken by the Gamera-hating Ayana, who lifts a stone it is stated a sumo wrestler couldn't move; like Gamera, it has an Atlantean amulet that links it to a human (effectively making it the anti-Gamera); through Asukara, said to be an Atlantean descendant, it is shown there is a long-running religious belief that Iris will protect Earth from destruction by Gamera; and after it is destroyed and Gamera is wounded, Gyaos flock towards Japan as if they know it's left them an opening.
It is also shown that Ayana's hatred and malice drives Iris, and it was her influence that caused it to massacre her village & adoptive family and seemingly her influence that causes it to attack Gamera. This could mean Iris' development was warped by contact with Ayana and it would not have been hostile otherwise, or simply that the creature was designed to be awoken by and to seek out individuals with such hostility in them.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Although Mother Legion is the tallest opponent Gamera has faced, Iris is easily the longest, with his adult form's tentacles being nearly 2 kilometers long when fully outstretched.
- Like SpaceGodzilla from the Godzilla series, Iris' origin is contested. While it is assumed that like Gamera and the Gyaos, Iris was created by the Atlanteans, it is also suggested that Iris is the Guardian of the South in East-Asian Mythology, corresponding to the real Vermilion Bird constellation. Furthermore, Mayumi Nagamine proposes that Iris is simply a mutation of the Gyaos. All that is known is that Iris is genetically related to the Gyaos, and has some kind of connection to the Atlanteans. Whether they in fact created Iris and why they did is unknown.
- Iris is the sole monster in the Gamera series who has no mouth. However, this doesn't hinder its communicative abilities. As a baby, Iris makes light chirping noises, while as an adult, it makes loud droning and humming sounds.
- Iris' adult form was portrayed by suit actor Akira Ohashi, who played Gamera himself in the previous film, Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion. Ohashi also plays Trauma Gamera in Ayana Hirasaka's nightmare sequence in the film, since it is portrayed using a refurbished Gamera suit from Gamera 2.
- The 2003 ADV Films DVD release of Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris included a feature-length "gag extra" where Gamera and Iris do an audio commentary together, speaking in pure human English throughout, with Gamera portrayed as a man with a stereotypical British thespian voice, and Iris, probably due to its connection with the vampiric Gyaos, portrayed as a woman with a thick Eastern European accent.
- Iris's design was initially inspired from the Blinking Spirit from Magic The Gathering series.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Sometimes spelt Irys in the West
References[edit | edit source]
- Heisei Gamera Perfection, Dengeki hobby books (2014) KADOKAWA/アスキー・メディアワークス, p.216, ISBN-10 : 4048918818