Gamera: Rebirth (2023) or The Super Turtle Returns!

Gamera: Rebirth (2023) or The Super Turtle Returns!

Taking a break from my usual viewing of The Ultraman to bring a review of the brand new Gamera anime on Netflix, GAMERA: REBIRTH! Which should come as no surprise since in addition to a steady diet of horror movies, I also consume a lot of giant monster media. While Godzilla is my favorite, I’ve always had a place in my heart for Gamera.

In this series, we follow four kids–Boco, Joe, Junichi and Brody,– as their world is turned upside down on a summer day in 1989 as kaiju start attacking Japan. The first three children have been friends for a long time and are dreading the start of the school year when Boco will be attending a different school from the others. They’re saving up for a radio so they can still communicate with each other. Brody, however, steals their money because he’s a giant asshole. The three decide to get revenge on him but in the middle of executing their plan, giant winged monsters that can shoot lasers out of their mouths and have an appetite for flesh called Gyaos attack. Just when all seems lost, a savior in the form of Gamera, a giant turtle that can fly and shoot fireballs, appears to fight off the monsters since the military can’t do a thing against them.

After the battle, the kids are approached by agents from the Eustace Foundation, a scientific organization that is studying the monsters and may just be responsible for them getting free in the first place. Can they trust the smooth-talking James Tazaki and the beautiful Emiko Melchiorri or is there a sinister motive behind their help?

At six episodes running about 45 minutes each, GAMERA: REBIRTH manages to fit a lot of story and action into a short amount of time. None of the episodes feel overlong and the way they keep you wanting more speaks to the quality of the series. The kids are fun and none of them come across as overly whiny. They each have their own skills to help them navigate the strange situation they are in and survive the multiple kaiju attacks they are forced to endure. Since the Gamera movies have always been about kids at heart, it makes sense that they are the focus.

Speaking of which, the series is definitely a love letter to the Showa era Gamera films, reinventing and redesigning the kaiju from those movies into new, ferocious creatures. Not that most of them needed much work to make them less terrifying considering Gyaos was always a flesh eater and had to be lured into a trap with a fountain of blood in GAMERA VS. GYAOS. But these are certainly leaner and meaner and give Gamera a run for his money as he seeks to protect the children from harm. Gamera himself looks more like the Heisei incarnation, which isn’t bad as that design was hard to top, and flies using the fins from GAMERA 2: THE ADVENT OF LEGION. Just look at the chonky boy below.

Through the fire and flames with everyone’s favorite turtle!

The animation is clean and crisp and feels similar to the Netflix ULTRAMAN series. I know a lot of people complained about the choppiness but it looks fine to me and is only jarring at first. The GODZILLA animated films were in the same boat and you get used to it as you are drawn into the story. The fights are well done and I love seeing how Gamera is going to pull off a win. He has a couple of great moves that you have to see to believe and I’m not going to spoil them. Gamera himself takes a lot of abuse in the fights but keeps on trucking. I half-expect him to say “You gotta be fucking kidding me” every time a new foe appears but he takes his protection duty seriously and never gives up.

GAMERA: REBIRTH is available for streaming on Netflix right now, so go and check it out! Also go watch GODZILLA: SINGULAR POINT and ULTRAMAN while you are at it to let them know we want more giant monster action!