KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a ghostwriter of personal memoirs for Story Terrace London and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

1995’s Gamera: Guardian of the Universe was a hit, prompting Daiei Studio to produce the sequel, Gamera: Attack of Legion one year later. Ayako Fujitani returns as Asagi Kusanagi, the teen who bonds with Gamera. The film also stars Japanese soap star (and Granddaughter to Toho Kaiju Eiga star Kumi Mizuno) Miki Mizuno, as a computer scientist aiding the military in unraveling the mysterious life cycle of earth’s latest invader. 

This time, the alien in question is called “Legion.” A symbiotic organism comprised of thousands of little insect soldiers whose mission is to prepare the earth for a flower to grow. Once mature, the space flower launches its seed with a destructive force equivalent to that of a thermonuclear device. There is also a Queen Legion who, much to Gamera’s dismay. sports shooting rays and tendrils as well as a nifty force field.

The story deals with the military and their failed attempts to assuage the Legion. It soon becomes evident that earth will be overtaken by the Legion and the human race will cease to exist. Things begin to look even bleaker when Gamera is mortally wounded during a seed launching in one of the films best special effects sequences set in the city of Sendai. Our hero is literally left a mere shell of himself until he is revived by Asagi and a group of children who bond with him mystically.

The end battle in this, the second of the Heisei Gamera trilogy (so named for its production during the reign of the Japanese Emperor Heisei) is astounding. The Suitmation is superb and Shusuke Kaneko, Shinji Higuchi and crew have bested themselves ten-fold in creature design as well as in areas of execution of the action and drama. 

During the suspenseful finale, the military finally come to the decision to aid Gamera by distracting the Legion soldiers. Once this is accomplished, Gammy uses the life-force of the earth to boost his firepower to destroy the Queen Legion. Mankind is once again safe.

The final scene foreshadows darker things to come in the next film when one character asks, “But we wouldn’t want Gamera as our enemy, would we?” No. No, we wouldn’t. 

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