These are the days that test a person’s heart. So much disinformation scattered across television, the newspapers. and yes, even the ever reliable internet. Is it any surprise that sometimes we confuse friends for enemies and, likewise, enemies for friends? Every so often, we need to have a wake up call, to have a bit of common sense whispered in our ear. That is what I intend to do here and now for my fellow citizens of the world on a subject that is on the minds of everyone. A terrible threat that stands against everything right thinking people considered good and pure. A danger that, even now, waits in the shadows, plotting, planning, hoping to do untoward things towards our cities, our friends, our families.
That’s right. I’m here to talk about Gamera. No other subject could have such great a bearing on life as we know it.
I know the personal risks for speaking out against this unwieldy giant. There might be consequences, such as a fiery death, being smudged between his toe nails, or, worse, being lectured by a small boy with an annoying voice. Nevertheless, I will take these risks for the greater good. Too long has he been seen as a “friend to children everywhere.” Too often has he been called a “Guardian of the Galaxy”. It is time to take a stand, for the good of all, and now that my flying turtle fall-out shelter has finally been finished, I am reasonably prepared to make that stand.
Let’s start with what we know of our subject.
His past is a mystery, lost in the depths of history. According to the noted Doctor Eiji Hidaka, Gamera comes from fabled Atlantis, shortly before that worthy continent vanished beneath the sea. Whether or not he was responsible for his homeland’s sinking beneath the waves is unknown at this time, but it is in the realm of possibility. After all, as Hidaka rightfully pointed out in his best seller Why Noted Zoologists Should Study Mythological Animals:
Plato states that Atlantis once rested in the Atlantic Ocean, between Africa and South America. Gamera, found in the Arctic Ocean, had to have some purpose in the north when he was frozen and forgotten.
Some purpose. And what could that purpose be? Not basking in the summer sun, like a normal turtle. In fact, it is well-known that turtles abhor the cold. What other purpose could Gamera have for being there but to set up an alibi for himself against potential charges of genocide? To this day, a satisfactory answer has yet been given.
We move ahead to more modern times. There is no need to dwell upon the infamous US/Soviet confrontation over the Arctic Ocean that lead to an accidental detonation of a hydrogen bomb. While the area even now shows signs of radiation contamination, a still great problem came from that fateful day. That one blast let loose Gamera from his icy and no doubt too kind prison, and since he has plague the world.
Consider his first actions on regaining mobility. Does he stretch his legs? Does he head to a local bar and order some sake? Does he even ask what day it is? No. Instead, he attacks and sinks a helpless ship, the Chidori Maru. With except for three people, the crew and passengers lost their lives, either as Gamera sank the boat or after in the cold Arctic environment. Perhaps if they were children he would have saved them, eh?
During the next few frightening months, the monster made several destructive appearances, during the course of which the world learned that he ate energy. More to the point, he dines on fire. No wonder he set Tokyo ablaze! He was setting his table for a real smorgasbord, with power lines for the trimming!
Not long after this discovery, Humanity made its one and only attempt at ridding the planet of this terror. The details of Plan Z are, of course, a matter of secrecy to this day. As the World Leaders chose it over Plan Wiley Coyote, we can safely say it didn’t involve shooting Gamera off world with a huge sling shot, nor painting a tunnel on a mountainside for the turtle to attempt going through. One can only hope that Plan Z had a bit more dignity and class than those foolish efforts.
But whatever Plan Z was, it failed, and Gamera went right on with his destructive rampage. No city was safe, no town spared.
Then a curious thing happened. A new monster appeared as if out of nowhere. The two fought, and in the end, Gamera kills it. Overnight, the turtle became a “hero”, a media darling. With Toshio Sakurai’s misguided “Welcome Turtle Friends” (Or WTF) movement, he became known as a “friend to children everywhere.” Children loved him.
From that time, the cycle has continued. A monster appears, Gamera kills it, then another monster appeared, and another, and each time WTF returns to hype up his “heroic” nature. Until, at last, the world believes that it is true. That, instead of being a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the monster was “good”.
Perhaps this would be understandable if Gamera confined his attacks to battling “threatening” monsters. He does not. Sometimes he goes off and attack Tokyo or some such city simply to provide himself a “fire feast,” to coin a phrase. Members of the WTF (or WTFers) insist that each time he’s being controlled by “Space Men.” That when every one knows that Space Men and the like seldom come to Earth more than a handful of times, such as during the Monster Island Affair and the Okinawa Gambit. And in both instances, one would not a certain turtle being completely absent from either control or from assisting against the invaders.
No, one can not look at the actions of Gamera and think of him as anything but a threat. Or a menace. The love he receives baffles the sober mind. Especially since there is another, more worthy monster for the people of Earth to accept as champion. One of class. Of character. Of refined breeding.
Yes, I’m talking about that paragon of virtue, that saint, that glorious fellow, the monster for the common man: Godzilla.
Sure, sure, there have been problems. There have been misunderstandings. Such as his brother’s horrible murder by the mysterious Oxygen Destroyer. Or that tragic, tragic miscommunication between Godzilla and the original Mothra, which ended in the great moth’s untimely demise. Or the leveling of Tokyo that continues to this very day.
These ever so slight faux pas, though, can all be traced to human error. Godzilla himself is harmless, a curious traveler who would no more than harm you than he would a bird in the sky. So long as we stay out of his territory, he will probably maybe possibly stay out of ours. In fact, your odds of getting away from him is far greater than it is with Gamera himself (See the world-famous essay Brief Thought on Godzilla and Gamera for insight on this matter.)
I think Godzilla said it best in his autobiography, They’re Shooting At Me? when he said:
A motto to live by, my friends. A motto to live by.
So forget Gamera! Forget WTF and those little F-ers! They’re deluding themselves if they think we don’t notice what that gargantuan turtle is doing to our planet!
Support Godzilla! Monster of All Seasons!
Invite him over for coffee! Invite him over for weddings and birthdays! Invite him to speak at your graduation, your business meeting, your funeral! Invite him over to watch the kids! Invite him all you like! Cause he’s coming to see you, whether you like it or not. Godzilla is coming to see you soon! He wants to see you every single day and twice on weekends!
Oh, he’s coming! No ocean is too wide, no mountain too tall, no building too sturdy! He’ll walk all night if he has to! He’ll ask directions! He’ll use GPS! He will hunt you down with sense of smell alone!
And no matter where you run, no matter where you hide, no matter how many baths you take, he’s going to find you! He’s going to show you just what you mean to him! And your life is gonna change WITHIN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES! IT’S GOING TO CHANGE FOREVER AND FOREVER! AND THERE’S NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO TO STOP IT!
WHY IS HE DOING THIS? WHY IS HE TRAVELING THE WORLD FROM TOKYO TO MOSCOW TO NEW YORK CITY? WHY IS HE LOOKING FOR YOU, YES YOU, EXCLUSIVE OVER ALL OTHERS?
Because Godzilla loves you.
He thinks you’re special.
And he’s going to prove it no matter how many cities he has to destroy.
Best accept it and move on.
I know I have.
Better believe I have. Sheesh.
Go go Godzilla.
Seems to have gotten away from me towards the end there, doesn’t it? Oh well. It was a silly little essay anyways.
I don’t have to point out that the above applies only to the Showa Era Godzilla and Gamera movies (the films that came out before the eighties)? No? Good. I think that’s a wrap.