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Noriaki Yuasa
Tsutomu Takakuwa, Kelly Varis, Katherine Murphy
Writing Credits:
Nisan Takahashi

When an ancient statue is moved for display in Expo '70, a Triceratops-like monster is released and ends up battling Gamera the giant flying turtle.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Japanese DTS-HD MA Monaural
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 83 min.
Price: $179.95
Release Date: 8/18/2020
Available Only As Part of 12-Movie “Gamera Complete Collection”

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Edward L. Holland
• Introduction by Film Historian August Ragone
• Alternate English Credits
• Trailers
• Image Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Gamera vs. Jiger [Blu-Ray] (1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 9, 2020)

With 1970’s Gamera vs. Jiger, the venerable monster franchise entered a new decade. It wouldn’t last long, as the series would go into suspended animation after 1971’s Gamera vs. Zigra.

I’ll worry about that when I get to it. For now, we’ll deal with Jiger, the series’ sixth movie in six years.

As Japan prepares for a massive international fair called “Expo ‘70”, artifacts from all over the world arrive. During these operations, authorities remove an ancient statue from a South Pacific island so it can go on display.

This turns out to be a bad idea, as not only does this event seem to curse the workers who move the statue, but also it releases a dinosaur-like creature named Jiger. When heroic giant turtle Gamera gets wind of this, he does battle.

Alas, Gamera loses the first fight – and ends up “impregnated” with Jiger’s parasitic offspring. This means scientists need to work to remove the alien organisms so Gamera can come back to fight Jiger.

After two movies that involved aliens, Jiger remains firmly Earth-bound, and that choice pleases me. While the extraterrestrials of Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera vs. Guiron offered a change of pace, that sci-fi theme threatened to get old quickly.

Not that Jiger follows a reality-based approach, of course, as no one expects anything serious from a flick about giant monsters who fight. Still, a third alien-based movie in a row would seem like at least one too many.

Jiger also brings a good foe. Okay, Jiger doesn’t match up with the sadistic knife-headed Guiron, but she packs a punch and also allows the series to return to its roots as she wages destruction on Japanese cities.

I do appreciate the broadening of horizons, for an endless series of movies in which monsters terrorize towns would grow stale. Still, I like the way Jiger manages to evoke this staple of the genre, as it feels oddly fresh after so many other adventures that avoided this trope.

The subplot with the statue’s curse seems unnecessary, though. It evokes 1966’s Gamera vs. Barugon - the most mature of the franchise to date – but it doesn’t serve a lot of purpose here.

It feels like the curse should become an important plot element, but it essentially goes by the wayside for long portions of the film, as more specific components related to Gamera and/or Jiger dominate. And that’s as it should be, since the movie is entitled Gamera vs. Jiger.

Nonetheless, the scenes related to the curse come across as filler. They add little to the plot and could be excised without damage to the project.

I could also live without the movie’s emphasis on kids. As mentioned in prior reviews, Barugon became the only entry that focused on adults, and that gave it a more mature impression the rest lack.

That said, I get that Daiei sold the films for kids, as that’s why they worked overtime to paint Gamera as the “friend to all children”. At least Jiger panders less than its predecessors, so even with youngsters as prominent characters, the film doesn’t dumb itself down for the kiddie crowd like the last few did.

While not as good as the work done for Barugon, the effects of Jiger feel like a step up over the last three flicks as well. I expected these to fare worse just because I assumed budgets got tighter as the franchise progressed, but perhaps the fact the filmmakers had so many Gamera adventures under their belts allowed them to take advantage of that experience.

Of course, these effects can’t really be called good, not even by 1970 standards. Nonetheless, they look solid compared to most of the other Gamera flicks, so I feel happy to see this step up in quality.

Throw in some pretty spiffy battles and Jiger becomes one of the better Gamera movies. I can’t call it an objectively good movie, but it offers some monster-oriented fun.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

Gamera vs. Jiger appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a visual showcase, this became the best-looking Gamera flick to date.

Sharpness usually worked nicely, as most of the film showed appealing delineation. Occasional soft shots occurred – mainly related to effects – but the movie generally boasted positive accuracy.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to appear. Grain felt natural, and print flaws didn’t become a concern.

Colors went with a natural palette that veered a little toward the yellow/amber side. Though the colors didn’t excel, the disc replicated them pretty well, as they seemed largely accurate.

Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows offered more than adequate clarity. This was a pretty solid image.

Expect the usual mediocre DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack from Jiger, as it did nothing to improve on its predecessors. This meant speech that could seem a bit reedy but that also remained intelligible and only showed a little edginess.

Music lacked much range, but the score offered reasonable reproduction, and effects seemed adequate as well. Some of those elements suffered from minor distortion, but they stayed acceptably accurate. This was a perfectly passable mono mix for a 50-year-old movie.

A staple of the Gamera Blu-rays, we open with an Introduction from Film Historian August Ragone. During the eight-minute, 39-second reel, Ragone chats about the movie’s production and its place in the series. As usual, Ragone delivers insights.

After this we get an audio commentary from film historian Edward L. Holland. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion of various story/character areas as well as cast and crew.

That makes this sound like a potentially informative commentary, but unfortunately, it becomes a total stinker. Holland mostly just narrates the movie and makes exclamations as it goes.

Occasionally Holland tosses out a nugget of theoretical value, but these elements become rare and not even vaguely worth the effort. Skip this useless, boring chat.

Gamera Blu-ray staples finish the set, as we find two trailers - Japanese and German – as well as a US TV spot. Alternate English Credits span one minute, 11 seconds and deliver the usual translated text.

Finally, an Image Gallery boasts 123 stills. As usual, these mix advertisements, promo materials and shots from the production. This turns into another fine assortment of elements.

Though the sixth film in six years, Gamera vs. Jiger becomes one of the franchise’s more satisfying efforts. While I can’t claim it excels, it capitalizes on the property’s strengths and avoids some of the usual pitfalls. The Blu-ray boasts good picture along with adequate audio and a set of supplements dragged down by an awful commentary. Jiger offers a fairly fun adventure.

Note that as of August 2020, this Blu-ray version of Jiger only appears as part of a “Gamera Complete Collection”. This packages 12 Gamera adventures.

The “Complete Collection” also features a 120-page reproduction of a 1996 Gamera comic book and an 80-page retrospective book. My review copy didn’t include these components so I can’t formally discuss them.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
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