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Mystery Science Theater 3000 - A Cowtown Puppet Show

Johnny Unusual

Gamera Vs. Jiger

Osaka's World Expo is on the way and everyone is excited but one island nation is upset a large statue called "The Devil's Whistle" is being taken for the event. Suddenly, Gamera appears and tries to prevent it, causing people to assume Gamera is a bad guy now? Sure enough, a giant monster, Jiger (AKA MONSTER X) awakens and attacks Expo 70. Gamera arrives to stop him but Jiger does something to Gamera to put him out of commission. To save him, two kids will have to travel inside him to discover the truth so Gamera can return for round 2.

This is a pretty decent ep and apparently the writers had an uphill battle: usually the episodes are edited here and there for time but one provision for showing this film was showing it at full length and boy does it show in that last fight. It's only 86 minutes but it feels like an eternity. That's not to say the film isn't fun, in it's way, but it's 25 minutes of fun, tops, stretched out to 86. So it gets rough.

It also doesn't help that the kids in this Gamera movies suck. They fucking suck. I don't hate kids. I love them. But this feels like the complaint everyone has with Caillou except the kids are twice as old. The boy in this film is rude to his friends when they question Gamera's loyalty to all children and does whatever he wants with no consequence and an assumption he is in the right and he always is in the context of the movie. THESE KIDS SUCK HARD, you guys.

But it is a funny episode. Some great riffs and the sketches, which after often my least favourite part, has some good stuff. A lot of fun is had at the expense that the stakes are the enjoyment of the World Expo, specifically, and how it's sort of this big ad for the event. Watching the entire movie makes it a big rough because.. let's face it, Gamera movies are worse than Godzilla ones. but it still has some weird charm to it.

It's also surprisingly violent. The Gamera films are intended for a younger audience but after the first fight all of Gamera's limbs are impaled. Then later Gamera is infected with a baby Jiger parasite and we get film of an elephants trunk being surgically opened to remove a lot of wormy larval parasites and even if its using fake footage, it's still very gross. Then in the climax, which goes on for fucking ever, Gamera grabs the whistle he's supposed to use to put Jiger to sleep... and impales him in the eye with it. Which is actually a pretty funny swerve but fuck, that's rough.

As for Jiger... I feel like there's not a clear throughline for this monster.


It looks generic but it has whatever powers the writer thinks up with no idea of theme. It's kind of the ultimate monster for the series, far less simple than "fast monster fish". "blood-sucking bat-o-dactyl" or "knife with legs" (Guiron is easily the best one). Jiger can shoot tusk darts, has a sonic ray (which they weirdly call a heat ray despite Gamera defeating it by sticking stuff in his ears), a spiked tail which infects Gamera a parasite that looks like itself and shoots sticky snot, and also can propel itself in the air with what appear to be rocket powered gills. It's too much. I appreciate that it is imaginative but... too much.

It's not my favourite of the season but it's a pretty good one and is my second favourite of the Gamera episodes (the only one I actually enjoy is the batshit Gamera Vs. Guiron, particularly for it's weird dub.)


Pluto TV is free. You can just click through and start watching in your browser. (not sure how it works outside the US...)


perfect world
I tried PlutoTV on my PS4 a couple years back. As someone who doesn't have cable it was a neat novelty. The one problem I had was that zero human thought was given to where in a program the commercial breaks occur, with shows and movies often cutting not just in the middle of a scene but mid-syllable of dialogue to go to an ad. Maybe that's been improved upon since then, I don't know. But this seems like a good reason to give it another shot!